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 Issues | Doctrine | Homily 14 conclusion (part 4)

 

The Conclusion of Homily against Idolatry

<< PART 3

Now it remaineth for the conclusion of this treaty, to declare as well the abuse of Churches and Temples, by too costly and sumptuous decking and adorning of them, as also the lewd painting, gilding, and clothing of idols and images, and so to conclude the whole treaty.

In Tertullians time, an hundreth and threescore years after Christ , Christians had none other Temples but common houses, whither they for the most part secretly resorted (Tertul. Apol. ch 39). And so far off was it that they had before his time any goodly or gorgeous decked Temples, that Laws were made in Antonius, Verus and Commodus the Emperors times, that no Christians should dwell in houses (Euseb. Book 5 Eccl Hist), come in public bathes, or be seen in streets, or any where abroad, and that if they were once accused to be Christians, they should by no means be suffered to escape. As was practised on Apolonius a noble Senator of Rome , who being accused of his own bondman and slave that he was a Christian (Hieronymus), could neither by his defence and apology learnedly and eloquently written and read publicly in the Senate, nor in respect that he was a Citizen, nor for the dignity of his order, nor for the vileness and unlawfulness of his accuser, being his own slave, by likelihood of malice moved to forge lies against his Lord, nor for no other respect or help, could be delivered from death. So that Christians were then driven to dwell in caves and dens: so far off was it that they had any public Temples adorned and decked as they now be. Which is here rehearsed to the confutation of those, which report such glorious glossed fables, of the goodly and gorgeous Temple, that Saint Peter, Linus, Cletus , and those thirty Bishops their successors had at Rome , until the time of the Emperor Constantine , and which Saint Polycarp should have in Asia , or Irenaeus in France, by such lies, contrary to all true Histories, to maintain the superfluous gilding and decking of Temples now a days, wherein they put almost the whole sum and pith of our religion. But in those times the world was won to Christendom, not by gorgeous, gilded, and painted Temples of Christians, which had scarcely houses to dwell in: but by the godly, and as it were golden minds, and firm faith of such as in all adversity and persecution professed the truth of our religion.

And after these times in Maximinian and Constantius the Emperors proclamation, the places where Christians resorted to public prayer, were called conventicles (Euseb. Book 8 ch 19 & Book 9 ch 9). And in Galerius Maximinus the Emperors Epistle, they are called Oratories and , to say, places dedicate to the service of the Lord. And here by the way it is to be noted, that at that time there were no Churches or Temples erected unto any Saint, but to God only, as Saint Augustine also recordeth, saying, Wee build no Temples unto our Martyrs (De civitate Book 8 ch 1) And Eusebius himself calleth Churches, houses of prayer, and showeth that in Constantine the Emperors time, all men rejoiced, seeing in stead of low conventicles, which tyrants had destroyed, high Temples to be builded. Lo, unto the time of Constantine , by the space of above three hundred years after our Saviour Christ , when Christian religion was most pure, and indeed golden, Christians had but low and poor conventicles, and simple Oratories, yea caves under the ground, called Crypt' , where they for fear of persecution assembled secretly together. A figure whereof remaineth in the vaults which yet are builded under great Churches, to put us in remembrance of the old state of the primitive Church before Constantine, whereas in Constantine’s time, and after him, were builded great and goodly Temples for Christians, called Basilicae, either for that the Greeks used to call all great and goodly places Basilicas, or for that the high and everlasting King God and our Saviour Christ was served in them.

But although Constantine , and other Princes, of good zeale to our religion, did sumptuously deck and adorn Christians Temples, ye did they dedicate at that time all Churches and Temples to God or our Saviour Christ , and to no Saint, for that abuse began long after in Justinians time (Novel Constit. 3 & 47). And that gorgeousness then used, as it was borne with, as rising of a good zeal: so was it signified of the godly learned even at that time, that such cost might otherwise have been better bestowed. Let Saint Jerome (although otherwise too great a liker and allower of external and outward things) be a proof hereof, who hath these words in his Epistle to Demetriades, Let other (saith Saint Jerome ) build Churches, cover walls with tables of marble, carry together huge pillars, and gild their tops or heads, which do not feel or understand their precious decking and adorning, let them deck the doors with ivory, and silver, and set the golden altars with precious stones, I blame it not, let every man abound in his own sense, and better is it so to doe, then carefully to keep their riches laid up in store. But thou hast another way appointed the, to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit him in the sick, feed him in the hungry, lodge him in those who do lack harbour, and especially such as be of the household of faith.

