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Book 2; Homily 21

Homily 2.21, Against Disobedience and Willful Rebellion Book 2; Homily 21

Homilies Appointed to Be Read in Churches

Second Book, Homily xxi.


AN HOMILY

AGAINST DISOBEDIENCE AND WILLFUL REBELLION.

The First Part. Rulers Good and Evil.

Rulers Good and Evil.

Rebellion, the root of all sins.

God ordained order in cities and countries.

A similitude between heavenly and earthly order.

Some would rebel even against good princes.

Evil princes are punishment to a wicked commonwealth.

Pray for your rulers both good and evil.

The Prayer for Truth.

David's Obedience to Saul.

David's longsuffering.

An unnatural and wicked question: Shall we rebel against God's anointed?

The Sins and Calamities Heaped by Rebellion.

Offences against God's Majesty.

Offences against God's commandments.

The Seven Deadly Sins.

Pestilence, famine, and war.

The calamities and miseries of war be more grievous under rebellion.

Everlasting shame and damnation.

Terror and Danger, the Fruits of Rebellion.

Rebels in the Bible.

Absolon.

Achitophel.

Seba.

Chodorlaomer.

The pretences of rebels.

Remember the murder of multitudes.

Conclusion.

The Rebellion of the Bishops of Rome.

The restless ambition of the bishops of Rome.

Holy scriptures forbid human dominion over the Church of Christ.

The claims for supreme authority stir treason against God and man.

The bishops of Rome destroyed the Christian Empire of the East.

The bishops of Rome have usurped worldly authority.

The Remedy of Rebellion: To Search and Study God's Holy Word.

Si cognovissent.

Abuses of the Babylonical beast of Rome on Christian peoples.

In England during King John's time.

In England of later memory.

In other Christian countries, Rome encourages alien invasion.

All Christian princes and people must study God's word.

The lesson of Israel: horrible destruction.

Those who will not understand cannot be saved.

God's word teaches how to obey God.

A Thanksgiving

For the Suppression of the Last Rebellion.

A

S God the Creator and Lord of all things appointed his angels and heavenly creatures in all obedience to serve and to honour his Majesty, so was it his will that man, his chief creature upon the earth, should live under the obedience of his Creator and Lord; and for that cause God, as soon as he had created man, gave unto him a certain precept and law which he (being yet in the state of innocency and remaining in Paradise), should observe as a pledge and token of his due and bounden obedience, with denunciation of death if he did transgress and break the said law and commandment. And as God would have man to be his obedient subject, so did he make all earthly creatures subject unto man, who kept their due obedience unto man so long as man remained in his obedience unto God. In the which obedience if man had continued still, there had been no poverty, no diseases, no sickness, no death, nor other miseries wherewith mankind is now infinitely and most miserably afflicted and oppressed.

So here appeareth the original kingdom of God over angels and man, and universally over all things, and of man over earthly creatures which God had made subject unto him; and with all the felicity and blessed state which angels, man, and all creatures had remained in had they continued in due obedience unto God their King. For as long as in this first kingdom the subjects continued in due obedience to God their King, so long did God embrace all his subjects with his love, favour, and grace which to enjoy is perfect felicity, whereby it is evident that obedience is the principal virtue of all virtues and indeed the very root of all virtues and the cause of all felicity. But as all felicity and blessedness should have continued with the continuance of obedience, so with the breach of obedience and breaking in of rebellion, all vices and miseries did withal break in and overwhelm the world.

Rebellion, the root of all sins.

The first author of which rebellion, the root of all vices and mother of all mischiefs, was Lucifer, first God's most excellent creature and most bounden subject, who by rebelling against the majesty of God (Matthew 4.9, Matthew 25.41), of the brightest and most glorious angel is become the blackest and most foulest fiend and devil; and from the height of heaven is fallen into the pit and bottom of hell (John 8.44, 2 Peter 2.4, Jude 6, Revelation 12.7-9).

Here ye may see the first author and founder of rebellion (Genesis 3.1, Wisdom 2.24) and the reward thereof. Here ye may see the ground-captain and father of rebels, who persuading the following of his rebellion against God their Creator and Lord (Genesis 3.8, 17.23-24) unto our first parents Adam and Eve, brought them in high displeasure with God, wrought their exile and banishment out of Paradise (a place of all pleasure and goodness) into this wretched earth and vale of misery, procured unto them sorrows of their minds, mischiefs, sickness, diseases, death of their bodies, and (which is far more horrible than all worldly and bodily mischiefs) he had wrought thereby their eternal and everlasting death and damnation. Had not God by the obedience of his Son Jesus Christ repaired that which man by disobedience and rebellion had destroyed, and so of his mercy had pardoned and forgiven him. Of which all and singular the premises, the holy scriptures do bear record in sundry places (Romans 5.12, 19).

Thus do ye see that neither heaven nor Paradise could suffer any rebellion in them, neither be places for any rebels to remain in. Thus became rebellion, as ye see, both the first and the greatest and the very foot of all other sins, and the first and principal cause, both of all worldly and bodily miseries, sorrows, diseases, sicknesses, and deaths; and which is infinitely worse than all these, as is said, the very cause of death and damnation eternal also (Genesis 3.1-7).

God ordained order in cities and countries.

After this breach of obedience to God and rebellion against his majesty, all mischiefs and miseries breaking in therewith and overflowing the world lest all things should come unto confusion and utter ruin, God forthwith by laws given unto mankind repaired again the rule and order of obedience thus by rebellion overthrown. And besides the obedience due unto his majesty, he not only ordained that in families and households the wife should be obedient unto her husband (Genesis 3.16), the children unto their parents, the servants unto their masters, but also when mankind increased and spread itself more largely over the world, he by his holy Word did constitute and ordain in cities and countries several and special governors and rulers (Job 34.30, 36.7, Ecclesiastes 8.2, 10.16-17, 20), unto whom the residue of his people should be obedient.

As in reading of the holy scriptures, we shall find in very many and almost infinite places, as well of the Old Testament as of the New, that kings and princes as well the evil (Job 34.30, Ecclesiastes 10.16) as the good (Job 36.37, Ecclesiastes 10.17), do reign by God's ordinance (Psalm 18.50, 20.6, 21.2, Proverbs 8.15-16), and that subjects are bounden to obey them (Ecclesiastes 8.2, 10.20); that God doth give princes wisdom, great power, and authority (Psalm 144.1); that God defendeth them against their enemies and destroyeth their enemies horribly (v. 2); that the anger and displeasure of the prince is "as the roaring of a lion" (Proverbs 19.12) and the very "messenger of death" (16.14); and that the subject that "provoketh him to displeasure sinneth against his own soul" (20.2); with many other things concerning both the authority of princes and the duty of subjects.

But here let us rehearse two special places out of the New Testament which may stand instead of all other. The first out of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans and the thirteenth chapter, where he writeth thus unto all subjects:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For princes are not to be feared for good works, but for evil. Wilt thou then be without fear of the power?

Do well so shalt thou have praise of the same, for he is the minister of God for thy wealth. But if thou do evil, fear; for he beareth not the sword for nought, for he is the minister of God to take vengeance upon him that doeth evil.

Wherefore ye must be subject not because of wrath only, but also for conscience's sake. For this cause ye pay also tribute, for they are God's ministers serving for the same purpose. Give to every man therefore his duty: tribute to whom tribute belongeth, custom to whom custom is due, fear to whom fear belongeth, honour to whom ye owe honour (Romans 13.1-7).

Thus far are St. Paul's words. The second place is in St. Peter's epistle and the second chapter, whose words are these:

Submit yourselves unto all manner of ordinances of man for the Lord's sake, whether it be unto the king, as unto the chief head; either unto rulers, as unto them that are sent of him for the punishment of evil-doers; but for the cherishing of them that do well.

For so is the will of God that with well-doing ye may stop the mouths of ignorant and foolish men, as free and not as having the liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but even as the servants of God. Honour all men, love brotherly fellowship, fear God, honour the king. Servants, obey your masters with fear, not only if they be good and courteous, but also though they be froward (1 Peter 2.13-18).

Thus far out of St. Peter.

By these two places of the holy scriptures, it is most evident that kings, queens, and other princes (for he speaketh of authority and power, be it in men or women) are ordained of God, are to be obeyed and honoured of their subjects. That such subjects as are disobedient or rebellious against their princes, disobey God and procure their own damnation. That the government of princes is a great blessing of God given for the commonwealth, specially of the good and godly. For the comfort and cherishing of whom God giveth and setteth up princes, and on the contrary part to the fear and for the punishment of the evil and wicked. Finally, that if servants ought to obey their masters not only being gentle, but such as be froward, as well and much more ought subjects to be obedient, not only to their good and courteous but also to their sharp and rigorous princes.

It cometh therefore neither of chance and fortune (as they term it), nor of the ambition of mortal men and women climbing up of their own accord to dominion, that there be kings, queens, princes, and other governors over men being their subjects; but all kings, queens, and other governors are specially appointed by the ordinance of God. And as God himself, being of an infinite majesty, power, and wisdom, ruleth and governeth all things in heaven and earth as the universal Monarch and only King and Emperor over all, as being only able to take and bear the charge of all (Psalm 10.16, 45.6, 47.2), so hath he constituted, ordained, and set earthly princes over particular kingdoms and dominions in earth (Ecclesiasticus 17.17), both for the avoiding of all confusion (which else would be in the world, if it should be without governors), and for the great quiet and benefit of earthly men their subjects; and also that the princes themselves in authority, power, wisdom, providence, and righteousness in government of people and countries committed to their charge should resemble his heavenly governance as the majesty of heavenly things may by the baseness of earthly things be shadowed and resembled.

A similitude between heavenly and earthly order.

And for that similitude that is between the heavenly monarchy and earthly kingdoms well governed, our Saviour Christ in sundry parables saith that the kingdom of heaven is resembled unto a man, a king (Matthew 18.23, 22.2); and as the name of "the King" is very often attributed and given unto God in the holy scriptures (Psalm 10.16, 45.6, 47.2, &c.; Matthew 22.13, 25.34), so doth God himself in the same scriptures sometime vouchsafe to communicate his name with earthly princes, terming them God's (Psalm 82.6), doubtless for that similitude of government which they have or should have not unlike unto God their King (Matthew 22.13, 25.34).

Unto the which similitude of heavenly government, the nearer and nearer that an earthly prince doth come in his regiment [regime], the greater blessing of God's mercy is he unto that country and people over whom he reigneth. And the further and further that an earthly prince doth swerve from the example of the heavenly government, the greater plague is he of God's wrath and punishment by God's justice unto that country and people over whom God for their sins hath placed such a prince and governor. For it is indeed evident both by the scriptures and daily by experience that the maintenance of all virtue and godliness and consequently of the wealth and prosperity of a kingdom and people doth stand and rest more in a wise and good prince on the one part than in great multitudes of other men being subjects.

And on the contrary part, the overthrow of all virtue and godliness, and consequently the decay and utter ruin of a realm and people, doth grow and come more by an undiscreet and evil governor than by many thousands of other men being subjects. Thus say the holy scriptures, "Well is thee, O thou land," saith the Preacher "whose king is come of nobles, and whose princes eat in due season for necessity and not for lust" (Ecclesiastes 10.17). Again, a wise and righteous king "maketh his realm" and people wealthy; and a good, merciful, and gracious prince is as "a shadow in heat, as a defence in storms", as "dew", as "sweet showers", as fresh water springs in great droughts (Proverbs 29.4, Isaiah 32.1-2, Proverbs 19.12, 16.15).

