HOMILY ON THE COMING DOWN OF THE HOLY GHOST FOR WHITSUNDAY
AN HOMILIE CONcerning the comming downe of the holy Ghost,
and the manifold gifts of the same.
BEfore wee come to the declaration of the great & manifold gifts, of the holy Ghost, wherewith the Church of GOD hath beene euermore replenished, it shall first be needfull, briefly to expound vnto you, whereof this feast of Pentecost or Whitsuntide had his first beginning. You shall therefore vnderstand, that the Feast of Pentecost, was alwayes kept the fiftieth day after Easter, a great and solemne feast among the Iewes, wherein they did celebrate the memoriall of their deliuerance out of Egypt, and also the memorial of the publishing of the Law, which was giuen vnto them in the Mount Sinai vpon that day. It was first ordained and commanded to be kept holy, not by any mortall man, but by the mouth of the Lord himselfe, as wee read in Leuit.23. & Deut.16. The place appointed for the obseruation thereof, was Hierusalem, where was great recourse of people from all parts of the world, as may well appeare in the second Chapter of the Actes, wherein mention is made of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, inhabitours of Mesopotamia, inhabitours if Iurie, Capadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphilia, and diuers other such places, whereby we may also partly gather, what great and royall solemnitie was commonly vsed in that Feast. Now as this was giuen in commandement to the Iewes in the olde law (1 Corinthians 10), so did our Sauiour Christ, as it were, confirme the same in the time of the Gospel, ordaining (after a sort) a new Pentecost for his Disciples, namely when he sent downe the holy Ghost visibly in forme of clouen tongues like fire, and gaue them power to speake in such sort, that euery one might heare them, & also vnderstand them in his own language. Which miracle, that it might bee had in perpetuall remembrance, the Church hath thought good to solemnize and keepe holy this day, commonly called Whitsunday. And here is to be noted, that as the Law was giuen to the Iewes in the mount Sinai, the fiftieth day after Easter: so was the preaching of the Gospel, through the mighty power of the holy Ghost, giuen to the Apostles in the mount Sion, the fiftieth day after Easter.
And hereof this feast hath his name, to be called Pentecost, euen of the number of the dayes. For (as Saint Luke writeth in the Actes of the Apostles) When fiftie dayes were come to an end, the Disciples being all together with one accord in one place, the holy Ghost came suddenly among them, and sate vpon eche of them, like as it had bene clouen tongues of fire. Which thing was vndoubtedly done, to teach the Apostles and all other men, that it is he which giueth eloquence and vtterance in preaching the Gospel, that it is hee which openeth the mouth to declare the mighty workes of GOD, that it is he which ingendreth a burning zeale towards GODS word, and giueth all men a tongue, yea a fierie tongue, so that they may boldly and chearefully professe the trueth in the face of the whole world, as Esay was indued with this spirit. The Lord (saith Esay) gaue mee a learned and a skilfull tongue, so that I might know to rayse vp them, that are fallen, with the word (Isaiah 50.4). The Prophet Dauid cryeth to haue this gift, saying, Open thou my lippes, O Lord, and my mouth shall shew foorth thy prayse (Psalms 51.15). For our Sauiour Christ also in the Gospel saith to his Disciples, It is not you that speake, but the spirite of your Father which is within you (Matthew 10.20). All which testimonies of holy Scripture, doe sufficiently declare, that the mysterie in the tongues, betokeneth the preaching of the Gospel, and the open confession of the Christian faith, in all them that are possessed with the holy Ghost. So that if any man bee a dumbe Christian, not professing his faith openly, but cloking and colouring himselfe for feare of danger in time to come, he giueth men occasion, iustly, and with good conscience to doubt, lest he haue not the grace of the holy Ghost within him, because hee is tongue-tyed, and doth not speake. Thus then haue ye heard the first institution of this feast of Pentecost or Whitsuntide, aswell in the olde Law, among the Iewes, as also in the time of the Gospel among the Christians.
