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CHAPTER - WE MUST DIRECT OUR FAITH, HOPE, AND CONFIDENCE TOWARDS GOD.
Hitherto hath it been declared, that the very right and true help, succor, and comfort resteth in God through Christ, and for his sake: now shall it consequently be taught, how we should order and behave ourselves again with faith, hope, prayer, repentance, amendment of life, and patience, that God may participate, distribute, and extend his grace and mighty merciful hand toward us.
First of all, although we must utterly despair of all manner of help and succor of man, and can in no wise devise or imagine what way or after what sort God will or may help and aid us; yet notwithstanding we must utterly resist and banish all manner of heavy, sorrowful, and desperate fancies and imaginations of the mind, and give no place unto them, but conceive steadfastly this sure trust and confidence in God, that he both knoweth and will take and hit the right time, measure, and means to help us, and will valiantly and gloriously deliver us.
Let us commit altogether joyfully and boldly without fear unto God, and let his mercy and gracious goodness more rejoice and comfort us, than all the misery and sorrow under heaven, upon earth, or in hell may fear us.
Yea, we need to care and sorrow for nothing so much as for this, that we be not too careful and sorrowful for ourselves, as though God had given over all his care and sorrow for us: for like as the governor, father, or good man of the house taketh all the care and sorrow upon himself, how he shall find, feed, and sustain his family; and the household servants ought to love their masters, to have a good trust and opinion of them, and also to labor and to do such service as they are appointed unto, faithfully; even so all manner of care and sorrow for us belongeth unto God, and our parts and duty is no more but to trust and believe in him, and to serve in that vocation and condition of life, whereunto we are called and appointed of God, faithfully.
Now if God be most victorious and invincible, and his dear beloved Son also an everlasting strength, that can never fail, against the devil and the world; and again, both Christ and God himself, through faith, are ours and dwell in us, (Ephesians 4 <490401> .); then there is no cause why the faithful christian man should fear neither his own feeble flesh and body, nor his weak and impotent age, nor yet the whole power of the devil, though he be armed and weaponed with a thousand crafts and subtleties. (1 Peter 5 <600501> ) For if so be that in God be all manner of joy, blessedness, and felicity, and we through faith do prove and find him a gracious and merciful God unto us; then may we lawfully rejoice in God, even in the midst of the highest sorrow and adversity that can be. To witness, Psalm 25:4 : “There shall none be confounded and put to shame, that hopeth in thee.” “Cast thy care and sorrow upon the Lord, and he shall defend and sustain thee.” What can be thought or imagined more sweet or comfortable?
For example: the heathenish woman of Canany, all hope and comfort in the remedy and counsel of man set apart, desireth help and succor of Christ; and although the Lord giveth her at first rough and sharp answers, yet she is nothing abashed, nor will not so be answered. (Matthew 15 <401501> ) Even so hold thou on likewise with the heathenish woman, saying and crying still: “O thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” And so shalt thou hear at length this comfortable gospel and absolution: “Thy faith is great, be it unto thee as thou desirest.”
St Bernard showeth very comfortably what a faith he had, in these goodly words: “O Lord, it is much better for me to suffer trouble, so that thou only mayest be by me, than to rule and live pleasantly and costly without thee. It is better and more pleasant unto me to be in a hot, burning, and flaming oven with thee, than to be even in heaven without thee.” f51 And who did ever trust in the Lord, whom he at length forsook? Besides all this, Almighty God commandeth that we should hope, trust, and look for help at his hand; which hope bringeth with her a mitigation and easement of the smart and sorrow. “I hope in the Lord, therefore shall I not fall.” “Hope thou only in God, so shalt thou be holpen.” “Hope is never confounded nor put to shame.” (Psalm 26:28 , Romans 5 <450501> ) CHAPTER - OF PRAYER IN TROUBLE AND ADVERSITY.
The holy scripture teacheth us, in all manner of necessities, as well bodily as ghostly, to call upon God, and to flee unto him. And here doth it profit very much, if one be mindful of another in his prayer.
But what should a man pray for? First and most specially, for remission of his sins. For when we have once obtained of God pardon of our sins, then certainly shall the sickness, adversity, or punishment either clearly cease, or else, through the gracious will and goodness of God, it shall redound to the furtherance of our salvation.
Secondarily, we must also pray either that God will help and deliver us, not after the device and fancy of our own brains, but after such wise as shall seem unto his godly wisdom; or else that he will mitigate and ease our pain and punishment, that our weakness may not utterly faint and sink down to the bottom.
Like as a sick person, although he doubt nothing of the faithfulness, honesty, and tenderness of his physician or surgeon towards him, yet for all that desireth him to handle his wound, and to dress him as easily and tenderly as is possible for him; even so in like manner may we call upon God, that, if it be not against his honor and glory, he will vouchsafe to give some mitigation and easement of the pain.
And specially let us desire of him to grant us strength, that we faint not, nor be overcome with the fear or greatness of our sorrow and grief, whereby we might forsake him, and fall into some wickedness; but that we may rather, after the example of the holy martyrs, suffer death and most intolerable torments, than either to forsake and deny our faith, or else to do any manner of thing against the will of God. (Romans 8 <450801> ) And it is very expedient for us to pray with: the lost and desperate son: “I am no more worthy from henceforth to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15 <421501> ) I will gladly with all my heart have sorrow and trouble upon earth, even as a laboring servant that goeth for his hire, so that thou wilt but suffer me to dwell and remain in thy house for ever.
But now how should we pray? St James in his first chapter teacheth us, that we should pray in faith without wavering, and nothing doubt but that God doth mercifully hear us. We must continually look upon the promise of God, and have this always before our eyes, that we do not only seek help and remedy at his hands, but also hope and look surely for it, committing both body and soul with a good will unto him. (Matthew 21 <402101> , Mark 11 <411101> ) “Call upon me in thy need, and I will help and deliver thee, and so shalt thou praise me.” “Let him call upon me, so will I hear him; I am by him in his trouble, I will deliver him out, and bring him to honor.” (Psalm 1 <190101> , 91 <199101> ) And again: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever you shall pray for unto the Father in my name, (that is to say, in the trust and confidence upon my merits,) he shall give it unto you.” (John 14 <431401> ) For example: when Moyses held up his hands unto God and prayed, his enemies, the Amalekites, were overcome. (Exodus 17 <021701> ) The two blind men which did cry after the Lord, “O Son of David, have mercy upon us,” were heard. (Matthew 9 <400901> ) Of such like examples are the gospels full.