And the same Saint Jerome toucheth the same matter somewhat more freely in his treaty of the life of Clerks to Nepotian , saying thus, Many build walls, and erect pillars of Churchers, the smooth Marbles do glister, the roof shineth with gold, the altar is set with precious stones: But of the ministers of Christ, there is no election or choice. Neither let any man object and alleadge against me the rich Temple that was in Jewry, the table, candlesticks, incense, ships, platters, cups, mortars, and other things all of gold. Then were these things allowed of the Lord, when the Priests offered sacrifices, and the blood of beasts was accounted the redemption of sins. Howbeit all these things went be fore in figure, and they were written for us, upon whom the end of the world is come. And now when that our Lord being poor, hath dedicate the poverty of his house, let us remember his cross, and we shall esteem riches as mire and dung. What do we marvel at that which Christ calleth wicked Mammon? Whereto do we so highly esteem and love that which St Peter doeth for a glory testify that he had not? Hitherto St Jerome .

Thus you see how St. Jerome teacheth the sumptuousness amongst the Jews to be a figure to signify, and not an example to follow, and that those outward things were suffered for a time, until Christ our Lord came, who turned all those outward things into spirit, faith and truth. And the same Saint Jerome upon the seventh Chapter of Jeremiah saith, God commanded both the Jews at that time, and now us who are placed in the Church, that we have no trust in the goodliness of building and guilt roofs, and in walls covered with tables of marble, and say: the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord. For that is the Temple of the Lord, wherein dwelleth true faith, godly conversation, and the company of all virtues. And upon the Prophet Haggai, he describeth the true and right decking or ornaments of the Temple after this sort: I (saith Saint Jerome ) do think the Silver wherewith the house of God is decked, to be the doctrine of the Scriptures, of the which it is spoken, The doctrine of the Lord is a pure doctrine, Silver tried in the fire, purged from dross, purified seven times. And I do take gold to be that which remaineth in the hid sense of the Saints, and the se cret of the heart, and shineth with the true light of God. Which is evident that the Apostle also meant of the Saints that build upon the foundation of Christ , some silver, some gold, some precious stones: that by the gold, the hid sense, by silver, godly utterance, by precious stones, works which please God, might be signified. With these metals, the Church of our Saviour is made more goodly and gorgeous, then was the Synagogue in olde time.

With these lively stones, is the Church and house of Christ builded, and peace is given to it for ever. All these be Saint Jerome’s sayings.

No more did the old godly Bishops and Doc tours of the Church allow the over sumptuous furniture of Temples and Churches, with plate, vessels of gold, silver, and precious vestments. St. Chrysostom saith, in the ministry of the holy sacraments, there is no need of golden vessels, but of golden minds. And Saint Ambrose saith (2 Offic ch 28), Christ sent his Apostles without gold, and gathered his Church with out gold. The Church hath gold, not to keep it, but to bestow it on the necessities of the poor. The sacraments look for no gold, neither do they please God for the commendation of gold, which are not bought for gold. The adorning and decking of the Sacraments, is the redemption of Captives. Thus much saith Saint Ambrose .

