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John, or James, in the year of jubilee ; by the brotherhood, or fraternity of Christopher of York, or of our Lady of Boston ; nor yet by St. Francis' cowl, Benedict's habit, cope, or coat; by monks' boots, or by the carving of friar-observants' shoes or knotted girdles ; nor by Sion beads, by holy water, ringing of the great holy bell, or by any such-like outward ceremony or sacrifice. Whoso by these things think to obtain forgiveness of their sins before God, they deceive themselves; they blaspheme Christ, they be injurious to his blood which was shed upon the cross to take away our sins, to obtain pardon of God for our sins, and to wash us clean froin sin : as St. John saith (Rev. i.), “the blood of Christ bath washed us from our sins:" and John (1 John, i.), “the blood of Christ hath purged us from all iniquity.” If the forgiveness of sin be by the blood of Christ, then it is not by the pope's bulls, or pardons, masses, and scala cæli, and such-like of man's inventions, and dreams invented by man : if by such works sins might have been taken away, then died Christ in vain. (Gal. i.) If sins might have been purged by such means or works of man, then was Christ a fool that suffered so sharp a death to save us, and to take away our sins. I suppose Christ's blessing to have been as good as the bishop of Rome's blessing, or any other bishop's blessing, but Christ taught us not to believe by such means our sins to be purged; wherefore they be stark lies; yea, blasphemy to Christ and his holy blood, to believe our sins to be taken away by any other way or mean, than by Christ and his holy blood. Wherefore, they are from the true way, that think to be saved by their works, merits of saints, or of men alive, or departed, by the virtue of the mass heard or said ; thinking the mass to be a sacrifice to God to take away the sin of the people : for there is none other sacrifice to take away sin, but Christ, which hath satisfied for our sin, and is
“a full satisfaction for the sins of the whole world" (1 John, ii.); and“ by one oblation once offered up for us upon the cross, he hath made all them perfect that shall be sanctified for evermore.” (Heb. x.)
According to the riches of his grace. Redemption and remission of sin hath come unto us all, by the rich grace of God, and not by our merits, deeds, or works, or for any saint's sake, living or departed, but alone for Christ's sake, freely, without our merits or any deservings of our part; that all laud and praise, with thanks, might only be given to God, as the author of all goodness.
Which he hath shewed upon us abundantly in all wisdom. Also, we have received of God's goodness, all spiritual wisdom, as touching the knowledge of godly things, and all other knowledge necessary for the health of our souls. This place something reproveth them, that say, there are many things necessary for the salvation of men, that be not written in holy Scripture, nor yet can be gathered out of the holy Scripture. St. Paul (Rom. i.) saith, that “the Gospel is the power of God that worketh all health to all them that believe." This place sheweth all learning, knowledge, and godly wisdom, to come of God, and not of our study, diligence, and labour, although our study and labour are required, as lawful means necessary, by the which, God giveth knowledge, learning, and wisdom to them, that with a pure heart require of him. This reproveth all them that think they get the learning they have by their own labour, study, and pains, and think not that it cometh of God, which giveth these gifts to them that seek and labour in faith, desiring to have learning to glorify God, to profit them and others, according to their talents.
Which hath opened unto us, the mystery of his will, according to his will and pleasure. The time le sheweth, when God gave to us this knowledge and wisdoin by his grace; he did give it when it pleased him to shew the mystery of his will, bid long from the world, but at the last, shewed by his word, declared plainly to the world when he pleased, and not at the pleasure of man; of the which we may learn, that the word of God cometh to us, and is clearly shewed at the will of God, and not at the will of man, nor at man's pleasure, although God use man as an instrument, to show his will, for our health and profit.
But, peradventure, some will ask, what was this mystery, that God had hid so long from the world in himself, and now had shewed it when the fulness of time was come; in the whịch, he sendeth his Son, Jesus Christ, to this world, to be incarnate, by whom he hath restored all things in heaven and in earth, and made the perfect? To this, St. Paul maketh answer here, saying, this mystery was the mystery of the Gospel, preached openly to the Gentiles, as it was to the Jews : that the Gentiles should be saved by Christ as the Jews, and that the life and the inheritance of heaven, pertained as well to the Geiltiles as to the Jews. Which invstery was hid from a great part of the Gentiles, till Christ's coming, and the preaching of the Apostles after Christ's asçension to heaven: of this ire may learn, that God doth not give all knowledge of his divine will at one time, or altogether, but one thing afier another, after long continuance of tiine; as here you may see that the Gospel was long bid from the Gentiles, by long time and many years, that we shouki nothing marvel at God's will and pleasure, if God do shew now in our time bis Gospel more clearly, and open it more plainly to us, than it was in our fathers' time and days. Of this, we should not muse or marvel, but rather glorify God that giveth this knowledge, thank him heartily for it, accept the Gospel with glad ness, give credence to it, leave our old blindness, superstitiousness, false trusts, backward judgments, and other like, by the whichi, we have been deceived for lack of true knowledge of the word of God now shewed, thanked be God. But if any will be inore curious than needeth, to ask, why. God hath hid this mystery of his will so long from the world, and now sheweth it in these last days? Surely, I have not to answer ; but that it is the will and pleasure of God so to do; which hath always seen what thing was most profitable for the Gentiles; or else, that he hath seen that the Gentiles before this time would not have believed the Gospel preached ; that they should be less punished, not knowing the Gosa pel, than if they should have known it, and not fol. lowed it; or else that he knew they would have persecuted the preachers of the Gospel, and so should have deserved more grievous punishment; or else, that it was decreed of God, that all things should be shewed of God by Christ, and all things restored, and made perfect by Christ.
Ver. 11-14. By whom also we are come to the inheritance, we that were thereto predestinated before, according to the purpose of Him, which worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; that we might be to the praise of his glory, eren we that there before believed on Christ. On whom also ye believed, after that ye heard the word of truth, namely, the Gospel of your salvation ; wherein, when ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance to our redemption, that we might be his own to the praise of his glory.
St. Paul here repeateth these things, that he hath shewed before, gathering a sum of them all: that is to say, that we are appointed of God to eternal life through Jesus Christ, and be made the children
D 3 3 .
of God by adoption ; not by our strength or merits, nor by the merits of any man ; but only by the grace of God and the merits of Christ. And that by the deliberate will of God, by whose might and power all things are done, that be good, just, and lawful : for God willeth none iniquity or sin, but is holy and just in all his works, and he willeth all good things.
That none should think our heavenly inheritance to come to us by lot or by chance, as if God had not prepared it for us before the beginning of the world, he stateth this heavenly inheritance to have been ordained for us by the forewill of God, alway intended of the Father towards us of his goodness ; by whose will and power all good things are done ; whose will, no man can resist or stop his works, that they be not done, as he hath ordained them to be done ; whose will we cannot attain unto, and know what shall be the effect of things till they be done.
And although all things are done by the power of God, yet God is not the author of evil. (James, i.) God willeth no sin, but he is just in all his ways, and holy in all his works. He willeth, that all men shall be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, they that perish and shall be damned, by their own fault they perish and be damned, and not by any fault in God, which willeth every man to be saved, and for that end he commandeth the Gospel to be preached unto all creatures, that they should believe and follow the Gospel in life and be saved; therefore, they that do not believe it, but contemn and despise it, and think it a foolish and a vain thing, they be the cause of their own death.
That we might be to the praise of his glory. We be predestinated of God, made, and created, not for ourselves, but for the laud and praise of God, that we should give all glory to God for all goodness,