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FROM A CONFUTATION OF THAT TREATISE WHICH ONE JOHN STANDISH MADE AGAINST THE PROTESTATION OF DR.
BARNES, IN THE YEAR 1540.
As pertaining to your blasphemy which say, that it is a damnable justification where faith is preached only to justify, that is condemnably spoken by you. Yea, though an angel of heaven should speak it, if holy St.
Paul be true, who saith, Galatians 1. He ought to be holden accursed, that preacheth any other gospel, than that he himself and the other apostles had preached. If ye, of a cankered hatred to the truth, have not willfully and maliciously taken part against the Holy Ghost, so that ye are but led ignorantly by a blind multitude, to affirm the said inconvenience, I pray God send you a clearer sight in the kingdom of Christ. But if ye are minded, as were the pharisees, and maliciously ascribe damnation to that whereby only we receive salvation, as they ascribed unto the devil that which was alone the working of the Holy Ghost, then am I sorely afraid for you, and for as many as are of that mind. For if it be damnable to teach or preach wittingly against the express word of God, then verily is this a damnable heresy to affirm that faith only doth not justify, seeing that holy scripture so teacheth. As Genesis 15, Isaiah 53, Habakkuk 2, Mark 16, Luke 1:8,24, John 3:17, Acts 13:16, Romans 3- 5:10, Galatians 2-5. Philippians 3, 1 Peter 1:2. Hebrews 4:11.
Of this faith that scripture speaketh so plentifully, have I made sufficient mention in the prologue of that little book which I lately put forth in English, concerning the true old faith of Christ. Now like as the scriptures before alleged do testify for us, that we mean no false nor vain faith, even so is the same article of justification defended and maintained by the doctors, in many and sundry places, specially by St. Augustine. F154 I might allege Cyril, Ambrose, Origen, Hilary, Bernard, Athanasius, with others more, but what helpeth it? Yet shall all the world know that your heresy is not only condemned by the open and manifest scripture, but also by many of the doctors. As for natural reason, it fighteth clearly against you also, if ye ponder well the parable of the marriage in Matthew 22, and in Luke 14, the parable of the unthrifty son in Luke 15, the parable also of the debtor in Matthew 18, and Luke 7.
Ye say, also, Dr. Barnes did preach that works do not profit. If ye mean works invented by menís own brains, not grounded on Godís word, then verily might he well say, that such works do not profit to salvation. For whatsoever is not of faith, is sin, Romans 14. But if ye mean such good works as are comprehended in the commandments of God, and within the precinct of his word, then truly ye fail so to report of him; for though salvation be Godís work only, yet Dr. Barnes in his book, doth not only condemn the fleshly and damnable reason of them which say, If faith only justify, what need we to do any good works, etc, but also he affirmeth plainly that we must needs do them, and that they which will not do them, because they are justified alone by faith, are not the children of God, nor children of justification, etc. For if they were the very true children of God they would be the more glad to do good works, etc. Therefore, saith he, should they also be moved freely to work, if it were for none other purpose or profit, but only to do the will of their merciful God, who hath so freely justified them; and also to profit their neighbor, whom they are bound to serve of very true charity. Are these words as much as to say, that works do not profit? What mean ye thus untruly to report of the dead? F155 Whereas ye make this blind objection, and say, If works profit not, so that faith only justifieth, and Christís death is sufficient, then penance is void and superfluous, I answer, A goodly consequent, gathered neither of skillful sophistry, wise logic, nor of good philosophy, except it be of philosophy unnatural, nor of right divinity: works profit not to salvation, therefore they profit not at all! Is this a pretty consequent? Your consequent is naught, saith St. Peter, for by good works must ye make your vocation certain and sure, 2 Peter 1. A like argument might ye make after this manner, and say, Iron is not profitable to chew nor to eat, therefore it is nothing worth! Were not this a wise consequent? The smith will tell you a better tale. ó Now to put you to your probation. How are ye able justly to prove that penance is void and superfluous, where faith is preached only to justify, Galatians 5? The true faith of Christ is it that we speak of? Is it not occupied then, and worketh through godly love and charity? They then that duly receive this faith, do not receive it to live worse, or as evil afterwards, as they did before God gave it them. For though we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves; though it be the gift of God, I say, not of works; yet are we his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, to the which God ordained us before, that we should walk in them, Ephesians 2. Neither hath our Savior given us any liberty to receive it in vain, but teacheth us to forsake all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live discreetly, justly, and godly in this world, <470601> Corinthians 6, Titus 2. Therefore, whoso despiseth to live virtuously, and to do good works, despiseth not man but God, 1 Thessalonians 4.