Saint Jerome commendeth Exuperius Bishop of Toulouse , that he carried the sacrament of the Lord’s body in a wicker basket, and the Sacrament of his blood in a glass, and so cast covetousness out of the Church. And Bonifacius Bishop and Martyr, as it is recorded in the decrees (Tit. de consecra. can. Triburien), testifieth, that in old time the ministers used wooden, and not golden vessels. And Zepherinus the sixteenth Bishop of Rome made a decree, that they should use vessels of glass. Likewise were the vestures used in the Church in old time very plain and single, and nothing costly. And Rabanus at large declareth (Book 1 Insti. ch 14), that this costly and manifold furniture of vestments of late used in the Church, was set from the Jewish usage, and agreeth with Aarons apparelling almost altogether. For the maintenance of the which Innocentius the Pope pronounceth boldly, that all the customs of the old Law be not abolished, that we might in such apparel, of Christians the more willingly become Jewish. This is noted, not against Churches and Temples, which are most necessary, and ought to have their due use and honour, as is in another Homily for that purpose declared, nor against the convenient cleanness & ornaments thereof: but against the sumptuousness and abuses of the Temples and Churches. For it is a Church or Temple also that glittereth with no marble, shineth with no Gold nor Silver, glistereth with no Pearls nor precious stones: but with plaineness and frugality, signifieth no proud doctrine nor people, but humble, frugal, and nothing esteeming earthly and outward things, but gloriously decked with inward ornaments, according as the Prophet declareth, saying, The kings daughter is altogether glorious inwardly.

Now concerning excessive decking of images and idols, with pain ting, gilding, adorning, with precious vestures, pearl, and stone, what is it else, but for the further provocation and enticement to spiritual fornication, to deck spiritual harlots most costly and wantonly, which the idolatrous Church understandeth well enough. For she being in deed not only an harlot (as the Scripture calleth her) but also a foul, filthy, old withered harlot (for she is indeed of ancient years) and understanding her lack of nature and true beauty, and great loathsomeness which of her self she hath, doeth (after the custom of such harlots) paint her self, and deck and tyre her self with gold, pearl, stone, and all kind of precious jewels, that she shining with the outward beauty and glory of them, may please the foolish fantasy of fond lovers, and so entice them to spiritual fornication with her. Who, if they saw her (I will not say naked) but in simple apparel, would abhor her, as the foulest and filthiest harlot that ever was seen, According as appeareth by the discription of the garnishing of the great strumpet of all strumpets, the Mother of Whoredom, set forth by Saint John in his Revelation (Rev 17), who by her glory provoked the Princes of the earth to commit whoredom with her. Whereas on the contrary part, the true Church of God, as a chaste matron, espoused (as the Scripture teacheth) to one husband, our Saviour Jesus Christ , whom alone she is content only to please and serve, and looketh not to delight the eyes or fantasies of any other strange lovers, or wooers is content with her natural ornaments, not doubting, by such sincere simplicity, best to please him, who can well skill of the difference between a painted visage, and true natural beauty.

And concerning such glorious gilding and decking of images, both God’s word written in the tenth Chapter of the Prophet Jeremiah, and Saint Jerome’s commentaries upon the same, are most worthy to be noted. First, the words of the Scriptures be these (Jer 10), The workman with his axe hewed the timber out of the wood with the work of his hands, he decked it with gold and silver, he joined it with nails and pins, and the stroke an hammer, that it might hold together. They be made smooth as the palm, and they can not speak: if they be borne they remove, for they cannot go. Fear ye them not, for they can neither do evil nor good: thus saith the Prophet, Upon which text, Saint Jerome hath these words, This is the description of idols, which the Gentiles worship, their matter is vile and corruptible. And whereas the Artificer is mortal, the things he maketh must needs be corruptible: he decketh it with silver and gold, that with the glittering or shining of both metals, he may deceive the simple. Which error indeed hath passed over from the Gentiles, that we should judge Religion to stand in riches. And by and by after he saith, They have the beauty of metals, and be beautified by the Arte of Painting, but good or profit is there none in them. And shortly after again, They make great promises, and devise an Image of vain worshipping of their own fantasies, they make great brags to deceive every simple body, they dull and amaze the understanding of the unlearned, as it were with golden sentences, and eloquence, shining with the brightness of silver. And of their own devisers and makers are these images advanced and magnified, in the which is no utility nor profit at all, and the worshipping of the which, properly pertaineth to the Gentiles and Heathen, and such as know not God.

