AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFUL REBELLION
AN HOMILIE AGAINST
disobedience and wilfull
The first part. AS GOD the Creatour and Lord of all things appointed his Angels and heauenly creatures in all obedience to serue and to honour his maiesty: so was it his will that man, his chiefe creature vpon the earth, should liue vnder the obedience of his Creatour and Lord: and for that cause, GOD, as soone as hee had created man, gaue vnto him a certaine precept and law, which hee (being yet in the state of innocency, and remayning in Paradise) should obserue as a pledge and token of his due and bounden obedience, with denunciation of death if hee did transgresse and breake the sayd Law and commandement. And as GOD would haue man to be his obedient subiect, so did he make all earthly creatures subiect vnto man, who kept their due obedience vnto man, so long as man remayned in his obedience vnto GOD: in the which obedience if man had continued still, there had beene no pouerty, no diseases, no sickenesse, no death, nor other miseries wherewith mankinde is now infinitely and most miserably afflicted and oppressed. So heere appeareth the originall kingdome of GOD ouer Angels and man, and vniuersally ouer all things, and of man ouer earthly creatures which GOD had made subiect vnto him, and with all the felicity and blessed state, which Angels, man, and all creatures had remayned in, had they continued in due obedience vnto GOD their King. For as long as in this first kingdome the subiects continued in due obedience to GOD their king, so long did GOD embrace all his subiects with his loue, fauour, and grace, which to enioy, is perfect felicity, whereby it is euident, that obedience is the principall vertue of all vertues, and indeed the very root of all vertues, and the cause of all felicitie. But as all felicitie and blessednesse should haue continued with the continuance of obedience, so with the breach of obedience, and breaking in of rebellion, al vices and miseries did withall breake in, and ouerwhelme the world. The first authour of which rebellion, the root of all vices, and mother of all mischiefes, was Lucifer, first GODS most excellent creature, and most bounden subiect, who by rebelling against the Maiestie of GOD (Matthew 4.9, Matthew 25.41), of the brightest and most glorious Angel, is become the blackest and most foulest fiend and deuill: and from the height of heauen, is fallen into the pit and bottome of hell (John 8.44, 2 Peter 2.4, Jude 6, Revelation 12.7-9).
Here you may see the first authour and founder of rebellion (Genesis 3.1, Apocrypha. Wisdom 2.24), and the reward thereof, here you may see the graund captaine and father of rebels, who perswading the following of his rebellion against GOD their Creatour and Lord (Genesis 3.8, 17.23-24), vnto our first Parents Adam and Eue brought them in high displeasure with GOD, wrought their exile and banishment out of Paradise, a place of all pleasure and goodnesse, into this wretched earth and vale of misery: procured vnto them, sorrowes of their mindes, mischiefes, sickenesse, diseases, death of their bodies, and which is farre more horrible then all worldly and bodily mischiefes, he had wrought thereby their eternall and euerlasting death and damnation, had not GOD by the obedience of his Sonne Iesus Christ repaired that, which man by disobedience and rebellion had destroyed, and so of his mercy had pardoned and forgiuen him: of which all and singular the premises, the holy Scriptures doe beare record in sundry places (Romans 5.12, 19).
Thus doe you see, that neither heauen nor paradise could suffer any rebellion in them, neither be places for any rebels to remaine in. Thus became rebellion, as you see, both the first and the greatest, and the very foot of all other sinnes, and the first and principall cause, both of all worldly and bodily miseries, sorrowes, diseases, sickenesses, and deathes, and which is infinitely worse then all these, as is said, the very cause of death and damnation eternall also (Genesis 3.17). After this breach of obedience to GOD, and rebellion against his Maiestie, all mischiefes and miseries breaking in therewith, and ouerflowing the world, lest all things should come vnto confusion and vtter ruine, GOD foorthwith by lawes giuen vnto mankind, repaired againe the rule and order of obedience thus by rebellion ouerthrowne, and besides the obedience due vnto his Maiesty, hee not onely ordained that in families and housholds, the wife should be obedient vnto her husband (Genesis 3.16), the children vnto their parents, the seruants vnto their masters: but also, when mankind increased, and spread it selfe more largely ouer the world, hee by his holy word did constitute and ordaine in Cities and Countreys seuerall and speciall gouernours and rulers (Job 34.30, 36.7, Ecclesiastes 8.2, 10.16-17, 20), vnto whom the residue of his people should be obedient.
As in reading of the holy Scriptures, we shall finde in very many and almost infinite places, as well of the olde Testament, as of the new, that Kings and Princes, as well the euill as the good, doe raigne by Gods ordinance, and that subiects are bounden to obey them (Psalms 18.50, 20.6, 21.2, Proverbs 8.15-16): that GOD doth giue Princes wisedome, great power, and authority: that GOD defendeth them against their enemies, and destroyeth their enemies horribly: that the anger and displeasure of the Prince, is as the roaring of a Lyon, and the very messenger of death: and that the subiect that prouoketh him to displeasure, sinneth against his own soule: With many other things, concerning both the authority of Princes, and the duetie of subiects. But heere let vs rehearse two speciall places out of the new Testament, which may stand in stead of all other. The first out of Saint Pauls Epistle to the Romanes and the thirteenth Chapter, where hee writeth thus vnto all subiects, Let euery soule be subiect vnto the higher powers, for there is no power but of GOD, and the powers that be, are ordeined of GOD (Romans 13.1). Whosoeuer therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of GOD, and they that resist, shall receiue to themselues damnation. For Princes are not to be feared for good works, but for euill. Wilt thou then be without feare of the power? Doe well, so shalt thou haue praise of the same: For he is the minister of GOD for thy wealth: But if thou doe euill, feare: for he beareth not the sword for nought, for he is the minister of GOD to take vengeance vpon him that doth euil. Wherefore ye must be subiect, not because of wrath onely, but also for conscience sake: for, for this cause ye pay also tribute, for they are GODS ministers, seruing for the same purpose. Giue to euery man therfore his duty: tribute, to whom tribute belongeth: custome, to whom custome is due: feare, to whom feare belongeth: honour, to whom ye owe honour. Thus far are S. Pauls words. The second place is in S. Peters Epistle, and the second Chapter, whose words are these, Submit your selues vnto all maner of ordinances of man for the Lords sake, whether it bee vnto the King, as vnto the chiefe head, either vnto rulers, as vnto them that are sent of him for the punishment of euil doers, but for the cherishing of them that doe well (1 Peter 2.13-14). For so is the will of GOD, that with well doing ye may stoppe the mouthes of ignorant & foolish men: as free, and not as hauing the libertie for a cloake of maliciousnesse, but euen as the seruants of GOD. Honour all men, loue brotherly fellowship, feare GOD, honour the King. Seruants, obey your masters with feare, not onely if they be good and courteous, but also though they be froward. Thus farre out of Saint Peter.
By these two places of the holy Scriptures, it is most euident that Kings, Queenes, and other Princes ( for hee speaketh of authoritie and power, be it in men or women) are ordeined of GOD, are to bee obeyed and honoured of their subiects: that such subiects, as are disobedient or rebellious against their Princes, disobey GOD, and procure their owne damnation: that the gouernment of Princes is a great blessing of GOD, giuen for the common wealth, specially of the good and godly: For the comfort and cherishing of whom GOD giueth and setteth vp princes: and on the contrary part, to the feare and for the punishment of the euill and wicked. Finally, that if seruants ought to obey their masters, not onely being gentle, but such as be froward: as well and much more ought subiects to be obedient, not only to their good and courteous, but also to their sharpe and rigorous Princes. It commeth therefore neither of chance and fortune (as they terme it) nor of the ambition of mortal men and women climing vp of their owne accord to dominion, that there bee Kings, Queenes, Princes, and other gouernours ouer men being their subiects: but all Kings, Queenes, and other gouernours are specially appoynted by the ordinance of GOD. And as GOD himselfe, being of an infinite Maiestie, power, and wisedome, ruleth and gouerneth all things in heauen and earth, as the vniuersall Monarch and onely King and Emperour ouer all, as being onely able to take and beare the charge of all (Psalms 10.16, 45.6, 47.2): so hath hee constituted, ordeyned, and set earthly Princes ouer particular Kingdomes and Dominions in earth (Ecclesiasticus 17), both for the auoyding of all confusion, which els would be in the world, if it should be without gouernours, and for the great quiet and benefite of earthly men their subiects, and also that the Princes themselues, in authoritie, power, wisedome, prouidence, and righteousnesse in gouernement of people and countreys committed to their charge, should resemble his heauenly gouernance, as the maiestie of heauenly things may by the basenesse of earthly things bee shadowed and resembled. And for that similitude, that is betweene the heauenly Monarchie, and earthly Kingdomes well gouerned, our Sauiour Christ in sundry parables saith, that the Kingdom of heauen is resembled vnto a man, a king (Matthew 18.23, 22.2): and as the name of the king, is very often attributed and giuen vnto GOD in the holy Scriptures (Psalms 10.16, 45.6, 47.2), so doeth GOD himselfe in the same Scriptures sometime vouchsafe to communicate his Name with earthly Princes, terming them gods (Psalms 82.6): doubtlesse for that similitude of gouernement which they haue or should haue, not vnlike vnto GOD their King (Matthew 22.13, 25.34). Vnto the which similitude of heauenly gouernement, the neerer and neerer that an earthly Prince doth come in his regiment, the greater blessing of GODS mercy is he vnto that countrey and people ouer whom he reigneth: and the further and further that an earthly prince doth swarue from the example of the heauenly gouernment, the greater plague is he of GODS wrath, and punishment by GODS iustice, vnto that countrey and people, ouer whom GOD for their sinnes hath places such a Prince and gouernour. For it is indeede euident, both by the Scriptures, and dayly by experience, that the maintenance of all vertue and godlinesse, and consequently of the wealth and prosperity of a kingdome and people, doeth stand & rest more in a wise and good Prince on the one part, then in great multitudes of other men being subiects: and on the contrary part, the ouerthrow of all vertue and godlinesse, and consequently the decay and vtter ruine of a Realme and people doth grow and come more by an vndiscreete and euill gouernour, then by many thousands of other men being subiects. Thus say the holy Scriptures, Well is thee, O thou land (saith the Preacher) whose King is come of Nobles, and whose princes eate in due season, for necessity, and not for lust (Ecclesiastes 10.17, Proverbs 16.29). Againe, a wise and righteous King maketh his Realme and people wealthy: and a good, mercifull, and gracious Prince, is as a shadow in heate, as a defence in stormes, as deaw, as sweete showres, as fresh water springs in great droughts (Ecclesiasticus 10, Isaiah 22.1-2).
Againe the Scriptures, of vndiscreet and euill Princes, speake thus, Woe be to thee (O thou land) whose King is but a child, and whose Princes are early at their bankets (Ecclesiastes 10.16). Againe, when the wicked doe raigne, then men goe to ruine. And againe, A foolish Prince destroyeth the people, and a couetous King vndoeth his Subiects (Proverbs 28.15-16, 29.2,4). Thus speake the Scriptures, thus experience testifieth of good and euill Princes.
What shall Subiects doe then? shall they obey valiant, stout, wise, and good Princes, and contemne, disobey, and rebell against children being their Princes, or against vndiscreet and euill gouernours? God forbid: For first what a perilous thing were it to commit vnto the Subiects the iudgement which Prince is wise and godly, and his gouernement good, and which is otherwise: as though the foot must iudge of the head: an enterprise very heinous, and must needs breed rebellion. For who else be they that are most inclined to rebellion, but such haughtie spirits? From whom springeth such foule ruine of Realmes? Is not rebellion the greatest of all mischiefes? And who are most ready to the greatest mischiefes, but the worst men? Rebels therefore the worst of all Subiects are most ready to rebellion, as being the worst of all vices, and farthest from the duetie of a good Subiect: as on the contrary part the best Subiects are most firme and constant in obedience, as in the speciall and peculiar vertue of good Subiects. What an vnworthy matter were it then to make the naughtiest Subiects, and most inclined to rebellion and all euill, iudges ouer their Princes, ouer their gouernment, and ouer their counsellers, to determine which of them be good or tolerable, and which be euill, and so intolerable, that they must needs be remooued by rebels, being euer ready as the naughtiest subiects, soonest to rebell against the best Princes, specially if they be yong in age, women in sexe, or gentle and curteous in gouernment, as trusting by their wicked boldnesse, easily to ouerthrow their weakenesse and gentlenesse, or at the least so to feare the mindes of such Princes, that they may haue impunitie of their mischieuous doings.