The same faith that only justifieth, setteth forth this doctrine, therefore doth it not destroy good works and penance. Take ye heed then, and beware what ye say another time. I might point you also to St. Ambrose, who, treating of the calling of the heathen, and declaring the true original of our salvation, alleges the place afore rehearsed of Ephesians 2, and showeth that faith, being replenished with all good thoughts and deeds, in due season bringeth them forth. And St. Augustine saith these words, If faith be the foundation of penance, F156 without which there is nothing that can be good, then is penance earnestly to be required, which, as it is evident, is grounded in faith. For a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, Matthew 7. Penance, therefore, which proceedeth not of faith, is not profitable, etc. These are St. Augustineís words. Faith, then, destroyeth neither penance nor good works, but beareth them both, and from whom (faith) they both proceed.
OF THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST.
Ye judge it an error to affirm, that there is none other satisfaction unto the Father but the death and passion of Christ only; and yet confess plainly that no man can satisfy for the offense. If it be erroneous to say that Christ is the satisfaction to the Father, and ye yourselves confess that no man else doth satisfy for the offense; to whom then shall we ascribe this honor of satisfying for our sins? Alas, what a gross error are you in! O blind guides, what way will ye lead the people of God? Unhappy is the flock that is under your keeping! And happy is the man whom thou, Lord God, instructest, and teachest him out of thy law, Psalm 94. It is time, Lord, to lay to thine hand, for they have wasted away thy law, <19B901> Psalm 119.
This article, that Christís death only is the satisfaction to the Father, for all the sins of the world, is plain, manifest, and approved throughout all the holy scripture, the whole sentences whereof are here too long to rehearse; but the text is open and evident, though sometimes it use one vocable and sometimes another. For to this article pertain all those scriptures that report Him to be the pacifier and reconciler of the Fatherís wrath; the Cleanser, the Purifier, the Maker of atonement or agreement; the Obtainer of grace, the Sacrifice and Oblation for our sins, etc. The Father of heaven himself doth testify that it is his Son Jesus Christ, in whom or by whom he is pleased and content, Matthew 3:17. Who taketh away the sin of the world, but He? John 1. In whom are we complete, and have all heavenly and necessary things pertaining to salvation, but in Him? Colossians 2. I pass over the scriptures, Isaiah 53, Hosea 13, 1 Peter 1:2, John 1-3, Revelation 1, Hebrews 1:5,7,9,10; Titus 2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Corinthians 1; 2 Corinthians 5; Romans 3:5.
CONCLUSION, ADDRESSED, TO ALL TRUE CHRISTIAN READERS.
Faint not thou in faith, dear reader, neither wax cold in love and charity, though the enemies of Godís word be gathered together, and grown into such swarms. Be thou strong in the Lord and the power of his might. And let it not discourage thee that the said word is so little in the estimation of the world; so greatly despised, so sorely persecuted, so wickedly perverted, wrested, and belied, so unthankfully received, so shamefully denied, and so slothfully followed.
Arm thyself, therefore, with the comfortable ensamples of the scripture.
