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them again most unkindly and uncourteously for their well doings and deservings. Therefore, although a man do all things well, and never so well, yet he knoweth not whether, by this his diligence and faithfulness, he deserves the hatred or favour of men.
So we, at this day, when we thought we should have found favour among our own countrymen, (for we preach unto them the Gospel of peace, life, and eternal salvation,) instead of favour, we have found bitter and cruel hatred. Indeed, at the first, many were greatly delighted with our doctrine, and received it gladly. "We thought they would have been our friends and brethren, and that with one consent together with us they would have planted and preached this doctrine to others. But now we find, that they are false brethren and our deadly enemies, which sow and spread abroad false doctrine; and that which we teach well and godly, they wickedly pervert and overthrow, stirring up offences in the churches. Whosoever, therefore, doth his duty godly and faithfully, in what kind of life soever he be, and for his well-doing receiveth nothing again but the unkindness and hatred of men, let him not tease and torment himself therefore, but let him say with Christ,“ They hated me without a cause.” Again, “ For that they should have loved me, they slandered me; but I did pray,” (Ps. cxix. 3, 4.)
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"The Pope, therefore, with this devilish doctrine whereby he commanded men to doubt of the favour of God towards them, took away God and all his promises out of the church, buried all the benefits of Christ, and abolished the whole Gospel. These inconveniences do necessarily follow; for men do not lean to the promises of God, but to their own works and merits. Therefore, they cannot be assured of the good-will of God towards them, but must needs doubt thereof; and so, at length, despair. No man can understand what God's will is, and what pleaseth him, but in his good Word. This Word assureth us, that God hath cast away all the anger and displeasure which he had conceived against us, when he gave his only begotten Son for our sins, &c. Wherefore,
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let us utterly abandon this devilish doubting wherewith the whole Papacy was poisoned, and let us be carefully assured that God is merciful unto us, that we please him, that he hath a care over us, and that we have the Holy Ghost which maketh intercession for us with such crying and groaning as cannot be expressed.
Now this is the true “crying” and “groaning” indeed, when a man in temptation calleth upon God, not as a tyrant, not as an angry judge, not as a tormentor, but as a
“ Father;" although this groaning be so soft and so secret, that it can scarcely be perceived. For in serious temptations and in the time of trial, where the conscience wrestleth with the judgment of God, it is wont to call God not a “ Father," but an unjust, an angry, a cruel tyrant and judge. And this crying which Satan stirreth up in the heart, far surpasseth the cry of the Spirit, and is strongly felt. For then it seemeth, that God hath forsaken us and will throw us down into hell. So the faithful complain oftentimes in the Psalms, “I am cast down from the presence of God,” (Ps. xxxi. 22.) Also, “ I am become as a broken vessel,” &c. This is not the groaning that crieth “ Abba Father," but the roaring of God's wrath, which crieth strongly, O cruel judge, O cruel tormentor, &c. Here is now the time that thou turn away thine eyes from the law, from works, and from the sense and feeling of thy conscience, and lay hold by faith of the promise ; that is to say,
of the Word of grace and life, which raiseth up the conscience again; so that now, it beginneth to groan and say, Although the law accuse me, sin and death terrify me never so much, yet, O my God, thou promisest grace, righteousness, and everlasting life, through Jesus Christ. And so, the promise bringeth a sighing and a groaning which crieth, “ Abba Father.”
This is the shutting up and the conclusion of that which he said before. As if he should say, this being
true, that we have received the Spirit by the Gospel, whereby we cry, “ Abba Father ;” then is this decree
pronounced in heaven,—that there is no bondage any ebare:
more, but more liberty and adoption. And who bringeth with
this liberty? Verily this groaning. By what means ? The Father offereth unto me, by his promise, his grace, and his fatherly favour. This remaineth then-that I should receive this grace. And this is done, when I again with this groaning do cry, and with a childly heart
do assent unto this name of " Father.” Here then the d. For
Father and the son meet, and the marriage is made up without all pomp and solemnity; that is to say, nothing
at all cometh between; no law nor work is here reUNERE quired. For what should a man do in these terrors and
horrible darkness of temptations? Here is nothing else but the Father promising and calling me son by Christ,
who was made under the law, &c. and I receiving and denze answering by this groaning, saying “ Father.”