But whereas indeede a rebell is worse then the worst prince, and rebellion worse then the worst gouernement of the worst prince that hitherto hath beene: both rebels are vnmeete ministers, and rebellion an vnfit and vnwholsome medicine to reforme any small lackes in a prince, or to cure any little griefes in gouernment, such lewd remedies being far worse then any other maladies and disorders that can bee in the body of a common wealth. But whatsoeuer the prince bee, or his gouernement, it is euident that for the most part, those princes whom some subiectes doe thinke to bee very godly, and vnder whose gouernement they reioyce to liue: some other subiects doe take the same to bee euill and vngodly, and doe wish for a change. If therefore all subiects that mislike of their prince, should rebell, no Realme should euer bee without rebellion. It were more meete that rebels should heare the aduise of wise men, and giue place vnto their iudgement, and follow the example of obedient subiectes, as reason is that they whose vnderstanding is blinded with so euill an affection, should giue place to them that bee of sound iudgement, and that the worst should giue place to the better: and so might Realmes continue in long obedience, peace, and quietnesse. But what if the Prince be vndiscreete, and euill indeed, and is also euident to all mens eyes, that hee so is? I aske againe, what if it be long of the wickednesse of the Subiects, that the Prince is vndiscreete and euill? Shall the Subiects both by their wickednesse prouoke GOD for their deserued punishment, to giue them an vndiscreet or euill Prince, and also rebell against him, and withall against GOD, who for the punishment of their sinnes did giue them such a Prince? Will you heare the Scriptures concerning this point? GOD (say the holy Scriptures) maketh a wicked man to raigne for the sinnes of the people (Isaiah 19.4). Againe, GOD giueth a Prince in his anger, meaning an euill one, and taketh away a Prince in his displeasure (Hosea 13.11), meaning specially when hee taketh away a good Prince for the sinnes of the people: as in our memorie hee tooke away our good Iosias (2 Chronicles 34.1) king Edward in his yong and good yeeres for our wickednesse. And contrarily the Scriptures doe teach, that GOD giueth wisedome vnto Princes, and maketh a wise and good King to raigne ouer that people whom he loueth, and who loueth him (Proverbs 8.15-17). Againe, if the people obey GOD, both they and their king shal prosper and be safe, els both shall perish, saith GOD by the mouth of Samuel (1 Sam. 12.14).
Here you see, that GOD placeth as well euill Princes as good, and for what cause he doth both. If wee therefore will haue a good Prince, either to be giuen vs, or to continue: now we haue such a one, let vs by our obedience to GOD and to our Prince moue GOD thereunto. If we will haue an euill Prince (when GOD shall send such a one) taken away, and a good in his place, let vs take away our wickednesse which prouoketh GOD to place such a one ouer vs, and GOD will either displace him, or of an euill Prince make him a good Prince, so that wee first will change our euill into good. For will you heare the Scriptures? The heart of the Prince is in GODS hand, which way soeuer it shall please him, he turneth it (Proverbs 21.1). Thus say the Scriptures. Wherefore let vs turne from our sinnes vnto the Lord with all our hearts, and he will turne the heart of the Prince, vnto our quiet and wealth? Els for Subiects to deserue through their sinnes to haue an euill Prince, and then to rebell against him, were double and treble euill, by prouoking GOD more to plague them. Nay let vs either deserue to haue a good Prince, or let vs patiently suffer and obey such as wee deserue. And whether the Prince be good or euill, let vs according to the counsell of the holy Scriptures, pray for the Prince, for his continuance and increase in goodnesse, if he be good, and for his amendment if he be euill.
Well you heare the Scriptures concerning this most necessary point? I exhort therefore (saith S. Paul) that aboue all things, Prayers, Supplications, Intercessions, and giuing of thankes bee had for all men, for Kings, and all that are in authority, that wee may liue a quiet and peaceable life with all godlines: for that is good and acceptable in the sight of GOD our Sauiour, &c (1 Timothy 2.1-3). This is S. Pauls counsell. And who I pray you, was Prince ouer the most part of the Christians, when GODS holy spirit by Saint Pauls pen gaue them this lesson? Forsooth, Caligula, Claudius or Nero: who were not onely no Christians, but Pagans, and also either foolish rulers, or most cruell tyrants. Will you yet heare the word of GOD to the Iewes, when they were prisoners vnder Nabuchodonosor King of Babylon, after he had slaine their king, nobles, parents, children, and kinsefolkes, burned their countrey, cities, yea Hierusalem it selfe, and the holy Temple, and had caried the residue remaining aliue captiues with him vnto Babylon? Will you heare yet what the Prophet Baruch sayth vnto GODS people being in this captiuity? Pray you, saith the Prophet, for the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and for the life of Balthasar his sonne, that their dayes may bee as the dayes of heauen vpon the earth, that GOD also may giue vs strength, and lighten our eyes, that wee may liue vnder the defence of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and vnder the protection of Balthasar his sonne, that we may long doe them seruice, and finde fauour in their sight. Pray for vs also vnto the Lord our GOD, for we haue sinned against the Lord our GOD (Apocrypha. Baruch 1.11-13).
Thus farre the Prophet Baruch his wordes: which are spoken by him vnto the people of GOD, of that king who was an Heathen, a tyrant, and cruell oppressour of them, and had beene a murtherer of many thousands of their nation, and a destroyer of their countrey, with a confession that their sinnes had deserued such a prince to raigne ouer them. And shall the old Christians, by Saint Pauls exhortation, pray for Caligula, Claudius, or Nero? Shall the Iewes pray for Nabuchodonosor? these Emperours and Kings being strangers vnto them, being pagans and infidels being murtherers, tyrantes, and cruell oppressours of them, and destroyers of their countrey, countreymen, and kinsemen, the burners of their villages, townes, cities, and temples? And shall not wee pray for the long, prosperous, and godly raigne of our naturall Prince? No stranger (which is obserued as a great blessing in the Scriptures) of our Christian, our most gratious Soueraigne, no Heathen, nor Pagan Prince? Shall wee not pray for the health of our most mercifull, most louing Soueraigne, the preseruer of vs and our countrey, in so long peace, quietnesse, and securitie, no cruell person, no tyrant, no spoyler of our goods, no shedder of bloodes, no burner and destroyer of our townes, cities, and countreys, as were those, for whom yet as yee haue heard, Christians being their subiectes ought to pray? Let vs not commit so great ingratitude against GOD and our Soueraigne, as not continually to thanke GOD for his gouernement, and for his great and continuall benefites and blessings powred vpon vs by such gouernement. Let vs not commit so great a sinne against GOD, against our selues, and our countrey, as not to pray continually vnto GOD for the long continuance of so gratious a Ruler vnto vs, and our countrey. Else shall we be vnworthy any longer to enioy those benefites and blessings of GOD, which hitherto wee haue had by her shalbe most worthy to fall into all those mischiefes & miseries, which wee & our countrey haue by GODS grace through her gouernment hitherto escaped.
What shall wee say of those Subiects? may wee call them by the name of Subiects? Who neither bee thankefull, nor make any prayer to GOD for so gracious a Soueraigne: but also themselues take armour wickedly, assemble companies and bands of rebels, to breake the publique peace so long continued, and to make, not warre, but rebellion, to endanger the person of such a gracious Soueraigne, to hazard the estate of their countrey, (for whose defence they should bee ready to spend their liues) and being Englishmen, to robbe, spoyle, destroy and burne in England Englishmen, to kill and murther their owne neighbours and kinsefolke, their owne countreymen, to doe all euill and mischiefe, yea and more to, then forreigne enemies would, or could doe? What shall wee say of these men, who vse themselues thus rebelliously against their gracious Soueraigne? Who if GOD for their wickednesse had giuen them an Heathen tyrant to reigne ouer them, were by GODS word bound to obey him, and to pray for him? What may bee spoken of them? so farre doeth their vnkindenesse, vnnaturalnesse, wickednesse, mischieuousnesse in their doings, passe and excell any thing, and all things that can bee expressed and vttered by wordes. Onely let vs wish vnto all such most speedie repentance, and with so grieuous sorrow of heart, as such so horrible sinnes against the Maiestie of GOD doe require, who in most extreme vnthankefulnesse doe rise, not onely against their gracious Prince, against their naturall countrey, but against all their countreymen, women, and children, against themselues, their wiues, children & kinsefolkes, and by so wicked an example against all Christendome, and against whole mankinde of all maner of people throughout the wide world, such repentance, I say, such sorrow of heart GOD graunt vnto all such, whosoeuer rise of priuate and malicious purpose, as is meete for such mischiefes attempted, and wrought by them. And vnto vs and all other Subiectes, GOD of his mercie graunt, that wee may bee most vnlike to all such, and most like to good, naturall, louing, and obedient Subiects: nay, that wee may be such indeede, not onely shewing all obedience our selues, but as many of vs as bee able, to the vttermost of our power, abilitie and vnderstanding, to stay and represse all rebels, and rebellions against GOD, our gracious Prince, and naturall countrey, at euery occasion that is offered vnto vs. And that which wee all are able to doe, vnlesse wee doe it, wee shall bee most wicked, and most worthy to feele in the ende such extreme plagues, as GOD hath euer powred vpon rebels.
Let vs make continuall prayers vnto Almighty GOD, euen from the bottome of our hearts, that hee will giue his grace, power and strength vnto our gracious Queene Elizabeth, to vanquish and subdue all, aswell rebels at home, as forreigne enemies, that all domesticall rebellions being suppressed and pacified, and all outward inuasions repulsed and abandoned, wee may not onely be sure, and long continue in all obedience vnto our gracious Soueraigne, and in that peaceable and quiet life which hitherto wee haue ledde vnder her Maiestie, with all securitie: but also that both our gracious Queene Elizabeth, and we her subiects, may altogether in all obedience vnto GOD the King of Kings, and vnto his holy Lawes, leade our liues so in this world, in all vertue and godlinesse, that in the world to come, wee may enioy his euerlasting kingdome: which I beseech GOD to grant, aswell to our gracious Soueraigne, as vnto vs all, for his Sonne our Sauiour Iesus Christes sake, to whom with the Father and the holy Ghost, one GOD and King immortall bee all glory, prayse, and thankesgiuing world without end, Amen.
Thus haue you heard the first part of this Homilie, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in that time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of all creatures, the only giuer of all victories, Who alone art able to strengthen the weake against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, and trusting in thee: Defend O Lord, thy seruant & our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene Elizabeth and all thy people committed to her charge, O Lord withstand the crueltie of all those which be common enemies as well to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne and Realme of England, which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernment of thy seruant, our Soueraigne & gracious Queene. O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stonie hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth, and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts, to imbrace the truth of thy Word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realm, with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine aide and strength, suretie from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyrannie, may be relieued, and they which bee in feare of their crueltie may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel, and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and securitie: and that we for these thy mercies, ioyntly altogether with one consonant heart and voice, may thankefully render to thee all laud and praise, that we knit in one godly concord and vnitie amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almightie, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud, and praise world without end, Amen.
THE SECOND PART OF THE HOMILY AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFULL REBELLION.
AS in the first part of this treatie of obedience of subiects to their princes, and against disobedience and rebellion, I haue alledged diuers sentences out of the holy Scriptures for proofe: so shall it be good for the better declaration and confirmation of the sayd wholesome doctrine, to alledge one example or two out of the holy Scriptures of the obedience of subiects, not only vnto their good and gracious gouernours, but also vnto their euill and vnkinde princes. As king Saul was not of the best, but rather of the worst sort of Princes, as being out of GODS fauour for his disobedience against GOD in sparing (in a wrong pity) the king Agag, whom Almighty GOD commanded to be slaine, according to the iustice of GOD against his sworn enemy: and although Saul of a deuotion meant to sacrifice such things as he spared of the Amalechites to the honour and seruice of GOD: yet Saul was reprooued for his wrong mercy and deuotion, and was told that obedience would haue more pleased him then such lenity, which sinfull humanity (sayth holy Chrysostome) is more cruell before GOD, then any murther or shedding of blood when it is commanded of GOD. But yet how euill soeuer Saul the King was, and out of GODS fauour, yet was he obeyed of his subiect Dauid, the very best of all subiects, and most valiant in the seruice of his Prince and Country in the warres, the most obedient and louing in peace, and alwayes most true and faythfull to his Soueraigne and Lord, and furthest off from all manner of rebellion. For the which his most painefull, true, and faythfull seruice, King Saul yet rewarded him not onely with great vnkindnesse, but also sought his destruction and death by all meanes possible: so that Dauid was faine to saue his life, not by rebellion, or any resistance, but by flight and hiding himselfe from the Kings sight. Which notwithstanding, when king Saul vpon a time came alone into the caue where Dauid was, so that Dauid might easily haue slaine him, yet would he neither hurt him himselfe, neither suffer any of his men to lay hands vpon him. Another time also Dauid entring by night with one Abisai a valiant and fierce man, into the tent where King Saul did lie a sleepe, where also he might yet more easily haue slaine him, yet would he neither hurt him himselfe, nor suffer Abisai (who was willing and ready to slay King Saul) once to touch him. Thus did Dauid deale with Saul his Prince, notwithstanding that King Saul continually sought his death and destruction. It shall not be amisse vnto these deedes of Dauid to adde his words, and to shew you what he spake vnto such as encouraged him to take his opportunity and aduantage to slay King Saul, as his mortall enemie, when hee might. The Lord keepe me, saith Dauid, from doing that thing, and from laying hands vpon my lord, GODS anoynted (1 Sam. 24.7-10). For who can lay his hand vpon the Lords anoynted, and be guiltlesse (1 Sam. 26.9-10)? As truely as the Lord liueth, except that the Lord doe smite him, or his dayes shall come to die, or that hee goe downe to warre, and be slaine in battell: the Lord be mercifull vnto me, that I lay not my hand vpon the Lords anoynted. These bee Dauids words spoken at sundry times to diuers his seruants prouoking him to slay king Saul, when opportunitie serued him thereunto. Neyther is it to bee omitted and left out, how when an Amalechite had slaine king Saul, euen at Sauls owne bidding, and commandement (for hee would liue no longer now, for that hee had lost the field against his enemies the Philistims) the said Amalechite making great haste to bring first word & newes thereof vnto Dauid, as ioyous vnto him for the death of his mortall enemie, bringing withall the crowne that was vpon king Sauls head, and the bracelet that was about his arme, both as a proofe of the trueth of his newes, and also as fit and pleasant presents vnto Dauid, being by GOD appoynted to be King, Saul his successour in the kingdome: Yet was that faithfull and godly Dauid so farre from reioycing at these newes, that he rent his clothes, wept, and mourned, and fasted: and so farre off from thankesgiuing to the messenger, eyther for his deede in killing the king, though his deadly enemie, or for his message and newes, or for his presents that he brought, that he said vnto him, How happened it that thou wast not afraid to lay thy hands vpon the Lords anoynted, to slay him? Whereupon, immediatly he commanded one of his seruants to kill the messenger, and said, Thy blood be vpon thine owne head, for thine owne mouth hath witnessed against thy selfe, in confessing that thou hast slaine the Lords anoynted (2 Samuel 1.1-15).
This example dearely beloued is notable, and the circumstances thereof are well to bee considered, for the better instruction of all Subiects in their bounden duetie of obedience, and perpetuall fearing of them from attempting of any rebellion, or hurt against their Prince. On the one part, Dauid was not onely a good and true Subiect, but also such a Subiect, as both in peace and warre had serued and saued his Princes honour and life, and deliuered his countrey and countreymen from great danger of Infidels, forraigne and most cruell enemies, horribly inuading the king, and his countrey: for the which Dauid was in a singular fauour with all the people, so that hee might haue had great numbers of them at his commandement, if hee would haue attempted any thing (1 Sam. 18.6-7). Besides this, Dauid was no common or absolute subiect but heire apparant to the crowne and kingdome (1 Sam. 16.12), by GOD appoynted to reigne after Saul: which as it increased the fauour of the people that knew it, towards Dauid, so did it make Dauids cause and case much differing from the case of common and absolute subiects. And which is most of all, Dauid was highly and singularly in the fauour of GOD (1 Sam. 18.10, 12): On the contrary part, king Saul was out of GODS fauour (1 Sam. 15.11), (for that cause which is before rehearsed) and he as it were GODS enemie (1 Sam. 15.10-11), and therefore like in warre and peace to bee hurtfull and pernitious vnto the common wealth, and that was knowen to many of his subiects, for that hee was openly rebuked of Samuel for his disobedience vnto GOD, which might make the people the lesse to esteeme him. King Saul was also vnto Dauid a mortall and deadly enemie (1 Sam. 18.8-9), though without Dauids deseruing, who by his faithfull, painefull, profitable, yea most necessary seruice, had well deserued, as of his countrey, so of his Prince, but King Saul farre otherwise: the more was his vnkindnesse, hatred, and crueltie towardes such a good subiect, both odious and detestable (1 Sam. 22.11-19, 26.7-9). Yet would Dauid neither himselfe slay nor hurt such an enemie, for that hee was his Prince and Lord, noe would suffer any other to kill, hurt, or lay hand vpon him, when he might haue beene slaine without any stirre, tumult, or danger of any mans life.
The demande. Now let Dauid answer to such demands, as men desirous of rebellion, doe vse to make. Shall not we, specially being so good men as we are, rise and rebell against a Prince, hated of GOD, and GODS enemy, and therefore like not to prosper either in warre or peace, but to be hurtfull and pernicious to the common wealth?
The answer. No saith good and godly Dauid, GODS and such a kings faythfull subiect: and so conuicting such subiects as attempt any rebellion against such a king, to be neither good subiects nor good men.
The demande. But say they, Shall we not rise and rebell against so vnkinde a Prince, nothing considering or regarding our true, faythfull, and painefull seruice, or the safegard of our posterity?
The answer. No sayth good Dauid, whom no such vnkindnesse could cause to forsake his due obedience to his soueraigne.
The demande. Shall we not, say they, rise and rebell against our knowen, mortall, and deadly enemy, that seeketh our liues?
The answer. No sayth godly Dauid, who had learned the lesson that our Sauiour afterward plainely taught, that wee should doe no hurt to our fellow subiects, though they hate vs, and be our enemies: much lesse vnto our prince, though he were our enemy.
The demande. Shall we not assemble an army of such good fellowes as we are, and by hazarding of our liues, and the liues of such as shall withstand vs, and withall hazarding the whole estate of our countrey, remooue so naughty a Prince?
The answer. No saith godly Dauid, for I, when I might without assembling force, or number of men, without tumult or hazard of any mans life, or shedding of any droppe of blood, haue deliuered my selfe and my countrey of an euill Prince, yet would I not doe it.
The demande. Are not they (say some) lustie and couragious captaines, valiant men of stomacke, and good mens bodies, that doe venture by force to kill and depose their King, being a naughtie Prince, and their mortall enemy?
The answer. They may be as lusty and couragious as they list, yet saith godly Dauid, they can be no good nor godly men that so doe: for I not onely haue rebuked, but also commanded him to be slaine as a wicked man, which slew king Saul mine enemy, though hee being weary of his life for the losse of the victorie against his enemies, desired that man to slay him.
The demande. What shall we then doe to an euill, to an vnkinde Prince, an enemy to vs, hated of GOD, hurtfull to the common wealth, &c.
The answer. Lay no violent hand vpon him, saith good Dauid, but let him liue vntill GOD appoint and worke his end, either by naturall death, or in warre by lawfull enemies, not by traiterous subiects.
Thus would godly Dauid make answer: And S. Paul as ye heard before, willeth vs also to pray for such a Prince.
An vnnaturall and wicked question. If king Dauid would make these answeres, as by his deedes and words recorded in the holy Scriptures, indeed he doth make vnto all such demands concerning rebelling against euill princes, vnkinde princes, cruell princes, princes that bee to their good subiects mortall enemies, princes that are out of GODS fauour, and so hurtfull, or like to be hurtfull to the common wealth: what answere thinke you, would he make to those that demand, whether they (being noughty and vnkinde subiects) may not, to the great hazarde of the life of many thousands, and the vtter danger of the state of the common wealth, and whole Realme, assemble a sort of rebels, either to depose, to put in feare, or to destroy their naturall and louing princes, enemy to none, good to all, euen to them the worst of all other, the maintayner of perpetuall peace, quietnesse, and security, most beneficiall to the common wealth, most necessary for the safegard of the whole Realme? what answere would Dauid make to their demand, whether they may not attempt cruelly and vnnaturally to destroy so peaceable and mercifull a Prince, what I say would Dauid, so reuerently speaking of Saul, and so patiently suffering so euill a king, what would he answere and say to such demandes? What would he say, nay what would hee doe to such high attempters, whoso sayd and did as you before haue heard, vnto him that slew the king his master, though a most wicked prince? If hee punished with death as a wicked doer, such a man: With what reproches of wordes would he reuile such, yea with what torments of most shamefull deaths would he destroy such hell hounds rather then euill men, such rebels I meane, as I last spake of? For if they who doe disobey an euill and vnkinde prince, bee most vnlike vnto Dauid that good subiect: what bee they, who doe rebell against a most naturall and louing prince? And if Dauid being so good a Subiect, that he obeyed so euill a king, was worthy of a subiect to be made a king himselfe: What bee they, which are so euill subiects that they will rebell against their gratious prince, worthy of? Surely no mortall man can expresse with wordes, nor conceiue in minde the horrible and most dreadfull damnation that such be worthy of: who disdayning to be the quiet and happy subiects of their good prince, are most worthy to be the miserable captiues and vile slaues of that infernall tyrant Satan, with him to suffer eternall slauery and torments. This one example of the good subiect Dauid out of the old Testament may suffice, and for the notablenesse of it serue for all.
In the New Testament the excellent example of the blessed Virgin Mary the mother of our Sauiour Christ, doeth at the first offer it selfe. When proclamation or commandement was sent into Iurie from Augustus the Emperour of Rome, that the people there should repayre vnto their owne Cities and dwelling places, there to be taxed (Luke 2.1): neither did the blessed Virgin, though both highly in GODS fauour, and also being of the royall blood of the ancient naturall Kings of Iurie, disdayne to obey the commandement of an Heathen and forreigne prince, when GOD had placed such a one ouer them: Neither did shee alleage for an excuse, that shee was great with child, and most neere her time of deliuerance: Neither grudged shee at the length and tedious iourney from Nazareth to Bethlehem, from whence and whither she must goe to bee taxed: Neither repined shee at the sharpenesse of the dead time of Winter, being the latter end of December, an vnfit time to trauaile in, specially a longe iourney for a woman beeing in her case: but all excuses set apart, shee obeyed, and came to the appointed place, whereat her comming she found such great resort and throng of people, that finding no place in any Inne, shee was faine after her long painefull and tedious iourney, to take vp her lodging in a stable, where also shee was deliuered of her blessed Childe (Luke 2.7): and this also declareth how neere her time shee tooke that iourney. This obedience of this most noble, and most vertuous Lady, to a forraigne and pagan Prince, doth well teach vs (who in comparison of her are most base and vile) what ready obedience wee doe owe to our naturall and gratious Soueraigne. Howbeit, in this case the obedience of the whole Iewish nation (beeing otherwise a stubborne people) vnto the commandement of the same forraigne heathen Prince (Luke 2.3), doeth prooue, that such Christians as doe not most readily obey their naturall gratious Soueraigne, are far worse then the stubborne Iewes, whom we yet account as the worst of all people. But no example ought to bee of more force with vs Christians, then the example of Christ our Master and Sauiour, who though hee were the Sonne of GOD (Matthew 17.25, Luke 20.25), yet did alwayes behaue himselfe most reuerently to such men as were in authority in the world in his time, and hee not rebelliously behaued himselfe, but openly did teach the Iewes to pay tribute vnto the Romane Emperour (Mark 12.17), though a forraigne and a pagan Prince, yea himselfe with his Apostles payd tribute vnto him: and finally, being brought before Pontius Pilate (Luke 23.1, Matthew 27.1), a stranger borne, and an heathen man, being Lord president of Iurie, he acknowledged his authority and power to bee giuen him from GOD, and obeyed patiently the sentence of most painefull and shamefull death, which the sayd Iudge pronounced and gaue most vniustly against him, without any grudge, murmuring, or euill word once giuing (Luke 23.24).
There bee many and diuers other examples of the obedience to Princes, euen such as bee euill, in the new Testament, to the vtter confusion of disobedient and rebellious people, but this one may be an eternall example, which the Sonne of GOD, and so the Lord of all, Iesus Christ hath giuen to vs his Christians and seruants, and such as may serue for all, to teach vs to obey Princes, though strangers, wicked, and wrongfull, when GOD for our sinnes shall place such ouer vs. Whereby it followeth vnauoidably, that such as doe disobey or rebell against their owne naturall gratious Soueraignes, howsoeuer they call themselues, or be named of others, yet are they indeede no true Christians, but worse then Iewes, worse then Heathens, and such as shall neuer enioy the Kingdome of heauen, which Christ by his obedience purchased for true Christians, being obedient to him the King of all kings, and to their Prince whom he hath placed ouer them: The which kingdome the peculiar place of all such obedient subiectes, I beseech GOD our heauenly Father, for the same our Sauiour Iesus Christes sake to grant vnto vs, to whom with the holy Ghost be all laude, honour, and glory, now and for euer. Amen.
Thus haue you heard the second part of this Homily, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in that time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of all creatures, the only giuer of all victories, who alone art able to strengthen the weake against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, and trusting in thee: Defend O Lord, thy seruant & our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene Elizabeth and all thy people committed to her charge, O Lord withstand the crueltie of all those which be common enemies as well to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne and Realme of England , which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernment of thy seruant, our Soueraigne & gracious Queene. O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stonie hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth, and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ, that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts to imbrace the truth of thy Word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realm, with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine aide and strength, suretie from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyrannie, may be relieued, and they which bee in feare of their crueltie, may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel, and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and securitie: and that we for these thy mercies, ioyntly altogether with one consonant heart and voice, may thankefully render to thee all laud and praise, that we knit in one godly concord and vnitie amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almightie, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud, and praise world without end, Amen.
THE THIRD PART OF THE HOMILY AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFULL REBELLION.
AS I haue in the first part of this treatise shewed vnto you the doctrine of the holy Scriptures, as concerning the obedience of true subiects to their princes, euen as well to such as be euill, as vnto the good, and in the second part of the same treaty confirmed the same doctrine by notable examples, likewise taken out of the holy Scriptures: so remayneth it now that I partly doe declare vnto you in this third part, what an abominable sin against GOD and man rebellion is, and how dreadfully the wrath of GOD is kindled and inflamed against all rebels, and what horrible plagues, punishments, and deaths, and finally eternall damnation doeth hang ouer their heads: as how on the contrary part, good and obedient subiects are in GODS fauour, and be partakers of peace, quietnesse, and security, with other GODS manifold blessings in this world, and by his mercies through our Sauiour Christ, of life euerlasting also in the world to come. How horrible a sinne against GOD and man rebellion is, cannot possibly bee expressed according vnto the greatnesse thereof. For he that nameth rebellion, nameth not a singular or one onely sinne, as is theft, robbery, murder, and such like, but he nameth the whole puddle and sinke of all sinnes against GOD and man, against his Prince, his country, his countrymen, his parents, his children, his kins folkes, his friends, and against all men vniuersally, all sinnes I say against GOD and all men heaped together nameth he, that nameth rebellion. For concerning the offence of GODS Maiesty, who seeth not that rebellion riseth first by contempt of GOD and of his holy ordinances and lawes, wherein hee so straitely commandeth obedience, forbiddeth disobedience and rebellion? And besides the dishonour done by rebels vnto GODS holy Name, by their breaking of their oath made to their Prince, with the attestation of GODS name, and calling of his Maiesty to witnesse: Who heareth not the horrible oathes and blasphemies of GODS holy name, that are vsed dayly amongst rebels, that is either amongst them, or heareth the trueth of their behauiour? Who knoweth not that rebels doe not onely themselues leaue all workes necessary to be done vpon workedayes, vndone, whiles they accomplish their abominable worste of rebellion, and to compell others that would gladly be well occupied, to doe the same: but also how rebels doe not onely leaue the Sabboth day of the Lord vnsanctified, the Temple and Church of the Lord vnresorted vnto, but also doe by their workes of wickednesse most horribly prophane and pollute the Sabboth day, seruing Satan, and by doing of his worke, making it the deuils day, in steede of the Lords day? Besides that, they compell good men that would gladly serue the Lord assembling in his Temple and Church vpon his day, as becommeth the Lords seruants, to assemble and meete armed in the field, to resist the furie of such rebels. Yea, & many rebels, lest they should leaue any part of GODS commandements in the first table of his Law vnbroken, or any sinne against GOD vndone, doe make rebellion for the maintenance of their Images and Idols, and of their idolatrie committed, or to bee committed by them: and in dispite of GOD, cut and teare in sunder his holy word, and treade it vnder their feete, as of late yee know was done.
The fifth commandement. As concerning the second table of GODS Law, and all sinnes that may bee committed against man, who seeth not that they bee contained in rebellion? For first the rebels doe not onely dishonour their Prince, the parent of their countrey, but also do dishonour and shame their naturall parents, if they haue any, doe shame their kinred and friendes, doedisinherite & vndoe for euer their children and heyres.
The sixt and eight commandement. Theftes, robberies, and murders, which of all sinnes are most lothed of most men, are in no men so much nor so pernitiously and mischieuously, as in rebels. For the most arrant theeues, cruellest murderers that euer were, so long as they refraine from rebellion, as they are not many in number, so spreadeth their wickednesse and damnation vnto a few, they spoyle but a few, they shed the blood but of a few in comparison. But rebels are the cause of infinite robberies, and murders of great multitudes, and of those also whom they should defend from the spoyle and violence of other: and as rebels are many in number, so doeth their wickednesse and damnation spread it selfe vnto many.
The seuenth commandement. And if whoredome and adulterie amongst such persons as are agreeable to such wickednesse, are (as they indeede bee most damnable:) what are the forceable oppressions of matrons and mens wiues, and the violating and deflowring of virgins and maides, which are most rife with rebels? How horrible and damnable thinke you are they?
The ninth commandement. Now besides that, rebels by breach of their faith giuen, and the oath made to their Prince, bee guiltie of most damnable periurie: it is wonderous to see what false colors and fained causes, by slanderous lies made vpon their Prince, and the councellers, rebels will deuise to cloke their rebellion withall, which is the worst and most damnable of all false witnesse bearing that may be possible.
The tenth commandement. For what should I speake of coueting or desiring of other mens wiues, houses, landes, goods and seruants in rebels, who by their willes would leaue vnto no man anie thing of his owne?
Thus you see that all good lawes are by rebels violated and broken, and that all sinnes possible to bee committed against GOD or man, bee contained in rebellion: which sinnes if a man list to name by the accustomed names of the seuen capitall or deadly sinnes, as pride, enuy, wrath, couetousnesse, sloth, gluttonie, and lecherie, he shall finde them all in rebellion, and amongst rebels. For first, as ambition and desire to be aloft, which is &that; property of pride, stirreth vp many mens minds to rebellion, so commeth it of a Luciferian pride and presumption, that a few rebellious subiects should set themselues vp against the Maiesty of their Prince, against the wisedome of the counsellers, against the power and force of all Nobility, and the faithfull subiects and people of the whole Realme. As for enuie, wrath, murder, and desire of blood, and couetousnesse of other mens goodes, landes and liuings, they are the inseparable accidents of all rebels, and peculiar properties that doe vsually stirre vp wicked men vnto rebellion.
Now such as by riotousnesse, gluttony, drunkennesse, excesse of apparell, and vnthrifty games, haue wasted their owne goodes vnthriftitily, the same are most apt vnto, and most desirous of rebellion, whereby they trust to come by other mens goodes vnlawfully and violently. And where other gluttons and drunkardes take too much of such meats and drinkes as are serued to tables, rebels waste and consume in short space, all corne in barnes, fieldes, or elsewhere, whole garners, whole storehouses, whole cellers, deuoure whole flockes of sheepe, whole droues of Oxen and Kine. And as rebels that are married, leauing their owne wiues at home, doe most vngraciously: so much more do vnmarried men, worse then any stallands or horses (being now by rebellion set at liberty from correction of Lawes which brideled them before) abuse by force other mens wiues, and daughters, and rauish virgins and maydens, most shamefully, abominably, and damnably.
Thus all sinnes, by all names that sinnes may be named, and by all meanes that sinnes may be committed and wrought, doe all wholly vpon heapes follow rebellion, and are to bee found altogether amongst rebels. Now whereas pestilence, famine, and warre, are by the holy Scriptures declared to bee the greatest worldly plagues and miseries that likely can be (2 Sam. 24.14), it is euident, that all the miseries that all these plagues haue in them, doe wholly altogether follow rebellion, wherein, as all their miseries bee, so is there much more mischiefe then in them all.
For it is knowen that in the resorting of great companies of men together, which in rebellion happeneth both vpon the part of true subiectes, and of the rebels, by their close lying together, and corruption of the ayre and place where they doe lie, with ordure and much filth, in the hot weather, and by vnwholesome lodging, and lying often vpon the ground, specially in colde and wet weather in Winter, by their vnwholesome diet, and feeding at all times, and often by famine and lacke of meate and drinke in due time, and againe by taking too much at other times: It is well knowen, I say, that aswell plagues and pestilences, as all other kindes of sickenesses and maladies by these meanes growe vp and spring amongst men, whereby moe men are consumed at the length, then are by dint of sword sodainely slaine in the field. So that not onely pestilences, but also all other sickenesses, diseases, and maladies, doe follow rebellion, which are much more horrible then plagues, pestilences, and diseases sent directly from GOD, as hereafter shall appeare more plainely.
And as for hunger and famine, they are the peculiar companions of rebellion: for while rebels doe in short time spoile and consume all corne and necessary prouision, which men with their labours had gotten and appointed vpon, for their finding the whole yeere after, and also doe let all other men, husbandmen and others, from their husbandry, and other necessary workes, whereby prouision should bee made for times to come, who seeth not that extreame famine and hunger must needes shortly ensue and follow rebellion? Now whereas the wise King & godly Prophet Dauid iudged warre to be worse then either famine or pestilence (2 Sam. 24.14), for that these two are often suffered by GOD, for mans amendement, and be not sinnes of themselues: but warres haue alwayes the sins and mischiefes of men vpon the one side or other ioyned with them, and therefore is war the greatest of these worldly mischiefes: but of all warres, ciuill warre is the worst, and farre more abominable yet is rebellion then any ciuill warre, being vnworthy the name of any warre, so farre it exceedeth all warres in all naughtinesse, in all mischiefe, and in all abomination. And therefore our Sauiour Christ denounceth desolation and destruction to that Realme, that by sedition and rebellion is diuided in it selfe (Matthew 12.25).
Now as I haue shewed before, that pestilence and famine, so is it yet more euident that all the calamities, miseries, and mischiefes of warre, be more grieuous and doe more follow rebellion, then any other warre, as being farre worse then all other warres. For not onely those ordinarie and vsuall mischiefes and miseries of other warres, doe follow rebellion, as corne, and other things, necessary to mans vse to be spoiled, Houses, Villages, Townes, Cities, to be taken, sacked, burned, and destroyed, not onely many very wealthy men, but whole countreys to be impouerished, and vtterly beggered, many thousands of men to be slaine and murdered, women and maides to be violated and deflowred: which things when they are done by forraine enemies, we doe much mourne, as wee haue great causes, yet are all these miseries without any wickednesse wrought by any of our owne countreymen. But when these mischiefes are wrought in rebellion by them that should be friends, by countreymen, by kinsemen, by those that should defend their countrey, and countreymen from such miseries, the misery is nothing so great, as is the mischiefe and wickednes when the Subiects vnnaturally doe rebell against their Prince, whose honour and life they should defend, though it were with the losse of their owne liues: countreymen to disturbe the publique peace and quietnesse of their countrey, for defence of whose quietnesse they should spend their liues: the brother to seeke, and often to worke the death of his brother, the sonne of the father, the father to seeke or procure the death of his sons, being at mans age, and by their faults to disinherite their innocent children and kinsemen their heires for euer, for whom they might purchase liuings and lands, as naturall Parents doe take care and paines, and to be at great costes and charges: and vniuersally in stead of all quietnesse, ioy, and felicitie, which doe follow blessed peace & due obedience, to bring in all trouble, sorrow, disquietnes of minds & bodies & all mischiefe & calamitie, to turne all good order vpside downe, to bring all good lawes in contempt, and to treade them vnder feete, to oppresse all vertue and honestie, and all vertuous and honest persons, and to set all vice and wickednesse, and all vicious and wicked men at libertie, to worke their wicked willes, which were before bridled by wholsome Lawes, to weaken, to ouerthrow, and to consume the strength of the Realme their naturall Countrey, as well by the spending and wasting of monie and treasure of the Prince and Realme, as by murdering the people of the same, their owne countrimen, who should defend the honour of their Prince, and libertie of their Countrie (Proverbs 14.28), against the inuasion of forraigne enemies: and so finally, to make their countrie thus by their mischeefe weakened, ready to bee a pray and spoyle to all outwarde enemies that will inuade it, to the vtter and perpetuall captiuitie, slauerie, and destruction of all their countriemen, their children, their friendes, their kinsefolkes left aliue, whom by their wicked rebellion they procure to bee deliuered into the hands of the forraigne enemies, as much as in them doeth lie.
In forraigne warres our countriemen in obtaining the victorie win the prayse of valiantnesse, yea and though they were ouercommed and slaine, yet winne they an honest commendation in this world, and die in a good conscience for seruing GOD, their Prince, and their countrie, and bee children of eternall saluation: But the rebellion how desperate and strong soeuer they bee, yet winne they shame here in fighting against GOD, their Prince and Countrie, and therefore iustly doe fall headlong into hell if they die, and liue in shame and fearefull conscience, though they escape.
