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the same suit, wherein thou shalt know that thou art bound to reconcile thy neighbour. Then cast thy trump upon them both, and gather them all three together, and do according to the virtue of thy cards; and surely thou shalt not lose. Thou shalt first kill the great Turks, and discomfort and thrust them down. Thou shalt again fetch home Christ's sheep that thou hast lost; whereby thou mayest go both patiently and with a quiet mind unto the church, and make thy oblation unto God; and then, without doubt, he will hear thee.

But yet Christ will not accept our oblation (although we be in patience, and have reconciled our neighbour), if that our oblation be made of another man's substance; but it must be our own. See therefore that thou hast gotten thy goods according to the laws of God and of thy prince. For if thou gettest thy goods by polling and extortion, or by any other unlawful ways, then, if thou offer a thousand pound of it, it will stand thee in no good effect; for it is not thine. In this point a great number of executors do offend; for when they be made rich by other men's goods, then they will take upon them to build churches, to give ornaments to God and his altar, to gild saints, and to do many good works therewith; but it shall be all in their own name, and for their own glory. Wherefore, saith Christ, they have in this world their reward; and so their oblations be not their own, nor be they acceptable before God.

Another way God will refuse thy voluntary oblation, as thus: if so be it that thou hast gotten never so truly thy goods, according both to the laws of God and man, and hast with the same goods not relieved thy poor neighbour, when thou hast seen him hungry, thirsty, and naked, he will not take thy oblation when thou shalt offer the same, because he will say unto thee, "When I was hungry, thou gavest me no meat; when I was thirsty, thou gavest me no drink; and when I was naked, thou didst not clothe me. Wherefore I will not take thy oblation, because it is none of thine. I left it thee to relieve thy poor neighbours, and thou hast not therein done according unto this my commandment, Misericordiam volo, et non sacrificium; I had rather have mercy done, than sacrifice or oblation. Wherefore until thou dost the one more than the other, I will not accept thine oblation."

Evermore bestow the greatest part of thy goods in works of mercy, and the less part in voluntary works. Voluntary works be called all manner of offering in the church, except your four offering-days, and your tithes: setting up candles, gilding and painting, building of churches, giving of ornaments, going on pilgrimages, making of highways, and such other, be called voluntary works; which works be of themselves marvellous good, and convenient to be done. Necessary works, and works of mercy, are called the commandments, the four offering-days, your tithes, and such other that belong to the commandments; and works of mercy consist in relieving and visiting thy poor neighbours. Now then, if men be so foolish of themselves, that they will bestow the most part of their goods in voluntary works, which they be not bound to keep, but willingly and by their devotion; and leave the necessary works undone, which they are bound to do; they and all their voluntary works are like to go unto everlasting damnation. And I promise you, if you build a hundred churches, give as much as you can make to gilding of saints, and honouring of the church; and if thou go as many pilgrimages as thy body can well suffer, and offer as great candles as oaks; if thou leave the works of mercy and the commandments undone, these works shall nothing avail thee. No doubt the voluntary works be good and ought to be done; but yet they must be so done, that by their occasion the necessary works and the works of mercy be not decayed and forgotten. If you will build a glorious church unto God, see first yourself to be in charity with your neighbours, and suffer not them to be offended by your works. Then, when ye come into your parish-church; you bring with you the holy temple of God; as St. Paul saith, "You yourselves be the very holy temples of God:" and Christ saith by his prophet, "In you will I rest, and intend to make my mansion and abiding-place." Again, if you list to gild and paint Christ in your churches, and honour him in vestments, see that before your eyes the poor people die not for lack of meat, drink, and clothing. Then do you deck the very true temple of God, and honour him in rich vestures that will never be worn, and so forth use yourselves according unto the commandments: and then, finally, set up your candles, and they will report what a glorious light remaineth in your hearts; for it is not fitting to see a dead man light candles. Then, I say, go your pilgrimages, build your material churches, do all your voluntary works; and they will then represent you unto God, and testify with you, that you have provided him a glorious place in your hearts. But beware, I say again, that you do not run so far in your voluntary works, that ye do quite forget your necessary works of mercy, which you are bound to keep: you must have ever a good respect unto the best and worthiest works toward God to be done first and with more efficacy, and the other to be done secondarily. Thus if you do, with the other that I have spoken of before, ye may come according to the tenor of your cards, and offer your oblations and prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ, who will both hear and accept them to your everlasting joy and glory: to the which he bring us, and all those whom he suffered death for. Amen.


Put on all the armour of God, that ye may stand, &c. [Ephes. vi. 10, et seq.]

Saint Paul, the holy apostle, writeth this epistle unto the Ephesians, that is, to the people of the city of Ephesus. He writeth generally, to them all; and in the former chapters he teacheth them severally how they should behave themselves, in every estate, one to another; how they should obey their rulers; how wives should behave themselves towards their husbands; children towards their parents; and servants towards their masters; and husbands, parents and masters should behave them, and love their wives, children, and servants; and generally each to love other.

Now cometh he forth and comforteth them, and teacheth them to be bold, and to play the men, and fight manfully. For they must fight with valiant warriors, as appeareth afterward in the text. And against they come to fight he comforteth them, saying, "My brethren." He calleth them brethren; for though he taught them before to be subject to kings and rulers, and to be obedient to their superiors, yet he teacheth them that in Christ we be all brethren, according to the saying in this same chapter, "God is no accepter of persons." "My brethren," saith he, "be ye comforted, be ye strong;" not trusting to yourselves; no, but be bold, and comforted "by our Lord, and by the power of his virtue:" not by your own virtue, for it is not of power to resist such assaults as he speaketh of hereafter. "Put on, or apparel you with, the armour of God." Armour is an apparel to clothe a man, and maketh him seemly and comely; setteth forth his body, and maketh him strong and bold in battle. And therefore Saint Paul exhorteth generally his brethren to be armed; and as the assaults be strong, and not small, so he giveth strong armour, and not small: "Put on," saith he, "the armour of God." He speaketh generally of armour, but afterwards he speaketh particularly of the parts of armour, where he saith, be armed complete, whole; be armed on every part with the armour of God; not borrowed, nor patched, but all godly. And as armour setteth forth a man's body, so this godly armour maketh us seemly in the sight of God, and acceptable in his wars.

Be ye therefore "armed at all points with the armour of God, that ye may stand strongly against the assaults of the devil." "That ye may stand," saith he. Ye must stand in this battle, and not sit, nor lie along; for he that lieth is trodden under foot of his enemy. We may not sit, that is, not rest in sin, or lie along in sluggishness of sin; but continually fight against our enemy, and under our great Captain and Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, and in his quarrel, armed with the armour of God, that we may be strong. We cannot be strong unless we be armed of God. We have no power of ourselves to stand against the assaults of the devil. There St. Paul teacheth what our battle is, and wherefore we must be thus armed.

For, saith he, "we have not wrestling or strife against flesh and blood:" which may be understood, against certain sins, which come of the flesh only; but let us take it as it standeth, "against flesh and blood," that is, against any corporal man, which is but a weak thing in comparison, and with one stroke destroyed or slain: but we have to do with strong, mighty princes and potentates; that mighty prince, that great conqueror of this world, the devil, yea a conqueror: for though our Saviour Jesus Christ conquered him and all his, by suffering his blessed passion, yet is he a great conqueror in this world, and reigneth over a great multitude of his own, and maketh continual conflicts and assaults against the rest, to subdue them also under his power; which, if they be armed after St. Paul's teaching, shall stand strongly against his assaults. "Our battle," saith St. Paul, "is against princes, potestates," that is, against devils: for, after the common opinion, there fell from heaven of every order of angels, as of potentates. He saith also, "against worldly rulers of these darknesses:" for, as doctors do write, the spirits that fell with Lucifer have their being in aere caliginoso, the air, in darkness, and the rulers of this world, by God's sufferance, to hurt, vex and assault them that live upon the earth. For their nature is, as they be damned, to desire to draw all mankind unto like damnation; such is their malice. And though they hang in the air, or fall in a garden or other pleasant place, yet have they continually their pain upon their backs. Against these we wrestle, and "against spiritual wickedness in coelestibus," that is, in the air; or we fight against spiritual wickedness in heavenly things.

Think you not that this our enemy, this prince with all his potentates, hath great and sore assaults to lay against our armour? Yea, he is a crafty warrior, and also of great power in this world; he hath great ordnance and artillery; he hath great pieces of ordnance, as mighty kings and emperors, to shoot against God's people, to persecute or kill them; Nero, the great tyrant, who slew Paul, and divers other. Yea, what great pieces hath he had of bishops of Rome, which have destroyed whole cities and countries, and have slain and burnt many! What great guns were those!

Yea, he hath also less ordnance evil enough, (they may be called serpentines;) some bishops in divers countries, and here in England, which he hath shot at some good christian men, that they have been blown to ashes. So can this great captain, the devil, shoot his ordnance. He hath yet less ordnance, for he hath of all sorts to shoot at good christian men; he hath hand-guns and bows, which do much hurt, but not so much as the great ordnance. These be accusers, promoters, and slanderers; they be evil ordnance, shrewd handguns, and bows; they put a man to great displeasure; oftentimes death cometh upon that shot. For these things, saith the text,


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