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desperation, or k into wretchlessness of unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore 'we must receive God's promises
whole Scripture, the power of God to salvation to them only who do believe it. Christ himself, the Prophets before him, the Apostles after him, all the true ministers of God's holy word, yea every word in God's book, is unto the reprobate the savour of death unto death. Christ Jesus, the Prophets, the Apostles, and all the true ministers of his word, yea every jot and tittle in the holy Scripture, hath been, is, and shall be for evermore, the savour of life unto eternal life, unto all those whose hearts God hath purified by true faith. Hom. xxii. 2.
St. Augustin saith, Although many things in the Scripture be spoken in obscure mysteries, yet there is nothing spoken under dark mysteries in one place, but the self-same thing in other places is spoken more familiarly and plainly, to the capacity both of learned and unlearned. And those things in the
k The earth, which drinketh in and the sow that was washed to the rain that cometh oft upon it, her wallowing in the mire. 1 Pet. and bringeth forth herbs meet for ii. 20—22. Ye have been called them by whom it is dressed, re- unto liberty, only use not liberty ceiveth blessing from God; but for an occasion to the flesh. Gal. that which beareth thorns and bri- v. 13. Looking diligently lest any ars is rejected, and is nigh unto man fail of the grace of God; lest cursing; whose end is to be burned. any root of bitterness springing up Heb. vi. 7, 8. There are certain trouble you, and thereby many he men crept in unawares, who were defiled. Heb. xii. 15. before of old ordained to this con. The secret things belong unto demnation, ungodly men, turning the Lord our God, but those things the grace of our God into lascivious- which are revealed belong unto ness, and denying the only Lord us, and to our children for ever, God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. that we may do all the words of Jude 4. A stone of stumbling, and this law. Deut. xxix. 29. The a rock of offence, even to them grace of God which bringeth salwhich stumble at the word, being vation hath appeared to all men. disobedient: whereunto also they Tit. ii. 11. Go ye into all the were appointed. 1 Pet. ii. 8. If world, and preach the Gospel to after they have escaped the pol. every creature. Mark xvi. 15. lutions of the world through the Look unto me, and be ye saved, all knowledge of the Lord and Sa- the ends of the earth. Is. xlv. 22. viour Jesus Christ, they are again Come unto me, all ye that labour entangled therein, and overcome, and are heavy laden, and I will the latter end is worse with them give you rest. Matt. xi. 28. Let than the beginning. For it had him that is athirst come: and whobeen better for them not to have soever will, let him take the water known the way of righteousness, of life freely. Rev. xxii. 17' Let than after they have known it, to the wicked forsake his way, and turn from the holy commandment the uprighteous man his thoughts, delivered unto them. But it is and let him return unto the Lord, happened unto them according to and he will have mercy upon him, the true proverb, The dog has and to our God, for he will abunturned to his own vomit again; dantly pardon. Is. lv. 7. I gave
clos los concerning clayung
in such wise as they be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture. "And in our doings, that
Scripture that be plain to understand, and necessary for salvation, every man's duty is to learn them, to print them in memory, and effectually to exercise them. And as for the dark mysteries, to be contented to be ignorant in them, until such time as it shall please God to open those things unto him. Hom. i. 2.
That we may attain the wisdom of God, hidden in his word, we must with fervent prayer crave of God that with his Spirit he lighten our minds, being darkened with extreme darkness. Nowell, p. 6.
Let us beware therefore, good Christian people, lest that we, rejecting or casting away God's word, (by the which we obtain and retain true faith in God,) be not at length cast off so far, that we become as the children of unbelief, which be of two sorts, far diverse, yea almost clean contrary, and yet both be very far from returning to God: the one sort only weighing their sinful and detestable living with the right judgment and strait
her space to repent of her fornica. Prov. iii. 32. The secret of the tions, and she repented not. Rev. ii. Lord is with them that fear him; 4. For the time is come that judg- and he will shew them his covement must begin at the house of nant. Ps. xxv. 14. What man is God: and if it first begin at us, he that feareth the Lord ? him what shall the end be of them that shall he teach in the way that he obey not the Gospel of God. 1 Pet. shall choose. Ps. xxv. 12. The iv. 17. Now to him that is of mercy of the Lord is from everlastpower to stablish you according to ing to everlasting upon them that my Gospel, and the preaching of fear him, and his righteousness Jesus Christ, according to the re- unto children's children; to such velation of the mystery, which was as keep his covenant, and to those kept secret since the world began, that remember his commandments but now is made manifest, and by to do them. Ps. ciii. 17, 18. And the Scriptures of the prophets, ac- unto man he said, Behold, the fear cording to the commandment of the of the Lord that is wisdom; and to everlasting God, made known to all depart from evil is understanding. nations for the obedience of faith; Job xxviii. 28. Then shall we to God only wise be glory, through know, if we follow on to know the Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen. Rom. Lord. Hos. vi. 3. He that followeth xvi. 25, 26.
me, shall not walk in darkness. m Not every one that saith unto John viii. 12. Unto you that fear me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the my name shall the Sun of righkingdom of heaven, but he that teousness arise with healing in bis doeth the will of my Father. Matt. wings. Mal. iv. 2. Let us there. vi. 21. He hath shewed thee, O fore as many as be perfect be thus man, what is good ; and what doth minded : but if in any thing ye be the Lord require of thee, but to do otherwise minded, God shall reveal justly, and to love mercy, and to even this unto you. Nevertheless, walk humbly with thy God? Mic. whereto we have already attained, vi. 8. If any man will do his will, let us walk by the same rule, let us he shall know of the doctrine mind the same thing. Phil. iii. 15, whether it be of God. John vii. 17. 16. Be ye doers of the word, and His secret is with the righteous. not hearers only, deceiving your
will of God is to be followed, which we have
ness of God's righteousness, be so without counsel, and be so comfortless, (as they all must needs be, from whom the spirit of counsel and comfort is gone, that they will not be persuaded in their hearts, but that either God cannot, or else that he will not, take them again to his favour and mercy. The other, hearing the loving and large promises of God's mercy, and so not conceiving a right faith thereof, make those promises larger than ever God did, trusting, that although they continue in their sinful and detestable living never so long, yet that God, at the end of their life, will shew his mercy upon them, and that then they will return. And both these two sorts of men be in a damnable state, and yet nevertheless, God (who willeth not the death of the wicked) hath shewed means, whereby both the same (if they take heed in season) may escape. The first, as they do dread God's rightful justice in punishing sinners, (whereby they should be dismayed, and should despair indeed, as touching any hope that may be in themselves,) so if they would constantly or stedfastly believe that God's mercy is the remedy appointed against such despair and distrust, not only for them, but generally for all that be sorry and truly repentant, and will therewithal stick to God's mercy, they may be sure they shall obtain mercy, and enter into the port or haven of safeguard, into the which whosoever doth come, be they beforetime never so wicked, they shall be out of danger of everlasting damnation, as God by Ezekiel saith,“ What time soever a sinner doth return, and take earnest and true repentance, I will forget all his wickedness.”' Ezeki xxxiii. 19. Hom. viii. 2.
m For whereas God hath shewed to all them that truly believe his Gospel, his face of mercy in Jesus Christ, which doth so lighten their hearts, that they (if they behold it as they ought to do) be transformed to his image, be made partakers of the heavenly light, and of his holy Spirit, and be fashioned to him in all goodness requisite to the children of God; so, if they after do neglect the same, if they be unthankful unto him, if they order not their lives according to his example and doctrine, and to the setting forth of his glory, be will take away from them his kingdom, his holy word, whereby he should reign in them, because
own selves. James i. 22. He that 28. If ye continue in my word, is of God heareth God's words. then are ye my disciples indeed; John viii. 47. These were more and ye shall know the truth, and noble than those in Thessalonica, in the truth shall make you free. John that they received the word with viii. 31, 32. Depart from evil, and all readiness of mind, and searched do good; and dwell for evermore, the Scriptures daily, whether these Ps. Xxxvii. 27. Blessed are they things were so. Therefore many that do his commandments, that of them believed. Acts xvii. 11, 12. they may have right to the tree of Blessed are they that hear the life, and may enter in through the word of God and keep it. Luke xi. gates into the city. Rev. xxii. 14.
