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Therefore let us set our whole faith and trust in God, and neither the world, the Devil, nor all the power of them shall prevail against us. Let us therefore, good Christian people, try and examine our faith, what it is: let us not slatter ourselves, but look upon our works, and so judge of our faith what it is. Christ himself speaketh of this
t»ke vi. matter, and faith, The tree is known by the fruit. Therefore let us do good works, and thereby declare our faith. to be the lively Christian faith. Let us, by such virtues as ought to spring out of faith, shew our election to be fure
3 Pei. i. antl stable, as St. Peter teacheth, Endeavour yourselves to make your aalling and election certain by good -works. And also he faith, Minijler or declare in your faith virtue, in virtue knowledge, i>i knowledge temperance, in temperance patience, in patience godliness, in godliness brotherly charity, in brotherly charity love: so shall we shew indeed that we have the very lively Christian faith, and may so both certify our consiiience the better that we be in the right faith, and also by these means consirm other men. If these fruits do not follow, we do but mock with God, deceive our'selves, and also other men. Well may we bear the name of Christian men, but we do lack the true faith that doth belong thereunto: for the true faith doth ever bring forth
James ii. good works, as St. James faith: Shew me thy faith by thy deeds. Thy deeds and works must be an open testimonial of thy faith: otherwise thy faith, being without good works, is but the Devil's siuth, the faith of the wicked, a fantasy of faith, and not a true Christian faith-. And like as the devils and evil people be nothing the better for their counterseit faith, but it is unto them the more cause of damnation: so they that be Christians, and have received knowledge of God, and of Christ's merits, and yet of a set purpose do live idly, without good works, thinking tlie name of a naked faith to be either fussicient for them, or else setting their minds upon vain pleasures of this world, do live in sin without repentance, not uttering the fruits that do belong to fuch an high prosession; upon. such presumptuous persons, and wilful sinners, must needs remain the great vengeance of God, and eternal punishment in hell, preparea for the unjust and wicked livers. Therefore as you prosess the name of Christ, good Christian people, let no such fantasy and imagination of faith at any time beguile you; but be sure of your faith, try it by your living, look upon the fruits that come of it, mark the increase of love and charity by it towards God and your neighbour, and so shall you perceive it to be a true
IVelr faith. If you feel and perceive fuch a faith in you, rejoice in it; and be diligent to maintain it, and keep it fill in you; let it be daily increasing, and more and more by well working, and so shall you be sure that you shall please God by this faith; and at the length, as other faithful men have done before, so shall you, when his will is, come to him, and receive the end and final reward of your faith, as St. Peter nameth it, the salvation of your souls: i pet. the which God grant us, that hath promised the fame unto his faithful; to whom be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Of Good Works annexed unto Faith,
IN the last Sermon was declared unto you, what the lively and true faith of a Christian man is; that it causseth not a man to be idle, but to be occupied in brings ing forth good works, as occasion serveth. No good Now, by God's grace, shall be declared the second thing b^done"' l^at before was noted of faith; that without it can no wiihoui good work be done, accepted and pleafant unto God ; For saiih. as a branch cannot hear fruit of itfelf, faith our Saviour John Xt. (Jhi-i^ except it abide in the vine; so cannot you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, and you are the branches: he that abidetb in me, and I in him, he brhigetb forth much fruit:for without me you can do nothing. And St. Paul proveth, that Heb. x\. the Eunuch had faith, because he pleased God ; For without faith, faith he, it is not posfible to please God. And Kom. xiv. again, to the Romans he faith, Whatsoever work is done without faith, it is fin. Faith giveth hse to the foul; and they be as much dead to God that lack faith, as they be to the world whose bodies lack fouls. Without faith, all that is done of us is but dead before God, although the work seem never so gay and glorious before man. Even as the picture graven 0i painted is but a dead representation of the thing itself, aud is without lise, or any manner of moving; so be the works of all unfaithful persons before God: they do appear to be lively works, and indeed they be but dead, not availing to the everlasting lise: they be but shadovvs and (hews of lively and good things, and not good and lively things indeed: for true faith doth give lise to the works, and out of such faith come good works, that be very good works indeed; and without faith nq