Now let vs consider what the holy Ghost is, and how consequently he worketh his miraculous workes towards mankinde. The holy Ghost is a spirituall and diuine substance, the third person in the deitie, distinct from the Father and the Sonne, and yet proceeding from them both, which thing to bee true, both the Creede of Athanasius beareth witnesse, and may bee also easily prooued by most plaine testimonies of GODS holy word. When Christ was baptized of Iohn in the riuer, we reade that the holy Ghost came downe in forme of a Doue, and that the Father thundered from heauen, saying, This is my deare and welbeloued Sonne, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3.17). Where note three diuers and distinct persons, the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost, which all notwithstanding are not three GODS, but one GOD. Likewise, when Christ did first institute and ordaine the Sacrament of Baptisme, hee sent his Disciples into the whole world, willing them to baptize all Nations, in the Name of the Father, the Sonne, and the holy Ghost (Matthew 28.19). And in another place he saith: I will pray vnto my Father, and hee shall giue you another comforter (John 14.16). Againe, when the comforter shall come, whom I will send from my Father, &c (John 15.26). These and such other places of the new Testament, doe so plainely and euidently confirme the distinction of the holy Ghost, from the other persons in the Trinitie, that no man possibly can doubt thereof, vnlesse hee will blaspheme the euerlasting trueth of GODS word. As for his proper nature and substance, it is altogether one with GOD the Father, and GOD the Sonne, that is to say, Spirituall, Eternall, Vncreated, Incomprehensible, Almightie, to be short, he is euen GOD and Lord euerlasting. Therefore hee is called the Spirit of the Father, therefore he is said to proceed from the Father, and the Sonne, and therefore hee was equally ioyned with them in the Commission that the Apostles had to Baptize all Nations. But that this may appeare more sensibly to the eyes of all men, it shalbe requisite to come to the other part, namely to the wonderfull and heauenly workes of the holy Ghost, which plainely declare vnto the world his mighty and diuine power. First it is euident, that he did wonderfully gouerne & direct the hearts of the Patriarkes, and Prophets, in olde time, illuminating their mindes with the knowledge of the true Messias, and giuing them vtterance to prophesie of things that should come to passe long time after. For as Saint Peter witnesseth, the prophesie came not in old time by the will of man: But the holy men of GOD spake, as they were mooued inwardly by the holy Ghost (2 Peter 1.21). And of Zacharie the high Priest, it is sayd in the Gospel, that hee being full of the holy Ghost, prophesied and praysed GOD (Luke 1.67). So did also Simeon, Anna, Marie, and diuers other, to the great wonder and admiration of all men. Moreouer, was not the holy Ghost a mightie worker in the Conception and the Natiuitie of Christ our Sauiour? Saint Matthew saith, that the blessed virgin was found with child of the holy Ghost, before Ioseph and she came together (Matthew 1.18). And the Angell Gabriel did expressely tell her, that it should come to passe, saying: The holy Ghost shall come vpon thee, and the power of the most high shall ouershadow thee (Luke 1.35). A merueilous matter, that a woman should conceiue and beare a childe, without the knowledge of man. But where the holy Ghost worketh, there nothing is vnpossible, as may further also appeare by the inward regeneration and sanctification of mankind. When Christ sayd to Nicodemus, vnlesse a man be borne anew, of water and the spirit, he can not enter into the kingdome of GOD: he was greatly amazed in his mind, and began to reason with Christ, demanding how a man might bee borne which was olde? Can he enter (saith hee) into his mothers wombe againe, and so be borne a new (John 3.4-6)? Beholde a liuely patterne of a fleshly and carnall man. He had little or no intelligence of the holy Ghost, and therefore he goeth bluntly to worke, and asketh how this thing were possible to be true. Whereas otherwise if he had knowen the great power of the holy Ghost in this behalfe, that it is hee which inwardly worketh the regeneration and new birth of mankinde, he would neuer haue meruailed at Christs words, but would rather take occasion thereby to praise and glorifie GOD. For as there are three seuerall and sundry persons in the Dietie: So haue they three seuerall and sundry offices proper vnto each of them.
