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it. Presumption and arrogancy are the mother of all error; and humility needeth to sear no error. For humility will only search to know the truth; it will search, and will bring together one place with another, and where it cannot sind out the meaning, it will pray, it will ask of others that know, and will not presumptuously and rashly desine any thing which it knoweth not. Therefore the humble man may search any truth boldly in the Scripture, without any danger of error. And if he be ignorant, he ought the more to read and to search holy Scripture, to bring him out of ignorance. I fay not nay, but a man may prosit with only hearing; but he may much more prosit with both hearing and reading. This have I faid as touching the sear to read, through ignoSciipturcinranee of the person. And concerning the hardneis of is easy' and Scripture ; he that is so weak that he is not able to brook in some strong meat, yet he may suck the sweet and tender milk, ptaces hard and deser the rest until he wax stronger, and come to ierftood" niore knowledge. For God receivedi the learned and unlearned, and casieth away none, but is indifserent unto all. And the Scripture is full, as well of low valleys, plain ways, and easy for every man to use and to walk m j as also of high hills and mountains, which sew men can Godleareihclimb unto. And whosoever giveth his mind to holy n0 Scriptures with diligent study aud burning desire, it can
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haih good not be, laith St. Chrylostom, that he should be left withwiii io out help. For either God Almighty will send him some word h S goc"}' doctor to teach him, as he did to instruct the Eunuch, a nobleman of Ethiopia, and treasurer unto Queen Candace, who having assection to read the Scripture, (although he underslood it not) yet, for the desire that he had unto God's word, God sent his Apostle Philip to declare unto him the true sense of the Scripture that he read; or else, if we lack a learned man to instruct and teach us, yet God himself from above will give light unto our minds, and teach us thote things which are necefffary How ihe for us. and wherein we be ignorant. And in another knowiedge place St. Chrysosiom faith, that man's human and worldly iu'e nfaybe w^aom or se'ence is not needful to the understanding of auained Scripture, but the revelation of the Holy Ghost, who inunio. spireth the true meaning unto them, that with humility Mau. vii. and diligence do search therefore. He that ajketb pall A f^ood ruiei'ar'i', and he that je eketh shall find, and he that knocketb de ftandln ft><dl have the door opened. If we read once, twite, or of Sctip- "thrice, and understand not, let us not cease so, but still iurc. continue reading, praying, asking of others, and so by till knocking, at the last, the door shall be opened; a9 St. Augustin faith, Although many things in the Scriptnre be spoken in obscure mysteries, yet there is nothing spoken under dark- mysteries in one place, but the selffame thing in other places is spoken more familiarly and plainly, to the capacity both of learned and unlearned. And those things in the Scripture that be plain to under- No man is stand, and neceffary for falvation, every man's duty is t0fr*^pi[^j learn them, to print them in memory, and effectually to knevwie^gc exercise them. And as for the dark mysteries, to be con- of God's tented to be ignorant in them, until such time as it sliallwordplease God to open those tiiings unto him. In the mean season, if he lack either aptness or opportunity, God will not impute it to his folly: but yet it bchoveth not, that fuch as be apt mould set aside reading, because some other be unapt to read; nevertheless, for the hardness of fuch places, the reading of the whole ought not to be set apart. And briesly to conclude, as St. Augustin faith, whai perby the Scripture all men be amended, weak men be i°n* *oui<1 strengthened, and strong men be comforted. So that Ja^ee io °" furely none be enemies to the reading of God's word, coniinue. but such as either be so ignorant, that they know not how wholesome a thing it is ; or else be so sick, that they hate the most comfortable medicine that mould heal them; or so ungodly, that they would wish the people still to continue in blindness and ignorance of God.
Thus we have briesly touched some part of the com- The holy modities of God's holy word, which is one of God's chief Scripiure and principal benesits, given and declared to mankind ^ °TM here on earth. Let us thank God heartily for this his benefiis. great and special gift, benesicial favour, and fatherly providence ; let us be glad to receive this precious gift of our heavenly Father; let us hear, read, and know these holy The righi rules, injunctions, and statutes of our Christian religion, read na;, and upon that we have made proseffion to God at °ur fr^ifajjdstu_ baptism; let us with sear and reverence lay up, in the dying in chest of our hearts, these necefffary and fruitful leffons; hoiy Scriplet us night and day muse, and have meditation and con- i templation in them; let us ruminate, and, as it were," chew the cud, that we may have the sweet juice, spiritual effect, marrow, honey, kernel, taste, comfort, and consolation of them; let us slay, quiet, and certify our consciences, with the most infallible certainty, truth, and perpetual affurance of them; let us pray to God, (the only Author of these heavenly studies) that we may speak, think, believe, live, and depart hence, according to the
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wholesome doctrine and verities of them. And, by tha.C means, in this world we shall have God's desence, favour, and grace, with the unspeakable solace of peace, and qui — etnels of conscience; and after this miserable lise we shall enjoy the endless bliss and glory of heaven: which he grant us all, that died for us all, Jesus Christ, to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour ancl glory, both now and everlastingly.
