The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

Part 2 out of 3

which shall be given for you," which was given to death, and to rising
again to bliss, for all that shall be saved by him. But like as they
accused him falsely of the temple of Jerusalem, so now a days they
accuse falsely against Christ, and say that Christ spake of the bread
that He brake among His apostles; for in that Christ said this, they are
deceived, take it fleshly, and turn it to the material bread, as the
Jews did to the temple; and on this false understanding they make
abomination of discomfort, as is said by Daniel the prophet, and in
Matthew xxiv., to be standing in the holy place; he that readeth let him

Now, therefore, pray we heartily to God, that this evil may be made
short for the chosen men, as He hath promised in His blest Gospel; and
the large and broad way that leadeth to perdition may be stopt, and the
straight and narrow way that leadeth to bliss may be made open by Holy
Scriptures, that we may know which is the will of God, to serve Him in
truth and holiness in the dread of God, that we may find by Him a way of
bliss everlasting. So be it.




Girolamo Savonarola was born at Ferrara in 1452, and was admitted in
1475 into the novitiate of the Dominican Order, where he soon made
himself conspicuous for eloquence, and in Florence attracted many
hearers by his diatribes against corruption. Florence, having lost its
independence as a republic, was completely under the sway of the Medici,
who became arrayed against Savonarola, who aimed at establishing an
ideal Christian commonwealth. When he attacked the Pope Alexander VI.
his doom was practically sealed. In 1495 he was forbidden to appear in
the pulpit, and four years later was excommunicated. He rebelled against
papal authority, but the people of Florence grew tired of the strict
rule of conduct imposed by his teaching, and he was imprisoned and tried
for heresy and sedition. On May 23, 1498, he was hanged and his body
burned. His puritanism, his bold rebuking of vice, his defiance of every
authority excepting that of his own conscience, seem to anticipate the
efforts made by Calvin to regenerate Geneva. Both men failed in their
splendid attempts at social reformation, but both left an example of
heroic altho somewhat short-sighted unselfishness, which has borne fruit
in history.



[Footnote 1: Reprinted by permission of Messrs. G.P. Putnam's Sons from
"The World's Orations," the translation having been copyrighted by
Messrs. Putnams.]

_While he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into
heaven_.--Luke xxiv., 51.

Beloved in Christ Jesus, the wise men of this world divide all created
things into two classes; one class they name substances, the other
accidents. The substances are those things that exist through themselves
without requiring anything else on which to rest, as the earth, water,
air, the heavens, animals, stones, plants, and similar things. The
accidents can not exist by themselves, but only by resting on something
else, as color, odor, taste, and other such things. But because our
knowledge is entirely through the senses, and we are able to know
anything only when its accidents fall upon our senses, we have,
therefore, knowledge of the accidents rather than of the substances. The
eyes are for colors, the ears for sounds, the nose for scents, the
tongue for flavors, the touch for heat and cold, for hard and soft. Each
sense has its own sphere of knowledge and brings what it has perceived
before the imagination, and this hands it over to the reason within,
which reads and illuminates the productions of the imagination, judges
them, and in this way comes to a knowledge of the substances. But the
reason has little light if it is separated from the body, for God has
joined soul and body together; and so by means of the senses knowledge
becomes definite and complete. For if the soul out of the body were
richer in knowledge, it would be in vain that it should be in the body.
God and nature have done nothing in vain, and therefore the soul's union
with the body ministers to its perfection.

The soul's knowledge, however, will not be complete so long as it lives
in this mortal body. It does not while here come to the fundamental
distinctions and causes of the substances, because it is obliged to know
the inner side of things through their externals. Therefore man is able
only imperfectly to know an incorporeal substance; how much less can he
know the uncreated infinite being of God? But if he can not know the
being of God, he will not be able to know many other infinite things
which are in Him. We ought therefore not to be surprized that there is
much in God which we can not understand, and that very many truths of
the faith we can not yet prove since we do not yet know everything. The
great God in His rich mercy saw our poor knowledge and came into our
flesh and assumed it that He might work for us, die, and rise again
from the dead; until after a life full of love He raised Himself above
the world of sense into His eternity. But so long as our Redeemer lived
with His apostles they loved too much that which they saw of Him,
because they were bound down to their senses, and were therefore unable
to rise to the knowledge of His Spirit. It was necessary that He should
disappear in the heavens that He might lift their souls far above the
world of sense up to Himself. Their natural powers could not do this;
therefore He gave to His elect a light from above. Ascending on high He
led captivity captive, for ascending into the heavens He took with Him
the prey which the devil had made of the soul of men ever since the fall
of our parents. The Lord has given gifts unto men (Eph. iv. 8), inasmuch
as He has imparted to them the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. Now they
leave everything of this world, and rise above by following Christ, who
gives to them for a light the light of faith. Let us speak this morning
of this faith which leads to the Savior.

"Awake thou that sleepest and Christ shall give thee light." Be not held
captive by flesh and sense, which hold thee fast in sleep; rise to
Christ, He will give thee light. See, His flesh is above. What do ye say
to that, ye wise men of this world? Everything that has weight tends
downward, but His flesh is of thy heart. Thou hast refused the service
of the Lord, who has ascended to prepare for thee the highest glory.

I call upon all men and women, all whose lives are ruined in sorrows and
troubles. What do ye fear? He who believes that Christ is above no
longer fears anything. Come then all ye into His service. Jesus reproved
the unbelief and the hard-heartedness of His disciples, because they did
not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Without faith it
is impossible to please God. No doubt the apostles said: How can we
believe these women? But these women were of pure heart before God, and
therefore the Savior reproved His disciples. Ye deserve still sharper
reprimands. To the disciples a few women announced the news that He had
risen. Ye hear all this, and in addition all the glorious revelations in
which the Lord after this manifested Himself on earth. Why do ye not
come to serve Christ? Ye do not truly believe, because ye are so full of
sin, and despise God's commandments. Ye do not deserve the gift of
faith. He who has faith should show it in his deeds, that he may have
what he says he has, and may know what he has; namely, the certainty of
the divine word, which can not err, the goodness of God, and His
guidance into all goodness. On account of thy sins, thou hast not the
true light which would have enabled thee to see all goodness. Thou art
sunk in vice, drunken with greed and luxury, and all the works of this
world. Thou seekest only power and glory. And wherefore? If thou hadst
faith, thou wouldst not seek such things, for thou wouldst know that
faith would give thee a much higher crown. From these sins have come thy
unbelief and thy hardness of heart. Therefore the words of faith do not
touch thy heart: it is a heart of stone and iron. Throw off thy load of
sin and give thy will to righteousness; then will thy hard-heartedness
end, and God will bestow on thee the gift of faith. What wilt thou? Why
standest thou so uncertain and irresolute? Why dost thou not hasten to
Him, and see how He leaves thy life, how He goes into the heavens, to
which He bids thee come up. Leave at length thy sensual life and enter
the pathway of Christ. Hesitate no longer, begin to-day, put it not off
until to-morrow. If thou hast faith, thou canst not delay longer, and if
thy heart is right before God, He will give thee the light of faith
which will enable thee to distinguish the false from the true faith, and
so when on the right road not to fall into error. Then wilt thou know
for thyself that the Gospel makes good men out of those who truly
believe, and thine experience will tell thee that thou hast no occasion
to doubt.

A story from the Old Testament might perhaps serve as a parable and make
clearer what I mean. When Balak heard of Israel's march, he was afraid
and sent to call Balaam to curse Israel for him. Balaam set out on his
way with his ass, accompanied by an angel of the Lord, because Balaam
was going to Balak with an evil intention. The beast sought in vain to
turn into the field, and finally fell down between two walls, and
suffered under blows and curses, until the prophet saw the angel and
perceived his sin. Balak is the devil who would ruin the people of God;
by Balaam we can understand the nobles, the prelates, the preachers, the
learned, who are held captive by their arrogance. The two servants are
those who follow the proud, serve them, and flatter them, especially the
lazy clergy and monks, who so far as outward show goes live a virtuous
life, but who live for ceremonies and take care not to speak the truth.
To these belong many citizens who live apparently virtuously and hide
their pride. Because they commit no sins of the flesh which can be
noticed, they are full of piety in their outward ceremonies, but within
full of arrogance. These are the members of the devil, for the devil
neither eats, drinks, nor sleeps, he is neither a miser nor a wanton,
but is within full of pride as are these. By the ass we are to
understand the simple people. They are led in the way of sin by the
ceremonies of the lazy, since they are not thought fit for the worship
of the heart, and must be led by masses, penance, and indulgences, and
they throw away what might be of profit for money and for candles. The
lazy give them council in their sermons: Give some vestment, build a
chapel, and thou wilt be freed from any danger of going to hell. Do not
believe these mountebanks; no outward act can bring you to Paradise, not
even miracles and prophecy, but only the grace of God, if you have
humility and love.... Before the ass stood an angel with a sword. This
is Christ, who speaks to the ass: Walk no longer in the path of sin, for
I have ready for you a great scourge. The ass alone saw the angel; for
the simple first hear the word of the Lord, but Balaam and such as are
with him will hear nothing of it. The ass left the path of captivity and
went out into the field, into the way of the Lord. "For the kingdom of
heaven is like treasure hid in a field; which when a man found he sold
all that he had and bought that field." So the simple go into the holy
field of the Scriptures and say: "Let me look around a little, for the
flowers of this field bear fruit." Yea, our fathers, the prophets,
apostles, and martyrs bore fruit, they who died with joy for the truth.
These are they who go into the field and speak the truth in the face of
death. Come into the city, where the nobles and the masters taken
captive by sin crowd together, cry the lazy troop of monks: O fathers,
it would be well if when you spoke of these things, you touched not
this string, by which you allow yourselves to fall into disgrace and
disfavor. They have said that already to me. Our persecution begins if
we begin to preach. But Jesus was willing to die for the truth of what
He said; should we forsake the truth in order not to displease men? No,
we will say it in every way, and with Balaam's ass go into the field.

Think not that I am such a fool as to undertake these things without
good reason. I call heaven and earth to witness against me if I do not
speak the truth. For against all the world is my sermon; every one
contradicts it. If I go about with lies, then I have Christ against me;
therefore I have heaven and earth against me, and how then could I
stand? As such a trifler with holy things how should I dare rise up?
Believe me, I speak the truth, I have seen it with my eyes, and touched
it with my hands. Believe it! If I speak not the truth, I consign myself
body and soul to destruction; but I tell you I am certain of the truth,
and I would that all were as I am. I say that of the truth on which I
stand, not as tho I wished that others had my failings as well. So come
then into the service of Jesus; come to the truth, come here, I bid you.
Do ye not know how I explained the revelation of St. John? There were
many who said that I spoke too much in detail, and went too deep into
it. There stood the angel before the ass, and wanted it to go out into
the field, but Balaam smote it; and ye know not how much opposition I
must yet undergo. The lazy monks were the first who called me a fool and
revolutionist, and on the other side stood the weak and the simple, who
said in their innocent faith: "Oh, if we could only do what He teaches!"
Then I had war with the citizens and the great judges of this time, whom
my manner of preaching did not please. I was between two walls; the
angel warned me, threatening eternal death from this road, and I
received Balaam's blows. Ye know my persecution and my danger; but I
knew that I was on the way to victory and said always: No human being
can drive my cause from the world. Balaam, thou leanest thy foot against
the walls, but do as thou wilt, I will crush thy foot; I leaned on the
wall, on Christ, I leaned on His grace, I hoped; leave off thine anger
and threatening, thou canst not get me away from the wall. I say to all
of you: Come to the truth, forsake your vice and your malice, that I may
not have to tell you of your grief. I say it to you, O Italy, I say it
to you, O Rome, I say it to all of you; return and do penance. There
stands before you the holy truth; she can not fall; she can not bend or
give way; wait not until the blows fall.