Again the scriptures, of undiscreet and evil princes, speak thus, "Woe be to thee, O thou land, whose king is but a child and whose princes are early at their banquets" (Ecclesiastes 10.16). Again, when the wicked do reign, then men go to ruin. And again, "A foolish prince destroyeth the people, and a covetous king undoeth his subjects" (Proverbs 28.15-16, 29.2,4). Thus speak the scriptures, thus experience testifieth of good and evil princes.

Some would rebel even against good princes.

What shall subjects do then? Shall they obey valiant, stout, wise, and good princes and contemn, disobey, and rebel against children being their princes or against undiscreet and evil governors? God forbid. For first what a perilous thing were it to commit unto the subjects the judgement which prince is wise and godly, and his government good, and which is otherwise as though the foot must judge of the head, an enterprise very heinous and must needs breed rebellion. For who else be they that are most inclined to rebellion but such haughty spirits? From whom springeth such foul ruin of realms? Is not rebellion the greatest of all mischiefs? And who are most ready to the greatest mischiefs but the worst men? Rebels, therefore the worst of all subjects, are most ready to rebellion as being the worst of all vices and farthest from the duty of a good subject.

As on the contrary part, the best subjects are most firm and constant in obedience as in the special and peculiar virtue of good subjects. What an unworthy matter were it then to make the naughtiest subjects and most inclined to rebellion and all evil judges over their princes, over their government, and over their counsellors to determine which of them be good or tolerable, and which be evil and so intolerable that they must needs be removed by rebels being ever ready as the naughtiest subjects soonest to rebel against the best princes, specially if they be young in age, women in sex, or gentle and courteous in government, as trusting by their wicked boldness, easily to overthrow their weakness and gentleness, or at the least so to fear the minds of such princes that they may have impunity of their mischievous doings.

But whereas indeed a rebel is worse than the worst prince and rebellion worse than the worst government of the worst prince that hitherto hath been, both rebels are unmeet ministers and rebellion an unfit and unwholesome medicine to reform any small lacks in a prince or to cure any little griefs in government, such lewd remedies being far worse than any other maladies and disorders that can be in the body of a commonwealth. But whatsoever the prince be or his government, it is evident that for the most part those princes whom some subjects do think to be very godly and under whose government they rejoice to live, some other subjects do take the same to be evil and ungodly and do wish for a change. If therefore all subjects that mislike of their prince should rebel, no realm should ever be without rebellion.

It were more meet that rebels should hear the advice of wise men and give place unto their judgement and follow the example of obedient subjects, as reason is that they whose understanding is blinded with so evil an affection should give place to them that be of sound judgement, and that the worst should give place to the better. And so might realms continue in long obedience, peace, and quietness.

Evil princes are punishment to a wicked commonwealth.

But what if the prince be undiscreet and evil indeed, and is also evident to all men's eyes that he so is? I ask again, what if it be long of the wickedness of the subjects that the prince is undiscreet and evil? Shall the subjects both by their wickedness provoke God for their deserved punishment to give them an undiscreet or evil prince and also rebel against him, and withal against God who for the punishment of their sins did give them such a prince? Will ye hear the scriptures concerning this point? God (say the holy scriptures) maketh a wicked man to reign for the sins of the people (Isaiah 19.4). Again, God giveth a prince in his anger, meaning an evil one, and taketh away a prince in his displeasure (Hosea 13.11), meaning specially when he taketh away a good prince for the sins of the people as in our memory he took away our good Iosias (2 Chronicles 34.1), King Edward, in his young and good years for our wickedness. And contrarily the scriptures do teach that God giveth wisdom unto princes and maketh a wise and good king to reign over that people whom he loveth and who loveth him (Proverbs 8.15-17). Again, if the people obey God, both they and their king shall prosper and be safe, else both shall perish, saith God by the mouth of Samuel (1 Samuel 12.14).

Here ye see that God placeth as well evil princes as good and for what cause he doeth both. If we therefore will have a good prince, either to be given us or to continue — now we have such a one — let us by our obedience to God and to our prince move God thereunto. If we will have an evil prince (when God shall send such a one) taken away and a good in his place, let us take away our wickedness which provoketh God to place such a one over us, and God will either displace him, or of an evil prince make him a good prince, so that we first will change our evil into good.

For will ye hear the scriptures? "The heart of the prince is in God's hand... which way soever it shall please him, he turneth it" (Proverbs 21.1). Thus say the scriptures. Wherefore let us turn from our sins unto the Lord with all our hearts, and he will turn the heart of the prince unto our quiet and wealth? Else for subjects to deserve through their sins to have an evil prince and then to rebel against him, were double and treble evil by provoking God more to plague them. Nay let us either deserve to have a good prince, or let us patiently suffer and obey such as we deserve. And whether the prince be good or evil, let us according to the counsel of the holy scriptures pray for the prince, for his continuance and increase in goodness if he be good, and for his amendment if he be evil.

Pray for your rulers, both good and evil.

Well ye hear the scriptures concerning this most necessary point?

I exhort therefore (saith St. Paul) that above all things, prayers, supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks be had for all men, for kings and all that are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life with all godliness; for that is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, &c. (1 Timothy 2.1-3).

This is St. Paul's counsel. And who, I pray you, was prince over the most part of the Christians, when God's Holy Spirit by St. Paul's pen gave them this lesson? Forsooth, Caligula, Claudius, or Nero who were not only no Christians, but pagans and also either foolish rulers or most cruel tyrants.

Will ye yet hear the word of God to the Jews when they were prisoners under Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, after he had slain their king, nobles, parents, children, and kinsfolks, burned their country, cities, yea Jerusalem itself, and the holy temple, and had carried the residue remaining alive captives with him unto Babylon? Will ye hear yet what the prophet Baruch saith unto God's people being in this captivity?

Pray ye (saith the prophet) for the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days may be as the days of heaven upon the earth, that God also may give us strength, and lighten our eyes, that we may live under the defence of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon and under the protection of Balthasar his son, that we may long do them service and find favour in their sight. Pray for us also unto the Lord our God, for we have sinned against the Lord our God (Baruch 1.11-13).

Thus far the prophet Baruch, his words which are spoken by him unto the people of God of that king who was an heathen, a tyrant, and cruel oppressor of them and had been a murderer of many thousands of their nation and a destroyer of their country with a confession that their sins had deserved such a prince to reign over them.

And shall the old Christians by St. Paul's exhortation pray for Caligula, Claudius, or Nero? Shall the Jews pray for Nabuchodonosor, these emperors and kings being strangers unto them, being pagans and infidels, being murderers, tyrants, and cruel oppressors of them and destroyers of their country, countrymen, and kinsmen, the burners of their villages, towns, cities, and temples? And shall not we pray for the long, prosperous, and godly reign of our natural prince, no stranger (which is observed as a great blessing in the scriptures) of our Christian, our most gracious sovereign, no heathen nor pagan prince? Shall we not pray for the health of our most merciful, most loving sovereign, the preserver of us and our country in so long peace, quietness, and security no cruel person, no tyrant, no spoiler of our goods, no shedder of bloods, no burner and destroyer of our towns, cities, and countries as were those for whom yet as ye have heard, Christians (being their subjects) ought to pray?

Let us not commit so great ingratitude against God and our sovereign, as not continually to thank God for his government and for his great and continual benefits and blessings poured upon us by such government. Let us not commit so great a sin against God, against ourselves and our country as not to pray continually unto God for the long continuance of so gracious a ruler unto us and our country. Else shall we be unworthy any longer to enjoy those benefits and blessings of God which hitherto we have had by her, shall be most worthy to fall into all those mischiefs and miseries, which we and our country have by God's grace through her government hitherto escaped.

What shall we say of those subjects? May we call them by the name of subjects who neither be thankful, nor make any prayer to God for so gracious a sovereign, but also themselves take armour wickedly, assemble companies and bands of rebels to break the public peace so long continued and to make not war, but rebellion to endanger the person of such a gracious sovereign, to hazard the estate of their country (for whose defence they should be ready to spend their lives), and being Englishmen to rob, spoil, destroy and burn in England Englishmen, to kill and murder their own neighbours and kinsfolk, their own countrymen, to do all evil and mischief, yea and more, too, than foreign enemies would or could do?

What shall we say of these men who use themselves thus rebelliously against their gracious sovereign? Who, if God for their wickedness had given them an heathen tyrant to reign over them, were by God's word bound to obey him and to pray for him? What may be spoken of them? So far doth their unkindness, unnaturalness, wickedness, mischievousness in their doings pass and excel anything and all things that can be expressed and uttered by words. Only let us wish unto all such most speedy repentance and with so grievous sorrow of heart as such so horrible sins against the majesty of God do require, who in most extreme unthankfulness do rise not only against their gracious prince, against their natural country, but against all their countrymen, women, and children, against themselves, their wives, children and kinsfolks, and by so wicked an example against all Christendom and against whole mankind of all manner of people throughout the wide world. Such repentance, I say, such sorrow of heart, God grant unto all such whosoever rise of private and malicious purpose as is meet for such mischiefs attempted and wrought by them.

And unto us and all other subjects, God of his mercy grant that we may be most unlike to all such, and most like to good, natural, loving, and obedient subjects. Nay, that we may be such indeed, not only showing all obedience ourselves, but as many of us as be able to the uttermost of our power, ability and understanding to stay and repress all rebels and rebellions against God, our gracious prince, and natural country at every occasion that is offered unto us. And that which we all are able to do, unless we do it, we shall be most wicked and most worthy to feel in the end such extreme plagues as God hath ever poured upon rebels.

Let us make continual prayers unto Almighty God even from the bottom of our hearts that he will give his grace, power, and strength unto our gracious Queen Elizabeth to vanquish and subdue all, as well rebels at home as foreign enemies, that all domestical rebellions being suppressed and pacified, and all outward invasions repulsed and abandoned, we may not only be sure and long continue in all obedience unto our gracious sovereign, and in that peaceable and quiet life which hitherto we have led under her majesty with all security, but also that both our gracious Queen Elizabeth and we her subjects may altogether in all obedience unto God the King of Kings and unto his holy laws lead our lives so in this world in all virtue and godliness, that in the world to come we may enjoy his everlasting kingdom. Which I beseech God to grant as well to our gracious sovereign as unto us all for his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake; to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God and King immortal, be all glory, praise, and thanksgiving world without end. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the first part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

The Prayer

As in That Time It Was Published.

O

MOST Mighty God, the Lord of Hosts, the Governor of all creatures, the only Giver of all victories who alone art able to strengthen the weak against the mighty and to vanquish infinite multitudes of thine enemies with the countenance of a few of thy servants calling upon thy name and trusting in thee: Defend O Lord, thy servant and our governor under thee, our Queen Elizabeth and all thy people committed to her charge.

O Lord withstand the cruelty of all those which be common enemies, as well to the truth of thine eternal word as to their own natural prince and country and manifestly to this Crown and realm of England, which thou hast of thy divine providence assigned in these our days to the government of thy servant, our sovereign and gracious queen.