" Father.” Here then is no exacting; nothing is required, but only that Purchildly groaning that apprehendeth a sure hope and trust
in tribulation, and saith, thou promisest and callest me thy child for Christ's sake, and I again receive thy promise and call thee " Father.” This is indeed to be
made children simply and without any works. But these me things
, without experience and practice, cannot be understood.
Paul, in this place, taketh the word “ servant otherwise than he did before in the third chapter; where he saith, “ There is neither bond nor free,” &c. Here, he calleth him a “servant” of the law, which is subject to the law; as he did a little before, “ We were in bondage under the rudiments of the world." Wherefore, to be a servant, according to Paul in this place, is to be guilty and captive under the law, under the wrath of God and death; to behold God, not as a merciful Father, but as a tormentor, an enemy, and a tyrant. This is indeed to be kept in bondage and Babylonical captivity, and to be cruelly tormented therein. For the law delivereth not from sin and death, but revealeth and increaseth sin and engendereth wrath. This bondage (saith Paul, Rom.
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iii. 20, Rom. iv. 15,) continueth no longer, it oppresseth us and maketh us heavy no more, &c. &c. Paul saith, “ Thou shalt be no more a servant.” But the sentence is more general if we say, There shall be no bondage in Christ any more, but more freedom and adoption. For when faith cometh, that bondage ceaseth ; as he said before in the third chapter.
Now if we, by the Spirit of Christ crying in our heart “Abba Father,” be no more servants, but children; then it followeth, that we are not only delivered from the Pope and all the abominations of men's traditions, but also from all the jurisdiction and power of the law of God. Wherefore, we ought in no wise to suffer the law to reign in our consciences, and much less the Pope with his vain threatenings and terrors. Indeed, he roareth mightily as a lion, (Apoc. x.) and threateneth to all those that obey not his laws, the wrath and indignation of Almighty God, and of his blessed apostles, &c. But here, Paul armeth and comforteth us against these roarings; when he saith, “ Thou art no more a servant, but a son.” Take hold of this consolation by faith, and say, O law, thy tyranny can have no place in the throne where Christ my Lord sitteth; there, I cannot hear thee, (much less do I hear thee, O Antichrist,) for I am free and a son; who must not be subject to any bondage or servile law. Let not Moses, therefore, with his laws (much less the Pope) ascend up into the bride-chamber there to lie; that is to say, to reign in the conscience; which Christ hath delivered from the law, to the end that it should not be subject to any bondage. Let the servants abide with the ass in the valley; let none but Isaac ascend up into the mountain with his father Abraham, (Gen. xii. 5.) That is, let the law have dominion over the body and over the old man ; let him be under the law and suffer the burden to be laid upon him; let him suffer himself to be exercised and vexed with the law: let the law limit and prescribe him what he ought to do, what he ought to suffer, and how he ought to live and govern himself among men. But let it not defile the bed in which Christ should rest and sleep alone; that is to
say, let it not trouble the conscience. For she alone ought to live with Christ her spouse in the kingdom of liberty and adoption.
If then (saith he) by the Spirit of Christ ye cry “ Abba Father," then are ye indeed no longer servants, but free men and sons. Therefore, ye are without the law, without sin, without death; that is to say, ye are saved; and ye are now quite delivered from all evils. Wherefore, the adoption bringeth with it the eternal kingdom and all the heavenly inheritance. Now, how inestimable the glory of this gift is, man's heart is not able to conceive, and much less to utter. In the meantime, we see this but darkly, and as it were, afar off; we have this little groaning and feeble faith, which only resteth upon the hearing and the sound of the voice of Christ in giving the promise. Therefore we must not measure this thing by reason, or by our own feeling, but by the promise of God. Now, because he is infinite, therefore
, his promise is also infinite, although it seem to be never so much enclosed in these narrow straits ; (these anguishes I mean.) Wherefore, there is nothing that can now accuse, terrify, or bind the conscience any more. For there is no more servitude, but adoption; which not only bringeth us unto liberty from the law, sin, and death; but also, the inheritance of everlasting life!
INTERNAL WARFARE OF THE CHILD
GALATIANS v. 17.
When Paul saith that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit
, and the Spirit against the flesh,” he admonisheth us that we must feel the concupiscence of the flesh; that is to say, not only carnal lust, but also pride, wrath, heaviness, impatience, incredulity, and such like. Notwithstanding, he would have us so to feel them, that we consent not unto them nor accomplish them; that is, that we neither think, speak, nor do those things which
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