expressly declared unto us in the word God.
they bring not forth the fruit thereof that he looketh for. Hom. viii. 1.
God at length doth so forsake his unfruitful vineyard, that he will not only suffer it to bring forth weeds, briars, and thorns, but also further punish the unfruitfulness of it. He saith he will not cut it, he will not delve it, and he will command the clouds that they shall not rain upon it: whereby is signified the teaching of his holy word, which St. Paul, after a like manner, expressed by planting and watering; meaning that he will take that away from them, so that they shall be no longer of his kingdom, they shall be no longer governed by his holy Spirit, they shall be put from the grace and benefits that they had, and ever might have enjoyed through Christ; they shall be deprived of the heavenly light and life, which they had in Christ, whilst they abode in him ; they shall be (as they were once) as men without God in this world, or rather in worse taking. And, to be short, they shall be given into the power of the devil, which beareth the rule in all them that be cast away from God, as he did in Saul and Judas, and generally in all such as work after their own wills, the children of mistrust and unbelief. 1 Sam. xy. 23. Hom. viii. 2.
man as a member of a Christian Community
XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by
the Name of Christ.
a Because all men be sinners and offenders against God, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, and deeds (seem they never so good) be justified, and made righteous before God: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at God's own hands, that is to say, the forgiveness of his sins and trespasses, in such things as he hath offended. And this justification, or righteousness, which we so receive of God's mercy and Christ's merits, embraced by faith, is taken, accepted, and allowed of God, for our perfect and full justification. Hom. iii. 1.
This doctrine (that we be justified freely, without all merit of our own good works) whosoever denieth, is not to be accounted for a Christian man, nor for a setter-forth of Christ's glory; but for an adversary to Christ and his Gospel, and for a setter-forth of men's vain glory. Hom. iii. 2. See also Art. XIII.
The inclination of man to have his own holy devotions, devised new sects and religions, called Pharisees, Sadducees, and
. There be some that would per- ljeve not every spirit; but try the vert the gospel of Christ. But spirits, whether they be of God : though we or an angel from heaven, because many false prophets are preach any other gospel unto you gone out into the world. Hereby than that which we have preached know ye the Spirit of God: Every unto you, let him be accursed. As spirit that confesseth that Jesus we said before, so say I now again; Christ is come in the flesh, is of If any man preach any other gospel God: and every spirit that con. unto you than that ye have re- fesseth not that Jesus Christ is ceived, let him be accursed. Gal. come in the flesh, is not of God: i. 7, 8, 9. Cursed be he that and this is that spirit of antichrist, maketh the blind to wander out of whereof ye have heard that it the way. And all the people shall should come, and even now already say, Amen. Cursed be he that is it in the world. 1 John iv. 1-3. confirmeth not all the words of this Many deceivers are entered into law to do them. And all the people the world, who confess not that shall say, Amen. Deut. xxvii. 18, Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. 26. A man that is an heretic This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (sectary) after the first and second Whosoever transgresseth, and abidadmonition reject; knowing that eth not in the doctrine of Christ, he that is such is subverted, and hath not God. He that abideth in sinneth, being condemned of him the doctrine of Christ, he hath both self. Tit. iii. 10, 11. Having the the Father and the Son. If there form of godliness, but denying the come any unto you, and bring not power thereof: from such turn this doctrine, receive him not into away. 2 Tim, iii. 5. Beloved, be your house, neither bid him God