O most merciful Father (if it be thy holy Will), make soft and tender the stony hearts of all those that exalt themselves against thy Truth and seek either to trouble the quiet of this realm of England or to oppress the Crown of the same, and convert them to the knowledge of thy Son the only Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, that we and they may jointly glorify thy mercies.

Lighten, we beseech thee, their ignorant hearts to embrace the truth of thy word, or else so abate their cruelty (O most mighty Lord), that this our Christian realm with others that confess thy holy Gospel may obtain by thine aid and strength surety from all enemies without shedding of Christian blood, whereby all they which be oppressed with their tyranny may be relieved, and they which be in fear of their cruelty may be comforted.

And finally that all Christian realms and specially this realm of England may by thy defence and protection continue in the truth of the Gospel and enjoy perfect peace, quietness, and security; and that we for these thy mercies, jointly altogether with one consonant heart and voice, may thankfully render to thee all laud and praise, that we, knit in one godly concord and unity amongst ourselves, may continually magnify thy glorious name; who with thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost art one eternal, almighty, and most merciful God to whom be all laud and praise, world without end. Amen.


THE SECOND PART OF THE HOMILY

AGAINST REBELLION.

David's Obedience to Saul.

A

S in the first part of this Treaty [treatise] of obedience of subjects to their princes and against disobedience and rebellion, I have alleged divers sentences out of the holy scriptures for proof. So shall it be good for the better declaration and confirmation of the said wholesome doctrine to allege one example or two out of the holy scriptures of the obedience of subjects, not only unto their good and gracious governors, but also unto their evil and unkind princes. As King Saul was not of the best, but rather of the worst sort of princes, as being out of God's favour for his disobedience against God in sparing (in a wrong pity) the King Agag, whom Almighty God commanded to be slain according to the justice of God against his sworn enemy (1 Samuel 15). And although Saul of a devotion meant to sacrifice such things as he spared of the Amalechites to the honour and service of God, yet Saul was reproved for his wrong mercy and devotion and was told that obedience would have more pleased him than such lenity [leniency] (vv. 11, 22, 35). Which sinful humanity (saith holy Chrysostom) is more cruel before God than any murder or shedding of blood when it is commanded of God (Chrysostom. Tom 1. Hom. 1 adversus Iudæos, Against the Jews). But yet how evil soever Saul the King was and out of God's favour, yet was he obeyed of his subject David, the very best of all subjects and most valiant in the service of his prince and country in the wars, the most obedient and loving in peace, and always most true and faithful to his sovereign and lord, and furthest off from all manner of rebellion.

David's longsuffering.

For the which his most painful, true, and faithful service, King Saul yet rewarded him not only with great unkindness, but also sought his destruction and death by all means possible so that David was fain to save his life, not by rebellion or any resistance, but by flight and hiding himself from the king's sight. Which notwithstanding when King Saul upon a time came alone into the cave where David was, so that David might easily have slain him, yet would he neither hurt him himself, neither suffer any of his men to lay hands upon him. Another time also David entering by night with one Abisai, a valiant and fierce man, into the tent where King Saul did lie asleep, where also he might yet more easily have slain him, yet would he neither hurt him himself, nor suffer Abisai (who was willing and ready to slay King Saul) once to touch him. Thus did David deal with Saul his prince, notwithstanding that King Saul continually sought his death and destruction.

It shall not be amiss unto these deeds of David to add his words and to show you what he spake unto such as encouraged him to take his opportunity and advantage to slay King Saul as his mortal enemy when he might. "The Lord keep me", saith David "from doing that thing and from laying hands upon my lord, God's anointed" (1 Sam. 24.7-10).

For who can lay his hand upon the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? As truly as the Lord liveth, except that the Lord do smite him, or his days shall come to die, or that he go down to war and be slain in battle, the Lord be merciful unto me that I lay not my hand upon the Lord's anointed (1 Sam. 26.9-10).

These be David's words spoken at sundry times to divers his servants provoking him to slay King Saul when opportunity served him thereunto.

Neither is it to be omitted and left out how when an Amalechite had slain King Saul, even at Saul's own bidding and commandment (for he would live no longer now for that he had lost the field against his enemies the Philistines), the said Amalechite, making great haste to bring first word and news thereof unto David as joyous unto him for the death of his mortal enemy, bringing withal the crown that was upon King Saul's head and the bracelet that was about his arm, both as a proof of the truth of his news and also as fit and pleasant presents unto David, being by God appointed to be King Saul his successor in the kingdom. Yet was that faithful and godly David so far from rejoicing at these news, that he rent his clothes, wept, and mourned and fasted. And so far off from thanksgiving to the messenger — either for his deed in killing the king, though his deadly enemy, or for his message and news, or for his presents that he brought — that he said unto him,

How happened it that thou wast not afraid to lay thy hands upon the Lord's anointed to slay him? Whereupon, immediately he commanded one of his servants to kill the messenger and said, Thy blood be upon thine own head, for thine own mouth hath witnessed against thyself in confessing that thou hast slain the Lord's anointed (2 Samuel 1.1-15).

This example, dearly beloved, is notable, and the circumstances thereof are well to be considered for the better instruction of all subjects in their bounden duty of obedience and perpetual fearing of them from attempting of any rebellion or hurt against their prince. On the one part, David was not only a good and true subject, but also such a subject as both in peace and war had served and saved his prince's honour and life, and delivered his country and countrymen from great danger of infidels, foreign and most cruel enemies horribly invading the king and his country. For the which David was in a singular favour with all the people, so that he might have had great numbers of them at his commandment if he would have attempted anything (1 Samuel 18.6-7).

Besides this, David was no common or absolute subject but heir apparent to the crown and kingdom (1 Sam. 16.12), by God appointed to reign after Saul. Which as it increased the favour of the people that knew it towards David, so did it make David's cause and case much differing from the case of common and absolute subjects. And which is most of all, David was highly and singularly in the favour of God (1 Sam. 18.10, 12). On the contrary part, King Saul was out of God's favour (1 Sam. 15.11) (for that cause which is before rehearsed), and he as it were God's enemy (1 Sam. 15.10-11), and therefore like in war and peace to be hurtful and pernicious unto the commonwealth; and that was known to many of his subjects for that he was openly rebuked of Samuel for his disobedience unto God, which might make the people the less to esteem him. King Saul was also unto David a mortal and deadly enemy (1 Sam. 18.8-9), though without David's deserving, who, by his faithful, painful, profitable, yea most necessary service, had well deserved, as of his country so of his prince. But King Saul far otherwise; the more was his unkindness, hatred, and cruelty towards such a good subject both odious and detestable (1 Sam. 22.11-19, 26.7-9), yet would David neither himself slay nor hurt such an enemy for that he was his prince and lord, nor would suffer any other to kill, hurt, or lay hand upon him when he might have been slain without any stir, tumult, or danger of any man's life.

Now let David answer to such demands as men desirous of rebellion do use to make. Shall not we, specially being so good men as we are, rise and rebel against a prince, hated of God and God's enemy and therefore like not to prosper either in war or peace, but to be hurtful and pernicious to the commonwealth? No, saith good and godly David, God's and such a king's faithful subject and so convicting such subjects as attempt any rebellion against such a king to be neither good subjects nor good men.

But say they, "Shall we not rise and rebel against so unkind a prince, nothing considering or regarding our true, faithful, and painful service, or the safeguard of our posterity?" No, saith good David, whom no such unkindness could cause to forsake his due obedience to his sovereign.

"Shall we not", say they "rise and rebel against our known, mortal, and deadly enemy that seeketh our lives?" No, saith godly David, who had learned the lesson that our Saviour afterward plainly taught, that we should do no hurt to our fellow subjects, though they hate us and be our enemies (Matthew 5.44) — much less unto our prince, though he were our enemy.

"Shall we not assemble an army of such good fellows as we are, and by hazarding of our lives and the lives of such as shall withstand us and withal hazarding the whole estate of our country remove so naughty a prince?" No, saith godly David, For I, when I might without assembling force or number of men without tumult, or hazard of any man's life, or shedding of any drop of blood have delivered myself and my country of an evil prince, yet would I not do it.

"Are not they", say some "lusty and courageous captains, valiant men of stomach and good men's bodies that do venture by force to kill and depose their king, being a naughty prince and their mortal enemy?" They may be as lusty and courageous as they list [desire], yet saith godly David, They can be no good nor godly men that so do; for I not only have rebuked, but also commanded him to be slain as a wicked man which slew king Saul mine enemy, though he, being weary of his life for the loss of the victory against his enemies, desired that man to slay him.

"What shall we then do to an evil, to an unkind prince, an enemy to us hated of God, hurtful to the commonwealth, &c.?" Lay no violent hand upon him, saith good David, but let him live until God appoint and work his end, either by natural death or in war by lawful enemies, not by traitorous subjects.

Thus would godly David make answer. And St. Paul, as ye heard before, willeth us also to pray for such a prince (1 Timothy 2.1-3).

An unnatural and wicked question: Shall we rebel against God's anointed?

If King David would make these answers, as by his deeds and words recorded in the holy scriptures indeed he doth make unto all such demands concerning rebelling against evil princes, unkind princes, cruel princes, princes that be to their good subjects mortal enemies, princes that are out of God's favour, and so hurtful or like to be hurtful to the commonwealth, what answer think ye would he make to those that demand, whether they (being naughty and unkind subjects) may not, to the great hazard of the life of many thousands and the utter danger of the state of the commonwealth and whole realm, assemble a sort of rebels, either to depose, to put in fear, or to destroy their natural and loving princes, enemy to none, good to all, even to them the worst of all other, the maintainer of perpetual peace, quietness, and security, most beneficial to the commonwealth, most necessary for the safeguard of the whole realm?

What answer would David make to their demand, whether they may not attempt cruelly and unnaturally to destroy so peaceable and merciful a prince? What I say, would David so reverently speaking of Saul and so patiently suffering so evil a king, what would he answer and say to such demands? What would he say, nay what would he do to such high attempters, whoso said and did as ye before have heard unto him that slew the king his master, though a most wicked prince? If he punished with death as a wicked-doer such a man, with what reproaches of words would he revile such, yea with what torments of most shameful deaths would he destroy such hell-hounds rather than evil men, such rebels I mean, as I last spake of? For if they who do disobey an evil and unkind prince be most unlike unto David that good subject, what be they who do rebel against a most natural and loving prince? And if David being so good a subject that he obeyed so evil a king was worthy of a subject to be made a king himself, what be they, which are so evil subjects that they will rebel against their gracious prince, worthy of?

Surely no mortal man can express with words nor conceive in mind the horrible and most dreadful damnation that such be worthy of; who disdaining to be the quiet and happy subjects of their good prince are most worthy to be the miserable captives and vile slaves of that infernal tyrant Satan, with him to suffer eternal slavery and torments! This one example of the good subject David out of the Old Testament may suffice and for the notableness of it serve for all.