The Father to create, the Sonne to redeeme, the holy Ghost to sanctifie and regenerate. Whereof the last, the more it is hidde from our vnderstanding, the more it ought to mooue all men to wonder at the secret and mightie working of GODS holy Spirit which is within vs. For it is the holy Ghost, and no other thing, that doth quicken the minds of men, stirring vp good and godly motions in their hearts, which are agreeable to the will and commandement of GOD, such as otherwise of their owne crooked and peruerse nature they should neuer haue. That which is borne of the Spirit, is Spirit (John 3.6). As who should say: Man of his owne nature is fleshly and carnall, corrupt and naught, sinfull and disobedient to GOD, without any sparke of goodnesse in him, without any vertuous or godly motion, onely giuen to euill thoughts and wicked deedes. As for the workes of the Spirit, the fruits of Faith, charitable and godly motions, if he haue any at all in him, they proceed onely of the holy Ghost, who is the onely worker of our Sanctification, and maketh vs new men in Christ Iesus. Did not GODS holy Spirit miraculously worke in the child Dauid, when of a poore Shepheard, he became a Princely Prophet (1 Samuel 17.12)? Did not GODS holy Spirit miraculously worke in Matthew, sitting at the receit of custome, when of a proude Publicane, he became an humble and lowly Euangelist (Matthew 9.9)? And who can choose but marueile to consider, that Peter should become of a simple fisher, a chiefe and mightie Apostle? Paul of a cruell and bloodie persecutour, a faithfull Disciple of Christ, to teach the Gentiles. Such is the power of the holy Ghost, to regenerate men, and as it were to bring them foorth a new, so that they shall be nothing like the men that they were before. Neither doeth he thinke it sufficient inwardly to worke the spirituall and new birth of man, vnlesse hee doe also dwell and abide in him. Know ye not (saith Saint Paul) that ye are the Temple of GOD, and that his Spirit dwelleth in you (1 Corinthians 3.16)? Know yee not that your bodies are the Temples of the holy Ghost, which is within you (1 Corinthians 6.19)? Againe he saith, You are not in the flesh, but in the spirit (Romans 8.9). For why? The Spirit of GOD dwelleth in you. To this agreeth the doctrine of S. Iohn, writing on this wise, The annointing which ye haue receiued (he meaneth the holy Ghost) dwelleth in you (1 John 2.27). And the doctrine of Peter saith the same, who hath these words: The spirit of glory, and of GOD, resteth vpon you (1 Peter 4.14). O what comfort is this to the heart of a true Christian, to thinke that the holy Ghost dwelleth within him? If GOD be with vs (as the Apostle saith) who can be against vs (Romans 8.31)? O but how shal I know that the holy Ghost is within me! Some man perchance will say, forsooth, as the tree is knowen by his fruit, so is also the holy Ghost. The fruits of the holy Ghost (according to the mind of S. Paul) are these: Loue, ioy, peace, long suffring, gentlenes, goodnes, faithfulnes, meekenes, temperance, &c. Contrariwise, the deeds of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, vncleannesse, wantonnes, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, debate, emulation, wrath, contention, sedition, heresie, enuy, murder, drunkennes, gluttonie, and such like (Galatians 5.19-23).
Heere is now that glasse, wherein thou must behold thy selfe, and discerne whether thou haue the holy Ghost within thee, or the spirit of the flesh. If thou see that thy workes bee vertuous and good, consonant to the prescript rule of GODS word, sauouring and tasting not of the flesh, but of the spirit, then assure thy selfe that thou art endued with the holy Ghost: Otherwise in thinking well of thy selfe, thou doest nothing els but deceiue thy selfe. The holy Ghost doeth alwayes declare himselfe by his fruitfull and gracious giftes, namely, by the worde of wisedome, by the worde of knowledge, which is the vnderstanding of the Scriptures, by faith, in doing of miracles, by healing them that are diseased, by prophesie, which is the declaration of GODS mysteries, by discerning of spirits, diuersities of tongues, interpretation of tongues, and so foorth. All which giftes, as they proceede from one spirit, and are seuerally giuen to man according to the measurable distribution of the holy Ghost: Euen so doe they bring men, and not without good cause, into a wonderfull admiration of GODS diuine power (1 Corinthians 12.7-11). Who wil not maruaile at that which is written