Thus far of Saint Jerome’s words. Whereupon you may note as well his judgement of images themselves, as also of the painting, gil ding, and decking of them: that it is an error which came from the Gentiles, that it persuadeth Religion to remain in riches, that it amazeth and deceiveth the simple and unlearned with golden sentences, and silver shining eloquence, and that it appertaineth properly to the Gen tiles and Heathens, and such as know not God. Wherefore the having, painting, gilding, and decking of images, by Saint Jerome’s judgement, is erroneous, seducing and bringing into error (specially the simple and unlearned) heathenish, and void of the knowledge of God.

Surely the Prophet Daniel in the eleventh Chapter declareth such sumptuous decking of images with gold, silver, and precious stones, to be a token of Antichrists kingdom, who (as the Prophet foreshoweth) shall worship God with such gorgeous things. Now usually such excessive adorning and decking of images, hath risen and been maintained, either of offerings prouoked by superstition and given in idolatry, or of spoils, robberies, usury, or goods otherwise unjustly gotten, whereof wicked men have given part to the images or Saints, (as they call them) that they might be pardoned of the whole: as of divers writings and old monuments concerning the cause and end of certain great gifts, may well appear. And in deed such money so wickedly gotten, is most meet to be put to so wicked a use. And that which they take to be amends for the whole before God, is more abominable in his sight, then both the wicked getting, and the more wicked spending of all the rest. For how the Lord alloweth such gifts, he declareth evidently in the Prophet Esaias (Isa 61) , saying, I, saith the Lord, do love judgement, and I hate spoil and raveny offered in Sacrifice: which the very Gentiles understood. For Plato showeth (Dialog. de legib. 10), that such men as suppose that God doeth pardon wicked men, if they give part of their spoils and rapine to him, take him to be like a dog, that would be entreated and hired with part of the pray, to suffer the wolves to weary the sheep.

And in case the goods wherewith images be decked, were justly gotten, yet it is extreme madness, so foolishly and wickedly to bestow goods purchased by wisdom and truth. Of such lewdness Lactantius writeth thus (Book 2 Inst. ch 4), Men do in vain deck images of the Gods with gold, ivory, and precious stone, as though they could take any pleasure in those things. For what use have they of precious gifts, which understand nor feel nothing? Even the same that dead men have. For with like rea son do they bury dead bodies, farced with spices and odours, and clothed with precious vestures, and deck images, which neither felt or knew when they were made, nor understand when they be honoured, for they get no sense and understanding by their consecration. Thus far Lactantius , and much more, too long here to rehearse, declaring, that as little girls play with little puppets, so be these decked images great pup pets for old fools to play with.

And that we may know what, not only men of our religion, but Ethnicks also, judge of such decking of dead images, it is not unprofitable to hear what Seneca , a wise and excellent learned Senator of Rome , and Philosopher, saith concerning the foolishness of ancient and grave men, used in his time in worship ping and decking of images: Wee (saith Seneca ) be not twice children (as the common saying is) but always children: but this is the difference, that we being elder, play the children: and in these plays they bring in before great and well decked puppets (for so he calleth images) ointments, incense, and odours. To these puppets they offer up sacrifice, which have a mouth, but not the use of teeth. Upon these they put attiring and precious apparel, which have no use of clothes. To these they give gold and silver, which they who receive it (meaning the images) lack, as well as they that have given it from them. And Seneca much commendeth Dionysius king of Sicily , for his merry robbing of such decked and jewelled puppets.

