Imágenes de páginas

mayest continue in thy presumption. Thou art not sure that thou shalt go no further then God requires, in that sadness, it may flow out to desperation. Be beforehand with thy sins, watch the approaches of those enemies; for if thou build upon that way of coming after them upon presumption of mercy, upon repentance, thou mayest be snared, and therefore take heed. And this is the sense of the phrase, as the original will afford it, with idolaters in the state, with underminers in thy house, with sins in thy soul, be still beforehand, watch their dangerous accesses. But St. Hierome, and the great stream of expositors that go with him, give another sense of the word, Ne imiteris, Be not snared by following them. And in that sense we are to take the word


Follow them not then, that is, imitate them not, neither in their severity and cruelty, nor in their levity and facility, neither not in their severity, when they will apply all the capital and bloody penalties of the imperial laws (made against Arians, Manicheans, Pelagians, and Nestorians, heretics in the fundamental points of religion, and with which Christ could not consist) to every man that denies any collateral and subdivided tradition of theirs; that if a man conceive any doubt of the dream of purgatory, of the validity of indulgence, of the latitude of a work of supererogation, he is as deep in the faggot here, and shall be as deep in hell hereafter, as if he denied the Trinity, or the incarnation and passion of Christ Jesus; when in a day's warning, and by the roaring of one bull, it grows to be damnation to day, to believe so as a man might have believed yesterday, and have been saved, when they will afford no salvation, but in that church which is discernible by certain and inseparable marks, which our countryman Saunders makes to be six, and Michael Medina extends to eleven, and Bellarmine declares to be fifteen, and Bodius stretches to a hundred, when they make everything heresy; and rather than lack a text for putting heretics to death, will accept that false reading, hæreticum hominem derita, which being spoken of avoiding, they will needs interpret of killing (for Erasmus cites a witness, who heard an ancient and grave divine cite that place so, and to that purpose) follow them not, do not

26 Titus ii. 10.

imitate them ; be content to judge more charitably of them. For those amongst them who are under an invincible ignorance (because their superiors keep the Scriptures from them) God may be pleased to save by that revelation of his Son Christ Jesus, which he hath afforded them in that church : howsoever, they who have had light offered to them, and wilfully resist it, must necessarily perish. Follow them not, imitate them not in that severity, necessarily to damn all who think not in all things as they do: nor follow them not in that facility, to make their divinity, and the tenets of their church, to wait upon temporal affairs, and emergent occasions. The Anabaptist will delude the magistrate in an examination, or in any practice, because he thinks no man ought to be a magistrate over him in things that have any relation to spiritual cognizance, and treason in alienating the subject from his allegiance must be of spiritual cognizance. Where others are too strong for them, they may dignify their religion (so their Jesuit Ribadineyra says) and where they are too strong for others, they must profess it, though with arms (so their Jesuit Bellarmine argues it.) In this planetary, in this transitory, in this occasional religion, follow them not: we say in logic, Substantia non suscipit magis et minus, Substantial and fundamental points of religion (and obedience to superiors is amongst those) do not ebb and flow; they bind all men, and at all times, and in all cases, Induite Dominum Jesu, says the apostle, Put ye on the Lord Jesus”), and keep him on, put him not off again. Christ is not only the stuff, but the garment ready made ; he will not be translated and turned, and put into new fashions, nor laid up in a wardrobe, but put on all day, all the days of our life; though it rain, and rain blood; how foul soever any persecution make the day, we must keep on that garment, the true profession of Christ Jesus ; follow not these men in their severity, to exclude men from salvation in things that are not fundamental, nor in their facility to disguise and prevaricate in things that are.

The second danger, and our last branch of this part is, Inquire not after their gods, &c. Ignorance excuses no man. What is curiosity ? Qui scire vult ut sciate, He that desires knowledge 27 Rom. xiii. 14.

