Page images
PDF
EPUB

cupied. 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 fantasy 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 (r) hath cure of us, as the father of 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

(x) that he is careful over us, as the father is over the child, &c.

[ocr errors][merged small]

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.

1

"2

This true Faith will shew forth itself, and cannot long be idle for as it is written, (y) The just man doth live by his Faith. He neither sleepeth, nor is idle, when he should wake, and be well occupied. And God by his Prophet Jeremy saith, that (x) he is 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 Wise Man saith, (a) He that believeth in God 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

(y) Habak. ii.

[ocr errors]

(z) Jer. xvii.

[ocr errors]

(a) Ecclus. xxxii.

feigned

feigned Faith because the true Christian Faith is manifestly shewed by good living, and not by words only, as (b) St. Augustine saith, Good living cannot be separated from true faith, which worketh by love. And (c) St. Chrysostom saith, Faith of itself 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 large in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, saying, that (d) Faith made the oblation of Abel better than the oblation of Cain. This made Noah to (e) build the ark. This made Abraham to (f) forsake his country and all his friends, and to go unto a far country, there to dwell among strangers. So did also Isaac and Jacob, (g) depending 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 dwelling

111

t

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

places in heaven, of his own foundation and building. (h) This Faith made Abraham 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 Moses, that, (i) he refused to be taken for King Pharaoh 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 Pharaoh: 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

(h) Gen. xxii. Ecclus. xliv.

(i) Exod. ii.

upon

upon the invisible God, as if he had seen him ever present before his eyes. (k) By Faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea. (1) By Faith the walls of Jericho fell down without stroke, and many other wonderful miracles have been wrought. In all good men, that heretofore have been, Faith hath brought forth (m) their Good Works, and obtained the promises of God. (n) Faith hath stopped the lions' mouths: (0) Faith hath quenched the force of fire: (p) Faith hath escaped the sword's edge: Faith hath given weak men strength, victory in battle, overthrown the armies of infidels, raised the dead to life: Faith hath 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 have wandered in mountains, hills, and wilderness; some have been racked, some slain, some stoned, some sawn, some rent in pieces, some (q) 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.

(k) Exod. xiv. (n) Dan. vi. (9) Modern edit. old English words.

(1) Josh. vi.
(0) Dan. iii.
beheaded and burnt.

(m) Some edit. her. (p) Heb. xi.

Cranmer's are true

They

« PreviousContinue »