Item, in trouble and adversity we ought to praise God, and to give him thanks that he hath not forgotten us, butt through his fatherly visitation calleth and draweth us unto him, and graciously helpeth us to bear all manner of burdens. Even so did Paul in his adversity praise God (2 Corinthians 1 <470101> ): “Praised be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercy and God of all consolation, which comforteth us in all our troubles and afflictions.”
CHAPTER - REPENTANCE AND AMENDMENT OF LIFE IN TROUBLE AND ADVERSITY IS NECESSARY.
Now there must go with all this repentance, heaviness, and sorrow for the sins which we have committed in time past, amendment of life, the love of God, the fear of God, all virtue and godliness. Manasses was sorry and penitent for his wicked life and cruel tyranny; and therefore did God deliver him out of the bands and captivity of the king of Babylon, and restored him again to his kingdom in Israel. (2 Kings 21 <122101> , 2 Chronicles 31 <143101> ) By Jonas was it preached and proclaimed unto the great city of Ninive, that God should destroy and overthrow it within forty days. The Ninivites believed this proclamation and preaching, and began to repent and amend their lives with a great and a singular humbleness and submission; and so God of his mercy spared them. (Jonah 3 <320301> ) Now is God’s merciful heart nothing diminished: if we do as the Ninivites did, he both can and will pardon and spare us, as he did them. (Numbers 11 <041101> , Isaiah 50 <235001> , 59 <235901> ) CHAPTER - CHRISTIAN AND GODLY PERSUASIONS AND EXAMPLES OUT OF THE WORD OF GOD, TO MOVE MEN UNTO PATIENCE IN AFFLICTION AND ADVERSITY, Among all other virtues, in adversity patience is most necessary; not such a patience as to suffer all things to pass, whether they be good or bad, right or wrong, setting all on six and seven; but when we are in trouble and adversity, and can avoid it by no lawful mean, whereas after the desire and lust of our flesh we would murmur, forsake, and give over both God and all manner of righteousness; then to resist and strive against our afflictions and sorrowful thoughts, and, as a man would say, to spear up and to captivate and subdue our natural eyes, wit, and reason under and unto the obedience of God, yielding and submitting ourselves unto him, suffering whatsoever it be with a good and ready will, even though it were most bitter and cruel death, rather than we would swerve from the word of God (Luke 9 <420901> ); yea, and moreover to praise God, and to give him thanks, that he will vouchsafe so fatherly to visit us, and that he hath not forgotten us.
This is called a right christian patience. For it is God’s precept and commandment, that we should not murmur or grudge against him, when he chasteneth us; but that we should submit ourselves most humbly unto his holy will, and after a certain manner to wish, that is to say, willingly to suffer and bear such punishment and correction, whereby we remain and continue obedient unto his godly righteousness. “Murmur not, as certain murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (Numbers 21 <042101> , Corinthians 10 <460101> ) Wherefore we ought to show patience in all things, as a point of our duty; and it is a grievous sin to murmur and grudge against the judgment of God, and to resist and strive against God’s will. And God doth not only command patience, but also is himself patient and long-suffering; which destroyeth not at once the whoremonger, the extortioner, and other such like wicked and damnable people with a lightning or thunderbolt, although his holy and strait righteousness requireth no less. (Deuteronomy 32 <050101> ) He giveth time and space sufficient for the man to repent, and to return to grace again.
Hence Paul saith: “Dost thou despise the abundant riches of his goodness, his patience, and long-suffering? Knowest thou not that the goodness and gentleness of God calleth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2 <450201> ) According unto this godly example, though it be so that we must suffer somewhat against our will, and contrary to our minds and affections, yet should we not murmur and grudge, but amend our lives, and patiently look and wait for better.
And specially the unspeakable fidelity and love of God towards us ought lawfully to move and persuade us, to suffer God to work with us even according to his will and pleasure: for by this means we give God this honor, that he doth us no wrong nor injury, but disposeth all things most wisely, and will direct them to a good end.
On the contrary part, the unpatient man murmureth and grudgeth against God, and is angry with him, as though his judgments and works were not just and right, forasmuch as the wicked and ungodly live in pomp, pleasure, and all dissoluteness, and the virtuous and godly in poverty, sorrow, and misery. He may peradventure fancy and imagine with himself, that God overehargeth his faithful children, and will suffer them to remain in peril, necessity, and danger, and will not hear them. (Psalm 37 <193701> ) And thus he is so poisoned with bitterness and obstinacy, that he beginneth to hate and to blaspheme God in heaven, and seeketh unlawful means to help and remedy himself: like as Saul did, running after witches and soothsayers. (1 Samuel 28 <092801> ) Wherefore let every christian man take heed, that no such raving fierceness and bitterness come upon him, or at least that it remain not long by him; but in such temptation let him fight manfully, as in the face and sight of the heavenly Captain, which both seeth and knoweth all things, and also most faithfully rescueth his soldiers, and is, as it were, a fellow and one among them, and will recompense all their labor and travail a thousand-fold in the life everlasting.
Moreover, we have an evident and perfect image and spectacle of all patience in our Lord Jesus Christ, as he himself pointed us unto himself, saying: “Whosoever will follow me, let him forsake himself, and take his cross upon his back, and follow me.” (Matthew 16 <401601> ) When his unspeakable martyrdom and passion began, he prayed: “O Father, if it be possible, take this cup from me; but thy will, and not mine, be done.” Where did he ever once murmur or grudge, or cast out so much as one untoward and unpatient word, when he was mocked and scorned, scourged and beaten, and most cruelly misordered and dealt withal? (Matthew 26 <402601> , Mark 14 <411401> , Luke 22 <462201> , John 18 <431801> , Isaiah 53 <235301> ) Print this well and surely in thy mind, that he did pray upon the cross for his greatest enemies, and said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23 <422301> , Acts 7 <440701> ) If he through his heavenly and divine might and power had rid himself of all his pain, sorrow, and danger, and that we in our sorrow, anguish, and necessity had not felt any heavenly strength nor power from God, then could we not have comforted ourselves at all with our Savior Jesus Christ. But he would not put off his bitter passion through his almighty power, but rather overcome it through weakness.
