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evening and morning brought him sussicient victuals. When Daniel was shut up in the lions' den, God prepared meat for him, and sent it thither to him. And there was the laying of David fulsilled, The lions do lack mid suffer bunger ; but they which seek the Lord (ball want 1i0 good thing. For while the lions, which should have been sed with his slesh, roared for hunger and desire of their prey, whereof they had no power, although it were present before them, he in the mean time was fresh sed from God, that should with his slesh have silled the lions. So mightily doth God work to preserve and maintain those whom he loreth; so careful Is he also to seed them who in any state or vocation do unseignedly serve him. And shall we now think that he will be unmindful of us, if we be obedient to his word, and according to his will have pity on the poor? He giveth us all wealth before we do any service for it: and will he see us lack neceffaries when we do him true service? Can a man think that he that seedeth Christ, can be forfaken of Christ, and lest without food? or will Christ deny earthly things unto them, whom he promiseth heavenly things for his true service? It cannot be therefore, dear brethren, that by giving of alms we should at any time want ourselves; or that we, which relieve other men's need, should ourselves be oppreffed with penury. It is contrary to God's word, it repugneth with his promise, it is against Christ's property and nature to fufser it, it is the crafty furmise of the Devil to persuade us it. Wherefore stick not to give alms freely, and trust notwithstanding, that God's goodjiess will minister unto us sussiciency and plenty, so long as we shall live in this transitory lise, and after our days here well spent ju his service, and the love of our brethren, we shall be crowned with everlasting glory, to reign with Christ our Saviour in heaven: to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory for ever. Avieit.
The Nativity and Birth of our Saviour Je/iis Christ.
A MONG all the creatures that God made in the j\ beginning of the world most excellent and wonderful in their kind, there was none, as the Scripture heareth witness, to he compared almost in any point unto Man, who as well in body as soul exceeded all other, no less than the Sun in brightness and light cxceedeth every small and little star in the sirmament. He was made according to the image and similitude of God, he was endued with all kind of heavenly gifts, he had no spot of uncleanness in hjm, he was sound and persect in all parts, both outwardly and inwardly, his reason was uncorrupt, his understanding was pure and good, his will Vas obedient aud godly, he was made altogether like unto God in righteousness, and holiness, in wildom, in truth j to be short, in all kind of persection.
When he was thus created and made, Almighty God, in token of his great love towards him, chose out a special place of the earth for him, namely, Paradise, where he lived in all tranquillity and pleasure, having great abundance of worldly goods, and lacking nothing that he might justly require, or desire to have. For, as it is faid, trod Psatm ij» made him lord and ruler over all the works of bis bands, that he jhould have under bis feet allsheep and oxen, all heajls of the field) all fowls of the air^ all fishes of the sea, and use them always at bis own pleasure, according as he jhould have need. Was not this a mirror of persection? Was not th^s 3 full, persect, and bleffed estate? Gould any thing else be
well added hereunto, or greater selicity desired in this world? But as the common nature of all men is, in time of prosperity and wealth, to forget not only themselves, but allo God; even so did this sirst man Adam, who having but one commandment at God's hand, namely, that he should not eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and ill, did notwithstanding, most unmindfully, or rather most wilfully break it, in forgetting the straight charge of his Maker, and giving ear to the crafty suggestion of that wicked serpent the Devil. Whereby it came to pass, that as before he was bleffed, so now he was accursed; as before he was loved, so now he was abhorred; as before he was most beautiful and precious, so now he was most vile and wretched in the sight of his Lord and Maker: instead of the image of God, he was now become the image of the Devil; instead of the citizen of heaven, he was become the bond-slave of hell, having in himself no one part of his former purity and cleanness, but being altogether spotted and desiled; insomuch that now he seemed to be nothing else but a lump of sin, and therefore by the just judgment of God was condemned to everlasting death. This so great and miserable a plague, if it had only rested on Adam, who sirst offended, it bad" been so much the easier, and might the better have been borne. But it sell not only on him, but also on his posterity and children for ever, so that the whole brood of Adam's slesh should sustain the self-fame fall and punishment, which their foresather by his offence most justly had deserved. St. Paul in the sifth chapter to the Romans faith, By the offence of only Adam, the fault canu upon all men to condemnation, and by one man's disobedient many were made finners. By which words we are taught, that as in Adam all men univerfally sinned, so in Adam all men univerfally received the reward of sin; that is to fay, became mortal, and subject unto death, having in themselves nothing but everlasting damnation both of body and soul. They hecame, as David faith, corrupt and ahominable, they went all out of the way, there