And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.—Exodus 21.16.

[A Sermon on 1 Timothy 2.1,2, by John Calvin.]
 
A   S E R M O N   O F   M A I S-
ter. Iohn Caluine, vpon the first Epistle of
Paul, to Timothie, published for the benefite and
edifying of the Churche of God.

Translated out of French
into English,by
L.T.

AT LONDON
Imprinted for G. Bishop
and T. Woodcoke
1 5 7 9.

 
[A Sermon on the Duty of Civil Rulers to Enforce and
Defend the True Religion and True Godliness in their
Realms by drawing out the sword against all Heretics and
others who trouble the Church, and by strictly punishing
whoredom, drunkenness, dancing, stageplays, &c.]

The 12. Sermon, being the first vpon the second Chapter.

  1. I exhort therfore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giuing of thankes, be made for all men,
  2. For Kings, and for them that are in authoritie, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honestie.
WE have shewed already what Paul’s meaning is in this place, that is to say, that the faithful pray not only for the body of the Church, but generally for all men, even as our Lord Jesus Christ exhorteth us, also to do good to them that persecute us, and pray for them that curse us. For what know we, whether it will please GOD to have mercy upon them or no, and bring them to the way of salvation: for we ought to hope well of them, seeing they are created to the image of GOD: And seeing our salvation cometh only from the mere and free goodness of GOD, why will he not do the like to them which now are in the way of damnation, as we were? Therefore the faithful ought to have care of them, which are not yet joined to them, but are rather their {135:B} deadly enemies.

And because Kings and Princes and all officers, were at that time very great enemies to the Gospel, Paul speaketh namely of them, to the end that the faithful may know, that they ought not to cast them off clean, but wait and look that GOD bring them into the right way. And thereupon he sheweth how profitable it is for us, to have men to govern us. For if there were no government, there would be a horrible confusion in the world: and we see it by the fruits that Paul maketh mention of in this place. For first of all by the means of Princes and Magistrates, and other officers that minister justice, we have concord, and are at peace and quietness betwixt ourselves. For Magistrates are for this purpose armed with the sword and rod of Justice, to hinder that the strongest carry it not {136:A} away, and injuries and outrageous dealings be repressed by them, & the good be maintained. Secondly, that there may be some honesty among us, which otherwise would not be. For if there were no laws and order of justice, we should live as beasts, there would be generally such a confusion and disordered kind of state, that men would give themselves to all kind of vile and shameful filthiness, so that there should be nothing but horrible & detestable wickedness among us. For we see already, notwithstanding that there be laws and statutes to frame and rule men’s lives by in some moderation and honesty, that a great sort give themselves to lewdness, and become out of frame. What would it be then, if there were no bar against them, but every man might live as he list [desired]? Out of doubt, men would give themselves to more extreme and excessive riot and beastliness than brute beasts themselves: But the chiefest point of it [magistracy] is, that God may be served and honoured. So then these things shew what need we have to be under some bridle, and to have Kings and Princes, or Magistrates to govern us.

Hereby we see, that the state of Princes, and the ministers of justice, is not contrary to Christianity, as some fantastical heads [i.e. the Anabaptists] have thought, saying, that no Christian man ought to sit in the seat of justice, but all mankind {136:B} must be beaten down to establish the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. But what senseless brains are these, and how hath Satan bereft them of all reason and understanding? Is Christianity against honesty, and can it not stand with a modest and well framed life? Is it contrary to peace and concord? Is it not the true rule to serve God by? And to this end and purpose doth the office of Magistrates drive. And therefore it followed, that they are things joined and knit together, so that the one can not be without the other. True it is, that our Lord Jesus Christ ruled in the world in despite of the Princes, and mauger the beards of them all that had the sword in hand. And religion must not be grounded upon them. For when they would lift up themselves against it, that must be accomplished which is written in the Psalm [2.5], to wit, that Jesus Christ doth bruise them, and beateth down their rebellion with his spiritual scepter, as with a rod of iron, and treadeth them under his foot, and confoundeth and bringeth them to shame in their rage and fierceness. But yet notwithstanding, if the Magistrates do their duty as they ought, we shall see, that that which they do, and the order of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, do very well agree together. And thus let us mark well this place, where Paul willeth us to {137:A} pray for Magistrates, that they may be maintained and preserved, and saith also, to the end that we may serve God, & the purity of religion may be maintained. Seeing the office of Magistrates tendeth to that, it followeth that we must not shut them out of the Church, for they are a part & an excellent member of it, and not of the common sort. And therefore also it is that the Prophets when they speak of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, which was then to come, exhorted Kings & Princes precisely to do him homage. [Isaiah 60.5,10,11.]

