It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.—Proverbs 20.25.

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A ſhort

inſtruction for to

arme all good Chriſtian

people agaynſt the peſti-

ferous errours of the

common ſecte of

Anabapti-

ſtes.

¶ Compyled by May-

ſter John Cal-

uine.

☞ ✶ ☜


OR, A Refutation of the Schleitheim Confession of the Anabaptists.


X

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

Among the writings of John Calvin, his treatise against the Anabaptists is not the least remarkable as a skillful endeavour to defend true religion against the present dangers which confronted the church of Jesus Christ in his time. While it is imagined by some that Calvin was a man given to theological speculation, the fact is that he was a man extraordinarily gifted with the Spirit of God to advance the truths of the Gospel, and to ward off the many devices of Satan by which the powers of darkness endeavoured to either overthrow, or at least stifle the progress of our Saviour's kingdom in this world. And though we ought not admire the man beyond the measure of honour which is due to him, yet we cannot be too thankful to the Lord for the works he brought to pass in Calvin's time, by means of such men. Neither ought we to cease imploring our heavenly father, to raise up such men in our day, to begin again that work of advancing our Saviour's kingdom in the nations of the earth, which was so much abandoned by the protestant churches by the end of the 1600's when they capitulated with worldly rulers, throughout the nations of Europe and elsewhere, for the sake of sinful ease.

The text below is taken from an English translation of Calvin's treatise printed in the year 1549. It is here presented somewhat modernized as to spelling and punctuation, with explanatory synonyms or other words inserted in brackets []. Scripture references have also been inserted for the sake of the reader. The title "Saint", sometimes used by Calvin, has been generally omitted, except in quotations. Those who find the present text awkward or difficult to read, or who doubt the accuracy of the old translation in certain expressions, are encouraged to obtain copies of the modern printed edition of Calvin's treatises against the Anabaptists and Libertines, translated and edited by Benjamin Wirt Farley, and published by Baker Academic in 1982. It is full of useful and interesting footnotes, as well as an introduction explaining the context of Calvin's treatise. It should be acknowledged that the printed edition was used to more quickly facilitate identifying Calvin's Scripture quotes and allusions; but those below are not directly taken from the printed edition.

A word is also due respecting the common accusation among modern Presbyterians that Covenanters, such as the present editor, are a people of separatist principles; seeing as, to such accusers, it may seem hypocritical for any of us to approve of Calvin's words against the separatist practices of the Anabaptists. This accusation is rather old, and takes its first origin from the fact that, among the reasons why Covenanters of the late 1600's separated from the ministry of some pastors, and fellowship of some Christians, scandalous practices were enumerated. But these were not the only reasons enumerated. Neither was it scandalous practices themselves that were accounted a cause of separation; but, (which is relevant in our present time also,) scandalous practices for which individuals ought to be deposed or disciplined, when no organized church court was in capacity to do so. In such circumstances, Covenanters saw themselves under an obligation to avoid such association, and by their words & deeds testify to scandalous individuals what ecclesiastical discipline was due to them, though the Church was not presently functioning in such order as to put in execution the acts and resolutions of the General Assembly. Those who are honestly willing to be informed about these things, rather than embracing the rumours that Covenanters, (or Reformed Presbyterians,) have "deposed all the ministers" or "excommunicated everyone else," may consult the Informatory Vindication of 1687, especially head 4, and also Mr. James Renwick's reply to Robert Langlan, wherein he vindicates the United Societies from such accusations and explains on what warrantable grounds they determined with whom they ought and ought not to fellowship during these times of the Church's defection from our Covenanted Reformation.

As for the real anabaptists and separatists of the present day, they are not a mere few. We are sorry to say they flourish much more prosperously in numbers than the little flock of Christ's sheep; and the lack of practical discipline amongst most professing Presbyterians is not what many of them would admire.  Mennonites, Hutterites, and the Amish are all more or less concerned in the examination and refutation below by Calvin. Generally, Anabaptist communities have newer and more particular creeds and confessions than that known as the Schleitheim Confession; but the principles and practices of conservative anabaptists are still characterized by this confession. When it comes to doctrine and profession of the Gospel, the term "Radical Reformation", often attributed to them, is entirely out of place. This must be said because from the 1500's to the present day they have continued to defend heretical notions very much like to those of the Church of Rome, when it comes to their deficient views of man's need of salvation, as well as the salvation which has been provided through Jesus Christ. Consequently, the Schleitheim Confession only gives "half the picture" about the beliefs of the Anabaptists, and their beliefs about salvation and other subjects will need to be gathered from other confessions of later times. This half-picture however, reveals something about the nature of their separatism, and implies that it was not unity in the Gospel which led their party to separate from the Roman communion and unite together in their early congregations. This is the sad reality of a people who are often outwardly admirable for their order of community, avoidance of worldliness, and dedication to principles.

2010.07.13.

X

[Calvin's Address to Ministers of Neuchâtel.]

[Calvin's Introduction.]

☞ In this boke are first reproued fiue articles cótayned in one resolution,[1] composed by the patriarches of that secte, which articles are common to them all, that is to saye.

Of the baptisme of infantes.

Of excommunicacion.

[The Lord's Supper.]

[Of Separation.]

[Of Pastors.]

Of the ryghte or authoritie to beare armore.

Of the power of princes

Of sweringe.

Also two other articles.

Of the incarnacion of Jesus Christe.

Of the life and condicion of the solles betwene death & the daye of the laste resurrection.

[Conclusion of Treatise.]


¶ John Cal-

uine to the ministers of the

churches in the countie of Newecaſtel.


IF any man marvel, my dear brethren and companions in the work of the Lord, that I will occupy myself to answer unto a book which is unworthy to be spoken of, or to be made mention of, seeing that I may occupy myself, as men think, in better things, and things of more fruit, it shall be sufficient excuse for me to allege that I have done it at the request and instance of many good faithful men, which sent the book to me from far countries, with testimony that it was very needful for the health of many souls, that I should take it in hand. For I think verily that this should be sufficient to content them that be reasonable, that my intent was to obtain as well to the judgments as to the desires of them which I knew to be zealous for the glory of God and the edification of his people. But yet have I another answer for to excuse me by, to them which may think that it is folly in me, to occupy myself in a thing so barren and trifling, as is this little book, which appeareth to be made by ignorant people: which is, that we have no greater privilege than had the prophets of God, and that our pain is no {3.A.} more precious, than was theirs. Now we see that Ezekiel was constrained to speak and write not only against deceivers which were ignorant and of no reputation, but also against women which would be prophetesses. Seeing the prophet spared not to dispute against women, yea and that it was commanded him by God so to do, because through their leasings they led the people to superstition and errour, and letted [hindered] the verity of his course: it should be a presumption to us, not to wytsafe [vouchsafe] to do the like. It is true that this book, which I am desired and exhorted to confute, hath no need of resolution towards them that have learning and understanding: forasmuch as of itself it is sufficiently reproved, in that it is so unlearnedly & foolishly written. But forasmuch as it hath a certain colour to abuse and circumvent the simple, which have not the judgment to discern: our duty is to help them, and advertise them of the malicious subtleties of Satan, to the intent that they be not through imprudence deceived: we are debtours to one and other saith Paul. Therefore we must do service unto all as much as in us is, specially when necessity requireth it. I protest therefore, that mine intention is only in short or few words, to shew unto all faithful Christian men which be rude and unlearned, what and how dangerous a poison this doctrine of the Anabaptists is: and also arm them by the word of God against the same, to the end that {3.B.} they be not deceived; or if there be any, which already be wrapped in their snares, that they may be brought again unto the right way. Wherefore I beseech all them which desire to continue in the pure knowledge of Jesus Christ, and in the obedience of his Gospel, to take pains to read attentively this little book, even as I have dedicated it unto them: and also take the pains well to peyse [weigh, consider] the reasons which I do allege unto them: that they may abide in the truth when it is declared unto them. Therefore [the] reason which moved me to dedicate this present treatise unto you, is double. First, because it should be a public testimony of the conjunction which I have and desire always to have with you: and that all men might know how we are united as well in doctrine as in affection of heart. The second is, to the end that the reading thereof might be the better commended and received of all them over whom you have charge to bear the word of Jesus Christ: in such sort that the churches over which the prince of pastors hath made you ministers, may be entertained in pure doctrine, and preserved from all perverse opinions, contrarying the truth of the gospel. It is true, that you might right well (my dear brethren) have discharged me of this pain. And also, already our brother, M. William Farell, according unto the grace which God hath given him, and the exercises which he hath of long time had, and continual custom in fighting against the enemies of {4.A.} the truth, and resisting all false doctrines for to maintain Christ's kingdom, hath well satisfied you in part, in that thing which you now require of me. As I have seen by the acts of a disputation done in the good town. In such sort that of those Articles which are there treated, no man can desire a more sufficient declaration, to satisfy his conscience, than is there given. But because they unto whom I desire and am bound to do service, do make me believe that it is necessary that I take this charge upon me, I will consent unto their request, without making any longer excuses. The Lord Jesus Christ have you always in his holy protection, and his churches which he hath committed unto you: and lead you by his holy spirit always: for to serve him with your ministry unto his honour and unto the heath of his poor people.

Amen.

☞ From Geneva, the first of June.

Anno Domini. M.D.xl.iiii.

{4.B.}

[Calvin's Introduction.]

TO write against all the false opinions & errours of the Anabaptists, should be a thing too long, & such a bottomless pit, as I could not well come out of. For this canker differeth in this thing from all other sects of hereticks: that she hath not erred only in certain points: but she hath engendered a whole sea, as it were, of foolish & false opinions. In such wise that scant shall a man find one Anabaptist which hath not some fantasy singular: which his fellows have not. So that if we would pluck out, or rehearse all their wicked doctrines, we should never make an end. But now at length they become unto two principal sects: whereof the one, though she be full of wicked & pernicious errours, yet doth she abide in much more simplicity. For she yet receiveth the holy scripture, as we do. And if men do dispute with those that be of that sect, it shall be perceived wherein they differ from us, & they will express their meaning, & in conclusion it may be perceived in what they accord, & wherein they dissent. The second sect is a mass of such foolish & beastly opinions, as the like cannot be found, insomuch that it is wonder how creatures which bear the figure of a man, can be so clean without sense & reason, as to suffer themselves so to be deceived, & fall into fantasies more than brutish. This sect call themselves libertines. And [they] counterfeit [pretend, imitate] so much the spiritual, that they set no more by the word of God, than they do by fables: except it be when it pleaseth {5.A.} them, and when as they may deprave it, and by force make it to serve for their devilish opinions. And besides this they have a charming or croaking as it were Cranes, so that a man cannot tell what it is, that they would say, and no more do they wot what it is themselves: but that by this craft they cover the filthiness of their doctrine. For their principles are to confound all differences between good & ill, & to mingle God so with the Devil that it should not be discerned between the one and the other, and so to make men not only without all feeling in their consciences before God: but also without shame before the world. Now see you wherefore they drive themselves into such caves of obscure and doubtful words, to the end that their villainy should not be perceived, lest we should have them in horror and execration. As indeed our nature repugneth against such monstrous things as they bring forth. So now to write in a sum against the errours of the Anabaptists, the shortest and most expedient way is to keep this division, and to gather apart in one treatise the errours of them which be not altogether so mad and desperate: and in another treatise to discover the venomous malice of those wicked, which under the colour of spirituality, would make men like unto brute beasts. Now it is very true, that those which be of the first sort, do not so agree together in opinions, that a man can easily gather their errours together for to reprove {5.B.} them by any certain order; But, because the principal doctours, and as it were the Patriarchs of the whole Synagogue, after they had well ranged about, have made a final conclusion, wherein they comprehend the sum of all that which they do hold against us, and the Papists, in seven Articles: unto which all Anabaptists commonly cleave: insomuch that they have found the means to cause this fair resolution to be imprinted, and have together agreed to sow their poison by it all abroad: and so to infect the poor people: I will be contented for this time, and I think also that it shall suffice, to declare the falsehood contained in the most part of these seven Articles: to the intent that they do not complain and say that I lay that to the charge of them all, which is done but of some particulars, & so unjustly defame the whole sect. This once done, if I may have at any time leisure, I will write some other little treatise, against the other second sort, of which I spake before, that is, the Libertines. But as I have said, it shall be sufficient for this time, to declare unto all lovers of the truth, that, that thing which these poor people with one common accord hold for a foundation invincible, of their faith, is a deadly abusion [abuse, deceit], of the which we must beware, as we would be[ware] of the pestilence.

I speak to all them which desire to be obedient unto the truth. For there be some of this ungracious sect, and chiefly those which {6.A.} do counterfeit the doctours: the which being occupied with pride and presumption, see nothing of those things which is said unto them, or rather through obstinate and deliberate malice shut their eyes, because they will not see the light, when it is so evidently offered to them. Insomuch that it is as unprofitable a labour, as to beat the water when you would have it still, to proceed by reasons with them, to bring them to the right way, save that this profit will come thereof: that they which be good shall know the desperate impudency, and so withdraw themselves, & fly from them, as from poison.

Now because there is no fairer colour to seduce the Christians which have a zeal to follow God, than to pretend his Holy Word, therefore the Anabaptists against whom we now write, have always that preface in their mouth. And truly when it is said, that it is God which speaketh, all creatures ought to be moved, for the reverence of his name, in humility to hear what is said. When we perceive that [it] is the word of God indeed, which is set before us, there is no more question to reply, or once to open our mouths to dispute against it. We do not say as the papists do, that we must forsake the scriptures of God, and stay ourselves in the authority of men. For we hold that evasion, for an execrable blasphemy. But we will that [that] which appeareth to come from God, & leaneth to his word, be received to us with all humility, without any controversity {6.B.} or difficulty. And moreover we think that none other doctrine should be received for certain & true, but such as cometh out of the fountain of all truth. Therefore be they Anabaptists, or other, which say unto us, that that thing which they bring unto us, they have received of God, and taken it out of his mouth: that is to say, that they have it out of the blessed scripture: let us give this glory to God, modestly to understand and hearken whether it so be or not. But as it is our duty to hearken unto these things which are said, unto such time as we do know what it is: so ought we to have this prudence to discern between the truth and lying: and to judge whether it be so, or otherwise, which is alleged out of the word of God. For it is commanded us to prove the spirits, and to know whether they be of God or no. And truly we see how necessary this is for us: seeing the devil himself was armed with the word of God, and made a weapon thereof to assault our Lord Jesus. And we have experience, that daily he useth this practice, by his instruments, to deprave the truth, to lead poor souls unto perdition.

Touching these poor fantasticals, which so mightily vaunt themselves to have the word of God for them, the deed sheweth how it is. It is long since we have continually travailed, that this Holy Word might be set up: & to bring this to pass we sustain a fight against all the world. They, what declaration have they made? or wherein have they {7.A.} holpen this? But rather contrariwise, they have hindered and disturbed us. In such wise that it cannot be said wherein they have profited, without it be that they have gathered up that word, as fast as it was advanced by us. Moreover, in certain principal points of our Christian Faith, they accord very well with the Papists, holding opinions directly repugnant to all the Holy Scripture: As of free-will, predestination, and of the cause of our salvation. It is therefore a false abuse, which they use under that colour to make the simple believe, that they will be wholly governed by the scriptures, forasmuch as they do hold nothing thereof, but follow only the fantasies of their own brain. Let us come now unto the first Article of the seven which are contained in this fair forked resolution, which they hold for a revelation descended from heaven.

¶ The fyrste

Article of Bap-

tisme.

BAPTISM ought to be given unto such as be taught unto penance, and do believe that their {7.B.} sins be taken away by Jesus Christ, and will walk in his resurrection. Therefore it ought to be ministered unto such as ask for it themselves, and not unto Infants, as hitherto hath been used in the Pope's kingdom.

☞ The Confutation.

¶ That is their saying. But first, I Answer, that the Baptizing of young children is not a thing newly brought up, neither a thing which took his beginning in the Papacy. For I say that it hath been a holy ordinance kept always in the Christian church. And that this is true, there is no doctor so ancient, which doth not confess, that it hath been always used from the time of the Apostles. I thought it good to say this much by the way, and for none other cause, but to inform the simple, that it is an impudent slander of these fantastical men, which would make men believe that this ancient observation is a superstition newly forged: and that [it] is come from the pope: whereas indeed the whole church used it before there was any Pope, or that any man heard speak of the pope. Besides this I will not that the ancientness thereof shall help us any thing to the probation thereof {8.A.} except it be found grounded in the word of God. I know that as the custom of men giveth not authority unto the sacraments, even so to use them well, we ought not to take our rule according to the same. Let us come then unto the true rule of God which we have spoken of: that is to say, unto his word which only here ought to take place. Their intent is, that baptism should not be communicate but to him that asketh it, making profession of faith and repentance. And therefore the baptism of little children is an invention of man against the word of God.

To prove this, they allege the place out of Matthew, where our saviour Jesus Christ saith unto his Apostles, Go, and teach all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, & of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: unto which, they do add this sentence out of the 16th chapter of Mark, He that shall believe and shall be baptized, shall be saved. This is, as they think, an invincible foundation. To this I answer, that in these places there is nothing spoken of Baptism, but incidentally. For it is put there as an accessory of the preaching of the Gospel. Our Lord Jesus sent his Apostles to preach and instruct the world, & added baptism for a confirmation of their doctrine. Therefore is it to be noted, that for this cause the doctrine ought to go before this sacrament, which is added unto it, as the seal thereof. In this thing we agree. But you must know how.

And this thing is it which abuseth these {8.B.} poor fantasticals, that they do not consider the men. For when there is a man which is a stranger from the Christian Church, (as a Turk, a Jew, or any other heathen man,) for to make him a Christian, it is without question that we ought not to begin with him first by baptism, but before he be baptized, he must be instructed. And such was the usage of the ancient church. For they which were converted unto Christ, had for a certain time, their predication apart, which was called Catechism. And afterward, having testimony of their faith & repentance, they were baptized. Reason would it [should be] thus. For seeing that man is not only introduced by baptism into the communion of the church, but also hath there his attestation sealed, that God doth acknowledge him for one of his children: there is no doubt but that the doctrine ought to go before: by which the man ought to be taught to convert himself to God with faith & repentance. We see that God did so with Abraham when he was circumcised. For before he did institute that sign for him, he received him into his covenant, & instructed him in his word.

And we must also note this, that when a man is received of God into the company of the faithful: the promise of salvation which is made to him is not only for his person, but also for his children. For it is said unto him, I am thy God, and the God of thy children after thee. [Gen. 17.7.] So now a man which from his infancy was not received into the covenant of God, is as a stranger from {9.A.} the church, until such time as by the doctrine of salvation he be brought unto faith and repentance. But then his seed is made by and by of the household of the church. And for this cause are the little children of faithful men baptized in the virtue of this covenant which is made with their fathers in their name and to their profit. Here you see [in] what the Anabaptists are deceived. That the doctrine ought to proceed the sacrament, we do not resist. But the whole matter is as we have said, to consider how, and by what means. For when the question is of a man in age to be baptized, which was before no Christian; before he be christened, he must be taught those things which be figured by baptism. But as touching his children, they shall be baptized upon the doctrine which he hath received: which doth contain that God shall be a saviour not only of his person, but also of his children. To make it somewhat plain to the understanding: when a man which was a stranger to the company of the faithful, is converted unto God, the doctrine upon which he is baptized is set forth unto him: and therefore it is necessary that he understand it, and comprehend it, before he be received unto the sacrament. The doctrine upon which the young children of Christian men be baptized is not set forth to them, but to their parents, and to the whole church: and therefore it is not requisite that they understand it before they do receive the sign. {9.B.}

☞ Therefore when men make this argument: "Our Lord commanded his Apostles to preach before they baptized, and hath said that he which shall believe & shall be baptized, shall be saved; and therefore it followeth that none ought to be admitted to the sacrament of baptism, but he that already believeth"; This is a naughty conclusion. For it is very notable, that our Lord in those places speaketh not, but of them which are of age meet to be taught, and which were not before of the Christian church. If we take not heed unto such circumstances, we shall confound many places in scriptures, and shall be confused when we do expound them. It is said that he which doth not labour, shall not eat, [2 Thess. 3.10.] and yet there is no man so cruel as to condemn little infants to die for hunger. For every man seeth clearly, that the Apostles put not them [the infants] in this order, but speak only of such as be strong, and be able. Seeing then, that our Lord in these places, doth make special mention of those which are apt to be taught, and which were not before of his disciples, it is a depravation, and perverting of scripture, to apply these places unto the young children of Christian men which have not the capacity to understand, and be already comprehended within the covenant of God, made unto their fathers, that they should be of the household of the church.

These fantastical men, allege yet further for them, the use and practice of the Apostles. It is written in the second [chapter] of the Acts, {10.A.} that the four thousand men of Jerusalem, after that they had heard Peter preach, being touched in their hearts, did ask counsel what they ought to do; and that Peter answered them: repent you, and believe the Gospel. Furthermore, when the Eunuch required to be baptized, Phillip answered him, that he might be baptized if so be that he believed with his whole heart.