ttias nont that did good, no not one. O what a miserable and woeful state was this, that the sin of one man should destroy and condemn all men, that nothing in all the world might bi looked for, but only pangs ot death, and pains or hell! Had it been any marvel if mankind had been utterly driven to desperation, being thus fallen from lise to death, from falvation to destruction, from heaven to hell? But behold the great goodness and tender mercy of God in his behalf: albeit man's wickedness and sinful behaviour was such, that it deserved not in any part to be forgiven; vet to the intent he might not be clean destitute of all hope and comfort in time to come, he ordained a newcovenant, and made a sure promise thereof, namely, that he would send a Messias or Mediator into the world, which should make interceffion, and put himself as a stay between both parties, to pacify the wrath and indignation conceived against sin, and to deliver man out of the miserable curse and cursed misery, whereinto he was fallen headlong by disobeying the will and commandment of the only Lord and Maker. This covenant and promise was sirst made unto Adam himself immediately after his fall, as we read in the third of Genesis, where God faid to the serpent on this wise; I will put enmity hetween thie and the woman, hetween tby seed and her seed. He Jball break thine heady and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Afterward the self-fame covenant was also more amply and plainly renewed unto Abraham, where God promised him, that in his feed all nations and families of the earth Jkuld he blessed. Again, it was continued and consirmed Gen. rxvi, unto Ifaac in the fame form of words as it was before unto his father. And to the intent that mankind might not despair, but always live in hope, Almighty God never, ceased to publish, repeat, consirm, and continue the same, by divers and fundry testimonies of his Prophets; who, for the better persuasion of the thing, prophesied the time, the place, the manner, and circumstance of his birth, the affliction of his Use, the kind of his death, the
§lory of his resurrection, the receiving of his kingdom, ie deliverance of his people, with all other circumstances belonging thereunto. Uaiah prophesied that he should he torn of a virgin, and called Emanucl. Micah prophesied that he should he horn in Bethlebem, a place of Jewry. Ezekiel prophesied that heshould come of the flock and lineage of David. Daniel prophesied that atl nations and languages Jbould serve him. Zechariah prophesied that he should come in poverty, riding upon an ass. Malachi prophesied that bejhouldfend Elias hefore him, which was John the Baptjl. Jeremiah prophesied that he should he sold for thirty pieces tfstiver, @c. And all this was done, that the promise and covenant of God, made unto Abraham and his posterity concerning the redemption of the world, might be credited and fully believed. Now, as the Apostle Paul . faith, when the futness of time was come, that is, the perfection and course of years, appointed from the beginrrhii^f z 2 mng,
ning, then God, according to bis former covenant and promise, sent a McJJias, otherwije called a Mediator, unto the world', not fucb a one as "Mofes was, mt such a one as Josbua, Saul, or David was, but jucb a one as should deliver mankind from the bitter curse of the Law, and make perfect' satisfaction by bis death for the fins of all people; namely, he sent his dear and only Son Jifus Chrjl, horn (as the Apostle faith) of a woman, and made under the Law, that be might redeem them that were in hondage of the Law, and make them the children of God by adoption. Was not this a wonderful great love towards vis that were his proseffed and open enemies, towards us that were by nature the children of wrath, and sire-brands of hell-sire? In this, tnth St. John, appeared the great love of God, that he stut his only bigotlen Son into the world to save us, when we were his extreme enemies. Herein is love, not that we Iwei him, but that he loved us, and sent bis Son to he a reconciliation for our jifis. St. Paul alto faith., Chrijl, when we were yet of no jtrengtb, died for us heing- ungodly. Doubtless a man will scarce die jor a righteous man. Veradventim some one dutjl die for him of whom they have received good. But God fettesh out bis love towards us, in that he Jer.t Cbrijl to die for us, when we were yet void of all goodness. This and such other comparisons doth the Apostle use, to amplify and set forth the tender mercy and great goodnels of God, declared towards mankind, in sending down a Saviour from heaven, even Christ the Lord. Which one benesit among all other is so great and wonderful, that neither tongue can well express it, neither heart tliink it, much less give sussicient thanks to God for it. But here is a great controversy between us and the Jews, whether the lame Jesus, which was born of the Virgin Mary, be the true Messias, and true Saviour of the world, so long promised and prophesied of before. They, as they are, and have been always, proud and stiff-necked, would never acknowledge him until this day, but have looked and waited for another to. come. They have this fond imagination in their heads, that the Messias shall come, not as Christ did, like a poor pilgrim and meek foul riding upon an ass; but like a valiant and mighty king, in great royalty and honour. Not as Christ did, with a sew sishermen, and men of small estimation in the world; but with a great army of strong men, with a great train of wife and noble men, as Ttnights, lords, earls, dukes, princes, and so forth. Neither do they think that their Messias shall slanderously fuffer death, a»