in the Actes of the Apostles, to heare their bolde confession before the Counsell at Ierusalem? And to consider that they went away with ioy and gladnesse, reioycing that they were counted worthy to suffer rebukes and checkes for the Name and faith of Christ Iesus (Acts 5.29, 41 )? This was the mighty worke of the holy Ghost, who because he giueth patience and ioyfulnesse of heart in temptation and affliction, hath therefore worthily obteined this name in holy Scripture, to be called a comforter. Who will not also maruaile to reade the learned and heauenly Sermons of Peter, and the disciples, considering that they were neuer brought vp in schoole of learning, but called euen from their nets, to supply roomes of Apostles? This was likewise the mighty worke of the holy Ghost, who because he doeth instruct the hearts of the simple in the true knowledge of GOD and his worde, is most iustly tearmed by this name and title, to bee the spirit of trueth (John 14.17). Eusebius in his Ecclesiasticall historie, telleth a strange storie of a certaine learned and subtill Philosopher, who being an extreme aduersary to Christ and his doctrine, could by no kinde of learning bee conuerted to the faith, but was able to withstand all the arguments that could bee brought against him, with little, or no labour (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Bk. 11, Chap. 3). At length there started vp a poore simple man of small wit, and lesse knowledge, one that was reputed among the learned as an ideote: And he on GODS name would needes take in hand to dispute with this proud Philosopher. The Bishops and other learned men standing by, were marueilously abashed at the matter, thinking that by his doings they should bee all confounded and put to open shame. Hee notwithstanding goeth on, and beginning in the Name of the Lord Iesus, brought the Philosopher to such point in the ende, contrary to all mens expectation, that hee could not chuse but acknowledge the power of GOD in his wordes, and to giue place to the trueth. Was not this a miraculous worke, that one seely soule of no learning, should doe that which many Bishops of great knowledge and vnderstanding were neuer able to bring to passe? So true is the saying of Bede: Where the holy Ghost doth instruct and teach, there is no delay at all in learning. Much more might here be spoken of the manifold giftes and graces of the holy Ghost, most excellent and wonderfull in our eyes, but to make a long discourse through all, the shortnesse of time will not serue. And seeing yee haue heard the chiefest, ye may easily conceiue and iudge of the rest. Now were it expedient to discusse this question: Whether all they which boast and bragge that they haue the holy Ghost, doe truely chalenge this vnto themselues, or no? Which doubt, because it is necessary and profitable, shall (GOD willing) be dissolued in the next part of this Homilie. In the meane season, let vs (as we are most bound) giue heartie thankes to GOD the Father, and his Sonne Iesus Christ, for sending downe his comforter, into the world, humbly beseeching him, so to worke in our hearts by the power of this holy Spirit, that wee being regenerate and newly borne againe in all goodnesse, righteousnesse, sobrietie and trueth, may in the end be made partakers of euerlasting life in his heauenly kingdome, through Iesus Christ our LORD and Sauiour, Amen.
The second part of the Homily concerning the holy Ghost, dissoluing this doubt: whether all men rightly challenge to themselues the holy Ghost, or no.
OUR Sauiour Christ departing out of the world vnto his Father, promised his Disciples to send downe another comforter, that should continue with them for euer, and direct them into all trueth (John 14.16, John 15.26). Which thing to bee faythfully and truly performed, the Scriptures doe sufficiently beare witnesse. Neither must wee thinke that this comforter was either promised, or else giuen, onely to the Apostles, but also to the vniuersall Church of Christ, dispersed through the whole world. For vnlesse the holy Ghost had beene alwayes present, gouerning and preseruing the Church from the beginning, it could neuer haue sustayned so many and great brunts of affliction and persecution, with so little damage & harme as it hath. And the words of Christ are most plaine in this behalfe, saying, that the spirit of truth should abide with them for euer, that he would be with them alwayes (he meaneth by grace, vertue, and power) euen to the worlds end (John 14.17, Matthew 28.20).