True it is, that it belongeth to all men, to sacrifice unto God in the person of his son, to humble themselves, and to bow their knees before him, and that every man employ himself to maintain the pure verity [truth] of the Gospel, but kings are especially exhorted thereunto: And why so? Because they are doubly bound, for seeing they are set in higher place than other men, they have also to know that they are more bound to God, and must labour more to maintain the order of the Church, & Christianity. And for this cause it is said, that kings shall come from beyond the sea, to bring presents and holy gifts to God [Psalm 72.10,11], when David saith, Understand you kings, and learn ye judges of the earth. [Psalm 2.10.] And what? Is not understanding common as well to the very least as to them? Yes indeed: but they must shew the way, because GOD hath set {137:B} them a step nearer to himself, and hath imprinted his glory and his majesty in them: they must, I say, be so much the more wise, and learn first, according to that also which is ordained in the law: that the king of the people should namely have a book of the law [Deut. 17.18,19], to give him to understand, that if others be bound to profit in God’s school, he must first go on. And therefore also the Prophet Isaiah [60.16] sheweth, that kings shall be nurses of the Church of Christ. He speaketh not of the old state that was under the Jews, but when Jesus Christ shall be come, Princes must be protectors of Christianity, and Queens must be nursing mothers.

We see then, that Jesus Christ our Lord would gather to him both great and small, to be honoured of all, and that they which are in honour, should humble themselves before him, and we might be all knit together, and serve him with one consent, knowing that GOD his father, gave him sovereign rule and dominion, to the end that all knees should bow before his majesty. This is very necessary, to make the subjects on their part, more ready and willing to submit themselves to the obedience of justice, & to them that bear the sword. For we know what pride is in men, and in their nature, that they will not willingly submit themselves, unless they know {138:A} that it be God’s will. When we know that Princes and ministers of justice are appointed by God, & be not established by force (as if God corrected us by the hands of thieves) but are as God’s lieutenants, and represent his person: and yet notwithstanding, are members of the Church, yea, honourable members, and Jesus Christ will have his glory appear in them, and them to be his officers: When we know this, we have good occasion to humble ourselves, not by constraint, but of a willing heart, knowing that is a service agreeable to God, for subjects to obey their superiors in modesty and humility. So have they also that rule, occasion to rejoice, in that that God hath received them to be his flock. And this ought to stir them up to do their duty, knowing that it is a good calling, and such an one as God alloweth of. For if they were not persuaded that God will use them to his service, and that it is a lawful estate which they have, what a thing were it? They should be always in trouble, and give themselves to evil. But when they are once persuaded and resolved of this, that the state which they have, was not invented by men, at haphazard, but that God established it, and he will that we know, that it is an holy vocation, then it behooveth them to be throughly moved, to execute their office faithfully. Neither may we doubt, but Paul meant in this place, to {138:B} give Kings and Magistrates a law: and so by the contrary shew, what condemnation is provided for them, if they abuse the seat which God hath dedicated to so good and excellent an use for all mankind, and which is to be referred to his glory, as the chiefest and most principal end. This is it which Princes and Magistrates have to gather out of this place, to wit, that they must give an account to God, seeing he hath advanced them to so great an honour, and hath placed them, as it were, in his seat, and will have them govern, as it were, in his person. So did Moses and Joshua [Deut. 1.17,] give the Judges which they made well to understand. Take good heed, you are not here in your own proper names, men shall not be your warrants, it is God that must govern above all, & to him belongeth this honor: and it pleaseth him that you should be his officers, and have his place. Seeing then it is so, walk in fear & carefulness, considering that it is an horrible sacrilege, if you defile the seat of justice, which God hath consecrated to himself and to his majesty. And therefore it behooveth princes & magistrates to take good heed to themselves, knowing that God will have an account of them, & they must appear before the Lord Jesus, to give an account of their office, which they have executed. And herewith also Paul sheweth, wherein they have to employ themselves, to wit, {139:A} in this, that we their subjects be maintained and kept in good peace, that every man may quietly enjoy that that is his own, that no man be oppressed and put to wrong, that they themselves stand for right and equity, without accepting of persons, that there be no partiality nor favour used, no hatred nor revenge shewed, and that there be an honest and indifferent dealing, betwixt man and man, that our lives be honest and seemly, not dissolute and lawless, and that there be no enormities amongst us, but that they keep men in subjection, to keep under their beastly appetites, and especially that they maintain God’s honour, and the pure and true religion. This is the lesson that is here given to Magistrates, and especially to them which will be taken and accounted faithful. For if the Heathen Princes and unbelievers cannot be excused, what will become of them, that pretend God’s name, & will also be taken for Christians? And mark a threatening by the way, which may make their hairs stare on their heads, & is contained in this text, if they do not their duty. And this order of God may not be broken: Mark then why he hath established Kings and Magistrates, and worldly government, to wit, first of all, That we might live, saith Paul, in all godliness. What meaneth this word Godliness? It meaneth God’s honor, when there is a pure & holy religion amongst us. {139:B}