Now then if he, whom all angels and creatures in heaven and earth do behold and look upon, (Psalm 97 <199701> , Hebrews 1 <580101> ) yea, whom they all must serve and fear, doth suffer innocently undeserved with all patience and meekness more than ever any christian man was attempted with; it ought lawfully to make even an heart of stone or iron to yearn and melt, and to take these small afflictions well deserved most patiently and willingly, and to suffer and bear them most meekly.
And this practice did the holy elect of God in the old time not only inculck and teach with words, but also express and perform in deed. It was an heavy cross unto Abraham to’ slay and offer up his most dear son; and yet he with all patience showed himself obedient unto God therein.
And Isaac perceiving, that it stood upon his life, and that he should die, we read not that he did resist, nor once open his mouth against it. (Genesis 22 <012201> ) Joseph, when he was delivered of his brethren unto the heathen, which were fremde and strangers unto him, yet he forgave it his brethren, and did them good for it. Moyses, being reviled of the Israelites as a deceiver and a betrayer, yet had he such compassion of them, that he prayed for them, saying: “O Lord, either forgive them, or else wipe me out of thy book.”
Here is he willing and ready to take all the Israelites’ sins and offenses upon himself, that God should punish him for them. (Exodus 17 <021701> , 32 <023201> , Romans 9 <450901> ) David was fain to be a banished outcast a long time, and to flee every where from Saul, whom notwithstanding he might once as easily have destroyed and killed, as he might have eaten a bit of bread (1 Samuel 24 <092401> ); and after that he was put to flight of his own son, and yet said patiently: “If I find grace and favor before God, then will he restore me again: but if he say, I have no pleasure nor delight in thee; behold, here I am, let him do with me as pleaseth , him best.” (2 Samuel 15 <101501> ) Job, the spectacle of patience, being full of sores in his body, spoiled of his goods, and deprived of his children, said thus: “God gave it, and God hath taken it again; the name of the Lord be praised.” Furthermore he saith: “If he should kill me, yet will I put my trust in him.” (Job 1:13 ) Mathathias, in the very highest peril and danger of his body and life, at such time as they would have compelled and forced him unto idolatry, made this answer unto the servants and ministers of Antiochus: “We will not swerve nor depart from our faith, neither to the right hand nor the left.” (1 Mac. 2) The apostles did rejoice that they were worthy to be scourged, beat, and reviled for the name of Jesus. (Acts 5 <440501> ) We should learn to cry with Paul: “I am sure that neither death nor life, neither height nor depth, nor any other creature, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
After the time of the holy prophets and apostles, many thousand martyrs (among whom were divers notable matrons, chaste virgins, and other young people) did suffer most grievous torments and afflictions for the truth’s sake. (1 Mac. 2, 2 Mac. 6, 7) But now here might some man object and say, It is no marvel that the holy saints did suffer joyfully and boldly, for they did suffer innocently, unworthily, and without desert: but as for me, I must needs complain that I am a wretched sinner, and that which I suffer is for my deserts and sins, so that I suffer worthily; and therefore my cross and affliction can in no wise be compared or likened unto the cross of the holy saints, etc. This objection may be answered in few words.
The holy saints, every one of them, concerning themselves and their own nature, were miserable sinners; but again they were holy and righteous through Jesus Christ, which had distributed and given unto them also, through true faith, his holiness and righteousness.
Furthermore, these two virtues, true faith and christian patience, are so nigh of affinity, and so annexed and knit in fellowship together, that always the one helpeth the other.
Faith is stirred up, exercised, put in ure and practice, receiveth increasement and more strength through patience in sorrow and affliction; when as we for Christ’s sake do both desire and also wait for help and strength of God against our nature, which can nothing but doubt and despair; and also against the weakness of the flesh, against the temptation of the devil, and against the assaults of the world.
And again, patience is exercised, proved, and made stronger through true faith. For whosoever knoweth and is fully persuaded, that he hath a gracious and a merciful God, with whom after this miserable life he shall live everlastingly, the same shall suffer all manner of trouble and adversity patiently, christianly, and thankfully. Again, through faith in Christ, we are set at one and reconciled with God, and assured of his grace, mercy, and favor for Jesus Christ’s sake and the merits of his passion. (Romans 4 <450401> , Galatians 4 <480401> , Ephesians 2 <490201> ) For example: David, forasmuch as he believed truly and steadfastly in God, spoke boldly with a courage: “God is our hope and strength, a very present help in all the sorrows and necessities that have assaulted us.
Therefore will we not fear, though the world should sink, and though the hills should be carried away in the midst of the sea, etc.” (Psalm 46 <194601> ) Yea, every christian man, if it were possible, should be content to lose a thousand bodies and lives, if it were for no other thing, but that he hath heard, tasted, and believed the holy gospel.
But for any man to be impatient, and so to remain, it is an evident token that the same person never had any true faith; or else, if he had, that it is quenched and gone again. For impatiency falleth unto murmuring and disobedience against God, and beginneth to hate God and to blaspheme him.
Also christian prayer is a great help and furtherance to patience; for in prayer we desire the sanctification of the name of God. Now is the name of God most praised and sanctified, when we, being in the highest danger and necessity, do depend and hang upon God through faith and patience, as upon one that will dispose all things well and to a good end.
Again, in prayer we desire that the kingdom of God may come unto us. (Matthew 6 <400601> , Luke 11 <421101> ) Now, if God will confound and destroy in us the kingdom of the devil and of the flesh, or else would utterly lead and draw us into his godly and heavenly kingdom through the cross, were it not as much as to pray against ourselves, if we should be impatient under the same?
We pray likewise, that “God’s will be done.” Now if it be God’s will that we should have sorrow, trouble, and adversity upon earth, how dare or can we resist or grudge against his will?
CHAPTER - EXAMPLES AND CAUSES TAKEN OUT OF NATURAL THINGS, AND OF HEATHEN MEN, WHEREBY A MAN MAY BE MOVED TO PATIENCE IN ADVERSITY.
If there were no holy scripture at all, yet might a man of his own reason take example of brute beasts, of natural things, as of body and soul, and the natural parts unto them belonging; also of heathen men, Jews, and handicraftsmen, and of all manner of states and degrees of men; and likewise of the angels, and of the devil: whereby they might conclude and learn, that they ought to behave themselves patiently, boldly, and manfully in adversity and misfortune.
A lamb or a sheep is led unto the slaughter, and never crieth nor openeth the mouth, but suffereth and abideth it patiently and meekly. Even so ought the holy elect of God, when they are cursed and reviled, not to curse or revile again; .when they are smitten, not to smite again; but to suffer all manner of smart and pain, and not once to blear or to open their mouths against it.