And out of this they conclude that the Apostles required that men should have faith and repentance, before they were baptized. I grant it to be true of such men which must be received anew into the communion of the Christian church: but touching those children which are of the church before they issue out of their mothers' bellies, I say there is another reason: For their fathers & ancestors received the promise, upon which their Baptism is founded. It was therefore necessary, that the inhabitants of Jerusalem, which were out of the Christian Church, and which consented unto the death of our Lord, should have true repentance, before they should have testimony through baptism, that the Lord Jesus did accept them into the number of his faithful. It was necessary that the Eunuch should come unto the flock of Christ by true faith, before he should receive the sign thereof. But seeing this promise is made unto all faithful men, I am the God of thy offspring, [Gen. 17.7]: the children which descend of them, have another privilege: which is, that God doth acknowledge {10.B.} them for his, for their fathers' sakes. And lest it should appear, that I do fain this as a dream, out of mine own head: you may see that God hath showed the ensample in Isaac. It is true, as we have said, that Abraham was instructed in the doctrine of faith and of repentance, before he received the sign of circumcision. But after that God had received him into his church, he ordained that his offspring should be partakers of that benefit. And so Isaac and all his other successors were circumcised in their infancy. So now we have God for our author of this difference: upon the which dependeth all the difficulty of this question.

☞ But because they will not admit this similitude which we bring, between Circumcision and Baptism, it shall be expedient to show, before we go any further, that it is [they two are] one thing. When we speak of a Sacrament, we must consider that the whole substance and property, ought to be understood of the doctrine, whereof the Sacrament is a confirmation. Let us then mark this, that the doctrine is as the principal: and the Sacrament is as [an] accessory. Now let us make comparison of Baptism with Circumcision. ☞ Baptism importeth penance, or renewing of life: with promise of the forgiveness of our sins.

Circumcision doth import as much and neither more nor less. That this is true, touching repentance, it is evident as well in {11.A.} the books of Moses as in the Prophets, where it is spoken of the circumcision of our hearts. For that is the thing which the new testament calleth mortification of the old man. [Rom. 6.6; Eph. 4.22.] In sum, spiritual circumcision is as much to say as, repentance. And for the second part, which is the promise of forgiveness of sins, we can have no clearer probation than this sentence of Paul, where he saith, that circumcision was given to Abraham for a confirmation of the righteousness, which he freely obtained of God, through faith. [Rom. 4.11.] If now, men make this argument: that it is against reason that little children, which have neither faith nor repentance, should be baptized, forasmuch as baptism is a sacrament of regeneration and spiritual washing which we have in Jesus Christ: I answer that the like may be said of circumcision. And yet, God commanded that the young infants should be circumcised; And therefore it is as much as to reason against God, when we say that it is against reason, that a sacrament which is a testimony of repentance and salvation, should be communicate unto young children. What shall we say then?

Truly, if we count that good, which God hath done, we have a lesson, that it is not needful that the verity which is signified by the sacrament, should always precede, but that it sufficeth otherwhile [sometimes] that it follow, at the least in part: for the renovation of life, was well signified by circumcision: and so {11.B.} was likewise the justice [righteousness] which we obtain by faith. Neither repentance nor faith, was in the young infants: and yet were they not, for fault thereof, excluded from circumcision, which is the sign of the same. Now you see then, that the sign goeth before the verity of that sign. And if this were sometime lawful, and conformable to reason, how cometh it now to pass that it should be repugnant unto the same? But here may it be replied, that it is not enough to allege that such a thing was done, except we can shew that we ought so to do now. I grant that true: neither would I that the baptism of little children should be received, as good, except I can prove that God's will is that so it should be; but in the meanwhile let us hold fast this thing which I have already proved: which is, that it is as much, as to reason against God, when we will always have, that the verity [that which is signified] should precede the sign. Touching the rest, we must prove that it is according with the word of God, that we do baptize little children, which thing shall be easy to all men's understanding, without long process to declare the same: if we do know the grace and mercy which our Lord Jesus hath done unto us at his coming. Afore that, God promised unto the Jews that he would be the God of their children: and in witness thereof he sealed them with the Sacrament of his covenant. Now as saith Paul [Rom. 15.8-9], the Lord Jesus is come, for to ratify his promises made unto the Jews, {12.A.} and to shed forth into all the world the mercy of God. Yea, as it is evident in another text [Eph. 2.14], he hath broken down the walls which stood between both, to separate the one from the other: and this hath he done, that there should be no more difference between them: but that we all together should have one manner of privilege, to be the children of God. Wherefore, whosoever will make the grace of God less towards us & our children, than it was towards the people of the Jews, doth great injury unto our saviour Jesus Christ, and blasphemeth him. But some will say, that the grace of God is not made less towards us, in that our children are not received to Baptism: so [long as] that we deny not, that God hath shewed unto them like mercy, as unto the children of the Jews. I answer, yes [I agree]: For we must esteem the grace of God, principally by the declaration which he hath made unto us, aswell by his word as by his sacraments. Seeing now, that Baptism at this day, is ordained to seal in our bodies the promise of salvation: as of old time Circumcision was unto the people of the Jews: we should take from the Christians a singular consolation, if we take from their children that confirmation, the which the faithful have always had: that is, a visible sign, by which our Lord declareth unto them, that he accepteth their children into the communion of his Church.

¶ I know well the cavillation which the Anabaptists make in this place, taking the name {12.B.} of children allegorically, to signify them which are children in malice, and not in age. And therefore do [they] mock us, because we are so simple to understand this after the letter. But what subtlety is this, I pray you, to overwhelm those plain and clear promises: where it is said, that God sheddeth out his mercy upon the seed of the faithful after their death? And on the other side, what better and more certain exposition of this thing can we have, than the Holy Ghost? the which by his apostles hath interpreted that which he had showed before by his prophets. Now Peter doth testify unto the Jews, that they are children of the promises: that is to say, heirs: forasmuch as they be come of Abraham's stock. [Acts 3.25; 2.39.] And Paul, though of a deliberate purpose he fighteth against the foolish presumption of the Jews, which they had in their carnal parentage: yet doth he not deny, but that the stock of Abraham is specially sanctified, by cause [of] and through the virtue of the covenant which GOD had made with him. [Rom. 9.4; 3.2.] It is very true, that when the children of the faithful, shall come unto the age of discretion, they may alienate themselves from GOD, and adinchillate [destroy] the virtue of Baptism. Yet may we not therefore say, that our Lord hath not chosen them, and separated from from others, for to present unto them his salvation. {13.A.} Otherwise it should be in vain, that Paul saith, [1 Cor. 7.14,] That a child having father or mother faithful is sanctified, which should be unclean, if he were begotten and descended of infidels. Seeing now that the Holy Ghost, author and fountain of all sanctification, doth testify that the children of Christian men are holy, may we exclude them from so great a benefit? Now if in them be the verity of baptism [that which is signified by baptism], how can we deprive them of the sign, which is less & inferiour.

But they reply, that the custom and practice of the Apostles is contrary. For it is said that Paul and Silas preached the word of the Lord, unto the jailer, or keeper of the prison, and to his household, before that they baptized them. I have already given solution unto this, when I shewed how that to a man which is a stranger from the church, the doctrine ought to precede the sacrament: but after that God hath received him into the communion of his faithful the promise of life is made unto him as well for his children, as for himself.

But they think, in the 19th [chapter] of the Acts, to find in their favour a more express scripture: where it is said, that Paul, having found certain disciples, which had not yet received the holy Ghost, did Baptize them anew. Now, it is very certain that Luke, in that place, speaketh of the visible graces of the Holy Ghost. For otherwise, that which he said could not stand together: {13.B.} that is, that these of whom he spake, which were Jews, did answer that they knew not whether the Holy Ghost were given. Now they could not be ignorant that God doth sanctify his servants by his Spirit: seeing that there is so often made mention thereof in the prophets. But they knew not whether these graces whereof Paul spake, were given unto the Christian church. Now, seeing they be called disciples, they are not so ignorant, that they should not at all know God and Jesus Christ: as it were a simple Christian of the common people: but they lacked this thing, that they had not received the visible graces, which God then shed forth upon his servants.

These same were conferred unto them by the imposition of Paul's hands. For it is no new thing, that the name of baptism should be taken in such signification: as we have an example, where it is said, that the Apostles called to remembrance the words of our Saviour, that John did baptize in water: but that he, would baptize with the spirit. [Acts 11.16.] It is also accustomed use of the scripture, to expound one word or sentence by another. It is said then that Paul did baptize them in the name of Christ, and then to expound what is meant thereby, it is added: that he put his hands on them, and that the holy Ghost descended on them. [Acts 19.6.] It is then but one only thing expressed two ways, according unto the use of the scripture, as we have said. {14.A.}

Notwithstanding let us grant them their asking to see what they will or can infer upon it. Truly they can say none other thing, but that Paul baptized these disciples, because of their ignorance. Now if baptism ought to be reiterated for this cause, why were not the Apostles rebaptized which three years after their baptism, had so many errours, and foolish opinions, as to think that the kingdom of Jesus Christ was earthly, and understood nothing touching his death and passion, and many other such like? Truly such rudeness would well have required a second baptism, if an ignorant man ought to be rebaptized. And as touching us, we had need always to have a lake or river at our backs, if it should be needful for us to be rebaptized as often as our Lord doth purge us of any errour that was in us. On the other side, it is said, that Paul did baptize those men, of whom we now speak, before he laid his hands on them: Which were a very shrewd order, if that thing be true, which these poor fantasticals do say. For according to their fantasy, the Holy Ghost ought first to be given to his disciples: and then consequently the sign. But what need is it to dispute more hereof, seeing we have the thing so clear?

¶ Besides this, they have nothing to say against the baptism of infants, but that there is no where any mention made that the Apostles did use it. To this I answer, that no more do we read in any place, that they did at any time {14.B.} minister the Supper of our Lord unto any woman. Why then do they make greater difficulty of the one, than of the other? They dare not say that women be not meet to receive the Supper of our Lord. And yet we read not, that at any time, the Apostles did minister it unto women. Where now, shall we take certitude of this matter? That shall we do in considering the institution, the nature, and substance of the sacrament. For in so doing, we shall see that it is as convenient for them [women] as for men. Now have we shewed the like of baptism: that is, that it is convenient and doth appertain unto young children, forasmuch as our Lord taketh them into the fellowship of his Church. What do we ask more? It is superfluous to inquire of the custom, where the right is very manifest & clear. I mean in this matter, wherein only the pleasure of God ought to suffice us. And as touching this point, I trust to God, I have fully satisfied all such as will walk in the truth. Howbeit, if any require a more ample declaration, let him look what I have entreated hereof, in the Christian Institution: where all the arguments above-said are handled more at large.

¶ The ſecond

Article of excommunicacion

and contayneth three other artiles.

THe use of excommunication ought to be among all those, which have professed themselves Christians, being baptized, & yet that notwithstanding, through frailty, and not of deliberate purposes, do fall into some fault. These ought to be exhorted and warned twice secretly: at the third time openly banished before all the congregation to the end that we, with one zeal, might break together the bread, and drink the cup.

☞ Confutation

☞ We deny not, but that the excommunication is a good and holy policy: and not only profitable: but also necessary in the church. Moreover, that which this ingrate people do know of this matter, they learned of us: and by their ignorance or presumption they have corrupted the doctrine, which we on our behalf do purely teach. But briefly, to void [empty, finish] this article: I will declare wherein we agree, and wherein they differ from us. As I have already said, we on our {15.B.} behalf do constantly teach, that excommunication ought to be in use, according as it was instituted by Jesus Christ; and we affirm that it is a necessary mean to conserve the church. Furthermore, as much as in us is, we do constantly procure and solicitate, that it may be restored and practiced as it ought to be; declaring that it is a great fault, & vice to be reproved, when it is not so done. In this thing then, the Anabaptists do not differ from us. If we did condemn excommunication or would make men believe, that it were a thing superfluous & unprofitable; or that we were of that mind, that we would it should have no place in the church: then might they have an occasion to murmur against us. But in this thing we agree well. Herein now lieth the strife: that they think that in every place, where this policy is not in his [its] estate, or that it be not duly exercised, there is no church: & that it is not lawful for a Christian man there to receive the supper. Therefore do they separate themselves from those churches, in the which, the doctrine of God is purely preached, taking this colour, that they will not be partakers of that pollution, which is done there: because those which have deserved [to be], are not banished.

We on the other side do confess, that it is an imperfection, & shrewd [bad] spot in the church, when this order is not there. Nevertheless we do not therefore repute it for no church, and forsake the communion of the same: and we say that it is not lawful for a private {16.A.} man to separate himself from it.[2]

☞ Now because it is not sufficient to say [such things only], let us see whether we can have a good approbation of our doctrine out of the Scripture. For I do gladly subject myself to this condition, that nothing be believed of that I shall say, except it have the testimony of the scripture. Now the first question is, whether that company, which hath not such an use of excommunication, as the Lord Jesus ordained, ought to be taken for a Christian church? Truly this default was at Corinth, that same time that Paul wrote unto them, as he declareth and complaineth thereof.

¶ This notwithstanding, he giveth them this honour, that he calleth their congregation, the Christian church. There was among them divers sects and partakings [parties]: ambition and avarice, reigned among many of them. They went so to law, as one would eat another. An offence, which among heathen men was execrable, was not only tolerated among them, but in manner approved. And besides such a corruption in manners, there were also many faults in doctrine. Notwithstanding all this, Paul speaking not of himself, but as the mouth and organ of the Holy Ghost, entitleth his Epistle unto the Christian church which is at Corinth.[1 Cor. 1.2; 2 Cor. 1.1.] Who is that now among us which will take upon him, to be more severe in judgment, than God? Whosoever dare do it, shall shew his foolish boldness: {16.B.} but he shall change nothing of that which God hath once pronounced. What shall we say of the Galatians? We know the confusion and disorder which was among them. But that notwithstanding, Paul acknowledgeth a church to be there. [Gal. 1.2.] We must earnestly endeavour ourselves, to come unto that perfection, which ought to be in the body of Christ. Yet may we not look for any other state or condition in the church, than that, which hath been shewed unto us, by the infallible verity. Let us not then abuse ourselves to imagine a perfect church in this world, seeing that our Lord Jesus hath shewed unto us: that she shall be like unto a floor whereon men thresh, in which the good corn is so mingled with the chaff, that many times it appeareth not. [Matth. 3.12; 13.24.] Also that she shall be like unto a net, wherein divers sorts of fishes are gathered together. [Matth. 13.47.] These similitudes do teach us, that though we ought to desire an excellent pureness in the church: and also do our endeavour that so it may be: yet shall we never see it so pure, but that there shall be many filthinesses therein.

☞ For where it is said that the Lord Jesus hath shed his blood to cleanse her, that she should be without wrinkle or spot [Eph. 5.26,27]: [this] doth not signify that in this world she shall be clean from all spots. But rather she believeth and goeth forward in good works day by day, stretching herself fourth unto that end, unto which she shall not attain in this world. {17.A.}

Furthermore, the church is spotted with vices, two ways: For there is no member of the same, so pure nor so perfect, which is not always compassed & environed with many imperfections. Therefore all faithful men, as long as they be conversant in this world, have always some uncleanness remaining in their flesh: as all Holy Scripture doth testify: and principally Paul in the seventh [chapter] to the Romans. Touching this form of uncleanness, though we had a church in the best government that might be in this world: yet could we never avoid this, that we should not have need to be washed daily by our Lord, in forgiving us our sins through his mercy. The second manner or way whereby the church is spotted, is by the wicked hypocrites which are always among the flock of the good, to infect the whole company with their filthiness. Sometimes there be contemners, of dissolute & slanderous life, which though they keep in their wickedness for fear of rebuke before men: yet in the meanwhile they declare that they have neither fear nor reverence of God. This pollution ought to be taken away by the discipline of excommunication: and [we ought] to travail diligently therein, that it may be done indeed. But there be many churches, which do not their endeavour to cast out such filthiness. Others there be, which do take great pains and diligence, and yet do not come to such perfection, but that there do remain always a great number of wicked men unpunished, {17.B.} and that because the malice of hypocrites is so hid, or at the least wise not so discovered, that sentence may be given against it.

Let us for a conclusion take this to be true, which our Lord hath said, that we must, unto the end of the world, suffer many evil herbs: lest while we go about to pluck them all up, we destroy the good corn withal. [Matth. 13.29.] What will we have more? Our Lord to prove [try] his, hath made his church subject to this misery, that she shall be always mingled with good and evil. We must therefore be content therewith.

And to say truth, we have good occasion so to do. For we ought to bear this honour unto the holy word of God and his Sacraments: that wheresoever we see this word preached, and that, according unto the rule which is given unto us, God is there purely honoured without superstition and the sacraments [are] there ministered, we ought to conclude without any doubt that there is the church. What should it else be? Shall the wickedness of hypocrites, or of the contemners of God abolish the dignity and virtue of the word of God and his Sacraments? Now, I confess that the discipline is also of the substance of the church: and that it ought to be established in good order. And when good policy or order wanteth [lacketh] in any place, as, if excommunication be not in use, that then the true form of the church is disfigured. Yet may we not therefore say, that she is wholly destroyed, and no building there, seeing that she retaineth that doctrine {18.A.} upon which the church is founded.

I say further, that if we should have none other considerations, than to esteem the church by the men and their manners: we should many times be deceived, and cast out some company, not esteeming them for the church, because of their imperfection; which notwithstanding be in very deed the church. For it might so come to pass, that we should do injury to many good & holy personages, which among the wicked be unknown & hid, as the good corn under the chaff. Furthermore we ought to think that there be many which are oppressed with vices, and yet do take great displeasure with themselves for them, and with true repentance do desire to withdraw themselves from them, that they might serve God more entirely. It is also a very rigorous thing to excommunicate a man for one fault. On the other side, our nature is so inclined unto malignity, that it suspecteth, and giveth rash judgment, before the thing be well and rightly known unto us. Therefore ought we to take the greater heed lest we decline into that part [in that way]. But as I have said, we should do perversely, if we should only have respect unto men. For the majesty of God's word, and of his sacraments, ought to be in such reputation among us, that wheresoever we see them, we should be certain that there is the church: notwithstanding the vices and spots which be there commonly in the life of the people.

In sum, when the question {18.B.} is which is the church: the judgment of God ought to be preferred before ours. Now, the Anabaptists will not stay themselves at God's judgment, as we have shewed.

The second question upon this Article is, when the order of excommunication is not used in the church, or that it be not there practiced as it ought to be: whether for this default, we ought to separate ourselves, and that it should not be lawful for us there to receive the supper of the Lord? The Anabaptists do say, that wheresoever the wicked be not excluded, from the communion of the sacrament, there the Christian man is polluted if he do communicate. We contrariwise say, that a Christian man ought to be very sorry, when he seeth the Holy Supper polluted, through the receiving of it, by wicked and unworthy people: & ought as much as in him is, procure that it should not be so done. And also [nevertheless] he knoweth, that it is not, for all that, lawful for to withdraw himself from that communion, & exempt himself from the Supper, but that he ought still to persevere in the worshiping of God with others, hearing his word, and receiving the Supper, so long as he dwelleth in that place.

Let the Anabaptists bring forth their Author, to approve their saying. As for us, we say nothing but that which is approved by our Saviour Jesus Christ, and all the Prophets, and Apostles.

We see what vices the Prophets rebuked in the Jews' church, or rather the abominations, against which they cried out. {19.A.} And that was not upon one estate: but they say, from the rulers (both spiritual and temporal,) to the common people, all was so corrupted, that scant was there one whole [healthy] member. [Isa. 1.6.] Did they for all this cease to come and assemble with the people so perverse and wicked? to worship God, to do sacrifices, to hear the doctrine of the law? Did they build an altar or temple to themselves, that they might have a pure church? If a faithful man be polluted in companying with the wicked when he prayeth, and receiveth the doctrine, and Sacraments of our Lord: then were all the Prophets polluted, and [they] be captains to lead us all into perdition through their ensample. Let us come to our saviour Jesus and his Apostles.