Hereby Magistrates are warranted and borne out, when they draw out the sword against them that trouble the Church, against all heretics, and those that sow errours and false opinions, and these fantastical men, which at this day are led with the spirit of Satan, & would have them scape scot-free that go about to overthrow the truth, and would not have them punished, that break the unity of faith, and the peace of the Church, insomuch that they shew openly, that they fight against GOD, and that it is Satan that thrusteth them forward to it. For we see what the holy Ghost pronounceth by Paul’s mouth: to wit, that God commandeth Magistrates to maintain pure religion. But if they do it not, their negligence and slackness shall not remain unpunished. Why so? Because they make naught of God’s order, as much as in them lieth. And are they worthy to be so exalted? What mortal man is there, that dareth challenge unto himself that dignity, to sit in God’s place, and in the seat that he hath consecrated to his majesty? that a worm and piece of rotten flesh should come to that? Yet God doeth this honour to unworthy creatures, and reacheth them out his hand, and saith unto them, I will that you be may lieutenants: & they notwithstanding, make no account of him which hath exalted them so high? They can be content to have his glory trodden {140:A} under foot, and his name profaned, and his service set out to all reproach, and a general confusion and hotchpotch in all points: is not this too too shameful and villainous unthankfulness? If a man should only have his friend to keep his house, and say unto him, make good cheer with my goods, use yourself as it were mine own self: but yet see that the house go not to waste, that my servants disorder not themselves and become wicked, until I come home again: if that man should make a stews of that house that was committed to him, and should go and make away the titles and writings to deprive the master of his house, and should persuade with the servants to cut their master’s throat when he should come home, and should turn all topsy-turvy, were not such a man, I pray you, worthy to be torn in pieces with four horses? Should he not be thought a detestable monster? Yes out of doubt. Now mark then, the living GOD appointeth a poor mortal creature to sit in his seat, and saith unto him, I will that thou represent my person, but upon this condition, that I myself be served and honoured. For GOD will not resign his own right, to say that he will diminish ought of his own right, or prejudice & lessen his own glory: and yet see, a mortal man will suffer God’s truth to be despised, and GOD himself to be mocked, and the {140:B} order that he hath set for men to be ruled by, to be abolished, and is that a thing to be suffered? So then, let Magistrates know and consider well, what condemnation hangeth over their heads, & what horrible vengeance waiteth for them, if they take not heed by all means possible, to strain themselves to see that God’s honor be maintained, which consisteth in this point, that true religion have place, & be of force amongst us. Now then, let us see if this be well practiced: alas, the matter is far wide [of this mark]: for they that are in authority, are not content to have this so honorable a dignity above men which are their neighbors, but they will usurp that which belongeth to God only: insomuch that nowadays it is a hard matter to find them that content themselves with measure, to say, we are mortal men which rule under the majesty of our God, and that to this end, that we should give him that which is his own, and is his right: but contrariwise, they must needs fill the world full of troubles, needs must they rob and spoil: yea, and spoil GOD of his honor by force and violence, and turn all topsy-turvy, and bring all out of square. And why so? To set themselves as high as they think good, and to break their own necks, as they justly deserve. And for this cause it is, that our Lord GOD curseth the governments: because that they which are placed in {141:A} them, rule not in his name, and cannot keep themselves in this mean state, to say, we are men which ought to be under our God, and ruling in his place, we ought to maintain his honour, and apply all our studies thereunto: as it is said [Psalm 2.12], kiss the Son, come and do homage to our Lord Jesus. Therefore, our Lord GOD must needs shew, that he casteth off such men, and cannot abide them because of their unthankfulness and detestable sacrilege which they commit, when they will in such sort challenge to themselves that that belongeth not unto them. Moreover, we see the slackness and