Like as they that are sick and diseased can be content to suffer and abide any of the members of their body to be cut off and to be burnt, so that they might be anything relieved and eased thereby of their great smart and continual pain, which is yet but transitory, and be made whole and sound again; even so ought we gladly and willingly to suffer our Lord God, and to be still and quiet when he sendeth us adversity, whereby we may be relieved and discharged of eternal pain, and obtain health, bliss, and salvation for our souls.
If thou canst consider the order and course of nature, that is naturally written in thy heart, thou shalt thereby learn and conclude, that a man ought to be so strong and steadfast, that he should not be moved by any smart, pain, or other temptation, to do any thing that is unseemly or against honesty.
And out of this honesty, wrought and planted in nature, I sprang the learning and examples of the wise and notable heathen men, which we call philosophers, among whom this was a common proverb and sentence: “Bear and forbear f53 .” The first word whereof teacheth us, that we should suffer the: cross patiently, and to be still and meek when we are visited therewith: and the second signifieth, that we should hate, flee, and avoid all manner of examples, words, or deeds, that might give any manner of occasion to any evil. Aristotle in his Book of Manners teacheth, that felicity and blessedness consisteth not specially in health of body, in abundance of goods, or in worldly honor, dignity, and estimation, but rather in the exercise and practice of virtue. Out of the which it followeth, that a man that is virtuous may be blessed, though he have never so much trouble or adversity; and he reckoneth and taketh trouble or adversity for the very matter and occasion, whereby virtue is most stirred up and exercised, and wherein it doth most shine and appear. f55 And the same Aristotle also compareth an honest and virtuous man unto a good captain: for like as a good captain leadeth and ordereth his host, according as the occasion requireth; even so a virtuous man behaveth himself patiently and well in adversity, and maketh the best of it.
The Stoics did teach plainly, that it was not to be reckoned for an evil thing for us to live in poverty, sickness, and misery; but this only to be evil, to forsake virtue, and show any point of dishonesty. Cicero, one of the most notable and excellent Romans, writeth thus: “Remember and persuade this with thyself, that besides sin and dishonesty nothing can happen to a man, whereat he ought to be astonied or abashed.” And according to this example did one heathen man often comfort another by all manner of circumstances of things, as these following and other.
It beseemeth not a man to weep and wail like a child or a woman. And Seneca writeth thus: “It is easier to subdue and overcome a whole nation, than one only man.” Item: Thou art no more a child of a year, but thou hast age and years, and therefore more is required of thee than of a child.
Before this time thou couldest comfort and give good counsel unto other: do not now therefore like the evil physicians, which boast and pretend that they can help other men, and cannot help themselves. Before this time hitherto thou hast showed and behaved thyself manfully: therefore be now like unto thyself, and go not backward. It were an unseeming thing to wax from day to day worse and weaker; and such like.
Although this doctrine of the heathen men in this and such other points is to be commended, yet the stories do make mention of many unseemly acts that they did: as this, that Coriolanus for desire of revenge did war against his own natural country; also Cato and Antonius for sorrow and heaviness did kill and murder themselves. But the very reason of man can discern and judge, that such things are against nature, and against all virtue and honesty.
But the very right and the most notable heathen men have commended and set forth patience, not only with words, but also have showed the same in example and deed. Among the Grecians, Aristides, an excellent virtuous man, being banished out of his country, did take and suffer his misery very manfully and patiently. Among the Romans, Camillus and Attilius Regulus were highly commended and praised for their excellent patience and stoutness, which they showed in adversity.
Scipio could have defended and revenged himself of the seditious rebels with force and strong hand: but of an excellent princely heart he went out of the sight of his enemies for a time, and suffered much trouble and injury of them, for the profit of his land, lest he should give them occasion to more bitterness and fierceness. Yea, we read of certain women, as of Cornelia, which in affliction and adversity did show manly hearts and great stoutness.
But we must always mark the right difference between the heathenish and the christian patience. As Socrates in his adversity did wonder of the unrighteousness of men, and thought that it was but a chance and fortune that he was afflicted; but David knew and confessed that his visitation and affliction came from God. (2 Samuel 24 <102401> , 1 Chronicles 21 <132101> ) Socrates, forasmuch as he suffereth innocently and without a cause, he cannot find by his reason that we should wish and desire punishment and affliction: but David, after a certain manner, wisheth and desireth the cross; for he knoweth that it is God’s will to testify and to open manifestly through the cross and adversity his wrath and displeasure against sin.
Yea, the notable Cato, hearing that Pompeius, being a good man, was overcome and subdued of Julius, which was a wicked man, he began to doubt and despair. But David in his patience and obedience calleth upon God for help and deliverance, and is certain and sure that the Almighty Lord doth assist him for the holy and blessed Seed’s sake, whereof the heathen have no knowledge nor understanding. (Psalm 5 <190501> , Genesis 3 <010301> ) Thus by comparing the one to the other we shall find and perceive, that the doctrine of the gospel is more pleasant and acceptable, and moveth us unto more thankfulness towards the gospel of Jesus Christ; through whom and by whose means we obtain an whole and a perfect comfort. Now from the old ethnics and heathen men let us descend and come to the Turks, Jews, and to other degrees of men. Many a Turk and Jew would suffer himself to be martyred and tormented most cruelly, rather than he would deny or forsake Mahomet’s religion, and his perverse and naughty faith; and why should not a Christian then much more be content to suffer stoutly, if need should require, for the christian religion and faith’s sake?
A merchant-man maketh far voyages and great journeys, and ventureth body and goods, and nothing is too hard and sour for him, only for worldly and transitory gain and lucre. And yet his hope is uncertain, whether his chance shall be good or evil. And though he happeneth never so well, yet he bringeth home nothing but frail and transitory goods which shall have an end.
Now all we have a long voyage to make also, even from earth to heaven.
And should not we be as well content, as prompt, glad, and willing to suffer all manner of perils and dangers that may happen by the way, seeing that we have an infallible and sure hope of eternal and everlasting riches for Jesus Christ’s sake?