We know at the least, what was the state of Jerusalem at his time. Yet our Lord Jesus would be circumcised commonly with other people. Furthermore at the day of purification, he was contented to be borne to the temple, to be presented unto God after the manner accustomed. [Luke 2.21-24.] If it be alleged that he was received by the hands of a holy man, that is to say, Simeon: I answer that all that was done there, was done in the name of the church: which was filled with many filthinesses and abominations. If any do reply and say, that he was a young child and therefore that it was not his proper fact [deed]: I answer that he was so a child in the nature of man which he took of us: that there whilse [meanwhile] he was governed by his divine providence: {19.B.} by which he would never have permitted himself to be contaminated with any spot, which were contrary to the pureness of the children of God. But being a perfect man, preached, and that [what] more is, he exercised his office, and followed this trace [course] unto his death. If it be an offence to God to enter into a congregation (out of which all the wicked be not excluded) to pray to God, and to make protestation of our faith, what shall Christ say, and what example hath he given us, in going unto the temple of Jerusalem with the scribes and Pharisees, a people so wicked as they then were? I know well that they will answer me here, that Jesus Christ did not go into the temple, but for that intent he would rebuke the vices which at that time were there committed: and not to participate with them in their sacrifices, and other protestations of their faith. That this solution is false, it is easy to shew. It is not for nought that Paul [Gal. 4.4,5,] saith, that he was subject unto the law (I mean always Jesus Christ) to win from the servitude of the same, all those which were subject unto it. Now meaneth he expressly the ceremonial law. Therefore when he came unto the Temple, and chiefly on the solemn feasts: though he came thither to have the better occasion to advance the Gospel, and to correct the naughty vices of the preachers: that notwithstanding, he shewed himself an observer of the law, in doing those things which were commanded, as to come {20.A.} unto the temple to worship, and to do sacrifice. This thing he confirmeth by his own mouth, speaking to the Samaritan. [John 4.] For, speaking in the person of all the Jews, he saith thus, We know what we worship. You know not what you worship. For salvation is from the Jews. Truly he exempteth not himself from the worshiping of God, which standeth also in the offering up of sacrifices, but putteth himself among the rest of the commons. The reason which he addeth, giveth yet a more ample confirmation of this thing: That is, that salvation is from the Jews. For by these words he understandeth none other thing, but that God did accept the service which was done unto him at Jerusalem only for his covenant of salvation which he promised unto that people. We see then, that a man receiving the sacraments ordained by God, with the wicked, doth not defile himself by their company, so be it that on his behalf his conscience be clean and pure.

After like sort have all the Apostles done, following the example of their master. But lest we should be to prolix, let us be content with the example of Paul. I will not allege how that everywhere, where he came, he did not refrain [from entering] the Jews Synagogue, there to pray to God, and to treat the Scriptures. Look well: I will not allege, that he was not scrupulous to present himself unto the temple, there to worship God and to use the ceremonies lawful & permitted, {20.B.} with others in common, though the priests and Scribes which then were, were in a desperate wickedness: Not that these things do not serve for our purpose, but because we have more manifest probations: & which be less subject to false accusation. That is, that he complaineth, that all they which ought to be his helpers, instead of the honour of Jesus Christ, and the advancement of his Church, sought their own private profit. [Phil. 2.21; 2 Tim. 4.9.]

And yet we read not, that he did separate himself from their company, for fear to be polluted by them. Also in reproving the enormous vices, which were among the Corinthians, and Galatians, He saith not unto them which were pure and clean, that they should no more communicate with them, until all were well cleaned: but is contented to exhort them to correct these faults, which he reprehendeth, every man in himself, without speaking of any such separation as these poor fantasticals would introduce. [1 Cor. 5; Gal. 5.]

What need have we to dispute of this thing? seeing that the same Apostle, in another place, treating how every man, to dispose himself to receive duly the holy supper [1 Cor. 11.28], doth not command that every man should examine the faults of his neighbour; But he saith thus, Let every man prove himself, & then let him eat of this bread and drink of this cup. For he that cometh thither unworthily, he shall receive his condemnation. In these words there be 2 Articles to be noted: {21.A.} The first is, that to eat unworthily the Lord's bread, is not to communicate with such as be unworthy: but it is, in not well preparing himself, in examining whether he have faith and repentance. The second is, that when we should receive the supper, we ought not to begin the examination of others: but every man ought to prove himself. And indeed, if we do consider the thing aright, they which have so good leisure to inquire of other men, most commonly forget to think of their own matters. There is a man yet alive, the which being infected with this errour, that he feared to receive the supper with us, because of some men's imperfections: did therefore deprive himself of the communion of the church. All this while he had two servants in his house of a very wicked & slanderous life. I being advertised thereof, declared this thing unto him, as far forth as he would hear me at that time, saying that he ought to endeavour himself to purge his own house of the which he had charge, if he thought to be defiled with the faults of them which were not committed unto his governance. After this, he perceived his folly, and took this as a chastisement sent of God, to mock his presumption. And so he reconciled himself as well unto me, as unto the church, acknowledging that the principal is, to think of ourselves, and of our household: and after that, to have respect unto others; not that we should withdraw ourselves from {21.B.} the church in despite of them, when they be not such as they ought to be, but for to correct, & reduce them if we can, or else to cause them to be excluded; otherwise, to commend them unto God, that it might please him to set an order in it.

☞ Here it might be replied, that Paul, in the same Epistle doth sharply reprove the Corinthians, because that in their congregation, vices were not punished by excommunication [1 Cor. 5.2]: and further, doth forbid to have conversation with whoremongers, drunkards, deceivers, Idolaters, and such like: To this I answer, that it is a sore fault, worthy reproof in the church, that there is no correction for sins. And I say further that the lord doth punish the whole people, for this only fault. And therefore let no church, which lacketh this discipline of excommunication, flatter itself: as though it were a small or light fault, not to use it when need is: but rather let every man endeavour as much as in him is, to redress and bring it to his [its proper] estate. Likewise let every private man help all that he may, that it may be done. But it cannot be, that every particular man should have just cause, to alienate himself from the church, as oftentimes as things do not go after his desire; For this must be observed, that this policy is not in the power of one member, but ought to be exercised itself by the consent of the whole body. Therefore Paul speaketh not specially to each one, to impute unto him this fault: but doth impute {22.A.} it to the whole body. The sum of this is, that touching the communion of the church, we ought to do our endeavour, that all members rotten or infected with contagious malady, (that is to say, all those which live a slanderous life,) should be cut off. But let us consider what is in us, & when we have done that which was our duty & office, if we cannot obtain that thing which we desire to bring to pass, let us then commit the rest to God, and pray that it may please him to put to his hand, as it is his work. In the meanwhile, though by good right we have cause to be sorry, that we cannot see the Church of God in his perfect order: yet let us bear that imperfection which is not in us [in our power] to correct. Touching that Paul forbiddeth to eat and drink with such as live a slanderous life: that meaneth he of private conversation and not of the public communion. But here will some man answer, if it be not lawful for a Christian man, to company with a wicked man, to eat and drink with him for bodily refection [refreshment], how much less is it permitted him, to eat the Lord's bread in his company.

To this I answer, that it is in our power and liberty, to use company and have familiarity privately with the wicked: We must therefore every man in his own self, abstain from such company. But to receive the supper of the Lord, is not a thing that is in our disposition. And therefore the reason is diverse. Let us therefore note this, that if {22.B.} the church do tolerate and suffer an unworthy man: he that knoweth him to be such a one, doth well to abstain from his company privately, & he ought to do it as much as he may, so that he make no schism or separation in the church touching the public communion.

☞ Touching the matter of excommunication, there is as much said as the matter doth require: save that I would advertise, by the way, all lovers of the verity, of one point which is in the article above said, of the Anabaptists, that by that they may see what credit is to be given them in the rest. That is, where they say, that a man which hath by frailty, without deliberate malice offended, after he hath been twice secretly warned, ought to be openly chastised, or excommunicated. I forgive them one errour in this saying, which is, our Lord would not that the church should proceed unto excommunication, when a sinner hath contemned [despised] two secret admonitions: but wills that he be warned openly three times before he be cast out. They are also, once more deceived, in that they consider not that the Lord in that place speaketh not but of secret sins.[3] For touching those which are notorious and slanderous among the people, there is another way and fashion to proceed with them, than to make declaration in secret. Lo, here be two faults which do well declare what goodly doctors these Anabaptists be, and what spirit they have to reform, seeing they cannot speak three words but to confound all. {23.A.}

But yet I pardon them, all this, that I may come to that point, which is of greater weight. For in saying that he which sinneth by ignorance, and not by his own will, ought to be cast out, they do declare, as they do openly teach and maintain, that if a man do sin willingly, he shall never obtain forgiveness of his sin, because that all voluntary sins, after their fantasy, are sins against the Holy Ghost, and irremissible. I say that this opinion is an execrable blasphemy against the grace of God, and a false doctrine very pernicious to drive all poor souls to despair. As I have seen the experience in some, which were for a time seduced to this wicked sect. It is true, that we ought earnestly to think in ourselves, & declare the same to others, that it is no small thing, willingly to offend God, and to commit any act against our conscience, to provoke his wrath against us. Therefore whosoever shall use these terms that if it so happen that after we have known God, we do sin against our conscience, that it is but a small fault easy to be pardoned, and that God is not so greatly grieved therewith, that we need to torment ourselves therefore: we must avoid such a man as we would the Devil, which by such flatteries would induce us to the contempt of God: but let us rather think this, that it is no small fault to go against the holy will of God, by rebellion and contumacy, by advised purpose violating his Justice: and so to do, is outrageously to violate the {23.B.} grace which he hath shewed unto us. Yea, and it is much to be feared that he which so mocketh with God, be not given over into a reprobate mind, to be hardened in malice, so that he shall never be converted. And here let us bring forth the threats, which in holy scripture, are made against such ingratitude. But when all this is said and done, yet may we not drive them into despair, which by chance have thus fallen. For where shall we then be become? Among ten, hardly shall we find one, that after he knew God, hath not sinned willingly. Is not this to bring the holy church into ruin: to bring all men into despair? They will say, that this [that I teach] bringeth [putteth] conscience asleep, to draw them to do evil. But I say rather he is asleep which bringeth himself in[to] belief that he never offendeth but by ignorance: and that he maketh himself so pure and innocent, that he never hath evil will or evil purpose. Let us consider, I pray you, how many ways the devil doth tempt us. Who is he that is so virtuous, which doth not sometimes decline? though he be warned of God, and have the testimony of his conscience, to draw him into the right way. They allege that all sin against the holy Ghost is unforgivable. I confess the same. But it is very much to say, that all voluntary sin, is against the holy Ghost. For he resisteth the holy Ghost, which openly repugneth against the verity of God, and by despite enforceth himself as much as he {24.A.} can, to overthrow it. Now a man may sin willingly, and yet be not in will to war against God, or to blaspheme his holy word.

But we shall have a short solution of this question, if we do remit the discretion thereof unto God, that is to say, if we agree to that which he hath pronounced, as reason would we should; for seeing that to him only is reserved the authority to pardon sins, it pertaineth to him also to determine which sins are remissible, and which are not. Now from the first beginning he hath ordained [Lev. 4, 5, 6.] among the people of Israel that there should be two kinds of daily sacrifices: The one, for voluntary sins, the other, for those which were done by ignorance, adding a promise to forgive the one as well as the other.

What will these poor fantasticals say unto this? The Lord hath said that he will forgive the voluntary sins of the faithful (for the sacrifices were done for those which were already members of the church) and these men will bind the hands of God, and withstand him, that he shall shew no such mercy. If they reply, that this thing was done in the old law, & that the reason is otherwise in our time, this cavillation is too foolish. For we know that the infinite goodness of God is not restrained by the coming of the Lord Jesus: but rather enlarged. Moreover, we know that the ancient sacrifices were but figures of those things which should be fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Seeing now that remission of voluntary {24.B.} sins, is represented in the ancient sacrifices, and is promised to be done unto them that are of the household of faith: It is a plain and evident testimony, that the faithful obtain, by the means of Jesus Christ, remission not only of their ignorances, but also of their offenses which they have done willingly. And to say truth, we have so many examples, that it is a shameless boldness for any man to bring the thing in doubt. If we take the old testament: the Patriarchs, when they conspired their brother's death, were not ignorant that it was evil done. [Gen. 37.] Reuben did not defile his father's bed through simplicity. [Gen. 35.22.] Judah knew well, that whoredom was a thing displeasing to God: & yet he did not forsake the doing of it. [Gen. 38.] David which daily punished his subjects for evil doing, could not commit the adultery which he did, by simple ignorance. [2 Sam. 11.] The mercy which God shewed unto all these, is it spent or dead, that he cannot as well shew it nowadays? But what need have we to borrow examples out of the old Testament, seeing we have so many in the new? Peter before he denied the Lord Jesus, did he not hear this sentence? He that denieth me before men, him will I deny before my father. Therefore he could not pretend the excuse of ignorance. And yet the Lord Jesus shewed him mercy. Paul complaineth of certain men which lived disorderly in Thessalonica: & yet he hath good hope of their salvation, so be that they be corrected & brought to repentance. [2 Thess. 3.11-15.] {25.A.}

They which in the church at Corinth, gave themselves unto lusts & uncleanness, & had such delight in their vices, that they would hearken unto no exhortation, were culpable of voluntary sins. And yet the same Apostle ceaseth not to exhort them to turn again from their vices, always reserving for them a hope to find favour with God, if they repent. We read [also, Acts 8.22]: Peter did as much unto Simon Magus. What will we more?

Our Lord openeth the treasures of his grace to them that have been overcome by their concupiscences, though they knew that they did evil, yet they fell by infirmity of the flesh. Who shall shut the gate against poor sinners, and withstand that they should receive the grace which God doth offer unto them? We see now that there is a deadly poison hid in these words of the Anabaptists, where they make none other sins remissible but those which are done unadvisedly. To make an end of this Article: it is necessary that all Christians be advertised what a tail it draweth after it. For though we may easily judge, that it is an extreme rigour, not to bear one fault in the church: yet at the first sight we do not so easily perceive how pernicious this opinion is besides forth [in its attendant fruits], except we do diligently mark the consequent that followeth thereof.

There have been in old times two sects of heretics, which did mightily trouble the church, of which the one named themselves in Greek Cathares [Cathari], which is to say, pure: {25.B.} the other Donatists, after the name of their first author and master. These as well the first as the second, were in the selfsame fantasy, that nowadays be these poor dreamers, [who] search out a church in which there should be no fault found. Therefore did they separate themselves from all Christian men, that they might not be defiled through the imperfections of others. But what came of this? God hath confounded them all with their enterprise so presumptuous. Let this then be a warning unto us, that when under the colour of a zeal of perfection, we can bear no imperfection, either in the body, or in the members of the church, it is the devil which puffeth us up with pride, and seduceth us with hypocrisy, to make us forsake Christ's flock: this knowing, that he hath gotten what he desireth, when he hath drawn us away. For seeing that out of the church there is no remission of sins, nor salvation: though we have an appearance of holiness more than Angelical, yet if we do separate ourselves, by such a presumption, from the Christian company, we are become devils.

The third Article is of the receiving of the supper, in which they cannot deny but that we do agree with them: as we do preach it daily. That is, that none be so hardy to approach to this holy table, which is not verily of the body of Jesus Christ, worshiping one God with all faithful men, and serving him in good lawful vocation. But where they come to make declaration {26.A.} in their fourth Article, how a man ought to separate himself from all pollutions of the world to join himself to God: there they begin to deprave [turn out of the way] altogether. Though yet in the beginning they have a merely good purpose, as in condemning the popish superstitions, & forbidding all Christian men to participate with them. Yet in the tail lieth all the venom, as the proverb saith. For finally they conclude that all use of the temporal sword is devilish. Now is this true, that particularly the use of the sword ought to be permitted unto no man, to resist evil.[4] But the weapons of Christian men be prayers and meekness, to possess their lives in patience, and to overcome the evil in well doing according to the doctrine of the Gospel. [Luke 21.19; Rom. 12.21.]

Therefore the duty of every one of us is to suffer patiently if any wrong be done unto us, rather than to use force and violence.

But to condemn the common authority, which God hath ordained for our protection, is a blasphemy against God himself.

Behold, the Spirit of God, which doth pronounce by Paul, [Romans 13,] that the magistrate is a minister of God, for our profit and in our favour, to repress and to let [hinder] the violence of wicked people. And that for this cause the sword is put into his hands, to punish the evil doers. Seeing that God hath ordained him to do this: what are we that will let [hinder] it? Likewise, seeing that God doth offer unto us such a safeguard, why shall it {26.B.} not be lawful unto us to use it?

Moreover it is very evident, that the intent of these poor fantasticals is to condemn all munitions, fortresses, engines of war, and such like, which are done for the defence of the country: and forbid subjects to obey their princes and superiours when they would have their help in such necessity.

Now to reprove that thing which the Lord never reproved, is too great an enterprise for any mortal man. Let us always keep firm this thing: that it is to usurp over the authority of God, to condemn for evil that which the Lord hath permitted unto us.

Now it is not found in all the scripture, that ever he forbade princes, by force of armour to maintain their country, against such as against right, vexed them.[5] It is very true that the Prophets, speaking of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, do say that the swords and spears, shall be turned into instruments of husbandry, to till the earth. [Isa. 2.4; Micah 4.3.]

But by such manner of speeches they do signify none other thing, but that all war and enmity shall cease and be taken from the faithful. And would God that the Gospel might so take place in the world, that this thing might be well practiced of all men.

But seeing that faith and the love of God have not such rule in the most part of men, but that ambition and covetousness {27.A.} have oftentimes the upper hand: when one unjustly invadeth another's country, and by wars doth molest it: so far is it off [the mark to say,] that the prince which is ordained of God, for the protection and defence of the same, doth evil in resisting the unjust violence, that [rather] he is bound by the duty of his office to do the same. It is true, that a Christian prince ought to search all means for peace, and to buy it dear with losses of his own: and so to do, that it come not to the sword, until he have essayed all remedies to avoid this necessity. But when he hath done all that in him lieth, and hath recoiled as much as he might, if he cannot otherwise maintain the country which is committed unto him: the last refuge is to use the sword which God hath put into his hand. For it is all one reason, to pull out the sword to punish evil doers which trouble the publick order, & to thrust back those which unjustly come into a country and break peace. In this case, if a Christian man, after the order of the country, be called to serve his prince, [he] doth not only not offend God in going to the wars, but is in a holy vocation, which cannot be reproved without blaspheming of God. And indeed we see that when the soldiers came to John Baptist to be instructed of him, he did not command them to cast away their armour and renounce their estate: but only did admonish them to be content with their wages, and not to pole or vex any man, but to abstain from all {27.B.} malice. [Luke 3.14.] Peter baptized Cornelius the Centurion [Acts 10]: that is to say captain of an hundred men: and yet he commanded him not to leave his company and office as a thing most wicked. And that more is [what is more], having received the holy Ghost visibly, [he] did nevertheless remain still with the soldiers, in his office of the wars. To conclude this matter[6], if we will keep a good mean to reprehend that which is evil and vicious in wars, Let us not condemn simply the going to war, when it is done by the authority of the prince, for the defence of the country: when the prince hath none other respect but the common profit of his country, and that the subjects for their part have none other consideration but to do their duty: but let us reprehend the wicked desires which are the cause to the raising up of war: let us reprehend the cruelties, rapines, violences, extortions, and such other insolences which are done there. To mingle the good with the evil, to condemn all together without discretion, is a thing without reason.

The fifth Article is of pastors: in which they have somewhat advised themselves. For afore time they were in that errour that it was against God that a preacher should be deputed to any certain place: but would that all they which should be in that office, should run from one place to another, counterfeiting the Apostles as apes, and not as true followers.

But I think verily that they did this {28.A.} of a good mind which they had, that the ministers which did faithfully teach, should depart and leave the place empty, for them, when they came to pour out their poison everywhere.

Now, be it that they acknowledge their error, or that they give themselves a greater privilege, than they will grant unto others: we agree well with them, that no church can continue in her estate without a minister: and therefore there must be ministers ordained in every congregation.

This also would I have them grant consequently, that everywhere, where there is a minister duly constituted, and which faithfully exerciseth his office: whosoever will be taken for a Christian man ought to cleave to him, & to use his ministry with the rest of the flock. Now what do they? Because we will not approve their errours: though we bear the word of Jesus purely, yet are we to them ravishing wolves, & they have us in such abomination, that they think that they should sin deadly against God, if they hear one sermon of us. And out of this they do ordain ministers in haste, to make separation in the church, to draw away the people, to make a contrary assembly to the other: to the intent that the name of God be not invocate in unity and concord as it ought to be.

¶ The ſixte Article of

Magistrates.

WE agree that the temporal sword is an ordinance of God, besides [outside] the perfection of Christ. So the princes & superiours of the world are ordained to punish the wicked, & to put them to death. But in the perfection of Christ, excommunication is the utmost pain, and not corporal death.

☞ The confutation.