In the New Testament the excellent example of the blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Saviour Christ, doth at the first offer itself. When proclamation or commandment was sent into Jewry from Augustus the Emperor of Rome that the people there should repair unto their own cities and dwelling places, there to be taxed (Luke 2.1), neither did the blessed Virgin — though both highly in God's favour and also being of the royal blood of the ancient natural kings of Jewry — disdain to obey the commandment of an heathen and foreign prince when God had placed such a one over them. Neither did she allege for an excuse that she was great with child and most near her time of deliverance. Neither grudged she at the length and tedious journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, whence and whither she must go to be taxed. Neither repined she at the sharpness of the dead time of winter, being the latter end of December, an unfit time to travel in, specially a long journey for a woman being in her case.

But all excuses set apart, she obeyed and came to the appointed place whereat her coming she found such great resort and throng of people, that finding no place in any inn, she was fain after her long painful and tedious journey to take up her lodging in a stable, where also she was delivered of her blessed child (Luke 2.7); and this also declareth how near her time she took that journey. This obedience of this most noble and most virtuous lady to a foreign and pagan prince doth well teach us (who in comparison of her are most base and vile) what ready obedience we do owe to our natural and gracious sovereign. Howbeit, in this case the obedience of the whole Jewish nation (being otherwise a stubborn people), unto the commandment of the same foreign heathen prince (Luke 2.3) doth prove that such Christians as do not most readily obey their natural gracious Sovereign are far worse than the stubborn Jews, whom we yet account as the worst of all people!

But no example ought to be of more force with us Christians than the example of Christ our Master and Saviour, who though he were the Son of God (Matthew 17.25, Luke 20.25), yet did always behave himself most reverently to such men as were in authority in the world in his time. And he not rebelliously behaved himself, but openly did teach the Jews to pay tribute unto the Roman Emperor (Mark 12.17), though a foreign and a pagan prince; yea himself with his apostles paid tribute unto him. And finally, being brought before Pontius Pilate (Luke 23.1, Matthew 27.1), a stranger born and an heathen man, being lord president of Jewry, he acknowledged his authority and power to be given him from God and obeyed patiently the sentence of most painful and shameful death which the said judge pronounced and gave most unjustly against him without any grudge, murmuring, or evil word once giving (Luke 23.24).

There be many and divers other examples of the obedience to princes, even such as be evil, in the New Testament to the utter confusion of disobedient and rebellious people, but this one may be an eternal example which the Son of God, and so the Lord of all, Jesus Christ, hath given to us his Christians and servants; and such as may serve for all to teach us to obey princes, though strangers, wicked, and wrongful, when God for our sins shall place such over us. Whereby it followeth unavoidably that such as do disobey or rebel against their own natural gracious sovereigns, howsoever they call themselves or be named of others, yet are they indeed no true Christians, but worse than Jews, worse than heathens and such as shall never enjoy the kingdom of heaven which Christ by his obedience purchased for true Christians being obedient to him the King of all kings and to their prince whom he hath placed over them. The which kingdom the peculiar place of all such obedient subjects, I beseech God our heavenly Father for the same our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake to grant unto us; to whom with the Holy Ghost be all laud, honour, and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the second part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

(The Prayer as before.)


THE THIRD PART OF THE HOMILY

AGAINST REBELLION.

The Sins and Calamities Heaped by Rebellion.

A

S I have in the first part of this treatise shown unto you the doctrine of the holy scriptures as concerning the obedience of true subjects to their princes even as well to such as be evil as unto the good, and in the second part of the same treaty confirmed the same doctrine by notable examples likewise taken out of the holy scriptures, so remaineth it now that I partly do declare unto you in this third part what an abominable sin against God and man rebellion is, and how dreadfully the wrath of God is kindled and enflamed against all rebels, and what horrible plagues, punishments, and deaths, and finally eternal damnation do hang over their heads. As how on the contrary part, good and obedient subjects are in God's favour and be partakers of peace, quietness, and security with other God's manifold blessings in this world, and by his mercies through our Saviour Christ, of life everlasting also in the world to come.

How horrible a sin against God and man rebellion is cannot possibly be expressed according unto the greatness thereof. For he that nameth rebellion, nameth not a singular or one only sin as is theft, robbery, murder, and such like, but he nameth the whole puddle and sink of all sins against God and man, against his prince, his country, his countrymen, his parents, his children, his kinsfolks, his friends, and against all men universally; all sins, I say, against God and all men heaped together nameth he that nameth rebellion.

Offences against God's Majesty.

For concerning the offence of God's Majesty, who seeth not that rebellion riseth first by contempt of God and of his holy ordinances and laws, wherein he so straitly commandeth obedience, forbiddeth disobedience and rebellion? And besides the dishonour done by rebels unto God's holy Name by their breaking of their oath made to their prince with the attestation of God's name and calling of his majesty to witness. Who heareth not the horrible oaths and blasphemies of God's holy Name that are used daily amongst rebels that is either amongst them, or heareth the truth of their behaviour? Who knoweth not that rebels do not only themselves leave all works necessary to be done upon workdays undone, whiles they accomplish their abominable work of rebellion, and to compel others that would gladly be well occupied to do the same, but also how rebels do not only leave the sabbaoth day of the Lord unsanctified, the temple and Church of the Lord unresorted unto, but also do by their works of wickedness most horribly profane and pollute the sabbaoth day, serving Satan, and by doing of his work, making it the devil's day instead of the Lord's day?

Besides that, they compel good men that would gladly serve the Lord assembling in his temple and Church upon his day, as becometh the Lord's servants to assemble and meet armed in the field to resist the fury of such rebels. Yea, and many rebels, lest they should leave any part of God's commandments in the first table of his Law unbroken or any sin against God undone, do make rebellion for the maintenance of their images and idols and of their idolatry committed or to be committed by them, and in despite of God cut and tear in sunder his holy Word and tread it under their feet — as of late ye know was done.

Offences against God's commandments.

As concerning the second table of God's law and all sins that may be committed against man, who seeth not that they be contained in rebellion? For first the rebels do not only dishonour their prince, the parent of their country, but also do dishonour and shame their natural parents (if they have any), do shame their kinred and friends, do disinherit and undo forever their children and heirs (the fifth Commandment).

Thefts, robberies, and murders, which of all sins are most loathed of most men, are in no men so much nor so perniciously and mischievously as in rebels. For the most arrant thieves, cruellest murderers that ever were, so long as they refrain from rebellion, as they are not many in number, so spreadeth their wickedness and damnation unto a few, they spoil but a few, they shed the blood but of a few in comparison. But rebels are the cause of infinite robberies and murders of great multitudes and of those also whom they should defend from the spoil and violence of other. And as rebels are many in number, so doth their wickedness and damnation spread itself unto many (the sixth and eighth Commandments).

And if whoredom and adultery amongst such persons as are agreeable to such wickedness are (as they indeed be most damnable), what are the forcible oppressions of matrons and men's wives, and the violating and deflowering of virgins and maids, which are most rife with rebels? How horrible and damnable think ye are they (the seventh Commandment)?

Now besides that, rebels, by breach of their faith given and the oath made to their prince, be guilty of most damnable perjury; it is wondrous to see what false colours and feigned causes, by slanderous lies made upon their prince and the councillors rebels will devise to cloak their rebellion withal, which is the worst and most damnable of all false witness-bearing that may be possible (the ninth Commandment). For what should I speak of coveting or desiring of other men's wives, houses, lands, goods and servants in rebels, who by their wills would leave unto no man anything of his own (the tenth Commandment)?

The Seven Deadly Sins.

Thus ye see that all good laws are by rebels violated and broken, and that all sins possible to be committed against God or man be contained in rebellion. Which sins if a man list [desire] to name by the accustomed names of the seven capital or deadly sins — as pride, envy, wrath, covetousness, sloth, gluttony, and lechery — he shall find them all in rebellion and amongst rebels. For first, as ambition and desire to be aloft which is, and that property of pride stirreth up many men's minds to rebellion, so cometh it of a Luciferian pride and presumption that a few rebellious subjects should set themselves up against the majesty of their prince, against the wisdom of the counsellors, against the power and force of all nobility and the faithful subjects and people of the whole realm. As for envy, wrath, murder, and desire of blood, and covetousness of other men's goods, lands, and livings, they are the inseparable accidents of all rebels, and peculiar properties that do usually stir up wicked men unto rebellion.

Now such as by riotousness, gluttony, drunkenness, excess of apparel, and unthrifty games have wasted their own goods unthriftily, the same are most apt unto and most desirous of rebellion, whereby they trust to come by other men's goods unlawfully and violently. And where other gluttons and drunkards take too much of such meats and drinks as are served to tables, rebels waste and consume in short space all corn in barns, fields, or elsewhere whole garners, whole storehouses, whole cellars, devour whole flocks of sheep, whole droves of oxen and kine [cows and bulls]. And as rebels that are married, leaving their own wives at home, do most ungraciously, so much more do unmarried men, worse than any stallions or horses (being now by rebellion set at liberty from correction of laws which bridled them before) abuse by force other men's wives and daughters, and ravish virgins and maidens most shamefully, abominably, and damnably.

Pestilence, famine, and war.

Thus all sins, by all names that sins may be named and by all means that sins may be committed and wrought, do all wholly upon heaps follow rebellion, and are to be found altogether amongst rebels. Now whereas pestilence, famine, and war are by the holy scriptures declared to be the greatest worldly plagues and miseries that likely can be (2 Sam. 24.14), it is evident that all the miseries that all these plagues have in them do wholly altogether follow rebellion, wherein as all their miseries be, so is there much more mischief than in them all.

For it is known that in the resorting of great companies of men together, which in rebellion happeneth both upon the part of true subjects and of the rebels by their close lying together and corruption of the air and place where they do lie with ordure and much filth in the hot weather; and by unwholesome lodging and lying often upon the ground, specially in cold and wet weather in winter; by their unwholesome diet and feeding at all times; and often by famine and lack of meat and drink in due time, and again by taking too much at other times. It is well known, I say, that as well plagues and pestilences as all other kinds of sicknesses and maladies by these means grow up and spring amongst men, whereby more men are consumed at the length than are by dint of sword suddenly slain in the field. So that not only pestilences, but also all other sicknesses, diseases, and maladies do follow rebellion which are much more horrible than plagues, pestilences, and diseases sent directly from God, as hereafter shall appear more plainly.

And as for hunger and famine, they are the peculiar companions of rebellion; for while rebels do in short time spoil and consume all corn and necessary provision which men with their labours had gotten and appointed upon for their finding the whole year after, and also do let [prevent] all other men, husbandmen and others from their husbandry and other necessary works, whereby provision should be made for times to come, who seeth not that extreme famine and hunger must needs shortly ensue and follow rebellion? Now whereas the wise king and godly prophet David judged war to be worse than either famine or pestilence (2 Sam. 24.14), for that these two are often suffered by God for man's amendment and be not sins of themselves, but wars have always the sins and mischiefs of men upon the one side or other joined with them, and therefore is war the greatest of these worldly mischiefs. But of all wars, civil war is the worst, and far more abominable yet is rebellion than any civil war, being unworthy the name of any war, so far it exceedeth all wars in all naughtiness, in all mischief, and in all abomination. And therefore our Saviour Christ denounceth desolation and destruction to that realm that by sedition and rebellion is divided in itself (Matthew 12.25).

The calamities and miseries of war be more grievous under rebellion.