And, as touching those Nimrods that persecute Godís word, hunting it out of every corner, whetting their swords and bending their bows against it; be thou sure that the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall do with them as he ever was wont to do with tyrants in times past. Thou seest throughout the histories of the holy bible, that like as he turneth some of their hearts from cruelty to meekness, even so, with death, with fire, with water, and with such other his plagues, destroyeth he them that will needs despise his warnings; yea, breaketh their bows in pieces and killeth them with their own swords. As for Jannes and Jambres, those wicked sorcerers and covetous chaplains, that teach contrary to Godís word, and dissuade the great men of the world from it, their own wresting and belieing of it must needs confound them. For though there are many that resist the truth, yet when it is uttered and cometh to light, their madness, as St. Paul saith, shall be manifest unto all men. And as Mosesís rod devoured their rods in the kingís presence, so likewise the same places of scripture that they allege for their wicked purpose, shall destroy their false doctrine in the face of the world. Yea, even as little honesty as the papistry hath gotten by wresting of Thou art Peter, etc., so small profit are they like to have for belieing of other texts. Neither is it to be feared, but God will do for one part of his word as much as for another, when he seeth his time.
Concerning those that for no commandment nor promise of God, for no ensample, warning, or exhortation will be counseled, but still blaspheme his holy word through their ungodly conversation, let not that withdraw thee from the way of righteousness. Love not thou Christ the worse, though Judas be a traitor. Set not thou the less by his wholesome doctrine, though dogs turn to their vomit, and though swine wallow in their mire again.
I know, gentle reader, that to all true christian hearts it is a great temptation to see Godís holy word either persecuted, belied, or unthankfully received. But first remember thyself well by the practice of all histories, when was it without persecution? When was there not one tyrant or other that exercised all his power, strength, understanding, and counsel against it? When were the children of Israel without some bloody Edomites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Philistines, or other?
Secondly, When was not Godís word belied, perverted, or evil spoken of by one false prophet or other? Were there not heretics and flattering chaplains in all ages, that withdrew men from the truth, and misreported the straight ways of the Lord? Thirdly, When were there not some multitudes that, pretending a love toward Christís word, did but follow him for their own belliesí sake? When was the seed of Christís word sown, but some part of it fell upon the stony ground, where it withered, and among the thorns that choked it up?
Wherefore seeing thou art compassed about with so great a number of witnesses, that is to say, with the ensamples of so many godly and holy men; which not only did choose rather to suffer adversity with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; but also eschewed false doctrine, and brought forth always good works in their living; follow thou the same trade; follow thou them, I say, as thou seest they followed Christ, and no farther. And as touching any manner of doctrine, believe no man without Godís word, according as Jerome counselleth thee. For certain it is, that like as many times thou shalt espy even great faults in the conversation of Godís elect, so readest thou of very few teachers, since the apostlesí time, which have not erred, and that grossly, in sundry things.
Wherefore, whomsoever thou hearest teach, preach, or write, or whose books soever thou readest, try them by Godís word, whether they are agreeable thereto or no. When thou knowest them, I say, and art certain and sure, by Christís doctrine, that they are false, seditious, or abominable, then hold them accursed, avoid them utterly, eschew them in any wise, and give over thyself to the wholesome hearing and reading of the scripture, but so that thou art sober and discreet in the knowledge and use thereof.
And that, in confessing the true faith and belief of Christ, thy heart, mouth, and deeds go together, and that thou consent to none opinion contrary to the same; that God may have the praise, and thy neighbor be edified in all thy conversation. So doing, thou shalt not only stop the mouth of evil speakers, but also allure and provoke other men to be fruitfully given to faith and good works, and to help, with such their unfeigned faith and godly living, that the tabernacle of God may be set up again. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen. <590301>JAMES 3 ó If ye have bitter zeal, and there be contentions in your hearts, make no boast, neither be liars against the truth. Preface to certain most godly, fruitful, and comfortable Letters of such true Saints and holy Martyrs of God, as in the late bloody persecution here within this realm, gave their lives for the defense of Christís holy gospel. Written in the time of the affliction and cruel imprisonment.