But you will ask, what doeth this appertain to our images, which is written against the idols of the Gentiles? Altogether surely. For what use or pleasure have our images of their decking and precious ornaments? Did our images understand when they were made? or know when they be so trimmed and decked? Bee not these things bestowed upon them, as much in vain, as upon dead men which have no sense? Wherefore it followeth, that there is like foolishness and lewdness in decking of our images, as great puppets for old fools, like children, to play the wicked play of idolatry before, as was among the Ethnicks and Gentiles. Our Churches stand full of such great puppets, wondrously decked and adorned, Garlands and Coronets be set on their heads, precious pearls hanging about their necks, their fingers shine with rings, set with precious stones, their dead and stiff bodies are clothed with garments stiff with gold. You would believe that the images of our men Saints, were some Princes of Persia land with their proud apparel, and the idols of our women Saints, were nice and well trimmed harlots, tempting their paramours to wantonness: Whereby the Saints of God are not honoured, but most dishonoured, and their godliness, soberness, chastity, contempt of riches, and of the vanity of the world, defaced and brought in doubt by such monstrous decking, most differing from their sober and godly lives. And because the whole pageant must thoroughly be plaid, it is not enough thus to deck idols, but at the last come in the Priests themselves, likewise decked with gold and pearl, that they may be meet servants for such Lords and Ladies, and fit worshippers of such gods and goddesses. And with a solemn pace they pass forth before these golden puppets, and fall down to the ground on their marrow bones before these honourable idols, and then rising up again, offer up odours and incense unto them, to give the people and example of double idolatry, by worshipping not only the idol, but the gold also, and riches wherewith it is garnished. Which things, the most part of our old Martyrs rather then they would doe, or once kneel, or offer up one crumb of incense before an image, suffered most cruell and terrible deaths, as the histories of them at large do declare.

And here again their allegation out of Gregory the first and Damascen , that images be the Lay-mens Books, and that pictures are the Scripture of idiotes and simple persons, is worthy to be considered. (Greg. Epist. ad Serenum Massil Damas de Fide Ortho. book 4 ch 17) For as it hath been touched in divers places before, how they be books teaching nothing but lies, as by Saint Paul in the first Chapter to the Romans evidently appeareth, of the images of God: So what man ner of books and Scripture these painted and gilt images of Saints be unto the common people, note well I pray you. For after that our preachers shall have instructed and exhorted the people to the following of the virtues of the Saints, as contempt of this world, poverty, sober ness, chastity, and such like virtues, which undoubtedly were in the Saints: Think you, as soon as they turn their faces from the Preacher, and look upon the graven books and painted Scripture of the glorious gilt images and idols, all shining and glittering with met tall and stone, and covered with precious vestures, or else with Chaerea in Terence , behold a painted table, wherein is set forth by the arte of the painter, an image with a nice and wanton apparel and countenance, more like to Venus or Flora , then Mary Magdalen, or if like to Mary Magdalen , it is when she played the harlot, rather then when she wept for her sins. When I say they turn about from the preacher, to these books and schoolmasters and painted scriptures: shall they not find them lying books? teaching other manner of lessons, of esteeming of riches, of pride, and vanity in apparel, of niceness and wantonness, and peradventure of whoredom, as Chaerea of like pictures was taught. And to Lucian , one learned of Venus Gnidia a lesson, too abominable here to be remembered. Bee not these think you pretty books and scriptures for simple people, and especially for wives and young maidens to look in, read on, and learn such lessons of? What will they think either of the preacher, who taught them contrary lessons of the Saints, and there fore by these carved Doctors, are charged with a lye, or of the Saints themselves, if they believe these graven books and painted scriptures of them, who make the Saints now reigning in heaven with God, to their great dishonour, schoolmasters of such vanity, which they in their life time most abhorred? For what lessons of contempt of riches and vanity of this world, can such books, so besmeared with gold, set with precious stones, covered with silks, teach? What les sons of soberness and chastity, can our women learn of these pictured scriptures, with their nice apparel and wanton looks?

