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THE

FIRST SERMON*

PREACHED BEFORE KING EDWARD,

MARCH 8th, 1549.

ROMANS xv. 4.

Quæcunque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt.

Whatsoever things are written aforetime, are written for

our learning; that we through patience and comfort of Scripture might have hope.

In taking this part of Scripture, most noble audience, I play as a truant, which when he is at school will choose a lesson wherein he is

* The original title of these sermons was as follows: The Seven Sermons of the Reverend Father M. Hugh Latimer, which he preached before our late Sovereign Lord of famous memory, King Edward the Sixth, within the preaching-place in the palace at Westminister, in the year of our Lord 1549." They were “ first gathered, writ, and brought to light” by Thomas Some, who calls them “ The famous Friday Sermons of M. Hugh Latimer, which he preached in Lent last past."

perfect, because he is loth to take pain in studying a new lesson, or else feareth stripes for his slothfulness. In like manner I might seem now in my old age to some men, to take this part of Scripture, because I would wade easily away therewith, and drive my matter at my pleasure, and not to be bound unto a certain theme. But ye shall consider, that the foresaid words of Paul are not to be understood of all scriptures, but only of those which are written in God's book; and that all things which are therein, 6 are written for our learning." The excellency of this Word is so great, and of so high dignity, that there is no earthly thing to be compared unto it. The author thereof is great, that is, God himself, eternal, almighty, everlasting. The Scripture, because of him, is also great, eternal, most mighty and holy. There is no king, emperor, magistrate, and ruler, of what state soever they be, but are bound to obey this God, and to give credence unto his holy word, in directing their steps ordinately according unto the same word.

In teaching evil doctrine all preachers are to be eschewed, and nowise to be hearkened unto. In speaking truth, they are to be heard. All things written in God's book, are most certain, true and profitable for all men : for in it is contained meet matter for kings, princes,

CHOICE OF A KING.

117

rulers, bishops, and for all estates. Wherefore it behoveth every preacher somewhat to appoint and accommodate himself and his matter, agreeable unto the comfort and amendment of the audience unto the which he declareth the message of God. If he preach before a king, let his matter be concerning the office of a king; if before a bishop, then let him treat of bishoply duties and orders, and so forth in other matters, as time and audience shall require.

I have thought it good to entreat upon these words following, which are written in the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy, “ Cum veneris in terram quam Dominus Deus dat tibi, possederisque eam,” &c., that is, When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and enjoyest it, and dwellest therein; if thou shalt say, I will set a king over me, like unto all the nations that are about me, then thou shalt make him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose. One of thy brethren must thou make king over thee, and mayst not set a stranger over thee, which is not of thy brethren. But in anywise let him not hold too many horses, that he bring not the people again to Egypt through the multitude of horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth go no more again that way. Also he shall not have too many wives,

lest his heart turn away: neither shall he gather him silver and gold too much.

As in divers other places of Scripture is meet matter for all estates, so in this foresaid place is described chiefly the doctrine fit for a king. But who is worthy to utter this doctrine before our most noble king ? Not I, God knoweth, which am through age both weak in body and oblivious; unapt I am, not only because of painful study, but also for this short warning. Well, unto God I will make my moan, who never failed me. 66 Auxiliator in necessitatibus,” God is my helper in all my necessities; to him alone will I make my petition. To pray unto saints departed I am not taught; to desire like grace of God as they had, right godly it is, or to believe God to be no less merciful unto us, (being faithful,) than he was unto them, greatly comfortable it is. Therefore only unto God let us lift up our hearts, and

say

the Lord's prayer.

As the text doth rise, I will touch and go a little in every place, until I come unto “too much." I will touch all the foresaid things, but not too much.

God conditioned with the Jews, that their king should be such a one as he himself would choose them. This was not much unlike a bargain that I heard of late should be betwixt

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