תמונות בעמוד

us, correcting us for our sin, but not withdrawing his mercy finally from us, if we trust in him, and commit ourselves wholly unto him, hang only upon him, and call upon him, ready to obey and serve him. This is the true, lively, and unfeigned Christian faith, and is not in the mouth and outward profession only, but it liveth, and stirreth inwardly in the heart. And this faith is not without hope and trust in God, nor without the love of God and of our neighbours, nor without the fear of God, nor without the desire to hear God's word, and to follow the same in eschewing evil and doing gladly all good works. This faith, as St. Paul describeth Heb. xi. I. it, is the sure ground and foundation of the benefits which we ought to look for and trust to receive of God, a certificate and sure looking for them, although they yet sensibly appear not unto us. And after he saith, He that cometh to God must Ibid. 6. believe both that he is, and that he is a merciful rewarder of well doers. And nothing commendeth good men unto God so much as this assured faith and trust in him.

Of this faith three things are specially to be Three things noted: first, that this faith doth not lie dead in noted of faith. the heart, but is lively and fruitful in bringing forth good works; second, that without it can no good works be done, that shall be acceptable and pleasant to God; third, what manner of good works they be that this faith doth bring forth.

For the first. As the light cannot be hid, but Faith is full of will shew forth itself at one place or other; so a true faith cannot be kept secret, but, when occasion is offered, it will break out and shew itself by good works. And, as the living body of a man ever exerciseth such things as belongeth to a natural and living body for nourishment and preservation of the same, as it hath need, opportunity, and occasion; even so the soul that hath a lively faith in it will be doing alway some good work, which shall declare that it is living, and will not be unoccupied.

are be

good works.

Therefore, when men hear in the Scriptures so high commendations of faith, that it maketh us to please God, to live with God, and to be the children of God; if then they phantasy that they be set at liberty from doing all good works, and may live as they list, they trifle with God, and deceive themselves. And it is a manifest token that they be far from having the true and lively faith, and also far from knowledge what true faith meaneth. For the very sure and lively Christian faith is not only to believe all things of God which are contained in holy Scripture, but also is an earnest trust and confidence in God, that he doth regard us, and that he is careful over us, as the father is over the child whom he doth love, and that he will be merciful unto us for his only Son's sake; and that we have our Saviour Christ our perpetual Advocate and Priest; in whose only merits, oblation, and suffering we do trust that our offences be continually washed and purged, whensoever we, repenting truly, do return to him with our whole heart, steadfastly determining with ourselves, through his grace, to obey and serve him in keeping his commandments, and never to turn back again to sin. Such is the true faith that the Scripture doth so much commend : the which, when it seeth and considereth what God hath done for us, is also moved, through continual assistance of the Spirit of God, to serve and please him, to keep his favour, to fear his displeasure, to continue his obedient children, shewing thankfulness again by observing (or keeping) his commandments; and that freely, for true love chiefly, and not for dread of punishment or love of temporal reward, considering how clearly without our deservings we have received his mercy and pardon freely.

This true faith will shew forth itself, and cannot long be idle. For, as it is written, The just man doth lire by his faith, he neither sleepeth nor is

idle, when he should wake and be well occupied. Jer. xvii. 7, 8. And God by his Prophet Jeremy saith, that he is

Hab. ii. 4.

a happy and blessed man which hath faith and confidence in God : for he is like a tree set by the water side, that spreadeth his roots abroad toward the moisture, and feareth not heat when it cometh ; his leaf will be green, and will not cease to bring forth his fruit. Even so faithful men, putting away all fear of adversity, will shew forth the fruit of their good works, as occasion is offered to do them.


THE SECOND PART OF THE SERMON OF FAITH. YE have heard in the first part of this Sermon that there be two kinds of faith, a dead and an unfruitful faith, and a faith lively that worketh by Gal. v. 6. charity; the first to be unprofitable, the second necessary for the obtaining of our salvation; the which faith hath charity always joined unto it, and is fruitful, bringing forth all good works. Now as concerning the same matter you shall hear what followeth.