A wayfaring man that goeth from home, although he passeth many pleasant houses and goodly meads, yet minding altogether homeward again, all such things do nothing tempt nor grieve him: even so, whensoever we have not all our pleasure and delight here, let us stablish our comfort, and delight ourselves with our country and habitation in heaven. (2 Corinthians 5 <470501> , Philippians 3 <500301> ) When a man of an high and noble birth is contemned and mishandled in a strange land, where he is not known, it grieveth him nothing so much, as if the like should happen unto him at home in his own natural country. Now is our natural country in heaven; upon earth we are but strangers and pilgrims. Therefore we ought the rather to suffer all things patiently here, only that we may have rest among the inhabitants in our right eternal land and country. (Hebrews 13 <581301> , Philippians 3 <500301> , 1 Peter 1 <600101> .)
A man of war preparing himself with all manner of things appertaining to warfare, though his enemy be never so strong, yet he forgetteth all fear, and never once thinketh upon the strokes and wounds, but only upon the victory and triumph, and goeth his way and fighteth manfully like a giant against his enemies, only for worldly glory and lucre: which thing may redound to the great slander and shame of christian people, if they for the honor, glory, and pleasure of God should not as promptly, willingly, and manfully fight against their ghostly enemies for higher and greater triumph, lucre, and commodity.
A ploughman or an husbandman goeth to the field, dungeth, plougheth, soweth, and harroweth his ground, and hath much sorrow therewith, and waiteth for fruit and profit thereof. By the same example doth the holy apostle St James move and exhort us unto patience.
Turn a four-cornered stone how thou wilt, and it will always stand right up: even so, howsoever a right Christian be tempted and assaulted, he will ever notwithstanding remain upright. When a man playeth at the tables, he cannot always cast what he would have, but whatsoever he hath cast, he must make the best of it. To this game doth Plato liken our life, wherein happen many things contrary to our will, which we must take and turn all to the best, and never despair.
When a little child, that can scarcely go, chanceth to stumble upon a stone, he falleth down by and by in the same place, and there lieth still, weeping and crying till somebody take him up. But people of reason and understanding must not do like children, but must use and endeavor themselves, what sickness or inconvenience soever happen, by and by, so far as is possible, to heal, ease, and remedy it.
A virtuous child will not forsake his father in his need or trouble, nor an honest wife her husband and spouse, nor yet a faithful servant his master.
And why then should we forsake God our father, or Christ our spouse and heavenly lord and master, in trouble and adversity?
Such as are money-merchants, ambitious and vain-glorious, fornicators, whoremongers, and murderers, care neither for shame nor for any thing else, and spare no labor or travail, so that they may bring to pass their wicked lust and desire; and yet oft-times they miss also. And why then should not a right godly man be constant, painful, and patient in honest and good things? as St Bernard writeth very well, saying: “What a faintness, sluggishness, and dullness is this, that such as are wicked and ungodly should be more fervent to wickedness and abomination, than we should be to honesty and goodness; yea, that they should run more swiftly to the devil and to death, than we should to God and to life!” f57 Furthermore, thy fearfulness and impatiency is a great pleasure and comfort to thy foes, and a great heaviness and discomfort to thy friends.
For doubtless all that wish thee good, do rejoice in thy strength and constantness. Think’ also that thou tightest in the presence of the holy angels, which by the provision and appointment of God do dwell with thee, and move and exhort thee to steadfastness; and they rejoice when thou continuest steadfast in goodness. (1 Corinthians 4 <460401> ) And again: we should to the uttermost of our power: flee and abhor all such things as might delight and rejoice the devil; for he is the deadly arch enemy of God and of all mankind. (1 Peter 5 <600501> ) Now this is the very purpose of his temptations and suggestions, and all that he seeketh; that we, when we are poor, should steal; and when we are sick, that we should murmur against God; and in war, affliction, and adversity, that we should forsake our christian faith and religion.
Constantness, faithfulness, and steadfastness toward God and the christian church doth grieve and displease him. Therefore we, to rejoice the angels, and to grieve the devil, ought the rather to be constant and patient in the midst of all adversity.
CHAPTER - BY WHAT MEANS PATIENCE MAY BE OBTAINED AND GOTTEN; AND ONCE HAD, HOW IT MAY BE KEPT AND INCREASED.
Notwithstanding that we know and perceive that patience is so profitable and fruitful a thing unto us, yet we feel in our flesh a certain misliking and grudge toward the cross. Who can be content and glad to see himself deprived of his life, honor, estimation, goods, children, or wife? The remembrance of the pleasure and prosperity that we have had in times past, doth so grieve us, that with Lot’s wife we sighten and look back after Sodoma (Genesis 19 <011901> ); and with the children of Israel we lust after the flesh-pots in Egypt. (Exodus 16 <021601> ) And like weakness do we also find in the noble king and prophet David, as he himself saith: “Many say unto my soul, He hath no God: my soul would receive no comfort, my spirit is waxen weak and feeble.” (Psalm 77 <197701> ) Item, our Savior Jesus in his innocent flesh did show and declare the fearfulness and anguish of the flesh, when as he, kneeling upon the mount Olivet, considered his passion and martyrdom that was coming and at hand, and sweat for sorrow and anguish, so that the drops of his sweat gushed upon the earth like drops of blood, and he prayed unto his Father, that if it were his will, that cup might be taken from him. (Luke 22 <422201> ) In like manner, being upon the cross, he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? how long will thou thus deal with me?” (Psalm 22 <192201> , Matthew 27 <402701> ) But it is not to be understanded, as though Christ did doubt of his Father’s favor and grace; but the weakness of his flesh could have been content to have suffered no more. (Mark 14 <411401> , Luke 22 <422201> , John 18 <431801> , Galatians 5 <480501> ) Now like as the spirit forepasseth and overcometh the flesh in Christ; even so must it do in us also, that we have more respect unto God and unto the life everlasting, than unto this worm-eaten flesh. And therefore now will we declare by most sure and infallible reasons, by what means and ways a man may master and overcome his flesh in the time of the cross and affliction, and so show and declare true and perfect patience.
It is written: “The victory consisteth not in the multitude of men; but the power and strength cometh from heaven.” (1 Mac. 3) Item: “I am able to do all things through him that maketh me mighty, which is Christ.” (Philippians 4 <500401> ) Wherefore, although my fleshly reason sinketh, wavereth, and faileth never so much, yet doth God continually preserve and uphold my spirit, that it do not utterly faint, but continue prompt and willing till such time as it may be delivered and eased.
But now, how should we order and behave ourselves, that God may grant us his strength, and true patience, and boldness? Forsooth, through faith, hope, prayer, love, truth, faithfulness, virtue, and godliness, we may obtain it of God.