¶ Here must we note, that this is a moderation which they do make, to correct that which afore time they have said, after they perceived that for the absurdity of their saying, they were rejected of all the world. For this honour did they give unto principalities, and Seniors [Elders, Senators] of the world, that they reckoned them among murder and thievery. But perceiving that this could not be born, they have advised themselves gently to retract this Article, using this false colour, that worldly dominion is an ordinance of God, besides [outside] the perfection of Christ. Now by this, they do signify that it is an estate unlawful & forbidden to all Christian men, as they themselves expound it afterward. We must therefore consider whether Christianity, and the estate of Justice or worldly superiority are things that may not stand together; {29.A.} So [much] that if a man will be the one, he must be constrained to renounce the other. First I ask, whether it be an estate repugnant to the vocation of a faithful man, to exercise the office of the sword, or of worldly superiority: seeing that the judges in the old testament, and also the good Kings, as David, Hezekiah, Josiah, and also some of the prophets, as Daniel, have used it? To say that it was a vicious imperfection in them, is to no purpose: seeing that the holy Ghost witnesseth of the judges, that God raised them up to deliver his people: and this singularly appeareth in Moses, the which having express commandment, would gladly have withdrawn himself, if he could have. But it behooved him, under pain of disobedience to God, to receive this charge on him. Touching David, his reign was not only approved of God, but praised and adorned with very honorable titles. The like ought to be esteemed of his successors: seeing the reason is one [and the same]. Therefore, there resteth none other evasion, to these enemies of all order, but to say, that God requireth a greater perfection in the Christian Church than he did among the people of the Jews. Now this is very true, touching ceremonies. But that we have any other rule to live by, touching the moral law, as we call it, than had the ancient people, is a false opinion. They that have so thought, took occasion out of the fifth [chapter] of Matthew where it appeareth at the first brunt, that the Lord {29.B.} Jesus doth add something unto the law, which before was not commanded unto the people. But when we do mark diligently what the law of Moses doth contain, and do lay the one to the other, & make comparison, we perceive that the intention of our Saviour Jesus, was not to make any addition: but only to restore the law to his true understanding, which was depraved by the false glosses of the Rabbis. Let us therefore hold fast this resolution, that as touching the true spiritual Justice, that is to say, that the faithful man should walk in a good conscience, and should be perfect before God, as well in his vocation as in all his works, there is a whole and plain declaration in the law of Moses: unto which we must simply cleave, if we will walk in the right way. Therefore, whosoever addeth to it, or taketh from it, goeth without the limits. So this argument is sure and infallible. We serve the selfsame God, that the ancient fathers did. We have one and the self[same] rule that they had, to shew us how we ought to behave ourselves, for to walk rightly before God. Therefore it followeth, that that vocation which was then holy and lawful, cannot be reproved among the Christians. Forasmuch as the vocation is the principal part of human life and that it importeth most before God. Hereupon followeth it, that we ought not to exclude from us the estate of civil justice, neither yet to chase it out of the Christian church: seeing {30.A.} that the Lord hath ordained and approved it, as good to the people of Israel: and hath in [to] that office ordained his most excellent servants, and also his prophets.

☞ It is possible they will reply, that all this civil governance of the people of Israel, was a figure of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ, and therefore it did continue but to his coming. I grant well, that in part it was a figure: but that it was none other thing, I deny that: and not without reason. For it was of itself a politick governance, as it is necessary that such one be among all people. That so it is [may be demonstrated thus]: it is said of the Levitical priesthood, that it should take end, and be abolished, at the coming of our Saviour Jesus. [Dan. 9; Heb. 7.] But where is there any such thing spoken of the external policy? It is true that the scepter and governance was taken from the stock of Judah, and from the house of David: but that there should be no more governance, is manifestly against the Holy Scriptures.

☞ But to take away all scruple in this matter: We have a very evident and express probation; for where the prophets speak of the reign of Jesus Christ, it is said that kings shall come and worship him, and do homage unto him. [Isa. 49.]

It is not said that they shall depose themselves from their estate to become Christian men, but rather, being constitute in royal dignity they shall be subject to Jesus Christ, as unto their Sovereign Lord. {30.B.}

☞ David, following this, in exhorting them to do their duty, doth not command them to cast away their diadems or scepters, but only to kiss the Son [Psalm 2]: that is to say, to do him homage, and to be subjects unto him, having governance of others.

He speaketh there of the kingdom of our Saviour Jesus Christ: and he doth admonish all kings and superiours to be wise, & to take good heed unto themselves. What is this wisdom? What lesson doth he give them? To give over all? No: but to fear God and to give honour unto his Son. Moreover, Isaiah prophesieth that the kings shall be as fathers, nurses unto the Christian Church, & that the queens shall nurse them with their breasts. [Isa. 49.] I pray you, how agreeth this, that the kings shall be protectors of the Christian Church, and yet there estate cannot stand with Christianity? If the Lord give unto them so much place among his people: as he giveth unto the prophets: we have sufficient to prove our intention. Seeing that he doth appoint unto them, so honorable a place in the fellowship of his people, that he giveth them this honour, I say, as to ordain them protectors of his Church: What impudency is it to exclude them out of all? We conclude therefore, that princes serving God, may well be Christian men: forasmuch as the Lord giveth them such a preeminence in the Christian religion. {31.A.}

And indeed, it were a very foolish thing that God should so exalt and magnify such a vocation, if it letted [hindered] a man to be the servant of God. Paul exhorteth every Christian man to persist in that vocation in the which he was called. [1 Cor. 7.20.] All shepherds and labourers of the earth, all handicrafts and such like ought to think their estate, holy, and that it hindereth them nothing, touching Christian perfection.

Let us see now, which estate is most approved of God, of one that keepeth beasts, or of one that governeth the people? Which is not only approved, but also praised as worthy and excellent above all others?

I will cease to rehearse a great many testimonies, which make well for the probation of this matter, only for brevity's sake. And also because one only is sufficient for us. What greater praise will we have of any estate, than that by God's own mouth it be called divine? If this title be given unto the estate of Princes, who shall dare say that it is unmeet for a faithful man? Now it hath a more large praise. For the Lord sheweth this favour to Princes, as to call them gods [Psalm 82]: and that not for their own person's sake, but in consideration of the dignity wherein they are. The Lord Jesus sheweth the reason why [John 10.34,35], that is because God hath committed and ordained such a charge unto them. Me thinks that God cannot give a more express testimony, for the approbation of any estate, than when he communicateth {31.B.} his name unto that man which is constitute in the same, as if he called him his Lieutenant, which representeth his person. Wherefore I conclude, that whosoever despiseth this vocation, so much honored of God, doth blaspheme his heavenly majesty. They will answer me, that to make it inferiour to the Christian perfection is not to despise it. But I reply, that they cannot speak with greater contumely. For in saying that it cannot stand with Christianity, they do reject it as a profane thing. I pass not of their fair colour, by which they cover their blasphemy, in saying that it is an ordinance of God. For the whole matter standeth in this, whether it be an holy office, which may be exercised by the faithful, or whether a man which cometh thereto, be thereby polluted. Now they do say that whosoever doth sit in the seat of justice cannot be reputed a Christian man, because the office of a sword hath no place in Christ's Church.

Though there were no more but that which Paul saith, there were enough to content all such as will agree to reason. He pronounceth that princes are ministers of God: and that the sword is given them by God, for the conservation of the good, and punishment of the evil. [Romans 13.] Upon these words, these poor frantic men do make this gloss, that it is very true, that they be ordained of God, but yet that it is not lawful for a faithful man to take it on him. {32.A.} Which is as [if] one would say: I confess that this work is commanded of God; but there is no man that can do it with a good conscience, and also whosoever shall do it shall forsake God. I pray you, is there any man, that hath but one ounce of brains, that will speak after this manner? I would they should answer me, in this one thing: Seeing they put no doubt, but that all handicrafts which are ordained to serve unto the common utility of mankind, are lawful and holy, wherefore do they exclude out of this number, the vocation of princes, which doth excel all the others? As for example: They deny not but that a Christian man may be a tailor or a shoemaker. And yet, these crafts have no express witness in the Scriptures. Wherefore then do not they as well permit a Christian man to be a minister of Justice, seeing that that estate hath so large approbation & praise of the mouth of God? God doth pronounce that Princes and all Superiours are his ministers, and that he hath ordained them to be defenders of the good and innocent, and to chastise the wicked: and that in doing this, they do execute his work, which he hath committed into their hands.

What Devil constraineth these frantic men to make this addition, that the Magistrates in serving God, are shut out from the company of Christian men? Which thing is not done to the hangman for dogs, by their own confession. {32.B.}

I will allege one place more and then [come to] an end. Paul perceiving in his time, that the most part of the princes were mortal enemies of the Gospel, & that this thing might stomach [harden, embitter] the faithful, and cause them to bear no good affection towards them, doth command Timothy, that solemn prayers should be made for them in the church: adding for a reason, that God would that all should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. [1 Tim. 2.] He meaneth not that God will bring to salvation, and by consequence, to the knowledge of his gospel, all men of the earth, from the first unto the last: but he meaneth all estates: because it might appear that this estate of princes, of which he spake, was as it were rejected & cursed, forasmuch as all did persecute the gospel. Which thing if it had been true, it had been superfluous & folly to pray for them. Let us now gather out of these words of the Apostle, that, which may plainly be gathered and adduced.[7]

If God will bring Princes unto the knowledge of his truth: by what authority will the Anabaptists thrust them out? If any man will reply, that Princes may well be converted unto God, but that must be in forsaking their dignity; That saying is too too manifest against the mind of Paul.

For Paul saith not, that they should forsake their Principalities, for to become Christians. And also the words that he useth, can {33.A.} in no wise stand with such evasion. For if it behooved a prince to give over his dignity, to become a Christian man, it should follow, that that estate should be void of the grace of God, as unlawful & reproved.

But they think surely, that they have invincible objections to excommunicate out of the Church, and from all hope of salvation the estate of Princes, in alleging certain places evil understood, which they wrest shamefully to this purpose.

First, they allege that the Lord Jesus, did not ordain, that the woman which was taken in adultery, should be stoned to death, as the law of God required: but that he used mercy towards her, saying, Go, sin no more. [John 8.] Before I answer, I will ask one question of them. They say that in the Christian Church, excommunication doth succeed the material sword, in such wise, that whereas afore time a crime was punished by death, now the offender ought to be punished by privation from the company of the faithful. Therefore I ask them how they will excuse Jesus Christ, for that which he hath done? For he hath not observed their rule: neither in condemning the woman to be banished from the holy congregation: neither yet to die. By this a man may see, how brainless they be, speaking without reason. Now do I come unto the true solution which is very easy. It is to be noted, that these poor beasts in this place, follow the exposition, wherewith the Papistical priests {33.B.} have made their stones fat. For seeing marriage was forbidden them, for a recompense, they sought to have leave, to play the whoremongers, and so have borrowed their neighbours' wives. And because adultery should not appear to be so great a sin, they said that in this matter, we be under the law of grace. And in a manner they acknowledge the grace of Jesus Christ in none other thing, but only in this: that he left adulterers unpunished. These poor people do follow them, and it happeneth unto them, according to the saying of our Saviour Jesus Christ, that if one blind lead another blind, both fall into the ditch. [Matth.15.14; Luke 6.39.] Now is it very [certainly] true that the Lord Jesus would in no point change the policy or civil order: but without any derogation thereunto, would do his office, for which he came into the world: that is to say, to pardon sins. For he was not sent of God his Father to exercise the office of a worldly Judge: but to redeem the world by his death, and to testify the grace of this redemption, by the preaching of the Gospel, and of all other goodness which we receive by him. As we see how he promiseth to receive the thief into Paradise [Luke 23], and yet nevertheless doth suffer him to bear the pain of his wicked deed. Therefore it is all one absolution, which he maketh unto the woman, and unto the thief. But the worldly Justice punisheth the thief: the woman doth depart unpunished because the Judges were gone away for shame. {34.A.}

In sum, the act which our saviour Jesus Christ did to the woman in adultery, is none other, but the same which his servants and ministers of his word, [exercise] nowadays unto all evil doers. For they take pain only to exhort them unto repentance and to turn them into the right way, and afterward to comfort them in their consciences, presenting unto them the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, & assuring them of the remission of their sins. they do not take upon them to punish them. For that thing doth not appertain unto them; but in the mean while they do not hinder Justice, that it should not be ministered. The whole matter is, if we knew the office of our Lord Jesus Christ, then should we be out of all doubt in this matter. His office is to forgive sins, and to bend [direct] his word to the consciences of sinners. To do corporal punishments, he doth not meddle but leaveth that unto them which have that authority, and unto whom the charge is committed: following that which in another place he said, Give to Cæsar that which is Cæsar's. [Matth. 22.21.]

Out of the same ignorance proceedeth the second allegation which they make.

Jesus Christ, say they, would not make partition [dividing] between two brethren. Therefore it followeth that a Christian man ought not to intermeddle in Civil quarrels, to be a Judge.

First, Paul permitteth Christian men to do that which Jesus Christ refused in this place to do: that is, friendly to accord the differences, which rise among the faithful, for worldly goods. [1 Cor. 6.] For after he had rebuked the Corinthians, for that they pleaded before pagan Judges, and that by this occasion the name of God was blasphemed, he sheweth unto them how much better it were, that they should end their controversies by arbiters, choosing Judges among the faithful, to decide their processes. And further maketh this argument, that seeing we shall judge the Angels, by a strong reason we be able to judge worldly matters. If we after the example of Christ ought to refuse all arbitraments and judgments, Paul did evil to induce us unto it.

Now it is certain, that it is the holy Ghost, which speaketh by his mouth. We see then, how these dull-heads blaspheme God in that they would condemn that thing, which he approveth. Moreover if it be not lawful for a Christian man, to take upon him to end quarrels that rise, touching possessions, heritages, and other goods, I do ask of these good Doctors, what shall become of the world? For it is not possible that men shall maintain contracts together: as the necessity of man requireth, but that sometimes there will arise doubts which will require an arbiter or a Judge to decide them.

If they say that, that thing shall not happen among the Christians, That is a false lie. Forasmuch as between two men of {35.A.} good conscience, by the infirmity of our nature, may happen some strife. As we be blinded in our own cause: so do we think every one to have the right. If a Christian man may not meddle in their controversies, to set them at one, by arbitrament, what confusion shall there be in the end? By this it is easy to perceive, that these wicked fantasticals, do pretend [intend] none other thing, but to set all things out of order, to make all goods common, in such wise, that who that can catch them shall be happy; though they deny it mightily. But let all Judgments and arbitraments be taken from the world, according to their intent, and according as they straightly command; what shall there be then but an unbridled thievery over all? or else they do hope to persuade all governors and ministers of justice to forsake their places, that they themselves might succeed into them as into a void possession.

Why then, (will they say) hath the Lord Jesus refused to do a good and a holy work? Hearken [to] his answer, and this question shall be solved. Who hath (said he) made me a judge or a divider between you? He saith not that it is an unlawful thing: but only he allegeth that he is not ordained in that vocation. And indeed the office for which he came into the world, should have been darkened, if he had occupied himself in these things. Wherefore if we will take profit by these examples, and follow it, Let us follow that rule which Paul giveth unto us, that every man take heed wherein he is {35.B.} called. [1 Cor. 7.24.] And forasmuch as we be one body in the Lord, that the arm do not usurp over the eye, neither yet the hand over the foot. [1 Cor. 12.] And to conclude in few words, I ask whether partition [dividing] be a lawful thing among Christians: or that all things ought to be confused? For if it be permitted to divide heritages, he that taketh the office upon him to make the partition is not worthy reproof, if so be, he be thereunto appointed.

These enemies of the civil policy, make yet another argument.

Jesus Christ, withdrew himself into the mountain, & hid himself there, when they would have made him king. It followeth therefore that [if] a Christian man were chosen to the estate of justice, he ought by no means to accept it: but to withdraw himself after the example of his master.

¶ The answer. I am almost ashamed to rehearse such vain things. But forasmuch as I do perceive that the simple and rude are seduced by such, I am constrained to advertise them, how they may avoid them. Every man knoweth the foolish fantasy which the Jews had of Messias. That is, they thought that he should have his kingdom flourishing in this world, to make them live in this world at their ease, and in good {36.A.} rest, and to make them triumph. Insomuch that the very Apostles, till after his resurrection, had also this fantasy in their heads: as Luke declareth in the 1st chapter of the Acts. This moved the people to make Christ a king perforce, that they might thereby be made free from the subjection of the Romans. Therefore it is no wonder if the Lord hid himself, forasmuch as this proceeded from an evil and perverse errour & drew with it a very pernicious consequence. It is certain that his kingdom is not carnal nor of the world: but spiritual, and which doth consist in things that do not appear upon the earth. Now what kingdom would men give him? Therefore if he had consented unto the folly of the people, should he not have confirmed that errour which was already too much rooted? Should not he also by that means, have buried his grace and his verity, forasmuch as men should have imagined nothing of him but carnal. Besides this, he should have been ordained king, by sedition, and by them by whom it appertaineth not. For, seeing that Jewry was in subjection unto the Roman Empire: the people had none authority to choose a new king at their pleasure. Thus for these causes Jesus Christ refused to be king, and not to reprove the estate as wicked or repugnant to a Christian life. But in the meanwhile it is said, [Proverbs 8.15,16,] that it is by him that Kings do reign; that it is he which doth give grace to the ministers of justice, to make laws and statutes, and to govern the people in equity. What will we have more? Jesus Christ is not a king in his person, but {36.B.} he is the protector of all kingdoms, even as he hath founded & instituted them. But these fantasticals do reply, that he hath also commanded us to do the like, saying to his apostles, The kings of the nations have dominion over them: but it shall not be so among you. [Luke 22.25,26.] I grant unto them, that the office of the Apostles, & of the worldly principalities, be not both one, and that in their office is no domination. Now Jesus Christ would [do] there none other thing, but discern between the one & the other. For the occasion of those words of our Saviour, came of that the Apostles had already contention among themselves who should be the chiefest, & as it were governor of the rest in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. To take away such ambition, he declareth unto them, that his kingdom is spiritual: & therefore, that it doth not stand in worldly dignity, pomp, & lordship: but that all the preeminence which his ministers & officers should have, should be in service. Seeing then that this place, doth not make mention, whether kings may be Christian men or no, but only sheweth that the Apostles & ministers of the churches shall not be as kings to have dominion, it is a very beastliness to infer out of this, that Christ hath forbidden us all superiority. It is asmuch as [if] one would say, It is not lawful for a king to do the office of a minister, unto which he is not called: ergo the estate of a minister is an ill & unlawful [illegal] thing. I pray you, doth the distinction & difference of estates make, that the one should be condemned, because the other is praised? Let kings therefore contain themselves within their limits, & likewise let the spiritual shepherds {37.A.} be contented to exercise their office, without usurpation of that which appertaineth not unto them, and then all shall go well. And the Lord Jesus, will allow the one, and the other. Therefore these poor fantasticals do evilly expound this place, to say that in this place the power of the sword is forbidden.

☞ To make up a great heap of witnesses, they do also allege, that Paul doth say, that those which God knew before, he hath preordained to be made like unto the example of his son. [Rom. 8.29.] I grant unto them, that following the exhortation which Paul maketh in that place, behooveth us to bear the mortification of Jesus Christ in our bodies, and endure those tribulations and miseries, by which God will try us. But doth it follow of this, that a faithful man, may not govern the people which are committed unto him? They say yea, because that Jesus Christ did suffer, and not rule. As touching the first, that he did suffer, I say so did David: in whose person the passions and sufferings of him were prefigured. And yet that notwithstanding, we cannot say, that he did not govern.

Therefore of their own head they do add this second part, unto the text of Peter, mischievously falsifying it, to deceive the poor simple people. For in there book they go about to persuade, that Peter speaketh after that manner, when it is nothing so. Behold now David which was a King, administering the power of the {37.B.} sword: and yet that hindered him not to suffer, that he might be made like unto the Image of Jesus Christ, yea even so much, that he did represent him. Philip following this, when he should baptize the Eunuch, which was one of the governours of the kingdom of Ethiopia, did not lay unto him this condition, that he should no more be a ruler: but only asked of him, if he believed with his whole heart in Jesus Christ: and so left him in his estate as he was. [Acts 8.] And truly if to have dominion be a thing contrary to a Christian man: that same should as well be true over one man, as over a communality. Now is it [it is] true that Paul doth permit Christian men, to have superiority and dominion over their servants which in those days were unto them as bondmen and slaves: and doth not command them to set them at liberty, but only to use them gently, and friendly with humanity. Moreover he suffered Philemon, whom he calleth his companion, to keep his bondman in his authority, only he requireth that he should order him gently. [Philemon 1.17.] We see then, that though it were expressly said that Jesus Christ did not govern, how foolish a thing it is thus to reason, Jesus Christ hath suffered, and not ruled: therefore all dominion is reproved. For it is as much as who would say, That Jesus Christ had not a place to lay his head on, as himself witnesseth [Matth. 8.20]: therefore it is evil done when a Christian man doth possess either {38.A.} house, or garden, or heritage. How much this argument goeth from reason, every man seeth.