In everything am I opprest; even the spiritual power is against me with
Peter's mighty key. Narrow is my path and full of trouble; like Balaam's
ass, I must throw myself on the ground and cry: "See, here I am; I am
ready to die for the truth." But when Balaam beat his fallen beast, it
said to him: "What have I done to thee?" So I say to you: "Come here and
tell me: what have I done to you? Why do you beat me? I have spoken the
truth to you; I have warned you to choose a virtuous life; I have led
many souls to Christ." But you answer: "Thou hast spoken evil of us,
therefore, thou shouldst suffer the stripes thou deservest." But I named
no one, I only blamed your vices in general. If you have sinned, be
angry with yourselves, not with me. I name none of you, but if the sins
I have mentioned are without question yours, then they and not I make
you known. As the smitten beast asked Balaam, so I ask you: "Tell me, am
I not your ass? and do you not know that I have been obedient to you up
to this very moment, that I have even done what my superiors have
commanded, and have always behaved myself peaceably?" You know this, and
because I am now so entirely different, you may well believe that a
great cause drives me to it. Many knew me as I was at first; if I
remained so I could have had as much honor as I wanted. I lived six
years among you, and now I speak otherwise, nevertheless I announce to
you the truth that is well known. You see in what sorrows and what
opposition I must now live, and I can say with Jeremiah: "O, my mother,
that thou hast borne me a man of strife and contention to the whole
earth!" But where is a father or a mother that can say I have led their
son into sin; one that can say I have ruined her husband or his wife?
Everybody knows my manner of life, therefore it is right for you to
believe that I speak the truth which everybody knows. You think that it
is impossible for a man to do what the faith I have preached tells him
to do: with God it would be easy for you.

The ass alone saw the angel, the others did not; so open your eyes.
Thank God, many have them open. You have seen many learned men whom you
thought wise, and they have withstood our cause: now they believe; many
noted masters who were hard and proud against us: now humility casts
them down. You have also seen many women turn from their vanity to
simplicity; vicious youths who are now improved and conduct themselves
in a new way. Many, indeed, have received this doctrine with humility.
That doctrine has stood firm, no matter how attacked with the intention
of showing that it was a doctrine opposed to Christ. God does that to
manifest His wisdom, to show how it finally overcomes all other wisdom.
And He is willing that His servants be spoken against that they may show
their patience and humility, and for the sake of His love not be afraid
of martyrdom.

O ye men and women, I bid you to this truth; let those who are in
captivity contradict you as much as they will, God will come and oppose
their pride. Ye proud, however, if you do not turn about and become
better, then will the sword and the pestilence fall upon you; with
famine and war will Italy be turned upside down. I foretell you this
because I am sure of it: if I were not, I would not mention it. Open
your eyes as Balaam opened his eyes when the angel said to him: "Had it
not been for thine ass, I would have slain thee." So I say to you, ye
captives: Had it not been for the good and their preaching, it would
have been wo unto you. Balaam said: "If this way is not good, I will
return." You say likewise, you would turn back to God, if your way is
not good. And to the angel you say as Balaam said: "What wilt thou that
we should do?" The angel answers thee as he answered Balaam: "Thou shalt
not curse this people, but shalt say what I put in thy mouth." But in
thy mouth he puts the warning that thou shouldst do good, convince one
another of the divine truth, and bear evil manfully. For it is the life
of a Christian to do good and to bear wrong and to continue stedfast
unto death, and this is the Gospel, which we, according to the text of
the Gospel for today, shall preach in all the world.

What wilt thou have of us, brother? you ask. I desire that you serve
Christ with zeal and not with sloth and indifference. I desire that you
do not mourn, but in thankfulness raise your hands to heaven, whenever
your brother or your son enters the service of Christ. The time is come
when Christ will work not only in you but through you and in others;
whoever hears, let him say: "Come brother. Let one draw the other. Turn
about, thou who thinkest that thou art of a superior mind and therefore
canst not accept the faith." If I could only explain this whole Gospel
to thee word for word, I would then scourge thy forehead and prove to
thee that the faith could not be false and that Christ is thy God who is
enthroned in heaven, and waits for thee. Or dost thou believe? Where are
thy works? Why dost thou delay about them? Hear this: There was once a
monk who spoke to a distinguished man about the faith, and got him to
answer why he did not believe. He answered thus: "You yourself do not
believe, for if you believed you would show other works." Therefore, to
you also I say: If you believe, where are your works? Your faith is
something every one knows, for every one knows that Christ was put to
death by the Jews, and that everywhere men pray to Him. The whole world
knows that His glory has not been spread by force and weapons, but by
poor fishermen. O wise man, do you think the poor fishermen were not
clever enough for this? Where they worked, there they made hearts
better; where they could not work, there men remained bad; and therefore
was the faith true and from God. The signs which the Lord had promised
followed their teaching: in His name they drove out the devil; they
spoke in new tongues; if they drank any deadly drink, they received
therefrom no harm. Even if these wonders had not occurred, there would
have been the wonder of wonders, that poor fishermen without any miracle
could accomplish so great a work as the faith. It came from God, and so
is Christ true and Christ is thy God, who is in heaven and awaits thee.

You say you believe the Gospel, but you do not believe me. But the purer
anything is, so much the nearer it stands to its end and purpose. The
Christian life purifies the heart, and places it very near to the truth.
To the Christian life will I lead you, if you would have the knowledge
of the truth. If I had wished to deceive you, why should I have given
you as the chief of my gifts the means of discovering my fraud? I would
be verily a fool to try to impose upon you with a falsehood which you
would soon detect; only because I offered you the truth, did I call
you. Come here, I fear you not; the closer you examine, the clearer the
truth will become to you.

There are some, however, who are ashamed of the cross of Jesus Christ,
and say: If we should believe that, we should be despised everywhere,
especially by the wisest. But if you would know the truth, look only on
the lives of those who would have to cry wo on their unbelief if they
should be measured by deeds. If you are ashamed of the cross, the Lord
was not ashamed to bear that cross for you, and to die on that cross for
you. Be not ashamed of His service and of the defense of the truth. Look
at the servants of the devil, who are not ashamed in the open places, in
the palaces, and everywhere to speak evil and to revile us. Bear then a
little shame only for your Lord; for whoever follows Him will, according
to our gospel, in His name drive out the devil; that is, he will drive
out his sins, and lead a virtuous life; he will drive out serpents; he
will throw out the lazy who come into the houses, and say evil things
under the pretense of righteousness, and so are like poisonous serpents.
You will see how children can withstand them with the truth of God, and
drive them away. If a believer drinks anything deadly it will not hurt
him: this deadly drink is the false doctrines of the lazy, from whom, as
you contend with them, a little comes also to you. But he who stands
unharmed in the faith, cries to you: See that you do good; seek God's
glory, not your own. He that does that is of the truth, and remains
unharmed. The Lord says further of the faithful: They shall lay their
hands on the sick and shall heal them. The hands are the works, and the
good lay such hands on the weak that they may support them when they
totter. Do I not teach you according to the Gospel? Why do you hesitate
and go not into the service of the Lord? Do you ask me still what you
ought to do? I will, in conclusion, tell you.

Look to Christ and you will find that all He says concerns faith. Ask
the apostle; he speaks of nothing else than of faith. If you have the
ground of all, if you have faith, you will always do what is good.
Without faith man always falls into sin. You must seek faith in order to
be good, or else your faith will become false. Christ commanded His
disciples to preach the Gospel to all the world, and your wise men call
a man a little world, a microcosm. So then preach to yourself, O man,
woman, and child. Three parts the world has in you also. Preach first of
all to your knowledge, and say to it: If you draw near this truth, you
will have much faith; wherefore do you hesitate to use it? To your will,
say: Thou seest that everything passes away; therefore love not the
world, love Christ. Thereupon turn to the second part of your world,
and say to it: Be thankful, my memory, for the mercies God has shown
thee, that thou thinkest not of the things of this world but of the
mercy of thy creation, and thy redemption through the blood of the Son
of God. Then go to the third part, to thy imagination, and proclaim to
it: Set nothing before my eyes but my death, bring nothing before me but
the Crucified, embrace Him, fly to Him. Then go through all the cities
of thy world and preach to them. First say to thine eyes: Look not on
vanity. To thy ears say: Listen not to the words of the lazy, but only
to the words of Jesus. To thy tongue say: Speak no more evil. For thy
tongue is as a great rock that rolls from the summit of a mountain, and
at first falls slowly, then ever faster and more furiously. It begins
with gentle murmuring, then it utters small sins, and then greater,
until it finally breaks forth in open blasphemy. To thy palate say: It
is necessary that we do a little penance. In all thy senses be clean,
and turn to the Lord, for He it is who will give you correction and
purity. To thy hands say: Do good and give alms; and let thy feet go in
the good way. Our reformation has begun in the Spirit of God, if you
take it to heart that each one has to preach to himself. Then will we in
the name of Jesus drive out the devils of temptation. Yes, call upon
Jesus as often as temptation approaches: call upon Him a hundred times
and believe firmly, and the temptation will depart. Then will we speak
with new tongues; we will speak with God. We shall drive away serpents;
the enticement of the senses are these serpents. If we drink anything
deadly it will not hurt us; if anger and lust arise in us, at the name
of Jesus they will have to give way. We shall lay our hands upon the
sick and heal them; with good deeds shall we strengthen the weak soul.
If thou feelest thy weakness, flee to God, and He will strengthen;
therefore He is thy only refuge. He is thy Savior and thy Lord, who went
into the heavens to prepare a place for thee, and to wait thee there.
What do you intend to do? Go and follow Jesus, who is praised from
everlasting to everlasting. Amen.




Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, was born at Eisleben in 1483,
and died there 1546. His rugged character and powerful intellect,
combined with a strong physique, made him a natural orator, so that it
was said "his words were half battles."

Of his own method of preaching he once remarked:

"When I ascend the pulpit I see no heads, but imagine those that are
before me to be all blocks. When I preach I sink myself deeply down; I
regard neither doctors nor masters, of which there are in the church
above forty. But I have an eye to the multitude of young people,
children, and servants, of which there are more than two thousand. I
preach to them. When he preaches on any article a man must first
distinguish it, then define, describe, and show what it is; thirdly, he
must produce sentences from the Scripture to prove and to strengthen it;
fourthly, he must explain it by examples; fifthly, he must adorn it with
similitudes; and lastly, he must admonish and arouse the indolent,
correct the disobedient, and reprove the authors of false doctrine."



_Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing
from a servant, though he be Lord of all; but is under tutors and
governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we
were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when
the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a
woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that
we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath
sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an
heir of God through Christ_.--Gal. iv., 1-7.

This text touches the very pith of Paul's chief doctrine. The cause why
it is well understood but by few is, not that it is so obscure and
difficult, but because there is so little knowledge of faith left in the
world; without which it is not possible to understand Paul, who
everywhere treats of faith with such earnestness and force. I must,
therefore, speak in such a manner that this text will appear plain; and
that I may more conveniently illustrate it, I will speak a few words by
way of preface.

First, therefore, we must understand the doctrine in which good works
are set forth, far different from that which treats of justification; as
there is a great difference between the substance and its working;
between man and his work. Justification pertains to man, and not to
works; for man is either justified and saved, or judged and condemned,
and not works. Neither is it a controversy among the godly, that man is
not justified by works, but righteousness must come from some other
source than from his own works: for Moses, writing of Abel, says, "The
Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering." First, He had respect
to Abel himself, then to his offering; because Abel was first counted
righteous and acceptable to God, and then for his sake his offering was
accepted also, and not he because of his offering. Again, God had no
respect to Cain, and therefore neither to his offering: therefore thou
seest that regard is had first to the worker, then to the work.

From this it is plainly gathered that no work can be acceptable to God,
unless he which worketh it was first accepted by Him: and again, that no
work is disallowed of Him unless the author thereof be disallowed
before. I think these remarks will be sufficient concerning this matter
at present, by which it is easy to understand that there are two sorts
of works, those before justification and those after it; and that these
last are good works indeed, but the former only appear to be good.
Hereof cometh such disagreement between God and those counterfeit holy
ones; for this cause nature and reason rise and rage against the Holy
Ghost; this is that of which almost the whole Scripture treats. The Lord
in His Word defines all works that go before justification to be evil,
and of no importance, and requires that man before all things be
justified. Again, He pronounces all men which are unregenerate, and have
that nature which they received of their parents unchanged, to be
righteous and wicked, according to that saying "all men are liars," that
is, unable to perform their duty, and to do those things which they
ought to do; and "Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart are
only evil continually"; whereby he is able to do nothing that is good,
for the fountain of his actions, which is his heart, is corrupted. If he
do works which outwardly seem good, they are no better than the offering
of Cain.