But commonly they be rewarded with shamefull deathes, their hands and carkases set vpon poles, and hanged in chaines, eaten with kytes and crowes, iudged vnworthy the honour of buriall, and so their soules, if they repent not (as commonly they doe not) the deuill hurrieth them into hell, in the middest of their mischiefe. For which dreadfull execution Saint Paul sheweth the cause of obedience, not onely for feare of death, but also in conscience to GOD-ward, for feare of eternall damnation in the world to come (Romans 13.2).
Wherefore good people, let vs, as the children of obedience, feare, the dreadfull execution of GOD, and liue in quiet obedience, to bee the children of euerlasting Saluation. For as heauen is the place of good obedient subiectes, and hell the prison and dungeon of rebels against GOD and their Prince: so is that Realme happy where most obedience of subiects doth appeare, being the verie figure of heauen: and contrariwise where most rebellions and rebelles bee, there is the expresse similitude of hell, and the rebelles themselues are the verie figures of fiendes and deuils, and their captaine the vngratious patterne of Lucifer and Satan, the prince of darkenesse, of whose rebellion as they bee followers, so shall they of his damnation in hell vndoubtedly bee partakers, and as vndoubtedly children of peace the inheritours of heauen with GOD the Father, GOD the Sonne, and GOD the holy Ghost: To whom bee all honour and glory for euer and euer, Amen.
Thus haue you heard the third part of this Homilie, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in that time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of al creatures, the only giuer of all victories, & who alone art able to strengthen the weak against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, & trusting in thee: Defend, O Lord, thy seruant and our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene ELIZABETH, & all thy people committed to her charge: O Lord withstand the cruelty of all those which be common enemies aswell to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne & Realme of England which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernement of thy seruant, our Soueraigne and gracious Queene, O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stony hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ, that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts, to imbrace the truth of thy word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realme with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine ayde and strength, surety from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyranny, may bee relieued, and they which bee in feare of their cruelty, may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and security: and that wee for these thy mercies, iointly altogether with one consonant heart and voyce, may thankfully render to thee all laud and prayse, that we knit in one godly concord and vnity amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almighty, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud and prayse world without end. Amen.
THE FOURTH PART OF THE HOMILY AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFULL REBELLION.
FOr your further instruction (good people) to shew vnto you how much Almighty GOD doeth abhore disobedience and wilfull rebellion, specially when rebelles aduance themselues so high, that they arme themselues with weapon, and stand in fielde to fight against GOD, their Prince, and their countrie: it shall not bee out of the way to shew some examples set out in Scriptures, written for our eternall erudition. Wee may soone know (good people) how heinous offence the trecherie of rebellion is, if we call to remembrance the heauie wrath and dreadfull indignation of Almighty GOD against subiectes as doe onely but inwardly grudge, mutter, and murmure against their gouernours though their inward treason so priuily hatched in their breastes, come not to open declaration of their doings, as harde it is whom the deuill hath so farre entised against GODS word to keepe themselues there: no hee meaneth still to blowe the coale, to kindle their rebellious hearts to flame into open deedes, if he be not with grace speedily withstood.
Some of the children of Israel, beeing murmurers against their Magistrates appoynted ouer them by GOD, were stricken with foule leprosie: many were burnt vp with fire sodainely sent from the Lord: sometime a great sort of thousandes were consumed with the pestilence (Numbers 11.1, 33, 12.10, 16.32-33, 35, Psalms 78.30-31, 50): sometime they were stinged to death with a strange kinde of firie Serpents: & (which is most horrible) some of the Captaines with their band of murmurers not dying by any vsuall or naturall death of men, but the earth opening, they with their wiues, children, and families, were swallowed quicke downe into hell (Numbers 16.31-32). Which horrible destructions of such Israelites as were murmurers against Moses, appointed by GOD, to bee their heade and chiefe Magistrate, are recorded in the booke of Numbers, and other places of the scriptures, for perpetuall memorie and warninge to all subiects, how highly GOD is displeased with the murmuringe and euill speaking of subiectes against their princes, for that as the Scripture recordeth, their murmure was not against their prince onely, beeing a mortall creature, but against GOD himselfe also (Exodus 16.7-8). Now if such strange and horrible plagues, did fall vpon such subiects as did only murmure and speake euill against their heads: what shall become of those most wicked impes of the deuill that doe conspire, arme themselues, assemble great numbers of armed rebels, and leade them with them against their Prince and countrey, spoyling and robbing, killing, and murdering all good subiectes that doe withstand them, as many as they may preuaile against? But those examples are written to stay vs, not onely from such mischiefes, but also from murmuring, and speaking once an euill word against our Prince, which though any should doe neuer so secretly, yet doe the holy Scriptures shew that the verie birdes of the ayre will bewray them (Ecclesiasticus 10.20): and these so many examples before noted out of the holy Scriptures doe declare, that they shall not escape horrible punishment therefore. Now concerning actuall rebellion, amongst many examples thereof set foorth in the holy Scriptures, the example of Absolon is notable (2 Sam. 15.12, 17.1, 12, 18.7, 18): who entring into conspiracie against King Dauid his father, both vsed the aduise of very wittie men, and assembled a very great and huge company of rebelles: the which Absolon though hee were most goodly of person, of great nobilitie, beeing the Kinges sonne, in great fauour of the people, and so dearely beloued of the king himselfe, so much that hee gaue commandement that (notwithstanding his rebellion) his life should bee saued (2 Sam. 18.5): when for these considerations, most men were afraide to lay handes vpon him, a great tree stretching out his arme, as it were for that purpose, caught him by the great and long bush of his goodly haire, lapping about it as hee fledde hastilie bare-headed vnder the saide tree, and so hanged him vp by the haire of his head in the ayre (2 Sam. 18.9), to giue an eternall document, that neither comelinesse of personage, neither nobilitie, nor fauour of the people, no nor the fauour of the king himselfe, can saue a rebell from due punishment: GOD the King of all kings beeing so offended with him, that rather then hee should lacke due execution for his treason, euery tree by the way will be a gallous or gibbet vnto him, and the haire of his owne head will bee vnto him in stead of an halter to hang him vp with, rather then he should lacke one.
Achitophel. A fearefull example of GODS punishment (good people) to consider. Now Achitophel (2 Sam. 15.12, 16.21, 23, 17.23), though otherwise an exceding wise man, yet the mischeeuous counceller of Absolon, in this wicked rebellion, for lacke of an hangman, a conuenient seruitour for such a traytour, went and hanged vp himselfe. A worthy end of all false rebels, who rather then they should lacke due execution, will by GODS iust iudgement, become hangmen vnto themselues. Thus happened it to the captaines of that rebellion: beside fourtie thousand of rascall rebels slaine in the field, and in the chase (2 Sam. 18.7-9).
Likewise is it to bee seene in the holy Scriptures show that great rebellion which the traytour Seba moued in Israel, was suddenly appeased, the head of the captaine traytour (by the meanes of a seely woman) being cut off (2 Sam. 20.22). And as the holy Scriptures doe shew, so doeth dayly experience prooue, that the counsels, conspiracies, and attempts of rebels, neuer tooke effect, neither came to good, but to most horrible ende (Psalms 21.12). For though GOD doth oftentimes prosper iust and lawfull enemies, which bee no subiects against their forreigne enemies: yet did hee neuer long prosper rebellious subiects against their Prince, were they neuer so great in authoritie, or so many in number. Fiue Princes or Kings (for so the Scripture tearmeth them) with all their multitudes, could not preuaile against Chodorlaomer (Genesis 14.4, 10, 14), vnto whom they had promised loyaltie and obedience, and had continued in the same certaine yeeres, but they were all ouerthrowen and taken prisoners by him: but Abraham with his familie and kinsefolkes, an handfull of men in respect, owing no subiection vnto Chodorlaomer, ouerthrew him and all his hoste in battell, and recouered the prisoners, and deliuered them. So that though warre bee so dreadfull and cruell a thing, as it is, yet doeth GOD often prosper a few in lawfull warres with forreigne enemies against many thousands: but neuer yet prospered hee subiects being rebels against their naturall Soueraine, were they neuer so great or noble, so many, so stout, so wittie, and politike, but alwayes they came by the ouerthrow, and to a shameful ende: so much doeth GOD abhorre rebellion, more then other warres, though otherwise being so dreadfull, and so great a destruction to mankinde. Though not onely great multitudes of the rude and rascall commons, but sometime also men of great wit, nobilitie, and authoritie, haue mooued rebellions against their lawfull Princes whereas true nobility should most abhorre such villanous, and true wisedome should most detest such franticke rebellion) though they should pretend sundry causes, as the redresse of the common wealth (which rebellion of all other mischiefes doeth most destroy) or reformation of religion (whereas rebellion is most against all true religion) though they haue made a great shew of holy meaning by beginning their rebellions with a counterfeit seruice of GOD, (as did wicked Absolon begin his rebellion with sacrificing vnto GOD, 2 Sam. 15.12) though they display, and beare about ensignes, and banners, which are acceptable vnto the rude ignorant common people, great multitudes of whom by such false pretences and shewes they doe deceiue, and draw vnto them: yet were the multitudes of the rebels neuer so huge and great, the captaines neuer so noble, politike and wittie, the pretences fained to bee neuer so good and holy, yet the speedie ouerthrow of all rebels, of what number, state, or condition soeuer they were, or what colour or cause soeuer they pretended, is, and euer hath beene such, that GOD thereby doeth shew that hee alloweth neither the dignitie of any person, nor the multitude of any people, nor the weight of any cause, as sufficient for the which the subiectes may mooue rebellion against their Princes.
Turne ouer and reade the histories of all Nations, looke ouer the Chronicles of our owne countrey, call to minde so many rebellions of old time, and some yet fresh in memorie, yee shall not finde that GOD euer prospered any rebellion against their naturall and lawfull Prince, but contrariwise that the rebels were ouerthrowen and slaine, and such as were taken prisoners dreadfully executed. Consider the great and noble families of Dukes, Marquesses, Earles, and other Lords, whose names yee shall reade in our Chronicles, now cleane extinguished and gone, and seeke out the causes of the decay, you shall finde, that not lacke of issue and heires male hath so much wrought that decay, and waste of noble bloods and houses, as hath rebellion.
And for so much as the redresse of the common wealth hath of old bene the vsuall fained pretence of rebels, and religion now of late beginneth to bee a colour of rebellion: let all godly and discreete subiects consider well of both, and first concerning religion. If peaceable King Salomon was iudged of GOD to bee more meete to build his Temple (whereby the ordering of religion is meant) then his father King Dauid, though otherwise a most godly King, for that Dauid was a great warriour, and had shedde much blood, though it were in his warres against the enemies of GOD: of this may all godly and reasonable subiects consider, that a peaceable Prince, specially our most peaceable and mercifull Queene, who hath hitherto shed no blood at all, no not of her most deadly enemies, is more like and farre meeter either to set vp, or to maintaine true religion, then are bloody rebels, who haue not shed the blood of GODS enemies, as king Dauid had done, but doe seeke to shed the blood of GODS friends, of their owne countreymen, and of their owne most deare friends and kinsefolke, yea the destruction of their most gracious Prince and naturall countrey, for defence of whom they ought to bee ready to shedde their blood, if neede should so require. What a religion it is that such men by such meanes would restore, may easily bee iudged: euen as good a religion surely, as rebels bee good men and obedient subiects, and as rebellion is a good meane of redresse and reformation, being it selfe the greatest deformation of all that may possible bee. But as the trueth of the Gospel of our Sauiour Christ, being quietly and soberly taught, though it doe cost them their liues that doe teach it, is able to maintaine the true Religion: so hath a franticke religion neede of such furious maintenances as is rebellion, and of such patrons as are rebels, being ready not to die for the true Religion, but to kill all that shall or dare speake against their false superstition and wicked idolatrie. Now concerning pretences of any redresse of the common wealth, made by rebels, euery man that hath but halfe an eye, may see how vaine they bee, rebellion being as I haue before declared, the greatest ruine and destruction of all common wealths that may bee possible. And who so looketh on the one part vpon the persons and gouernement of the Queenes most honourable Counsellers, by the experiment of so many yeeres prooued honourable to her Maiestie, and most profitable and beneficiall vnto our countrey and countreymen, and on the other part, considereth the persons, state and conditions of the rebels themselues, the reformers, as they take vpon them, of the present gouernement, hee shall finde that the most rash and hairebrained men, the greatest vnthriftes, that haue most lewdly wasted their owne goods and landes, those that are ouer the eares in debt, and such as for their theftes, robberies, and murders, dare not in any well gouerned common wealth, where good Lawes are in force, shew their faces, such as are of most lewd and wicked behauiour and life, and all such as will not, or cannot liue in peace, are alwayes most ready to mooue rebellion, or take part with rebels. And are not these meete men, trow you, to restore the common wealth decayed, who haue so spoyled and consumed all their owne wealth and thrift? and very like to amend other mens maners, who haue so vile vices, and abominable conditions themselues? Surely that which they falsely call reformation, is indeede not onely a defacing or a deformation, but also an vtter destruction of all common wealth, as would well appeare, might the rebels haue their wils, and doth right well and too well appeare by their doing in such places of the countrey where rebels doe rout, where though they tary but a very little while, they make such reformation that they destroy all places, and vndoe all men where they come, that the childe yet vnborne may rue it, and shall many yeeres hereafter curse them.