Now as I have shown before that pestilence and famine, so is it yet more evident that all the calamities, miseries, and mischiefs of war be more grievous and do more follow rebellion than any other war as being far worse than all other wars. For not only those ordinary and usual mischiefs and miseries of other wars do follow rebellion as corn and other things necessary to man's use to be spoiled: houses, villages, towns, cities to be taken, sacked, burned, and destroyed, not only many very wealthy men, but whole countries to be impoverished and utterly beggared, many thousands of men to be slain and murdered, women and maids to be violated and deflowered, which things when they are done by foreign enemies, we do much mourn as we have great causes, yet are all these miseries without any wickedness wrought by any of our own countrymen.

But when these mischiefs are wrought in rebellion by them that should be friends, by countrymen, by kinsmen, by those that should defend their country and countrymen from such miseries, the misery is nothing so great as is the mischief and wickedness when the subjects unnaturally do rebel against their prince, whose honour and life they should defend though it were with the loss of their own lives; countrymen to disturb the public peace and quietness of their country, for defence of whose quietness they should spend their lives; the brother to seek and often to work the death of his brother, the son of the father; the father to seek or procure the death of his sons, being at man's age and by their faults to disinherit their innocent children and kinsmen their heirs forever, for whom they might purchase livings and lands as natural parents do take care and pains, and to be at great costs and charges; and universally instead of all quietness, joy, and felicity (which do follow blessed peace and due obedience); to bring in all trouble, sorrow, disquietness of minds and bodies and all mischief and calamity, to turn all good order upside down, to bring all good laws in contempt, and to tread them under feet; to oppress all virtue and honesty, and all virtuous and honest persons, and to set all vice and wickedness, and all vicious and wicked men at liberty; to work their wicked wills, which were before bridled by wholesome laws; to weaken, to overthrow, and to consume the strength of the realm their natural country, as well by the spending and wasting of money and treasure of the prince and realm, as by murdering the people of the same, their own countrymen, who should defend the honour of their prince, and liberty of their country (Proverbs 14.28), against the invasion of foreign enemies; and so finally, to make their country thus by their mischief weakened, ready to be a prey and spoil to all outward enemies that will invade it to the utter and perpetual captivity, slavery, and destruction of all their countrymen, their children, their friends, their kinsfolks left alive whom by their wicked rebellion they procure to be delivered into the hands of the foreign enemies, as much as in them doth lie.

Everlasting shame and damnation.

In foreign wars our countrymen in obtaining the victory win the praise of valiantness; yea, and though they were overcome and slain, yet win they an honest commendation in this world and die in a good conscience for serving God, their prince, and their country, and be children of eternal salvation. But the rebellion, how desperate and strong soever they be, yet win they shame here in fighting against God, their prince, and country, and therefore justly do fall headlong into hell if they die, and live in shame and fearful conscience though they escape. But commonly they be rewarded with shameful deaths, their hands and carcasses set upon poles and hanged in chains, eaten with kites and crows, judged unworthy the honour of burial; and so their souls, if they repent not (as commonly they do not), the devil hurrieth them into hell in the midst of their mischief. For which dreadful execution St. Paul showeth the cause of obedience, not only for fear of death, but also in conscience to God-ward for fear of eternal damnation in the world to come (Romans 13.2).

Wherefore good people, let us as the children of obedience fear the dreadful execution of God and live in quiet obedience to be the children of everlasting salvation. For as heaven is the place of good obedient subjects, and hell the prison and dungeon of rebels against God and their prince, so is that realm happy where most obedience of subjects doth appear, being the very figure of heaven. And contrariwise where most rebellions and rebels be, there is the express similitude of hell, and the rebels themselves are the very figures of fiends and devils, and their captain the ungracious pattern of Lucifer and Satan, the prince of darkness, of whose rebellion as they be followers, so shall they of his damnation in hell undoubtedly be partakers — and as undoubtedly children of peace, the inheritors of heaven with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; to whom be all honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the third part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

(The Prayer as before.)


THE FOURTH PART OF THE HOMILY

AGAINST REBELLION.

Terror and Danger, the Fruits of Rebellion.

F

OR your further instruction, good people, to show unto you how much Almighty God doth abhor disobedience and wilful rebellion, specially when rebels advance themselves so high that they arm themselves with weapon and stand in field to fight against God, their prince, and their country, it shall not be out of the way to show some examples set out in scriptures, written for our eternal erudition. We may soon know, good people, how heinous offence the treachery of rebellion is, if we call to remembrance the heavy wrath and dreadful indignation of Almighty God against subjects as do only but inwardly grudge, mutter, and murmur against their governors, though their inward treason so privily hatched in their breasts come not to open declaration of their doings. As hard it is, whom the devil hath so far enticed against God's word to keep themselves there, no, he meaneth still to blow the coal to kindle their rebellious hearts to flame into open deeds, if he be not with grace speedily withstood.

Rebels in the Bible.

Some of the children of Israel, being murmurers against their magistrates appointed over them by God, were stricken with foul leprosy. Many were burnt up with fire suddenly sent from the Lord (Numbers 11.1, 33, 12.10, 16.32-33, 35). Sometime a great sort of thousands were consumed with the pestilence (Psalm 78.30-31, 50). Sometime they were stung to death with a strange kind of fiery serpents and (which is most horrible) some of the captains with their band of murmurers, not dying by any usual or natural death of men but the earth opening, they with their wives, children, and families, were swallowed quick down into hell (Numbers 16.31-32). Which horrible destructions of such Israelites as were murmurers against Moses, appointed by God to be their head and chief magistrate, are recorded in the Book of Numbers and other places of the scriptures for perpetual memory and warning to all subjects, how highly God is displeased with the murmuring and evil speaking of subjects against their princes. For that, as the scripture recordeth, their murmur was not against their prince only being a mortal creature, but against God himself also (Exodus 16.7-8).

Now if such strange and horrible plagues did fall upon such subjects as did only murmur and speak evil against their heads, what shall become of those most wicked imps of the devil that do conspire, arm themselves, assemble great numbers of armed rebels, and lead them with them against their prince and country, spoiling and robbing, killing, and murdering all good subjects that do withstand them, as many as they may prevail against? But those examples are written to stay us not only from such mischiefs but also from murmuring and speaking once an evil word against our prince, which though any should do never so secretly, yet do the holy scriptures show that the very birds of the air will bewray them (Ecclesiasticus 10.20). And these so many examples before noted out of the holy scriptures do declare that they shall not escape horrible punishment therefore.

Absolon.

Now concerning actual rebellion, amongst many examples thereof set forth in the holy scriptures, the example of Absolon is notable (2 Samuel 15.12, 17.1, 12, 18.7, 18). Who entering into conspiracy against King David his father, both used the advice of very witty men and assembled a very great and huge company of rebels.

The which Absolon, though he were most goodly of person, of great nobility, being the King's son, in great favour of the people, and so dearly beloved of the king himself so much that he gave commandment that (notwithstanding his rebellion) his life should be saved (2 Samuel 18.5), when for these considerations most men were afraid to lay hands upon him, a great tree stretching out his arm as it were for that purpose caught him by the great and long bush of his goodly hair, lapping about it as he fled hastily bareheaded under the said tree, and so hanged him up by the hair of his head in the air (2 Samuel 18.9) to give an eternal document that neither comeliness of personage, neither nobility, nor favour of the people, no, nor the favour of the king himself, can save a rebel from due punishment. God the King of all kings being so offended with him, that rather than he should lack due execution for his treason, every tree by the way will be a gallous or gibbet unto him, and the hair of his own head will be unto him instead of an halter to hang him up with, rather than he should lack one.

Achitophel.

A fearful example of God's punishment, good people, to consider: now Achitophel (2 Samuel 15.12, 16.21, 23, 17.23), though otherwise an exceeding wise man, yet the mischievous counsellor of Absolon in this wicked rebellion for lack of an hangman, a convenient servitor for such a traitor went and hanged up himself. A worthy end of all false rebels, who rather than they should lack due execution, will by God's just judgement become hangmen unto themselves. Thus happened it to the captains of that rebellion, beside forty thousand of rascal rebels slain in the field and in the chase (2 Sam. 18.7-9).

Seba.

Likewise is it to be seen, in the holy scriptures show that great rebellion, which the traitor Seba moved in Israel, was suddenly appeased, the head of the captain traitor (by the means of a silly woman) being cut off (2 Sam. 20.22). And as the holy scriptures do show, so doth daily experience prove that the counsels, conspiracies, and attempts of rebels never took effect, neither came to good but to most horrible end (Psalm 21.12). For though God doth oftentimes prosper just and lawful enemies which be no subjects against their foreign enemies, yet did he never long prosper rebellious subjects against their prince, were they never so great in authority or so many in number.

Chodorlaomer.

Five princes or kings (for so the scripture termeth them), with all their multitudes, could not prevail against Chodorlaomer (Genesis 14.4, 10, 14), unto whom they had promised loyalty and obedience and had continued in the same certain years; but they were all overthrown and taken prisoners by him. But Abraham with his family and kinsfolks, an handful of men in respect owing no subjection unto Chodorlaomer, overthrew him and all his host in battle and recovered the prisoners and delivered them. So that though war be so dreadful and cruel a thing as it is, yet doth God often prosper a few in lawful wars with foreign enemies against many thousands.

But never yet prospered he subjects being rebels against their natural sovereign, were they never so great or noble, so many, so stout, so witty, and politic, but always they came by the overthrow and to a shameful end. So much doth God abhor rebellion more than other wars, though otherwise being so dreadful and so great a destruction to mankind. Though not only great multitudes of the rude and rascal commons, but sometime also men of great wit, nobility, and authority have moved rebellions against their lawful princes, whereas true nobility should most abhor such villainies, and true wisdom should most detest such frantic rebellion.

The pretences of rebels.

Though they should pretend sundry causes as the redress of the commonwealth (which rebellion of all other mischiefs doth most destroy) or reformation of religion (whereas rebellion is most against all true religion), though they have made a great show of holy meaning by beginning their rebellions with a counterfeit service of God, (as did wicked Absolon begin his rebellion with sacrificing unto God, 2 Sam. 15.12), though they display and bear about ensigns and banners which are acceptable unto the rude ignorant common people, great multitudes of whom by such false pretences and shows they do deceive and draw unto them; yet were the multitudes of the rebels never so huge and great, the captains never so noble, politic and witty, the pretences feigned to be never so good and holy, yet the speedy overthrow of all rebels of what number, state, or condition soever they were, or what colour or cause soever they pretended, is, and ever hath been such that God thereby doth show that he alloweth neither the dignity of any person, nor the multitude of any people, nor the weight of any cause as sufficient for the which the subjects may move rebellion against their princes.

Turn over and read the histories of all nations, look over the [Anglo-Saxon] Chronicles of our own country, call to mind so many rebellions of old time, and some yet fresh in memory; ye shall not find that God ever prospered any rebellion against their natural and lawful prince, but contrariwise that the rebels were overthrown and slain, and such as were taken prisoners dreadfully executed. Consider the great and noble families of dukes, marquesses, earls, and other Lords (whose names ye shall read in our Chronicles), now clean extinguished and gone. And seek out the causes of the decay; ye shall find that not lack of issue and heirs males hath so much wrought that decay and waste of noble bloods and houses, as hath rebellion.