First, we must furnish and comfort our hearts and minds with faith toward God. For whosoever doth know perfectly and is certain, that God, which is the Lord of all haps and mishaps, of prosperity and adversity, is pacified and reconciled with him, and that he for that cause cannot be deprived of eternal salvation; the same shall be able to contemn and to defy all worldly honor, pomp, and lusts. And again, there can be no pain so bitter, sharp, and grievous unto him, that can bring him out of patience.
In our christian faith we confess and believe an holy universal church, and that we have fellowship and participation with all saints and elect of God; and also we confess and believe remission of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and life everlasting. And Christ giveth unto every one that hath faith this absolution: “Whosoever heareth my word and believeth him that hath sent me, the same hath everlasting life, and cometh not to judgment, but passeth through from death to life.” (John 5 <430501> ) Wherefore through faith a man obtaineth power, strength, patience, constancy, and steadfastness in all goodness. (Romans 5 <450501> , 8 Hebrews 10 <581001> , 11 <581101> ) If strong and mighty enemies should come upon thee, assault, and besiege thee, and thou hadst on thy side one whom thou knewest certainly to be lord, and to have power over all thine enemies, thou mightest lawfully be bold and without fear. Now have we, through faith, Christ on our side, which is Lord over all lords, which hath full power over all fortune and misfortune, prosperity and adversity.
Therefore thou must not long think and look upon the weakness of thy flesh, but thou must stir about with thy faith; that is to say, thou must earnestly and diligently consider the mighty and true love of Jesus Christ, which both can and will comfort and rejoice thee more, than all misfortune is able to discomfort thee, or to make thee heavy.
It is said to us: “Your enemy the devil goeth about like a roaring lion, and seeketh whom he may devour; whom resist .ye steadfastly with faith.” (1 Peter 5 <600501> ) Item, St James saith, that “your approved faith worketh patience.” The holy and faithful apostles did evidently declare, that according to the inward man it was a joy and comfort unto them to be beaten and scourged for the Lord’s sake. Again: all troubles and affliction are grievous by reason of our weak faith, which is yet but little exercised, and hath not well and fully tasted the riches and treasure of the children of God.
Yet notwithstanding no man ought to despair, though he have not a perfect strong faith.
It happeneth oft-times, that the faith, being little and weak, in the time of necessity and affliction draweth back, and is like to a brand and sparkle that hath but a little fire upon it, which the Lord Jesus will not quench, but increase, so that we do but pray with the dear apostles, and say, “O Lord, strengthen our faith.” (Isaiah 41 <234101> , Matthew 17 <401701> , Mark 9 <410901> ) But when a man is utterly destitute of faith, as he that knoweth of no other nor of no better life than this, it is no marvel at all though he despair at length.
Yea, the more he trusteth in himself, or in any worldly and transitory thing, the more unable is he to resist and continue in trouble and adversity. (Acts 4 <440401> , 5 <440501> ) For there is no right comfort nor succor in any manner of thing, besides the Lord Jesus.
There are two kinds of hope; the one is of nature, and the other cometh of faith. The natural hope is a special gift and benefit of God, which after a certain manner doth help and comfort a man that is troubled and vexed, that he do not utterly despair; but in the midst of all adversity, hopeth that in a while it will, within a while, be better, and so waiteth and tarrieth till the adversity be overblown.
Now if this natural hope have such a strength and virtue, should not the other hope, which the Spirit of God doth newly inspire through faith, work a much great? and perfecter patience and strength; that a man in the midst of his cross shall hope and wait for heavenly comfort and aid of God for Christ’s sake? And although the natural hope doth often and many times fail and deceive, and is always uncertain, yet this christian hope doth never fail nor deceive.
The husbandman considereth not only his labor and travail, and what tempest and mischance of weather may fortune; but forasmuch as he trusteth and hopeth that the fruit shall wax and come forth when the time is, therefore he laboreth stoutly and with a good will: even so in the spiritual vineyard, under the yoke of the Lord, the hope and trust of honor and reward maketh men patient and willing, and giveth them courage. “If we hope for that thing which we see not, we wait for it through patience.” (Romans 8 <450801> ) Furthermore, we must seek upon God fervently and without ceasing through prayer, that he will give us a bold t and a strong spirit to suffer all things, and to continue steadfast unto the end. (Matthew 24 <402401> ) Thus doing, he will surely hear us most graciously according to his promise, and faithfully give us his spiritual gifts most specially.
When a man maketh his complaint, and openeth his need and grief unto his special friend, he feeleth a certain ease afterward, so that his pain and grief by the rehearsing thereof is somewhat relieved, remedied, and taken away. Much more comfort and ease shall we receive by telling and opening our grief and complaint unto God. For man is soon weary and irk of our complaining; but if we should spend the whole day in praying, crying, and complaining unto God, he would love, comfort, and strengthen us the more.
Again, to search, hear, and learn the word of God, and for a man to exercise himself therein, is a great furtherance and help to patience. (Luke 18 <421801> ) For God hath not revealed and opened his word in vain unto us, but hath showed and set before us in the same most sweet and loving promises and comfortable examples; that we might learn thereby his goodness, faithfulness, and great loving-kindness, and so comfort and strengthen ourselves by the same in all manner of trouble and adversity.
For an example, the holy word of God saith: “In the world ye shall have sorrow and trouble; but be of good comfort, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16 <431601> ) Item: “God is our hope and strength. O Lord, thou forsakest not them that seek thee, etc.” (Psalm 46 <194601> , Isaiah 28 <232801> ) Many such godly promises and excellent comfortable sayings have we, which we ought to seek and to fetch, though it were even from Jerusalem, upon our knees, and never to cease lauding and praising of God, that he in these latter days hath made us partakers of the eternal and infallible comfort of our souls in his word and gospel: which word is nothing but pure virtue and life, as all faithful hearts do feel and perceive; and it ought no otherwise to be received of us, but as though we heard the very voice of God himself from heaven, speaking all such things as we hear out of the Old and New Testament.