28 Augustine.

only that he may know, or be known by others to know; he who makes not the end of his knowledge the glory of God, he offends in curiosity, says that father; but that is only in the end. But in the way to knowledge there is curiosity too; in seeking such things as man hath no faculty to compass, unrevealed mysteries ; in seeking things, which if they may be compassed, yet it is done by indirect means, by invocation of spirits, by sorcery; in seeking things which may be found, and by good means, but appertain not to our profession; all these ways men offend in curiosity. It is so in us, in churchmen, si iambos sercemus, et metrorum siloam congerimus , if we be over-vehemently affected or transported with poetry, or other secular learning. And therefore St. Hierome is reported himself to have been whipped by an angel, who found him over-studious in some of Cicero's books. This is curiosity in us, and it is so in you, if when you have sufficient means of salvation preached to you in that religion wherein you were baptized, you inquire too much, too much trouble

yourself with the religion of those, from whose superstitions you are already by God's goodness rescued ; remember that he who desired to fill himself with the husks, was the prodigal. It was prodigality, and a dangerous expense of your constancy, to open yourself to temptation, by an unnecessary inquiring into impertinent controversies. We in our profession may embrace secular learning, so far as it may conduce to the better discharge of our duties, in making the easier entrance, and deeper impression of divine things in you: you may inform yourselves occasionally, when any scruple takes hold of you, of any point of their religion. But let your study be rather to live according to that religion which you have, than to inquire into that from which God hath delivered you ; for that is the looking back of Lot's wife, and the distemper and distaste of the children of Israel, who remembered too much the Egyptian diet. If you will inquire whether any of the fathers of the primitive church did at any time pray for any of the dead, you shall be told (and truly) that Augustine did, that Ambrose did ; but you shall not so presently be told how they deprehended themselves in an infirmity, and collected and corrected themselves ever when they were so praying. If you in

29 Hierome.



quire whether any of them speak of purgatory, you shall easily find they do; but not so easily, in what sense ; when they call the calamities of this life, or when they call the general conflagration of the world, purgatory. If you inquire after indulgences, you may find the name frequent amongst them; but not so easily find when and how the relaxations of penances publicly enjoined, were called indulgences: nor how, nor when, indulgences came to be applied to souls departed. If thou inquire without a melius inquirendum, without a thorough inquisition (which is not easy for any man who makes it not his whole study and profession) thou mayest come to think holy men have prayed for the dead, why may not I? Holy men speak of purgatory and indulgences, why should I abhor the names or the things? And so thou mayest fall into the first snare, it hath been done, therefore it may be done; and into another after, it may be done, therefore it must be done : when thou art come to think that some men are saved that have done it, thou wilt think that no man can be saved except he do it: from making infirmities excusable necessary (which is the bondage the council of Trent hath laid upon the world) to make problematical things, dogmatical; and matter of disputation, matter of faith ; to bring the university into Smithfield, and heaps of arguments into piles of fagots. If thou inquire further than thy capacity enables thee, further than thy calling provokes thee; how do those nations serve their gods? thou mayest come to say, as the text says, in the end, Even 80 will I do also.

To end all, embrace fundamental, dogmatical, evident divinity; that is expressed in credendis, in the things which we are to believe in the creed. And it begins with Credo in Deum, Belief in God, and not in man, nor traditions of men. And it is expressed in petendis, in the things which we are to pray for in the Lord's Prayer; and that begins with Sanctificetur nomen tuum, Hallowed be thy name, not the name of any. And it is expressed in agendis, in the things which we are to do in the commandments; whereof the first table begins with that, Thou shalt have no other gods but me. God is a monarch alone, not a consul with a colleague. And the second table begins with honour to parents, that is, to magistrates, to lawful authority. Be therefore always

far from disobeying lawful authority, resist it not, calumniate it not, suspect it not; for there is a libelling in the ear, and a libelling in the heart, though it come not to the tongue or hands, to words, nor actions. If it be possible, saith the apostle, as much as in you lies, have peace with all men, with all kind of men. Obedience is the first commandment of the second table, and that never destroys the first table, of which the first commandment is, Keep thyself, that is, those that belong to thee and thy house, entire and upright in the worship of the true God, not only not to admit idols for gods, but not to admit idolatry in the worship of the true God.




It being the Anniversary of the King's coming to the Crown, and his Majesty

being then gone into Scotland.

PROVERBS xxii. 11.

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be

his friend.

That man that said it was possible to carve the faces of all good kings that ever were, in a cherry-stone, had a seditious, and a traitorous meaning in his words. And he that thought it a good description, a good character of good subjects, that they were populus natus ad servitutem, a people disposed to bear any slavish yoke, had a tyrannical meaning in his words. But in this text, as in one of those tables, in which, by changing the station, and the line, you use to see two pictures, you have a good picture of a good king, and of a good subject; for in one line, you see such a subject, as loces pureness of heart, and hath grace in his lips. In the other line, you see the king gracious, yea friendly to such a subject, He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend. The sum of the words is, that God

H 2

« AnteriorContinuar »