Miles Coverdale unto the Christian Reader, most heartily wisheth the continual increase of heavenly taste and spiritual sweetness, in the same assured salvation which cometh only through Jesus Christ. THE more nigh that menís words and works approach unto the most wholesome sayings and fruitful doings of the old ancient saints and chosen children of God, who loved not only to hear his word, but also to live thereafter, the more worthy are they to be esteemed, embraced, and followed. And therefore, as we hear and read of many godly, both men and women, whose conversation in old time was beautified with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost, according as the apostle describeth them in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews, so have we just cause to rejoice, that we have been familiar and acquainted with some of those, who walked in the trade of their footsteps. For the which cause it doth us good to read and hear, not the lying legends of feigned, false, counterfeited, and popish canonized saints, neither the trifling toys and forged fables of corrupted writers: but such true, holy, and approved histories, monuments, orations, epistles, and letters, as do set forth unto us the blessed behavior of Godís dear servants.
It doth us good, I say, by such comfortable remembrance, conceived by their notable writings, to be conversant with them, at the least in spirit.
St. Jerome, writing to one Nitia, and having occasion to speak of letters or epistles, makes mention of a certain author named Terpilius, whose words, saith he, are these; ďA letter or epistle is the thing alone that maketh men present which are absent.Ē For among those that are absent, what is so present, as to hear and talk with those whom thou lovest? Also that noble clerk Erasmus Roterodame, commending the book of the epistles or letters which St. Augustine did write, saith thus; ďBy some of Augustineís books, we may perceive what manner of man he was, being an infant in Christ. By other some, we may know what manner of man he was, being a young math and what he was being an old man. But by this only book, meaning the book of the epistles or letters, thou shalt know whole Augustine altogether.Ē And why doth St. Jerome or Erasmus say thus? No doubt, even because that in such writings, as in a clear glass, we may see and behold, not only what plentiful furniture and store of heavenly grace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, faith, love, hope, zeal, patience, meekness, obedience, with the worthy fruits thereof, almighty God had bestowed upon the same his most dear children; but also what a fatherly care he ever had unto them, how his mighty hand defended them; how his providence kept watch and ward over them; how his loving eye looked unto them; how his gracious ear heard their prayers; how he was always mindful of them, never forgat them, neither failed them, nor forsook them; how the arms of his mercy were stretched out to embrace them, whensoever they faithfully turned unto him; how valiant also and strong in spirit, how joyful under the cross, how quiet and cheerful in trouble he made them. What victory of their enemies, what deliverance out of bonds and captivity, what health from sickness, what recovery from plagues, what plenty from scarceness; what help at all need and necessity he bestowed on them.
By such like monuments also and writings, it is manifest and plain, how the same dear children of God, in their time behaved themselves, as well towards him as also towards their friends and foes; yea, what the very thoughts of their hearts were, when they prayed, as their manner was incessantly to do, when they confessed their sins, and complained unto God; when they gave thanks; when they were persecuted and troubled; when they were by the hand of God visited; when they felt, not only the horror of death, the grief of sin, and the burden of Godís displeasure by reason of the same, but also the sweet taste of his great mercy and eternal comfort through Jesus Christ, in their conscience. Of the which things, like as we may evidently perceive rich and plentiful experience in the heavenly treasury of that most excellent book, which we commonly call Davidís Psalter; so hath not God, now in our days, left himself without witnesses.
Yea, no more than he did in other ages before us; but of his abundant goodness, even when the late persecution was most cruel, and enemiesí rage most extreme, he hath raised up such zealous men and women, as, by the wonderful operation of his Holy Spirit, of weak, were made so valiant and strong in him, as well against all idolatry, superstition, false doctrine and corrupted religion, as against their own old blemishes and sins, that they have turned to flight, and confounded the whole rabble of such mischievous papists, as were the persecutors and murderers of them.
