« הקודםהמשך »
and seet, with our eyes and ears, our mouths and tongues, and with all our parts and powers both of body and soul, we should be given to the keeping and fulsilling of his commandments. This is the sirst and principal part of charity; but it is not the whole: for chanty is also to love The tore of every man, good and evil, friend and foe; and whatsoever^rneigh" cause be given to the contrary, yet nevertheless to bear °ur' good will and heart unto every man, to uie ourselves well onto them, as well in words and countenances, as in all our outward acts and deeds; for so Christ himself taught, and so also he performed indeed. Of the love of God he taught on this wise unto a doctor of the law, that asked him, which was the great and chief commandment in the Law: Love tby Lord God, faid Christ, with all thy heart. Mau. uii. •u/itb all tby soul, and with all tby mind. And of the love that we ought to have among ourselves each to other, he teacheth us thus: You have heard it taught in times pasl, Thou /bait love tby friend, and hale tby foe: but I tell you, Mau. v. . lave your enemies, speak ivell of them that desame and speak evil of you, do well to them that bate you, fray for them that vex and persecute you, that you may he the children of your Father that is in heaven: for he maketh bis fun to rise hoth .upon the evil and good, and jendeth rain to the jujf and unjujl. For if you love them thai love you, what reward shall jau have r Do not the publicans likewise? And if you speak well only of them that he your brethren and dearly heloved friends, what great matter is that? Do not the heathen the fame also? These be the very words of our Saviour Christ: himself, touching the love of our neighbour. And forasmuch as the Pharisees (with their most pestilent traditions, and false interpretations and gloffes) had corrupted and almost clearly stopped up this pure well of God's lively word, teaching that this love and charity pertained only to a man's friends, and that it was sussicient for a man to love them which do love him, and hate his foes; therefore Christ opened this well again, purged it and scoured it by giving unto his godly law of charity a true and clear interpretation, which is this; That we ought to love every man, both friend and foe, adding thereto what commodity we (hall have thereby, and what incommodity by doing the contrary. What thing can we wish so good for us, as the eternal heavenly Father to reckon and take us for his children? And this we shall be sure of, faith Christ, if we love every man without exception. And if we do otherwise, seith he, we be no better than the Pharisees, Publicans, and Heathen, and shall have our reward with them,
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that is, to be shut out from the number of God's chosen children, and from his everlasting inheritance in heaven.
Thus of true charity, Christ taught that every man is bound to love God above all things, and to love every man, friend and foe; and this likewise he did use himself, exhorting his adverfaries, rebuking the faults of his adverfaries; and when he could not amend them, yet he prayed for them. First, he loved God his Father above all things; so much, that he sought not his own glory and John vi. will, but the glory and will of his Father. Iseek not, faid he, mine own ivill, but the -will of him that sent me. Nor reMau. xxvi. fused he to die, to fatisfy his Father's will, faying, If it may he, let this cup of death pass from me; if not, tby will be done, and not mine. He loved not only his friends, but also his enemies, which (in their hearts) bore exceeding great hatred against him, and with their tongues spake all evil of him, and in their acts and deeds pursued him with all their might and power, even unto death: yet all this notwithstanding, he withdrew not his favour from them, but still loved them, preached unto them of love, rebuked their false doctrine, their wicked living, and did good unto them, patiently taking whatsoever they spake or did against him. When they gave him evil words, he gave none evil again; when they did strike him, he did not smite them again; and when he sufsered death, he did not slay them, nor threaten them, but prayed for them, and did put all things to his Father's will. And as a sheep that ia led unto the shambles to be slain, and as a lamb that is shorn of his sleece, maketh no noile nor resistance; even so he went to his death without any repugnance, or opening of his mouth to fay any evil. Thus nave I let forth unto you what charity is, as well by the doctrine as by the example of Christ himself, whereby also every man may without error know himself, what state and condition he standeth in, whether he be in charity (and so the child of the Father in heaven) or not. For although almost every man persuadeth himself to be in charity, yet let him examine none other man but his own heart, his lise and conversation, and he shall not be deceived, but truly discern and judge whether he be in persect charity or not. For he that followeth not his own appetite and will, but giveth himself earnestly to God, to do all his will and commandments, he may be sure that he loveth God above all things; and else, surely he loveth him not, whatsoever he pretend: as Christ faid* If ye love me, keep my commandments. For he that biowetb my commandments, and keepetb
tbm, he it is, faith Christ, that loveth me* And again he &ith, He that loves b me, will keep my words, and my Father John xiv, tiiil love him, and we will bath come to him, arid dwell with bvs: and he that ioveth me not, will not keep my words. And likewise, he that beareth a good heart and mind, and useth well his tongue and deeds unto every man, friend and foe, he may know thereby that he hath charity. And then he is sure that Almighty God taketh him for his dearly beloved Son, as St. John faith, Hereby manifefly are known J John iil. the children of God from the children of the Devil; for whofoever doth not love bis brother, helongetb not unto God.
The Second Part of the Sermon of Chatity.