But away, for shame, with these coloured cloaks of idolatry, of the books and scriptures of images and pictures, to teach idiots, nay to make idiots and stark fools and beasts of Christians. Do men, I pray you, when they have the same books at home with them, run on pilgrimage to seek like books at Rome, Compostella , or Jerusalem , to be taught by them, when they have the like to learn at home? Do men reverence some books, and despite and set light by other of the same sort? Do men kneel before their books, light candles at noon time, burn incense, offer up gold and silver, and other gifts to their books? Do men either feign or believe miracles to be wrought by their books? I am sure that the new Testament of our Saviour Jesus Christ , containing the word of life, is a more lively, express, and true Image of our Saviour, then all carved, graven, molten, and painted images in the world be, and yet none of all these things be done to that book or scripture of the Gospel of our Saviour, which be done to images and pictures, the books and scriptures of lay men and idiots, as they call them. Wherefore call them what they list, it is most evident by their deeds, that they make of them no other books nor scripture, then such as teach most filthy and horrible idolatry, as the users of such books daily prove by continual practising the same. O books and scriptures, in the which the devilish schoolmaster Satan, hath penned the lewd lessons of wicked idolatry, for his dastardly disciples and scholars to behold, read, and learn, to God’s most high dishonour, and their most horrible damnation. Have not we been much bound, think you, to those which should have taught us the truth out of God’s book and his holy Scripture, that they have shut up that book and Scripture from us, and none of us so bold as once to open it, or read on it? and in stead thereof, to spread us abroad these goodly, carven, and gilten books and painted scriptures, to teach us such good and godly lessons? Have not they done well, after they ceased to stand in pulpets themselves, and to teach the peo ple committed to their instruction, keeping silence of God’s word, and become dumb dogs (as the Prophet calleth them) to set up in their stead. on every pillar and corner of the Church, such goodly Doctors, as dumb, but more wicked then themselves be? We need not to complain of the lack of one dumb Parson, having so many dumb devilish Vicars (I mean these idols and painted puppets) to teach in their stead. Now in the mean season, whilst the dumb and dead idols stand thus decked and clothed, contrary to God’s law and commandment, the poor Christian people, the lively images of God, commended to us so tenderly by our Saviour Christ as most dear to him, stand naked, shivering for cold, and their teeth chattering in their heads, and no man covereth them, are pined with hunger and thirst, and no man giveth them a penny to refresh them, whereas pounds be ready at all times (contrary to God’s will) to deck and trim dead sticks and stones, which neither feel cold, hunger nor thirst.

Clemens hath a notable sentence concerning this matter (Book 5 ad Jacobum Domini.), saying thus, That serpent the Devil doth by the mouth of certain men utter these words: We for the honour of the invisible God, do worship visible images: which doubtless is most false. For if you will truly honour the image of God, you should by doing well to man, honour the true image of God in him. For the image of God is in every man: But the likeness of God is not in every one, but in those only which have a godly heart and pure mind. If you will therefore truly honour the I mage of God, we do declare to you the truth, that ye do well to man, who is made after the image of God, that you give honour and reverence to him, and refresh the hungry with meat, the thirsty with drink, the naked with clothes, the sick with attendance, the stranger harbour less with lodging, the prisoners with necessaries: and this shall be ac counted as truly bestowed upon God. And these things are so directly appertaining to God’s honour, that whosoever doth not this, shall seem to have reproached and done villainy to the image of God. For what honour of God is this, to run to images of stick and stone, and to honour vain and dead figures of God, and to despise man, in whom is the true image of God? And by and by after he saith, Understand ye therefore that this is the suggestion of the serpent Satan, lurking within you, which persuadeth you that you are godly, when you honour insensible and dead images, and that you be not ungodly, when you hurt or leave unsuccoured the lively and reasonable creatures. All these be the words of Clemens .

Note, I pray you, how this most ancient and learned Doctor, with in one hundred years of our Saviour Christ’s time, most plainly teacheth, that no service of God, or Religion acceptable to him, can be in honouring of dead images: but in succouring of the poor the lively images of God, according to Saint James , who saith, This is the pure and true Religion before God the Father, to succour fatherless and motherless children, and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself undefiled from this world.