Again: the love, which waxeth and springeth out of faith, worketh patience in adversity, and constancy and steadfastness in goodness. Jacob served seven years for the damsel Rachel; and by reason of the hearty love that he bare unto her, the time was but short unto him: and the days that he served for her, seemed but a short space. (Genesis 29 <012901> ) Even so whosoever loveth God, shall bear and take patiently whatsoever God layeth upon him; and whatsoever he suffereth for God’s sake, it shall be case unto him. f58 Now sickness and other plagues do not happen unto us without the will and providence of God: therefore if we love God heartily, (as we ought to do, forasmuch as he is our merciful Father, and we his children and heirs,) we cannot murmur against his visitation, nor be discontent with it, but we shall rather run after him through all manner of ways, be they never so rough; and shall contemn all things, be they never so hard and grievous; and evermore press unto him through thick and thin, until such time as we come to perfect rest in him, according to the example of the holy apostles and martyrs, whose love toward God did mitigate and ease all their sorrow, cross, and adversity. (Acts 4 <440401> , 2 Corinthians 11 <471101> , 2 Timothy 3 <550301> , 1 Mac. 12, 2 Mac. 6, etc.)
Item: to give alms, and to exercise all kinds of virtue and godliness worketh patience, and that specially for these o two causes: first, because God doth increase his spiritual gifts in them which do well use and bestow them; for to him that hath shall more be given: (Ecclesiastics 35 <213501> , Matthew 13 <401301> ) and secondarily, whosoever behaveth himself godly and virtuously, the same hath a better and a more quiet conscience, and so much more boldness and confidence, but yet only building and staying upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2 <550201> ) Item: like as a soldier, (first, for fear of prison and of the shameful death which he should suffer, if the battle should be lost; and again, in hope of the high reward and excellent honor and renown, if the victory go on his side,) will fight the more boldly and lustily; even so every true Christian is stirred and provoked to more faithfulness and patience, when he considereth the exceeding profit and commodity of patience; and again, the great hurt and discommodity of impatience. (Job 1 <180101> , Revelation 2 <660201> ) CHAPTER - THE FRUIT, PROFIT, AND COMMODITY OF PATIENCE, AS WELL CORPORAL AS SPIRITUAL.
List all, patience serveth to the honor and glory of God, and to the wealth and profit of man, both in soul, body, and in transitory goods and possessions, and also in worldly honor and commendation. For the faithful do resist and withstand their pain and smart, and patiently without any grudging suffer the Lord to deal with them according to his own will; not for any vain-glory, nor for any worldly or transitory gain or lucre, but only and specially to show themselves obedient to God, and to laud and praise him.
As for example: God was as highly praised and glorified, when the three companions of Daniel suffered themselves so patiently and manfully to be cast into the hot burning oven, as he was by the excellent wisdom of Daniel, which he declared in that he could open unto the king his dream.
Furthermore, the patient is less sick, and when he is sick, he is sooner whole again: whereas through impatiency the heart is pressed, vexed, gnawen, consumed, and eaten up. A merry and a quiet heart is an help and furtherance to health; but a heavy and sorrowful mind maketh the natural strength to consume. Like as the moths do hurt the garments, and worms the wood, even so doth sorrow and heaviness hurt the heart of man.
When a child, being corrected and punished of his father, suffereth it patiently, his father hath the more pity upon him, and holdeth his hand, and ceaseth the sooner; but if the child show himself froward, cry any thing loud, or murmur and grudge against him, then is the father the more angry and fierce over him, and beateth him the more sharply: even so the heavenly Father punisheth the patient man the more easily, and healeth him the sooner; but toward them that murmur against him he showeth himself sharp and fierce.
The patient man Job obtained his goods double again, and was plentifully recompensed of the Lord even here in this life. The faithful have experience and proof in very deed, that it is good for them to be patient, and to suffer the Lord to work his will. And again, many by reason of their impatiency and murmuring, do lose that thing that they should else have enjoyed. f59 Sufferance and patience is a token of wisdom; unmeasurable heaviness is a token of foolishness, when we weep and complain like children, saying, I would never have thought, I would never have believed, that it should have come thus and thus to pass, and such like.
Item, impatiency entangleth and ensnareth the mind, and maketh a man sometime dull and at his wit’s end. When a man submitteth and giveth over himself humbly unto the will of God, although his adversity cannot be remedied, yet it shall be easier and lighter unto him; yea, there is nothing so bitter, sour, hard, or terrible to a man, but by this means shall be easy, sweet, light, and unto him comfortable.
And again, so long as a man doth not utterly give over and yield himself to the good will of God, and will not suffer him to work his pleasure with him, content whatsoever he sendeth, his grief is the worse, and the more sharp is his pain; his mind never ceaseth gnawing and fretting, and of one sorrow he maketh three or four. Like as the bird that is caught with the lime-red, the more it striveth to deliver itself, the more do the feathers cleave and hang to the lime; and in like manner, the more the fish that is caught in the net seeketh to come out, the more it windeth itself in; and as he that is bound with chains or fetters of iron, the more he strayeth abroad, the more harm doeth he to himself; even so such as are froward and unpatient in adversity, do increase their sorrow, and hurt themselves the more.
He that hath a heavy burden upon his back, the more he shuttleth and moveth the same, the more doth it grieve him: even so the more froward and unpatient a man is under the cross, the more grievous and painful is it unto him. It is not unwisely spoken of the heathen man, Pliny, which saith: “A good heart in adversity taketh away the half of his misery;” and it is a common proverb of the heathen men: “The fear of adversity and pain, before it cometh, is worse than the pain itself, when it is come.”
All manner of punishment and adversity, which, according to the merit and desert of man, should be unto him a taste and beginning of everlasting pain and damnation, the patient man taketh and useth it for an occasion to exercise thereby all kinds of virtue; whereby the spiritual gifts of grace do wax and increase more and more. For they that are patient do keep the true faith toward God, cry and call upon God through fervent prayer, honor, laud, and praise God, not only for that he ruleth and disposeth all things, but also that he bringeth all things to a good end and success, and that he will so continually do. And thus through patience is patience increased.
And contrariwise, the unpatient man decayeth daily in all kinds of virtues, and is daily more and more spoiled and deprived of all goodness. For whosoever is content and can suffer himself to be provoked of the devil and of the flesh, and giveth place unto them, the same forsaketh faith, prayer, and obedience toward God, and suffereth them to depart, and so is unthankful unto his true and faithful God; whom he cannot be content to suffer, and to commit himself unto him for a while, that he may the more defend and preserve him afterward.
He thinketh that God doth not regard him, and that it is in vain to trust and to wait for help, comfort, and deliverance of God; he imagineth with himself nothing else, but that God is utterly wroth and displeased with him; and can find in his heart to curse and to blaspheme God, as though he were a cruel, unmerciful, and an unrighteous God, showing more love and favor, and doing more good, to the wicked than to the godly: and by this occasion he seeketh for aid, help, and comfort of creatures, and maketh vows unto saints and to pilgrimages, that is to say, to chapels of idolatry and of false gods, and maketh wicked covenants, agreements, and promises against God.