And for so much as the redress of the commonwealth hath of old been the usual feigned pretence of rebels, and religion now of late beginneth to be a colour of rebellion, let all godly and discrete subjects consider well of both and first concerning religion. If peaceable King Salomon was judged of God to be more meet to build his temple (whereby the ordering of religion is meant) than his father King David, though otherwise a most godly king. For that David was a great warrior and had shed much blood, though it were in his wars against the enemies of God, of this may all godly and reasonable subjects consider that a peaceable prince, specially our most peaceable and merciful queen who hath hitherto shed no blood at all — no not of her most deadly enemies — is more like and far meeter either to set up or to maintain true religion than are bloody rebels. Who have not shed the blood of God's enemies as King David had done but do seek to shed the blood of God's friends, of their own countrymen, and of their own most dear friends and kinsfolk, yea the destruction of their most gracious prince and natural country, for defence of whom they ought to be ready to shed their blood if need should so require.

What a religion it is that such men by such means would restore may easily be judged, even as good a religion surely as rebels be good men and obedient subjects, and as rebellion is a good mean of redress and reformation, being itself the greatest deformation of all that may possible be. But as the truth of the Gospel of our Saviour Christ being quietly and soberly taught, though it do cost them their lives that do teach it, is able to maintain the true religion. So hath a frantic religion need of such furious maintenances as is rebellion and of such patrons as are rebels, being ready not to die for the true religion, but to kill all that shall or dare speak against their false superstition and wicked idolatry.

Now concerning pretences of any redress of the commonwealth made by rebels, every man that hath but half an eye may see how vain they be, rebellion being as I have before declared the greatest ruin and destruction of all commonwealths that may be possible. And who so looketh, on the one part upon the persons and government of the queen's most honourable councillors, by the experiment of so many years proved honourable to her majesty and most profitable and beneficial unto our country and countrymen, and on the other part considereth the persons, state, and conditions of the rebels themselves (the "reformers", as they take upon them, of the present government), he shall find that the most rash and harebrained men, the greatest unthrifts that have most lewdly wasted their own goods and lands, those that are over the ears in debt, and such as for their thefts, robberies, and murders dare not in any well governed commonwealth where good laws are in force show their faces, such as are of most lewd and wicked behaviour and life, and all such as will not or cannot live in peace, are always most ready to move rebellion or take part with rebels.

Remember the murder of multitudes.

And are not these meet men, trow ye, to restore the commonwealth decayed, who have so spoiled and consumed all their own wealth and thrift? And very like to amend other men's manners who have so vile vices and abominable conditions themselves? Surely that which they falsely call reformation is indeed not only a defacing or a deformation, but also an utter destruction of all commonwealth as would well appear (might the rebels have their wills) and doth right well and too well appear by their doing in such places of the country where rebels do rout, where, though they tarry but a very little while, they make such reformation that they destroy all places and undo all men where they come, that the child yet unborn may rue it and shall many years hereafter curse them.

Let no good and discreet subjects therefore follow the flag or banner displayed to rebellion and borne by rebels, though it have the image of the plough painted therein with God speed the plough written under in great letters, knowing that none hinder the plough more than rebels, who will neither go to the plough themselves nor suffer other that would go unto it. And though some rebels bear the picture of the five wounds painted against those who put their only hope of salvation in the wounds of Christ, not those wounds which are painted in a clout by some lewd painter, but in those wounds which Christ himself bare in his precious body. Though they (little knowing what the cross of Christ meaneth, which neither carver nor painter can make), do bear the image of the cross painted in a rag against those that have the cross of Christ painted in their hearts, yea though they paint withal in their flags, hoc signo vinces ("By this sign thou shalt get the victory") by a most fond imitation of the posy of Constantinus Magnus (that noble Christian Emperor and great conqueror of God's enemies), a most unmeet ensign for rebels, the enemies of God, their prince, and country. Or what other banner soever they shall bear, yet let no good and godly subject upon any hope of victory or good success follow such standard-bearers of rebellion.

For as examples of such practises are to be found, as well in the histories of old as also of latter rebellions, in our fathers and our fresh memory, so (notwithstanding these pretences made and banners borne) are recorded withal to perpetual memory: the great and horrible murders of infinite multitudes and thousands of the common people slain in rebellion; dreadful executions of the authors and captains; the pitiful undoing of their wives and children and disinheriting of the heirs of the rebels forever; the spoiling, wasting, and destruction of the people and country where rebellion was first begun that the child then yet unborn might rue and lament it; with the final overthrow and shameful deaths of all rebels set forth as well in the histories of foreign nations (as in the Chronicles of our own country). Some thereof being yet in fresh memory which if they were collected together would make many volumes and books. But on the contrary part, all good luck, success, and prosperity that ever happened unto any rebels of any age, time or country, may be contained in a very few lines or words.

Conclusion.

Wherefore to conclude, let all good subjects, considering how horrible a sin against God, their prince, their country, and countrymen (against all God's and man's laws) rebellion is, being indeed not one several sin but all sins against God and man heaped together; considering the mischievous life and deeds, and the shameful ends and deaths of all rebels hitherto, and the pitiful undoing of their wives, children, and families, and disinheriting of their heirs forever; and above all things, considering the eternal damnation that is prepared for all impenitent rebels in hell with Satan, the first founder of rebellion and grand captain of all rebels; let all good subjects, I say, considering these things avoid and flee all rebellion as the greatest of all mischiefs, and embrace due obedience to God and our prince as the greatest of all virtues that we may both escape all evils and miseries that do follow rebellion in this world and eternal damnation in the world to come, and enjoy peace, quietness, and security with all other God's benefits and blessings which follow obedience in this life, and finally may enjoy the kingdom of heaven, the peculiar place of all obedient subjects to God and their Prince in the world to come. Which I beseech God the King of all kings grant unto us for the obedience of his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; unto whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God and King immortal, all honour, service, and obedience of all his creatures is due forever and ever. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the fourth part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

(The Prayer as before.)


THE FIFTH PART OF THE HOMILY

AGAINST REBELLION.

The Rebellion of the Bishops of Rome.

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HEREAS after both doctrine and examples of due obedience of subjects to their princes, I declared lastly unto you what an abominable sin against God and man rebellion is, and what horrible plagues, punishments, and deaths, with death everlasting finally doth hang over the heads of all rebels, it shall not be either impertinent or unprofitable now to declare who they be, whom the devil, the first author and founder of rebellion, doth chiefly use to the stirring up of subjects to rebel against their lawful princes. That knowing them, ye may flee them and their damnable suggestions, avoid all rebellion, and so escape the horrible plagues, and dreadful death, and damnation eternal finally due to all rebels.

Though many causes of rebellion may be reckoned (and almost as many as there be vices in men and women, as hath been before noted), yet in this place I will only touch the principal and most usual causes as specially ambition and ignorance. By ambition, I mean the unlawful and restless desire in men to be of higher estate than God hath given or appointed unto them. By ignorance, I mean no unskilfulness in arts or sciences, but the lack of knowledge of God's blessed will declared in his holy Word, which teacheth both extremely to abhor all rebellion as being the root of all mischief and specially to delight in obedience as the beginning and foundation of all goodness, as hath been also before specified. And as these are the two chief causes of rebellion, so are there specially two sorts of men in whom these vices do reign, by whom the devil, the author of all evil, doth chiefly stir up all disobedience and rebellion.

The restless ambition of the bishops of Rome.

The restless ambitious having once determined by one means or other to achieve to their intended purpose, when they cannot by lawful and peaceable means climb so high as they do desire, they attempt the same by force and violence. Wherein when they cannot prevail against the ordinary authority and power of lawful princes and governors themselves alone, they do seek the aid and help of the ignorant multitude, abusing them to their wicked purpose. Wherefore seeing a few ambitious and malicious are the authors and heads, and multitudes of ignorant men are the ministers and furtherers of rebellion, the chief point of this part shall be as well to notify to the simple and ignorant men who they be that have been and be usual authors of rebellion, that they may know them and also to admonish them to beware of the subtle suggestions of such restless ambitious persons, and so to flee them that rebellions (though attempted by a few ambitious) through the lack of maintenance by any multitudes, may speedily and easily without any great labour, danger, or damage be repressed and clearly extinguished.

It is well known, as well by all histories as by daily experience, that none have either more ambitiously aspired above emperors, kings, and princes, nor have more perniciously moved the ignorant people to rebellion against their princes, than certain persons which falsely challenge to themselves to be only counted and called spiritual. I must therefore here yet once again briefly put you, good people, in remembrance out of God's holy Word how our Saviour Jesus Christ and his holy apostles (the heads and chief of all true spiritual and ecclesiastical men) behaved themselves towards the princes and rulers of their time (Matthew 17.25), though not the best governors that ever were; that ye be not ignorant whether they be the true disciples and followers of Christ and his apostles (and so true spiritual men), that either by ambition do so highly aspire, or do most maliciously teach, or most perniciously do execute rebellion against their lawful princes, being the worst of all carnal works and mischievous deeds.

The holy scriptures do teach most expressly that our Saviour Christ himself and his apostles (St. Paul, St. Peter, with others) were unto the magistrates and higher powers which ruled, at their being upon the earth both obedient themselves, and did also diligently and earnestly exhort all other Christians to the like obedience unto their princes and governors (Mark 12.17, Luke 20.25). Whereby it is evident that men of the clergy, and ecclesiastical ministers as their successors ought, both themselves specially and before other, to be obedient unto their princes and also to exhort all others unto the same (Romans 13.1, 1 Timothy 2.12, 1 Peter 2.13).

Holy scriptures forbid human dominion over the Church of Christ.

Our Saviour Christ, likewise teaching by his doctrine that his kingdom was not of this world (Matthew 27.11, Luke 23.3), did by his example in fleeing from those that would have made him king, confirm the same (John 6.15, 18, 36), expressly also forbidding his apostles and by them the whole clergy all princely dominion over people and nations. And he and his holy apostles likewise (namely Peter and Paul) did forbid unto all ecclesiastical ministers dominion over the Church of Christ (Matthew 20.25, Mark 10.42, Luke 22.25). And indeed, whiles the ecclesiastical ministers continued in Christ's Church in that order that is in Christ's word prescribed unto them, and in Christian kingdoms kept themselves obedient to their own princes as the holy scripture doth teach them, both was Christ's Church more clear from ambitious emulations and contentions (Matthew 23.8, Luke 9.46, 2 Corinthians 1.24), and the state of Christian kingdoms less subject unto tumults and rebellions.

But after that ambition and desire of dominion entered once into ecclesiastical ministers (whose greatness after the doctrine and example of our Saviour should chiefly stand in humbling themselves; 1 Peter 5.3, Matthew 18.4, 20.28, Luke 9.48, 22.27), and that the bishop of Rome (being by the order of God's word none other than the bishop of that one see and diocese and never yet well able to govern the same) did by intolerable ambition challenge not only to be the "Head" of all the Church dispersed throughout the world, but also to be "Lord" of all kingdoms of the world, as is expressly set forth in the book of his own canon laws (Sex Decre. bk. 3, tit. 16, chap. unic., bk. 5, tit. 9, chap. 5 in glossa), most contrary to the doctrine and example of our Saviour Christ whose "vicar", and of his apostles (namely Peter) whose "successor", he pretendeth to be.