☞ Last of all, like as a drunkard, after he hath well belched, doth disgorge the villainous broth which charged his stomach, even so these wicked men, after they have detracted this holy estate which the Lord hath so much honoured, finally with full throat, they do spew out exceeding deformed blasphemies. The governance, say they, of the Magistrates, is after the flesh: and that of Christian men, is after the spirit. Me thinketh now, that I do hear the painted pope, blaspheming against holy marriage. For he useth these terms. But this is nothing, compared to that which followeth, The habitation of Magistrates, say they, is permanent in this world: but the habitation of the Christians is in heaven. And such like. I beseech you, by the name of God, all faithful men, and I admonish you, well to consider those things, which Peter and Jude have written of certain corrupters, which in their time perverted the faith of the simple; and by their words I pray you make comparison with those things which I will recite of the Anabaptists. In this thing I will say nothing, but that, which every man shall perceive to be true: that is that the one sect, differeth nothing from the other in this thing. But because every man hath not the books at hand I will here set the places together. The first saith {38.B.} thus: they shall be presumptuous and stubborn, dispraising them that are in authority, and they have no shame to blaspheme against all dignity, like unto brute beasts, dispraising those things which they know not. [2 Pet. 2.10,12.] And Jude saith: they shall reject the seniorities, and blaspheme against the dignities. Now Michael the archangel, pleading against the devil for the body of Moses, durst not give railing sentence against him, but said: the Lord rebuke thee Satan. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: and those things which they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they do corrupt themselves [Jude 1.8-10]: These be the words of Apostles, which be truly verified upon our Anabaptists, that it might well appear, that they were expressly spoken of them.

In that they say, that the habitation of princes, is permanent in the world: how often times doth David prove them liars, where he protesteth that his meditation was holy, to tend and aspire unto spiritual life? It is very certain that the other good kings have done likewise. God commanded Daniel [chapter 12] to exercise his office of earthly governance in the king's court of Persia, in giving attendance over those things which were revealed unto him and finally the day of the resurrection. And Moses, the prince of prophets, ceased not to have his conversation in heaven, by hope & desire, though here beneath he had the civil governance of the people. {39.A.}

I will therefore, lay before the Anabaptists, Moses, David, Hezekiah, Josiah, Joseph, Daniel, all the kings and Judges of Israel, to see how they can maintain their cause: to know whether they were banished [from] the kingdom of God because they had the office of the sword in this world. In that they say, that all princes cares are of this world, Isaiah reproveth them, where he promiseth that the earthly kings shall serve to maintain the heavenly and spiritual kingdom of Christ. [Isa. 49, 60.] Even so Paul [1 Tim. 2], in exhorting that prayers should be made, for all such as be in estate of preeminence, that we may live a peaceable life under them, in the fear of God, and holy life: doth declare that the principal end of Magistrates is not to keep their subjects in peace after the flesh: but rather to procure that God be served and honoured in their country, and that every man lead a good and honest life.

Therefore in this point we see how false and perverse the allegations of the Anabaptists be, to condemn the vocation of the Magistrates, which God hath so well approved. Furthermore we see how the devil speaketh by their mouths to the end to turn away the Princes, and to hinder them to do their duty. For [whereas we ought] to exhort them to endeavour themselves and take pain that the name of God might be exalted, and that he might reign over them, in such wise that they shall be but as his vessels and officers, [instead] come these [Anabaptists] and would make them believe {39.B.} that this appertaineth nothing unto them, and that they should in no wise meddle or busy themselves with the honour of God. I will say but two words, touching the end whereunto they pretend: that in it they do shew themselves the enemies of God, and of mankind. For it is to make war against God, to be in will to bring out of reputation, that which he hath honoured, to be in will to throw down that which he hath exalted. And a man can not better go about the destruction of the world, (and it were [to] introduce a thievery over all,) than to labour to abolish the civil governance, or power of the sword, which is indeed thrust down if it be not lawful for a Christian man to exercise it.

¶ The ſeuéth

Article of Swe-

rynge.

WE be this far agreed touching an oath: that it is a confirmation which ought to be done only in the name of God, and in truth not in lying, after the commandment of the {40.A.} law, but to christian men all oaths are forbidden by the Lord Jesus Christ.

☞ The confutation.

At the first shew it appeareth that there is no evil in this Article. We see at this day the world sore given to oaths; there is no good heart, which is not grieved to see the name of God thus contemned: by which it is brought to pass that every oath, whatsoever it be, is become odious. Moreover there is a certain appearance, in these words of our saviour Jesus, which they do allege, that all oaths in general are forbidden, and it appeareth true, if a man do not take good heed unto the sense. But touching the first part, it is true that such an enormous and dispraiseworthy dissolution and license, as is nowadays in the world, in the matter of oaths, ought exceedingly to displease us. And it were much better, not to swear at all than so vainly to swear for every cause, or rather without cause. Notwithstanding we must note this, that the mean to reprehend & correct an abuse, is not to mingle & confound it with the good use, to condemn indifferently the one and the other together. There is nowadays an excessive pomp and superfluity among many in eating and drinking: chiefly in their banquets, drunkenness, which is a villainy & dishonest vice, doth nowadays reign in many people. If a man for to reprove these abuses would wholly condemn {40.B.} the use of wine, and all good meats, should it not be a blaspheming of God, so to vituperate and reprove the good creatures which he hath destined to our use? Asmuch or more is it of an oath. The Lord hath ordained it to confirm and ratify the truth, when there is need thereof. Such a manner of swearing turneth to his honour double. Because that by that means charity is continued among men, and the truth, which he hath in singular recommendation, is maintained: & forasmuch as it is done for the only testimony of the truth, in doing thereof men give unto him one of the principal honours which he requireth. And indeed, it is expressed in the law, [Deut. 6.13; 10.20,] that a true and lawful oath, is a kind of honour which is done unto him by his people. For even as he commandeth that we should invocate & call on him only, even so he commandeth that we should swear by his name. And the prophets crying out against Idolatry, make often mention, that men have sworn by strange gods [Jer. 5.7; Amos 8.14]: contrariwise, willing to signify that the service of God should be wholly restored, they say that men shall swear by his [name]. [Psalm 63.11; Isa. 45.23.]

This is then the right way to treat of oaths. First of all, we must shew that the use thereof is double, that is, to give testimony of things past and already done, and to bind ourselves to do in time to come that which may lawfully be required of us.

After this, we must shew, that to swear is to call God unto witness: and therefore it behooveth us herein to shew what reverence {41.A.} we bear unto his name. Of this it followeth that a man should never open his mouth to swear but with fear of God, in singular honour and humility. Thus by this means all these forms of blasphemy, where the name of God and of Jesus Christ is contumeliously taken, shall be right well reproved. Moreover it must be shewed, by how many ways the name of God is taken in vain; and first of all, detest all perjuries and false attestations, as execrable blasphemies: forasmuch as the verity of God thereby is turned into leasing: forasmuch as all his glory thereby is overthrown, and thereby men would as it were compel him to deny himself. Consequently, it must be shewed what a contemnity [hatred] of God it is, to take his sacred name in dalliance, as by pleasure, or to deck our language, or for a superfluous filling up of our speech, or by anger, or by laughter and mirth: and so much more sharply rebuke this vice, as we see it nowadays rooted fast in the world, & that the custom thereof is so common: on the other side, we must rebuke these superstitions by which the name of God is polluted, as when men do indifferently take the names of saints and mingle them with it. After this sort, an oath doth not only import, no profanation of the name of God: but doth greatly make for his honour. Now when the end is such, who shall dare say that it is a vicious and a wicked thing? The sum is that the world be warned that God hath nothing {41.B.} in greater recommendation than the glory of his name to maintain it thoroughly, and to punish those which do obscure or lessen it. Therefore, no man ought to take his name but in great reverence, only to make it serve unto such end that he may be glorified thereby.

But the Anabaptists like mad bedlams, do condemn all oaths without exception: without discerning whether there be good or evil in it. And by this it appeareth, that their saying is nothing grounded on reason. Let us now come unto authority, to see whether they have any testimony of the word of God. They do make a great buckler of these words of our Saviour Jesus Christ, where he forbiddeth utterly to swear [Matth. 5.34], for out of that they do conclude, that neither for right nor wrong it is lawful to swear. For answer, I do first ask them, whether they think that Jesus Christ would add any thing unto the law of God his father, or whether he would simply interpret the law? If they do say as touching that, that he hath declared the perfection of the law: Then ask I further, whether this perfection was never known before? If they say no: I say that it is an evident lie. Moses after he had published the law, doth protest unto the people, that he hath shewed the way of life, and the way of death. [Deut. 30.19.]

☞ Moreover reducing all together into a short summary, he saith that his doctrine doth tend unto this end, that a {42.A.} man should love God with all his heart, with all his understanding, with all his soul and strength. [Deut. 6.5.] Also in another place: And now Israel, what is that which God requireth of thee, but only that thou shouldest cleave unto him with thy whole heart? [Deut. 10.12.] These sentences do sufficiently prove that the doctrine of the law doth contain a rule of well living, to lead a man to an whole perfection. It is therefore very certain that God hath in the law, declared his good will. He hath I say, once for all pronounced of good and evil, touching those things which are pleasing or displeasing to him. Therefore the Lord Jesus, always when he spake of the perfect life, did send those that he taught thither. [Matthew 19.] And Paul in the twelfth [chapter] to the Romans, doth lead us unto the same end, that we might the better perceive what is our duty. Therefore to say that Moses did but half teach the people of Israel to honour and serve God, is a blasphemy, first forged by the Papists, and now renewed by these poor fantasticals, which take for a revelation from heaven, whatsoever fables they have heard of their grandmothers.

If any do here reply against this that Jesus Christ is called the perfection of the law, and that it is said that we be no more governed by childish doctrine, as the ancient people were: I answer, that this word perfection is not meant of the doctrine: but is referred unto the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which, that which is contained in the {42.B.} law, is written and imprinted in our hearts, to the end that the Lord should not only speak to our ears, but also unto our will: and that we should not only hear those things which he doth command us, but that we should do them.

There is also a second reason, which is that the Lord Jesus himself alone hath in his own person accomplished all Justice, & was a perfect observer of the law, that his obedience which he gave unto his father, might be imputed unto us.

Touching that Paul calleth the law childish doctrine: that meaneth he only of the ceremonies and figures. And in a like sense he saith that the law could not bring her Disciples to perfection. Forasmuch as the end, the accomplishment and verity thereof, is in Jesus Christ. In the rest, as pertaining to the doctrine of life, [the Moral Law,] such as it was in the beginning, such is it even now at this present, alike to us and to the children of Israel. For it varieth not, but as the will and justice of God is immutable, even so the law which is a true and certain declaration thereof, doth remain unto the last end, such as it was at the beginning. If it be granted touching swearing, Jesus Christ hath simply interpreted the commandment of God his father, and hath added nothing thereunto, as we must needs confess: then have we won that which we require. For the law forbiddeth not to take the name of God in no condition [every condition], but forbiddeth {43.A.} to take his name in vain: signifying that there is a lawful way to take & use his name, the which he hath also permitted. Notwithstanding it is necessary that we expound the words of our saviour Jesus, because that at the first sight, it appeareth that he would forbid all oaths. Now to have good and perfect understanding, it behooveth to know the occasion which moved him thus to speak. The Scribes and Pharisees as it appeareth throughout the fifth chapter of Matthew, had by their false glosses so corrupted the people, that men made no conscience to do many things against the commandments of God: so that they could make any excuse or colour to cover themselves. So commonly they thought it not evil done, to swear in vain and foolishly by heaven, and by the earth, so that [so long as] they did not directly swear by the name of God.

Now the Lord Jesus sheweth that it is a foolish cavillation and sophistry, to think so to purge themselves before God: seeing that under heaven and earth his name is indirectly comprised. So when he forbiddeth to swear at all, this word, at all, is referred unto the manner of speech, or to the words which men use; which may be proved by that [which] he addeth consequently, neither by heaven; for it is the throne of God: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool. [Matth. 5.34,35.] Now the Anabaptists do perversely apply this to the motive, or to the cause: as though it were forbidden {43.B.} to swear for any cause that might be, which is contrary to the mind of the Lord and contrary to the sense which himself doth give, in the process and deduction of his words.

In the meanwhile they would make us believe that we do gloss [interpret] this place, as though we should have said, that it is evil done to swear [by heaven] or by the earth: but to swear by God it is permitted. Or at leastwise, they do lay this unto our charges before the simple Idiots, which have nothing heard or seen of us to Judge by. And then having cast out this false report of us, they cry out saying, "Oh blind fools which do not perceive that God is greater than his throne!" To whom do they speak this, but to themselves? seeing that they & nobody else, have forged this in their fantastical brains. [Further,] because it followeth in the words of our Saviour Jesus Christ, that no man shall swear by his head, because no man can make one hair white or black; Behold say they, the cause why all oaths be forbidden, is for that we cannot perform that which we promise. But I say contrary, that if Beasts could speak, they would speak more wisely. First, there is a manifest contradiction in that which they babble.

For this reason is special for [unique to] all oaths where we promise to do a thing to come. Therefore it followeth that that oath, by which I testify of a thing which is already done is not evil. Doth it not appear, I pray {44.A.} you, that they are altogether without wit, to reason thus? "we cannot perform that which we promise, therefore all oaths are forbidden." The replication [reply] to this is easy, that there is one kind of oath, in which there is no question to be bound to do anything: but only to witness the truth, of a deed past. Also that it is the most used oath.

Secondly, the sense is far otherwise than they do imagine. For the Lord Jesus proceedeth forth to shew, even as he hath begun, that if a man swear by his head, it is as well to take the name of God indirectly, as it is to swear by heaven, or the earth, or by Jerusalem.

☞ Therefore as he hath said that heaven is God's throne, the earth his footstool, Jerusalem his holy city: even so consequently he declareth that a man's head is a portion of his seignory [lordship, sovereignty]: forasmuch as he alone doth dispose it after his will.

As though he would say: whosoever doth think that when he doth swear by his head, he sweareth by a thing that doth pertain unto himself, and that his oath doth not touch God, is abused. For God hath also there his rule, in such wise that man can do nothing. Therefore it is all ways to take the name of God. We see how the Lord hath still continued his purpose. These brainless men would transport it with them for to make it leap quickly from the cock to the Ass.

The conclusion is, that our words should {44.B.} be yea, yea, nay, nay: and that whatsoever is more than that cometh of the evil. These words are easy to understand, were it not that these hogs do overthrow them with their groins, in such wise that they make them all confused.

For they say, that this is as much, as if he had said, that our purposes should be, yea and nay, & that it is evil done to add more than that. Now the Lord Jesus putteth each of these words twice, to signify that we ought to be firm and constant in our purposes. As though he would say, do not change, to retract every time your words: and that there be no leasing or hypocrisy in your purposes. But let your yea be yea, and your nay nay. And indeed, James, being in will to give the same doctrine, speaketh even so, word for word. Let your yea (saith he) be yea, and your nay, nay, by which he signifieth, that all faithful men ought to have a certain truth in their words. Which loyalty and truth, if it were among us, all oaths should be superfluous. For this simplicity of words, should suffice to affirm and deny without swearing. It must needs be therefore that the truth reigneth not, where oaths be frequented. Therefore it is not without a cause, that our saviour saith that this thing doth proceed of evil. And to say truth, the cause which induceth us to swear, is for that the whole world is so full of lying, cautels [crafts, deceits], feignings, and falsehoods, that scant is there any that dare trust his own brother. {45.A.}

Thus one evil draweth to him another. But in all this, the Lord Jesus meaneth nothing of lawful oaths, which were permitted by the law: but only doth reprehend and correct that unlawful liberty of swearing, which the people, being evil instructed by evil teachers, did use: first thinking that it was none oath to take the name of God indirectly: and then after made not matter of perjuries, esteeming also these vain and light as nothing.

☞ Now that I have sufficiently overthrown all the foundations, upon which the Anabaptists, going about to condemn all oaths without any distinction or exception, do lean: it resteth [remaineth] now, that by good reasons and testimonies of the scripture, I do shew how a Christian may lawfully swear without offending God. Here I protest again that thing which I have said before: that is, that I intend not to unbridle the world, to induce it to abuse the name of God, in making oaths at pleasure and rashly. I know that that vice is too common: and therefore we ought rather to study to repress it, than to augment it. I know also that it is no small fault, to take the name of God in vain, and therefore that we ought so much the more to travail by all means to let [hinder] such an evil. But how? To condemn that which is good, when we would take away the abuse, is no good way to proceed. Wherefore, when I say that it is lawful in a certain case for a {45.B.} Christian to swear, I would every man should think that I mean of the right use, which is joined with the fear and reverence of the name of God, & that no man take occasion of my words to make vain, superfluous, or vicious oaths. To define the matter more plainly: when I say that a Christian man may swear without offence, First I mean when it behooveth to give testimony unto the truth. Secondly, if the thing do require it: the which consideration ought to have respect unto the honour of God & love of our neighbour. That is to say, if it be expedient and profitable to swear, as well for God's honour, as to conserve charity amongst us. Thirdly, that necessity do require it: that is to say, that it be needful to use such a confirmation. Fourthly, that the deliberation and intent of him that sweareth be such [as he expresses]. Finally, that it be done in fear & reverence, with a desire to sanctify the name of God. In such a case, and none otherwise, I say that the use of swearing is permitted to Christian men. If any bragger do abuse it: it shall be to his condemnation.

☞ For confirmation of my saying, I will allege the commandment of God, in which I will abide. That is, where he ordained and commanded, that men should swear by his name [Deut. 6.13; 10.20]: when any lawful cause were. [Jer. 4.2.] Out of this I conclude, that to swear, is not a thing simply, and of itself, evil. For it cannot be, that the thing which is evil should at any time please God. {46.A.}

Moreover, seeing it is a kind of homage which the faithful do give unto God, as it is oftentimes shewed in the Prophets [Isa. 45.23; Jer. 12.16,17; Zeph. 1.4,5], it is too manifest a resistance unto the truth, to say that it is a vice and sin. The probation is easy, which is, that it is expedient many times that the verity, which otherwise is doubtful, be confirmed: and there is none other means but by oath. That which the Anabaptists do allege touching the correction of this commandment is a manifest blasphemy. For so should it follow that Jesus Christ should retract that, which was once established by God his Father. Which, as we have shewed, can be by no means tolerable. And indeed, the Apostle speaking of an oath, though he speak thereof incidentally, treating another matter, doth not say, that the use thereof is abrogate: but calleth it the end and decision of all controversies between men. I pray you, when the Apostle [Heb. 6.16,] speaking to Christian men doth pronounce that an oath is to make an end of all controversies, doth he not sufficiently signify that it is an order approved of God, the which hath place in the Christian church? What foolish boldness is it then to be against it, and to reject this remedy which is given us, as though it were a damnable vice?

☞ With this doctrine, there be also the examples, as well of God, as of all his servants. Men, saith the Apostle in the place before alleged, do swear by the name of God because {46.B.} he is above them: God sweareth by himself because he hath no superiour, but is above all. Touching God, the Anabaptists do answer, that—he may well swear, forasmuch as he may well accomplish all that he saith: and so is out of danger of perjury, forasmuch as he is faithful, and will keep all that he promiseth: but it is otherwise with a mortal man: the which many times cannot perform that which he hath promised although he would: and therefore it is foolish rashness for him to swear, binding himself to that which is above his power.—When they have blasted out into the air, this solution, they think they have done, and that they have stopped our mouths. But the replication [reply] is ready: that they cannot say the like of all the Patriarchs, Prophets, holy kings, and ancient fathers which have also sworn after the ensample of God. Behold Abraham the father of all faithful men, which hath sworn. [Gen. 14.22; 21.23-32.] Behold Isaac, behold Jacob, David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, which have done likewise. [Gen. 26.28-31; 31.53; 1 Kings 1.17,28-31; 2 Chron. 29.10; 2 Chron. 34.29-33.] What difference is there between them and us? Therefore it may well appear that their answer here above is a mere cavillation.

☞ If, to avoid this they will allege, that these be examples taken out of the old Testament: and that now in the Christian church we have a harder bridle: though this errour be already refuted, {47.A.} yet will we shew that it helpeth them nothing. For we will bring forth for us, the Apostles, which have also used oaths, yea, even in their writings, when need required. Now let us hear their pretty excuse which they make to avoid this.

Saint Peter and S. Paul, say they, did not swear to promise anything: but only to assure the promise made by God.


Here may we clearly see, how they which do deliberate to speak against the truth, do wrap themselves in a thousand absurdities, and yet have no shame of their impudency. First, in that they make such an answer, they grant unto us that there be some lawful oaths: that is when a man doth witness things past. For it followeth of their words, that then only is the oath evil, when we promise a thing to come.