Also in the prayer that he made to his Father a little before his death, he maketh intercession, not onely for himselfe and his Apostles, but indifferently for all them that should beleeue in him through their words, that is to wit, for his whole Church (John 17.20-21). Againe, Saint Paul sayth: If any man haue not the spirit of Christ, the same is not his (Romans 8.9). Also in the words following, we haue receiued the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father (Romans 8.15). Heereby then it is euident and plaine to all men, that the holy Ghost was giuen, not only to the Apostles, but also to the whole body of Christs congregation, although not in like forme and maiestie as hee came downe at the feast of Pentecost. But now heerein standeth the controuersie: Whether all men doe iustly arrogate to themselues the holy Ghost, or no? The Bishops of Rome haue for a long time made a sore challenge thereunto, reasoning for themselues after this sort. The holy Ghost (say they) was promised to the Church, & neuer forsaketh the Church. But we are the chiefe heads, & the principal part of the Church, therefore we haue the holy Ghost for euer, and whatsoeuer things we decree, are vndoubted verities, & oracles of the holy Ghost. That ye may perceiue the weakenesse of this argument. It is needefull to teach you, first what the true Church of Christ is, & then to conferre the Church of Rome therewith, to discerne how well they agree together. The true Church is an vniuersall congregation or fellowshippe of GODS faithfull and elect people, built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Iesus Christ himselfe being the head corner stone (Ephesians 2.20). And it hath alwayes three notes or markes whereby it is knowen. Pure and sound doctrine, the Sacraments ministred according to Christs holy institution, and the right vse of Ecclesiasticall discipline. This discription of the Church is agreeable both to the Scriptures of God, and also to the doctrine of the auncient fathers, so that none may iustly finde fault therewith. Now if ye will compare this with the Church of Rome, not as it was in the beginning, but as it is presently, and hath beene for the space of nine hundred yeeres and odde: you shall well perceiue the state thereof to bee so farre wide from the nature of the true Church, that nothing canne bee more. For neither are they built vpon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, retaining the sound and pure doctrine of Christ Iesu, neither yet doe they order the Sacraments, or els the Ecclesiasticall keyes, in such sort as hee did first institute and ordaine them: But haue so intermingled their owne traditions and inuentions, by chopping and changing, by adding and plucking away, that now they may seeme to be conuerted into a new guise. Christ commended to his Church a Sacrament of his Body and Blood: They haue changed it into a Sacrifice for the quicke and the dead. Christ did minister to his Apostles, and the Apostles to other men indifferently vnder both kindes: They haue robbed the lay people of the cup, saying, that for them one kinde is sufficient. Christ ordained no other element to bee vsed in Baptisme, but onely Water, whereunto when the word is ioyned, it is made (as S. Augustine saith) a full and perfect Sacrament. They being wiser in their owne conceite then Christ, thinke it is not well nor orderly done, vnlesse they vse coniuration, vnlesse they hallow the water, vnlesse there be oile, salt, spittle, tapers, and such other dumbe Ceremonies, seruing to no vse, contrary to the plaine rule of Saint Paul, who willeth all things to bee done in the Church vnto edification (1 Corinthians 14.5). Christ ordeyned the authoritie of the keyes to excommunicate notorious sinners, and to absolue them which are truely penitent: They abuse this power at their owne pleasure, aswell in cursing the godly, with bell, booke and candles, as also in absoluing the reprobate, which are knowen to bee vnworthy of any Christian societie: Whereof they that lust to see examples, let them search their liues. To be short, looke what our Sauiour Christ pronounced of the Scribes and Pharisees, in the Gospell, the same may bee boldly and with safe conscience pronounced of the Bishops of Rome, namely that they haue forsaken, and dayly doe forsake the Commandements of GOD, to erect and set vp their owne constitutions. Which thing being true, as all they which haue any light of GODS word must needes confesse, wee may well conclude according to the rule of Augustine: That the Bishoppes of Rome and their adherents, are not the true Church of Christ, much lesse then to bee taken as chiefe Heads and Rulers of the same. Whosoeuer (saith he) do dissent from the Scriptures concerning the head, although they be found in all places where the Church is appoynted, yet are they not in the Church: a plaine place, concluding directly against the Church of Rome (Augustine, Contra Petiliani Donatist Epi., Chap. 