The claims for supreme authority stir treason against God and man.

After his ambition entered and this challenge once made by the bishop of Rome, he became at once the spoiler and destroyer both of the Church, which is the kingdom of our Saviour Christ, and of the Christian Empire and all Christian kingdoms as an universal tyrant over all. And whereas before that challenge made, there was great amity and love amongst the Christians of all countries, hereupon began emulation [bitter rivalry] and much hatred between the bishop of Rome and his clergy and friends on the one part, and the Grecian clergy and Christians of the East on the other part for that they refused to acknowledge any such supreme authority of the bishop of Rome over them. The bishop of Rome for this cause amongst other, not only naming them and taking them for schismatic, but also never ceasing to persecute them and the Emperors (who had their see and continuance in Greece) by stirring of the subjects to rebellion against their sovereign lords and by raising deadly hatred and most cruel wars between them and other Christian princes.

The bishops of Rome destroyed the Christian Empire of the East.

And when the bishops of Rome had translated the title of the Emperor and (as much as in them did lie) the Empire itself from their lord the Emperor of Greece and of Rome (also by right unto the Christian princes of the West), they became in short space no better unto the West emperors than they were before unto the Emperors of Greece: for the usual discharging of subjects from their oath of fidelity made unto the emperors of the West their sovereign lords, by the bishops of Rome; the unnatural stirring up of the subjects unto rebellion against their princes, yea of the son against the father, by the bishop of Rome; the most cruel and bloody wars raised amongst Christian princes of all kingdoms; the horrible murder of infinite thousands of Christian men being slain by Christians; and which ensued thereupon, the pitiful losses of so many goodly cities, countries, dominions, and kingdoms, sometime possessed by Christians in Asia, Africa, Europa; the miserable fall of the Empire and Church of Greece (sometime the most flourishing part of Christendom) into the hands of the Turks; the lamentable diminishing, decay, and ruin of Christian religion; the dreadful increase of paganism and power of the infidels and miscreants.

And all, by the practise and procurement of the bishop of Rome, chiefly is in the histories and chronicles written by the bishop of Rome's own favourers and friends to be seen and as well known unto all such as are acquainted with the said histories. The ambitious intent and most subtle drifts of the bishops of Rome in these their practises appeared evidently by their bold attempt in spoiling and robbing the Emperors of their towns, cities, dominions, and kingdoms in Italy, Lombardy, and Sicily, of ancient right belonging unto the Empire, and by joining of them unto their bishopric of Rome or else giving them unto strangers to hold them of the church and bishop of Rome as in capite, and as of the chief lords thereof in which tenure they hold the most part thereof even at this day.

The bishops of Rome have usurped worldly authority.

But these ambitious, and indeed traitorous, means and spoiling of their sovereign lords, the bishops of Rome (or priests and none other by right than the bishops of one city and diocese) are by false usurpation become great lords of many dominions, mighty princes, yea, or emperors rather, as claiming to have diverse princes and kings to their vassals, liegemen, and subjects — as in the same histories written by their own familiars and courtiers is to be seen. And indeed since the time that the bishops of Rome by ambition, treason, and usurpation achieved and attained to this height and greatness, they behaved themselves more like princes, kings, and emperors in all things than remained like princes, bishops, and ecclesiastical, or (as they would be called) "spiritual persons", in any one thing at all. For after this rate they have handled other kings and princes of other realms throughout Christendom, as well as their sovereign lords the Emperors, usually discharging their subjects of their oath of fidelity and so stirring them up to rebellion against their natural princes, whereof some examples shall in the last part hereof be notified unto you.

Wherefore let all good subjects, knowing these the special instruments and ministers of the devil to the stirring up of all rebellions, avoid and flee them and the pestilent suggestions of such foreign usurpers and their adherents, and embrace all obedience to God and their natural princes and sovereigns that they may enjoy God's blessings and their prince's favour, all peace, quietness, security in this world, and finally attain through Christ our Saviour, life everlasting in the world to come. Which God the Father for the same our Saviour Jesus Christ his sake grant unto us all; to whom with the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the fifth part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

(The Prayer as before.)


THE SIXTH AND LAST PART OF THE HOMILY

AGAINST REBELLION.

The Remedy of Rebellion: To Search and Study God's Holy Word;

Of Ignorance of the Simple People (The Latter Part).

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OW whereas the injuries, oppressions, raveny [ravenousness], and tyranny of the bishop of Rome — usurping as well against their natural lords the Emperors as against all other Christian kings, and kingdoms, and their continual stirring of subjects unto rebellions against their sovereign lords, whereof I have partly admonished you before — were intolerable, and it may seem more than marvel that any subjects would after such sort hold with unnatural foreign usurpers against their own sovereign lords and natural country, it remaineth that I do declare the mean whereby they compassed these matters and so to conclude this whole treaty of due obedience and against disobedience and wilful rebellion.

Ye shall understand that by ignorance of God's word wherein they kept all men, specially the common people, they wrought and brought to pass all these things, making them believe that all that they said was true, all that they did was good and godly, and that to hold with them in all things against father, mother, prince, country, and all men, was most meritorious. And indeed what mischief will not blind ignorance lead simple men unto!

By ignorance, the Jewish clergy induced the common people to ask the delivery of Barabbas the seditious murderer and to sue for the cruel crucifying of our Saviour Christ for that he rebuked the ambition, superstition, and other vices of the high priests and clergy (Matthew 27.20, Luke 23.18). For as our Saviour Christ testifieth that those who crucified him wist not what they did (Luke 23.34), so doth the holy apostle St. Paul say, "If they had known", if they had not been ignorant, "they would never have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2.8), but they knew not what they did. Our Saviour Christ himself also foreshowed that it should come to pass by ignorance that those who should persecute and murder his true apostles and disciples should think they did God acceptable sacrifice and good service — as it is also verified even at this day.

And in this ignorance have the bishops of Rome kept the people of God, specially the common sort, by no means so much as by withdrawing of the word of God from them and by keeping it under the veil of an unknown strange tongue. For as it served the ambitious humour of the bishops of Rome to compel all nations to use the natural language of the city of Rome where they were bishops (which showed a certain acknowledging of subjection unto them), so yet served it much more their crafty purpose thereby to keep all people so blind that they — not knowing what they prayed, what they believed, what they were commanded by God — might take all their commandments for God's. For as they would not suffer the holy scriptures or Church service to be used or had in any other language then the Latin, so were very few, even of the most simple people taught the Lord's prayer, the articles of the faith, and the Ten Commandments otherwise than in Latin which they understood not. By which universal ignorance, all men were ready to believe whatsoever they said and to do whatsoever they commanded.

Si cognovissent.

For to imitate the apostle's phrase: "If" the Emperor's subjects "had known" out of God's word their duty to their prince, they would not have suffered the bishop of Rome to persuade them to forsake their sovereign lord the Emperor against their oath of fidelity and to rebel against him only for that he cast images (unto the which idolatry was committed) out of the churches (Gregorius 2. and 3. Anno Do. 726 &c.), which the Bishop of Rome bare them in hand to be heresy. "If they had known" of God's word but as much as the Ten Commandments, they should have found that the bishop of Rome was not only a traitor to the Emperor his liege lord, but to God also and an horrible blasphemer of his majesty, in calling his holy Word and commandment heresy. And that which the bishop of Rome took for a just cause to rebel against his lawful prince, they might have known to be a doubling and tripling of his most heinous wickedness, heaped with horrible impiety and blasphemy.

But lest the poor people should know too much, he would not let them have as much of God's word as the Ten Commandments wholly and perfectly, withdrawing from them the second commandment that bewrayeth his impiety by a subtle sacrilege. Had the Emperor's subjects likewise known, and been of any understanding in God's word (Henry 4. Gregor. 7. Anno Domini 176. Paschal.2. Anno 199.), would they at other times have rebelled against their sovereign lord, and by their rebellion have holpen [helped] to depose him, only for that the bishop of Rome did bear them in hand that it was simony and heresy too, for the Emperor to give any ecclesiastical dignities or promotions to his learned chaplains, or other of his learned clergy, which al Christian Emperors before him had done without controlment?

Would they, I say, for that the bishop of Rome bare them so in hand, have rebelled by the space of more than forty years together against him (with so much shedding of Christian blood and murder of so many thousands of Christians) and finally have deposed their sovereign lord, had they known and had in God's word any understanding at all? Specially had they known that they did all this to pluck from their sovereign lord and his successors forever their ancient right of the Empire to give it unto the Romish clergy and to the bishop of Rome that he might for the confirmation of one archbishop and for the Romish rag (which he calleth a pall), scarce worth twelve pence, receive many thousand crowns of gold, and of other Bishops likewise great sums of money for their bulls — which is simony indeed.

Would, I say, Christian men and subjects by rebellion have spent so much Christian blood and have deposed their natural, most noble, and most valiant prince to bring the matter finally to this pass, had they known what they did or had any understanding in God's word at all? And as these ambitious usurpers, the bishops of Rome, have overflowed all Italy and Germany with streams of Christian blood, shed by the rebellions of ignorant subjects against their natural lords and Emperors whom they have stirred thereunto by such false pretences; so is there no country in Christendom which (by their like means and false pretences) hath not been oversprinkled with the blood of subjects by rebellion against their natural sovereigns stirred up by the same bishops of Rome?

Abuses of the Babylonical beast of Rome on Christian peoples.

In England during King John's time.

And to use one example of our own country: The bishop of Rome did pick a quarrel to King John of England about the election of Steven Langton to the bishopric of Canterbury, wherein the king had ancient right, being used by his progenitors, all Christian kings of England before him. The bishops of Rome having no right, but had begun then to usurp upon the kings of England and all other Christian kings, as they had before done against their sovereign lords the Emperors, proceeding even by the same ways and means, and likewise cursing King John and discharging his subjects of their oath of fidelity unto their sovereign lord.

Now had Englishmen at that time known their duty to their prince set forth in God's word, would a great many of nobles and other Englishmen, natural subjects, for this foreign and unnatural usurper his vain curse of the king, and for his feigned discharging of them of their oath and fidelity to their natural lord (upon so slender or no ground at all) have rebelled against their sovereign lord the king (Innocencini. 3.)?

Would English subjects have taken part, against the king of England and against Englishmen, with the French king (Philip) and Frenchmen, being incensed against this realm by the bishop of Rome? Would they have sent for and received the Dauphin (Lewis) of France with a great army of Frenchmen into the realm of England?

Would they have sworn fidelity to the Dauphin of France, breaking their oath of fidelity to their natural lord the king of England, and have stood under the Dauphin's banner displayed against the king of England? Would they have expelled their sovereign lord the king of England out of London, the chief city of England and out of the greatest part of England, upon the south side of Trent even unto Lincoln (and out of Lincoln itself also), and have delivered the possession thereof unto the Dauphin of France, whereof he kept the possession a great while?

Would they, being Englishmen, have procured so great shedding of English blood and other infinite mischiefs and miseries unto England their natural country, as did follow those cruel wars and traitorous rebellion, the fruits of the bishop of Rome's blessings? Would they have driven their natural sovereign lord, the king of England, to such extremity that he was enforced to submit himself unto that foreign false usurper the bishop of Rome who compelled him to surrender up the crown of England into the hands of his legate, who in token of possession kept it in his hands divers days and then delivered it again to King John upon that condition that the king and his successors, kings of England, should hold the Crown and kingdom of England of the bishop of Rome and his successors, as the vassals of the said Bishops of Rome forever — in token whereof, the kings of England should also pay a yearly tribute to the said bishop of Rome as his vassals and liegemen?