Some for fear do forsake and deny the christian faith, and receive the wicked popish religion, consenting to manifest idolatry, and make God a liar, as though he could not or would not help any more in this or that thing, according to his manifold promises in the Old and New Testament.
Furthermore, unquietness is augmented and increased through impatiency; so that a man that is unpatient is every day more sorrowful and desperate than other; fleeth, where he should steadfastly continue; and findeth neither rest, ease, nor quietness in his heart’ and many one, because he will not suffer and abide poverty and other like extreme necessity, falleth to naughtiness, murder, whoredom, lying, stealing, extortion, riot, cutting of purses, and to such other detestable abomination.
Item, they that be unpatient do envy and disdain at other men’s wealth and prosperity: for they imagine that to be the cause of their cross and sorrow, and they fret against it, envying, disdaining, and hating oft-times the in nocent without any cause; yea, they rage and rave, running headlong to revenge themselves. By the reason whereof oft times, as many stories do testify, contention, hatred, war, uproar, shedding of blood, decay and destruction of the church, of religion, and of the commonwealth, have risen; as Coriolanus, to revenge himself, as an enemy did procure war against his own natural country. Besides this, it is an high honor and commendation before men, before the angels, before the holy saints, and also before God himself, when a man showeth patience, boldness, and strength in adversity.
And again, when a man behaveth himself unseemly, unpatiently, and desperately, it is a shame and a dishonor for him both before all creatures, and also before the Creator himself. For it is no high nor hard thing for a man to show a bold and a strong heart, and to be content with God’s working, when all things happen prosperously and according to his mind; but this is a virtue and a point of cunning, when a man’s mind is not moved nor broken in adversity and misfortune. Like as in a school or place of fence, he that hath showed the most manly touch, and hath won the victory, hath the greater commendation and higher honor; even so is it much more commendable and a greater honor, to overcome and to subdue our spiritual enemies, and to have the victory against the assaults of the flesh and the devil.
He that forsaketh his bodily master without a just cause, is taken before the world for a man that lacketh faith, truth, and honesty: and should it not then be a greater point of dishonesty and of unfaithfulness, in the time of affliction under the cross, to forsake Christ and his word, and through impatiency to work and to do against the same? He that subdueth the temptations of the mind, is to be preferred, and more to be commended than he that hath besieged and overcome a strong city. For the which cause, as well among the Christians as among the heathen, divers notable persons have gotten high commendation and praise for their trustiness, fidelity, and excellent constancy, which they have showed at an hazard and at the time of need.
And specially the example of our Savior Jesus Christ is to be considered, whereof Paul maketh mention, saying: If Christ, after his affliction and obedience even unto death, were exalted to high honor and glory, it shall be a furtherance likewise unto us to great honor, if we take our cross daily upon us, and follow him boldly and manly.
Experience teacheth also, when a man will shift away the cross from him by unlawful means, oft-times he is compelled and driven by force to suffer as much or more with shame and dishonesty. f60 Judith saith: “They that have not taken their cross and temptation in the fear of God, but through murmuring and grudging against God have showed themselves unpatient, they were destroyed and murthered of serpents.” f61 Item, whether a man do suffer worthily or innocently, if he continue in murmuring and is unpatient, it serveth to his eternal damnation.
And again, whether a man suffer worthily or innocently, if he take it patiently as he ought to do, it will be profitable unto him, and a furtherance to everlasting life. And all the sorrows and pains upon earth, in respect of the bliss and salvation that is prepared for us, is but the biting of a gnat or a flea, which is easy to overcome.
When men in warfare lying in camp will play the sluggards and be slothful, and not resist the enemies stoutly and manfully, their fields are destroyed, their houses spoiled, their villages set on fire, their dear friends and neighbors murdered and slain, and their wives and daughters defiled and ravished, and all goeth to havoc, and is full of misery; even so in the spiritual warfare and field, if we yield unto the flesh and the devil, and resist them not manfully and constantly, we cast ourselves into perpetual danger, misery, and unquietness. But if we fight against: the ghostly enemies stoutly and patiently, we may the sooner attain to perpetual rest and quietness.
He that is sick, if he will not receive the medicine, because it is bitter and sour, it is no marvel nor wonder, if the same man perish in his sickness or disease; but if he would suffer himself to be handled after the mind and counsel of the physician, he might overcome the smart, and have good hope to be restored to his health again: even so all right and faithful Christians, that are patient in adversity, may conceive a much more steadfast and sure hope, that they shall attain to everlasting rest of body and soul: whereas contrariwise, they which remain and continue in their forwardness and impatiency against God the heavenly physician, must smart for it everlastingly, both in body and soul. Scripture, to confirm and prove this, have we: “Happy is that man which suffereth in temptation; for after that he is: proved, he shall receive the crown of life.” But no man may gather or conclude upon this, that we merit or deserve eternal salvation for our patience, which thing only Christ alone hath done.
Last of all, patience is profitable, and bringeth singular commodity, not only to him that hath the same virtue, but also to other; for when another perceiveth thee to be constant in the truth, he taketh occasion to exercise like patience and steadfastness. It is manifest by divers credible stories, when as the Christians have died boldly for the christian faith’s sake, that certain of the persecutors have wondered so sore thereat, that they by that and no other occasion were converted to the faith of Christ. f63 Item, patience and steadfastness have wrought quietness in commonwealths, in the church, in many nations, cities, and towns. Scipio, a noble ruler, chose rather to leave Rome, than to subdue and oppress his enemies with force of arms; the doing whereof turned to the singular commodity of the whole commonwealth: and contrariwise, a bitter, cruel, and unpatient mind bringeth, worketh, and occasioneth infinite harm and destruction. f64 Also through our unpatientness in adversity we give occasion to them that be weak in the faith to doubt, whether our faith be the true faith or no, when we confess of God, that he is our comfort both in this world and in the world to come, and yet show ourselves so desperate in adversity, as though God had utterly forsaken us. f66 Wherefore we ought to prepare ourselves for all adversity in time of prosperity, and not to hang upon transitory things, that when need shall require, we may be content to forego them, and continue steadfast in the true faith, wherein “whosoever shall continue unto the end, shall be saved.” f67