The Death and Passion of Our Saviour Jesus Christ

It should not become us (well-beloved in Christ) being that people which he redeemed from the Devil, from sin and death, and from everlasting damnation, by Christ, to suffer this time to pass forth without any meditation, and remembrance of that excellent work of our redemption, wrought as about this time, through the great mercy and charity of our Saviour Jesus Christ, for us wretched sinners, and his mortal enemies. For if a mortal mans deed, done to the behoof of the commonwealth, be had in remembrance of us, with thanks for the benefit and profit which we receive thereby: how much more readily should we have in memory this excellent act and benefit of Christ’s death? Whereby he hath purchased for us the undoubted pardon and forgiveness of our sins, whereby he made at one the Father of heaven with us, in such wise, that he taketh us now for his loving children, and for the true inheritors, with Christ his natural son, of the kingdom of heaven? And verily so much more doeth Christ’s kindness appear unto us, in that it pleased him to deliver himself of all his goodly honour, which he was equally in with his Father in heaven, and to come down into this vale of misery, to be made mortal man, and to be in the state of a most low servant, serving us for our wealth and profit, us, I say, which were his sworn enemies, which had renounced his holy Law and Commandments, and followed the lusts and sinful pleasures of our corrupt nature. And yet, I say, did Christ put himself between GODS deserved wrath, and our sin, and rent that obligation wherein we were in danger to GOD, and paid our debt (Colossians 2.14). Our debt was a great deal too great for us to have paid. And without payment, GOD the Father could never be at one with us. Neither was it possible to be loosed from this debt by our own ability. It pleased him therefore to be the payer thereof, and to discharge us quite.

Who can now consider the grievous debt of sin, which could none otherwise be paid but by the death of an innocent, and will not hate sin in his heart? If GOD hateth sin so much, that he would allow neither man nor Angel for the redemption thereof, but only the death of his only and well-beloved Son: who will not stand in fear thereof? If we (my friends) consider this, that for our sins this most innocent Lamb was driven to death, we shall have much more cause to bewail ourselves that we were the cause of his death, then to cry out of the malice and cruelty of the Jews, which pursued him to his death. We did the deeds wherefore he was thus stricken and wounded, they were only the ministers of our wickedness. It is meet then we should steppe low down into our hearts, and bewail our own wretchedness and sinful living. Let us know for a certainty, that if the most dearly beloved Son of GOD was thus punished and stricken for the sin which he had not done himself: how much more ought we sore to be stricken for our daily and manifold sins which we commit against GOD, if we earnestly repent us not, and be not sorry for them? No man can love sin, which GOD hateth so much, and be in his favour. No man can say that he loveth Christ truly, and have his great enemy (sin I mean, the author of his death) familiar and in friendship with him. So much do we love GOD and Christ, as we hate sin. We ought therefore to take great heed, that we be not favourers thereof, lest we be found enemies to GOD, and traitors to Christ. For not only they which nailed Christ upon the cross, are his tormentors and crucifiers: but all they (saith Saint Paul) crucify again the Son of GOD (Hebrews 6.6), as much as is in them, who do commit vice and sin, which brought him to his death. If the wages of sin be death, and death everlasting (Romans 6.23): surely it is no small danger to be in service thereof. If we live after the flesh, and after the sinful lusts thereof, Saint Paul threateneth, yea Almighty GOD in Saint Paul threateneth, that we shall surely die (Romans 8.13). We can none otherwise live to GOD, but by dying to sin. If Christ be in us, then is sin dead in us: and if the spirit of GOD be in us, which raised Christ from death to life, so shall the same spirit raise us to the resurrection of everlasting life (Romans 8.10-11). But if sin rule and reign in us, then is GOD, which is the fountain of all grace and virtue, departed from us: then hath the Devil, and his ungracious spirit, rule and dominion in us (Romans 1). And surely if in such miserable state we die, we shall not rise to life, but fall down to death and damnation, and that without end.

Christ hath not redeemed us from sin, that we should live in sin.