Let no good and discreete subiectes therefore follow the flagge or banner displayed to rebellion, and borne by rebels, though it haue the image of the plough painted therein, with God speede the plough, written vnder in great letters, knowing that none hinder the plough more then rebels, who will neyther goe to the plough themselues, nor suffer other that would goe vnto it. And though some rebels beare the picture of the fiue wounds paynted, against those who put their onely hope of saluation in the wounds of Christ, not those wounds which are painted in a clout by some lewd paynter, but in those wounds which Christ himselfe bare in his precious body: though they, little knowing what the crosse of Christ meaneth, which neither caruer nor paynter can make, doe beare the image of the crosse painted in a ragge, against those that haue the crosse of Christ painted in their hearts, yea though they paint withall in their flagges, Hoc signo vinces, By this signe thou shalt get the victorie, by a most fonde imitation of the posie of Constantinus Magnus, that noble Christian Emperour, and great conquerour of GODS enemies, a most vnmeete ensigne for rebels, the enemies of GOD, their Prince, and countrey, or what other banner soeuer they shall beare: yet let no good and godly subiect, vpon any hope of victorie or good successe, follow such standerd bearers of rebellion.
For as examples of such practises are to bee found aswell in the histories of olde, as also of latter rebellions, in our fathers, and our fresh memorie: so notwithstanding these pretences made and banners borne, are recorded withall to perpetuall memorie, the great and horrible murders of infinite multitudes and thousands of the common people slaine in rebellion, dreadfull executions of the authours and captaines, the pitifull vndoing of their wiues & children, and disinheriting of the heyres of the rebels for euer, the spoyling, wasting, and destruction of the people and countrey where rebellion was first begun, that the childe then yet vnborne might rue and lament it, with the finall ouerthrow, and shamefull deaths of all rebels, set foorth aswell in the histories of forreigne nations, as in the Chronicles of our owne countrey, some thereof being yet in fresh memorie, which if they were collected together, would make many volumes and bookes: But on the contrary part all good lucke, successe and prosperitie that euer happened vnto any rebelles of any age, time or countrey, may bee conteyned in a very few lines, or wordes.
Wherefore to conclude, let all good subiects, considering how horrible a sinne against GOD, their Prince, their country, and countrimen, against all GODS and mans lawes rebellion is, being indeed not one seuerall sinne, but all sinnes against GOD and man heaped together, considering the mischieuous life and deeds, & the shamefull ends & deaths of all rebels hitherto, and the pitifull vndoing of their wiues, children, and families, and disinheriting of their heires for euer, and aboue all things considering the eternall damnation that is prepared for all impenitent rebels in hell with Satan the first founder of rebellion, and grand captaine of all rebels, let all good Subiects I say, considering these things, auoide and flee all rebellion, as the greatest of all mischiefes, and imbrace due obedience to GOD and our Prince, as the greatest of all vertues, that wee may both escape all euils and miseries that doe follow rebellion in this world, and eternall damnation in the world to come, and enioy peace, quietnesse, and securitie, with all other GODS benefits and blessings which follow obedience in this life, and finally may enioy the kingdome of heauen, the peculiar place of all obedient Subiects to GOD and their Prince in the world to come: which I beseech GOD the King of all kings, graunt vnto vs for the obedience of his Sonne our Sauiour Iesus Christ, vnto whom with the Father and the holy Ghost, one GOD and King immortall, al honour, seruice, and obedience of all his creatures is due for euer and euer, Amen.
Thus haue you heard the fourth part of this Homilie, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in that time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of al creatures, the only giuer of all victories, & who alone art able to strengthen the weak against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, & trusting in thee: Defend, O Lord, thy seruant and our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene Elizabeth, & all thy people committed to her charge: O Lord withstand the cruelty of all those which be common enemies aswell to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne & Realme of England which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernement of thy seruant, our Soueraigne and gracious Queene, O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stony hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ, that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts, to imbrace the truth of thy word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realme with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine aide and strength, suretie from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyrannie, may be relieued, and they which bee in feare of their crueltie, may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and security: and that wee for these thy mercies, iointly altogether with one consonant heart and voyce, may thankfully render to thee all laud and prayse, that we knit in one godly concord and vnity amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almighty, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud and prayse world without end. Amen.
THE FIFTH PART OF THE HOMILY AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFULL REBELLION.
WHereas after both doctrine and examples of due obedience of subictes to their Princes, I declared lastly vnto you what an abominable sinne against GOD and man rebellion is, and what horrible plagues, punishments, and deathes, with death euerlasting, finally doeth hang ouer the heades of all rebels: it shall not bee either impertinent, or vnprofitable now to declare who they bee, whom the deuill, the first authour and founder of rebellion, doeth chiefely vse to the stirring vp of subiects to rebell against their lawfull Princes: that knowing them, ye may flee them, and their damnable suggestions, auoid all rebellion, and to escape the horrible plagues, and dreadfull death, and damnation eternall finally due to all rebels.
Though many causes of rebellion may bee reckoned, and almost as many as there be vices in men and women, as hath beene before noted: yet in this place I will onely touch the principall and most vsuall causes as specially ambition and ignorance. By ambition, I meane the vnlawfull and restlesse desire in men, to bee of higher estate then GOD hath giuen or appointed vnto them. By ignorance, I meane no vnskilfulnesse in artes or sciences, but the lacke of knowledge of GODS blessed will declared in his holy word, which teacheth both extreamely to abhorre all rebellion, as beeing the roote of all mischiefe, and specially to delight in obedience, as the beginning and foundation of all goodnesse, as hath beene also before specified. And as these are the two chiefe causes of rebellion: so are there specially two sortes of men in whom these vices doe raigne, by whom the deuill, the authour of all euill, doeth chiefly stirre vp all disobedience and rebellion.
The restlesse ambitious hauing once determined by one meanes or other to atchieue to their intended purpose, when they cannot by lawfull and peaceable meanes clime so high as they doe desire, they attempt the same by force and violence: wherein when they cannot preuaile against the ordinarie authoritie and power of lawfull Princes and gouernours themselues alone, they doe seeke the ayde and helpe of the ignorant multitude, abusing them to their wicked purpose. Wherefore seeing a few ambitious and malitious are the authours and heads, and multituds of ignorant men are the ministers and furtherers of rebellion, the chiefe point of this part shall bee aswell to notifie to the simple and ignorant men who they bee, that haue beene and be vsuall authours of rebellion, that they may know them: and also to admonish them to beware of the subtill suggestions of such restlesse ambitious persons, and so to flee them: that rebellions (though attempted by a few ambitious) through the lacke of maintenance by any multitudes, may speedily and easily without any great labour, danger or domage be repressed and clearely extinguished.
It is well knowen aswell by all histories, as by dayly experience, that none haue either more ambitiously aspired aboue Emperours, Kings and Princes: nor haue more pernitiously mooued the ignorant people to rebellion against their Princes, then certaine persons which falsely chalenge to themselues to bee onely counted and called spirituall. I must therefore heere yet once againe briefly put you (good people) in remembrance out of GODS holy worde, how our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and his holy Apostles, the heads and chiefe of all true Spirituall and Ecclesiasticall men, behaued themselues towards the Princes and Rulers of their time (Matthew 17.25), though not the best gouernours that euer were, that you bee not ignorant whether they be the true disciples and followers of Christ and his Apostles, and so true spirituall men, that either by ambition doe so highly aspire, or doe most maliciously teach, or most pernitiously doe execute rebellion against their lawfull Princes, being the worst of all carnall workes, and mischieuous deedes.
The holy Scriptures doe teach most expresly, that our Sauiour Christ himselfe, and his Apostles Saint Paul, Saint Peter, with others, were vnto the Magistrates and higher powers, which ruled at their being vpon the earth, both obedient themselues, and did also diligently and earnestly exhort all other Christians to the like obedience vnto their Princes and Gouernours (Mark 12.17, Luke 20.25): whereby it is euident that men of the Cleargie, and Ecclesiasticall ministers, as their successours ought both themselues specially, and before other, to bee obedient vnto their Princes, and also to exhort all others vnto the same (Romans 13.1, 1 Timothy 2.1-2, 1 Peter 2.13). Our Sauiour Christ likewise teaching by his doctrine that his Kingdome was not of this world (Matthew 27.11, Luke 23.3), did by his example in fleeing from those that would haue made him king, confirme the same (John 6.15, 18, 36): expresly also forbidding his Apostles, and by them the whole Cleargie, all princely dominion ouer people and Nations, and hee and his holy Apostles likewise, namely Peter and Paul, did forbid vnto all Ecclesiasticall ministers, dominion ouer the Church of Christ (Matthew 20.25, Mark 10.42, Luke 22.25). And indeede whiles the Ecclesiasticall ministers continued in Christes Church in that order that is in Christes word prescribed vnto them, and in Christian kingdoms kept themselues obedient to their owne Princes, as the holy Scripture doeth teach them: both was Christs Church more cleare from ambitious emulations and contentions (Matthew 23.8, Luke 9.46, 2 Corinthians 1.24), and the state of Christian kingdomes, lesse subiect vnto tumults and rebellions. But after that ambition and desire of dominion entred once into Ecclesiasticall ministers, whose greatnesse after the doctrine and example of our Sauiour, should chiefly stand in humbling themselues (1 Peter 5.3, Matthew 18.4, 20.28, Luke 9.48, 22.27): and that the Bishop of Rome being by the order of GODS word none other then the Bishop of that one See and Diocesse, and neuer yet well able to gouerne the same, did by intolerable ambition chalenge, not onely to bee the head of all the Church dispersed throughout the world, but also to bee Lord of all Kingdomes of the world, as is expresly set foorth in the booke of his owne Canon lawes (Sex Decre. Bk. 3, tit. 16, chap. unic., Bk. 5, tit. 9, Chap. 5 in glossa), most contrary to the doctrine and example of our Sauiour Christ, whose Vicar, and of his Apostles, namely Peter, whose successour hee pretendeth to bee: after his ambition entred, and this chalenge once made by the Bishop of Rome, hee became at once the spoyler and destroyer both of the Church, which is the kingdome of our Sauiour Christ, and of the Christian Empire, and all Christian kingdomes, as an vniuersall tyrant ouer all.
And whereas before that chalenge made, there was great amitie and loue amongst the Christians of all countreys, hereupon began emulation, and much hatred betweene the Bishop of Rome and his Cleargie and friendes on the one part, and the Grecian Cleargie and Christians of the East on the other part, for that they refused to acknowledg any such supreme authoritie of the Bishop of Rome ouer them: the Bishoppe of Rome for this cause amongst other, not onely naming them, and taking them for Schismatikes, but also neuer ceasing to persecute them, and the Emperours who had their See and continuance in Greece, by stirring of the subiectes to rebellion against their soueraigne Lords, and by raysing deadly hatred and most cruell warres betweene them and other Christian Princes. And when the Bishoppes of Rome had translated the title of the Emperour, and as much as in them did lie, the Empire it selfe from their Lord the Emperour of Greece, and of Rome also by right vnto the Christian Princes of the West, they became in short space no better vnto the West Emperours, then they were before vnto the Emperours of Greece: for the vsuall discharging of subiectes from their oath of fidelitie made vnto the Emperours of the West their soueraigne Lords, by the Bishoppes of Rome: the vnnaturall stirring vp of the subiectes vnto rebellion against their Princes, yea of the sonne against the father, by the Bishoppe of Rome: the most cruell and bloodie warres raysed amongst Christian Princes of all kingdomes: the horrible murder of infinite thousandes of Christian men beeing slaine by Christians: and which ensued thereupon, the pitifull losses, of so manie goodly Cities, Countreys, Dominions, and Kingdomes, sometime possessed by Christians in Asia, Africa, Europa: the miserable fall of the Empire and Church of Greece, sometime the most flourishing parte of Christendome, into the handes of the Turkes: the lamentable diminishing, decaye, and ruine of Christian religion: the dreadfull increase of paganisme, and power of the infidels and miscreants, and all by the practise and procurement of the Bishop of Rome chiefly, is in the histories and chronicles written by the Bishop of Romes own fauourers and friendes to bee seene, and aswell knowen vnto all such as are acquainted with the said histories. The ambitious intent and most subtile driftes of the Bishops of Rome in these their practises, appeared euidently by their bold attempt in spoyling and robbing the Emperours, of their townes, cities, dominions, and kingdomes, in Italie, Lombardie,Italie, Lombardie, and Sicilie, of ancient right belonging vnto the Empire, and by ioyning of them vnto their Bishopricke of Rome, or else giuing them vnto strangers, to hold them of the Church and Bishop of Rome as in capite, and as of the chiefe Lordes thereof, in which tenure they hold the most part thereof, euen at this day. But these ambitious and indeede traiterous meanes and spoyling of their soueraigne Lords, the Bishops of Rome, of Priestes, and none other by right then the Bishops of one citie and diocesse, are by false vsurpation become great Lordes of many dominions, mightie Princes, yea or Emperours rather, as claiming to haue diuerse Princes and Kings to their vassals, liege men, and subiects: as in the same histories written by their owne familiars and courtiers is to bee seene. And indeede since the time that the Bishops of Rome by ambition, treason, and vsurpation atchieued and attained to this height and greatnesse, they behaued themselues more like Princes, Kinges, and Emperours in all things, then reamined like Princes, Bishoppes, and ecclesiasticall, or (as they would bee called) spirituall persons, in any one thing at all. For after this rate they haue handled other Kings and Princes of other Realmes throughout Christendome, as well as their Soueraigne Lords the Emperours, vsually discharging their subiects of their oath of fidelity, & so stirring them vp to rebellion against their naturall Princes, whereof some examples shall in the last part hereof be notified vnto you.
