Page images
[blocks in formation]


leave a little while, and let me take my

leave honestly.

At the time when this fellow interrupted Christ's sermon, he was preaching a long sermon to his disciples, and to the people, being gathered together in a wonderful great multitude, as appeareth in the twelfth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. And there he first of all taught his disciples a good lesson, saying, “Cavete vobis a fermento Pharisæorum :" Beware in any wise (saith he) of the leaven of the Phari

What is this leaven of the Pharisees ? Leaven is sometimes taken for corrupt living, which infecteth others by the evil example thereof, and against such corrupt living, God's preachers must cry out earnestly, and never cease till it be rooted up.-In the city of Corinth one had married his step-mother, his father's wife ; and he was a jolly fellow, a great rich man, an alderman of the city ; and therefore they winked at it, they would not meddle in the matter, they had nothing to do with it; and he was one of the head men, of such rule and authority, that they durst not, many of them.

But St. Paul hearing of the matter, writ unto them, and in God's behalf charged them to do away such abomination from among them. St. Paul would not leave them till they had excommunicated the wicked doer of such abomi

nation. If we should now excommunicate all such wicked doers, there would be much ado in England.

Ye that are magistrates show favor for affection to such, and will not suffer (that they may be rooted out or put to shame. “Oh, he is such a man's servant, we may not do him any shame. Oh, he is a gentleman," &c. And so the thing is not now any thing looked unto. Lechery is used throughout England, and such lechery as is used in none other place of the world. And yet it is made a matter of sport, a matter of nothing, a laughing matter, and a trifle not to be passed on, nor to be reformed.

But beware, ye that are magistrates, their sin doth leaven you all. Therefore for God's love beware of this leaven. Well, I trust it will be one day amended. I look not to live long, and yet I trust, as old as I am, to live so long as to see lechery punished. I would wish that Moses's law were restored for punishment of lechery, and that the offenders therein might be punished according to the prescription of Moses's law. And here I will make a suit to your Highness to restore unto the church the discipline of Christ, in excommunicating such as be notable offenders ; nor never devise any other way.

For no man is able to devise any better way than God hath done,-with ex


communication to put them from the congregation till they be confounded. Therefore restore Christ's discipline for excommunication; and that shall be a means both to pacify God's wrath and indignation against us, and also that less abomination shall be used than in times past hath been, and is at this day. I speak this of a conscience, and I mean and move it of a good will to your grace and your realm.

Bring into the Church of England open discipline of excommunication, that open sinners may be stricken withal. Sometimes leaven is taken for corrupt doctrine: and so it is here taken in this place, when he saith, “ Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” For Christ intended to make his disciples teachers of all the world, and therefore to beware of corrupt doctrine. And that that he said to them, he saith also to us ; Receive no corrupt doctrine, no mingle-mangle. Yet there be leaveners still, and mingle-manglers that have soured Christ's doctrine with the leaven of the Phari

Yea, and where there is any piece of leaven, they will maintain that one piece, more than all the doctrine of Christ; and about that purpose they occupy and bestow all their wits. This was the first seed.

The second seed was, “Nihil occultum, quod


non revelabitur," There is nothing privy or hidden that shall not be revealed and opened. It pertaineth all to one purpose ; for there he taught his disciples to beware of the leaven, which was hypocrisy; declaring unto them, that hypocrisy would not be always hidden, but such as were not sincere should be known at the last day, and all that was taught should at length be known. It hath also another meaning, for it is God's proverb : “ There is nothing so privy but it shall be opened," at leastwise in the great day of reckoning, in the dreadful day of general account, in the day of revelation; then shall it be openly known whatsoever is done, be it never so privily done.

These fellows that have their fetches and their far compasses to bring things to their purposes, work they never so privily, never so covertly, yet at the last day, their doings shall be openly revealed, “usque ad satietatem visionis,” saith the prophet Isaiah, till all the world shall see it, to their shame and confusion that are the doers of it. As the prophet Jeremy saith, “Sicut confunditur fur qui deprehenditur,” Even as a thief that is taken with the manner that he stealeth, so shall sinners be openly confounded, and their evil doings opened.” Yea, and though it be not known in this world, yet it shall be known at the last day



to their damnation. Indeed God hath verified his proverb from time to time, “Nothing is so privy the which shall not be revealed.”

When Cain had killed his brother Abel, he thought he had conveyed the matter so privily and so closely that it should never have been known nor have come to light. But first, God knew it well enough, and called unto him saying, “Cain, where is thy brother Abel ?”_ Tut, he thought he could have beguiled God too; and therefore he answered, “I cannot tell; What, quoth Cain, am I set to keep my brother? I cannot tell where he is.” But at last he was confounded, and his murder brought to light ; and now all the world readeth it in the Bible.-Joseph's brethren had sold him away, they took his motley coat and besprinkled it over and over with blood, they thought all was cock-sure, they had conveyed the matter so secretly, that they thought all the world could never have espied it. And yet out it came to their great benefit. And now it is known to us all as many as can read the Bible.

David saw a fair woman wash her naked.Then he was straightway ravished, he was clean gone by, and would needs have her. He sent for her, yea he had gentlemen of his chamber about him that went for her by and by to fetch her,

« EelmineJätka »