4). Where is now the holy Ghost which they so stoutly doe claime to themselues? Where is now the spirit of trueth, that will not suffer them in any wise to erre? If it bee possible to bee there, where the true Church is not, then is it at Rome: otherwise it is but a vaine bragge, and nothing else. Saint Paul (as ye haue heard before) sayth: If any man haue not the spirit of Christ, the same is not his. And by turning the wordes, it may bee truely said: If any man be not of Christ, the same hath not the spirit. Now to discerne who are truely his, and who not, wee haue this rule giuen vs, that his sheepe doe alwayes heare his voyce (John 10.3). And Saint Iohn saith, He that is of GOD, heareth GODS worde (John 8.47). Whereof it followeth, that the Popes in not hearing Christes voyce, as they ought to doe, but preferring their owne decrees before the expresse word of GOD, doe plainely argue to the world, that they are not of Christ, nor yet possessed with his spirit. But here they will alledge for themselues, that there are diuers necessary points not expressed in holy Scripture, which were left to the reuelation of the holy Ghost. Who being giuen to the Church, according to Christs promise, hath taught many things from time to time, which the Apostles could not then beare (John 16.7). To this wee may easily answere by the plaine wordes of Christ, teaching vs that the proper office of the holy Ghost is, not to institute and bring in new ordinances, contrary to his doctrine before taught: but shall come and declare those things which he had before taught: so that it might be well and truely vnderstood. When the holy Ghost (saith he) shal come, he shall leade you into all trueth (John 16.13). What trueth doth he meane? Any other then hee himselfe had before expressed in his word? No. For he saith, He shall take of mine, and shew vnto you. Againe, he shall bring you in remembrance of all things that I haue tolde you (John 16.15). It is not then the duetie and part of any Christian, vnder pretence of the holy Ghost, to bring in his owne dreames and phantasies into the Church: but hee must diligently prouide that his doctrine and decrees bee agreeable to Christes holy Testament. Otherwise in making the holy Ghost the authour thereof, hee doeth blaspheme and belye the holy Ghost, to his owne condemnation.
Now to leaue their doctrine, and come to other points. What shall wee thinke or iudge of the Popes intolerable pride? The Scripture sayth, that GOD resisteth the proud, and sheweth grace to the humble. Also it pronounceth them blessed, which are poore in spirit, promising that they which humble themselues, shall be exalted (Matthew 5.3). And Christ our Sauiour willeth all his to learne of him, because he is humble and meeke (Matthew 11.29). As for pride, Saint Gregorie saith, it is the roote of all mischiefe. And Saint Augustines iudgement is this, that it maketh men deuils. Can any man then, which either hath or shall reade the Popes liues, iustly say that they had the holy Ghost within them? First, as touching that they will bee tearmed vniuersall Bishops and heads of all Christian Churches through the world, wee haue the iudgement of Gregorie expresly against them, who writing to Mauricius the Emperour, condemneth Iohn, Bishop of Constantinople, in that behalfe, calling him the prince of pride, Lucifers successour, and the fore-runner of Antichrist (Gregory, Bk. 3, Epistle 76.78). Saint Bernard also agreeing thereunto, sayth, What greater pride can there bee, then that one man should preferre his owne iudgement before the whole congregation, as though he onely had the spirit of GOD (Bernard, Serm. 3, De Resurrect. Domini)? And Chrysostome pronounceth a terrible sentence against them, affirming plainely, that whosoeuer seeketh to be chiefe in earth, shall finde confusion in heauen, and that hee which striueth for the supremacy, shall not bee reputed among the seruants of Christ (Chrysostome, Dialogorum, Bk. 3). Againe hee sayth: To desire a good worke, it is good, but to couet the chiefe degree of honour, it is meere vanitie (Chrysostome, Super Matt.). Doe not these places sufficiently conuince their outragious pride, in vsurping to themselues a superiority aboue all other, aswell ministers and Bishops, as Kings also and Emperours? But as the Lion is knowen by his clawes, so let vs learne to know these men by their deedes. What shall we say of him that made the noble King Dandalus to bee tyed by the necke with a chayne, and to lye flat downe before his table, there to gnaw bones like a Dogge (Sabelli, Ennead. 