Wherefore let all good subiectes, knowing these the speciall instruments, and ministers of the deuill, to the stirring vp of all rebellions, auoyde and flee them, and the pestilent suggestions of such forraigne vsurpers, and their adherentes, and embrace all obedience to GOD, and their naturall Princes and Soueraignes, that they may enioy GODS blessings, and their Princes fauour, all peace, quietnesse, securitie in this world, and finally attaine through Christ our Sauiour, life euerlasting in the world to come: which GOD the Father for the same our Sauiour Iesus Christ his sake grant vnto vs all, to whom with the holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen.
Thus haue you heard the fifth part of this Homilie, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in the time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of all creatures, the only giuer of all victories, who alone art able to strengthen the weake against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, and trusting in thee: Defend O Lord, thy seruant & our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene Elizabeth and all thy people committed to her charge, O Lord withstand the crueltie of all those which be common enemies as well to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne and Realme of England, which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernment of thy seruant, our Soueraigne & gracious Queene. O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stonie hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth, and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts, to imbrace the truth of thy Word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realm, with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine ayde and strength, surety from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyranny, may bee relieued, and they which bee in feare of their cruelty, may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel, and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and security: and that wee for these thy mercies, ioyntly altogether with one consonant heart and voyce, may thankfully render to thee all laud and prayse, that we knit in one godly concord and vnity amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almighty, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud and prayse world without end. Amen.
THE SIXTH AND LAST PART OF THE HOMILY AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILFULL REBELLION.
NOW whereas the iniuries, oppressions, rauenie, and tyranny of the Bishop of Rome, vsurping aswell against their naturall Lords the Emperours, as against all other Christian Kings, and Kingdomes, and their continuall stirring of subiects vnto rebellions against their Soueraigne Lords, whereof I haue partly admonished you before, were intolerable: and it may seeme more then maruayle, that any subiects would after such sort hold with vnnaturall forraine vsurpers against their owne soueraigne Lords, and naturall countrey: It remayneth that I doe declare the meane whereby they compassed these matters, and so to conclude this whole treaty of due obedience, and against disobedience, and wilfull rebellion.
Of ignorance of the simple people the latter part. You shall vnderstand, that by ignorance of GODS word, wherein they kept all men, specially the common people, they wrought and brought to passe all these things, making them beleeue that all that they sayd was true, all that they did was good and godly: and that to hold with them in all things, against father, mother, prince, countrey, and all men, was most meritorious. And indeed what mischiefe will not blinde ignorance leade simple men vnto?
By ignorance the Iewish Clergie induced the common people to aske the deliuery of Barabbas the seditious murderer, and to sue for the cruell crucifying of our Sauiour Christ, for that he rebuked the ambition, superstition, and other vices of the high Priests and Clergie. For as our Sauiour Christ testifieth, that those who crucified him wist not what they did: so doeth the holy Apostle Saint Paul say, If they had knowen, if they had not beene ignorant, they would neuer haue crucified the Lord of glory: but they knew not what they did. Our Sauiour Christ himselfe also foreshewed that it should come to passe by ignorance, that those who should persecute and murder his true Apostles and Disciples, should thinke they did GOD acceptable sacrifice, and good seruice: as it is also verified euen at this day.
And in this ignorance haue the Bishops of Rome kept the people of GOD, specially the common sort, by no meanes so much, as by withdrawing of the word of GOD from them, and by keeping it vnder the vayle of an vnknowen strange tongue. For as it serued the ambitious humour of the Bishops of Rome, to compell all nations to vse the naturall language of the city of Rome, where they were Bishops, which shewed a certain acknowledging of subiection vnto them: so yet serued it much more their craftie purpose, thereby to keepe all people so blind, that they not knowing what they prayed, what they beleeued, what they were commanded by GOD, might take all their commandements for GODS. For as they would not suffer the holy Scriptures or Church seruice to bee vsed or had in any other language then the Latine: so were very fewe, euen of the most simple people taught the Lords prayer, the articles of the faith, and the tenne commandements, otherwise then in Latine, which they vnderstood not: by which vniuersall ignorance, all men were ready to beleeue whatsoeuer they sayde, and to doe whatsoeuer they commanded.
Sicognouissent. For to imitate the Apostles phrase: If the Emperours subiectes had knowne out of GODS word their dutie to their prince, they would not haue suffered the Bishop of Rome to perswade them to forsake their Soueraigne lord the Emperour against their oath of fidelitie, and to rebel against him, onely for that he cast images (vnto the which idolatrie was committed) out of the churches (Gregorius 2. and 3. Anno Do. 726 &c. In the second commandement), which the Bishoppe of Rome bare them in hand to bee heresie. If they had knowen of GODS worde but as much as the tenne commaundements, they should haue founde that the Bishop of Rome, was not onely a traytour to the Emperour his liege Lord, but to GOD also, and an horrible blasphemer of his maiesty, in calling his holy word and commaundement heresie: and that which the Byshoppe of Rome tooke for a iust cause to rebell against his lawfull prince, they might haue knowen to bee a doublinge and triplinge of his most heynous wickednesse, heaped with horrible impiety and blasphemy.
But lest the poore people should know too much, he would not let them haue as much of GODS word, as the tenne commaundements wholy and perfectly, withdrawinge from them the second commaundement, that bewrayeth his impietie, by a subtill sacrilege. Had the Emperours subiects likewise knowen, and beene of any vnderstanding in GODS (Henrie 4. Gregor.7. Anno Domini 176. Paschal.2. Anno 199.) word, would they at other times haue rebelled against their Soueraigne Lord, and by their rebellion haue holpen to depose him, onely for that the Byshop of Rome did beare them in hand, that it was symonie and heresie to, for the Emperour to giue any ecclesiasticall dignities, or promotions to his learned Chaplaines, or other of his learned Clergie, which al Christian Emperours before him had done without controulement? woulde they, I say, for that the Bishop of Rome bare them so in hand, haue rebelled by the space of more then fourtie yeeres together against him, with so much shedding of Christian bloud, and murther of so many thousandes of Christians, and finally haue deposed their Soueraigne Lorde, had they knowen and had in GODS word any vnderstanding at all? Specially had they knowen that they did all this to plucke from their Soueraigne Lord, and his successours for euer, their auncient right of the Empire, to giue it vnto the Romish Clergie, and to the Bishop of Rome, that hee might for the confirmation of one Archbishop, and for the Romish ragge, which he calleth a Paul, scarce worth twelue pence, receiue many thousand crownes of gold, and of other Bishops, likewise great summes of money for their bulles, which is symonie indede: Would, I say, Christian men and subiectes by rebellion haue spent so much Christian blood, and haue desposed their naturall, most noble, and most valiant Prince, to bring the matter finally to this passe, had they knowen what they did, or had any vnderstanding in GODS word at all? And as these ambitious vsurpers the Bishops of Rome haue ouerflowed all Italie and Germanie with streames of Christian blood, shed by the rebellions of ignorant subiects against their naturall Lords and Emperours, whom they haue stirred thereunto by such false pretences: so is there no countrey in Christendome, which by their like meanes and false pretences, hath not beene ouersprinkled with the blood of subiectes by rebellion against their naturall Soueraigns stirred vp by &the; same Bishops of Rome.
King Iohn. And to vse one example of our owne countrey: The Bishoppe of Rome did picke a quarrell to King Iohn of England, about the election of Steuen Langton to the Bishopricke of Canterburie, wherein the King had ancient right, being vsed by his progenitors, all Christian Kinges of England before him, the Bishops of Rome hauing no right, but had begunne then to vsurpe vpon the Kinges of Englande, and all other Christian Kinges, as they had before done against their Soueraigne Lordes the Emperours: proceeding euen by the same waies & meanes, & likewise cursing King Iohn, and discharginge his subiects of their oath of fidelitie vnto their Soueraigne Lord. Now had Englishmen at that time knowen their duetie to their prince set forth in GODS worde, would a great many of nobles, and other Englishmen naturall subiectes, for this forraigne and vnnaturall vsurper his vayne curse of the King, and for his faigned discharginge of them of their oath and fidelitie to their naturall Lord, vpon so slender or no grounde at all, haue rebelled against their soueraigne Lorde the Kinge (Innocencini.3.)? Would Englishe subiects haue taken part against the King of England, and against Englishemen, with the French King and Frenchmen, beeing incensed against this Realme by the Bishoppe of Rome?
Philip French King. Lewes Dolphine of France. Would they haue sent for, and receiued the Dolphine of Fraunce with a great armie of Frenchmen into the Realme of England? Would they haue sworne fidelitie to the Dolphine of Fraunce, breaking their oath of fidelitie to their naturall Lord the Kinge of England, and haue stood vnder the Dolphins banner displayed against the King of England? Would they haue expelled their soueraigne Lorde the Kinge of England out of London, the chiefe cittie of England, and out of the greatest part of England, vpon the Southside of Trent, euen vnto Lincolne, and out of Lincolne it selfe also, and haue deliuered the possession thereof vnto the Dolphin of Fraunce, wherof he kept &the; possession a great while? Would they beeing Englishmen haue procured so great shedding of English bloud, and other infinite mischiefes and miseries vnto England their natural countrie, as did follow those cruell warres and trayterous rebellion, the fruits of the Bishop of Romes blessings? Would they haue driuen their naturall soueraigne Lord the King of England to such extremitie, that he was inforced to submit himselfe vnto that forraigne false vsurper the Bishop of Rome, who compelled him to surrender vp the crowne of England into the handes of his Legate, who in token of possession kept it in his handes diuers dayes, and then deliuered it againe to King Iohn, vpon that condition that the King and his Successours, Kings of England, should hold the Crowne, and Kingdome of England of the Bishop of Rome and his successours, as the vassals of the sayd Bishops of Rome for euer: in token whereof, the Kings of England should also pay a yeerely tribute to the sayd Bishoppe of Rome as his vassals and liege men? Would Englishmen haue brought their Soueraigne lord, and naturall countrey into this thraldome and subiection to a false forraigne vsurper, had they knowen and had any vnderstanding in GODS word at all?
