Page images
PDF
EPUB

God, he shall be brought to it. Therefore, for God's sake make restitution, or else remember God's proverb: “ There is nothing so secret, &c.” If you do either of these two in this world, then ye are of God: if not, then for lack of restitution, ye shall have eternal damnation. Ye may do it by means, if

you

dare not do it yourselves. Bring it to another, and so make restitution. If ye be not of God's flock, it shall be brought out to your shame and damnation at the last day, when all evil men's sins shall be laid open before us. Yet there is one way, how all our sins may be hidden; which is, repent and amend; repenting and amending is a sure remedy and a sure way to hide all, that it shall not come out to our shame and confusion.

Extract from the Sermon on the fourth Sunday after

Epiphany, at Page 203, Vol. II. We see daily that they, that take part with Christ and his Gospel, are most commonly nothing regarded in this world. The world and they cannot agree together, for they love godliness, and the others love wickedness, which two can never be set together. But there are very few, God knoweth, that take part with Christ, for every man will rather apply himself after the world, and have quietness and a merry life, than to forsake the same, and to have trouble with Christ and his flock; but what reward they shall have, it will appear in the end.

A man may marvel, how God can suffer his to be so punished and afflicted in this world : and again, the wicked to have ever the upper hand, and to be merry in this world. Because God and the devil are two lords, most repugnant in conditions. For God is good, just, merciful, and liberal, and kind towards his, offering unto them, which live after his

will, life everlasting. But the devil is a most wicked minister, unmerciful and cruel, rewarding his servants with everlasting pain and damnation. Now these two lords have their servants, God suffereth his to be much afflicted and plagued for these two causes.

The first is, though they be justified before God through the passion of our Saviour, yet remain a great many sins and imperfections within them. Now to put in remembrance, how aboininable a thing sin is in the face of God, he sendeth unto them calamnities and miseries to teach them to beware of sin, and to live uprightly and holily. Secondly, to teach them to pray, and call upon God. And thirdly, to teach us to know ourselves. For when we be in prosperity and wealth, we think we have faith, and that all things are safe: but when there cometh affliction, then our imperfection appeareth. Therefore God sendeth affliction, to verify the saying of St. Peter, “ The judgment of God beginneth at the house of God.” As for the wicked, for the most part, he letteth them alone, until they come to their death-bed, and then they shall find all their wickedness together, and suffer punishment world without end.

By the afflictions of the household of God appeareth most plainly the power and strength of God, for Christ confoundeth the devil with his weak members, as it appeareth daily, how God giveth unto such as have his Spirit, power to suffer death for his word's sake, and so he confoundeth the devil and all his members, as it appeareth in John Baptist and Christ himself. For the devil thought that Christ, after he hanged upon the cross, had been destroyed and clean overcome, but it was clean contrary.

Thus you see the causes, wherefore God suffereth his to be in tribulation and afflictions. Now, when we have affliction, we must pray unto him to take away the same from us: but this prayer must be conditionally, when it shall please him. As we have an ensample of David, the king, which when he was driven out of his kingdom by Absalom, his son, he said, “ If the Lord will, let him bring me back :" therefore then, being in sickness follow the ensample of David. Call upon him for deliverance conditionally. But above all things, beware of murmuring and rebelling against God, for he will have us obedient to his will and pleasure.

The best service that thou canst do, is to take thy cross patiently, which God hath laid upon thee. Some men, when they be sick, say,

“ It grieveth my heart, that I do spend my time so idly, for if I were whole, I might do much good.” These are much deceived, for they cannot spend their time better, than when they suffer the cross, that God hath laid upon them, and bear the same willingly and obediently. For, as I said before, it is the best service that we can do to God, when we bear our afflictions and troubles well and godly: yet we may pray, that he will be merciful unto us, and not lay more upon us than we are able to bear, according to his proinises.

From the Sermor on the fifth Sunday after Epiphany,

at Page 206, Vol. II. The form of judgment shall be in this wise : Christ our Saviour, at the day of judgment, being appointed of God, shall come down with great triumph and honour, accompanied with all his angels and saints, that departed in faith out of this world beforetimes. They shall come with him now, and all the elect shall be gathered to him, and there they

shall see the judgment, but they theinselves shall not be judged, but shall be like as judges with him. After that the elect are separated from the wicked, he shall give a most horrible and dreadful sentence unto the wicked, commanding his angels to cast them into everlasting fire, where they shall have such torinents, as no tongue can express.

Therefore, our Saviour, desirous to set out the pains of hell unto us, and to make us afraid thereof, calleth it fire, yea, a burning and unquenchable fire. For, like as there is no pain so grievous to a man a's is fire, so the pains of hell pass all the pains that may be imagined of any man. There shall be sobbing and sighing, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, which are the tokens of unspeakable pains and griefs, that shall come upon those, that die in the state of damnation.

For you must understand, that there are but two places, appointed of Almighty God, for all mankind ; that is, heaven and hell. And in what state soever a man dieth, in the same he shall rise again, for there shall be no alteration or change. Those, which die repentantly, and are sorry for their sins, cry God mercy, be ashamed of their own wickedness, and believe with all their hearts, that God will be merciful unto them, through the passion of our Saviour Christ: those, which die in such a faith, shall come into everlasting life and felicity, and shall also arise in the last day in the state of salvation. For look, as you die, so shall you arise. Whosoever departeth out of this world without a repentant heart, and hath been a malicious and envious man, and a hater of the word of God, and so continueth, and will not repent, and be sorry, and call upon God with a good faith, or hath no faith at all: that man shall come to everlasting damnation, and so he shall arise again at the last day, for there is nothing that can help him out of his damnation, or hinder him of his salvation.

For when a man dieth without faith in Christ, all the masses in the whole world are not able to relieve him: and to conclude, all the travails, that we have had in time past, by seeking of remedy by purgatory, and all the great costs and expenses, that may be bestowed upon any soul lying in the state of damnation, it can avail nothing, neither can it do any good. For, as I said before, the judgments of God are immutable; that is, as you die, so shall you rise. If thou die in the state of salvation, thou shalt rise so again, and receive thy body and remain in salvation. Again, if thou die in damnation, thou shalt rise in the same estate and receive thy body, and return again to the same estate, and be punished world without end, with unspeakable pains and torments. For our natural fire, in comparison to hell fire, is like a fire painted on a wall: for that shall be so extreme, that no man is able to express the terrible horror and grief thereof.

O! what a pitiful thing is it, that man will not consider this, and leave sin and the pleasure of this world, and live godly, but is so blind and so mad, that he will rather have a momentary and a very short and small pleasure, than to hearken to the will and pleasure of Almighty God, that might avoid everlasting pain and woe, and give unto him everlasting felicity. For that a great many of us are damned, the fault is not in God, for“ God would have all men to be saved :" but the fault is in ourselves, and in our own madness, that had rather have damnation, than salvation.

Therefore, good people, consider these terrible pains in your minds, which are prepared for the wicked and ungodly: avoid all wickedness and sin: set wcfore your eyes the wonderful joy and felicity

5

« PreviousContinue »