Misery of Mankind, and of his Condemnation to Death everlajling, by his own Sin.
THE Holy Ghost, in writing the holy Scripture, is in nothing more diligent than to pull down man's vain glory and pride, which of all vices is most univerfally grafted in all mankind, even from the sirst insection of our sirst father Adam. And therefore we read in many places of Scripture many notable leslons against this old rooted vice, to teach us the most commendable virtue of humility, how to know ourselves, and to remember what we be of ourselves. In the book of Genesis, Almighty Gen. ii!. God giveth us all a title and name in our great grandfather Adam, which ought to warn us all to consider what we be, whereof we be, from whence we came, and whither we shall, faying thus, In the sweat of tby face shalt tbnu cat thy bread, till thou he turned again into the ground: for out of it wajl thou taken; in as much as thou art dujl, into dust shalt thou he turned again. Here (as it were in a glass) we may learn to know ourselves to be but ground, earth, and ashes, and that to earth and ashes we shall return.
Also, the. holy patriarch Abraham did well remember v this name and title, dust, earth, and ashes, appointed and assigned by God to all mankind: and therefore he calleth himself by that name, when he maketh his earnest prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah. And we read that Judith, Esther, Job, Jeremy, with other holy men and women in Jud. iv. 9. the Old Testament, did use fackcloth, and to cast dust and & ashes upon their heads, when they bewailed their sinful r'1
living. They called and cried to God for help and mercy, with such a ceremony of fackcloth, dust, and ashes, that thereby they might declare to the whole world, what an humble and lowly estimation they had of themselves, and how well they remembered their name and title aforefaid, their vile, corrupt, frail nature, dust,
Wisd|vii. earth, and ashes. The Book of Wisdom also, willing to pull down our proud stomachs, moveth us diligently to remember our mortal and earthly generation, which we have all of him that was sirst made: and that all men, as well kings as subjects, come into this world, and go out of the fame, in like fort: that is, as of ourselves, full miserable, as we may daily see. And Almighty God commanded his prophet Isaiah to make a proclamation, and
Isaiah xl. cry to the whole world: and Isaiah asking, What shall I cry? the Lord answered, Cry, that all nejb is gras, and that all the glory thereof is but as the jlower of the field: ivhen the grafs is withered, the stower falletb away, when the wind of the Lord blowetb upon it. The people surely is grafs, the which drieth up, and the stower fadetb away.
Job xiv. And the holy man Job, having in himself great experience of the miserable and sinful estate of man, doth open the fame to the world in these words: Man, faith he, that is horn of a woman, living but a jhort time, is full of manifold miseries: he fpringetb up like a flower, and fadetb again; ianijbctb away as it were a shadow, and never continuetb in one jlate. And do/I thou judge it meet, O Lord, to open thine eyes upon such a one, and to bring him to judgment with thee? IVbo can make him clean, that is conceived of an unclean feed? and all men of their evilness, and natural proneness, be so univerfally given to sin, that, as the Scripture faith, Cod repented that ever . he made man. And by sin his indignation was so much provoked against the world, that he drowned all the
Gen. vii. world with Noah's slood (except Noah himself, and his little housliold). It is not without great cause, that the Scripture of God doth so many times call all men here in tins world by this word, earth: 0 thou earth, earth,
lei. xxii.'! earth, faith Jeremiah, hear the word of the Lord. This our right name, calling, and title, earth, earth, earth, pronounced by the Prophet, sheweth what we be indeed, by whatsoever other style, title, or dignity, men do call us. Thus he plainly named us, who knovveth best, both what we be, and what we ought of right to be called. And thus he setteth us forth, speaking by his faithful Apoltle St. Paul: AU men, Jews and Gentiles, are under