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do not continue weak, but are hy it brought to strength, that they may eat strong meat. The Apostle would not have us always children, having need of milk : but that we should grow from children to men, that we might be fed with strong meat of
Thus let us all agree in one way of the truth, and let us follow that way, and walk no more in the ways of perdition, in the ways of error and heresy, in the ways of lies, fables, evil customs, long used, contrary to the will and pleasure of God, and contrary to the health and salvation of our souls. And as the Apostle prayeth (Rom. xv.), God grant us all to be of one mind, that we may all think one thing, not after men, the world, or the flesh, but after Jesus Christ and his doctrine.
Ver. 17-21. Brethren, be ye the followers of me, and look on them, which walk even so, as you have us for an example.' For many walk (of whom I have told you often, but now I tell you weeping) even enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is damnation, whose god is the belly, and whose glory shall be to their shame, which are earthly minded : but our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour, Jesu Christ, the Lord, who shall change our vile body, that it may be like fashioned unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
Note, that the Apostle setteth himself an example fór us to follow, that after his example we should walk in the way of truth, and not shrink from it for any persecution, forany cruelness of inen, for any craft of pseudo-apostles, for any loss of worldly goods, favour of men, punishment of body, or for loss of this present life.
Here, we learn how we should worship saints, that is, to follow their footsteps in all holiness and in true
yirtue, in faith, in hope, in charity, and in patience, and to follow the doctrine of truth, as they did, and to continue in it to the end, after their example.
Another way we are taught in Scripture to honour saints, is, to glorify God in his saints, to give glory and thanks to God, which hath made, and doth daily make good men of evil men. As the church of the Jews glorified God in Paul, because he had made him a preacher of his word, which word he did before impugn and persecute.
Thirdly, we may honour saints in confirming onr faith, certifying us that we shall come to that glory, wherein they are, if we live here, as they did, learning God's word and living according to it. Yea, it helpeth very much to persuade, when a man' doth bring himself, as an example to be followed, as here the Apostle did. Would to God that all bishops' lives were so holy, so good, that their true preachings and holy living were examples to others to follow, and worthy to be followed, as Paul was in his true preaching, and in the continuance of the same with holiness of life.
And look on them which walk, as you have us for an example. Lest any man should think, that Paul had set himself only for an example to follow, he willeth them to observe others, who walked after his example, and to take them for an example to follow, that we should follow holy men's footsteps, and to follow them in faith, patience, meekness, and contemning the world, as they did, and alway have a respect to the world and life to come. For тапу
walk (of whom I have told you often, but now I tell you weeping). He sheweth the cause of this admonition, wherefore he exhorteth them to follow him, and such others that walked in the way of truth and in innocent living. It was, that they
should not be deceived by pseudo-apostles, that walk not after Christ's doctrine, but after themselves, their own imaginations, and fantasies, after men, and traditions of men, and not after Christ's doctrine. Whom to eschew and to flee their company and wicked ways, I, both present with you and also absent from you, have admonished you both by words and by letters.
Here, we learn of Paul, that it is not enough to shew, what should be done, but also it must be shewed, what should be avoided and eschewed, that good things might be taken, and evil things refused and forsaken. And as the Apostle had shewed them before to beware of these walkers in iniquity, and to flee them and their wickedness ; so he doth now exhort them again with weeping tears. So sore he lamented, that there should be such evil walkers and deceivers of others, warning them that they should take heed of pseudo-apostles, and to flee their false and deceiving doctrine.
Here, we may see, that there were in Paul's time pseudo-apostles, deceivers of the people, and preachers of false doctrine, not agreeing to holy Scriptures; and that it grieved Paul much, that there should be such. So, it is now in our time. There be some false teachers, clothed in sheep-skins, but within they be greedy wolves ; pretending much holiness, but shewing little in very deed, whom we should eschew and flee; and as it grieved the Apostle such to be in his time, so now it grieveth all good men, that there should be any pseudo-apostles amongst the people, to pull and pluck the people of God from God's word and his truth.
They be enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end. is damnation, whose god is their belly, and whose glory shall be to their shame, which are earthly-minded. Now, he describeth these pseudo apostles in their own clothing and apparel. First, he saith they be enemies of the cross of Christ. For they ascribe to the law, and to works of the law (as to çircumcision, sacrifices, and ceremonies of the law, to works and traditions of men, and to merits of saints), the grace of God freely given, reconciliation to the Father, remission of sin, satisfaction for sin, and life everlasting ; which things should be ascribed only to Christ, that suffered, iipon the cross, death, to obtain these things to us. Therefore they, ascribing these blessings to other things than to Christ alone, are enemies to the cross of Christ. Or if any preach the ceremonies, or sacrifices of the law in the stead of Christ, and ascribe justice, or righteousness, and forgiveness of sin, to any other thing than to Christ, or to Christ's passion, they are enemies of the cross of Christ.
Such were they, that brought us the bishop of Rome's pardons, masses at scala cæli, bidding us to go hither and thither on pilgrimage, to set up candles before images, to say five Pater nosters, five Ave Maria's, and a Creed before this image or that image, in this place, rather than in that place : promising to us by these things to be released from the pains of purgatory, so many days, lents, and years. Yea, promising by these things once in our lives and at the hour of death clear remission of all our sins, both a pæna et a culpa (from the punishment and guilt), so they called their promised remission. But these be enemies to the cross of Christ, ascribing to the inventions of man those things, that only should be attributed to Christ alone, and to none other.
Secondly, he saith, their end is perdition, shewing to what end and purpose the doctrine of pseudoapostles bringeth; that it bringeth to death and damnation. Therefore, they and their devilish doctrine
are to be eschewed and avoided of all good men, lest men be brought by them and with them to death and damnation both of body and soul.
Thirdly, he saith, their god is their belly. In this he sheweth, for whose sake they preached the law, and the works of the law, and did all things they did. That it was for their belly, which they preferred before God or his truth ; that they might live easily in quiet, rest, pleasure, honour, and in all deliciousness of life, and have all things at their wills and pleasures, be honoured, and had in great reputation above all men. And what others did for God's cause, these belly beasts did it for their belly's sake. And as other good men do prefer God above all things, so did these slow-bellies prefer their belly above all things.
Of such St. Paul speaketh (Rom. xvi.), and bids us beware of them, saying, “ Brethren, I beseech you, that you would consider them, who cause debate and offence against the doctrine, which you have learned, and that you turn from them. For they be such, that serve not Jesu Christ, but their bellies, and by flattery and fair speaking, deceive the hearts of the simple.” Of them also he speaketh, Gal. vi., saying,
“Those that after outward face would please you in the flesh, they would compel you to be circumcised, only for this end, that for the cross of Christ they should not suffer.”
Let men, therefore, look about whether there be such preachers and teachers, yea, such that pretend to favour God's word, and would have the name of setters forth of it, and would be counted to do all things for God's word sake; and who yet do it for themselves, and for their bellies sake, for they do not work for the glory of God, but for themselves and for their bellies sakes, that they might live in ease, rest, and quietness, in wealth and in all carnal