negligence, which is almost in all them that rule and have authority of justice. They should employ their chiefest study as we have shewed, and as Paul declareth, to this end and purpose, that we might all live in true godliness, and religion might prosper, and the service of God be esteemed above all things. And I pray you, how do Magistrates take this to heart? Do they burn with such a zeal, that when they see God’s honour hurt or darkened, they will straightway go about to put to their hands, and provide for it? No no: it is all one to them: they let all that pass: we see what blasphemies are belched out against God: if the least in any city or town should be reviled, he should have more amends made him, than God’s honor hath. {141:B} Nay, men are not ashamed to cover this whorish shamelessness, as to say, how now? Must blasphemers be thus punished? What a thing were that? For to deny GOD, or despite Jesus Christ, and tear him in pieces, now swearing by his death, now by his blood, now by his flesh, yea, to blaspheme him at every wagging of a straw, it is a matter that quickly scapeth our mouths. See if a man speak reproachful words against I know not whom, Oh, he must by and by make him amends. And behold, the majesty of God, is thus reproached as we see, & no man will make account of it? Again, we see wickedness committed, as it were in despite of God, we see contempt of his word and sacraments, we see all go to decay, and to utter destruction: and yet we shut our eyes, our hands are tied: for that is no great matter we think, to be stuck upon, it is so common a matter, that if I should hold my peace, little children could be judges. And I pray you, they that govern, have they not great cause to fear, when they hear this that is spoken here, that is to say, that they rule not but upon this condition, that they be protectours of God’s honour and service, if they do it not, they turn upside-down the order of justice, and defile the holy seat that God had dedicated to his honour, and for the salvation of all men? And thus we see, how this text should {142:A} be practiced. There are yet moreover and beside these, other faults, which if a man come to condemn, and they that have some good affection to religion, reprove them (as we are all bound to do) and reprehend such faults as are committed, then shall we have nothing but foul speeches, yea, & blows too, we need not go out of Geneva to be persecuted for the Gospel: for whosoever will maintain the honour of God, and can not suffer things to be so far out of square as they are, & such horrible wickedness as is committed in every place, he shall be persecuted as if he were among the Heathen. And where are we become? Where is that that should be in place, if this text had been well marked and borne away? Let them therefore, that are in place of justice, and see the bond they are bound in, endeavour to maintain God’s honour, and let them know, that when they have suffered him to be despised, they shall not escape the great Judge’s hand. And yet notwithstanding, we see how hot they are for their own authority. If a man speak against the Magistrate, shall he not be by and by extremely punished? And it is good reason. Nay, we content not ourselves with that, but if a man have spoken against the dissolute and untamed colts, then is there nothing in our mouths but this, the honor of the city! the honor of the commonwealth! the honour of the whole state! we think the heavens {142:B} would fall down, unless remedy were taken very quickly. And yet notwithstanding, the state of the commonwealth hath not been touched a whit, all that hath been said, was spoken against common faults, yea, faults committed by such as are nothing worth, and whom men know to live a beastly and dissolute life. But yet, go to, let us put the case that nothing is sought for, but to maintain the honour of the Magistrates: Well said, it is good reason it should be so: for the honour of God is thereby hurt and impaired. But yet I pray you, would the Magistrates think that this were a good rule, that when one of their sergeants hath any wrong done him, the party should not be grievously punished: likewise if a man spat in their faces, and would come and pluck them out of their seat, that they should suffer it, and should not punish them that are so disorderous and out of square? Go to then, let them compare themselves with the living God, that hath placed them there. They would, I say, be maintained most reverently, and yet will they suffer God’s honour to be thus beaten down. But what reason is there in it? And thus much touching the point of godliness which Paul speaketh of.