For Christ hath not so redeemed us from sin, that we may safely return thereto again: but he hath redeemed us, that we should forsake the motions thereof, and live to righteousness. Yea, we be therefore washed in our Baptism from the filthiness of sin, that we should live afterward in the pureness of life. In Baptism we promised to renounce the devil and his suggestions, we promised to be (as obedient children) always following GODS will and pleasure. Then if he be our Father indeed, let us give him his due honour. If we be his children, let us show him our obedience, like as Christ openly declared his obedience to his Father, which (as Saint Paul writeth) was obedient even to the very death, the death of the Cross (Philippians 2.8). And this he did for us all that believe in him. For himself he was not punished, for he was pure, and undefiled of all manner of sin. He was wounded (saith Isaiah) for our wickedness, and stripped for our sins (Isaiah 53.4): he suffered the penalty of them himself, to deliver us from danger: he bare (saith Isaiah) all our sores and infirmities upon his own back. No pain did he refuse to suffer in his own body, that he might deliver us from pain everlasting. His pleasure it was thus to do for us, we deserved it not. Wherefore the more we see ourselves bound unto him, the more he ought to be thanked of us, yea, and the more hope may we take, that we shall receive all other good things of his hand, in that we have received the gift of his only Son, through his liberality. For if GOD (saith Saint Paul) hath not spared his own Son from pain and punishment, but delivered him for us all unto the death: how should he not give us all other things with him (Romans 8.32)? If we want any thing, either for body or soul, we may lawfully and boldly approach to GOD, as to our merciful Father, to ask that we desire, and we shall obtain it. For such power is given to us, to be the children of GOD, so many as believe in Christ’s Name (John 1.12). In his Name whatsoever we ask, we shall have it granted us (Matthew 21.22). For so well pleased is the Father almighty GOD, with Christ his Son, that for his sake he favoureth us, and will deny us nothing. So pleasant was this sacrifice and oblation of his Son’s death, which he so obediently and innocently suffered, that we should take it for the only and full amends for all the sins of the world. And such favour did he purchase by his death, of his heavenly Father for us, that for the merit thereof (if we be true Christians indeed, and not in word only) we be now fully in GODS grace again, and clearly discharged from our sin. No tongue surely is able to express the worthiness of this so precious a death. For in this standeth the continual pardon of our daily offences, in this resteth our justification, in this we be allowed, in this is purchased the everlasting health of all our souls. Yea, there is none other thing that can be named under heaven to save our souls, but this only work of Christ’s precious offering of his body upon the altar of the cross (Acts 4.12). Certes there can be no work of any mortal man (be he never so holy) that shall be coupled in merits with Christ’s most holy act. For no doubt, all our thoughts and deeds were of no value, if they were not allowed in the merits of Christ’s death. All our righteousness is far unperfect, if it be compared with Christ’s righteousness. For in his acts and deeds, there was no spot of sin, or of any unperfectness.

Our deeds be full of imperfection.

And for this cause they were the more able to be the true amends of our righteousness, where our acts and deeds be full of imperfection, and infirmities, and therefore nothing worthy of themselves to stir GOD to any favour, much less to challenge that glory that is due to Christ’s act and merit. For not to us (saith Dauid) not to us, but to thy Name giue the glory, O Lord (Psalms 115.1). Let us therefore (good friends) with all reverence glorify his Name, let us magnify and praise him for ever. For he hath dealt with us according to his great mercy, by himself hath he purchased our redemption (Hebrews 1.3). He thought it not enough to spare himself, and to send his Angel to do this deed, but he would do it himself, that he might do it the better, and make it the more perfect redemption. He was nothing moved with the intolerable pains that he suffered in the whole course of his long passion, to repent him thus to do good to his enemies: but he opened his hart for us, and bestowed himself wholly for the ransoming of us. Let us therefore now open our hearts again to him, and study in our lives to be thankful to such a Lord, and evermore to be mindful of so great a benefice, yea let us take up our cross with Christ, and follow him. His passion is not only the ransom and whole amends for our sin, but it is also a most perfect example of all patience and sufferance. For if it behooved Christ thus to suffer, and to enter into the glory of his Father (Acts 17.3): why should it not become us to bear patiently our small crosses of adversity, and the troubles of this world? For surely (as saith St. Peter) Christ therefore suffered, to leave us an example to follow his steps (1 Peter 2.21). And if we suffer with him, we shall be sure also to reign with him in heaven (2 Timothy 2.12). Not that the sufferance of this transitory life should be worthy of that glory to come (Romans 8.18), but gladly should we be contented to suffer, to be like Christ in our life, that so by our workers we may glorify our Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5.16). And as it is painful and grievous to bear the Cross of Christ in the griefs and displeasures of this life: so it bringeth forth the joyful fruit of hope, in all them that be exercised therewith (Hebrews 12.11). Let us not so much behold the pain, as the reward that shall follow that labour (James 5.11). Nay, let us rather endeavor ourselves in our sufferance, to endure innocently and guiltless, as our Saviour Christ did. For if we suffer for our deservings, then hath not patience his perfect work in us: but if undeservedly we suffer loss of goods and life, if we suffer to be euill spoken of for the love of Christ, this is thankful afore GOD, for so did Christ suffer (1 Peter 2.20).

The patience of Christ.

He never did sin, neither was any guile found in his mouth. Yea when he was reviled with taunts, he reviled not again. When he was wrongfully dealt with, he threatened not again, nor revenged his quarrel, but delivered his cause to him that judgeth rightly.Perfect patience. Perfect patience careth not what nor how much it suffereth, nor of whom it suffereth, whether of friend or foe: but studieth to suffer innocently, and without deserving.

The meekness of Christ.

Yea, he in whom perfect charity is, careth so little to revenge, that he rather studieth to do good for evil, to bless and say well of them that curse him, to pray for them that pursue him (Matthew 5.44), according to the example of our Saviour Christ, who is the most perfect example & pattern of all meekness and sufferance, which hanging upon his Cross, in most fervent anguish bleeding in every part of his blessed Body, being set in the midst of his enemies and crucifiers: and he, notwithstanding the intolerable pains which they saw him in, being of them mocked and scorned despitefully without all favour and compassion, had yet towards them such compassion in heart, that he prayed to his Father of heaven for them, and said, O Father, forgive them, for they wot not what they do (Luke 23.34). What patience was it also which he showed, when one of his own Apostles and Servants which was put in trust of him, came to betray him unto his enemies to the death? He said nothing worse to him, but, Friend, wherefore art thou come (Matthew 26.50)? Thus (good people) should we call to mind the great examples of charity which Christ showed in his passion, if we will fruitfully remember his passion. Such charity and love should we bear one to an other, if we will be the true Servants of Christ. For if we love but them, which love and say well by us, what great thing is it that we do saith Christ? Do not the Paynims and open sinners so (Matthew 5.46-47)? We must be more perfect in our charity then thus, even as our Father in heaven is perfect, which maketh the light of his sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and sendeth his rain upon the kind and unkind. After this manner should we show our charity indifferently, as well to one as to another as well to friend, as foe, like obedient children, after the example of our Father in heaven. For if Christ was obedient to his Father even to the death, and that the most shameful death (as the Jews esteemed it) the death of the Cross: Why should we not be obedient to GOD in lower points of charity and patience? Let us forgive then our neighbors their small faults, as GOD for Christ’s sake hath forgiven us our great (Sirach 28.2).

It is not meet that we should crave forgiveness of our great offences at God’s hands, and yet will not forgive the small trespasses of our neighbours against us. We do call for mercy in vain, if we will not show mercy to our neighbours (Matthew 18.35). For if we will not put wrath and displeasure forth of our hearts to our Christian brother, no more will GOD forgive the displeasure and wrath that our sins have deserved afore him. For under this condition doeth GOD forgive us, if we forgive other. It becometh not Christian men to be hard one to another, nor yet to think their neighbour unworthy to be forgiven. For howsoever unworthy he is, yet is Christ worthy to have thee do thus much for his sack, he hath deserved it of thee, that thou shouldest forgive thy neighbour. And GOD is also to be obeyed, which commandeth us to forgive, if we will have any part of the pardon which our Saviour Christ purchased once of GOD the Father, by shedding of his precious blood. Nothing becometh Christ’s servants so much, as mercy and compassion.

Let us then be favourable one to another, and pray we one for another, that we may be healed from all frailties of our life (James 5.16), the less to offend one the other, and that we may be of one mind and one spirit, agreeing together in brotherly love and concord, even like the dear children of GOD (Ephesians 5.1-2). By these means shall we move GOD to be merciful unto our sins, yea, and we shall be hereby the more ready to receive our Saviour and maker in his blessed Sacrament, to our everlasting comfort, and health of soul. Christ delighteth to enter and dwell in that soul where love and charity ruleth, and where peace & concord is seen. For thus writeth St. John, GOD is charity, he that abideth in charity, abideth in GOD, and GOD in him (1 John 4.16). And by this (saith he) we shall know that we be of GOD, if we love our brethren. Yea, & by this shall we know, that we be delivered from death to life, if we love one another. But he which hateth his brother (saith the same Apostle) abideth in death, even in the danger of everlasting death, and is moreover the childe of damnation and of the Devil, cursed of GOD, and hated (so long as he so remaineth) of GOD and all his heavenly company (1 John 2.11). For as peace and charity make us the blessed children of Almighty GOD: so doth hatred and envy make us the cursed children of the Devil.

GOD give us all grace to follow Christ’s examples in peace and in charity, in patience and sufferance, that we now may have him our guest to enter and dwell within us, so as we may be in full surety, having such a pledge of our salvation. If we have him and his favour, we may be sure that we have the favour of GOD by his means. For he sitteth on the right hand of GOD his Father, as our proctor and attorney, pleading and suing for us in all our needs and necessities (Romans 8.34). Wherefore, if we want any gift of godly wisdom, we may ask it of GOD for Christ’s sake, and we shall have it.

Let us consider and examine ourselves, in what want we be concerning this virtue of charity and patience. If we see that our hearts be nothing inclined thereunto, in forgiving them that have offended against us, then let us knowledge our want, and wish to GOD to have it. But if we want it, and see in ourselves no desire thereunto, verily we be in a dangerous case before GOD, and have need to make much earnest prayer to GOD, that we may have such an heart changed, to the grafting in of a new. For unless we forgive other, we shall never be forgiven of GOD. No, not all the prayers and good works of other, can pacify GOD unto us, unless we be at peace, and at one with our neighbour. Nor all our deeds and good works can move GOD to forgive us our debts to him, except we forgive to other. He setteth more by mercy, then by sacrifice. Mercy moved our Saviour Christ to suffer for his enemies: it becommeth us then to follow his example. For it shall little avail us to have in meditation the fruits and price of his passion, to magnify them, and to delight or trust in them, except we have in mind his examples in passion to follow them. If we thus therefore consider Christ’s death, and will stick thereto with fast faith for the merit and deserving thereof, and will also frame ourselves in such wise to bestow ourselves, and all that we have by charity, to the behoof of our neighbour, as Christ spent himself wholly for our profit, then do we truly remember Christ’s death: and being thus followers of Christ’s steps, we shall be sure to follow him thither where he sitteth now with the Father and the holy Ghost, to whom be all honour and glory, Amen.

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December 2022

Welcome to the news service of the Church of England Cintinuing.

Forasmuch as man, being not borne to ease and rest, but to labour and travail, is by corruption of nature through sin, so far degenerated and grown out of kind, that he taketh idleness to be no evil at all, but rather a commendable thing, seemly for those that be wealthy, and therefore is greedily embraced of most part of men, as agreeable to their sensual affection, and all labour and travail is diligently avoided, as a thing painful and repugnant to the pleasure of the flesh: It is necessary to be declared unto you, that by the ordinance of God, which he hath set in the nature of man, every one ought, in his lawful vocation and calling, to give himself to labour: and that idleness, being repugnant to the same ordinance, is a grievous sin, and also, for the great inconveniences and mischiefs which spring thereof, an intolerable evil: to the intent that when ye understand the same, ye may diligently flee from it, and on the other part earnestly apply yourselves, every man in his vocation, to honest labour and business, which as it is enjoined unto man by God’s appointment, so it wanteth not his manifold blessings and sundry benefits.

In what points the true ornaments of the Church or Temple of God do consist and stand, hath been declared in the two last Homilies, entreating of the right use of the Temple or house of God, and of the due reverence that all true Christian people are bound to give unto the same. The sum whereof is, that the Church or house of God, is a place appointed by the holy Scriptures, where the lively word of God ought to be read, taught, and heard, the Lords holy name called upon by public prayer, hearty thanks given to his Majesty for his infinite and unspeakable benefits bestowed upon us, his holy Sacraments duly and reverently ministered, and that therefore all that be godly indeed, ought both with diligence at times appointed, to repair together to the said Church, and there with all reverence to use and behave themselves before the Lord. And that the said Church thus godly used by the servants of the Lord, in the Lords true service, for the effectual presence of God’s grace, wherewith he doeth by his holy word and promises, endue his people there present and assembled, to the attainment, as well of commodities worldly, necessary for us, as also of all heavenly gifts, and life everlasting, is called by the word of God (as it is indeed) the Temple of the Lord, and the house of God, and that therefore the due reverence thereof, is stirred up in the hearts of the godly, by the consideration of these true ornaments of the said house of God, and not by any outward ceremonies or costly and glorious decking of the said house or Temple of the Lord, contrary to the which most manifest doctrine of the Scriptures, and contrary to the usage of the Primitive Church, which was most pure and incorrupt, and contrary to the sentences and judgements of the most ancient, learned and godly Doctors of the Church (as hereafter shall appear) the corruption of these latter days, hath brought into the Church infinite multitudes of images, and the same, with other parts of the Temple also, have decked with gold and silver, painted with colours, set them with stone and pearl, clothed them with silks and precious vestures, fancying untruly that to be the chief decking and adorning of the Temple or house of God, and that all people should be the more moved to the due reverence of the same, if all corners thereof were glorious, and glistering with gold and precious stones. Whereas indeed they by the said images, and such glorious decking of the Temple, have no thing at all profited such as were wise and of understanding: but have thereby greatly hurt the simple and unwise, occasioning them thereby to commit most horrible idolatry. And the covetous persons, by the same occasion, seeming to worship, and peradventure worshipping indeed, not only the images, but also the matter of them, gold and silver, as that vice is of all others in the Scriptures peculiarly called idolatry or worshipping of images. (Eph 5, Col 3) Against the which foul abuses and great enormities shall be alleged unto you: First, the authority of God’s holy word, as well out of the old Testament, as of the new. And secondly, the testimonies of the holy and ancient learned Fathers and Doctors, out of their own works and ancient histories Ecclesiastical, both that you may at once know their judgements, and withal understand what manner of ornaments were in the Temples in the Primitive Church in those times, which were most pure and sincere. Thirdly, the reasons and arguments made for the defence of images or idols, and the outrageous decking of Temples and Churches, with gold, silver, pearl, and precious stone, shall be confuted, and so this whole matter concluded. But lest any should take occasion by the way, of doubting by words or names, it is thought good here to note first of all, that although in common speech we use to call the likeness or similitude of men or other things images, and not idols: yet the Scriptures use the said two words (idols and images) indifferently for one thing always. They be words of divers tongues and sounds, but one in sense and signification in the Scriptures. The one is taken of the Greek word Ei¶dwlon; an Idol, and the other of the Latin word Imago, and Image, and so both used as English terms in the translating of Scriptures indifferently, according as the Septuagint have in their translation in Greek Ei¶dwla, and St. Jerome in his translation of the same places in Latin hath Simulachra, in English, Images. And in the new Testament, that which St. John calleth Ei¶dwlon (1 Jn 5), St. Ierome likewise translateth Simulachrum, as in all other like places of Scripture usually he doeth so translate. And Tertullian , a most ancient Doctor, and well learned in both the tongues, Greek and Latin, interpreting this place of St. John , Beware of Idols, that is to say (saith Tertullian ) of the images themselves: the Latin words which he useth, be Effigies and Imago, to say, an Image (Lib. de corona militis). And therefore it skilleth not, whether in this process wee use the one term or the other, or both together, seeing they both (though not in common English speech, yet in Scripture) signify one thing. And though some to blind men’s eyes, have heretofore craftily gone about to make them to be taken for words of divers signification in matters of Religion, and have therefore usually named the likeness or similitude of a thing set up amongst the Heathen in their Temples or other places to be worshipped, an Idol. But the like similitude with us, set up in the Church, the place of worshipping, they call an Image, as though these two words (Idol and Image) in Scripture, did differ in propriety and sense, which as is afore said) differ only in sound and language, and in meaning be in deed all one, specially in the Scriptures and matters of Religion. And our Images also have been, and be, and if they be publicly suffered in Churches and Temples, ever will be also worshipped, and so Idolatry committed to them, as in the last part of this Homily shall at large be declared and proved. Wherefore our Images in Tem ples and Churches, be in deed none other but Idols, as unto the which Idolatry hath been, is, and ever will be committed.