Are they not past shame, so evidently to lie, going about to persuade that we see not that thing which we see? Paul sweareth unto the Corinthians [2 Cor. 1.23], that he came not unto them, because he would spare them. He sweareth unto the Romans [Rom. 9.1-3], that he would be content to be cast out from Christ, that the Jews might be saved. To confirm his love which he bare unto the Philippians, he swear also. [Phil. 1.8.] Also unto the Corinthians he swear that his conversation {47.B.} was among them in a good conscience. [1 Cor. 1.12.] Also he sweareth unto the Thessalonians that he came not unto them for covetousness, or for any profit, and calleth God to witness how holily he lived among them. [1 Thess. 2.5-10.] [See also 2 Cor. 11.31.] These phreneticals do say, that the Apostles did never swear to affirm any thing touching their own matter; but only when they should testify the covenant of God. I pray you what doth such impudency deserve? At the least, are they worthy that a man should open his mouth to speak unto them?

Notwithstanding we will open this doubt, which they put forth, which is, that a man ought not with an oath to promise any thing, because it lieth not in him to perform it.

To this I answer, that when a subject sweareth unto his Prince, to do his duty, in obeying, and being faithful unto him: he doth not this in confidence of his own power, or vaunting himself as despising God, and setting him at nought, but rather in calling upon the help of God, he answereth that his will shall be such as it ought to be. Howbeit, it is a foolish imagination to reprove oaths, and yet to permit simple promises. For if there be foolish rashness in the one, so is there also in the other.

Therefore if it be lawful for us to promise, they must shew a reason why we may not ascertain [certify] our promise, by an oath, when necessity requireth us. That in such a case, an oath is holy and lawful, we have many {48.A.} examples in holy Scripture: and among all, three, which be very notable. It is said in the book of the Chronicles [2 Chron. 15], that Asa king of Judah, being admonished by Azariah, sacrificer and Prophet, called all the people into Jerusalem, and there caused them to swear to serve God forever. As much is written of Josiah, when the book of the law was found, that for to renew the covenant made by Moses, he [made] swear the people, making them promise to persevere forever in the obedience of God. [2 Chron. 34.] The third example is of Ezra & Nehemiah, at whose instance [urging, requirement], the people being returned from Babylon, did swear, forever after to follow God and his word. [Neh. 9& 10; 10.29.] If we do well consider the thing, the like was done at the first publication of the law.

But because I know that I have to do with brainless & obstinate people, I would allege none, but such places, where is manifestly made mention of oaths. Ye see then how the whole church of Israel, made solemn oaths unto God, promising that thing which is most hard to be kept, that is, to cleave faithfully unto him. This is done oftentimes. That the Act is good, there is no doubt. For it hath witness, and is also praised of the Holy Ghost. I will not greatly stand in this, to declare how men may thus bind themselves to God, to do that which is not in them: but only put you in remembrance of that thing which I have touched in the way, that the faithful do always presuppose that God will not fail {48.B.} them of his grace which he hath promised them: and upon that they ground their oath. But seeing that it is so, that God hath approved this kind of oath, and that his church hath oftentimes used it by his ordinance: I ask of our dullheads, by what authority they dare reprove it? Or rather, without troubling myself with them, because it is time lost, I desire and exhort all servants of God to consider what boldness these poor ignorant men have, to make such Magistral [magisterial, authoritative] determinations, and to go about to constrain the world to receive them as things irrevocable and not to be again said [spoken against].

☞ For my part I doubt not, but that in the matter of an oath, as in the other before, I have fully satisfied all such as have ears and understanding, and be in will to consent unto the truth known.

The two laſte

Articles.

I Have finished the 7 Articles, contained in the book, which the Patriarchs of the Anabaptists have made as a final resolution of those things, which they do hold apart from others.

And therefore there doth now rest nothing else, but to conclude & make an end of this book, {49.A.} were it not that they have left [out] two Articles of as great consequence, as any of the other of the which it is needful to speak, for as much as all the Anabaptists do commonly cleave to them. Besides this, I know that they which composed this goodly resolution did at that time teach them.

The one is, that they do not believe that Jesus Christ was a very man: but rather do make him, touching his body, a fantasy.

The other is, that they do think that the souls being separated from their bodies, do sleep unto the day of Judgment, without feeling or knowing anything: or else that the soul of man is nought else but his life, the which defaileth [faileth] in dying, unto such time as he be raised up again. Every man may see the consequence which these two errours do import.

That they have spoken never a word of these, I can not tell whether it be by craft, because they be so odious, that by good right they should make their whole doctrine execrable. For what cause soever it be, seeing I have taken upon me to arm all faithful people, against their false opinions: it is not good that I should dissemble these two so pestilent and mischievous opinions, seeing they are common to them all.[8]

Touching that some among them have holden opinion that all goods should be common, also that a man may have many wives, so that they have compelled some which were content with one, to take more, and a {49.B.} thousand other absurdities: I will speak nothing at all. For they themselves being confused in their selves have for the most part by little and little withdrawn themselves. But touching the two Articles, whereof I have spoken, there is another reason: forasmuch as they all do hold them yet still,

☞ Touching the first: which is of the body, or human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is to be noted that there were two ancient heresies like, or approaching unto this, which these do hold. For the Manichees fantasied, that Jesus Christ, brought an heavenly body, into the womb of the Virgin his mother. The Marcionists had a vain dream somewhat different from the other, that he had not a very substantial body: but only an appearance, or likeness of a body: which we call a phatasiye [phantom]. The purpose of the one and of the other, was to deny that Jesus Christ took flesh of the virgin. Therefore we see that the Anabaptists, in this behalf, do but stir up the errours which the devil had raised more than fourteen hundred years past, and were confounded by the word of God. Notwithstanding, as in the beginning, I have protested, I will not that this shall be any prejudice unto their cause, except I do convince them first, by the pure word of God, so as if it had never been spoken of before by any man. This that I do speak is only to give warning, that all men may know, out of what fountain proceedeth that which {50.A.} the Anabaptists now bring forth, as though it were revealed unto them, lately from heaven. And also to give warning unto them selves. For all the great doctors which were of their sect, have been so ignorant of the histories, and of all antiquity, that I think never a one of them can tell so much as what this name Marcion is. It is good therefore, that as well they as others, be advertised, that the first author of this opinion, wherewith they do trouble the world, was cast out and accursed with his opinion, not of a few, but of the whole Christian church, shortly after, that is, within forty years after the death of the Apostles. For Eusebius and Jerome do write that Polycarp, disciple and familiar friend of John the Apostle, meeting him [Marcion] at Rome, called him the eldest son of Satan. I will not recite the other errours, wherewith he troubled the church. For when this is well plucked out, men shall well know, I trust, that hardly may there be found anyone, more execrable.

☞ First, I will shew by many and very sure testimonies of scripture, that the Lord Jesus did verily take flesh and man's nature, when he was revealed unto us in this world, by God his father; and I will prove it so plainly, that there shall not be so little a child, which shall not perceive, that it shall be too great an impudency for the Anabaptists to kick anymore against it. As it shall not be needful to gather {50.B.} all the places of scripture which might serve to this purpose, So to avoid prolixity, I will take those which seem to be most covenable [suitable, covenient]. We know that at the first beginning of the world, the Lord promised Eve, that her seed should overcome the serpent. [Gen. 3.15.]

Let us see if this be accomplished in us, or whether it have ever been accomplished in any mortal man, but only by the means of Jesus Christ, which hath, for us, vanquished and overcome Satan. But because this promise was yet somewhat obscure, it hath been since made much more clear, both to Abraham, and Jacob: when it was said unto them, that in their seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. [Gen. 12.3; 22.18; 26.4; 28.14.]

☞ Now, this seed, as Paul doth interpret it, and reason sheweth the same, is Jesus Christ. [Gal. 3.16.]

Therefore the promise cannot otherwise be verified, but that Jesus Christ is descended of the stock of Abraham. Likewise, when it was said unto David: I will set the fruit of thy womb, upon thy seat to reign everlastingly. [Psalm 132.11.] And likewise, when in the same sense, it is confirmed by the prophet Isaiah, that he shall be as a bud proceeding out of the root of Jesse, [Isa. 11.1]: we know that the same cannot be otherwise understood, than of the same redeemer which was promised unto Abraham. Therefore it must needs be that he be of the line of David, as touching the generation of {51.A.} the flesh: or else the promise is void. For this cause Matthew [1.1,] going about to recite his genealogy, beginneth by calling him the son of David, the son of Abraham, that he might the more expressly specify, that he was the selfsame that was promised.

And indeed, it was a manner of speech, very commonly used among the people of the Jews, so to name him: as we may see by the Evangelists. [Matt. 9.27; 15.22; 20.30,31; Mark 10.47,48; Luke 18.38,39.]

¶ Unto all this, the Anabaptists make one solution, the which alone doth sufficiently declare what beasts they are, and how desperate their impudency is. "He is," say they, "called David's son, not because that he took anything of the virgin Mary, or that he was made man of her substance: but only because she bare him in her body: as water passeth by a pipe." This might be said, if this word seed, were not expressed. Howbeit, touching the truth, all men of good Judgment might see that it were but a crafty evasion, Notwithstanding there might be a little more colour, or shadow. But seeing this is so often repeated, that he is of the seed of Abraham: what cavillation can be made to deny him to be very man? And indeed, when Isaiah promised his coming, he saith not simply that he shall be the child of a virgin: but he saith first that he shall be conceived. [Isa. 7.14.] This conception imparteth [communicateth] that he should be formed of her seed: as they which do know the signification of the word, can well Judge. {51.B.}

☞ Moreover Paul doth express this thing more plainly, when he saith, that he was made of the seed of David touching the flesh, and was notwithstanding declared the son of God by his power. [Rom. 1.3,4.] Behold, Jesus Christ on the one part, is called the son of God: and again he addeth that as touching his human nature he is of the stock of David. Is not that man very mad, which doth close his eyes, and stop his ears against all this, to persist & maintain the contrary, that Jesus Christ hath no part of the nature of man as touching the substance of his body? Likewise in another place, the same Apostle, speaking of the dignity and nobleness of the Jews, among other things saith that they be the successours and progeny of the fathers, of whom Christ is descended as touching the flesh. [Rom. 9.5.] I pass over many other places: as where he saith, that God was manifested in flesh [1 Tim. 3.16]: also, he that suffered in humility of the flesh. [1 Pet. 4.1.] Likewise, where John saith, that the word was made flesh [John 1.14]: and besides all this, where he so oftentimes doth attribute unto himself the title of the Son of man, and other like places: because it should be superfluous, after these two notable places which I have alleged.

I think it therefore sufficient, to bring forth these places, the which do at the first sight both prove mine intention, and also declare how necessary it is for us to believe that the Lord Jesus hath put on, and verily {52.A.} taken our nature when he was made man.

The Apostle in the epistle unto the Hebrews [2.16,] taketh a goodly argument, to amplify the love which he beareth unto us, because he took not the nature of Angels: but of us. If we do receive the fantasy of these unhappy men, This grace and inestimable goodness of the Lord Jesus shall be clean put out of our memory, for we shall not perceive that he hath any more honoured us, than he hath the Angels.

He saith further, that by the means of the communication which he hath with us in his flesh, and his blood, he calleth himself our brother, and is verily our brother. [verses 11,13,17.] By this we may conclude, that the greatest benefit which we may have, should be taken from us, if Jesus Christ do not communicate with us in flesh and blood.

For how should we be the children of God, without being his brethren? Now the Apostle saith, that we obtain this because he is joined unto us in one nature, & by none other means. He addeth further that it was necessary that he should be like unto his brethren, that he might be a faithful intercessor and pitiful. Whereout [Out of which] he deduceth a singular consolation, that we have an advocate which will have compassion on our infirmities, seeing that he himself was tempted, being in all things like unto us, except sin. [Heb. 4.15.]

Moreover, forasmuch as in the similitude which he putteth between us, and Jesus {52.B.} Christ, he maketh no difference but sin: it followeth, that in all the rest, he is like unto us, this understood, that in that place he speaketh namely of the human nature. In these places we do not only see, how the Lord Jesus is verily our brother in unity of one self nature: but also the profit which we have thereby: of the which they [the Anabaptists] do spoil and deprive us, which do attribute unto him I can not tell what heavenly body, which hath nothing common with ours.

In like manner all the disputation which Paul maketh to the Corinthians to prove our universal resurrection in the resurrection of Jesus Christ cannot stand if he have not a nature common with us. Seeing Christ is risen, saith he, we shall rise again, and if we shall not rise again then is Christ not risen again. [1 Cor. 15.]

It were easy to reply against this if it might be alleged that Jesus Christ brought an heavenly body with him, into his mother's womb.

For that were no marvel, that a substance which came from heaven, was exempted from corruption. And so should it not follow of that, that our bodies which are earthly, and have in them nothing but corrupt matter should arise again. Therefore, that all such deductions may be firm and sure, it is necessary that our Saviour Jesus Christ be partaker with us in one self[same] nature.

For therein lieth the whole hope that we {53.A.} may have of the resurrection, that this corruptible flesh which we now bear, is already raised up in Jesus Christ, hath taken possession of heaven, and is there immortal. [Eph. 2.6; Heb. 6.20.] By this means I say, we have a good earnest, & surety for to certify us: and otherwise not. In another place [1 Tim 2], the same apostle going about to shew how that the Lord Jesus is our mediator, saith expressly that he is man, because he knew well that we could never be induced to draw ourselves toward him, unless we had first this persuasion that he is our neighbour, and that he pertaineth unto us.

Therefore in this thing lieth and resteth our confidence to make us to trust in Jesus Christ, and to seek him for our mediator, because he is joined unto us, & doth participate with us in one self[same] nature. And that is it which Isaiah meaneth, where he saith, that he was made Immanuel, that is to say, God with us. [Isa. 7.14.] For that cannot be without true similitude and union of nature.

Unto this purpose there be yet other peremptory reasons, the which though they be not expressed in holy scripture, yet be they nevertheless true, forasmuch as they be grounded in the same.

For that it was necessary, that he which should be our mediator should be very God & very man, it appeareth by the office of a mediator, which is to reconcile men to God, and to put away the mortal enmity, which was before. Now was there no hope that this {53.B.} should be done, except that the majesty of God did descend unto us, joining himself with the infirmity of our nature. Likewise the office of a mediator was, to make us the children of God, and inheritors of his kingdom, where as we were the heirs of death and damnation.

This is therefore the earnest to confirm our confidence, that we be the children of God, forasmuch as the natural son of God hath taken a body of our body, and flesh of our flesh, to be made one with us. Moreover it was necessary to our redemption, that that disobedience, which was committed in our nature, should be repaired again in the same nature. Therefore the Lord Jesus came a very man, presenting himself as in the person of Adam, of whom he also took the name: that he might pay the pain of sin in that flesh in the which it was committed. [Rom. 5; 1 Cor. 15.47; Rom. 8.3.]

Therefore they which do spoil Jesus Christ of his human nature, do not only much obscure his goodness, but they do us also great wrong in destroying the true object which we have, to have right & full affiance in him. And lest it should appear that I do dissimulate anything of that which might serve for that purpose, I will bring forth all those places which seem to give any colour to their fantasy.

Paul in a certain place, [Phil. 2.7,] saith, that Jesus Christ made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, being made [lines repeated] {54.A.} like to men, and in appearance shewed himself a man. Out of this, Marcion doth conclude, that his body was a fantasy. the Anabaptists at this day conclude out of this place that his body was not such as ours is.

The answer to this is very easy. For Paul doth not speak of the substance of Christ's body, but doth only shew, that though it so be, that he might shew himself in his glorious majesty as God: yet he behaved himself as a simple man in all meekness. He exhorteth the Philippians to humility. To do this, he bringeth Christ for example: saying [verse 6] that he was in the form, that is to say, in the glory of God, and that notwithstanding he made himself of no reputation. He addeth afterward that he shewed himself in the form of man, and that he behaved himself as man. What other thing do these words signify, but that under the veil of his flesh in which he appeared little & contemptible, he hid the glory of his divinity, in such wise that there appeared in him but the frail condition which he outwardly shewed. Thus as touching the solution of this place, there is no difficulty. But there is another, the which seemeth to have a little more of appearance: It is in the 15th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians [verse 47], where Paul saith, that the first Adam was earthly, made of the earth; the second is heavenly, being come from heaven. Out of this the Anabaptists {54.B.} after the example of their predecessors the Manichees, do conclude that Jesus Christ had an heavenly body, and not formed nor created of human seed: that is to say, of the substance of his mother the virgin.

The solution of this argument, is easy, if we behold Paul's purpose, and do continue and knit one sentence with another, and not cut off and snatch one word to the depravation of the whole sense.

Paul there going about to prove whence cometh death, and whence cometh resurrection from death; that is to say, the first of Adam, the second of Jesus Christ, among other things said, that Adam was made a living soul, Jesus Christ a quickening spirit, [verse 45.] Now by this he intended not to deny that Jesus Christ had a soul like unto ours, but he doth signify that he had a greater thing: that is to say, his spirit which is not only living, but hath in himself the virtue to quicken. Then he addeth further, that the first Adam was earthly, forasmuch as he was of the earth, and that Jesus Christ is heavenly, being come from heaven.

¶ There is no doubt but that this place ought to be understood as the other, of the quality of Jesus Christ, and not of the substance. I mean of that virtue supernatural and divine, which he hath from heaven as the son of God, and not of the earth as a mortal man.

And indeed, as we have said, the strength of {55.A.} the argument which Paul maketh there, to confirm us in the hope of the resurrection were nothing, if Jesus Christ had another substance of body than we.

They allege further, that it was conceived of the holy Ghost. But this virtue of the holy Ghost, is not to exclude the substance of his mother. It is true that there was no conjunction of man and woman to beget him after the natural course of other men; But that is no impediment, to the marvelous operation of the holy Ghost, by which he was formed of the substance of his mother, that he might be the very seed of Abraham, and fruit of the womb of David: as the same holy Ghost had long time before named him. [Gal. 3.16; Psalm 132.11.]

I know their answer to this is, that this inconvenience should follow, that forasmuch as the whole seed of man, is a cursed and corrupted [seed], so should the Lord Jesus descend of corruption. But I answer that this miraculous conception taketh away that difficulty: For, the working of the holy Ghost was to that end to sanctify him from the beginning, and in sanctifying to preserve him from all spots of mans filthiness. For this cause Paul said, that he took the similitude of sinful flesh, to condemn sin in the flesh. [Rom. 8.3.] For in taking our flesh, he took not the sin, forasmuch as the virtue of the holy Ghost did separate from the condition of the other.

They have also a foolish and fantastical {55.B.} consideration, that they think that it should be a dishonouring to Jesus Christ, to make him so low, that he should be of the like nature to us: and therefore they think that it appertaineth better to his dignity, to attribute unto him an heavenly body.

I answer, that it is great folly to esteem that the glory of Christ is any thing lessened, or that it doth anything derogate to his dignity, to say that he humbled, yea made himself of no reputation, for our redemption and salvation. [Phil. 2.6-8.]

There is much more said of him in the 22nd Psalm, that he is a worm and no man, the opprobrium and abjection of the people. Likewise that which Isaiah saith [chapter 53] is much more, that he was esteemed as one of no value, reckoned as a leper, counted among the number of evil doers. But can a man say more than Paul hath said? That is, [Gal. 3.13,] that he was accursed, and made an execration for us? if this diminisheth his honour, then must we be ashamed to confess that he was crucified for us. For this word crucifying is a more ignominious word, than at this day is the gallows.

☞ Therefore let us not deceive ourselves with these foolish imaginations, thinking to honour Jesus Christ after our fantasy, or else to be in fear that we shall dishonour him, in acknowledging that he was made little for our sakes, as touching his human nature. Even as without all beginning he was God of one self glory with {56.A.} his father: even so doth he continue still, without any diminution. In that he hath taken upon him our flesh, and in the same was humbled, he hath given a notable testimony of his infinite goodness, and of his incomprehensible love which he hath unto us. So far is it off that this should anything derogate to his highness, that it is the principal matter that we have, to magnify & praise him for. For a conclusion: if we will truly confess the Lord Jesus to be our Saviour, let us confess according to the exhortation of John, that he is come in the flesh [1 John 4.2,] to knit us to God his Father, by means of the obedience which he gave unto him in our humanity, as in our persons. He that maketh not this confession is Antichrist: and we ought to abhor him.

¶ The ſecond

Article,

IT is time that I do come unto the second Article of the which I promised to treat: That is, that the Anabaptists commonly all do hold opinion, that the souls being departed from the body, do no more live, until the day of the resurrection.[9] Howbeit they do somewhat differ among themselves. For some of them do think that the soul is not a substance, or a creature having {56.B.} an essential being: but that it is only the virtue that man hath to breath, to move, and to do other actions of life, whiles he is yet alive. The other do confess that the soul is an essential creature, and yet nevertheless do Imagine that the souls of them that be dead, do sleep without any sense, or understanding, until the day of judgment.

Therefore if we shall thoroughly confute the Anabaptists, we must first shew that the souls have an essential being of their own. Secondly, that after death, they do feel and know their condition and estate. But before we go any further in this matter: we must note that this word Soul, is diversely taken in the scripture. First, for the life, as where it is said in Job [13.14], I bear my soul in my hands. Also in Matthew [6.25], is not the soul more than the meat? and in infinite other places.

