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(for hope is nothing else but a spiritual fortitude, as faith is nothing else but a spiritual prudence) which consisteth in sutiering, according to this saying, “That through patience,” &c. These three things then dwell together in the faithful :-Faith, which teacheth the truth, and defendeth from errors; Hope, which endureth and overcometh all adversities, as well bodily as ghostly; and Charity, which worketh all good things, as it followeth in the text. And so is a man entire and perfect in this life, as well within as without, until the righteousness be revealed which he waiteth for; and this shall be a perfect and everlasting righteousness.
Moreover, this place containeth a singular doctrine and consolation. As touching the doctrine, it sheweth that we are made righteous, hot by the works, sacrifices, or ceremonies of Moses's law, much less by the works and traditions of men, but by Christ alone. Whatsoever then the world counted to be good and holy without Christ, is nothing else but sin, error, and flesh. Wherefore circumcision, and the observation of the law also, the works, religions, and vows of the Monks, and of all such as trust in their own righteousness, are altogether carnal. But we, saith Paul, are far above all those things in the spirit and inward man, for we possess Christ by faith, and in the midst of our afflictions through hope, we wait for that righteousness which we possess already by faith.
The comfort is this: that in serious conflicts and terrors, wherein the feeling of sin, heaviness of spirit, desperation and such like is very strong, (for they enter deeply into the heart and mightily assail it,) thou must not follow thine own feeling; for if thou do, thou wilt say, I feel ghe horrible terrors of the law, and the tyranny of sin, not only rebelling against me, but also subduing me, and leading me captive; and I feel no comfort or righteousness at all. Therefore I am a sinner, and not righteous. If I be a sinner, then am I guilty of everlasting death. But against this feeling thou must wrestle and say, Although I feel myself utterly overwhelmed and swallowed up with sin: and my heart telleth me that God is offended and angry with me, yet in very deed-it is not true, but my own sense and feeling so judgeth. The word of God, (which in these terrors I ought to follow, and not mine own sense,) teacheth a far other thing; namely, that God is near unto them that are of “a troubled heart, and saveth them that are of an humble spirit.” Also “ He despiseth not an humble and a contrite heart.” Moreover Paul sheweth here, that they which are justified in spirit by faith, do not feel the hope of righteousness, but still wait for it.
Wherefore, when the law accuseth and sin terrifieth thee, and thou feelest nothing but the wrath and indignation of God, despair not for all that, but take unto thee the armour of God, the shield of faith, the helmet of hope, and the sword of the Spirit, and try how good and how valiant a warrior thou art. Lay hold of Christ by faith, who is the Lord of the law and of sin, and of all things elsę which accompany them. Believing in him, thou art justified: which thing reason and the feeling of thine own heart, when thou art tempted, do not tell thee, but the word of God. Moreover in the midst of these contlicts and terrors, which often return and exercise thee, wait thou patiently through hope for righteousness, which thou hast now by faith, although it be yet but begun and imperfect, until it be revealed and made
perfect in the kingdom of heaven.
But thou wilt say: I feel not myself to have any righteousness, or at least I feel it but very little.—Thou must not feel, but believe, that thou hast righteousness. And except thou believe that thou art righteous, thou doest
great injury unto Christ, who hath cleansed thee by the washing of water through the word; who also died upon the cross, condemned sin, and killed death; that through him thou mightest obtain righteousness and everlasting life. These things thou canst not deny; (except thou wilt openly shew thyself to be wicked and blasphemous against God, and utterly to despise God, all his promises, and Jesus Christ, with all his benefits;) . and so consequently, thou canst not deny but that thou art righteous.
Let us learn therefore in great and horrible terrors,
when our conscience feeleth nothing but sin, and judgeth that God is angry with us, and that Christ hath turned his face from us, not to follow the sense and feeling of our own heart, but to stick to the word of God; which saith, that God is not angry, but looketh to the afflicted, and to such as are troubled in spirit, and tremble at his word (Isaiah lxvi. 2); and that Christ turneth not himself away from such as labour and are heavy laden, but refresheth and comforteth them, (Matt. xi. 28.) This place therefore teacheth plainly, that the law and works bring unto us no righteousness or comfort at all; but this doth the Holy Ghost only in the faith of Christ, who raiseth up hope in terrors and tribulations, which endureth and overcometh all adversities. Very few there be that know how weak and feeble faith and hope are under the cross and in the conflict. For it seemeth they are but as smoking flax which is ready by-and-by to be put out by a vehement wind. But the faithful who believe in the midst of these assaults and terrors hoping against hope; that is to say, fighting through faith in the promise as touching Christ against the feeling of sin and of the wrath of God, do afterwards find by experience, that this spark of faith being very little, (as it appeareth to natural reason, for reason can scarcely feel it,) is a mighty fire, and swalloweth up all our sins and all our terrors.
There is nothing more dear or precious in all the world to the true children of God than this doctrine. For they that understand this doctrine, do know that whereof all the world are ignorant: namely, that sin, death, and all other miseries, afflictions and calamities, as well corporal as spiritual, do turn to the benefit and profit of the elect. Moreover they know, that God is then most near unto them when he seemeth to be farthest off, and that he is then a most merciful and loving Saviour when he seemeth to be most angry, to afflict, and to destroy. Also they know, that they have an everlasting righteousness, which they wait for through hope, as a certain and sure possession laid up for them in heaven, even when they feel the horrible terrors of sin and death. Moreover, that they are then lords of all things, when they are most destitute of all things according to
that saying, “Having nothing, and yet possessing all things,” 2 Cor. vi. 10. This, saith the scripture, is to conceive comfort through hope. But this cunning is not learned without great and often temptations. .
CHARITY NO FAITH.
THE DIVINITY OF THE SCHOOLMEN.
When a man doth any good work, God accepteth it , and for that work he poureth into him charity:' which they call, charity infused. This charity (say they) is a quality remaining in the heart, and this they call formal righteousness; which manner of speaking, it is expedient for you to know. And they can abide nothing less, than to hear that this quality forming and adorning the soul, as whiteness doth a wall, should not be counted righteousness. They can climb no higher than to this cogitation of man's reason,—that man is righteous by his own formal righteousness, which is grace making him acceptable unto God; that is to say, charity. So, to this quality cleaving unto the soul, that is to wit, charity, (which is a work after the law, for the law saith thou shalt love the Lord thy God, &c.) they attribute righteousness; that is to say, true Christian righteousness; and they say, that this righteousness is worthy of everlasting life, and he that hath it is formally righteous; and moreover, he is effectually or actually righteous, because he now doth good works whereunto everlasting life is due. This is the opinion of the Popish schoolmen, yea, even of the best of them all.
Some other there be which are not so good, as Scotus, and Occam; which said, that for the obtaining of the grace of God, this charity infused or given of God is not necessary, but that a man, even by his own natural strength, may procure this charity above all things. For so reasoneth Scotus.-If a man love a creature, a young man a maiden, a covetous man money, which are less good, he may also love God which is the greater good. If he have a love of the creature through his natural strength, much more hath he a love to the Creator.
With this argument were all the sophisters convicted, and none of them was able to refute it. Notwithstanding thus they reply
The scripture compelleth us to confess (say they) that God, beside the natural love and charity which is ingrafted in us, (wherewith alone he is not contented,) requireth also charity which he himself giveth. And hereby they accuse God as a tyrant and a cruel exactor, who is not content that we keep and fulfil his law, but above the law, (which we ourselves are all to fulfil,) requireth also, that we should accomplish it with other circumstances and furniture, as apparel to the same. As if a mistress should not be contented that her cook had dressed her meat excellently well, but should chide her for that she did not prepare the same, being decked with precious apparel, and adorned with a crown of gold. Now what a mistress were this, who, when her cook had done all that she was bound to do, and also exactly performed the same, would moreover require that she should wear such ornaments as she could not have? Even so, what a one should God be, if he should require his law to be fulfilled of us, (which notwithstanding by onr own natural strength we observe and fulfil) with such furniture as we cannot have ?
But here, lest they should seem to avouch contrary things, they make a distinction, and say, that the law is fulfilled two manner of ways. First, according to the substance of the deed; and secondly, according to the mind of the commander. According to the substance of the deed (say they) we may fulfil all things which the law commandeth, but not according to the mind of the commander: which is, that God is not contented that thou hast done all things which are commanded in the law, (although he can require no more of thee,) but he further requireth that thou shouldst fulfil the law in charity: not that charity which thou hast by nature, but that which is above nature, and heavenly, which he himself giveth. And what is this else but to make God a tyrant and a tormentor, which requireth that of us which we are not able to perform? And it is in a man