There followeth moreover, honesty and temperance. For the word which he useth, signifieth moderation and gravity, as when {143:A} men do not overlash and give themselves to all wickedness, but live as discreet men, and people that put a difference between good and evil. And this is the second office of the Magistrate. For it is not sufficient for them to punish murderers and thieves, but if they see any drunkards, if they see any whoredom, and such like disorderousness, they must put to their hands, if they will look to be without fault in the sight of GOD.

And why so? For seeing the end of policy is to preserve mankind, let us consider a little whether the preservation of mankind consist rather in eating and drinking, than that every man should live on his own goods, and dwell in his own house, or else that they should shew themselves to be reasonable creatures, and that they have wit and discretion in them, and are not as dogs and swine.

But if men are suffered to live at random, and we give them the whole length of the reins to run to all vices, which are most justly condemned, as to drunkenness on the one side, and whoredom on the other: if bawdy songs be suffered, if dances and such other dissolutions be licensed: if it be lawful to spew out shameful and villainous speeches to allure and entice to whoredom and other naughtiness, if this I say, be lawful, wherein shall we differ from {143:B} dogs and swine? It were better a thousand times, that there were not one crumb of bread in all the world, and that we were overwhelmed and clean swallowed up, than we should live in such disorder: for what else is this, but to blot out the image of God, which he hath imprinted in us, and to turn the order of nature upside down.

Forasmuch therefore, as the magistrates are appointed to maintain the state of mankind, & to be their protectours, it is very meet that we pray for them, seeing by their means we live in all honesty and good moderation. But yet let us see how they do their duty nowadays in this behalf. Who are there that set themselves against slanderous behaviour of men, and evil and naughty examples, which are too too rife at this day, to take order for them? If we talk at this day of redressing such faults, as tend to the utter subversion of whole states, what is he, I pray you, that will set forward the first step? Nay it is rather fulfilled that is said in the Prophet Isaiah, Right hath no Advocate, nor Procter.

Let us cast our eyes nowadays upon places which are or should be open seats of justice & judgment, and where shall we find one man that hath an earnest affection and care to correct such faults as every man seeth and beholdeth, and such as we should be greatly {144:A} ashamed of, I speak of them which are in authority, & have a charge of the commonwealth? Moreover, if we set the whole world before us nowadays, what shall we see but all kind of villainy & reproachful dealings, yea, with such a freedom and lawless liberty, that it booteth not to talk of bringing them to better order. Wicked and shameful customs are become a law, and whatsoever is customably done, we think may not be gainsaid: and thus do men draw one another to sin and wickedness, as it were with cart ropes. From the greatest to the least, there is not one, but giveth himself over to all intemperancy, and all dissoluteness. If it be done in Papistry, cursed be the Papists notwithstanding their blindness, for that shall not excuse them. But our condemnation shall be double, and twice cursed are we, for we have God that enlighteneth us, and we are set as it were, upon a scaffold, at full high noon, so that we have nothing to cover us. For Paul [Eph. 5.8-10] saith, that we must not walk as the children of darkness in the night, but seeing the sun of righteousness is over us, that is to say, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the means of his Gospel, we must be more modest a great deal, and more possessed with shamefastness, than the poor Infidels and unbelievers have. And yet we see how the world goeth, though I say nothing: but {144:B} if I should hold my peace, I should be a traitor and a false wretch, both to God and the world. But this little order that we had here, put us in good hope, that matters would be brought to better pass than they are among the Papists; yet all goeth to naught, yea it is already come to naught, insomuch that it will be a hard matter to bring it to any good pass again; and yet me thinketh there are a great sort, that labour hand and foot to bring all to naught, and mar all that hath been begun about reforming of things. At the first, we had a few laws and statutes, whereby men were kept a little in order, but nowadays, men make but a jest and scoff of them. There was a law made, that there should be no dancing among us: & the reason was good, for it serveth to no purpose, but to be a provocation to whoredom. Men and women do not always play the whoremongers and whores when they dance, I grant: but if we consider well what the nature of dances is, we shall say that it is but a knack of bawdry, and if dances be licensed, the stews doors will straightways be open. Not that whoredom (as I said) is always committed indeed at dancings, but dances always bend that way. We have known the time when dances were forbidden, and we made a shew, as though we would see the law kept, yea, we have seen some punished for them: {145:A} but nowadays, it is made but a jest, insomuch that it is become a lawful thing and very tolerable. And what are [stage-] plays? It is so usual and ordinary a thing to have plays, that if we go about to take order for them, it is to no purpose: for men are hardened, by reason of this liberty which hath been suffered them: and because they have had the reins of the bridle in their own hand, and as it were laid in their necks, without any restraint or holding back, they think they may do what they list. And thus we see what condemnation is set forth unto us in this text, because that they which should bestow their pains in seeing us to live honestly and modestly, behave themselves so negligently and so evil in that behalf. He addeth moreover, Peace and concord, that we may lead a peaceable life, without quarrelling, wrong-doing, and extortion. But is this well put in vre [use, practice]? I need to say nothing, we see, and have seen matters so far out of square, that it is a grief to behold it. And yet what do we? Do we think of it as it is, that we shall be so far plunged over the ears and drowned in this bottomless pit, that we shall be constrained to cry out alas! alas! when it will be too late? No no: but we are fast asleep, we are as dead as stocks.

Therefore our Lord and God {145:B} must needs waken those men that have so good leisure to give themselves to sleep. And thus we see how necessary a thing it is for Magistrates to take pains, to see that religion may be duly and rightly observed, that the lives of men be ruled and governed as they ought. To be short, that every man live peaceably without harming or wronging his neighbour.

Now when Paul hath thus spoken of Magistrates, he addeth, This is good and acceptable to God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth. When Paul saith, that this is good and acceptable to God, he sheweth us what we have to mark, if we will pray well, yea generally, if we will dispose our whole lives aright: to wit, if we will judge of things aright, we must always set the will of God before our eyes, and seek to obey that. And this is a notable text, and worthy to be well marked. True it is that you are oftentimes put in mind of this matter, that is to say, that obedience is the ground & wellspring of all virtues, in that that men do not order themselves according to their own fancies, nor take in hand this or that as it seemeth good in their own eyes, but listen and give ear to hear what God speaketh, and hang wholly upon him, and keep themselves within the lists which {146:A} he hath set them: to be short, that they never set forward one foot, but when they are thus resolved within themselves: doth GOD command us to do so? Then must we follow what he hath set down in his word.

This is a doctrine which we speak of oftentimes, and that not without cause. For we see daily how men will play the masters, and take more upon them than they ought, and rob God of his honour, and have their foolish devotions: me thinketh this is a good thing. And would not that be to good purpose?

Thus do men daily rob GOD of his mastership and authority which he hath over them. We must therefore practice this doctrine so much the more, to wit, that obedience is better than sacrifice [1 Sam. 15.22], as God also preferreth it before all the rest, because it is the true ground to build well on, and it is also the reasonable service as Paul calleth it, Romans 12. But he saith in this text, It is good and acceptable. Why so? Because it pleaseth God. Thus we see what we have to mark, to wit, that that God commandeth us, and that that he will have to be kept without breach, that we hold ourselves fast to it: for otherwise we shall but wander and go astray all the days of our lives. Well may men trot up and down, this way and that way, yea they may run {146:B} their bellies full, until they break their hearts and destroy their bodies.