Here again comes forth reason, our reverend mistress, seeming to be
marvelously wise, but who indeed is unwise and blind, gainsaying her
God, and reproving Him of lying; being furnished with her follies and
feeble honor, to wit, the light of nature, free will, the strength of
nature; also with the books of the heathen and the doctrines of men,
contending that the works of a man not justified are good works, and not
like those of Cain, yea, and so good that he that worketh them is
justified by them; that God will have respect, first to the works, then
to the worker. Such doctrine now bears the sway everywhere in schools,
colleges, monasteries wherein no other saints than Cain was, have rule
and authority. Now from this error comes another: they which attribute
so much to works, and do not accordingly esteem the worker, and sound
justification, go so far that they ascribe all merit and righteousness
to works done before justification, making no account of faith, alleging
that which James saith, that without works faith is dead. This sentence
of the apostle they do not rightly understand; making but little account
of faith, they always stick to works, whereby they think to merit
exceedingly, and are persuaded that for their work's sake they shall
obtain the favor of God: by this means they continually disagree with
God, showing themselves to be the posterity of Cain. God hath respect
unto man, then unto the works of man; God alloweth the work for the sake
of him that worketh, these require that for the work's sake the worker
may be crowned.

But here, perhaps, thou wilt say, what is needful to be done? By what
means shall I become righteous and acceptable to God? How shall I attain
to this perfect justification? Those the gospel answers, teaching that
it is necessary that thou hear Christ, and repose thyself wholly on Him,
denying thyself and distrusting thine own strength; by this means thou
shalt be changed from Cain to Abel, and being thyself acceptable, shalt
offer acceptable gifts to the Lord. It is faith that justifies thee,
thou being endued therewith; the Lord remitteth all thy sins by the
mediation of Christ His Son, in whom this faith believeth and trusteth.
Moreover, He giveth unto such a faith His Spirit, which changes the man
and makes him anew, giving him another reason and another will. Such a
one worketh nothing but good works. Wherefore nothing is required unto
justification but to hear Jesus Christ our Savior, and to believe in
Him. Howbeit these are not the works of nature, but of grace.

He, therefore, that endeavors to attain to these things by works
shutteth the way to the gospel, to faith, grace, Christ, God, and all
things that help unto salvation. Again, nothing is necessary in order to
accomplish good works but justification; and he that hath attained it
performs good works, and not any other. Hereof it sufficiently appears
that the beginning, the things following, and the order of man's
salvation are after this sort; first of all it is required that thou
hear the Word of God; next that thou believe; then that thou work; and
so at last become saved and happy. He that changes this order, without
doubt is not of God. Paul also describes this, saying, "Whosoever shall
call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call
on Him in whom they have not believed? and, how shall they believe in
Him of whom they have not heard? and, how shall they hear without a
preacher? and, how shall they preach except they be sent?"

Christ teaches us to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers
into His harvest; that is, sincere preachers. When we hear these preach
the true Word of God, we may believe; which faith justifies a man, and
makes him godly indeed, so that he now calls upon God in the spirit of
holiness, and works nothing but that which is good, and thus becomes a
saved man. Thus he that believeth shall be saved; but he that worketh
without faith is condemned; as Christ saith, he that doth not believe
shall be condemned, from which no works shall deliver him. Some say, I
will now endeavor to become honest. It is meet surely that we study to
lead an honest life, and to do good works. But if one ask them how we
may apply ourselves unto honesty, and by what means we may attain it,
they answer, that we must fast, pray, frequent temples, avoid sins, etc.
Whereby one becomes a Carthusian monk, another chooses some other order
of monks, and another is consecrated a priest; some torment their flesh
by wearing hair-cloth, others scourge their bodies with whips, others
afflict themselves in a different manner; but these are of Cain's
progeny, and their works are no better than his; for they continue the
same that they were before, ungodly, and without justification: there is
a change made of outward works only, of apparel, of place, etc.

They scarce think of faith, they presume only on such works as seem good
to themselves, thinking by them to get to heaven. But Christ said,
"Enter in at the strait gate, for I say unto you, many seek to enter in,
and can not." Why is this? because they know not what this narrow gate
is; for it is faith, which altogether annihilates or makes a man appear
as nothing in his own eyes, and requires him not to trust in his own
works, but to depend upon the grace of God, and be prepared to leave and
suffer all things. Those holy ones of Cain's progeny think their good
works are the narrow gate; and are not, therefore, extenuated or made
less, whereby they might enter.

When we begin to preach of faith to those that believe altogether in
works, they laugh and hiss at us, and say, "Dost thou count us as Turks
and heathens, whom it behooves now first to learn faith? is there such a
company of priests, monks, and nuns, and is not faith known? who knoweth
not what he ought to believe? even sinners know that." Being after this
sort animated and stirred up, they think themselves abundantly endued
with faith, and that the rest is now to be finished and made perfect by
works. They make so small and slender account of faith, because they are
ignorant what faith is, and that it alone doth justify. They call it
faith, believing those things which they have heard of Christ; this kind
of faith the devils also have, and yet they are not justified. But this
ought rather to be called an opinion of men. To believe those things to
be true which are preached of Christ is not sufficient to constitute
thee a Christian, but thou must not doubt that thou art of the number of
them unto whom all the benefits of Christ are given and exhibited; which
he that believes must plainly confess, that he is holy, godly,
righteous, the son of God, and certain of salvation; and that by no
merit of his own, but by the mere mercy of God poured forth upon him for
Christ's sake: which he believes to be so rich and plentiful, as indeed
it is, that altho he be as it were drowned in sin, he is notwithstanding
made holy, and become the son of God.

Wherefore, take heed that thou nothing doubt that thou art the son of
God, and therefore made righteous by His grace; let all fear and care be
done away. However, thou must fear and tremble that thou mayest
persevere in this way unto the end; but thou must not do this as tho it
consisted in thy own strength, for righteousness and salvation are of
grace, whereunto only thou must trust. But when thou knowest that it is
of grace alone, and that thy faith also is the gift of God, thou shalt
have cause to fear, lest some temptation violently move thee from this

Every one by faith is certain of this salvation; but we ought to have
care and fear that we stand and persevere, trusting in the Lord, and not
in our own strength. When those of the race of Cain hear faith treated
of in this manner, they marvel at our madness, as it seems to them. God
turn us from this way, say they, that we should affirm ourselves holy
and godly; far be this arrogance and rashness from us: we are miserable
sinners; we should be mad, if we should arrogate holiness to ourselves.
Thus they mock at true faith, and count such doctrine as this execrable
error; and thus try to extinguish the Gospel. These are they that deny
the faith of Christ, and persecute it throughout the whole world; of
whom Paul speaks: "In the latter times many shall depart from the
faith," etc., for we see by these means that true faith lies everywhere
opprest; it is not preached, but commonly disallowed and condemned.

The pope, bishops, colleges, monasteries, and universities have more
than five hundred years persecuted it with one mind and consent most
obstinately, which has been the means of driving many to hell. If any
object against the admiration, or rather the mad senselessness of these
men, if we count ourselves even holy, trusting the goodness of God to
justify us, or as David prayed, "Preserve Thou me, O Lord, for I am
holy," or as Paul saith, "The Spirit of God beareth witness with our
spirit that we are the children of God"; they answer that the prophet
and apostle would not teach us in these words, or give us an example
which we should follow, but that they, being particularly and specially
enlightened, received such revelation of themselves. In this way they
misrepresent the Scripture, which affirms that they are holy, saying
that such doctrine is not written for us, but that it is rather peculiar
miracles, which do not belong to all. This forged imagination we account
of as having come from their sickly brain. Again, they believe that they
shall be made righteous and holy by their own works, and that because of
them God will give them salvation and eternal blessedness.

In the opinion of these men it is a Christian duty to think that we
shall be righteous and sacred because of our works; but to believe that
these things are given by the grace of God, they condemn as heretical;
attributing that to their own works which they do not attribute to the
grace of God. They that are endued with true faith, and rest upon the
grace of the Lord, rejoice with holy joy, and apply themselves with
pleasure to good works, not such as those of Cain's progeny do, as
feigned prayers, fasting, base and filthy apparel, and such like
trifles, but to true and good works whereby their neighbors are

Perhaps some godly man may think, if the matter be so, and our work do
not save us, to what end are so many precepts given us, and why doth God
require that they be obeyed? The present text of the apostle will give a
solution of this question, and upon this occasion we will give an
exposition thereof. The Galatians being taught of Paul the faith of
Christ, but afterward seduced by false apostles, thought that our
salvation must be finished and made perfect by the works of the law; and
that faith alone doth not suffice. These Paul calls back again from
works unto faith with great diligence; plainly proving that the works of
the law, which go before faith, make us only servants, and are of no
importance toward godliness and salvation; but that faith makes us the
sons of God, and from thence good works without constraint forthwith
plentifully flow.

But here we must observe the words of the apostle; he calls him a
servant that is occupied in works without faith, of which we have
already treated at large; but he calls him a son which is righteous by
faith alone. The reason is this, altho the servant apply himself to good
works, yet he does it not with the same mind as doth the son; that is,
with a mind free, willing, and certain that the inheritance and all the
good things of the Father are his; but does it as he that is hired in
another man's house, who hopes not that the inheritance shall come to
him. The works indeed of the son and the servant are alike; and almost
the same in outward appearance; but their minds differ exceedingly: as
Christ saith, "The servant abideth not in the house forever, but the son
abideth ever."

Those of Cain's progeny want the faith of sons, which they confess
themselves; for they think it most absurd, and wicked arrogancy, to
affirm themselves to be the sons of God, and holy; therefore as they
believe, even so are they counted before God; they neither become holy
nor the sons of God, nevertheless are they exercised with the works of
the law; wherefore they are and remain servants forever. They receive no
reward except temporal things; such as quietness of life, abundance of
goods, dignity, honor, etc., which we see to be common among the
followers of popish religion. But this is their reward, for they are
servants, and not sons; wherefore in death they shall be separated from
all good things, neither shall any portion of the eternal inheritance be
theirs, who in this life would believe nothing thereof. We perceive,
therefore, that servants and sons are not unlike in works, but in mind
and faith they have no resemblance.

The apostle endeavors here to prove that the law with all the works
thereof makes us but mere servants, if we have not faith in Christ; for
this alone make us sons of God. It is the word of grace followed by the
Holy Ghost, as is shown in many places, where we read of the Holy Ghost
falling on Cornelius and his family while hearing the preaching of
Peter. Paul teaches that no man is justified before God by the works of
the law; for sin only cometh by the law. He that trusts in works
condemns faith as the most pernicious arrogancy and error of all others.
Here thou seest plainly that such a man is not righteous, being
destitute of that faith and belief which is necessary to make him
acceptable before God and His Son; yea, he is an enemy to this faith,
and therefore to righteousness also. Thus it is easy to understand that
which Paul saith, that no man is justified before God by the works of
the law.

The worker must be justified before God before he can work any good
thing. Men judge the worker by the works; God judges the works by the
worker. The first precept requires us to acknowledge and worship one
God, that is, to trust Him alone, which is the true faith whereby we
become the sons of God. Thou canst not be delivered from the evil of
unbelief by thine own power, nor by the power of the law; wherefore all
thy works which thou doest to satisfy the law can be nothing but works
of the law; of far less importance than to be able to justify thee
before God, who counteth them righteous only who truly believe in Him;
for they that acknowledge Him the true God are His sons, and do truly
fulfil the law. If thou shouldst even kill thyself by working, thy heart
can not obtain this faith thereby, for thy works are even a hindrance to
it, and cause thee to persecute it.

