Page images



whole man. Yea, and let every curate or parson keep his cure to which God hath appointed him, and let him do the best that he can; yet I tell you he cannot choose but the devil will have some, for he sleepeth not: he goeth about day and night to seek whom he may

deTherefore it is need for every godly minister to abide by his sheep, seeing that the wolf is so near, and to keep them, and withstand the wolf. Indeed there be some minis-7 ters here in England which do no good at all, and therefore it were better for them to leave

j their benefices, and give room unto others.



And so it appeareth that we may not seek Christ in the glistering of this world. For what is so common as water? What is so common as bread and wine? Yet he promised to be. found there when he is sought with a faithful heart. So will you have Christ? Where shall you find him? Not in the jollities of this world, but in rags, in the poor people. Have you any poor people amongst you in your town or city ? Seek him there amongst the rags ; there shall you find him.

And I will prove it

[ocr errors]


on this wise. He saith himself with his own mouth, Whatsoever ye do to these little ones, "minimis," that do ye unto me. By these words appeareth manifestly, that whatsoever ye do unto the poor people which are despised in this world, ye do it to himself. Therefore I say yet again, when ye will seek Christ seek him in the rags, seek him in the manger amongst the poor folk, where you shall find him. But

you must understand that when I speak of • poverty, I speak not of this wilful poverty of

the monks and friars; for that was a hypocritical poverty, that poverty was full of all manner of delicate things. “Nihil habeant, et tamen omnia habeant,” They had nothing, and yet they had all. They were wise enough, they could make shift for themselves, I warrant you. Therefore I speak not of that poverty : for it was a wicked, abominable, and hypocritical poverty. But I speak of the very poor and needy flock of Christ, which have not wherewith to live in this world. Those I would have you to refresh, to cherish, and to help them with your superfluity. Amongst that poor company seek Christ, and no doubt you shall find him.





It appeareth throughout all the Scripture most plainly and manifestly, that the power of the devil is vanquished, when the word of God is used against him ; and not only in the Scripture, both New and Old Testament, but also in other writings. For Eusebius Pamphilius hath many stories, wherein is mentioned the impotency of the devil. And at this time we have a story written by a Spaniard in the Latin tongue, and affirmed by many godly and well learned men: which story happened in a town of Germany, where a poor husbandman lying sore sick and ready to die, they that kept him company in the chamber where he lay, saw a man of great stature and very horrible to look upon, his eyes being all fiery, coming into the chamber. This terrible devil turning himself unto the sick body, said, “ Sir, thou must die this day, and I am come hither to fetch thy soul, for that pertaineth unto me. The sick man answered with a good countenance, saying, "I am ready to depart whensoever I shall be called of my Lord, which gave unto me my soul, and put the same into my body; therefore to him only I will deliver it, and not unto thee, for he hath delivered my soul from thy power,


with the precious blood of his only Son." Then said the devil, “ Thou art laden with many sins, and I am come hither to write them together.” And forth he draweth out of his bosom, pen, ink, and paper, setting himself at the table that stood there ready to write. The sick man hearing his mind, and perceiving his intent, said, “I know myself laden with many sins, but yet I believe that the same are taken away through the passion and suffering of Christ, through whom I steadfastly believe that his heavenly Father is pleased with me. But yet if thou wilt write my sins, thou mayest do it, and then write thus, that all my righteousness is as cloth stained: therefore I cannot stand in the judgment of God." The devil sitting at the table, wrote this with a good will, and desired the sick man to go forward in confessing, and numbering his sins. Then the sick man alleging the Scriptures saith, “that the eternal and living God promised, saying, for mine own sake only I take away your iniquities. Further thou, O God, hast promised, that though our sins be as red as the scarlet, thou wilt make them as white as the snow." But these words he wrote not, but instantly desired him to go forward as he had begun. The sick man with great sorrow and heaviness cried out, saying, “The Son of God appeared



[merged small][ocr errors]

to that end, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” And after these words the devil vanished out of sight, and shortly after the sick man departed to the living God.

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


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

What moved our Saviour Christ to use this parable, and to take a similitude of husbandry to teach the people withal ? It is requisite in a preacher to apply himself after his audience that is to say, when his audience is learned, or when he preacheth before learned men, then it is meet for a preacher to set out his matters learnedly. And again, when he is amongst the ignorant and unlearned people, to use himself so that they may perceive both him and his doctrine: for a good and godly preacher must endeavour himself to do good, and not to set out his learning, whereby to gain the praise of the world, and to be noted a learned man.

Therefore our Saviour kept this rule ; having a respect to his audience, used a common manner of teaching. For at that time, some used to teach the people in apologues, bringing in how one beast talketh with another; which manner of teaching the heathen

the for




[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »