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book of life written and enrolled, not to be blotted out again.
And here, we may learn, that it is a work acceptable to God, to be a worker of the Gospel, or a fellow to him who laboureth in the Gospel, to preach, teach, or set it forwards, or to minister to such necessaries, to favour them, to help them, if they need, or be in prison, or to put themselves in peril or danger for the helping of them, that set forth God's word truly and sincerely.
And this is a great comfort to those, that suffer for the Gospel's sake, and continue in the same patiently to the end, that their names are written in the book of life before God, and shall not be rased out again ; although here, peradventure, before men they be contemned and despised for evil doers, or evil speakers, and be punished or put to death : yet remain their naines in the book of life with God, who knoweth them as his servants.
Ver. 4—7. Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice. Let your sojiness be known to all
The Lord is even at hand. Be not careful, lut in all things, let your petitions in prayer and supplications with giving of thanks be known before God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesu.
The Apostle exhorteth men to rejoice in the Lord, and not in other things of this world ; not in ho. hours, riches, men, friends, kindred, gold, silver, lands, possessions, nor in wisdom, or in prudence of the flesh, or in strength of body, as the prophet (Jer. ix.) biddeth, saying ; “ Let not the wise man rejoice in his wisdom, nor the rich in his riches, nor the strong man in his strength; but he that will rejoice, let him rejoice in that he knoweth me, saith God, by his prophet, which am God, that maketh judgmen!, justice, and faith,” Therefore, he that
will rejoice, let him rejoice in God, which is the author of all goodness, and the deliverer from all evils and adversities. Therefore, saith the Apostle (1 Cor. i.), “ He that will rejoice, let him rejoice in God;" and so shall his joy be full, sure, constant, permanent, and perfect.
And here he rebuketh such, as rejoice more in worldly things than in God; as those that rejoice in riches, lands, possessions, in men, in magistrates, in nobility of stock, in their religion, institution of living, in cunning learning, or in such like more than in God. All such be here reproved: rejoice therefore in the Lord alway in all times and in all places.
Let your softness be known to all men. Now, he teacheth them good and godly manners, and commandeth them to put on all good manners and innocency of living, and willeth their holy conversation of liying to be known to all men, not only to good men, but also to the evil, that every man might take example of godly virtue of them, and follow them in virtuous living, and so glorify God with them which is in heaven, as is written (Mat. v.). And good example of living helpeth very much to virtue, and ofttimes one follows another in virtue or in wicked, ness.
The Lord is at hand. Lest modest, meek, and patient men should think themselves forsaken of God, or should despair of God, or of his goodness, as if he had left them and forsaken them, suffering them to be afflicted of the evil or to want necessaries, he saith, that God is nigh to all modest, good, and godly men, and that he forgetteth them not, although he suffereth them to lack comfort for a time and help ; but in time of need, God sendeth to them both comfort and help ; for he is careful for them, and nigh to all, that' will call upon him in unity and in truth,
Be not careful. He moveth them not to be careful, nor to mistrust God, that he will not give unto them all things necessary, when they shall have need, or that he will not deliver them from trouble and afflictions, that chance to them. And that they should not doubt in these things, he said, the Lord was at hand to help them at their need; and that they should not be careful for their living with a mistrust in God, he biddeth them here as teacheth more largely Christ (Mat. vi.).
And here, he taketh away covetousness, or unmerciful laying up of riches to live upon in old age, as some say, mistrusting God, thinking that God will not give unto them necessaries in age, as he did in their youth. Let us put away all such diffidence of God, and let us seek first his kingdom and his justice, and God will give us all necessaries without our trustless carefulness, as is promised (Mat. vi.). And here the Apostle doth not forbid labour, or a godly providing, but he forbiddeth carefulness, mistrusting of God, and the unmerciful laying up in store from
But in all things let your petitions in prayer and supplications with giving of thanks be known before God. Now, he teacheth, how we shall have all necessaries, and by what means; that is, of God, the Father, the merciful giver of all good things, and that by humble, meek, and faithful prayers, made after the will of God, desiring necessaries, as it shall please God to give thein, appointing with God no time, no place, nor manner of giving, but referring all to his divine will and pleasure. And if in these prayers we shall continue, desiring those things, that shall be to the glory of God and for our health and salvation ; at length we shall obtain of God these our petitions, made in faith for Christ's sake, always giving thanks to God for his benefits given to us, taking prosperity and adversity, as we should do; that is, not
being proud in prosperity, nor yet comfortless, heavy or sad in adversity, neither murmuring against God, nor yet envying others their felicity and joy.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understando ing, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesu. 'Here, is shewed, what followeth them, that bear prosperity and adversity, as they should do ; viz. that they have peace and quietness in their hearts and conscience with God, which peace have none, but such as be justified by faith (Rom. v.), “ We justified by faith have peace with God.” " The evil saith, Peace, peace; but to him is no peace with God ;' as saith the prophet. And this peace or quietness of the conscience, it far surpasseth all things that may be apprehended of the understanding.
And this to be true, sheweth the conscience of such, as fall into desperation of God's mercy, for their sins, as Cain and Judas did. And also it is declared in the Canaanites, which were almost dead, without heart, comfort, spirit, or life in their bodies, when they heard the children of Israel to have entered their country, or land, to possess it, as their own, and that they were sent to kill them down, like heasts, without mercy, as is written in the book of Joshua. And this peace of conscience is not gotten by our might, or power, sacrifices, or ceremonies, but by Jesus Christ, that all laud and praise might be given to God for it, as of whom all goodness does come to us for Christ's sake.
Ver. 8, 9. Furthermore, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatso-, ever things pertain to love, whatsoever things are of honest report; if there be any virtuous thing, if there be any laudable thing, have those same in your mind, which ye have both learned and received, and
heard and seen in me : those things do, and the God of peace shall be with you.
Now, the Apostle, making an end of his Epistle, exhorteth thein to think, and do not only those things, which be worthy of praise, but also that they, following his example, may have the God of peace with them, and be fulfilled with faith and all good works.
And first, he moveth them to do and follow true things; whereby he putteth away all deceit, craft, hypocrisy, and dissimulation. As Christ is the truth aud loveth the truth, so he hateth all craft and falsehood; and it is a marvel, that any man will love that thing, that God hateth so much, as falsehood, craft, deceit, and dissimulation. It is a token they love the devil, a false liar, better than God, which is alway true and hateth lies and falsehood.
It is a wonder to see how some men will give credence to the devil's lying, rather than to God, saying truth, and promising necessaries to all them, that seek him in truth, that seek first the kingdom of God and his justice. It is a token that such be rather the servants of the devil, than of God. And tnerefore they, mistrusting God, run headlong to the devil, and use his craft and falsehood ; and with much deceit and many lies get their living, to the great hurt of others, and to their own judgment and damnation. Therefore, leave the crafts of the devil, and follow Christ and his truth, if you will be saved and come to everlasting salvation.
Secondly, follow honest things, sceming and be, coming for Christians, worthy of praise, and meet for those that abhor dishonesty, filthy, vain, foolish, and trifling things. In the which saying the Apostle would, that the behaviour of our body in habit, vesture, word, deed, louk, countenance, going, and all things about us, should be honest and comely