The Wise Man saith, He that beliereth in God Ecclus. xxxii. will hearken unto his commandments. For, if we do not shew ourselves faithful in our conversation, the faith which we pretend to have is but a feigned faith ; because the true Christian faith is manifestly shewed by good living, and not by words only, as St. Augustine saith, “Good living cannot Lib. de Fide

et Operibus, be separated from true faith, which worketh by cap. 2. love." And St. Chrysostom saith, “ Faith of itself serm. de Lege is full of good works : as soon as a man doth believe, he shall be garnished with them."

How plentiful this faith is of good works, and how it maketh the work of one man more acceptable to God than of another, St. Paul teacheth at Heb. xi. large in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, saying that faith made the oblation of Abel better Gen. iv. 4, 5. than the oblation of Cain. This made Noe to Gen. vi. 22 : build the ark. This made Abraham to forsake his country and all his friends, and to go unto a far 31; xii. 1-5. .

et Fide.

Ecclus. xliv. 17.

Gen. xi.

18: Ecclus.

xliv, 20.

country, there to dwell among strangers. So did also Isaac and Jacob, depending (or hanging) only of the help and trust that they had in God. And, when they came to the country which God promised them, they would build no cities, towns, nor houses; but lived like strangers in tents, that might every day be removed. Their trust was so much in God that they set but little by any worldly thing ; for that God had prepared for

them better dwellingplaces in heaven of his own Gen. xxii. 1- foundation and building. This faith made Abra

ham ready at God's commandment to offer his own son and heir Isaac, whom he loved so well, and by whom he was promised to have innumerable issue, among the which one should be born in whom all nations should be blessed; trusting so much in God, that though he were slain, yet that God was able by his omnipotent power to raise him from death, and perform his promise. He mistrusted not the promise of God, although unto his reason every thing seemed contrary. He believed verily that God would not forsake him in dearth and famine, that was in the country. And, in all other dangers that he was brought unto, he trusted ever that God would be his God and his protector and defender, whatsoever he saw to the

contrary. This faith wrought so in the heart of Exod. ii. 11: Moses, that he refused to be taken for king Pharao Hleb. xi. 24- his daughter's son, and to have great inheritance

in Egypt; thinking it better with the people of God to have affliction and sorrow, than with naughty men in sin to live pleasantly for a time. By faith he cared not for the threatening of king Pharao: for his trust was so in God, that he passed not of the felicity of this world, but looked for the reward to come in heaven; setting his heart upon

the invisible God, as if he had seen him ever present Exod. xiv.22: before his eyes. By faith the children of Israel Josh. vi. 30: passed through the Red Sea. By faith the walls of

39 Heb. xi. 30. Hierico fell down without stroke; and many other

wonderful miracles have been wrought. In all


Heb, xi. 33

good men that heretofore have been, faith hath brought forth their good works, and obtained the promises of God.

Faith hath stopped the lions' Dan. vi. 16-23: mouths : faith hath quenched the force of fire: faith Dan.li. 13-28: hath escaped the sword's edges : faith hath given Hel). xi. 34. weak men strength, victory in battle; overthrown the armies of infidels ; raised the dead to life. Faith bath made good men to take adversity in good part: some have been mocked and whipped, bound and cast in prison ; some have lost all their goods, and lived in great poverty ; some hare wandered in mountains, hills, and wilderness; some have been racked, some slain, some stoned, some suwn, some rent in pieces, some headed, some brent without mercy, and would not be delivered, because they looked to rise again to a better state.

All these fathers, martyrs, and other holy men, whom St. Paul spake of, had their faith surely fixed in God, when all the world was against them. They did not only know God to be the Lord, Maker, and Governor of all men in the world ; but also they had a special confidence and trust that he was and would be their God, their comforter, aider, helper, maintainer, and defender. This is the Christian faith; which these holy men had, and we also ought to have. And, although they were not named Christian men, yet was it a Christian faith that they had; for they looked for all benefits of God the Father through the merits of his Son Jesu Christ, as we now do. This difference is between them and us; for they looked when Christ should come, and we be in the time when he is come. Therefore saith St. Augustine, In Joan. “The time is altered and changed, but not the Tract. xlv, faith. For we have both one faith in one Christ." The same Holy Ghost also that we have, had a Cor. iv.13. they, saith St. Paul. For, as the Holy Ghost doth teach us to trust in God, and to call upon him as our Father, so did he teach them to say, as it is written, Thou, Lord, art our Father and Isai. Ixii. 16. Redeemer, and thy Name is without beginning and

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »