HOMILY ON THE FEAR OF DEATH
AN EXHORTATION against the feare of Death.
IT is not to bee maruelled that worldly men doe feare to die. For death depriueth them of all worldly honors, riches, and possessions, in the fruition whereof, the worldly man counteth himselfe happy, so long as hee may enioy them as his owne pleasure: and otherwise, if he bee dispossessed of the same, without hope of recouery, then he can none otherwise thinke of himselfe, but that hee is vnhappy, because he hath lost his worldly ioy and pleasure. Alas thinketh this carnall man, shall I now depart for euer from all my honours, all my treasure, from my countrie, friends, riches, possessions, and worldly pleasures, which are my ioy and heartes delight? Alas that euer that day shall come, when all these I must bid farewell at once, and neuer to enioy any of them after. Wherefore it is not without great cause spoken of the Wise man, O death, how bitter and sowre is the remembrance of thee to a man that liueth in peace and prosperitie in his substance, to a man liuing at ease, leading his life after his owne minde without trouble, and is therewithall well pampered and fedde (Ecclesiasticus 41.1)? There bee other men, whom this world doeth not so greatly laugh vpon, but rather vexe and oppresse with pouertie, sickenesse, or some other aduersitie, yet they doe feare death, partly because the flesh abhorreth naturally his owne sorrowfull dissolution, which death doeth threaten vnto them, and partly by reason of sickenesses and painefull diseases, which be most strong pangues and agonies in the flesh, and vse commonly to come to sicke men before death, or at the least accompanie death, whensoeuer it commeth.
Although these two causes seeme great and weightie to a worldly man, whereupon hee is mooued to feare death, yet there is an other cause much greater then any of these afore rehearsed, for which indeede he hath iust cause to feare death, and that is the state and condition wherevnto at the last end death bringeth all them that haue their hearts fixed vpon this world, without repentance and amendment. This state and condition is called the second death, which vnto all such shall ensue after this bodily death. And this is that death, which indeed ought to be dread and feared: for it is an euerlasting losse without remedy of the grace and fauour of GOD, and of euerlasting ioy, pleasure, and felicitie. And it is not onely the losse for euer of all these eternall pleasures, but also it is the condemnation both of body and soule (without either appellation, or hope of redemption) vnto euerlasting paines in hell. Vnto this state death sent the vnmercifull and the vngodly rich man (that Luke speaketh of in his Gospel, Luke 16.19-23) who liuing in all wealth and pleasure in this world, and cherishing himselfe dayly with dainty fare, and gorgious apparell, despised poore Lazarus that lay pitifull at his gate, miserably plagued and full of sores, and also grieuously pined with hunger. Both these two were arrested of death, which sent Lazarus the poore miserable man by Angels anon vnto Abraham's bosome, a place of rest, pleasure, and consolation: but the vnmercifull rich man descended downe into hell, and being in torments, he cryed for comfort, complaining of the intolerable paine that he suffered in that flame of fire, but it was too late. So vnto this place bodily death sendeth all them that in this world haue their ioy and felicity, all them that in this world be vnfaithfull vnto GOD, and vncharitable vnto their neighbours, so dying without repentance and hope of GOD'S mercy. Wherefore it is no maruaile, that the worldly man feareth death, for hee hath much more cause so to doe, then he himselfe doeth consider.
The first. Thus wee see three causes why worldly men feare death. One, because they shall loose thereby their worldly honours, riches, possessions, and all their hearts desires:
Second. Another, because of the painefull diseases, and bitter pangs, which commonly men suffer, either before, or at the time of death:
Third. but the chiefe cause aboue all other, is the dread of the miserable state of eternall damnation both of body and soule, which they feare shall follow, after their departing from the worldly pleasures of this present life.
For these causes be all mortall men, (which be giuen to the loue of this world) both in feare, and state of death, through sin (as the holy Apostle saith, Hebrews 2.15) so long as they liue here in this world: But (euerlasting thankes be to Almightie GOD for euer) there is neuer a one of all these causes, no nor yet them altogether, that can make a true Christian man afraid to die (who is the very member of Christ, the Temple of the holy Ghost, 1 Corinthians 3.16, the sonne of God, and the very inheritour of the euerlasting kingdome of heauen:) but plainely contrary, hee conceiueth great and many causes vndoubtedly grounded vpon the infallible and euerlasting trueth of the word of GOD, which mooueth him not onely to put away the feare of bodily death, but also for the manifold benefits and singular commodities which ensue vnto euery faithfull person by reason of the same, to wish, desire, and long heartily for it. For death shall bee to him no death at all, but a very deliuerance from death, from all paines, cares, and sorrowes, miseries, and wretchednesse of this world, and the very entry into rest, and a beginning of euerlasting ioy, a tasting of heauenly pleasures, so great, that neither tongue is able to expresse, neither eye to see, nor eare to heare them: nor any earthly mans heart to conceiue them. So exceeding great benefits they be, which GOD our heauenly Father by his meere mercy, and for the loue of his Sonne Iesus Christ, hath laid vp in store, and prepared for them that humbly submit themselues to GOD'S, and euermore vnfainedly loue him from the bottome of their hearts. And wee ought to beleeue that death being slaine by Christ, cannot keepe any man that stedfastly trusteth in Christ, vnder his perpetuall tyrranie and subiection: but that hee shall rise from death againe vnto glory at the last day, appointed by Almightie GOD, like as Christ our head did rise againe, according to GOD'S appointment, the thirde day. For S. Augustine saith, The head going before, the members trust to follow and come after. And S. Paul sayth, If Christ be risen from the dead, we shall rise also from the same. And to comfort all Christian persons herein, holy Scripture calleth this bodily death a sleepe, wherein mannes senses be (as it were) taken from him for a season, and yet when hee awaketh, he is more fresh then he was when he went to bed. So although we haue our soules separated from our bodies for a season, yet at the generall Resurrection we shall be more fresh, beautifull, and perfect then we be now. For now we be mortall, then shall we be immortall: now infected with diuers infirmities, then clearely void of all mortall infirmities: now we be subiect to all carnall desires, then we shall be all Spirituall, desiring nothing but GOD'S glory, and things eternall. Thus is this bodily death a doore or entring vnto life, and therefore not so much dreadfull (if it be rightly considered) as it is comfortable, not a mischiefe, but a remedy for all mischiefe, no enemy, but a friend, not a cruell tyrant, but a gentle guide leading vs not to mortality, but to immortality, not to sorrow and paine, but to ioy and pleasure, and that to endure for euer, if it be thankefully taken and accepted as GOD'S messenger, and patiently borne of vs for Christ's loue, that suffered most painefull death for our loue, to redeeme vs from death eternall. According hereunto S. Paul saith, our life is hid with Christ in GOD (Colossians 3.3-4): but when our life shall appeare, then shall we also appeare with him in glory. Why then shall we feare to die, considering the manifold and comfortable promises of the Gospel, and of holy Scriptures? GOD the Father hath giuen vs euerlasting life (saith S. Iohn) to you that beleeue in the Name of the Sonne of GOD, that you may know that you haue euerlasting life (1 John 5.11-13) and that you doe beleeue vpon the Name of the Sonne of GOD. And our Sauiour Christ saith, He that beleeueth in me hath life euerlasting, and I will raise him from death to life at the last day (John 6.40): S. Paul also saith, that Christ is ordained and made of GOD our righteousnesse, or holinesse and redemption, to the intent that he which will glory should glory in the Lord ( 1 Corinthians 1.30-31). S. Paul did contemne and set little by all other things, esteeming them as doung which before he had in very great price, that he might be found in Christ, to haue euerlasting life, true holinesse, righteousnesse, and redemption (Philippians 3.8-9). Finally, S. Paul maketh a plaine argument in this wise. If our heauenly Father would not spare his owne naturall Sonne, but did giue him to death for vs: how can it bee, that with him hee should not giue vs all things (Romans 8.32)? Therefore if we haue Christ, then haue we with him, and by him, all good things whatsoeuer wee can in our hearts wish or desire, as victorie ouer death, sinne, and hell: wee haue the fauour of GOD, peace with him, holinesse, wisedome, iustice, power, life, and redemption, wee haue by him perpetuall health, wealth, ioy, and blisse euerlasting.
THE SECOND PART OF THE SERMON AGAINST THE FEARE OF DEATH.
IT hath beene heretofore shewed you, that there be three causes wherefore men doe commonly feare death. First, the sorrowfull departing from worldly goods and pleasures. The second, the feare of the pangs and paines that come with death. Last and principall cause is, the horrible feare of extreame misery, and perpetuall damnation in time to come. And yet none of these three causes troubleth good men, because they stay themselues by true Faith, perfect Charitie, and sure Hope of the endlesse ioy and blisse euerlasting.
All those therefore haue great cause to be full of ioy that be ioyned to Christ with true Faith, stedfast Hope, and perfect Charitie, and not to feare death nor euerlasting damnation. For death cannot depriue them of Iesu Christ, nor any sin can condemne them that are graffed surely in him, which is their onely ioy, treasure, and life. Let vs repent our sinnes, amend our liues, trust in his mercy and satisfaction, and death can neither take him from vs, nor vs from him. For then (as Saint Paul saith) whether we liue or die, we be the Lords own. And againe he saith, Christ did die, and rose againe, because hee should be Lord both of the dead and quicke. Then if we be the Lords owne when we be dead, it must needs follow that such temporall death, not onely cannot harme vs, but also that it shall be much to our profite, and ioyne vs vnto GOD more perfectly. And thereof the Christian heart may surely be certified by the infallible or vndeceiuable trueth of holy Scripture. It is GOD (saith S. Paul) which hath prepared vs vnto immortalitie, and the same is hee which hath giuen vs an earnest of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5.5). Therefore let vs be alwayes of good comfort, for we know that so long as we be in the body, we be (as it were) far from GOD in a strange countrey, subiect to many perils, walking without perfect sight and knowledge of Almightie GOD, only seeing him by Faith in holy Scriptures. But we haue a courage and desire rather to be at home with GOD and our Sauiour Christ, farre from the body, where we may behold his Godhead as he is, face to face, to our euerlasting comfort. These be S. Paul's words in effect, whereby we may perceiue, that the life in this world, is resembled and likened to a Pilgrimage in a strange countrey, farre from GOD, and that death, deliuering vs from our bodies, doth send vs straight home into our owne countrey, and maketh vs to dwell presently with GOD for euer, in euerlasting rest and quietnesse: So that to die, is no losse, but profit and winning to all true Christian people. What lost the theefe that hanged on the Crosse with Christ, by his bodily death? yea, how much did he gaine by it? Did not our Sauiour say vnto him, This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise? And Lazarus that pitifull person, that lay before the rich mans gate, pained with sores, and pined with hunger, did not death highly profit and promote him, which by the ministery of Angels sent him vnto Abraham's bosome, a place of rest, ioy, and heauenly consolation (Luke 16.22)? Let vs thinke none other (good Christian people) but Christ hath prepared and made ready before, the same ioy and felicitie for vs, that he prepared for Lazarus and the theefe. Wherefore, let vs sticke vnto his saluation, and gracious redemption, and beleeue his word, serue him from our hearts, loue and obey him, and whatsoeuer we haue done heretofore contrary to his most holy will, now let vs repent in time, and heereafter study to correct our life: and doubt not, but we shall find him as mercifull vnto vs, as he was either to Lazarus, or to the theefe, whose examples are written in holy Scripture for the comfort of them that be sinners, and subiect to sorrowes, miseries, and calamities in this world, that they should not despaire in GOD'S mercy, but euer trust thereby to haue forgiuenesse of their sinnes, and life euerlasting, as Lazarus and the thiefe had. Thus I trust euery Christian man perceiueth by the infallible or vndeceiueable word of GOD, that bodily death cannot harme nor hinder them that truely beleeue in Christ, but contrarily shall profit and promote the Christian soules, which being truely penitent for their offences depart hence in perfect Charitie, and in sure trust, that GOD is mercifull to them, forgiuing their sinnes, for the merits of Iesus Christ his onely naturall Sonne.
The second cause why some doe feare death. The second cause why some doe feare death, is sore sickenesse and grieuous paines, which partly come before death, and partly accompanie or come with death, whensoeuer it commeth. This feare is the feare of the fraile flesh, and a naturall passion belonging vnto the nature of a mortall man. But true faith in GOD'S promises, and regard of the paines and pangs which Christ vpon the crosse suffered for vs miserable sinners, with consideration of the ioy and euerlasting life to come in heauen, will mitigate and asswage lesse those paines, and moderate or bring into a meane this feare, that it shall neuer bee able to ouerthrow the hearty desire and gladnesse, that the Christian soule hath to be separated from this corrupt body, that it may come to the gracious presence of our Sauiour Iesus Christ. If we beleeue stedfastly the word of GOD, we shall perceiue that such bodily sickenesse, pangs of death, or whatsoeuer dolorous pangs we suffer, either before or with death bee nothing else in Christian men, but the rod of our heauenly and louing Father, wherewith hee mercifully correcteth vs, either to trye and declare the faith of his patient children, that they may bee found laudable, glorious, and honourable in his sight, when Iesus Christ shall be openly shewed to bee the Iudge of all the world, or else to chastice and amend in them whatsoeuer offendeth his Fatherly and gracious goodnesse, lest they should perish euerlastingly. And this his correcting rodde is common to all men that bee truely his. Therefore let vs cast away the burden of sinne that lieth too heauie in our neckes, and returne vnto GOD by true penance and amendment of our liues, let vs with patience runne this course that is appoynted, suffering (for his sake that dyed for our saluation) all sorrowes and pangs of death, and death it selfe ioyfully, when GOD sendeth it to vs, hauing our eyes fixed and set fast euer vpon the head and Captaine of our faith, Iesus Christ: who (considering the ioy that hee should come vnto) cared neither for the shame nor paine of death, but willingly conforming and framing his will to his Fathers will, most patiently suffered the most shamefull and painefull death of the crosse, being innocent and harmelesse (Philippians 2.8). And now therefore hee is exalted in heauen, and euerlastingly sitteth on the right hand of the throne of GOD the Father. Let vs call to our remembrance therefore the life and ioyes of heauen, that are kept for all them that patiently doe suffer here with Christ, and consider that Christ suffered all his painefull passion by sinners, and for sinners: and then wee shall with patience, and the more easily suffer such sorrowes and paines, when they come. Let vs not set at light the chastising of the Lord, nor grudge at him, nor fall from him, when of him wee bee corrected: for the Lord loueth them whom he doeth correct, and beateth euery one whom he taketh to his childe. What childe is that (sayth S. Paul) whom the Father loueth, and doeth not chastice? If ye be without GOD'S correction (which all his welbeloued and true children haue) then bee you but bastards, smally regarded of GOD, and not his true children (Hebrews 12.6, 8).
Therefore seeing that when we haue in earth our carnall fathers to be our correctours, we doe feare them, and reuerently take their correction: shall we not much more be in subiection to GOD our spirituall Father, by whom we shall haue euerlasting life? And our carnall fathers sometime correct vs euen as it pleaseth them, without cause: but this Father iustly correcteth vs, either for our sinne, to the intent wee should amend, or for our commoditie and wealth, to make vs thereby partakers of his holinesse. Furthermore, all correction which GOD sendeth vs in this present time, seemeth to haue no ioy and comfort, but sorrow and paine, yet it bringeth with it a taste of GOD'S mercy and goodnesse, towards them that be so corrected, and a sure hope of GOD'S euerlasting consolation in heauen. If then these sorrowes, diseases, and sickenesses, and also death it selfe bee nothing els but our heauenly Fathers rod, whereby hee certifieth vs of his loue and gracious fauour, whereby hee trieth and purifieth vs, whereby hee giueth vnto vs holinesse, and certifieth vs that we be his children, and he our mercifull Father: shall not wee then with all humilitie, as obedient and louing children, ioyfully kisse our heauenly Fathers rod, and euer say in our heart, with our Sauiour Iesus Christ, Father, if this anguish and sorrow which I feele, and death which I see approch may not passe, but that thy will is that I must suffer them, thy will bee done.
THE THIRD PART OF THE SERMON OF THE FEARE OF DEATH.
IN this Sermon against the feare of death, two causes were declared, which commonly mooue worldly men to be in much feare to die, and yet the same do nothing trouble the faithfull and good liuers when death commeth, but rather giueth them occasion greatly to reioyce, considering that they shalbe deliuered from the sorrow and miserie of this world, and be brought to the great ioy and felicitie of the life to come.
The third cause why death is to be feared. Now the third and speciall cause why death in deede is to bee feared, is the miserable state of the worldly and vngodly people after their death: but this is no cause at all, why the godly and faithfull people should feare death, but rather contrariwise, their godly conuersation in this life, and beliefe in Christ, cleauing continually to his mercies, should make them to long sore after that life, that remaineth for them vndoubtedly after this bodily death. Of this immortall state, (after this transitory life) where wee shall liue euermore in the presence of GOD, in ioy, and rest, after victorie ouer all sicknesse, sorrowes, sinne, and death: there be many plaine places of holy Scripture, which confirme the weake conscience against the feare of all such dolours, sickenesses, sinne, and bodily death, to asswage such trembling and vngodly feare, and to encourage vs with comfort and hope of a blessed state after this life. S. Paul wisheth vnto the Ephesians, that GOD the Father of glory would giue vnto them the Spirit of wisedome and reuelation, that the eyes of their hearts might giue life to know him, and to perceiue how great things he had called them vnto, and how rich inheritance hee hath prepared after this life, for them that pertaine vnto him (Ephesians 1.17-18). And S. Paul himselfe declareth the desire of his heart, which was to bee dissolued and loosed from his body, and to be with Christ, which (as hee said, was much better for him, although to them it was more necessary that hee should liue, which he refused not, for their sakes, Philippians 1.23-24). Euen like as S. Martin said, Good Lord, if I be necessary for thy people to doe good vnto them, I will refuse no labour: but els for mine owne selfe, I beseech thee to take my soule.
Now the holy Fathers of the olde law, and all faithfull and righteous men which departed before our Sauiour Christes ascension into heauen, did by death depart from troubles vnto rest, from the handes of their enemies, into the handes of GOD, from sorrowes and sicknesses, vnto ioyfull refreshing in Abraham's bosome, a place of all comfort and consolation, as the Scriptures doe plainely by manifest words testifie. The booke of wisedome saith, that the righteous mens soules bee in the hand of GOD, and no torment shall touch them (Wisdom 3.1, 3). They seemed to the eyes of foolish men to die, and their death was counted miserable, and their departing out of this world wretched, but they be in rest. And an other place sayth, That the righteous shall liue for euer, and their reward is with the Lord, and their mindes bee with GOD, who is aboue all: therefore they shall receiue a glorious Kingdome, and a beautifull crowne at the Lords hand. And in another place the same booke sayth, The righteous, though hee bee preuented with sodaine death, neuerthelesse hee shall bee there where hee shall bee refreshed (Wisdom 4.7). Of Abraham's bosome, Christs wordes bee so plaine, that a Christian man needeth no more proofe of it. Now then, if this were the state of the holy Fathers and righteous men, before the comming of our Sauiour, and before hee was glorified: how much more then ought all we to haue a stedfast faith, and a sure hope of this blessed state & condition, after our death? seeing that our Sauiour now hath performed the whole worke of our redemption, and is gloriously ascended into heauen, to prepare our dwelling places with him, and said vnto his Father, Father, I will that where I am, my seruants shall bee with mee (John 17.24). And we know, that whatsoeuer Christ will, his Father will the same, wherefore it cannot bee, but if wee bee his faithfull seruants, our soules shall be with him, after our departure out of this present life. Saint Steuen when he was stoned to death, euen in the middest of his torments, what was his minde most vpon? when hee was full of the holy Ghost (sayth holy Scripture) hauing his eyes lifted vp into heauen, hee saw the glory of GOD, and Iesus standing on the right hand of GOD. The which trueth, after hee had confessed boldly before the enemies of Christ, they drew him out of the Citie, and there they stoned him, who cryed vnto GOD, saying, Lord Iesu Christ, take my spirit (Acts 7.55, 59). And doeth not our Sauiour say plainely in Saint Iohns Gospell, Verily, verily I say vnto you, Hee that heareth my word, and beleeueth on him that sent mee, hath euerlasting life, and commeth not into iudgement, but shall passe from death to life (John 5.24)? Shall wee not then thinke that death to bee precious, by the which we passe vnto life?
Therefore it is a true saying of the Prophet, The death of the holy and righteous men, is precious in the Lords sight (Psalms 116.15). Holy Simeon, after that he had his hearts desire in seeing our Sauiour, that he euer longed for in his life, hee imbraced, and tooke him in his armes, and sayd, Now Lord, let mee depart in peace, for mine eyes haue beholden that Sauiour, which thou hast prepared for all Nations (Luke 2.29, 31).
It is trueth therefore, that the death of the righteous is called peace, and the benefite of the Lord, as the Church sayth, in the name of the righteous departed out of this world: My soule turne thee to thy rest, for the Lord hath beene good to thee, and rewarded thee (Psalms 116.7). And wee see by holy Scripture, and other ancient hystories of Martyrs, that the holy, faithfull, and righteous, euer since Christes ascension, or going vp, in their death did not doubt, but that they went to Christ in Spirit, which is our life, health, wealth, and saluation. Iohn in his holy Reuelation, saw an hundred forty and foure thousand virgins and innocentes, of whom he sayd, These follow the Lambe Iesu Christ wheresoeuer hee goeth. And shortly after in the same place hee sayth, I heard a voyce from heauen, saying vnto mee, Write, happy and blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord: from henceforth (surely sayth the spirit) they shall rest from their paines and labours, for their works doe follow them (Revelations 14.4, 13): so that then they shall reape with ioy and comfort, that which they sowed with labours and paines.
They that sowe in the spirit, of the spirit shall reape euerlasting life. Let vs therefore neuer bee weary of well doing, for when the time of reaping or reward commeth, wee shall reape without any wearinesse euerlasting ioy. Therefore while wee haue time (as Saint Paul exhorteth vs) let vs doe good to all men (Galatians 6.8-10), and not lay vp our treasures in earth, where rust and mothes corrupt it, which rust (Matthew 6.19) (as Saint Iames saith) shall beare witnesse against vs at the great day, condemne vs, and shall (like most burning fire) torment our flesh (James 5.3). Let vs beware therefore (as wee tender our owne wealth) that wee bee not in the number of those miserable, couetous, and wretched men, which Saint Iames biddeth mourne and lament for their greedy gathering, and vngodly keeping of goods. Let vs bee wise in time, and learne to follow the wise example of the wicked Steward. Let vs so wisely order our goods and possessions, committed vnto vs here by GOD for a season, that wee may truely heare and obey this commandement of our Sauiour Christ: I say vnto you (saith hee) make you friendes of the wicked Mammon, that they may receiue you into euerlasting tabernacles, or dwellings (Luke 16.9). Riches bee called wicked, because the world abuseth them vnto all wickednesse, which are otherwise the good gifts of GOD, and the instruments wherby GOD'S seruants doe truely serue him in vsing of the same. Hee commanded them not to make them rich friends, to get high dignities and worldly promotions, to giue great gifts to rich men that haue no neede thereof, but to make them friends of poore and miserable men, vnto whom, whatsoeuer they giue, Christ taketh it as giuen to himselfe. And to these friends Christ in the Gospel giueth so great honour and preheminence, that he sayth, They shall receiue them that doe good vnto them into euerlasting houses: not that men shall bee our rewarders for our well doing, but that Christ will reward vs, and take it to bee done vnto himselfe, whatsoeuer is done to such friends.
Thus making poore wretches our friends, wee make our Sauiour Christ our friend, whose members they are: whose misery as hee taketh for his owne misery, so their releefe, succour, and helpe, he taketh for his succour, releefe, and helpe, and will as much thanke vs and reward vs for our goodnesse shewed to them, as if he himselfe had receiued like benefit at our hands, as he witnesseth in the Gospell, saying, Whatsoeuer yee haue done to any of these simple persons, which doe beleeue in mee, that haue ye done to my selfe (Matthew 25.40). Therefore let vs diligently foresee, that our fayth and hope which we haue conceiued in Almighty GOD, and in our Sauior Christ waxe not faint, nor that the loue which we beare in hand to beare to him, waxe not cold: but let vs study dayly and diligently to shew our selues to be the true honourers and louers of GOD, by keeping of his commandements, by doing of good deedes vnto our needy neighbours, releeuing by all meanes that wee can their pouerty with our abundance and plenty, their ignorance with our wisedome and learning, and comfort their weakenesse with our strength and authority, calling all men backe from euill doing by godly counsaile and good example, perseuering still in well doing, so long as we liue: so shall wee not neede to feare death for any of those three causes afore mentioned, nor yet for any other cause that can be imagined: but contrarily, considering the manifold sicknesses, troubles, and sorrowes of this present life, the dangers of this perillous pilgrimage, and the great encumbrance which our Spirit hath by this sinfull flesh and frayle body subiect to death: considering also the manifold sorrowes and dangerous deceits of this world on euery side, the intolerable pride, couetousnesse, and lechery, in time of prosperity, the impatient murmuring of them that bee worldly, in time of aduersity, which cease not to withdraw and plucke vs from GOD, our Sauiour Christ, from our life, wealth, or euerlasting ioy and saluation: considering also the innumerable assaults of our Ghostly enemy the Diuell, with all his fierie darts of ambition, pride, lechery, vaine glory, enuie, malice, detraction, or backbiting, with other his innumerable deceits, engines, and snares, whereby he goeth busily about to catch all men vnder his dominion, euer like a roaring Lion, by all meanes searching whom hee may deuour (1 Peter 5.8). The faythfull Christian man which considereth all these miseries, perils, and incommodities (whereunto he is subiect so long as he heere liueth vpon earth) and on the other part considereth that blessed and comfortable state of the heauenly life to come, and the sweet condition of them that depart in the Lord, how they are deliuered from the continuall encumbrances of their mortall and sinnefull body, from all the malice, crafts, and deceits of this world, from all the assaults of their Ghostly enemy the Diuell, to liue in peace, rest, and endlesse quietnesse, to liue in the fellowship of innumerable Angels, and with the congregation of perfect iust men, as Patriarches, Prophets, Martyrs, and Confessours, and finally vnto the presence of Almighty GOD, and our Sauiour Iesus Christ. Hee that doeth consider all these things, and beleeueth them assuredly, as they are to be beleeued, euen from the bottome of his heart, being established in GOD in this true fayth, hauing a quiet conscience in Christ, a firme hope, and assured trust in GOD'S mercy, through the merits of Iesu Christ to obtayne this quietnesse, rest, and euerlasting ioy, shall not onely bee without feare of bodily death, when it commeth, but certainely (as S. Paul did) so shall hee gladly (according to GOD'S will, and when it pleaseth GOD to call him out of this life) greatly desire in his heart, that he may be rid from all these occasions of euill, and liue euer to GOD'S pleasure (Philippians 1.23), in perfect obedience of his will, with our Sauiour Iesus Christ, to whose gracious presence the Lord of his infinite mercy and grace bring vs, to raigne with him in life euerlasting: to whom with our heauenly Father, and the holy Ghost, be glory in worldes without end. Amen.
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