He that studieth to fulfil the law without faith is afflicted for the
devil's sake; and continues a persecutor both of faith and the law,
until he come to himself, and cease to trust in his own works; he then
gives glory to God, who justifies the ungodly, and acknowledges himself
to be nothing, and sighs for the grace of God, of which he knows that he
has need. Faith and grace now fill his empty mind, and satisfy his
hunger; then follow works which are truly good; neither are they works
of the law, but of the spirit, of faith and grace; they are called in
the Scripture the works of God, which He worketh in us.

Whatsoever we do of our own power and strength, that which is not
wrought in us by His grace, without doubt is a work of the law, and
avails nothing toward justification; but is displeasing to God, because
of the unbelief wherein it is done. He that trusts in works does nothing
freely and with a willing mind; he would do no good work at all if he
were not compelled by the fear of hell, or allured by the hope of
present good. Whereby it is plainly seen that they strive only for gain,
or are moved with fear, showing that they rather hate the law from their
hearts, and had rather there were no law at all. An evil heart can do
nothing that is good. This evil propensity of the heart, and
unwillingness to do good, the law betrays when it teaches that God does
not esteem the works of the hand, but those of the heart.

Thus sin is known by the law, as Paul teaches; for we learn thereby that
our affections are not placed on that which is good. This ought to teach
us not to trust in ourselves, but to long after the grace of God,
whereby the evil of the heart may be taken away, and we become ready to
do good works, and love the law voluntarily; not for fear of any
punishment, but for the love of righteousness. By this means one is
made of a servant, a son; of a slave an heir.

We shall now come to treat more particularly of the text. Verse 1. "The
heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, tho he
be lord of all." We see that the children unto whom their parents have
left some substance are brought up no otherwise than if they were
servants. They are fed and clothed with their goods, but they are not
permitted to do with them, nor use them according to their own minds,
but are ruled with fear and discipline of manners, so that even in their
own inheritance they live no otherwise than as servants. After the same
sort it is in spiritual things. God made with His people a covenant,
when He promised that in the seed of Abraham, that is in Christ, all
nations of the earth should be blest. That covenant was afterward
confirmed by the death of Christ, and revealed and published abroad by
the preaching gospel. For the gospel is an open and general preaching of
this grace, that in Christ is laid up a blessing for all men that

Before this covenant is truly opened and made manifest to men, the sons
of God live after the manner of servants under the law; and are
exercised with the works of the law, altho they can not be justified by
them; they are true heirs of heavenly things, of this blessing and grace
of the covenant; altho they do not as yet know or enjoy it. Those that
are justified by grace cease from the works of the law, and come unto
the inheritance of justification; they then freely work those things
that are good, to the glory of God and benefit of their neighbors. For
they have possest it by the covenant of the Father, confirmed by Christ,
revealed, published, and as it were delivered into their hands by the
gospel, through the grace and mercy of God.

This covenant Abraham, and all the fathers which were endued with true
faith, had no otherwise than we have: altho before Christ was glorified
this grace was not openly preached and published: they lived in like
faith, and therefore obtained the like good things. They had the same
grace, blessing, and covenant that we have; for there is one Father and
God over all. Thou seest that Paul here, as in almost all other places,
treats much of faith; that we are not justified by works, but by faith
alone. There is no good thing which is not contained in this covenant of
God; it gives righteousness, salvation, and peace. By faith the whole
inheritance of God is at once received. From thence good works come; not
meritorious, whereby thou mayest seek salvation, but which with a mind
already possessing righteousness thou must do with great pleasure to the
profit of thy neighbors.

Verse 2. "But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of
the Father." Tutors and governors are they which bring up the heir, and
so rule him and order his goods that he neither waste his inheritance by
riotous living, nor his goods perish or be otherwise consumed. They
permit him not to use his goods at his own will or pleasure, but suffer
him to enjoy them as they shall be needful and profitable to him. They
keep him at home, and instruct him whereby he may long and comfortably
enjoy his inheritance: but as soon as he arrives to the years of
discretion and judgment, it can not but be grievous to him to live in
subjection to the commands and will of another.

In the same manner stands the case of the children of God, which are
brought up and instructed under the law, as under a master in the
liberty of sons. The law profits them in this, that by the fear of it
and the punishment which it threatens, they are driven from sin, at
least from the outward work: by it they are brought to a knowledge of
themselves, and that they do no good at all with a willing and ready
mind as becomes sons; whereby they may easily see what is the root of
this evil, and what is especially needful unto salvation; to wit, a new
and living spirit to that which is good: which neither the law nor the
works of the law is able to give; yea, the more they apply themselves to
it, the more unwilling they find themselves to work those things which
are good.

Here they learn that they do not satisfy the law, altho outwardly they
live according to its precepts. They pretend to obey it in works, altho
in mind they hate it; they pretend themselves righteous, but they remain
sinners. These are like unto those of Cain's progeny, and hypocrites;
whose hands are compelled to do good, but their hearts consent unto sin
and are subject thereto. To know this concerning one's self is not the
lowest degree toward salvation. Paul calls such constrained works the
works of the law; for they flow not from a ready and willing heart;
howbeit the law does not require works alone, but the heart itself;
wherefore it is said in the first psalm of the blest man, "But his
delight is in the law of the Lord: and in His law doth he meditate day
and night." Such a mind the law requires, but it gives it not; neither
can it of its own nature: whereby it comes to pass that while the law
continues to exact it of a man, and condemns him as long as he hath such
a mind, as being disobedient to God, he is in anguish on every side; his
conscience being grievously terrified.

Then, indeed, is he most ready to receive the grace of God; this being
the time appointed by the Father when his servitude shall end, and he
enter into the liberty of the sons of God. For being thus in distress,
and terrified, seeing that by no other means he can avoid the
condemnation of the law, he prays to the Father for grace; he
acknowledges his frailty, he confesses his sin, he ceases to trust in
works, and humbles himself, perceiving that between him and a manifest
sinner there is no difference at all except of works, that he hath a
wicked heart, even as every other sinner hath. The condition of man's
nature is such that it is able to give to the law works only, and not
the heart; an unequal division, truly, to dedicate the heart, which,
incomparably excels all other things, to sin, and the hand to the law:
which is offering chaff to the law, and the wheat to sin; the shell to
God, and the kernel to Satan; whose ungodliness if one reprove, they
become enraged, and would even take the life of innocent Abel, and
persecute all those that follow the truth.

Those that trust in works seem to defend them to obtain righteousness;
they promise to themselves a great reward for this, by persecuting
heretics and blasphemers, as they say, who seduce with error, and entice
many from good works. But those that God hath chosen, learn by the law
how unwilling the heart is to conform to the works of the law; they fall
from their arrogancy, and are by this knowledge of themselves brought to
see their own unworthiness. Hereby they receive that covenant of the
eternal blessing and the Holy Ghost which renews the heart: whereby
they are delighted with the law, and hate sin; and are willing and ready
to do those things which are good. This is the time appointed by the
Father, when the heir must no longer remain a servant, but a son; being
led by a free spirit, he is no more kept in subjection under tutors and
governors after the manner of a servant; which is even that which Paul
teaches in the following:

Verse 3. "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the
elements of the word." By the word elements thou mayest here understand
the first principles or law written; which is as it were the first
exercises and instructions of holy learning; as it is said: "As
concerning the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach
you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God." "Beware
lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the
tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world." "How turn ye again
to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in

Here Paul calls the law rudiments; because it is not able to perform
that righteousness which it requires. For whereas it earnestly requires
a heart and mind given to godliness, nature is not able to satisfy it:
herein it makes a man feel his poverty, and acknowledge his infirmity:
it requires that of him by right which he has not, neither is able to
have. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." Paul calls them
the rudiments of the world, which, not being renewed by the Spirit, only
perform worldly things; to wit, in places, times, apparel, persons,
vessels, and such like. But faith rests not in worldly things, but in
the grace, word, and mercy of God: counting alike, days, meats, persons,
apparel, and all things of this world.

None of these by themselves either help or hinder godliness or
salvation. With those of Cain's progeny, faith neither agrees in name or
anything else; one of them eats flesh, another abstains from it; one
wears black apparel, another white; one keeps this day holy, and another
that; every one has his rudiments, under which he is in bondage: all of
them are addicted to the things of the world, which are frail and
perishable. Against these Paul speaks, "Wherefore, if ye be dead with
Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as tho living in the world,
are ye subject to ordinances: touch not, taste not, handle not, which
all are to perish with the using, after the commandments and doctrines
of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and
humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying
of the flesh."

By this and other places above mentioned, it is evident that
monasteries and colleges, whereby we measure the state of spiritual men
as we call them, plainly disagree with the Gospel and Christian liberty:
and therefore it is much more dangerous to live in this kind of life
than among the most profane men. All their works are nothing but
rudiments and ordinances of the world; neither are they Christians but
in name, wherefore all their life and holiness are sinful and most
detestable hypocrisy. The fair show of feigned holiness which is in
those ordinances does, in a marvelous and secret manner, withdraw from
faith more than those manifest and gross sins of which open sinners are
guilty. Now this false and servile opinion faith alone takes away, and
teaches us to trust in, and rest upon, the grace of God, whereby is
given freely that which is needful to work all things.

Verse 4. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His
Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under
the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." After Paul had
taught us that righteousness and faith can not come to us by the law,
neither can we deserve it by nature, he shows us by whom we obtain it;
and who is the author of our justification. The apostle saith, "When the
fulness of the time was come"; here Paul speaks of the time which was
appointed by the Father to the Son, wherein He should live under
tutors, etc. This time being come to the Jews, and ended, Christ came in
the flesh; so it is daily fulfilled to others, when they come to the
knowledge of Christ, and change the servitude of the law for the faith
of sons. Christ for this cause came unto us, that believing in Him we
may be restored to true liberty; by which faith they of ancient times
also obtained the liberty of the Spirit.

As soon as thou believest in Christ, He comes to thee, a deliverer and
Savior; and now the time of bondage is ended; as the apostle saith, the
fulness thereof is come.

Verse 6. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His
Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Here we see plainly that
the Holy Ghost cometh to the saints, not by works, but by faith alone.
Sons believe, while servants only work; sons are free from the law,
servants are held under the law, as appears by those things that have
been before spoken. But how comes it to pass that he saith "because ye
are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit," etc., seeing it is before
said that by the coming of the Spirit we are changed from servants to
sons: but here, as tho we could be sons before the coming of the Spirit,
he saith "because ye are sons," etc. To this question we must answer,
that Paul speaks here in the same manner that he did before, that is,
before the fulness of the time came, we were in bondage under the
rudiments of the world: all that shall become sons are counted in the
place of sons with God: therefore he saith rightly, "because ye are
sons," that is, because the state of sons is appointed to you from
everlasting, "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son," to wit, that
He might finish it in you, and make you such as He hath long since of
His goodness determined that He would make you.

Now if the Father give unto us His Spirit, He will make us His true sons
and heirs, that we may with confidence cry with Christ, Abba, Father;
being His brethren and fellow heirs. The apostle has well set forth the
goodness of God which makes us partakers with Christ, and causes us to
have all things common with Him, so that we live and are led by the same
Spirit. These words of the apostle show that the Holy Ghost proceeds
from Christ, as he calls Him his Spirit. So God hath sent forth the
Spirit of His Son, that is, of Christ, for He is the Spirit of God, and
comes from God to us, and not ours, unless one will say after this
manner, "my Holy Spirit," as we say, "my God," "my Lord," etc. As He is
said to be the Holy Spirit of Christ, it proves Him to be God of whom
that Spirit is sent, therefore it is counted His Spirit.

Christians may perceive by this whether they have in themselves the Holy
Ghost, to wit, the Spirit of sons; whether they hear His voice in their
hearts: for Paul saith, He crieth in the hearts which He possesseth,
Abba, Father; he saith also, "We have received the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry Abba, Father." Thou hearest this voice when thou findest
so much faith in thyself that thou dost assuredly, without doubting,
presume that not only thy sins are forgiven thee, but also that thou art
the beloved Son of God, who, being certain of eternal salvation, durst
both call Him Father, and be delighted in Him with a joyful and
confident heart. To doubt these things brings a reproach upon the death
of Christ, as tho He had not obtained all things for us.

It may be that thou shalt be so tempted as to fear and doubt, and think
plainly that God is not a favorable Father, but a wrathful revenger of
sins, as it happened with Job, and many other saints: but in such a
conflict this trust and confidence that thou art a son ought to prevail
and overcome. It is said "The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which can not be uttered; and that He beareth witness
with our spirit that we are the children of God." How can it therefore
be that our hearts should not hear this cry and testimony of the Spirit?
But if thou dost not feel this cry, take heed that thou be not slothful
and secure; pray constantly, for thou art in an evil state.

Cain saith, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, Thou
hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy
face shall I be hid; and it shall come to pass that every one that
findeth me shall slay me." This is a dreadful and terrible cry, which is
heard from all Cain's progeny, all such as trust to themselves and their
own works, who put not their trust in the Son of God, neither consider
that He was sent from the Father, made of a woman under the law, much
less that all these things were done for their salvation. And while
their ungodliness is not herewith content, they begin to persecute even
the sons of God, and grow so cruel that, after the example of their
father Cain, they can not rest until they slay their righteous brother
Abel, wherefore the blood of Christ continually cries out against them
nothing but punishment and vengeance; but for the heirs of salvation it
cries by the Spirit of Christ for nothing but grace and reconciliation.

The apostle here uses a Syrian and Greek word, saying, Abba, Pater. This
word Abba, in the Syrian tongue, signifies a father, by which name the
heads of monasteries are still called; and by the same name, hermits in
times past, being holy men, called their presidents: at last, by use, it
was also made a Latin word. Therefore that which Paul saith is as much
as Father, Father; or if thou hadst rather, "my Father."

Verse 7. "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son, and if a
son, then an heir of God through Christ." He saith, that after the
coming of the Spirit, after the knowledge of Christ, "thou art not a
servant." A son is free and willing, a servant is compelled and
unwilling; a son liveth and resteth in faith, a servant in works.
Therefore it appears that we can not obtain salvation of God by works,
but before thou workest that which is acceptable to Him, it is necessary
that thou receive salvation; then good works will freely flow, to the
honor of thy heavenly Father, and to the profit of thy neighbors;
without any fear of punishment, or looking for reward.

If this inheritance of the Father be thine by faith, surely thou art
rich in all things, before thou hast wrought any thing. It is said "Your
salvation is prepared and reserved in heaven, to be showed in the last
time," wherefore the works of a Christian ought to have no regard to
merit, which is the manner of servants, but only for the use and benefit
of our neighbors, whereby we may truly live to the glory of God. Lest
that any think that so great an inheritance cometh to us without cost
(altho it be given to us without our cost or merit), yet it cost Christ
a dear price, who, that He might purchase it for us, was made under the
law, and satisfied it for us, both by life and also by death.

Those benefits which from love we bestow upon our neighbor, come to him
freely, without any charges or labor of his, notwithstanding they cost
us something, even as Christ hath bestowed those things which are His
upon us. Thus hath Paul called back the Galatians from the teachers of
works, which preached nothing but the law, perverting the Gospel of
Christ. Which things are very necessary to be marked of us also: for the
Pope, with his prelates and monks hath for a long time intruded, urging
his laws, which are foolish and pernicious, disagreeing in every respect
with the Word of God, seducing almost the whole world from the gospel of
Christ, and plainly extinguishing the faith of sons, as the Scripture
hath in diverse places manifestly prophesied of His kingdom. Wherefore
let every one that desires salvation, diligently take heed of him and
his followers, no otherwise than Satan himself.




Hugh Latimer, reformer and martyr, was born in Leicestershire, England,
in 1485, or two years later than Luther. On completing an education at
Cambridge, he took holy orders and preached strenuously in favor of the
Lutheran views. As a profound canonist, he was placed on the commission
appointed to decide on the legality of Henry VII's marriage with
Katharine of Aragon. His decision in favor of Henry gained him a royal
chaplaincy and a living.

Appointed Bishop of Worcester in 1535, he preached boldly the reformed
doctrines, but lost favor at court, and when Gardiner and Bonner pushed
a reactionary movement to the front, he retired from his see (1539).
Latimer lived in peaceful retirement under Edward VI, but under Mary he,
with other reformers, was arrested and thrown into the Tower. Brought to
Oxford for examination, he refused to recant, and was confined for a
year in the common prison, and on October 16, 1555, put to death by
fire, along with Ridley, at a place opposite Balliol College, where the
Martyr's Memorial was subsequently erected.



_This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved
you_.--John xv., 12.

Seeing the time is so far spent, we will take no more in hand at this
time than this one sentence; for it will be enough for us to consider
this well, and to bear it away with us. "This I command unto you, that
ye love one another." Our Savior himself spake these words at His last
supper: it was the last sermon that He made unto His disciples before
His departure; it is a very long sermon. For our Savior, like as one
that knows he shall die shortly, is desirous to spend that little time
that He has with His friends, in exhorting and instructing them how they
should lead their lives. Now among other things that He commanded this
was one: "This I command unto you, that ye love one another." The
English expresses as tho it were but one, "This is my commandment." I
examined the Greek, where it is in the plural number, and very well; for
there are many things that pertain to a Christian man, and yet all those
things are contained in this one thing, that is, love. He lappeth up
all things in love.

Our whole duty is contained in these words, "Love together." Therefore
St. Paul saith, "He that loveth another fulfilleth the whole law"; so it
appeareth that all things are contained in this word love. This love is
a precious thing; our Savior saith, "By this shall all men know that ye
are my disciples, if ye shall love one another."

So Christ makes love His cognizance, His badge, His livery. Like as
every lord commonly gives a certain livery to his servants, whereby they
may be known that they pertain unto him; and so we say, yonder is this
lord's servants, because they wear his livery: so our Savior, who is the
Lord above all lords, would have His servants known by their liveries
and badge, which badge is love alone. Whosoever now is endued with love
and charity is His servant; him we may call Christ's servant; for love
is the token whereby you may know that such a servant pertaineth to
Christ; so that charity may be called the very livery of Christ. He that
hath charity is Christ's servant; he that hath not charity is the
servant of the devil. For as Christ's livery is love and charity, so the
devil's livery is hatred, malice and discord.

But I think the devil has a great many more servants than Christ has;
for there are a great many more in his livery than in Christ's livery;
there are but very few who are endued with Christ's livery; with love
and charity, gentleness and meekness of spirit; but there are a great
number that bear hatred and malice in their hearts, that are proud,
stout, and lofty; therefore the number of the devil's servants is
greater than the number of Christ's servants.

Now St. Paul shows how needful this love is. I speak not of carnal love,
which is only animal affection; but of this charitable love, which is so
necessary that when a man hath it, without all other things it will
suffice him. Again, if a man have all other things and lacketh that love
it will not help him, it is all vain and lost. St. Paul used it so: "Tho
I speak with tongues of men and angels, and yet had no love, I were even
as sounding brass, or as a tinkling cymbal. And tho I could prophesy and
understand all secrets and all knowledge; yet if I had faith, so that I
could move mountains out of their places, and yet had no love, I were
nothing. And tho I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and tho I
gave my body even that I were burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth
me nothing" (I Cor. xiii). These are godly gifts, yet St. Paul calls
them nothing when a man hath them without charity; which is a great
commendation, and shows the great need of love, insomuch that all other
virtues are in vain when this love is absent. And there have been some
who taught that St. Paul spake against the dignity of faith; but you
must understand that St. Paul speaks here not of the justifying faith,
wherewith we receive everlasting life, but he understands by this word
faith the gift to do miracles, to remove hills; of such a faith he
speaks. This I say to confirm this proposition. Faith only justifieth;
this proposition is most true and certain. And St. Paul speaks not here
of this lively justifying faith; for this right faith is not without
love, for love cometh and floweth out of faith; love is a child of
faith; for no man can love except he believe, so that they have two
several offices, they themselves being inseparable.

St. Paul has an expression in the 13th chapter of the first of the
Corinthians, which, according to the outward letter, seems much to the
dispraise of this faith, and to the praise of love; these are his words,
"Now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three; but the chiefest of
these is love." There are some learned men who expound the greatness of
which St. Paul speaketh here as if meant for eternity. For when we come
to God, then we believe no more, but rather see with our eyes face to
face how He is; yet for all that love remains still; so that love may be
called the chiefest, because she endureth forever. And tho she is the
chiefest, yet we must not attribute unto her the office which pertains
unto faith only. Like as I can not say, the Mayor of Stamford must make
me a pair of shoes because he is a greater man than the shoemaker is;
for the mayor, tho he is a greater man, yet it is not his office to make
shoes; so tho love be greater, yet it is not her office to save. Thus
much I thought good to say against those who fight against the truth.

Now, when we would know who are in Christ's livery or not, we must learn
it of St. Paul, who most evidently described charity, which is the only
livery, saying, "Love is patient, she suffereth long." Now whosoever
fumeth and is angry, he is out of this livery: therefore let us remember
that we do not cast away the livery of Christ our Master. When we are in
sickness, or any manner of adversities, our duty is to be patient, to
suffer willingly, and to call upon Him for aid, help and comfort; for
without Him we are not able to abide any tribulation. Therefore we must
call upon God, He has promised to help: therefore let me not think Him
to be false or untrue to His promises, for we can not dishonor God more
than by not believing or trusting in Him. Therefore let us beware above
all things of dishonoring God; and so we must be patient, trusting and
most certainly believing that He will deliver us when it seems good to
Him, who knows the time better than we ourselves.

"Charity is gentle, friendly, and loving; she envieth not." They that
envy their neighbor's profit when it goes well with him, such fellows
are out of their liveries, and so out of the service of God; for to be
envious is to be the servant of the devil.

"Love doth not frowardly, she is not a provoker"; as there are some men
who will provoke their neighbor so far that it is very hard for them to
be in charity with them; but we must wrestle with our affections; we
must strive and see that we keep this livery of Christ our master; for
"the devil goeth about as a roaring lion seeking to take us at a
vantage," to bring us out of our liveries, and to take from us the knot
of love and charity.

"Love swelleth not, is not puffed up"; but there are many swellers
nowadays, they are so high, so lofty, insomuch that they despise and
contemn all others; all such persons are under the governance of the
devil. God rules not them with His good spirit; the evil spirit has
occupied their hearts and possest them.

"She doth not dishonestly; she seeketh not her own; she doth all things
to the commodity of her neighbors." A charitable man will not promote
himself with the damage of his neighbor. They that seek only their own
advantage, forgetting their neighbors, they are not of God, they have
not His livery. Further, "Charity is not provoked to anger; she thinketh
not evil." We ought not to think evil of our neighbor, as long as we
see not open wickedness; for it is written, "You shall not judge"; we
should not take upon us to condemn our neighbor. And surely the
condemners of other men's works are not in the livery of Christ. Christ
hateth them.

"She rejoiceth not in iniquity"; she loveth equity and godliness. And
again, she is sorry to hear of falsehood, of stealing, or such like,
which wickedness is now at this time commonly used. There never was such
falsehood among Christian men as there is now, at this time; truly I
think, and they that have experience report it so, that among the very
infidels and Turks there is more fidelity and uprightness than among
Christian men. For no man setteth anything by his promise, yea, and
writings will not serve with some; they are so shameless that they dare
deny their own handwriting; but, I pray you, are those false fellows in
the livery of Christ? Have they His cognizance? No, no; they have the
badge of the devil, with whom they shall be damned world without end,
except they amend and leave their wickedness.

"She suffereth all things; she believeth all things." It is a great
matter that should make us to be grieved with our neighbor; we should be
patient when our neighbor doth wrong, we should admonish him of his
folly, earnestly desiring him to leave his wickedness, showing the
danger that follows, everlasting damnation. In such wise we should
study to amend our neighbor, and not to hate him or do him a foul turn
again, but rather charitably study to amend him: whosoever now does so,
he has the livery and cognizance of Christ, he shall be known at the
last day for his servant.

"Love believeth all things"; it appears daily that they who are
charitable and friendly are most deceived; because they think well of
every man, they believe every man, they trust their words, and therefore
are most deceived in this world, among the children of the devil. These
and such like things are the tokens of the right and godly love;
therefore they that have this love are soon known, for this love can not
be hid in corners, she has her operation: therefore all that have her
are well enough, tho they have no other gifts besides her. Again, they
that lack her, tho they have many other gifts besides, yet is it to no
other purpose, it does then no good: for when we shall come at the great
day before him, not having this livery (that is love) with us, then we
are lost; he will not take us for His servants, because we have not His
cognizance. But if we have this livery, if we wear His cognizance here
in this world; that is, if we love our neighbor, help him in his
distress, are charitable, loving, and friendly unto him, then we shall
be known at the last day: but if we be uncharitable toward our
neighbor, hate him, seek our own advantage with His damage, then we
shall be rejected of Christ and so damned world without end.

Our Savior saith here in this gospel, "I command you these things"; He
speaketh in the plural number, and lappeth it up in one thing, which is
that we should love one another, much like St. Paul's saying in the 13th
to the Romans, "Owe nothing to any man, but to love one another." Here
St. Paul lappeth up all things together, signifying unto us that love is
the consummation of the law; for this commandment, "Thou shalt not
commit adultery," is contained in this law of love: for he that loveth
God will not break wedlock, because wedlock-breaking is a dishonoring of
God and a serving of the devil. "Thou shalt not kill"; he that loveth
will not kill, he will do no harm. "Thou shalt not steal"; he that
loveth his neighbor as himself will not take away his goods. I had of
late occasion to speak of picking and stealing, where I showed unto you
the danger wherein they are that steal their neighbor's goods from them,
but I hear nothing yet of restitution. Sirs, I tell you, except
restitution is made, look for no salvation. And it is a miserable and
heinous thing to consider that we are so blinded with this world that,
rather than we would make restitution, we will sell unto the devil our
souls which are bought with the blood of our Savior Christ. What can be
done more to the dishonoring of Christ than to cast our souls away to
the devil for the value of a little money?--the soul which He has bought
with His painful passion and death. But I tell you those that will do
so, and that will not make restitution when they have done wrong, or
taken away their neighbor's goods, they are not in the livery of Christ,
they are not his servants; let them go as they will in this world, yet
for all that they are foul and filthy enough before God; they stink
before His face; and therefore they shall be cast from His presence into
everlasting fire; this shall be all their good cheer that they shall
have, because they have not the livery of Christ, nor His cognizance,
which is love. They remember not that Christ commanded us, saying, "This
I command you, that ye love one another." This is Christ's commandment.
Moses, the great prophet of God, gave many laws, but he gave not the
spirit to fulfil the same laws: but Christ gave this law, and promised
unto us, that when we call upon Him He will give us His Holy Ghost, who
shall make us able to fulfil His laws, tho not so perfectly as the law
requires; but yet to the contention of God, and to the protection of our
faith; for as long as we are in this world, we can do nothing as we
ought to do, because our flesh leadeth us, which is ever bent against
the law of God; yet our works which we do are well taken for Christ's
sake, and God will reward them in heaven.

Therefore our Savior saith, "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,"
because He helpeth to bear them; else indeed we should not be able to
bear them. And in another place He saith, "His commandments are not
heavy"; they are heavy to our flesh, but being qualified with the Spirit
of God, to the faithful which believe in Christ, to them, I say, they
are not heavy; for tho their doings are not perfect, yet they are well
taken for Christ's sake.

You must not be offended because the Scripture commends love so highly,
for he that commends the daughter commends the mother; for love is the
daughter, and faith is the mother: love floweth out of faith; where
faith is, there is love; but yet we must consider their offices, faith
is the hand wherewith we take hold on everlasting life.

Now let us enter into ourselves, and examine our own hearts, whether we
are in the livery of God, or not: and when we find ourselves to be out
of this livery, let us repent and amend our lives, so that we may come
again to the favor of God, and spend our time in this world to His honor
and glory, forgiving our neighbors all such things as they have done
against us.

And now to make an end: mark here who gave this precept of love--Christ
our Savior Himself. When and at what time? At His departing, when He
should suffer death. Therefore these words ought the more to be
regarded, seeing He Himself spake them at His last departing from us.
May God of His mercy give us grace so to walk here in this world,
charitably and friendly one with another, that we may attain the joy
which God hath prepared for all those that love Him. Amen.




Philip Melanchthon (Schwarzerd) was born at Bretten, in Baden, in 1497.
His name is noteworthy as first a fellow laborer and eventually a
controversial antagonist of Luther. At the Diet of Augsburg, in 1530, he
was the leading representative of the Reformation. He formulated the
twenty-eight articles of the evangelical faith known as the "Augsburg
Confession." The Lutherans of extreme Calvinistic views were alienated
by Melanchthon's subsequent modifications of this confession, and by his
treatises in ethics. He and his followers were bitterly assailed, but
his irenic spirit did not forsake him. He was a true child of the
Renaissance, and is styled by some writers "the founder of general
learning throughout Europe." While he was never called or ordained to
the ministry of the Church, he was in the habit of addressing the local
religious assemblies or collegia from time to time, and, being a man of
profound piety, his sympathetic and natural style of delivery made him
an impressive speaker. He died in 1560, and his body was laid beside
that of Martin Luther.



_Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand._--John x, 28.

To Thee, almighty and true God, eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
maker of heaven and earth, and of all creatures, together with Thy Son
our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost--to Thee, the wise, good,
true, righteous, compassionate, pure, gracious God, we render thanks
that Thou hast hitherto upheld the Church in these lands, and graciously
afforded it protection and care, and we earnestly beseech Thee evermore
to gather among us an inheritance for Thy Son, which may praise Thee to
all eternity.

I have in these, our assemblies, often uttered partly admonitions and
partly reproofs, which I hope the most of you will bear in mind. But
since I must presume that now the hearts of all are wrung with a new
grief and a new pang by reason of the war in our neighborhood, this
season seems to call for a word of consolation. And, as we commonly say,
"Where the pain is there one claps his hand," I could not, in this so
great affliction, make up my mind to turn my discourse upon any other
subject. I do not, indeed, doubt that you yourselves seek comfort in the
divine declarations, yet will I also bring before you some things
collected therefrom, because always that on which we had ourselves
thought becomes more precious to us when we hear that it proves itself
salutary also to others. And because long discourses are burdensome in
time of sorrow and mourning, I will, without delay, bring forward that
comfort which is the most effectual.

Our pains are best assuaged when something good and beneficial,
especially some help toward a happy issue, presents itself. All other
topics of consolation, such as men borrow from the unavoidableness of
suffering, and the examples of others, bring us no great alleviation.
But the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified for us and
raised again, and now sits at the right hand of the Father, offers us
help and deliverance, and has manifested this disposition in many
declarations. I will now speak of the words: "No man shall pluck my
sheep out of my hand." This expression has often raised me up out of the
deepest sorrow, and drawn me, as it were, out of hell.

The wisest men in all times have bewailed the great amount of human
misery which we see with our eyes before we pass into eternity--diseases,
death, want, our own errors, by which we bring harm and punishment on
ourselves, hostile men, unfaithfulness on the part of those with whom we
are closely connected, banishment, abuse, desertion, miserable children,
public and domestic strife, wars, murder, and devastation. And since
such things appear to befall good and bad without distinction, many wise
men have inquired whether there were any Providence, or whether accident
brings everything to pass independent of a divine purpose? But we in the
Church know that the first and principal cause of human woe is this,
that on account of sin man is made subject to death and other calamity,
which is so much more vehement in the Church, because the devil, from
the hatred toward God, makes fearful assaults on the Church and strives
to destroy it utterly.

Therefore it is written: "I will put enmity between the serpent and the
seed of the woman." And Peter says: "Your adversary, the devil, as a
roaring lion, walketh about and seeketh whom he may devour."

Not in vain, however, has God made known to us the causes of our misery.
We should not only consider the greatness of our necessity, but also
discern the causes of it, and recognize His righteous anger against sin,
to the end that we may, on the other hand, perceive the Redeemer and the
greatness of His compassion; and as witnesses to these, His
declarations, He adds the raising of dead men to life, and other

Let us banish from our hearts, therefore, the unbelieving opinions which
imagine that evils befall us by mere chance, or from physical causes.

But when thou considerest the wounds in thy own circle of relations, or
dost cast a glance at the public disorders in the State, which again
afflict the individual also (as Solon says: "The general corruption
penetrates even to thy quiet habitation"), then think, first, of thy own
and others' sins, and of the righteous wrath of God; and, secondly,
weigh the rage of the devil, who lets loose his hate chiefly in the

In all men, even the better class, great darkness reigns. We see not how
great an evil sin is, and regard not ourselves as so shamefully defiled.
We flatter ourselves, in particular, because we profess a better
doctrine concerning God. Nevertheless, we resign ourselves to a careless
slumber, or pamper each one his own desires; our impurity, the disorders
of the Church, the necessity of brethren, fills us not with pain;
devotion is without fire and fervor; zeal for doctrine and discipline
languishes, and not a few are my sins, and thine, and those of many
others, by reason of which such punishments are heaped upon us.

Let us, therefore, apply our hearts to repentance, and direct our eyes
to the Son of God, in respect to whom we have the assurance that, after
the wonderful counsel of God, He is placed over the family of man, to be
the protector and preserver of his Church.

We perceive not fully either of our wretchedness or our dangers, or the
fury of enemies, until after events of extraordinary sorrowfulness.
Still we ought to reflect thus: there must exist great need and a
fearful might and rage of enemies, since so powerful a protector has
been given to us, even God's Son. When He says: "No man shall pluck my
sheep out of my hand," He indicates that He is no idle spectator of woe,
but that mighty and incessant strife is going on. The devil incites his
tools to disturb the Church or the political commonwealth, that
boundless confusion may enter, followed by heathenish desolation. But
the Son of God, who holds in His hands, as it were, the congregation of
those who call upon His name, hurls back the devils by His infinite
power, conquers and chases them thence, and will one day shut them up in
the prison of hell, and punish them to all eternity with fearful pains.
This comfort we must hold fast in regard to the entire Church, as well
as each in regard to himself.

If, in these distracted and warring times, we see States blaze up and
fall to ruin, then look away to the Son of God, who stands in the secret
counsel of the Godhead and guards His little flock and carries the weak
lambs, as it were, in His own hands. Be persuaded that by Him thou also
shalt be protected and upheld.

Here some, not rightly instructed, will exclaim: "Truly I could wish to
commend myself to such a keeper, but only His sheep does He preserve.
Whether I also am counted in that flock, I know not." Against this
doubt we must most strenuously contend, for the Lord Himself assures us
in this very passage, that all who "hear and with faith receive the
voice of the gospel are His sheep"; and He says expressly: "If a man
love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will
come to him and make our abode with him." These promises of the Son of
God, which can not be shaken, we must confidently appropriate to
ourselves. Nor shouldst thou, by thy doubts, exclude thyself from this
blest flock, which originates in the righteousness of the gospel. They
do not rightly distinguish between the law and the gospel, who, because
they are unworthy, reckon not themselves among the sheep. Rather is this
consolation afforded us, that we are accepted "for the Son of God's
sake," truly, without merit, not on account of our own righteousness,
but through faith, because we are unworthy, and impure, and far from
having fulfilled the law of God. That is, moreover, a universal promise,
in which the Son of God saith: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

The eternal Father earnestly commands that we should hear the Son, and
it is the greatest of all transgressions if we despise Him and do not
approve His voice. This is what every one should often and diligently
consider, and in this disposition of the Father, revealed through the
Son, find grace.

Altho, amid so great disturbances, many a sorrowful spectacle meets
thine eye, and the Church is rent by discord and hate, and manifold and
domestic public necessity is added thereto, still let not despair
overcome thee, but know thou that thou hast the Son of God for a keeper
and protector, who will not suffer either the Church, or thee, or thy
family, to be plucked out of His hand by the fury of the devil.

With all my heart, therefore, do I supplicate the Son of God, our Lord
Jesus Christ, who, having been crucified for us, and raised again, sits
at the right hand of the Father, to bless men with His gifts, and to Him
I pray that He would protect and govern this little church and me
therein. Other sure trust, in this great flame when the whole world is
on fire, I discern nowhere. Each one has his separate hopes, and each
one with his understanding seeks to repose in something else; but
however good that may all be, it is still a far better, and
unquestionably a more effectual, consolation to flee to the Son of God
and expect help and deliverances from Him.

Such wishes will not be in vain. For to this end are we laden with such
a crowd of dangers, that in events and occurrences which to human
prudence are an inexplicable enigma, we may recognize the infinite
goodness and presentness of God, in that He, for His Son's sake, and
through His Son, affords us aid. God will be owned in such deliverance
just as in the deliverance of your first parents, who, after the fall,
when they were forsaken by all the creatures, were upheld by the help of
God alone. So was the family of Noah in the flood, so were the
Israelites preserved when in the Red Sea they stood between the towering
walls of waters. These glorious examples are held up before us, that we
might know, in like manner, the Church, without the help of any created
beings, is often preserved. Many in all times have experienced such
divine deliverance and support in their personal dangers, as David
saith: "My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord taketh me
up"; and in another place David saith: "He hath delivered the wretched,
who hath no helper." But in order that we may become partakers of these
so great blessings, faith and devotion must be kindled within us, as it
stands written, "Verily, I say unto you!" So likewise must our faith be
exercised, that before deliverance we should pray for help and wait for
it, resting in God with a certain cheerfulness of soul; and that we
should not cherish continual doubt and melancholy murmuring in our
hearts, but constantly set before our eyes the admonition of God: "The
peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your heart and mind";
which is to say, be so comforted in God, in time of danger, that your
hearts, having been strengthened by confidence in the pity and
presentness of God, may patiently wait for help and deliverance, and
quietly maintain that peaceful serenity which is the beginning of
eternal life, and without which there can be no true devotion.

For distrust and doubt produce a gloomy and terrible hate toward God,
and that is the beginning of the eternal torments, and a rage like that
of the devil.

Now you must guard against these billows in the soul, and these stormy
agitations, and, by meditation on the precious promises of God, keep and
establish your hearts.

Truly these times allow not the wonted security and the wonted
intoxication of the world, but they demand that with honest groans we
should cry for help, as the Lord saith, "Watch and pray that ye fall not
into temptation," that ye may not, being overcome by despair, plunge
into everlasting destruction. There is need of wisdom to discern the
dangers of the soul, as well as the safeguard against them. Souls go to
ruin as well when, in epicurean security, they make light of the wrath
of God as when they are overcome by doubt and cast down by anxious
sorrow, and these transgressions aggravate the punishment. The godly, on
the other hand, who by faith and devotion keep their hearts erect and
near to God, enjoy the beginning of eternal life and obtain mitigation
of the general distress.

We, therefore, implore Thee, Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ, who, having
been crucified and raised for us, standest in the secret counsel of the
Godhead, and makest intercession for us, and hast said: "Come unto me,
all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I call
upon Thee, and with my whole heart beseech Thee, according to Thine
infinite compassion, forgive us our sins. Thou knowest that in our great
weakness we are not able to bear the burden of our woe. Do Thou,
therefore, afford us aid in our private and public necessities; be Thou
our shelter and protector, uphold the churches in these lands, and all
which serves for their defense and safeguard.




John Knox, the great Scottish reformer, was born at Giffordgate, four
miles from Haddington, Scotland, in 1505. He first made his appearance
as a preacher in Edinburgh, where he thundered against popery, but was
imprisoned and sent to the galleys in 1546. In 1547 Edward VI secured
his release and made him a royal chaplain, when he acquired the
friendship of Cranmer and other reformers. On the accession of Mary
(1553) he took refuge on the Continent. In 1556 he accepted the charge
of a church in Geneva, but, after three years of tranquillity, returned
to Scotland and became a popular leader of the Reformation in that
country. His eloquence lashed the multitude to enthusiasm and acts of
turbulent violence. As a preacher his style was direct and fearless,
often fiery, and he had a habit of pounding the pulpit to emphasize
particular truths. He died in 1572.



_Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted
of the devil_.--Matt. iv., 1.

The cause moving me to treat of this place of Scripture is, that such as
by the inscrutable providence of God fall into divers temptations, judge
not themselves by reason thereof to be less acceptable in God's
presence. But, on the contrary, having the way prepared to victory by
Jesus Christ, they shall not fear above measure the crafty assaults of
that subtle serpent Satan; but with joy and bold courage, having such a
guide as here is pointed forth, such a champion, and such weapons as
here are to be found (if with obedience we will hear, and unfeigned
faith believe), we may assure ourselves of God's present favor, and of
final victory, by the means of Him, who, for our safeguard and
deliverance, entered in the battle, and triumphed over His adversary,
and all his raging fury. And that this being heard and understood, may
the better be kept in memory; this order, by God's grace, we propose to
observe, in treating the matter: First, What this word temptation
meaneth, and how it is used within the Scriptures. Secondly, Who is here
tempted and at what time this temptation happened. Thirdly, How and by
what means He was tempted. Fourthly, Why He should suffer these
temptations, and what fruits ensue to us from the same.

First, Temptation, or to tempt, in the Scriptures of God, is called to
try, to prove, or to assault the valor, the power, the will, the
pleasure, or the wisdom--whether it be of God, or of creatures. And it
is taken sometimes in good part, as when it is said that God tempted
Abraham; God tempted the people of Israel; that is, God did try and
examine them, not for His own knowledge, to whom nothing is hid, but to
certify others how obedient Abraham was to God's commandment, and how
weak and inferior Israelites were in their journey toward the promised
land. And this temptation is always good, because it proceeds
immediately from God, to open and make manifest the secret motions of
men's hearts, the puissance and power of God's word, and the great
lenity and gentleness of God toward the iniquities (yea, horrible sins
and rebellions) of those whom He hath received into His regimen and
care. For who could have believed that the bare word of God could so
have moved the heart and affections of Abraham, that to obey God's
commandment he determined to kill, with his own hand, his best-beloved
son Isaac? Who could have trusted that, so many torments as Job
suffered, he should not speak in all his great temptation one foolish
word against God? Or who could have thought that God so mercifully
should have pardoned so many and so manifest transgressions committed by
His people in the desert, and yet that His mercy never utterly left
them, but still continued with them, till at length he performed His
promise made to Abraham? Who, I say, would have been persuaded of these
things, unless by trials and temptations taken of His creatures by God,
they had come by revelation made in His holy Scriptures to our
knowledge? And so this kind of temptation is profitable, good, and
necessary, as a thing proceeding from God, who is the fountain of all
goodness, to the manifestation of His own glory, and to the profit of
the suffered, however the flesh may judge in the hour of temptation.
Otherwise temptation, or to tempt, is taken in evil part; that is, he
that assaults or assails intends destruction and confusion to him that
is assaulted. As when Satan tempted the women in the garden, Job by
divers tribulations, and David by adultery. The scribes and Pharisees
tempted Christ by divers means, questions, and subtleties. And of this
matter, saith St. James, "God tempteth no man"; that is, by temptation
proceeding immediately from Him He intends no man's destruction. And
here you shall note, that altho Satan appears sometimes to prevail
against God's elect, yet he is ever frustrated of his final purpose. By
temptation He led Eve and David from the obedience of God, but He could
not retain them forever under His thraldom. Power was granted to Him to
spoil Job of his substance and children, and to strike his body with a
plague and sickness most vile and fearful, but He could not compel his
mouth to blaspheme God's majesty; and, therefore, altho we are laid open
sometimes, as it were, to tribulation for a time, it is that when He has
poured forth the venom of His malice against God's elect it may return
to His own confusion, and that the deliverance of God's children may be
more to His glory, and the comfort of the afflicted: knowing that His
hand is so powerful, His mercy and good-will so prompt, that He delivers
His little ones from their cruel enemy, even as David did his sheep and
lambs from the mouth of the lion. For a little benefit received in
extreme danger more moves us than the preservation from ten thousand
perils, so that we fall not into them. And yet to preserve from dangers
and perils so that we fall not into them, whether they are of body or
spirit, is no less the work of God than to deliver from them; but the
weakness of our faith does not perceive it: this I leave at the present.

Also, to tempt means simply to prove or try without any determinate
purpose or profit or damage to ensue; as when the mind doubteth of
anything, and therein desires to be satisfied, without great love or
extreme hatred of the thing that is tempted or tried. David tempted;
that is, tried himself if he could go in harness. (I Sam. xvii.) And
Gideon said, "Let not thine anger kindle against me, if I tempt thee
once again." So the Queen of Sheba came to tempt Solomon in subtle
questions. This famous queen, not fully trusting the report and fame
that was spread of Solomon, by subtle questions desired to prove his
wisdom; at the first, neither extremely hating nor fervently loving the
person of the king. And David, as a man not accustomed to harness, would
try how he was able to go, and behave and fashion himself therein,
before he would hazard battle with Goliath so armed. And Gideon, not
satisfied in his conscience by the first that he received, desired,
without contempt or hatred of God, a second time to be certified of his
vocation. In this sense must the apostle be expounded when he commands
us to tempt; that is, to try and examine ourselves, if we stand in the
faith. Thus much for the term.

Now to the person tempted, and to the time and place of his temptation.
The person tempted is the only well-beloved Son of God; the time was
immediately after His baptism; and the place was the desert or
wilderness. But that we derive advantage from what is related, we must
consider the same more profoundly. That the Son of God was thus tempted
gives instructions to us, that temptations, altho they be ever so
grievous and fearful, do not separate us from God's favor and mercy, but
rather declare the great graces of God to appertain to us, which makes
Satan to rage as a roaring lion; for against none does He so fiercely
fight as against those of whose hearts Christ has taken possession.

The time of Christ's temptation is here most diligently to be noted. And
that was, as Mark and Luke witness, immediately after the voice of God
the Father had commended His Son to the world, and had visibly pointed
to Him by the sign of the Holy Ghost; He was led or moved by the Spirit
to go to a wilderness, where forty days he remained fasting among the
wild beasts. This Spirit which led Christ into the wilderness was not
the devil, but the holy Spirit of God the Father, by whom Christ, as
touching His human and manly nature, was conducted and led; likewise by
the same Spirit He was strengthened and made strong, and, finally,
raised up from the dead. The Spirit of God, I say, led Christ to the
place of His battle, where He endured the combat for the whole forty
days and nights. As Luke saith, "He was tempted," but in the end most
vehemently, after His continual fasting, and that He began to be hungry.
Upon this forty days and this fasting of Christ do our Papists found
and build their Lent; for, say they, all the actions of Christ are our
instructions; what He did we ought to follow. But He fasted forty days,
therefore we ought to do the like. I answer, that if we ought to follow
all Christ's actions, then ought we neither to eat nor drink for the
space of forty days, for so fasted Christ; we ought to go upon the
waters with our feet; to cast out devils by our word; to heal and cure
all sorts of maladies; to call again the dead to life; for so did
Christ. This I write only that men may see the vanity of those who,
boasting themselves of wisdom, have become fools.

Did Christ fast those forty days to teach us superstitious fasting? Can
the Papists assure me, or any other man, which were the forty days that
Christ fasted? plain it is he fasted the forty days and nights that
immediately followed His baptism, but which they were, or in what month
was the day of His baptism, Scripture does not express; and altho the
day were exprest, am I or any Christian bound to counterfeit Christ's
actions as the ape counterfeits the act or work of man? He Himself
requires no such obedience of His true followers, but saith to the
apostles, "Go and preach the gospel to all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; commanding them to
observe and keep all that I have commanded you." Here Christ Jesus
requires the observance of His precepts and commandments, not of His
actions, except in so far as He had also commanded them; and so must the
apostle be understood when he saith, "Be followers of Christ, for Christ
hath suffered for us, that we should follow His footsteps," which can
not be understood of every action of Christ, either in the mystery of
our redemption, or in His actions and marvelous works, but only of those
which He hath commanded us to observe. But where the Papists are so
diligent in establishing their dreams and fantasies, they lose the
profit that here is to be gathered; that is, why Christ fasted those
forty days; which were a doctrine more necessary for Christians than to
corrupt the simple hearts with superstition, as tho the wisdom of God,
Christ Jesus, had taught us no other mystery by His fasting than the
abstinence from flesh, or once on the day to eat flesh, for the space of
forty days. God hath taken a just vengeance upon the pride of such men,
while He thus confounds the wisdom of those that do most glory in
wisdom, and strikes with blindness such as will be guides and lanterns
to the feet of others, and yet refuse themselves to hear or follow the
light of God's word. From such deliver thy poor flock, O Lord!

The uses of Christ's fasting these forty days I find chiefly to be two:
The first, to witness to the world the dignity and excellence of His
vocation, which Christ, after His baptism, was to take upon Him openly;
the other, to declare that he entered into battle willingly for our
cause, and does, as it were, provoke his adversary to assault Him: altho
Christ Jesus, in the eternal counsel of His Father, was appointed to be
the Prince of Peace, the angel (that is, the messenger) of His
testament, and He alone that could fight our battles for us, yet He did
not enter in execution of it, in the sight of men, till He was commended
to mankind by the voice of His heavenly Father; and as He was placed and
anointed by the Holy Ghost by a visible sign given to the eyes of men.
After which time He was led to the desert, and fasted, as before is
said; and this He did to teach us with what fear, carefulness, and
reverence the messengers of the Word ought to enter on their vocation,
which is not only most excellent (for who is worthy to be God's
ambassador?) but also subject to most extreme troubles and dangers. For
he that is appointed pastor, watchman, or preacher, if he feed not with
his whole power, if he warn and admonish not when he sees the snare
come, and if, in doctrine, he divide not the Word righteously, the blood
and souls of those that perish for lack of food, admonition, and
doctrine shall be required of his hand.

But to our purpose; that Christ exceeded not the space of forty days in
His fasting, He did it to the imitation of Moses and Elias; of whom, the
one before the receiving of the law, and the other before the
communication and reasoning which he had with God in Mount Horeb, in
which He was commanded to anoint Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king
over Israel, and Elisha to be prophet, fasted the same number of days.
The events that ensued and followed this supernatural fasting of these
two servants of God, Moses and Elias, impaired and diminished the
tyranny of the kingdom of Satan. For by the law came the knowledge of
sin, the damnation of such impieties, specially of idolatry, and such as
the devil had invented; and, finally, by the law came such a revelation
of God's will that no man could justly afterward excuse his sin by
ignorance, by which the devil before had blinded many. So that the law,
altho it might not renew and purge the heart, for that the Spirit of
Christ Jesus worketh by faith only, yet it was a bridle that did hinder
and stay the rage of external wickedness in many, and was a schoolmaster
that led unto Christ. For when man can find no power in himself to do
that which is commanded, and perfectly understands, and when he believes
that the curse of God is pronounced against those that abide not in
everything that is commanded in God's law to do them--the man, I say,
that understands and knows his own corrupt nature and God's severe
judgment, most gladly will receive the free redemption offered by Christ
Jesus, which is the only victory that overthrows Satan and his power.
And so by the giving of the law God greatly weakened, impaired, and made
frail the tyranny and kingdom of the devil. In the days of Elias, the
devil had so prevailed that kings and rulers made open war against God,
killing His prophets, destroying His ordinances, and building up
idolatry, which did so prevail that the prophet complained that of all
the true fearers and worshipers of God he was left alone, and wicked
Jezebel sought His life also. After this, his fasting and complaint, he
was sent by God to anoint the persons aforenamed, who took such
vengeance upon the wicked and obstinate idolaters that he who escaped
the sword of Hazael fell into the hands of Jehu, and those whom Jehu
left escaped not God's vengeance under Elisha.

The remembrance of this was fearful to Satan, for, at the coming of
Christ Jesus, impiety was in the highest degree among those that
pretended most knowledge of God's will; and Satan was at such rest in
his kingdom that the priests, scribes and Pharisees had taken away the
key of knowledge; that is, they had so obscured and darkened God's Holy
Scriptures, by false glosses and vain traditions, that neither would
they themselves enter into the kingdom of God, nor suffer and permit
others to enter; but with violence restrained, and with tyranny struck
back from the right way, that is, from Christ Jesus Himself, such as
would have entered into the possession of life everlasting by Him.
Satan, I say, having such dominion over the chief rulers of the visible
Church, and espying in Christ, such graces as before he had not seen in
man, and considering Him to follow in fasting the footsteps of Moses and
Elias, no doubt greatly feared that the quietness and rest of his most
obedient servants, the priests, and their adherents, would be troubled
by Christ. And, therefore, by all engines and craft, he assaults Him to
see what advantage he could have of Him. And Christ did not repel him,
as by the power of His Godhead He might have done, that he should not
tempt Him, but permitted him to spend all his artillery, and received
the strokes and assaults of Satan's temptations in His own body, to the
end He might weaken and enfeeble the strength and tyrannous power of our
adversary by His long suffering. For thus, methinks, our Master and
Champion, Jesus Christ, provoked our enemy to battle: "Satan, thou
gloriest of thy power and victories over mankind, that there is none
able to withstand thy assaults, nor escape thy darts, but at one time
or other thou givest him a wound: lo! I am a man like to my brethren,
having flesh and blood, and all properties of man's nature (sin, which
is thy venom, excepted); tempt, try, and assault me; I offer you here a
place most convenient--the wilderness. There shall be no mortal to
comfort me against thy assaults; thou shalt have time sufficient; do
what thou canst, I shall not fly the place of battle. If thou become
victor, thou shalt still continue in possession of thy kingdom in this
wretched world; but if thou canst not prevail against me, then must thy
prey and unjust spoil be taken from thee; thou must grant thyself
vanquished and confounded, and must be compelled to leave off from all
accusation of the members of my body; for to them appertains the fruit
of my battle, my victory is theirs, as I am appointed to take the
punishment of their sins in my body."

What comfort ought the remembrance of these signs to be to our hearts!
Christ Jesus hath fought our battle; He Himself hath taken us into His
care and protection; however the devil may rage by temptations, be they
spiritual or corporeal, he is not able to bereave us out of the hand of
the almighty Son of God. To Him be all glory for His mercies most
abundantly poured upon us!

There remains yet to be spoken of the time when our Lord was tempted,
which began immediately after His baptism. Whereupon we have to note
the mark, that altho the malice of Satan never ceases, but always seeks
for means to trouble the godly, yet sometimes he rages more fiercely
than others, and that is commonly when God begins to manifest His love
and favor to any of His children, and at the end of their battle, when
they are nearest to obtain final victory. The devil, no doubt, did at
all times envy the humble spirit that was in Abel, but he did not stir
up the cruel heart of Cain against him till God declared His favor
toward him by accepting his sacrifice. The same we find in Jacob,
Joseph, David, and most evidently in Christ Jesus. How Satan raged at
the tidings of Christ's nativity! what blood he caused to be shed on
purpose to have murdered Christ in His infancy! The evangelist St.
Matthew witnesses that in all the coasts and borders of Bethlehem the
children of two years old and less age were murdered without mercy. A
fearful spectacle and horrid example of insolent and unaccustomed
tyranny! And what is the cause moving Satan thus to rage against
innocents, considering that by reason of their imperfections they could
not hurt his kingdom at that instant? Oh, the crafty eye of Satan looked
farther than to the present time; he heard reports by the three wise
men, that they had learned by the appearance of a star that the King of
the Jews was born; and he was not ignorant that the time prophesied of
Christ's coming was then instant; for a stranger was clad with the crown
and scepter of Judah. The angel had declared the glad tidings to the
shepherds, that a Savior, which was Christ the Lord, was born in the
city of David. All these tidings inflamed the wrath and malice of Satan,
for he perfectly understood that the coming of the promised Seed was
appointed to his confusion, and to the breaking down of his head and
tyranny; and therefore he raged most cruelly, even at the first hearing
of Christ's birth, thinking that altho he could not hinder nor withstand
His coming, yet he could shorten his days upon earth, lest by long life
and peaceable quietness in it, the number of good men, by Christ's
doctrine and virtuous life, should be multiplied; and so he strove to
cut Him away among the other children before He could open His mouth on
His Father's message. Oh, cruel serpent! in vain dost thou spend thy
venom, for the days of God's elect thou canst not shorten! And when the
wheat is fallen on the ground, then doth it most multiply.

But from these things mark, what hath been the practise of the devil
from the beginning--most cruelly to rage against God's children when God
begins to show them His mercy. And, therefore, marvel not, dearly
beloved, altho the like come unto you.

If Satan fume or roar against you, whether it be against your bodies by
persecution, or inwardly in your conscience by a spiritual battle, be
not discouraged, as tho you were less acceptable in God's presence, or
as if Satan might at any time prevail against you. No; your temptations
and storms, that arise so suddenly, argue and witness that the seed
which is sown is fallen on good ground, begins to take root and shall,
by God's grace, bring forth fruit abundantly in due season and
convenient time. That is it which Satan fears, and therefore thus he
rages, and shall rage against you, thinking that if he can repulse you
now suddenly in the beginning, that then you shall be at all times an
easy prey, never able to resist his assaults. But as my hope is good,
so shall my prayer be, that so you may be strengthened, that the world
and Satan himself may perceive or understand that God fights your
battle. For you remember that being present with you and treating of the
same place, I admonished you that Satan could not long sleep when his
kingdom was threatened. And therefore I willed you, if you were in mind
to continue with Christ, to prepare yourselves for the day of
temptation. The person of the speaker is wretched, miserable, and
nothing to be regarded, but the things that were spoken are the
infallible and eternal truth of God; without observation of which, life
neither can or shall come to mankind. God grant you continuance to the

This much have I briefly spoken of the temptation of Christ Jesus, who
was tempted; and of the time and place of His temptation. Now remains to
be spoken how He was tempted, and by what means. The most part of
expositors think that all this temptation was in spirit and in
imagination only, the corporeal senses being nothing moved. I will
contend with no man in such cases, but patiently will I suffer every man
to abound in his own knowledge; and without prejudice of any man's
estimation, I offer my judgment to be weighed and considered by
Christian charity. It appears to me by the plain text that Christ
suffered this temptation in body and spirit. Likewise, as the hunger
which Christ suffered, and the desert in which He remained, were not
things offered to the imagination, but that the body did verily remain
in the wilderness among beasts, and after forty days did hunger and
faint for lack of food; so the external ear did hear the tempting words
of Satan, which entered into the knowledge of the soul, and which,
repelling the venom of such temptations, caused the tongue to speak and
confute Satan, to our unspeakable comfort and consolation. It appears
also that the body of Christ Jesus was carried by Satan from the
wilderness unto the temple of Jerusalem, and that it was placed upon
the pinnacle of the same temple, from whence it was carried to a high
mountain and there tempted. If any man can show to the contrary hereof
by the plain Scriptures of God, with all submission and thanksgiving I
will prefer his judgment to my own; but if the matter stand only in
probability and opinion of men, then it is lawful for me to believe as
the Scripture here speaks; that is, that Satan spake and Christ
answered, and Satan took Him and carried Him from one place to another.
Besides the evidence of the text affirming that Satan was permitted to
carry the body of Christ from place to place, and yet was not permitted
to execute any further tyranny against it, is most singular comfort to
such as are afflicted or troubled in body or spirit. The weak and feeble
conscience of man under such temptations, commonly gathers and collects
a false consequence. For man reasons thus: The body or the spirit is
vexed by assaults and temptations of Satan, and he troubles or molests
it, therefore God is angry with it, and takes no care of it. I answer,


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