True Religion then and pleasing of God, standeth not in making, setting up, painting, gilding, clothing and decking of dumb and dead images (which be but great puppets and babies for old fooles in dotage, and wicked idolatry, to dally and play with) nor in kissing of them, cap ping, kneeling, offering to them, in sensing of them, setting up of candles, hanging up of legs, arms, or whole bodies of wax before them, or praying, and asking of them or of Saints, things belonging only to God to give. But all these things be vain and abominable, and most damnable before God. Wherefore all such do not only bestow their money and labour in vain: but with their pains and cost purchase to themselves God’s wrath and utter indignation, and ever lasting damnation both of body and soul. For yee have heard it evidently proved in these Homilies against idolatry, by God’s word, the Doctors of the Church, Ecclesiastical histories, reason, and experience, that images have been and be worshipped, and so idolatry committed to them by infinite multitudes, to the great offence of God’s Majesty, and danger of infinite souls, and that idolatry can not possibly be separated from images set up in Churches and Temples, gilded and decked gloriously, and that there fore our images be in deed very idols, and so all the prohibitions, Laws, curses, threatenings of horrible plagues, as well temporal as eternal, contained in the holy Scripture, concerning idols, and the makers, and maintainers, and worshippers of them, appertain also to our images set up in Churches and Temples, and to the makers, maintainers, and worshippers of them. And all those names of abomination, which God’s word in the holy Scriptures giveth to the idols of the Gentiles, appertain to our images, being idols like to them, and having like idolatry committed unto them. And God’s own mouth in the holy Scriptures calleth them vanities, lies, deceits, uncleanness, filthiness, dung, mischief, and abomination before the Lord.

Wherefore God’s horrible wrath, and our most dreadful danger can not be avoided, without the destruction and utter abolishing of all such images and idols out of the Church and Temple of God, which to accomplish, God put in the minds of all Christi an princes. And in the mean time, let us take heed and be wise, O ye beloved of the Lord, and let us have no strange gods, but one only God, who made us when we were nothing, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ , who redeemed us when we were lost, and with his holy Spirit who doeth sanctify us. For this is life everlasting, to know him to be the only true God, and Iesus Christ whom he hath sent (Jn 17). Let us honour and worship for Religions sake none but him, and him let us worship and honour as he will himself, and hath declared by his word, that he will be honoured and worshipped, not in, nor by images or idols, which he hath most straightly forbidden, neither in kneeling, lighting of candles, burning of incense, offering up of gifts unto images and idols, to believe that we shall please him, for all these be abomination before God: but let us honour and worship God in spirit and truth (Jn 4), fearing and loving him above all things, trusting in him only, calling upon him, and praying to him only, praising and lauding of him only, and all other in him, and for him. For such worshippers doeth our heavenly Father love, who is a most pure Spirit, and therefore will be worshipped in spirit and truth. And such worshippers were Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Peter, Paul, John , and all other the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, and all true Saints of God, who all, as the true friends of God, were enemies and destroyers of images and idols, as the enemies of God and his true Religion. Wherefore take heed and be wise, O ye beloved of the Lord, and that which others, contrary to God’s word, bestow wickedly, and to their damnation, upon dead stocks and stones, (no images, but enemies of God and his Saints) that bestow ye, as the faithful servants of God, according to God’s word, mercifully upon poore men and women, fatherless children, widows, sick persons, strangers, prisoners, and such others that be in a ny necessity, that ye may at that great day of the Lord, hear that most blessed and comfortable saying of our Saviour Christ : Come ye blessed into the kingdom of my father, prepared for you before the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat, thirsty, and ye gave me drink, naked, and ye clothed me, harbourless, and ye lodged me, in prison, and ye visited me, sick, and ye comforted me. For whatsoever ye have done for the poor and needy in my name, and for my sake, that have ye done for me. To the which his heavenly kingdom, God the Father of mercies bring us, for Jesus Christ’s sake our only Saviour, Mediator, and Advocate, to whom with the holy Ghost, one immortal, invisible and most glorious God, be all honour and thanksgiving, and glory, world without end. Amen.

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BulletHomily 24
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BulletHomily 25 (part 2)
BulletHomily 26
BulletHomily 28 (part 1)
BulletHomily 28 (part 2)
BulletHomily 31

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