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tedious to the people, and some to the pastor.
Therefore, seeing that God's law commandeth, and God hath so ordained, that he that preacheth the Gospel should live by the Gospel (1 Cor. ix.); high powers and rulers have done well, assigning to every pastor his living in a certainty, to be received without trouble or business. But, would to God, that the high powers, as they have assigned by their godly laws this thing ; so, they would see that the people should truly pay it, without all grudge or murmur, to their pastors, who truly feed them with God's holy word! Would to God, that high rulers should cause every pastor to do his duty, and surely to have his due again, and no part of it to be withdrawn from him : for “ the workman is worthy his meat.” (Mat. x.)
Grace and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, le unto you. Here is shewed, what things Paul and Timotheus desired to these Philippians. They wished not kingdoms and empires of this world, not worldly honours or riches, not fat benefices or bishoprics, not high honours or worldly dignities, as carnal men wish to their friends and lovers, children or kinsfolk. But they wished to them the grace, favour, and the love of God, which things far pass all these corruptible worldly riches. They also wish them peace with God, the Father, which peace cometh not of man, nor of the merits of man, by works, or deeds, wrought by man;. but of the mercy and goodness of God.
And this peace with God in their conscience have not evil men, for they always fear God, and reckon him as a cruel Judge, which without mercy will punish sinners and breakers of his laws. And therefore, saith the Prophet ; “ The evil say, Peace, peace, and they have no peace” in their conscience
with God: but those that be justified by faith, they have peace with God in their conscience, and lowly fear God.
And here we may learn grace, favour, and love of God, and also peace with God not to be of ourselves, but to be the gifts of God, freely given to them, to whom it pleaseth God to give these gifts.
Here also we may learn, what thing one Christian should desire to another, and wish in their letters, salutations, or otherwise, most chiefly and before all worldly goods, or riches: that is, the great favour of God, and peace in conscience with God. For what thing in this world can be pleasant to that man, that in conscience is not at quietness with God? Surely, nothing; and if thou wilt have peace with God, see thou be in peace, concord, and unity with thy neighbour, or else thou cannot be in God.
Ver. 3—8. I thank my God, as oft as I remember you (which I always do in my prayers for you all, and pray with gladness), cecause of your fellowship, which you have in the Gospel from the first day unto now: and am surely certified of this, that He which hath begun that good work in you, shall go forth with it, until the day of Jesus Christ. As it becometh me to judge of you all, because I have
you as those that are partakers with me of grace in my bonds, in defending and establishing of the Gospel. For God is my record, how I long after you all, even from the very heart root, in Jesus Christ.
After the salutation, the Apostle beginneth to shew the things that he would have known to these Philippians. And first of all, he giveth thanks to God for these Philippians, that they had received the faith of Jesus Christ, and that they did stand sure and constant in it: not shrinking away from Christ, for any affliction or persecution, or by any craft or
subtilty, used by false apostles, to bring them from Christ's faith.
And in this thing the Apostle teacheth us to give thanks to God for benefits given to others by God, and not to be sorry, as some be, for God's gifts, given abundantly to others, which they themselves lack; and therefore are sorry that others should have what they lack ; as more knowledge, learning, or cunning in God's word, than they.
They are blind and ignorant, and would have all others as ignorant and blind as they be. He praiseth them, that they were come into the communion of the Gospel, and made partakers of salvation by Christ, shewed to them by the Gospel, and this he doth, because he would have them more desirous of the Gospel, and of the knowledge of Christ, and to be more constant in the faith of Christ.
Virtus enim laudata crescit. Virtue commended doth not make good men proud, but more diligent, to increase virtue and to attain unto it.
Also, we be here taught to pray for others, to be glad of the gifts of God given, and especially above all things, for the word of God, purely and sincerely preached ; of the which cometh faith, for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. x.). So these people received faith by the preaching of St. Paul, and were made partakers of the Gospel of health and salvation by Christ (Acts, xvi.).
From the first day unto now ; having this thing persuaded unto me, that He which hath begun this good work in you, will go forth with it, until the day of the Lord. This thing the Apostle would have persuaded unto these Philippians, that God, which hath begun this good work in them, that hath called them from infidelity, superstition, idolatry, fornication, adultery, and from among other gentile fashions and heathen manners, to the faith of Jesus Christ, and to our holy conversation of living ; that He who hath begun this good work in them, will go forth and increase them more and more in faith and true holiness by the knowledge of God's holy word.
And here he sheweth the common saying ofttimes to be true, that of a good beginning cometh a good ending; and that God continueth in good men and obedient persons those good works, that he hath in them begun. Here we may learn to judge those to finish well and bring their matters to a good pass, that begin well. Yea, this place teacheth us to know that it is God, and not we, that beginneth
good work in us, and also that it is God that brings to a good end a good work. Of the which we learn the beginning of faith, or of good works, and the increasement of them to be not of us, of our might, strength, power, or merits ; but to be of God only, and of his free grace and goodness.
This place sheweth, that we, of our own freewill, without the grace of God, are not able to begin any good work, nor to go forth with it, nor to finish it. For “we, of ourselves, are not able to think any good thought, as of ourselves, but all our ability is of God” (2 Cor. iii.). Of ourselves, we are not able to will any good work, for God worketh in us the willing of good things, for his good will's sake (Phil. i.). And Christ saith in John; " Without me you can do nothing.”
Then what shall we ascribe to our free-will without Christ, and without the grace of God ? Surely, nothing that is good. Evil cometh of ourselves, and all goodness of God, the Father of light (James, i.). And if these be true, as they be in very deed, then methinks that they err, and are to be blamed that say, that we, of our free-will, may do good, may assent, and receive the grace of God offered to all
men, or not assent to it and forsake it, if we list, and at our pleasure and free-will; or else our will, they say, cannot be free or called a free-will.
Of these men I would ask one question ; whether to assent to the grace of God offered, and to receive it, is good, or no? And if it be good, as I trust none will deny, then it is of God, the Father, and not of us (James, i.). To this question St. Austin maketh answer, and saith ; that in outward works indifferent, neither good nor evil of themselves, we have a certain free liberty to do them, or not to do them: as to lift up a straw, or to lay it down again ; but to do any thing that is acceptable to God, or meritorious (as they were wont to call works pertaining to our justification, or to the salvation of a Christian man), we cannot do it without the grace of God, nor yet will it, nor assent to it. It wholly hangs of God and of his grace, and not of us, or of our merits or good will, without God's working in us, and making our will, ill of itself, to be good and comformable to his will. For the grace of God healeth our evil will, and maketh it agreeing to his godly will, and so conformable to it, that we willingly, and freely, and with gladness do those things, that God willeth and commandeth: so, we holped with the present grace of God, of a good will and gladly, do the works of God. Not we do God's works, but rather the grace of God in us.
St. Austin in his book of grace and free-will thus saith : “ Co-operando Deus in nobis perficit, quod operando incepit : quoniam ipse, ut velimus, operatur incipiens, qui volentibus co-operatur perficiens; propter quod ait hic Apostolus, quoniam qui operatur in vobis opus bonum, perficiet usque in diem Jesu Christi. Ut ergo velimus sine nobis operatur ; cum autem volumus, et sic volumus ut faciamus, nobiscum co-operatur ; tamen sine illo vel operante ut velimus, vel co-operante