Whereby they that list not still to be blind, may plainly behold and see, not only the terrible judgments of God over, and against the wicked, but also his wonderful doings, mixed with mercy in and towards his chosen. Unto whom, as unto them that love Him, he causeth all things to work for the best. So that with Him, by the heavenly light of steadfast faith, they see life, even in death. With Him, even in heaviness and sorrow, they fail not of joy and comfort; with Him, even in poverty, affliction, and trouble, they neither perish nor are forsaken. How else could they be so patient, so quiet of mind, so cheerful and joyful in adversity, and strait captivity; some being thrown into dungeons, ugsome holes, dark, loathsome, and stinking corners; other some lying in fetters and chains, and loaded with so many irons that they could scarcely stir; some tied in the stocks with their heels upward; some having their legs in the stocks, and their necks chained to the wall with gorgets of iron; some both hands and legs in the stocks at once; sometimes both hands in and both legs out, sometimes the right hand with the left leg, or the left hand with the right leg, fastened in the stocks with manacles and fetters, having neither stool nor stone to sit on, to ease their woeful bodies withal. Some standing in most painful engines of iron with their bodies doubled. Some whipped and scourged, beaten with rods, and buffeted with fists. Some having their hands burned with a candle, to try their patience, or force them to relent; some hunger pined and most miserable famished. All these torments and many more, even such as cruel Phalaris could not desire worse, were practiced by the papists, the stout sturdy soldiers of Satan, thus delighting in variety of tyranny and torments, upon the saints of God, as it is full well and too well known, and as many can testify which are yet alive, and have felt some smart thereof. Yea, and furthermore, so extremely were these dear servants of God dealt withal, that although they were most desirous by their pen and writing, to edify their brethren, other poor lambs of Christ, and one to comfort another in him, yet were they so narrowly watched and straitly kept from all necessary helps, as paper, ink, books, and such like, that great marvel it is how they could be able to write any one of these or other so excellent and worthy letters. For so hardly were they used, as I said before, for the most part, that they could not end their letters begun. Sometimes for lack of ease, being so fettered with chains, and otherwise handled as you have heard; sometimes for lack of light, when they could neither see to write well, nor to read their letters again. Sometimes through the hasty coming in of the keepers or officers, who left no corner or bedstraw unsearched; yea, sometimes they were put to so hard shifts, that like as for lack of pens they were fain to write with the lead of their windows, so for want of ink they took their own blood, as yet it remaineth to be seen, and yet sometimes they were fain to tear and rend what they had written at the hasty coming in of the officers.
Thus, thus unkindly, thus churlishly, thus cruelly and unnaturally were even they entreated and handled, whose most notable and godly writings are here set forth in this book. For the which, and such other monuments, great cause have we to praise God; which he himself hath preserved and brought to light, no doubt by his singular great providence, that hereby, we being taught to have his mighty mercy and merciful working, yet more in reverent and thankful regard, might not only consider what heavenly strength and rich possession of constant faith, of ardent zeal, of quiet patience, of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, he useth to arm them, that can find in their hearts to abhor all ungodliness, both of doctrine and life; but also to join with them ourselves in such sort, that looking to Jesus our Captain, abiding the cross and despising the shame, as they did for the joy that was set before them, may with much quietness of a good conscience, end this our short course, to his glory, to the edifying of his church, to the confusion of Satan, to the hindrance of all false doctrine, and to our own eternal comfort, in the same our Lord and alone Savior Jesus Christ. To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor, all glory; all thanks, and all praise, world without end. Amen.
POSTSCRIPT THE Volumes included under the title ofTHE BRITISH REFORMERS may be arranged in the following order:
Volume 1. WICKLIFF TO BILNEY. 2. TINDAL,FRITH,AND BARNES. 3. EDWARD VI.,PARR,BALNAVES, ETC. 4. LATIMER. 5. HOOVER. 6. BRADFORD. 7. RIDLEY AND PHILPOT, 8. CRANMER,ROGERS,CARELESS, etc. 9. KNOX. 10. BECON. 11. JEWELL. 12. FOX,BALE,AND COVERDALE.
Each volume forms a distinct publication, and may be purchased separately.