9. Bk. 7)? Shall wee thinke that hee had GODS holy spirit within him, and not rather the spririt of the deuill? Such a tyrant was Pope Clement the sixt. What shall wee say of him that proudly and contemptuously trode Fredericke the Emperour vnder his feete, applying the verse of the Psalme vnto himselfe: Thou shalt goe vpon the Lyon and the Adder, the yong Lyon and the Dragon thou shalt tread vnder thy foote (Psalms 91.13)? shall wee say that he had GODS holy spirit within him, and not rather the spirit of the deuill? Such a tyrant was Pope Alexander the third. What shall we say of him that armed and animated the sonne against the father, causing him to bee taken, and to be cruelly famished to death, contrary to the law both of GOD, and also of nature? Shall we say that he had GODS holy spirit within him, and not rather the spirit of the deuill? Such a tyrant was Pope Pascal the second. What shall we say of him that came into his Popedome like a Foxe, that reigned like a Lyon, and died like a Dogge? Shall we say that he had GODS holy spirit within him, and not rather the spirit of the deuill? Such a tyrant was Pope Boniface the eight. What shall we say of him that made Henry the Emperour, with his wife and his yong childe, to stand at the gates of the Citie in the rough winter, bare footed and bare legged, onely clothed in Lincie wolcie, eating nothing from morning to night, and that for the space of three dayes? Shall wee say that he had GODS holy spirit within him, and not rather the spirit of the deuill? Such a tyrant was Pope Hildebrand, most worthy to bee called a firebrand, if wee shall tearme him as he hath best deserued. Many other examples might here be alledged. As of Pope Ione the harlot, that was deliuered of a Childe in the high streete, going solemnely in procession. Of Pope Iulius the second, that wilfully cast S. Peters keyes into the riuer Tiberis. Of Pope Vrban the sixt, that caused fiue Cardinals to bee put in sacks, and cruelly drowned. Of Pope Sergius the third, that persecuted the dead body of Formosus his predecessour, when it had beene buried eight yeeres. Of Pope Iohn the xiiii. of that name, who hauing his enemie deliuered into his hands, caused him first to bee stripped starke naked, his beard to bee shauen, and to bee hanged vp a whole day by the hayre, then to bee set vpon an Asse with his face backward toward the tayle, to bee caried round about the citie in despite, to bee miserably beaten with rods, last of all, to bee thrust out of his countrey, and to bee banished for euer. But to conclude & make an ende, yee shall briefly take this short lesson, wheresoeuer yee finde the spirit of arrogancie and pride, the spirit of enuie, hatred, contention, crueltie, murder, extortion, witchcraft, necromancie, &c. assure your selues that there is the spirit of the deuill, and not of GOD, albeit they pretend outwardly to the world neuer so much holinesse. For as the Gospel teacheth vs, the spirit of Iesus is a good spirit, an holy spirit, a sweete spirit, a lowly spirit, a mercifull spirit, full of charitie and loue, full of forgiuenesse and pitie, not rendring euill for euill, extremitie for extremitie, but ouercomming euill with good, and remitting all offence euen from the heart. According to which rule, if any man liue vprightly, of him it may be safely pronounced, that hee hath the holy Ghost within him: If not, then it is a plaine token that hee doeth vsurpe the name of the holy Ghost in vaine. Therefore (dearely beloued) according to the good counsell of Saint Iohn, beleeue not euery spirit, but first try them whether they bee of GOD, or no (1 John 4.1). Many shall come in my Name (sayth Christ) and shall transforme themselues into Angels of light, deceiuing (if it bee possible) the very elect. They shall come vnto you in sheepes clothing, being inwardly cruell and rauening Wolues (Matthew 24.5, 24). They shall haue an outward shew of great holinesse and innocencie of life, so that ye shall hardly or not at all discerne them. But the rule that yee must follow, is this, to iudge them by their fruits (Matthew 7.20). Which if they be wicked and naught, then is it vnpossible that the tree of whom they proceede should bee good. Such were all the Popes and Prelates of Rome for the most part, as doeth well appeare in the storie of their liues, and therefore they are worthily accounted among the number of false Prophets, and false Christs, which deceiued the world a long while (Luke 21.8). The Lord of heauen and earth defend vs from their tyrannie and pride, that they neuer enter into his vineyard againe, to the disturbance of his seely poore flocke: but that they may be vtterly confounded and put to flight in all partes of the world: and he of his great mercy so worke in all mens hearts, by the mighty power of the holy Ghost, that the comfortable Gospel of his Sonne Christ may be truely preached, truely receiued, and truely followed in all places, to the beating downe of sinne, death, the Pope, the Deuill, and all the kingdome of Antichrist, that like scattered and dispersed sheepe being at length gathered into one folde, wee may in the ende rest all together in the bosome of Abraham, Isahac, and Iacob, there to be partakers of eternall and euerlasting life through the merits and death of Iesus Christ our Sauiour. AMEN.
The Anglican Library, This HTML edition copyright 1999.