in pnesai. work is good before God, as faith St. Augustine. We Psat.xxx.. '• nmft must set no good works before faith, nor think that before faith a man may do any good works; for such Torts, although they seem unto men to be praiseworthy, yet indeed they be but vain, and not allowed before God. They be as the course of an horse that runneth out of the way, which taketh great labour, but to no purpose. Let no man, therefore, laith he, reckon upon his good works before his faith; whereas faith was not, good works were not. The intent, faith he, maketh good works ; but faith must guide and order the intent of man. And Christ faith, If tbim eye he naught, tby whole hody is full of darkness. The Mau. vi. eye doth signify the intent, faith St. Augustine, wherewith J^J5TM^ a man doth a thing: so that he which doth not his good' works with a godly intent, and a true faith that worketh by love, the whole body beside, that is to fay, all the whole number of his works, is dark, and there is no light in them. For good deeds be not measured by the facts themselves, and so discerned from vices; but by the ends and intents, for the which they were done. If a Heathen man clothe the naked, seed the hungry, and do such other like works; yet, because he doth them not in faith for the honour and love of God, they be but dead, vain, and fruitless works to him. Faith it is that doth commend the work to God : for, as St. Augustine faith, whether thou wilt or no, that work, that cometh not of faith, is naught; where the faith of Christ is not the foundation, there is no good work, what building soever we make. There is one work, in the which be all good works, that is faith, which worketh by charity: if thou have it, thou hast the ground of all good works; for the virtues of strength, wildom, temperance, and justice, be all reserred unto this fame faith. Without this faith we have not them, but only the names and shadows of them ; as St. Augustine faith, All the life of them that lack the true faith is sin, and nothing is good without him that is the Author of goodness : where Be is not, there is but seigned virtue, asthough it be in the best works. And St. Augustine, declaring this verse of the Plalm, The turtle hath found a nest where she may keep her young birds, faith, that Jews, Hereticks, and Pagans do good works; they clothe the naked, seed the poor, and do other good works of mercy : but because they be not done in the true faith, therefore the birds be lost. But if they remain in faith, then faith is the nest and fafeguard of their birds, that is to fay, faseguard of their good works, that the reward of them be not utterly lost. And^ ^ ^ . this matter (which St. Augustine at large in many books neg^*|£
disputeth) St. Ambrose concludeth in sew words, faying, He that by nature would withstand vice, either by natural will or reason, he doth in vain garnish the time of this life, and attaineth not the very true virtues; for without the worshipping of the true God, that which seemeth to be virtue is vice. And yet most plainly to this purpose writ
In sermone eth St. Chrysostom in this wise, You (hail sind many which.
de fide, te- have not the true faith, that be not of the slock or Christ,
^u^anfito and yet, as it appeareth, they slourish in good works of mercy ; you shall sind them full of pity, compassion, and given to justice; and yet, for all that, they have no fruit of their works, because the chief work lacketh. For when the Jews asked of Christ, what they should do to work.
John vi. good works, he answered, This is the work of God, to helieve in him whom he sent: so that he called faith the work: of God. And as soon as a man hath faith, anon he shall slourish in good works; for faith of itself is full of good works, and nothing is good without faith. And for a similitude, he faiths that they which glister and shine in good works, without faith in God, be like dead men, which have goodly and precious tombs, and yet it availeth them nothing. Faith may not be naked without good works, for then it is no true faith: and when it is adjoined to works, yet it is above the works. For as men, that be very men indeed, sirst have lise, and after be nourished; so must our faith in Christ go before, and after be nourished with good works. And fise may be without nourishment, but nourislmient cannot be without lise. A man must needs be "nourished by good works, but sirst he must have faith. He that doth good deeds, yet without faith, he hath no lise. I can shew a man that by faith without works lived, and came to heaven: but without faith never man had lise. The thief, that was hanged when Christ sufsered, did believe only, and the most merciful God justisied him. And because no man shall fay again, that he lacked time to do good works, for else he would have done them: truth it i6, and I will not contend therein; but this I will furely assirm, that faith only faved him. If he had lived, and not regarded faith, and the works thereof, he should have lost his falvation again. But this is the effect that I fay, that faith by itself faved him, but works by themselves never justisied any man. Here ye have heard the mind os St. Chrysostom, whereby you may perceive, that neither faith is without works (having opportunity thereto), nor works can avail to eyerlasting lise, without faith.