« PreviousContinue »
Appointed to be read in Churches
IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ELIZABETH
OF FAMOUS MEMORY.
THE PRAYER-BOOK AND HOMILY SOCIETY;
AND SOLD AT ITS OFFICE,
AND BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
Most of the reasons which induced the wise and pious counsellors of King Edward the Sixth and Queen Elizabeth to advise those sovereigns to issue the Homilies, apply with equal force to their re-publication at the present time.
The Homilies set forth the doctrine, that the Word of God is the only food of the soul, and that most excellent light that we must walk by, in this our most dangerous pilgrimage; from which men must learn their duty towards God, their prince, and their neighbours; by which all corrupt, vicious, and ungodly living, as also erroneous and poisoned doctrines, tending to superstition and idolatry, are to be repelled and driven away; and through which we may be led into all godliness and virtue.
The Homilies faithfully and clearly expound the principal points of Christian Religion; and are therefore well adapted to warn men against the manifold enormities which by false doctrine have crept into the Church of God, and to move men to honour and worship Almighty God, and diligently to serve Him, every one according to their degree, state, and vocation.*
The Sermons in this volume are reprinted, without abridgement (excepting in the case of Homily XXVIII., of which part 2 is omitted), from the complete edition recently published by the Prayer-book and Homily Society.
* See the Preface of 1562.
Git in widanan
A FRUITFUL EXHORTATION TO THE
UNTO a Christian man there can be no- The praise of thing either more necessary or profitable than Holy Scripture
. the knowledge of Holy Scripture: forasmuch as in it is contained God's true word, setting forth his glory, and also man's duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine necessary for our justification, and everlasting The perfection salvation, but that is (or may be) drawn out of Holy Scripof that fountain and well of truth. There- The knowledge fore as many as be desirous to enter into the of Holy Scrip right and perfect way unto God, must apply sary. their minds to know Holy Scripture; without the which they can neither sufficiently know God and his will, neither their office and duty. And as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat to knowledge of them that be hungry; so is the reading, is sweet and hearing, searching, and studying of Holy pleasant. Scripture, to them that be desirous to know God, or themselves, and to do his will. And their stomachs only do loathe and abhor the hea- to Holy Scripvenly knowledge and food of God's word, that be so drowned in worldly vanities, that they neither savour God, nor any godliness: for that is the cause why they desire such vanities, rather than the true knowledge of God. As they that are sick of an ague, An apt simili. whatsoever they eat and drink, though it be tude, declaring never so pleasant, yet it is as bitter to them Scripture is abas wormwood; not for the bitterness of the horred. meat, but for the corrupt and bitter humour that is in their own tongue and mouth: even so is the sweetness of God's word bitter, not of itself, but only unto them that have their minds corrupted with long custom of sin, and love of this world. Therefore forsaking the corrupt judgment of fleshly men, which care unto the dilinot but for their carcase, let us reverently hear geat reading and read Holy Scriptures, which is the food of the Holy of the soul (Matt. iv. 4). Let us diligently
ture is neces
To whom the
Who be enemies
sufficient doctrine for our salvation.
search for the well of life (John iv. 14.] in the books of the Old and New Testament, and not run to the stinking puddles of men's traditions (devised by man's imaginaThe Holy
tion) for our justification and salvation. For, Scripture is a in Holy Scripture is fully contained what we
ought to do, and what to eschew, what' to
believe, what to love, and what to look for at God's hands at length. In these books we shall find the Father from whom, the Son by whom, and the Holy
What things Ghost in whom, all things have their being the mallesterin. and keeping up; and these three Persons to be
but one God, and one substance. In these books we may learn to know ourselves, how vile and miserable we be, and also to know God, how good he is of himself, and how he maketh us and all creatures partakers of his goodness. We may learn also in these books to know God's will and pleasure, as much as, for this present time, is convenient for us to know. And, as the great clerk and godly preacher, St. John Chrysostom, saith, “ Whatsoever is required to salvation of man, is fully contained in the Scripture of God. He that is ignorant, may there learn and have knowledge. He that is hardhearted, and an obstinate sinner, shall there find everlasting torments, prepared of God's justice, to make him afraid, and to mollify or soften him. He that is oppressed with misery in this world shall there find relief in the promises of everlasting life, to his great consolation and comfort. He that is wounded by the Devil unto death shall find there medicine, whereby he may be restored again anto health. If it shall be requisite to teach any truth, or reprove false doctrine, to rebuke any vice, to commend any virtue, to give good counsel, to comfort, to exhort, or to do any other thing requisite for our salvation; all those things,” saith St. Chrysostom," we may learn plentifully of the Scripture.' i There is," saith Fulgentius, " abundantly enough, both for men to eat, and children Holy Scripture to suck. There is whatsoever is meet for all
ages, and for all degrees and sorts of men.” for all degrees
These books therefore ought to be much in
our hands, in our eyes, in our ears, in our mouths, but most of all in our hearts. For the Scripture
What commo- of God is the heavenly meat of our souls dities and profits (Matt. iv. 4.); the hearing and keeping of it
ministereth sufAcient doctrine
maketh us blessed (Luke xi. 28), sanctifieth of Holy Scripus (John xvii. 17), and maketh us holy; it ture bringeth. turneth our souls; it is a light lantern to our feet [Ps. cxix. 105]; it is a sure, stedfast, and everlasting instrument of salvation; it giveth wisdom to the humble and lowly hearts; it comforteth, maketh glad, cheereth, and cherisheth our conscience; it is a more excellent jewel or treasure than any gold or precious stone; it is more sweet than honey or honey-comb (Ps. xix. 7-11); it is called the best part, which Mary did choose, for it hath in it everlasting comfort (Luke x. 42). The words of Holy Scripture be called words of everlasting life; for they be God's instrument, ordained for the same purpose (John vi. 47, 63, 68). They have power to turn through God's promise, and they be effectual through God's assistance, and (being received in a faithful heart) they have ever an heavenly spiritual working in them: they are lively, quick, andi' mighty in operation, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and enter through, even unto the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and the marrow (Heb. iv. 12). Christ calleth him a wise builder, that buildeth upon his word, upon his sure and substantial foundation (Matt. vii. 24). By this word of God we shall be judged: for the word that I speak, saith Christ, is it that shall judge in the last day (John xii. 48). He that keepeth the word of Christ, is promised the love and favour of God, and that he shall be the dwellingplace or temple of the blessed Trinity (John xiv. 23). This word whosoever is diligent to read, and in his heart to print that he readeth, the great affection to the transitory things of this world shall be minished in him, and the great desire of heavenly things (that be therein promised of God) shall increase in him. And there is nothing that so much strengtheneth our faith and trust in God, that so much keepeth up innocency and pureness of the heart, and also of outward godly life and conversation, as continual reading and recording of God's word. For that thing, which (by continual use of reading of Holy Scripture, and diligent searching of the same) is deeply printed and graven in the heart, at length turneth almost into nature. And moreover, the effect and virtue of God's word is to illuminate the ignorant, and to give more light unto them that faithfully and diligently read