See the Acts of Parliament in king Edward the third his dayes. Out of the which most lamentable case, and miserable tyrannie, rauenie, and spoyle of the most greedie Romish wolues ensuing hereupon, the Kings and Realme of England could not rid themselues by the space of many yeeres after: the Bishop of Rome by his ministers continually not onely spoyling the Realme and Kings of England of infinite treasure, but also with the same money hiring and maintaining forreigne enemies against the Realme and Kings of England, to keepe them in such his subiection, that they should not refuse to pay whatsoeuer those vnsatiable wolues did greedily gape for, and suffer whatsoeuer those most cruell tyrants would lay vpon them. Would Englishmen haue suffered this? would they by rebellion haue caused this trow you, and all for the Bishop of Romes causelesse curse, had they in those dayes knowen and vnderstood, that GOD doeth curse the blessings, and blesse the cursings of such wicked vsurping Bishops and tyrants? as it appeared afterward in King Henry the eight his dayes, and King Edward the sixt, and in our gracious Soueraignes dayes that now is, where neither the Popes curses, nor GODS manifold blessings are wanting (Malachi 2.2). But in King Iohns time, the Bishop of Rome vnderstanding the bruit blindnesse, ignorance of GODS word, and superstition of Englishmen, and how much they were enclined to worship the Babylonicall beast of Rome, and to feare all his threatnings, and causelesse curses, hee abused them thus, and by their rebellion brought this noble Realme, and Kings of England vnder his most cruell tyrannie, and to bee a spoyle of his most vile and vnsatiable couetousnesse and rauenie, for a long and a great deale too long a time. And to ioyne vnto the reportes of Histories, matters of later memorie, could the Bishop of Rome haue raised the late rebellions in the North and West countreys in the times of King Henry, and King Edward, our gracious Soueraignes father and brother, but by abusing of the ignorant people? Or is it not most euident that the Bishop of Rome hath of late attempted by his Irish Patriarkes and Bishops, sent from Rome with his Bulles, (whereof some were apprehended) to breake downe the barres and hedges of the publique peace in Ireland, onely vpon confidence easily to abuse the ignorance of the wilde Irish men? Or who seeth not that vpon like confidence, yet more lately hee hath likewise procured the breach of the publique peace in England, (with the long and blessed continuance whereof hee is sore grieued) by the ministery of his disguised Chaplaynes, creeping in Lay mens apparell into the houses, and whispering in the eares of certaine Northern borderers, being then most ignorant of their duetie to GOD and to their Prince of all people of the Realme, whom therefore as most meete and ready to execute his intended purpose, hee hath by the said ignorant Masse priests, as blinde guides leading the blinde, brought those seely blinde subiects into the deepe ditch of horrible rebellion, damnable to themselues, and very dangerous to the state of the Realme, had not GOD of his mercy miraculously calmed that raging tempest, not onely without any ship wracke of the Common wealth, but almost without any shedding of Christian and English blood at all.
And it is yet much more to be lamented, that not onely common people, but some other youthfull or vnskilfull Princes also, suffer themselues to bee abused by the Bishop of Rome, his Cardinals and Bishops, to oppressing of Christian men their faithfull subiects, eyther themselues, or els by procuring the force and strength of Christian men, to bee conueyed out of one countrey, to oppresse true Christians in another countrey, and by these meanes open an entry vnto Moores and Infidels, into the possession of Christian Realmes countries: other Christian Princes in the meane time, by the Bishop of Romes procuring also, being so occupied in ciuill warres, or troubled with rebellions, that they haue neither leisure nor abilitie to conferre their common forces, to the defence of their fellow Christians, against such inuasions of the common enemies of Christendome, the Infidels and miscreants. Would to GOD we might onely reade and heare out of the histories of olde, and not also see and feele these new and present oppressions of Christians, rebellions of subiects, effusion of Christian blood, destruction of Christian men, decay and ruine of Christendome, increase of Paganisme, most lamentable and pitifull to behold, being procured in these our dayes, aswell as in times past, by the Bishop of Rome and his ministers, abusing the ignorance of GODS word, yet remayning in some Christian Princes and people. By which sorrow and bitter fruites of ignorance, all men ought to bee mooued to giue eare and credite to GODS worde, shewing as most truely, so most plainely how great a mischiefe ignorance is, and againe how great and how good a gift of GOD knowledge in GODS word is. And to beginne with the Romish Cleargie, who though they doe bragge now, as did sometime the Iewish Cleargie, that they cannot lacke knowledge (Jeremiah 18.18): yet doeth GOD by his holy Prophets both charge them with ignorance (Ezechiel 7.26), and threaten them also, for that they haue repelled the knowledge of GODS word and Law (Hosea 4.6), from themselues, and from his people, that hee will repell them, that they shall bee no more his Priests (Psalms 2.5). GOD likewise chargeth Princes aswell as Priests, that they should indeuour themselues to get vnderstanding and knowledge in his word, threatning his heauie wrath and destruction vnto them, if they faile thereof. And the wise man saith to all men vniuersally, Princes, priests, and people: Where is no knowledge, there is no good nor health to the soule: and that all men be vaine in whom is not the knowledge of GOD, and his holy word (Proverbs 19.2): That they who walke in darknesse, wote not whither they goe (Apocrypha. Wisdom 13.1, Proverbs 17.24): and that the people that will not learne, shall fall into great mischiefes (Ephesians 4.18, John 12.35, Isaiah 5.13), as did the people of Israel, who for their ignorance in GODS word, were first led into captiuitie, and when by ignorance afterward they would not know the time of their visitation (Luke 19.44, 23.34), but crucified Christ our Sauiour, persecuted his holy Apostles, and were so ignorant and blinde, that when they did most wickedly and cruelly, they thought they did GOD good and acceptable seruice (as doe many by ignorance thinke euen at this day: John 16.2) finally, through their ignorance and blindenesse (Isaiah 27.11, Hosea 4.6), their countrey, townes, cities, Hierusalem it selfe, and the Temple of GOD, were all most horribly destroyed, the most chiefest part of their people slaine, and the rest ledde into most miserable captiuitie (Acts passim multis locis.). For hee that made them, had no pitie vpon them, neither would spare them, and all for their ignorance (Apocrypha. Baruch 3.28).
And the holy Scriptures doe teach, that the people that will not see with their eyes, nor heare with their eares, to learne, and to vnderstand with their heartes, cannot bee conuerted, and saued (Isaiah 6.9, Matthew 13.14, 15, John 12.40). And the wicked themselues, beeing damned in hell (Apocrypha. Wisdom 5), shall confesse ignorance in GODS worde to haue brought them thereunto, saying, Wee haue erred from the way of the trueth, and the light of righteousnesse hath not shined vnto vs, and the sunne of vnderstanding hath not risen vnto vs (Matthew 13.19), wee haue wearied our selues in the way of wickednesse and perdition, and haue walked cumberous and crooked wayes: but the way of the Lord haue we not knowen.
And as well our Sauiour himselfe, as his Apostle Saint Paul doth teach, that the ignorance of GODS worde commeth of the deuill, is the cause of all errour, and misiudging (as falleth out with ignorant subiects (2 Corinthians 4.2-4), who can rather espie a little mote in the eye of the Prince (Matthew 7.3-5), or a Counsellour, then a great beame in their owne) and vniuersally it is the cause of all euill, and finally of eternall damnation, GODS iudgement being seuere towards those, who when the light of Christes Gospel is come into the world, doe delight more in darkenesse of ignorance, then in the light of knowledge in GODS worde (John 3.19). For all are commanded to reade or heare (Matthew 11.15, 13.9, 43, Luke 8.8, Luke 16.30-31), to search and studie the holy Scriptures (John 5.39), and are promised vnderstanding to bee giuen them from GOD (Matthew 7.7, Luke 11.9), if they so doe (Psalms 1.2): all are charged not to beleeue eyther any dead man, nor if an Angel should speake from heauen (Galatians 1.8), much lesse if the Pope doe speake from Rome against or contrary to the word of GOD, from the which we may not decline, neither to the right hand nor to the left (Deuteronomy 5.32).
In GODS worde Princes must learne how to obey GOD, and to gouerne men (Deuteronomy 17.14-15, Psalms 18, 118.8-9): in GODS worde subiects must learne obedience, both to GOD and their Princes (Romans 13.2, 1 Peter 2.13). Olde men and young, rich and poore, all men and women, all estates, sexes and ages, are taught their seuerall dueties in the worde of GOD. For the word of GOD is bright, giuing light vnto all mens eyes, the shining lampe directing all mens pathes, and steppes. Let vs therefore awake from the sleepe and darkenesse of ignorance (Ephesians 5.14), and open our eyes that wee may see the light, let vs rise from the workes of darkenesse, that we may escape eternall darkenesse, the due reward thereof, and let vs walke in the light of GODS word (1 Thessalonians 5.4, 5), whiles we haue light (John 12.35-36), as becommeth the children of light (James 1.17, 1 Timothy 6.16, John 3.19), so directing the steppes of our liues in that way which leadeth to light and life euerlasting, that wee may finally obtayne and enioy the same: which GOD the father of lights, who dwelleth in light incomprehensible, and inaccessable, grant vnto vs, through the light of the world our Sauiour Iesus Christ, vnto whom with the holy Ghost, one most glorious GOD, be all honour, prayse, and thankesgiuing for euer and euer. Amen.
Thus haue you heard the sixth part of this Homily, now good people let vs pray.
The Prayer as in that time it was published.
O Most mighty GOD, the Lord of hostes, the Gouernour of all creatures, the only giuer of all victories, who alone art able to strengthen the Weake against the mighty, and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy seruants calling vpon thy Name, and trusting in thee: Defend O Lord, thy seruant & our Gouernour vnder thee, our Queene Elizabeth and all thy people committed to her charge, O Lord withstand the crueltie of all those which be common enemies as well to the trueth of thy eternall Word, as to their owne naturall Prince and countrey, and manifestly to this Crowne and Realme of England, which thou hast of thy diuine prouidence assigned in these our dayes to the gouernment of thy seruant, our Soueraigne & gracious Queene. O most mercifull Father, (if it be thy holy will) make soft and tender the stonie hearts of all those that exalt themselues against thy Trueth, and seeke either to trouble the quiet of this Realme of England, or to oppresse the Crowne of the same, and conuert them to the knowledge of thy Sonne the onely Sauiour of the world, Iesus Christ that we and they may ioyntly glorifie thy mercies. Lighten we beseech thee their ignorant hearts, to imbrace the truth of thy Word, or els so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord) that this our Christian Realm, with others that confesse thy holy Gospel, may obtaine by thine ayde and strength, surety from all enemies, without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which bee oppressed with their tyranny, may bee relieued, and they which bee in feare of their cruelty, may bee comforted: and finally that all Christian Realmes, and specially this Realme of England, may by thy defence and protection continue in the trueth of the Gospel, and enioy perfect peace, quietnesse, and securitie: and that we for these thy mercies, ioyntly altogether with one consonant heart and voice, may thankefully render to thee all laud and praise, that we knit in one godly concord and vnitie amongst our selues, may continually magnifie thy glorious Name, who with thy son our Sauiour Iesus Christ, and the holy Ghost, art one Eternall, Almightie, and most mercifull GOD: To whom be all laud, and praise world without end, Amen.
A THANKESGIVING FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF THE LAST REBELLION.
O Heauenly and most mercifull Father, the defender of those that put their trust in thee, the sure fortresse of all them that flie to thee for succour: who of thy most iust iudgements for our disobedience and rebellion against thy holy word, and for our sinfull and wicked liuing, nothing answering to our holy profession, wherby we haue giuen an occasion that thy holy name hath beene blasphemed amongst the ignorant, hast of late both sore abashed the whole Realm, and people of England, with the terrour and danger of rebellion, thereby to awake vs out of our dead sleepe of carelesse security: and hast yet by the miseries following the same rebellion more sharpely punished part of our countreymen and Christian brethren, who haue more neerely felt the same: and most dreadfully hast scourged some of the seditious persons with terrible executions, iustly inflicted for their disobedience to thee, and to thy seruant their Soueraigne, to the example of vs all, and to the warning, correction and amendment of thy seruants, of thine accustomed goodnesse, turning alwaies the wickednesse of euill men to the profit of them that feare thee: who in thy iudgements remembring thy mercy, hast by thy assistance giuen the victory to thy seruant our Queene, her true Nobility, and faithfull Subiects, with so little, or rather no effusion of Christian blood, as also might haue iustly ensued, to the exceeding comfort of all sorrowfull Christian hearts, and that of thy fatherly pity, and mercifull goodnesse onely, and euen for thine owne names sake, without any our desert at all. Wherefore we render vnto thee most humble and hearty thankes for these thy great mercies shewed vnto vs, who had deserued sharper punishment, most humbly beseeching thee to grant vnto all vs that confesse thy holy Name, and professe the true and perfect Religion of thy holy Gospel, thy heauenly grace to shew our selues in our liuing according to our profession: that wee truely knowing thee in they blessed word, may obediently walke in thy holy commandements, and that wee being warned by this thy fatherly correction, doe prouoke thy iust wrath against vs no more: but may enioy the continuance of thy great mercies towards vs, thy right hand, as in this, so in all other inuasions, rebellions, and dangers, continually sauing and defending our Church, our Realme, our Queene, and people of England, that all our posterities ensuing, confessing thy holy Name, professing thy holy Gospel, and leading an holy life, may perpetually prayse and magnifie thee, with thy only Son Iesus Christ our Sauiour and the holy Ghost, to whom bee all laud, prayse, glory, and Empire for euer, and euer, Amen.
Printed by Iohn Bill, Printer to the Kings most
The Anglican Library, This HTML edition copyright 1999.