But what shall it avail them? Shall they help the matter any whit the more for it? No no. Save this only, that they have run through the field. And it is as if, when I am purposed to go to Lauzanne, I should take on gadding through the mountains, and go straight into Colonges. And so do they all, which follow their own fancies, and will be masters to govern themselves: so far are they from coming nigh to GOD, that they cast themselves further off, and draw back more and more. Behold the mark then, whereat we must shoot, if we will not run in vain: to wit, we must know that it is acceptable to God. But above all things, when we talk of devotions and prayers, behold an infallible rule which the Holy Ghost giveth us. Will we pray to God aright and know how we must do it? Let us mark what he commandeth us. I said before that this text is worthy to be well marked. For we see, that in the chiefest matter of all our life, which is devotions and prayers, men have given themselves such liberty, that the word of GOD hath no place. Whence cometh it that the Papists think they do so well in praying for the dead, having the saints for their Advocates {147:A} and Patrons? Even from hence, that they conceived this foolish fancy in their heads, to say, is it not a good thing to pray for the poor souls which are not able to help themselves? Yea wisse [think, consider]: but who saith so? Oh our forefathers did so. Yea, but we must mark whether GOD have appointed it or not? When Paul exhorteth us to pray, he saith it is good and acceptable to God.

But the Papists shall never be able to shew one syllable in all holy writ, that God alloweth that which they do, but that it is but their foolish opinion, which they have conceived in their own brain without all reason. In like sort is that which they say, Oh, I am not worthy to go to God: therefore the Saints must be my Advocates & Patrons. But who gave you this office to appoint Advocates in Paradise? It is true that we are not worthy to go to God, and we must needs have a Mediatour to bring us in unto him, and to open us the way, but Jesus Christ is appointed to this purpose. In an earthy & worldly court, if there be any Advocates & Procters, the Judge must appoint them, else they should not be admitted and received. And when we come to the kingdom of God, must we presume to set and appoint states there, have we to establish Advocates and Procters at our pleasure? {147:B} Let us learn therefore in a word, that if we will pray to God aright, we must know what his will is, & to understand that, we must know what he hath shewed us in his word, we must frame ourselves to it, we must hear what he saith to us, and compass all our requests according to his will, and rest our selves upon his promises. And then let us not doubt, but when we shall call upon him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall feel that our prayers shall not be in vain, nor unprofitable, as I will shew more at large after dinner, if God will.
 

Now let vs fall downe before the face of our good God, confessing our faultes,
and praying him, that he would make vs feele them euerie day more and more,
leading vs to a true repentaunce: seeing it hath pleased him to open his trueth
to vs, that we may receiue it with all reuerence, and be so muche the better
confirmed in it. And if wee see Sathans impes rise vppe against him, that
we may not be troubled at it, knowing that it is a common thing, for the
faith of our fathers was tried by this meanes: but let vs pray to God, to
confirme vs more and more, and that this may be an occasion to vs, to
fight constantly, and with suche valiauntnesse for his glorie, that we
may be daily certified of the victorie, and that the triumphe is pre-
pared for vs, and that this good GOD will assist vs. And in the
meane season that he would not suffer the wicked to gette the
vpper hande, but that their getting foote may be to their owne
destruction and confusion. And more ouer, that we may be
disposed both to liue and die in the obedience of our God,
and seeke nothing but that he may dwell in vs by his
holie ghost: & that we may be kept safe from all
euill workes, and from all tentations of Sathan.

And thoughe we must passe thorough many miseries and troubles,
that yet notwithstanding he would so keepe vs, that we may
perceiue we are in his protection, and that we may reioyce,
that he hath alwayes succoured vs and assisted vs,
so that we neuer fell into any euill worke.

That he be thus gratious not vnto vs only,
but to all people and nations of the earth,
&c.