Would Englishmen have brought their sovereign lord and natural country into this thraldom and subjection to a false foreign usurper, had they known and had any understanding in God's word at all?

Out of the which most lamentable case and miserable tyranny, raveny [ravenousness], and spoil of the most greedy Romish wolves ensuing hereupon, the kings and realm of England could not rid themselves by the space of many years after the bishop of Rome by his ministers, continually not only spoiling the realm and kings of England of infinite treasure, but also with the same money hiring and maintaining foreign enemies against the realm and kings of England to keep them in such his subjection that they should not refuse to pay whatsoever those unsatiable wolves did greedily gape for, and suffer whatsoever those most cruel tyrants would lay upon them.

Would Englishmen have suffered this? Would they by rebellion have caused this, trow ye, and all for the bishop of Rome's causeless curse, had they in those days known and understood that God doth curse the blessings and bless the cursings of such wicked usurping bishops and tyrants? As it appeared afterward in King Henry the eighth his days, and King Edward the sixth, and in our gracious sovereign's days that now is, where neither the pope's curses nor God's manifold blessings are wanting (Malachi 2.2).

But in King John's time, the bishop of Rome, understanding the brute blindness, ignorance of God's word, and superstition of Englishmen, and how much they were inclined to worship the Babylonical beast of Rome and to fear all his threatenings, and causeless curses, he abused them thus, and by their rebellion brought this noble real and kings of England under his most cruel tyranny and to be a spoil of his most vile and unsatiable covetousness and raveny for a long and a great deal too long a time.

In England of later memory.

And to join unto the reports of histories matters of later memory, could the bishop of Rome have raised the late rebellions in the North and West countries in the times of King Henry and King Edward, our gracious sovereign's father and brother, but by abusing of the ignorant people? Or is it not most evident that the bishop of Rome hath of late attempted by his Irish patriarchs and bishops, sent from Rome with his bulls, (whereof some were apprehended) to break down the bars and hedges of the public peace in Ireland, only upon confidence easily to abuse the ignorance of the wild Irishmen?

Or who seeth not that upon like confidence, yet more lately he hath likewise procured the breach of the public peace in England (with the long and blessed continuance whereof he is sore grieved), by the ministry of his disguised chaplains, creeping in laymen's apparel into the houses, and whispering in the ears of certain northern Borderers, being then most ignorant of their duty to God and to their prince of all people of the realm, whom therefore as most meet and ready to execute his intended purpose he hath by the said ignorant mass priests, as blind guides leading the blind, brought those silly blind subjects into the deep ditch of horrible rebellion, damnable to themselves, and very dangerous to the state of the realm — had not God of his mercy miraculously calmed that raging tempest, not only without any shipwreck of the commonwealth, but almost without any shedding of Christian and English blood at all.

In other Christian countries, Rome encourages alien invasion.

And it is yet much more to be lamented that not only common people, but some other youthful or unskilful princes also suffer themselves to be abused by the bishop of Rome, his cardinals, and bishops to oppressing of Christian men their faithful subjects; either themselves, or else by procuring the force and strength of Christian men, to be conveyed out of one country to oppress true Christians in another country, and by these means open an entry unto Moors and infidels into the possession of Christian realms and countries!

Other Christian princes in the meantime, by the bishop of Rome's procuring also being so occupied in civil wars or troubled with rebellions, that they have neither leisure nor ability to confer their common forces to the defence of their fellow Christians against such invasions of the common enemies of Christendom, the infidels and miscreants.

Would to God we might only read and hear out of the histories of old and not also see and feel these new and present oppressions of Christians, rebellions of subjects, effusion of Christian blood, destruction of Christian men, decay and ruin of Christendom, increase of paganism (most lamentable and pitiful to behold), being procured in these our days as well as in times past by the bishop of Rome and his ministers abusing the ignorance of God's word yet remaining in some Christian princes and people. By which sour and bitter fruits of ignorance, all men ought to be moved to give ear and credit to God's word, showing as most truly, so most plainly how great a mischief ignorance is, and again how great and how good a gift of God knowledge in God's word is. And to begin with the Romish clergy, who though they do brag now, as did sometime the Jewish clergy that they cannot lack knowledge (Jeremiah 18.18).

All Christian princes and people must study God's word.

The lesson of Israel: horrible destruction.

Yet doth God by his holy prophets both charge them with ignorance (Ezekiel 7.26) and threaten them also, for that they have repelled the knowledge of God's word and Law (Hosea 4.6) from themselves and from his people; that he will repel them; that they shall be no more his priests (Psalm 2.5). God likewise chargeth princes as well as priests that they should endeavour themselves to get understanding and knowledge in his word, threatening his heavy wrath and destruction unto them if they fail thereof. And the Wise Man saith to all men universally (princes, priests, and people): "Where is no knowledge, there is no good nor health to the soul" (Proverbs 19.2); and that "all men be vain in whom is not the knowledge of God and his holy Word (Wisdom 13.1); that "they who walk in darkness wot not whither they go" (Proverbs 17.24; Ephesians 4.18, John 12.35).

And that the people that will not learn shall fall into great mischiefs as did the people of Israel, who for their ignorance in God's word were first led into captivity, and when by ignorance afterward they would not know the time of their visitation but crucified Christ our Saviour (Luke 19.44, 23.34), persecuted his holy apostles (Acts passim multis locis.), and were so ignorant and blind, that when they did most wickedly and cruelly, they thought they did God good and acceptable service (John 16.2) — as do many by ignorance think even at this day. Finally, through their ignorance and blindness (Hosea 4.6, Baruch 3.28), their country, towns, cities, Jerusalem itself, and the temple of God were all most horribly destroyed, the most chiefest part of their people slain, and the rest led into most miserable captivity (Isaiah 5.13). "For he that made them, had no pity upon them, neither would spare them" — and all for their ignorance (Isaiah 27.11).

Those who will not understand cannot be saved.

And the holy scriptures do teach that the people that will not see with their eyes nor hear with their ears to learn and to understand with their hearts, cannot be converted and saved (Isaiah 6.9, Matthew 13.14, 15, John 12.40). And the wicked themselves, being damned in hell, shall confess ignorance in God's word to have brought them thereunto, saying,

We have erred from the way of the truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, and the sun of understanding hath not risen unto us; we have wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and perdition, and have walked cumbrous and crooked ways. But the way of the Lord have we not known (Wisdom 5.6-7).

And as well our Saviour himself, as his apostle St. Paul doth teach that the ignorance of God's word cometh of the devil, is the cause of all error and misjudging (as falleth out with ignorant subjects (Matthew 8.19, 2 Corinthians 4.24), who can rather espy a little mote in the eye of the prince (Matthew 7.35) or a counsellor than a great beam in their own) and universally it is the cause of all evil and finally of eternal damnation, God's judgement being severe towards those, who when the light of Christ's Gospel is come into the world, do delight more in darkness of ignorance than in the light of knowledge in God's word (John 3.19). For all are commanded to read or hear (Matthew 11.15, 13.9, 43, Luke 8.8, Luke 16.30-31), to search and study the holy scriptures (John 5.39), and are promised understanding to be given them from God (Matthew 7.7, Luke 11.9), if they so do (Psalm 1.2). All are charged not to believe either any dead man, nor if an angel should speak from heaven (Galatians 1.8), much less if the pope do speak from Rome against or contrary to the word of God, from the which we may not decline, neither to the right hand nor to the left (Deuteronomy 5.32).

God's word teaches how to obey God.

In God's word princes must learn how to obey God and to govern men (Deuteronomy 17.14-15, Psalm 18, 118.89). In God's word subjects must learn obedience both to God and their princes (Romans 13.2, 1 Peter 2.13). Old men and young, rich and poor, all men and women, all estates, sexes and ages are taught their several duties in the word of God. For the word of God is bright, giving light unto all men's eyes, the shining lamp directing all men's paths, and steps.

Let us therefore awake from the sleep and darkness of ignorance (Ephesians 5.14), and open our eyes that we may see the light. Let us rise from the works of darkness that we may escape eternal darkness, the due reward thereof, and let us walk in the light of God's word (1 Thessalonians 5.4, 5), whiles we have light (John 12.35-36) as becometh the children of light (James 1.17, 1 Timothy 6.16, John 3.19), so directing the steps of our lives in that way which leadeth to light and life everlasting, that we may finally obtain and enjoy the same. Which God the father of lights, who dwelleth in light incomprehensible and inaccessible, grant unto us through the Light of the world, our Saviour Jesus Christ; unto whom with the Holy Ghost, one most glorious God, be all honour, praise, and thanksgiving forever and ever. Amen.

Thus have ye heard the sixth part of this Homily, now good people let us pray.

(The Prayer as before.)


A Thanksgiving

For the Suppression of the Last Rebellion.

O

HEAVENLY and most merciful Father, the Defender of those that put their trust in thee, the sure fortress of all them that flee to thee for succour: Who of thy most just judgements for our disobedience and rebellion against thy holy Word and for our sinful and wicked living, nothing answering to our holy profession whereby we have given an occasion that thy holy Name hath been blasphemed amongst the ignorant, hast of late both sore abashed the whole realm and people of England with the terror and danger of rebellion, thereby to awake us out of our dead sleep of careless security.

And hast yet by the miseries following the same rebellion more sharply punished part of our countrymen and Christian brethren, who have more nearly felt the same; and most dreadfully hast scourged some of the seditious persons with terrible executions, justly inflicted for their disobedience to thee and to thy servant their sovereign to the example of us all and to the warning, correction and amendment of thy servants, of thine accustomed goodness, turning always the wickedness of evil men to the profit of them that fear thee. Who in thy judgements remembering thy mercy, hast by thy assistance given the victory to thy servant our queen, her true nobility, and faithful subjects with so little, or rather no effusion of Christian blood, as also might have justly ensued to the exceeding comfort of all sorrowful Christian hearts, and that of thy fatherly pity and merciful goodness only, and even for thine own name's sake, without any our desert at all.

Wherefore we render unto thee most humble and hearty thanks for these thy great mercies shown unto us who had deserved sharper punishment, most humbly beseeching thee to grant unto all us that confess thy holy Name and profess the true and perfect religion of thy holy Gospel, thy heavenly grace to show ourselves in our living according to our profession. That we truly knowing thee in thy blessed word, may obediently walk in thy holy commandments, and that we being warned by this thy fatherly correction do provoke thy just wrath against us no more, but may enjoy the continuance of thy great mercies towards us, thy right hand, as in this, so in all other invasions, rebellions, and dangers, continually saving and defending our Church, our realm, our queen and people of England, that all our posterities ensuing, confessing thy holy Name, professing thy holy Gospel and leading an holy life, may perpetually praise and magnify thee, with thine only Son Jesus Christ our Saviour and the Holy Ghost; to whom be all laud, praise, glory, and empire forever and ever. Amen.

LONDON

Printed by Iohn Bill, Printer to the King's most

Excellent majestie.


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