The following particulars will explain the manner in which this work has been carried through the press. The pieces contained therein are without abridgement, unless where expressly mentioned. There are a few omissions which are necessary in a publication intended to be generally circulated, and to be useful at the present day. In other editions, the obsolete spelling has been laid aside, the same plan is pursued in the present publication; the involved construction of sentences, common in writers of that period, has also been removed. Those words which have become unintelligible or offensive, are, exchanged for others, or are explained by notes when it is desirable that they should be retained. These variations, if they may be so called, were as necessary to render this work generally useful, as the adoption of modem orthography. The utmost care has been taken that the meaning of the author should be strictly preserved, and the various pieces have been collated with the best and earliest editions, or with manuscript copies. This has been done, that the meaning of the author might be given as nearly as possible, not from the first editions being the most correct, as they often abound With errors, for which the hurried or careless manner in which they were for the most part passed through the press, will readily account. The present reprints, it is believed, will be found to present the most correct text of these writers that has hitherto appeared. More than half of the pieces included in this collection, have not been reprinted since the sixteenth century, and a considerable portion is now printed for the first time.
Upon the value of the Writings of the British Reformers, it is unnecessary to enlarge. The late Revelation L. Richmond remarked, ďThey are eminently calculated to cherish those principles and views of sacred truth, which, being drawn from the pure fountain of Revelation, have ever proved the surest bulwark against the attacks of infidelity, and the encroachments of error.Ē Another writer, the Reverend. E. Bickersteth, observes, ďThe Reformers are more scriptural in their sentiments and statements than most succeeding authors. They are less systematic, and more experimental; less theoretic, and more practical, on Christian principles; they are more consistent in doctrine, and more useful in application. Their standard of divinity is of a high, and sound, and generally uniform character.Ē
Perhaps a summary view of the writings of the Reformers cannot be better given, than in the words of a contemporary respecting the sermons of one of their number, ďSharply they reprove sin, sweetly they preach Christ crucified, pithily they impugn error, and earnestly they persuade to godly life.Ē
The present reprint of the writings of the British Reformers renders them accessible to readers in general, so that the great mass of the population of England may now become acquainted with works, which, raider the divine blessing, produced inestimable benefits to our forefathers. These witnesses to the truth now address the descendants of those to whom they spake while yet living, they again testify of Him, in whom alone is light, and life, and joy, and salvation. This republication has been accomplished by the liberality of a highly esteemed individual, who devoted the sum of twelve hundred pounds to defray the cost of stereotyping a collection, ďto which the weary soul may resort for refreshment, and the wounded heart for consolation; to which the believer may have recourse to dissolve his doubts, to dissipate his fears, to assuage, his sorrows, to excite his graces, to confirm his faith, and to elevate his hope.Ē
The collection might easily have been extended, but not without enlarging the work so as to impede its circulation, and, consequently, its usefulness.
Two important classes of writings connected with the British Reformation, however, are not included. First, Translations from the German Reformers, many of which were widely circulated in England, and contributed much to the progress of the truth. Second, Writings of the immediate successors of the Reformers, those who were associated in their early sufferings, and in their subsequent labors. The most valuable writings of each of these classes might he printed in six volumes, and would be a valuable present to the Church of Christ. Whether they shall appear, must remain with Him who is able to raise up instruments for his work, and to cause the requisite means to be provided.
The editor, who has, under the divine blessing, been enabled to devote a considerable portion of time to carrying this collection through the press, feels that he ought not to allow the concluding page to pass from under his pen without acknowledging the valuable and constant assistance he has received, whereby the uninterrupted regular appearance of a large portion every month, during the space of four successive years, has been accomplished, and the work has gone forth in a more correct form than would have been attainable, had it rested wholly upon any one person. But he feels himself still more strongly called upon to acknowledge, however feebly, those manifestations of divine Providence which peculiarly marked the commencement of the present work, which have, in various ways, accompanied its progress, and now have brought it to a close, attended by encouragement and evidences of usefulness, far beyond those which the most sanguine friend of the object had ventured to anticipate. If it be in any measure useful to man, toGOD alone be all the glory ascribed. NOVEMBER 5th, 1831.