YOU have heard a plain and fruitful setting forth of charity, and how prositable and neceffary a thing charity is; how charity stretcheth itself both to God and man, friend and foe, and that by the doctrine and example of Christ; and also who may certify himself whether he be in persect charity or not. Now, as concerning the lame matter, it followeth. The perverse nature of man, Against corrupt with sin, and destitute or God's word and grace,camat TMm, thinketh it against all reason, that a man should love his^'^f^ enemy, and hath many persuasions which bring him to iheir enethe contrary. Against all which reasons, we ought as"""well to set the teaching as the living of our Saviour Christ, who loving us (when we were his enemies) doth teach us to love our enemies; he did patiently take for us many reproaches, suffered beating and most cruel death: therefore we be no members of him, if we will not follow him. Chrijl, faith St. Peter, suffered for us, leaving an example i Pet. ii. . that wejhouldfollow him.
Furthermore, we must consider, that to love our friends, is no more but that which thieves, adulterers, homicides, and all wicked persons do; insomuch that Jews, Turks, Insidels, and all brute beasts, do love them that be their friends, of whom they have their living, or any other benesits. But to love enemies, is the proper condition of them that be the children of God, the disciples and followers of Christ. Notwithstanding man's rroward and corrupt nature weigheth over deeply many times the ofsence and displeasure done unto him by enemies, and thinketh it a burden intolerable, to be bound to love them that hate him. But the burden should be easy enough,
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if (on the other side) every man would consider, what dlA pleasure he hath done to his enemy again, and what plea-. sure he hath received of his enemy; and if we sind no equal or even recompence, neither in receiving pleasures of our enemy, nor in requiting displeasures unto him again; then let us ponder the displeasures which we have done unto Almighty God, how often and how grievously we have offended him, whereof if we will have of God forgiveness, there is none other remedy but to forgive the offences done unto us, which be very (mall in comparison of our offences done against God. And if we consider that he which hath offended us deserveth not to be forgiven of us, let us consider again, that we much less deserve to be forgiven os God. And although our enemy deserve not to be forgiven for his own fake, yet we ought to forgive him for God's love, considering how great and many benesits we have received of him without our deserts, and that Christ hath deserved of us, that for his fake we should forgive them their trespaffes committed against us. But
A. question. here may rise a neceffary question to be diffolved. If charity require to think, speak, and do well unto every man, both good and evil; now can magistrates execute justice * upon malefactors or evil-doers with charity? How can .they cast evil men in prison, take away their goods, and sometimes their lives, according to laws, if charity will ',, not suffer them so to do? Hereunto is a plain and a brief
Answe/. answer, That plagues and punishments be not evil of themselves, if they be well taken of the harmless: and to an evil man they are both good and neceffary, and may be executed according to. charity, and with charity should be executed. For declaratiori whereof, you ffiall understand
Chariiy j-nat charity hath two ossices; the one contrary to the
offices!*9 other, and yet both neceffary to be used upon men of contrary sort and disposition. The one ossice of charity is, to cherish good and harmless men, not to oppress them with false accufations, but to encourage them with rewards to do well, and to continue in well doing, desending them with the sword from their adverfaries; as the ossice of bishops and pastors is, to praise good men for well doing, that they may continue therein, and to rebuke and correct by the word of God the offences and crimes of all evildisposed persons. The other ossice of charity is, to rebuke, correct, and punish vice, without regard of persons, and is to be used against them only that be evil men, and malesactors or evil-doers. And that it is as well the ossice of charity to rebuke, punish, and correct them that be evil,
% it is to chcrifli and reward them that be good and harmless, St. Paul declareth, writing to the Romans, faying, That the high -powers are ordained of God, not to he dreadful Rom. > *j them that do well, but unto malcfaclors, to draw the sword to tcke vengeance of him that committetb the jin. And St. Paul biddeth Timothy jloutly and eamejlly to rebuke fin by /AfiTim. vmrd of God. So that both ossices (liould be diligently executed, to sight against the kingdom of the devil, the preacher with the word, and the governors with the sword: else they neither love God, nor them whom they govern, if, for lack of correction, they wilfully suffer God to be offended, and them whom they govern to peri sh. For as every loving father correcteth his natural son when he doth amiss, or else he loveth him not; so all governors of realms, countries, towns, and houses, should lovingly correct them which be offenders under their governance, and cherish them which live innocently, if they have any respect either unto God and their ossice, or love unto them of whom they have governance. And such rebukes and punishments of them that offend must be done in due time, lest by delay the offenders fall headlong into all manner of mischief, and not only be evil themselves, but also do hurt unto many men, drawing others, by their evilexample, to sin and outrage after them: as one thief may both rob many men, and also make many thieves; and one seditious person may allure many, and annoy a whole town or country. And such evil persons that be so great offenders to God and the commonweal, charity requireth to be cut from the body of the commonweal, lest they corrupt other good and honest persons; like as a good furgeon cutteth away a roiten and sestered member, for love he hath to the whole body, lest it insect other members adjoining unto it. Thus it is declared unto you what true charity or Christian love is, so plainly, that no man need to be deceived; which love whosoever keepeth, not only towards God (whom he is bound to love above all things) but also toward his neighbour, as well friend as foe, it shall surely keep him from all offence of God, and just offence of man. Therefore bear well away this one snort leffon, That by true Christian charity, God ought to be loved, good and evil, friend and foe, and to all such we ought, as we may, to do good; those that be good, of love to encourage and cherish, because they be good; and those that he evil, of love to procure and seek their correction and due punishment, that they may thereby either be brought to goodness, or at the least that God and the common
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