« PreviousContinue »
and the innumerable treasure, which God hath laid up for you, that fear and love him, and live after his will and commandments. For no tongue can express, no eye hath seen, no heart can comprehend, nor conceive the great felicity, that God hath prepared for his elect and chosen, as St. Paul witnesseth. Consider therefore, I say, these most excellent treasures, and endeavour yourselves to obtain the fruition of the same. Continue not, neither abide nor wallow too long in your sin, like as a swine lieth in mire. Make no delay to repent your sins, and to amend your life; for you are not sure to have repentance in the end.
It is a common saying, that late repentance is seldom true. Therefore, consider this thing with yourself betimes, and study to amend your life : for what availeth it to have all the pleasures of the world for a while, and after that, to have everlasting pain and infelicity? Therefore, let every one go into his own conscience, when he findeth himself unready: for all such, as through the goodness of God have received faith, and then wrestle with sin, consent not unto it, but are sorry for it, when they fall, and do not abide and dwell in the same, but rise up again forthwith, and call for forgiveness thereof, through the merits of our Saviour Jesu Christ; all such as are called just : that is to say, that all die with a repentant heart, and are sorry that they have sinned, and are minded, if God give them longer time to live, that they will amend all faults, and lead a new life, then are they just, but not through their own merits, nor good works.
For, if God should enter into judgment with us, none are able to stand before his face; neither any of his saints may be found just : neither St. John Baptist, St. Peter, nor St. Paul, no, nor the mother of our Saviour herself, is not just, if she should be judged after the rigour of the law. For all are, and must be justified by the justification of our Saviour Christ, and so we must be justified, and not through our own well doings; but our justice standeth in this, that our unrighteousness is forgiven us, through the righteousness of Christ. For if we believe in him, then are we made righteous. For he fulfilled the law, and afterwards granted the same to be ours, if we believe that his fulfilling is our fulfilling; for St. Paul saith, “ he hath not spared his own Son, but hath given him for us, and how then may it be, but we should have all things with him?" Therefore, it must needs follow, that when he gave us his only Son, he gave us also his righteousness, and his fulfilling of the law. So it appeareth, that we are justified by the free gift of God, and not of ourselves, por by our merits : but the righteousness of Christ is accounted to be our righteousness, and through the same we obtain everlasting life, and not through our own doings; for, as I said before, if God should enter into judgment with us, we should be damned. Therefore, take heed and be not proud, and be humble and low, and trust not too much in yourselves, but put your only trust in Christ our Saviour.
And yet you may not utterly set aside the doing of good works. But specially look, that you have always oil in a readiness for your lamps, or else you may not come to the wedding, but shall be shut out, and thrust into everlasting darkness. This oil is faith in Christ, which if you lack, then all things are unsavoury before the face of God. But a great many people are much deceived, for they think themselves to have faith, when indeed they have it not.. Some, peradventure, will say, “ How shall I know, whether I have faith, or not?” Truly, thou shalt find this in thee, if thou have no mind to leave sin,
then sin grieveth thee not ; but thou art content to go forward in the same, and thou delightest in it, and hatest it not, neither feelest thou what sin is. When thou art in such a case, then thou hast no faith, and therefore art like to perish everlastingly. For that man, that is sore sick, and yet feeleth not his sickness, he is in great danger, for he hath lost all his senses : so that man, that hath gone so far in sin, that he feeleth his sin no more, is like to be damned, for he is without faith.
Again, that man is in good case, that can be content to fight and strive with sin, and to withstand the devil and his temptations, and calleth for the help of God, and believeth that God will help him and make him strong to fight. That man shall not be overcome by the devil. And whosoever feeleth this in his heart, and so wrestleth with sin, may be sure that he hath faith, and is in the favour of God. But if thou wilt have a trial of thy faith, then do thus; examine thyself toward thine enemy; he doth thee harm, he slandereth thee, or taketh away thy living from thee, how shalt thou now use thyself towards such a
If thou canst find in thy heart to pray for him, to love him with all thy heart, and to forgive him with a good will, all that he hath sinned against thee; if thou canst find this readliness in thy heart, then thou art one of those, which have faith, if thon ivouldest him to be saved as well as thyself. And if thou canst do this, thou mayst argue, that thy sin is forgiven thee, and that thou art none of those, that shall be cast out, but shall be received and placed among the number of the godly, and shall enjoy with them everlasting life.
For St. Paul saith, that those, that are just, that is, those that are justified by faith, and exercise faith in their living and conversation : they shall shine like
unto the sun in the kingdom of God: that is to say, they shall be in exceeding great honour and glory. For, like as the sun exceedeth in brightness all other creatures of God, and is beautiful in the eyes of every man, so shall all the faithful be beautiful and endued with honour and glory; although in this world they be but outcasts, and accounted as the offscourings of the world: but in the other world, when the angels shall gather together the wicked, and cast them into the fire; then shall the elect shine as the sun in the kingdom of God.
of God. For no man can express the honour and glory that they shall have, which will be content to suffer all things for God's sake, and to reform themselves after his will, or are content to be told of their faults, and glad to amend the same, and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God.
1. ENTIRE TRACTS.
1. Life of Bishop Latimer
Passages from various other Se mons