Almighty GOD, to the intent his most holy Name should be had in honour, and evermore be magnified of the people, commandeth that no man should take his Name vainly in his mouth, threatening punishment unto him that irreverently abuseth it by swearing, forswearing, andblasphemy. To the intent therefore that this commandment may be the better known and kept, it shall bee declared unto you, both how it is lawful for Christian people to swear, and also what peril and danger it is vainly to swear, or to be forsworn.

Unto a Christian man, there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable, than the knowledge of Holy Scripture; forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true word, setting forth his glory, and also man’s duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine, necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that is, or may be, drawn out of that fountain and well of truth. Therefore, as many as be desirous to enter into the right and perfect way unto God, must apply their minds to know Holy Scripture; without the which, they can neither sufficiently known God and his will, neither their office and duty. And as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat to them that be hungry; so is the reading, hearing, searching, and studying of Holy Scripture, to them that be desirous to know God, or themselves, and to do his will. And their stomachs only do loathe and abhor the heavenly knowledge and food of God’s word, that be so drowned in worldly vanities, that they neither saviour God, nor any godliness: for that is the cause why they desire such vanities, rather than the true knowledge of God. As they that are sick of an ague, whatsoever they eat and drink, though it be never so pleasant, yet it is as bitter to them as wormwood; not for the bitterness of the meat, but for the corrupt and bitter humour that is in their own tongue and mouth; even is the sweetness of God’s word bitter, not of itself, but only unto them that have their minds corrupted with long custom of sin and love of this world.

Of all things that be good to be taught unto Christian people, there is nothing more necessary to be spoken of, and daily called upon, then charity: as well for that all manner of works of righteousness be contained in it, as also that the decay thereof is the ruin or fall of the world, the banishment of virtue, and the cause of all vice. And for so much as almost every man, maketh and frameth to himself charity after his own appetite, and how detestable soever his life be, both unto God and man, yet he persuadeth himself still that he hath charity: therefore you shall hear now a true and plain description or setting forth of charity, not of men’s imagination, but of the very words and example of our Saviour Jesus Christ. In which description or setting forth, every man (as it were in a glass) may consider himself, and see plainly without error, whether he be in the true charity, or not.

Among all the creatures that God made in the beginning of the world most excellent and wonderful in their kind, there was none (as the Scripture beareth witness) to be compared almost in any point unto man, who as well in body and soul exceeded all other no less, then the Sun in brightness and light exceedeth every small and little star in the firmament. He was made according to the image and similitude of God, he was endued with all kind of heavenly gifts, he had no spot of uncleanness in him, he was found and perfect in all parts, both outwardly and inwardly, his reason was incorrupt, his understanding was pure and good, his will was obedient and godly, he was made altogether like unto God, in righteousness, in holiness, in wisdom, in truth, to be short in all kind of perfection.

In the last Sermon was declared unto you, what the lively and true faith of a Christian man is, that it causeth not a man to be idle, but to be occupied in bringing forth good works, as occasion serveth.

Of our going from God, the wise man saith, that pride was the first beginning: for by it mans heart was turned from God his maker. For pride (saith he) is the fountain of all sin: he that hath it, shall be full of cursings, and at the end it shall overthrow him. (Ecclus 10) And as by pride and sin we go from God, so shall God and all goodness with him go from us. And the Prophet Hosea doth plainly affirm (Hos 5), that they which go a way still from God by vicious living, and yet would go about to pacify him otherwise by sacrifice, and entertain him thereby, they labour in vain. For, notwithstanding all their sacrifice, yet he goeth still away from them. For so much (saith the Prophet) as they do not apply their minds to return to God, although they go about with whole flocks and herds to seek the Lord, yet they shall not find him: for he is gone away from them.

A Sermon of the Misery of all Mankind and of his Condemnation to Death Everlasting, by his own Sin.