Sometime it is taken for the will or the desire, as where it is said in Samuel, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. [1 Sam. 18.1.] And in the Acts, where it is said the multitude of believers had one heart & one soul. [4.32.] Sometimes it is taken for the whole man, as where it is said, that there descended into Egypt with Jacob threescore and fifteen souls. [Acts 7.14.] Also, where the Prophet pronounceth that the soul which sinneth shall die. [Ezek. 18.4,20.] Also, for breathing or blowing, as in Samuel, where Saul saith, I am overcome with anguish, though all my Soul be yet in me. [2 Sam. 1.9.] {57.A.}

Likewise, when Elijah said that the soul of the child did return into his bowels. [1 Kings 17.21,22.] Finally, when it is joined with this word spirit, it signifieth an affection, as when Isaiah [26.9] said, my soul desireth thee in the night, and I watch unto thee in my spirit. Also Paul prayeth God to keep the Thessalonians undefiled in body, and in spirit, and in soul. [1 Thess. 5.23.]

Likewise, this word spirit, is diversely taken, of which I need not now make long declaration: but only this, that we know that it is oftentimes taken for the soul, as it shall evidently appear in those places, which hereafter shall be alleged.

This being noted, let us see whether the soul of man have an essential being of her own, which is given to her of God. And let us begin at the creation of man, which will help much to this matter. Touching Beasts and other living creatures, God doth command them to be made simply. When he cometh to the making of man, he entereth into consultation, saying, Let us make man to our Image and likeness. [Gen. 1.26.] Now where shall we find this Image of God, except there be a spiritual essence in man, in which it is imprinted.

For the body is not that thing, wherein the Image of God is resident. It is true, that Moses by and by addeth, that man was made a living soul [Gen 2.7], which thing he doth say also of Beasts. But to declare a special excellency, he saith, That God hath {57.B.} inspired the virtue of life in the body which he made of the earth. Therefore, though the soul of man have certain qualities common with those of beasts, yet forasmuch as she beareth the Image & likeness of God, she is of condition different from the other. And forasmuch also as she hath her beginning apart, she is of another preeminence, and this is it that Solomon meaneth, where he saith, that in death, the body returneth unto the earth, whence it was taken and the soul returneth to God, which gave it. [Eccl. 12.7.] And therefore it is said in the book of Sapience [Wisdom 2.23,] That man is immortal, in that he is created to the Image of God. It is no authentic book of the Scripture, but yet is there no inconvenience, that we use the testimony thereof, as we may do of an ancient doctor, howbeit, this only reason ought to suffice us, that the same image of God which was set in man, cannot be but in a spirit immortal, if we mark well what it doth contain after Paul's exposition: that is, that we do resemble God in righteousness and true holiness. [Eph. 4.23.] This much is said touching the creation.

☞ Now are there many places in Holy Scripture, which are much more evident, as where Peter saith, that the reward of our faith, is the salvation of our souls. Also where he saith that the faithful do purify their souls. Again that the desires of the flesh do fight against the soul. Also, where he calleth Christ the Bishop {58.A.} of our souls. [1 Pet. 1.9, 22; 2.11, 25.] For these sentences can not consist, except there be souls which be saved, and which be assaulted by evil concupiscences, & which be purified from their spots, and governed by Jesus Christ their bishop. According to this, it is said in the history of Job [4.19], that men do dwell in earthen houses, which manner of speaking, Peter useth, where he saith, that he will admonish the faithful, as long as he shall dwell in his earthly tabernacle. [1 Pet. 1.13.] If it were not that the principal part of man did dwell in the body, as in a tabernacle, this should be spoken without reason.

The Apostle also, in his Epistle to the Hebrews [12.9], declareth, as much, or more expressly the same thing, where he saith, that our fathers which begat us in this world, are fathers of our flesh: but God only is father of our spirits. I pray you, how shall we understand these words, if the soul be not an essential thing? And a little after, speaking of the citizens of heaven, he saith, that they be the Angels, and spirits of Just men. [12.22,23.] Would we have a more clear proof than this? Also I see not how we shall expound the exhortation which Paul maketh unto us, that we should purge us, from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit [1 Thess. 5.23.], except we take this word spirit for an essential soul. For as the body is a subject, which receiveth pollution, so must it needs be, that the soul on her behalf, be a creature which may be polluted, & [which may be] sanctified.

☞ There is a like reason, in that where {58.B.} he saith in another place, that the spirit of God beareth witness to our spirits, that we be the children of God. [Rom. 8.16.] Howbeit, if we did hold that principle, which ought to be certain amongst us christian men, we should not need to enter into disputation of this matter: that is to say, whether the soul be an essential substance, or no: seeing that this was the error of the Sadducees, which expressly is reproved in the Scripture. For in the 23rd [chapter] of the Acts it is said, that Paul, going about to excuse himself, doth protest that he was persecuted because he did not approve the sect of the Sadducees. And Luke declaring what this sect was, saith that the Sadducees do not believe the resurrection, nor that there be any Angels, or any spirits, or souls. [Verse 8.] What will we have more than this? Paul confesseth, that he is a Pharisee in his Articles [of faith]. Now is it plain that the Pharisees do confess, as saith Luke, that the souls be very essential creatures.

☞ Therefore let the Anabaptists take the quarrel of the Sadducees, their predecessors, and defend it against Paul. And when they have won their cause against him, then shall we see what we can say unto them. In the meanwhile, we, following the whole doctrine of God, will hold for certain, that man is composed and consisteth of two parts, that is to say, of body and soul.

It is now time to come unto the 2nd point: {59.A.} that is, what is the estate of the souls, after the separation from their bodies. The Anabaptists do think that they be asleep, like dead. We say they have life and feeling: and that it so is, we have the testimony of Jesus Christ, where he exhorteth his disciples, not to fear them which do kill the body, and have no power to kill the soul, but to fear him which after he hath killed the body, can cast the soul into hellfire. [Matt. 10.28.] If the soul were nothing, or that she were as killed, when she is separate from the body, then were it not true, that tyrants and persecutors have no power over her.

Thus hath God shewed great mercy unto us, in that he hath not made our souls subject unto these hangmen, which would do worse and more cruelly than all the persecutors of the world: which is, would murder our souls with our bodies. But let us hear their proper cavillation.

"It is true," say they, "that the Soul dieth for the time, but she doth not utterly perish, for as much as she shall rise again."

☞ I ask them, what doth the body? For if the soul doth not die only because of the hope which she hath because of the resurrection, the same reason [explanation] may be made for the body, that he doth not perish neither. {59.B.}

Now the Lord Jesus doth notably decern between the one and the other, saying that the body is slain and not the soul. In this manner, spake Jesus Christ, when he said unto the Jews: destroy this temple, and I will re-edify it in three days. [John 2.19.] John added, that he spake of the temple of his body: thus he reserved the soul a part, signifying that he could not be destroyed: and indeed when he died, he commended her unto God his father. [Luke 23.46.]

And Stephen after his ensample: Lord Jesus (said he) receive my spirit. [Acts 7.59.] This ought we therefore to think, that God is protector of our souls, to preserve them from the tyranny of men, that when we should die, every one of us should commend his soul unto him.

Likewise, when Peter saith, that the Lord Jesus came in his spirit, to the spirits that were in prison, [1 Pet. 3.19.] he doth clearly testify by his words, that the Souls have sense and understanding after death. For otherwise they should not perceive the preaching of Christ, which as he saith, did preach unto them. I confess that this place hath been taken for a dark place, and that it hath been diversely expounded: but yet will I allege nothing for my purpose, which is not certain. The Apostle therefore having before spoken how Christ was humiliated, and having also shewed how that all faithful men must be made like unto him, for consolation, he addeth that Jesus {60.A.} Christ was not overcome by death, but that he overcame death. [verses 21,22.] After this, to certify us that this virtue of his resurrection, doth pertain unto us, he saith, that not only the living have felt it, but also the dead: and not only the faithful, but also the unbelieving, and rebels. It is true, that when the matter requireth, that we must distinguish, we see that he speaketh but of the second kind: but that hindereth not, but that he speaketh first, of all in general. Touching that he putteth, as well the souls of the good, as of the evil, in prison, that doth he to signify the vehement desire, which the faithful had for the coming of Jesus Christ, which held them as it were in anguish.

¶ Therefore the sense is this: the virtue of Christ's redemption, hath appeared unto the souls of them that be dead, as well to the believing, as unto the unbelieving, But when he must speak in special, he leaveth the first.

☞ Notwithstanding to the end that we do not dispute touching the sense, when there is no need concerning the present matter, only I ask this question of these good people: whether the spirits, of whom the Apostle doth speak, be living souls or no? Moreover he added another sentence, which is yet more clear, that is, that the gospel was preached unto the dead, that they should be condemned in the flesh, as touching to men: but should live to God in the spirit. [1 Pet. 4.6.] We see that he doth subject the body only {60.B.} unto death, reserving the soul alive.

☞ The like was shewed before by Solomon [Eccl. 12.7]: where, in discovering man's death, he saith, He doth separate the soul far from the body, until the earth do return to his earth where it was taken, and that the soul go to God, which gave her. If they gloss, and say that this word spirit, doth signify but life, there is not so little a child which seeth not, that, that is a corrupting of the text.

If there were none other testimony but this sentence of Moses, where he saith [Exod. 3.6], that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, about three hundred years after their death, it should be sufficient to such as would not be contentious.

But if there be any opinionatour which will again-say it, then will the exposition which our Saviour Jesus Christ maketh upon these words, take away all doubts. That is, that his father is not the God of the dead, but of the living. [Matt. 22.32.]

¶ I know their answer is, that the dead be called living, because of the hope of the resurrection. But that is nothing. For seeing that the Patriarchs were dead, at that time when Moses spake, it followeth that they lived in a better life.

And therefore Luke addeth that they do all live unto God [Luke 20.38], signifying that the Lord doth maintain his in life, by his grace and virtue.

Unto which agreeth this saying of the Apostle, {61.A.} If so be that we live, let us live to the Lord; if we die, let us die to the Lord. And whether we live, or die, we be the Lord's, and Jesus Christ is dead and risen again, that he might have rule over the living and the dead. [Rom. 14.8,9.] For this is sure, that Jesus Christ could have no dominion over us, if we were not: therefore if his empire be extended unto the dead, it must needs be that the faithful after death have an essential being.

☞ And indeed, the vision which John rehearseth in the Apocalypse [6.9-11], cannot otherwise be true, Which is that he saw the souls of the Martyrs, under the heavenly altar, crying with a loud voice, Lord how long dost thou defer to avenge our blood? And that God commanded to give them white garments, and commanded them to have patience for a little while until the number of their fellows were fulfilled.

There is no doubt but that these white garments, do signify beginning of glory which God doth give unto the martyrs, while they tarry for the day of judgment. For that is no new thing in the scripture, as when Daniel said [7.9], that he saw the Lord clothed in a long white robe. And Jesus Christ was so in his transfiguration in the mount of Tabor. [Matt. 17.2.] The Angel also, which appeared to the women by the sepulchre, was clothed in a white robe. [Mark 16.5.] So were the angels which appeared to the disciples, {61.B.} after the ascension of the Lord Jesus. [Acts 1.10.] As much is said of the Angel which appeared unto Cornelius the Centurion. [Acts 10.4,30.] Finally, in the parable of the prodigal son, it is said that when he was returned, his father commanded to bring him his best robe, in sign of Joy and feasting. [Luke 15.22.] We see therefore, how much this doth repugn against the errour of the Anabaptists, which in the place of white robes, would give pillows to the souls to make them sleep.

Moreover, in that it is said, that the souls cry, asking vengeance of God, it is declared that they sleep not. [Rev. 6.10.] For this cry cannot be expounded as the cry of Abel's blood, because the desire which the holy souls have, is there expressed. This is sufficiently confirmed unto us, by the history of Lazarus [Luke 16], where it is said that his soul was borne by the angels of God, into the bosom of Abraham. And the soul of the rich man went into hell.

—They think that they have a fair solution and well-coloured, when they do answer that it is a parable, that is to say, an example and not a history.

But I ask them, where they have seen it in holy scripture, that in a simple parable or similitude the proper name of a man hath been expressed, as it is here.

And even thus have all the doctors of the church understood that place, as reason {62.A.} would. But be it that I do grant unto them, that it is a parable, yet must it needs be that it be taken of the verity. Our Lord saith, that the soul of Lazarus, was borne by his angels, into the bosom of Abraham, and that there, it received Joy & consolation.

☞ On the other side, he saith that the soul of the rich infidel, did suffer marvelous torments in hell. He saith that there is a great distance between the one and the other. If the souls have no feeling after death, of good nor evil, what should this narration of the Lord be, but a fable, and as a tale of the book of Mellusine?[10]

Therefore, this tergiversation [artful evasion] of the Anabaptists is a blasphemy, which dishonoreth the Lord Jesus, as though he had told us a vain tail to no purpose. Besides this, it is a foolish imagination repugnant to human sense, as little children may perceive.

☞ And this is the promise which was made unto the poor thief when he asked mercy on the cross. For the Lord Jesus answered him,

This day shalt thou be with me in paradise. [Luke 23.43.] By this word paradise, we need not to imagine that he would specify a certain place: but only the Joy and felicity which they have that live with him. This is plain that Jesus Christ doth not send this poor sinner to the day of resurrection: but doth assign him the self-same day, to live {62.B.} eternally in his company.

The Anabaptists to trifle out this place do allege that which is said in another place, that a thousand years are as one day before the Lord. Which thing we grant unto them, but this must we consider, that when God speaketh unto men, he frameth his speech according unto their capacity. In such wise, that you shall never find in the scripture, that God hath at any time said: I will this day do this, meaning that he will do it a thousand years after.

In such manner when Jonah shewed the Ninevites, that after forty days their City should perish, it had been great folly for them, to have understood forty thousand years.[11]

Likewise when the Lord said, that he would rise again the third day, [Matt. 16.21,] we know he spake after the common manner of men. But I will cease from this matter, forasmuch as all men do see how much the Anabaptists have been beguiled in using of such evasions. They have yet another cavillation.

"Today" doth signify the time of the new testament. And to prove this, they abuse this sentence, which is in the Epistle to the Hebrews [13.8], that Jesus Christ which was yesterday, is today, and shall be forever.

But they see not, that if we would so expound the word this day, the word yesterday {63.A.} should signify the time of the old Testament, and so should it follow that the Lord Jesus did [then] begin to be, which were a great absurdity, forasmuch as we know that he is our eternal God, and also touching his humanity, he is called the Lamb sacrificed from the beginning of the world. [Rev. 13.8.]

Moreover, after [according to] their saying, we might conclude that they, whose sins Jesus Christ hath forgiven, ought to enter into heaven before the day of the resurrection. For the Apostle speaketh of three times, of the which the one, as I think, signifieth the day of the old testament, and the other signifieth the time which shall be from the renewing of the world. Therefore it resteth, that this word today, must signify the time in which we be, which is between the death of Jesus Christ & his last coming. And that they may the better know their beastliness, If Jesus Christ had promised heaven unto the thief for the day of Judgment, he ought to have said in the world to come, and not this day. For that is the scripture's manner of speaking. Who thinketh them not overcome by this clear reason? Yet is their impudency such, that they bring yet another reply, which is: that heaven is promised unto the thief, in like sort as death was pronounced to Adam and Eve, in what day soever they should eat of the fruit which was forbidden them. Now is it certain that they died not the same day, but long time after? I answer, that in the same {63.B.} instant that Adam transgressed the commandment of God, he died as touching the soul. Forasmuch as he was alienate [banished from society with God], which was his very life; and was made subject to bodily death. And thus, though we should receive their gloss: yet spite of their teeth, shall we have won this much of them, that in the selfsame day, the thief was delivered from the misery, in which Adam was fallen by his offence. In sum, we conclude, that even as death began to reign in Adam, from the day of his transgression: even so the thief, the same day in which the promise was made unto him, began to be restored into the beatitude of heaven.

We see that Paul lived in this hope, when he said, that he desired to be loosed to live with Christ. [Phil. 1.23.] First he useth an apt speech, in saying that the faithful man through death is delivered from the bands of his body, as in another place he doth more clearly express it. [Rom. 7.23.] Further, he addeth that his desire is to be with the Lord Christ, when his soul shall be separated from the body.

And indeed, if it be not this, these words which he speaketh in another place can not be true, that there is neither life nor death which can separate us from the love which God hath unto us, [Rom. 8.38,39.] For if we perish by death, or that our soul lose her life, how can the love of God consist towards us? But this is more plainly deduced in another place where he saith, We know that {64.A.} if our earthly house of the tabernacle of our body were destroyed, we have a building in heaven by God, which is not made with hands. Therefore being in this tabernacle, we mourn as being grieved, not that we desire to be unclothed: but clothed again, that our mortality might be swallowed up of life. Notwithstanding we be always of good courage, knowing that whiles we be in our bodies, we be as strangers from God, because we walk by faith and not by sight.

But we have this confidence, and desire to be separate from the body, and to be present with God [2 Cor. 5.1-8.]; Because there is made mention there, of the day of judgment, the Anabaptists do their endeavour to wrap up all there, that they might draw all the words of the Apostle unto that day. But they can not do so much, but that the truth will be yet more stronger, to maintain itself against their false accusations.

For the Apostle doth say expressly, that the faithful man departing from his body goeth to God, from whom he was absent in this world. After that he addeth, that as well absent, as present, we do our endeavour to please God, because we must all come before his judgment seat. That man is very obstinate, and more than hardened, against all reason, which will not consent unto these words. Now is it so [But it is so], that the Anabaptists, in place where Paul saith, that by death we approach to God, do {64.B.} make us believe that we recule [draw away] and be further off than in this present life.

☞ That so it is, it is written that he which believeth in the Son of God, shall not come into condemnation: but is already gone from death unto life. [John 5.24.] If life everlasting be already begun in us, what absurdity is it to say, that in death there is interruption. If we be already entered into the kingdom of God, for what cause should we be made go out again by death, or at the least, made go backward as the sea crabs?

The kingdom of God is in you, saith the Lord Jesus. [Luke 17.21.] What meaneth this, but that we have already the root of life, which can not be extinguished? And that is it which in another place he saith, This is the will of my Father, that whosoever doth believe in the Son, shall not perish: but hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up the last day. [John 6.40.]

☞ Also, whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6.54.] Note this that he doth promise unto us 2 things: everlasting life, and resurrection.

The Anabaptists do take the one of these members, & leave the other: as if they might be divided.

He speaketh yet more plainly in another place, saying, I am the resurrection & life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, he shall live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, he shall never die. [John 11.25,26.] {65.A.}

Also, whosoever keepeth my word, shall never see death. [John 8.51.] I pray you, is it possible to speak more plainly than this? And should a Christian man desire more stronger testimonies to settle his conscience with? Peradventure some man will object, that this is not true but only of faithful men. I grant that, and for my part, it sufficeth me to instruct the children of God, what shall be their condition after death. Howbeit hereafter will I speak of the reprobate.

But here we see what Jesus Christ doth promise unto us, if we be his: That in the middle of death, our spiritual life shall not be interrupted. But that more is, Paul declareth that it is even then, that it beginneth to be in its most strength. As our outward man, saith he, is corrupted, so is the inward man renewed from day to day. [2 Cor. 4.16.] By these words he declareth, that as this present life doth decline and become corruptible, so the life of the soul increaseth and is fortified more and more. Therefore it is contrary to this sentence, to esteem that the soul is quenched when the corporal life taketh end.

I will yet deduce this argument further. We must daily increase and profit in the Lord, advancing our souls always to approach unto him, as if we stepped this day one pace, and to morrow another. Or as if we did ascend by steps.

Now is it said for this present time, that we do walk in the brightness of his face. [Psalm 89.15.] Also, that his spirit doth bear us record, {65.B.} that we be his children. [Rom. 8.16.] If it so be, that in death, we do lose this brightness, and confidence which the holy Ghost giveth unto us, how shall we then advance ourselves? Likewise, Paul saith, that though we have our conversation in this world, yet is our habitation in heaven. [Phil. 3.20.]

Let us see if death may drive us out of the kingdom of God, wherein we had our abiding before, through hope. It is true that this mortal body is to us as a prison, to thrust down our soul so low, as captive to earthly things.

☞ Therefore is it meet that when she is gone forth of such a servitude into liberty, that she be more disposed to contemplate God more familiarly. And when she is lightened of such a burden, that she be more cheerful to lift herself up unto God. It is therefore too great a beastliness to lay them down soft, as do the Anabaptists, to make them sleep unto the day of the resurrection. Howbeit their errour is yet better convinced, by that [which] the scripture doth declare touching our regeneration.

[Calvin's Doctrine on the New Birth]

For when it pleaseth God to call us into the participation of his grace: he saith that he maketh us new creatures. [2 Cor. 5.17.] How is that? In that by the virtue of his Word and of his Spirit, he mortifieth the corruption of our nature, making us to be born again to live in his kingdom. Let us now hear what is the operation of the one and the other in us. Paul, going about to {66.A.} comfort us, saith, that though the body be dead because of sin, yet the spirit of the Lord Jesus dwelling in us is life, because of righteousness. [Rom. 8.10.] I know that this life is never perfect, whilst we are in this world, but seeing that the Spirit of God, is a spark of life, which is given unto us to quicken us more and more till we come unto perfection: it followeth that our life can never be quenched.

☞ As touching the Word, Peter speaketh yet more clearly, saying that it is a seed of immortality, yea an incorruptible seed, [1 Peter 1.23,] which God hath put into us, to exempt us from that condition wherein we be by nature, which is as Isaiah saith, that all flesh is hay, and all the glory of man is as the flower of the grass, because that when the Spirit of God doth blow on man, he is by and by withered and dried, and falleth wholly down. [Isa. 40.6,7.]

Now, after that the Prophet had thus spoken of us, he added by and by, the contrary, that the word of God abideth for ever. [Verse 8.] Peter doth allege this place, and sheweth that this eternity of the word of God is shewed in us, because that by the same we are born again, having it in our souls for an incorruptible seed, the which never rotteth nor withereth. [1 Peter 1.23-25.] What is it that may be replied against this, which shall not be things apparent, and already resolved; for we being regenerate by the grace of God, are brought into his kingdom, to {66.B.} live in cleaving to him without end.

To resolve this matter, there is nothing more meet nor more certain, than to consider what conjunction & unity we have with our Saviour Jesus. First, we know that in Baptism we be entered into his body, to be verily his members, and to feel in us such an effect of his virtue, as the branches of a tree do of their root. [1 Cor. 12.13, Gal. 3.27-29.] For we are so united unto him, that we are made one self-substance. And we need not allege any other probation than that which he hath spoken with his own mouth.

As I live, saith he, so shall you live. [John 14.19.] Now we know that the life of Jesus Christ is not temporal, nor yet by interposition of time. Therefore if we live as he liveth, it followeth that it must be without end. For it was necessary that he should die with us. And this is it that he spake before: He that eateth my flesh, & drinketh my blood, he dwelleth in me, & I in him. [John 6.56.] If Jesus Christ dwell in us, it followeth that forthwith life dwelleth in us: according to that which he spake before, as the Father hath life in himself: so hath he given unto his Son, to have life in himself. [John 5.26.] It is easy to see that the Anabaptists never tasted how we be joined to our Lord Jesus.

For the one principle is sufficient to overthrow their false & pernicious opinion, touching this fantastical sleep which they do attribute unto the souls.

For we see the deduction which Paul hath {67.A.} made to the contrary, where he saith, that we be already citizens of heaven, being set in heavenly places with the Lord Jesus. [Eph. 2.6; Phil. 3.20.] Therefore let us hold us fast by that which Paul hath said, that we be dead touching the world, and that our life is hid with Christ in God. [Col. 3.3.]

Now, by this he signifieth that which in another place he saith: I live no more, but Christ liveth in me. [Gal. 2.20.] Let us hold I say, this resolution, that we having an inseparable conjunction with our Lord Jesus Christ, be partakers of the life which is permanent in him. And let us have in remembrance, that he being raised up, dieth no more, and that death hath no more power over him, not only touching his person: but also touching his members. [Rom. 6.8-11.]

¶ It is true, that there is this difference, that in him death is wholly vanquished; in us only in part. Notwithstanding, so much is she vanquished in us, that she can never exercise her power. And thus while we abide [await] the accomplishment of our redemption, let us not doubt but that the same beginning which is in our souls shall continue ever.

Hitherto have we proved by sufficient testimonies, how the souls being separated from the bodies, do notwithstanding live in God; and have reproved the errour of the Anabaptists, which would make us believe, that they do sleep, being dead without any feeling. {67.B.}

Now to satisfy the request of all men, as much as in us is: there resteth [remaineth] that we do briefly shew what we ought to think touching the estate and condition where they be. And first I protest, that I will speak thereof more soberly than many would. For I know what curiosity there is in many which would that a man should describe it unto them unto the uttermost, even unto the chambers and cabins where the souls be, abiding the day of judgment.

They which would be fed with such fables, shall be deceived, if they seek them at me. For I had leuer [rather] keep myself to the simplicity of the scripture, to shew that which is expedient to know, than to wander abroad in the air, to appear subtle. Now the Lord foreseeing that it was not needful for us to have a more ample understanding of this matter, was content to teach us simply, that when our souls be departed from their bodies, they do notwithstanding live in him, abiding the accomplishment of their beatitude and glory, in the day of the judgment, as shall be hereafter shewed. Let us abide therefore by this, and whatsoever declaration we shall make, let us not pass this measure as touching this sentence.

But to proceed more plainly, let us begin at the distinction, which is between the souls of the faithful, and the souls of the reprobate. When the Apostle said in the epistle unto the Hebrews, that unto them which had cast off Jesus Christ, & had willingly turned from {68.A.} him, after they had known the truth, there remaineth nothing but a looking-for of terrible Judgment, [Heb. 10.26,27,] it is manifest that he speaketh not only for this present life, but had a greater respect unto the life to come. For the wicked do not always in this world, conceive the Judgment of God, to be astonished, and to have horror, but when death cometh, they cannot escape but they shall be holden fast with this fear and astonishment, knowing the vengeance which is ordained for them.

And this is also testified by Peter and Jude, where they say, that God hath not spared his own Angels, which fell from their original [state or condition]: but hath cast them into dark prisons, keeping them shut up, to preserve them unto the great day. [2 Peter 2.4; Jude 6.] In declaring unto us the condition of the devils, they shew unto us likewise, what is the condition of the wicked. For it is one self [same] reason. Thus we see that the soul of an infidel, being departed from the body, is as a malefactor which hath already received the sentence of condemnation, and abideth the hour that he should be led forth to the gallows to be put in execution.

It is true, that also during this present life, the wicked are sometimes tormented with many remorses of their conscience, and the Judgment of God doth persecute them: but forasmuch as they do make themselves drunk with vain cogitations, as though they might flee and escape it, they {68.B.} are not altogether God’s prisoners: but are as vagabonds fleeing the presence of the Judge.

After death it is not so. For God holdeth them as in chains, in such wise that they see well what punishment is prepared for them, out of which there is no way to escape. Therefore they be in extreme anguish, abiding the execution of their judgment. It is not in us to determine the place where they be, and we need not to care for it.

☞ And on the other side, we may not Imagine, that the Souls be like unto the bodies that must have a certain space, for a place. Let it suffice us to know that they be in hell, as it is said of the wicked rich man: that is to say, in torment, and as it were in fire because they feel themselves cast out from God, and do abide yet a further revelation of his great wrath. [Luke 16.19-21.]

☞ By this it is easy to conclude what is the estate of the faithful souls. Whiles we be in this world, it is true that our consciences have joy and rest in God: but because they are continually agitated with divers temptations, this rest is unquieted with many cares.

☞ Moreover because our health consisteth in hope, it is hid to us, in such wise that we do not walk in vision, as saith Paul [2 Cor. 5.7]: but after death, because all our fight is ended, and that our enemies can assault us no more, we are as in a place of greater surety. {69.A.}

Moreover, we do no more hope then, as we do now, that is to say, above & against hope: but we do abide the felicity, which we do feel & see in part. It is certain, that after this manner the soul of Lazarus received Joy and consolation, and that in the middle of the miseries of this world he was all his life long comforted in God. But the Lord doth specify a certain joy which the faithful soul hath after death, in seeing herself delivered from all fragility, from diffidence, from all evil concupiscences, and from all dangers of temptations, which do daily happen unto us. Also, in having more clear and certain knowledge of her beatitude and immortal glory. So when we would with one word express the condition of the faithful souls after death, we may say that they be at rest; not that they be in perfect beatitude or glory: but because they be contented with the joy and consolation which God giveth to them, whilst they do abide the day of the last redemption.

☞ If any man will that this thing be declared unto him by similitude, [1] the time in which we dwell in this mortal body, is like unto the time of war; when [2] we be unclothed of our flesh, the battle ceaseth and taketh end, and we have the victory. But [3] the day of triumph shall be when Jesus Christ shall appear in his majesty, that we may reign eternally with him. But because such similitudes are only to make the thing plain, and be not of authority: {69.B.} we will take one out of the Scripture, which shall not only serve to teach, but also to prove our doctrine true. We know how Paul doth allegorically treat the issue of the people of Israel out of Egypt, and their passing through the Red Sea. [1 Cor. 10.] Following this, let us understand that in baptism our Pharaoh is plunged in the sea: that is to say, our old man is mortified, and we are buried with Christ; by that means made free from the bondage of sin. But from thence we go into the desert, in which we have our conversation during this mortal life: For we are poor and indigent, but for that the Lord giveth unto us daily his graces, as he did cause manna to rain from heaven unto the people of Israel; when death cometh we do enter into the land of promise, which thing is not done without great difficulty.

For it is then that we most suffer the greatest and perilous assaults. Now after that the children of Israel were entered into the land of promise, it was a great while after ere Jerusalem were builded, and that the Kingdom of the house of David was ordained: after this manner the faithful souls, have immediately after death a certain rejoicing, of the heritage which is promised unto them: but because the glory of Jesus Christ their King, doth not yet appear, [Heb. 2.8,] and that the heavenly city of God is not yet established in her estate, they abide unto the day in which the same shall be. {70.A.}

☞ All these things are evident in Holy Scripture, unto all such as will not be rebels unto God; and this doctrine hath not only good approbation of the Scripture, but also of the ancient doctors: amongst whom Tertullian saith, as well the reward of the good, as the punishment of the evil, be in suspense unto the resurrection. Nevertheless in divers places he affirmeth, that the souls of the faithful do there whiles, live in God. And therefore in another place he saith, Wherefore shall we not take the bosom of Abraham, for a receptacle of souls, for a time, the which doth represent unto us that there is a double reward, the one immediately after death, and the other at the day of the last judgment? And Irenaeus saith, Seeing that the Lord Jesus is entered into the shadow of death, where the souls of the dead were, and afterward rose again corporally, & ascended into heaven: it is very true that the souls of his disciples, for whom he did this thing, shall go after death into an invisible place which is by God ordained for them, and shall abide there, waiting in patience, the day of the resurrection.

Then shall they be joined to their bodies, to come before the face of the Lord. For no Disciple is above his Master.

Chrysostom understood what goodness and privilege this is to us, that Abraham and Paul be set down abiding the perfection of the church, that they may receive their reward. {70.B.}

For the father shewed unto them that he would not give them their reward, until we be come tither too, as a father of an household, would say at any time unto his children coming from their labour, that they should abide from eating until their other brethren were come.

Thou art not contented that thou hast not already received thy reward; what shall Abel then do, which hath won this price long time before thee, and hath not yet his crown? What shall Noah and the other Patriarchs do? for they have tarried for us unto this day, and shall yet abide the other that shall come after.

They went before us in the battle, but they shall not be crowned before us. For there is one day appointed, wherein all the children of God shall be crowned together.

Augustine writeth that the souls of the Saints be in secret receptacles until they shall receive the crown of glory in the day of judgment. And contrariwise the souls of the wicked in abiding their punishment. [City of God.] And in an Epistle which he wrote to Jerome,

The soul, saith he, after bodily death shall have rest, and then after that shall take again her body, that she may have glory. Bernard: the sweetener which the souls of the saints have at this present is great, but it is not yet perfect: for it shall be made perfect, when they shall sit on seats as judges: when they have put off their bodies, they be {71.A.} forthwith brought into rest: but not into the glory of the kingdom. And in his sermon following, he prosecuteth still the same argument, saying that there be three estates of the soul. The first in the body as in a tabernacle. The second after death, as in the porch of the temple. The third in heaven with his glorified body. Who that would know more, Let him read the second and third sermon upon Athallon day.

Briefly, this is the perpetual doctrine which hath always continued in Christ’s church, without any contradiction, that as we live in God through faith, whilst we are in this mortal life, Even so after death we have Joy and consolation in knowing more clearly, and seeing, as it were, at the eye, the heavenly beatitude, which he hath promised unto us: the which we do contemplate here, as it were in a glass, & by a dark understanding. [1 Cor. 13.12.]

This blind opinion of the Anabaptists touching the sleeping of souls, was never heard of, but by a sort of heretics called Arabiques, and by John [XXII], pope of Rome, which was not past an [two] hundred & thirty years agone. But because it is a thing so contrary both to man’s sense, and unto our Christian faith, thus to cast the souls into a slumber, in the time when they are more near to God, to have more perfect understanding of his goodness: all Christendom hath had this fantasy in horror, Therefore all they which will yield themselves conformable unto God {71.B.} his word, do abide in that which I have already shewed by the scriptures, and do meditate this goodly promise, that the Just shall blossom as the Date tree, and shall be multiplied as the Cedar of Lebanon, that they which are planted in the house of the Lord, shall blossom and bring forth their fruit, that they shall be fat and strong in their age. [Psalm 92.12-14.]

Therefore seeing that we know that our age is renewed in us, through the grace of God by miraculous strength, let us not fear when we see whole nature fail. But rather let us sing with David, My soul, bless thou the Lord, which filleth thy mouth with good things, and maketh thee young again like the Eagle. [Psalm 103.1,5.] And to this, we have the prayer which the Lord Jesus made to his father for the same purpose, saying, Father I desire that those which thou hast given me, may be with me to see my glory. [John 17.24.]

Now, as we have sufficiently proved the true doctrine, touching the immortality of the souls, so on the other side is it necessary to answer to those places, which the Anabaptists do bring forth to ground their errors on.

First, they allege that the description which the scripture maketh of man’s soul, agreeth with the same of Beasts, as where it is said, that God hath created the great whales, and every living soul. [Gen. 1.21.] Also that the beasts entered by couples into the Ark, all that had spirit of life. [Gen. 7.15.] And to confirm this, they help themselves with that which {72.A.} Paul saith, that in this life man is corruptible, mortal, and animal: But he shall rise again incorruptible, immortal, and spiritual, as it is written, that the first man was made in a living soul. [1 Cor. 15.42-45.] I grant that this title of living soul, is oftentimes attribute to beasts, because they also do live in their kind. But there is great diversity between them and men. For in man, the soul by which he knoweth, judgeth, and hath discretion, is called living. The Soul of beasts hath none other faculty, but to give moving unto their bodies.

Therefore it is no marvel, if the soul of man which hath reason, understanding, will, and other powers distinct from the body, do subsist being separate from the body, whereas the souls of beasts do perish, forsomuch as they have only but corporal sense.

☞ For this cause Paul allegeth the testimony of Aratus an Heathen Poet, which saith that we are the lineage of God, to declare the excellency of our souls. [Acts 17.28,29.] Touching that Paul putteth difference between a living soul, and a living spirit: [this] is not done, to declare that the soul which we now have, doth perish, but only to declare, how much more power there shall be after the resurrection, that is to wit, that we shall be like unto the Angels of God, living without meat, and drink, not being subject to any mutation or fragility. [Mark 12.25.]

☞ They do yet further allege the vision {72.B.} of Ezekiel, where the Prophet, writing of the resurrection, doth say, that God calleth the spirit from the four winds to inspire life into the dead bones. [Ezek. 37.9.]

But the solution is easy: that Ezekiel after the manner accustomed of the Prophets, useth an exterior figure to signify the soul of man, as in his first vision, speaking of the spirit of God, he calleth him also wind. Whoso would upon that, reason that the spirit of God were not an essence, were far wide.

Therefore it is great folly of these mad men, that they do not observe this manner of speech, which is so common throughout all the whole scripture.

☞ Their third Argument is, that though the soul were created immortal, yet through sin she hath lost her immortality, as Paul doth say, that the reward of sin is death. [Rom. 6.23.]

But first I ask whether the devil have not received the same reward? And yet is he not so dead, but that he always watcheth and busily seeketh whom he may devour. [1 Pet. 5.8.] Secondly I ask, whether this death take end or no?

For if it have no end, will they nill they, they must needs grant me, that the souls through death do not cease to feel the eternal fire, and the worms that gnaweth them. It appeareth therefore, that the soul doth not die, but that she hath feeling of her evil. {73.A.}

Touching the body it is said, that it shall return to the earth, whence it is come, there to rot. [Gen. 3.19; Eccl. 12.7.] But the death of the Soul, is to be put from God, and to be confounded with the feeling of his ire, as the Apostle declareth, saying, Awake thou that sleepest, rise from death, and Christ shall illumine thee. [Eph. 5.14.] It is evident that he speaketh not to the insensible body: but unto those which being buried in sin, do bear Death and Hell with them. Moreover we have already shewed, that the thing which we have lost in Adam, is restored in Jesus Christ. For that thing which was shewed before by the prophets, that he should destroy death for ever [Hos. 13.14,] and that he should swallow it up [1 Cor. 15.54]: the Apostles have declared that it is fulfilled. He hath destroyed death saith Paul, and hath given life through the Gospel. [2 Tim. 1.10.]

Again if death have reigned through one man’s fault, they which have received abundance of grace shall reign in life through Jesus Christ. [Rom. 5.17.] This one sentence is sufficient to stop their mouths. For seeing that the death which is come through Adam is abolished by Christ, the whole question lieth in the comparison which Paul maketh there. Which is, that the virtue of Jesus Christ is of greater strength to restore, than was Adam's to destroy. Which thing in that place he doth well declare. And following that which he spake, he addeth further after, that there is no damnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, {73.B.} which walk not after the flesh. [Rom. 8.1.] And indeed if death should have dominion over the souls of the faithful, the grace of God should not have his reign, which importeth life, as he saith: but rather the law of God should exercise his power over them, which is contrary to the whole doctrine of the Scripture.

¶ They do also abuse themselves with this, that oftentimes this word sleep is taken for death: as where it is said of Stephen, that he fell asleep in the Lord. [Acts 7.60.]

Again, Lazarus our friend sleepeth. [John 11.11.] Again, sorrow you not for them that sleep. [1 Thes. 4.13.] And indeed this manner of speech is more frequent in the Histories of the Bible, than any other. I answer, that this sleep appertaineth nothing unto the Soul, but ought wholly to be understood of the body. For there are two speeches which be understood in one self-sense, to sleep with his fathers, and to be with his fathers. [Deut. 31.16; 1 Kings 1.21; 1 Chron. 17.11.]

Now when it is said that a man is put unto his fathers, it is plain that it is meant of his Sepulchre. I would have no man believe this, except I can prove my saying by good witness of the Scriptures. When Job said, Behold, I sleep in dust, [Job 7.21,] he meant not that his soul should sleep there. So when he saith in another place, that all men shall sleep in the dust together, and that the worms shall cover them, [Job 21.26]: it may not be understood but of the bodies. Alike meaning is in these words of David, where he saith, that {74.A.} he was like unto the dead sleeping in their Sepulchres. [Psalm 88.5] And Esaias speaking to Nebuchadnezzar saith, All other kings have slept in their glory, and were put into their places: but thou art cast out of thy Sepulchre. [Isa. 14.18,19.]

☞ Therefore in a sum, we see that this word sleep, is by similitude applied unto the bodies, which are without moving when the souls are separate from them. And this is a manner of speaking, which the Pagans always used. And therefrom cometh also, that we call the place of burial, a Cemetery, which doth signify a place of sleeping; not that our elders did think, that the souls were there asleep, but because the bodies be there laid to rest in their Sepulchres, as in beds. Alike understanding must we have, of a certain place in Job, wherewith they mightily defend themselves, where he saith, that after man is once fallen asleep, that he shall not walk, nor rise up till the Heaven be changed. [Job 14.12.]

☞ They do likewise make themselves a buckler, with a sentence of Solomon, which maketh more against them, than any other in all Holy Scripture. And indeed I would not now bring it forth to serve my purpose, were it not that they do so impudently use it as though it made for them. The words be these,

I have said in my heart of the sons of men, that God hath shewed them like {74.B.} unto beasts. Therefore the death of man is such, as the death of a beast, and there condition is like. The one doth breathe like as doth the other, and they do die after one manner, and man hath nothing more than have the beasts. Both are subject unto vanity, and do return into one place. They come from the earth, and shall to the earth return. Who knoweth whether the spirit of men do ascend, and the spirit of beasts doth descend? [Eccl. 3.18-21.]

To this I answer, as I have before said that Solomon could not speak more expressly for us. For going about to reprove the vanity of man’s sense, he saith that man by his natural reason, and by that which he seeth, cannot comprehend wherein he doth differ from beasts; And chiefly what excellency he hath above them after death. For the immortality of Souls is a thing which doth surmount his capacity.

Therefore seeing that man is reproved as vain, because he knoweth not that his spirit doth ascend, that is to say, is immortal, whereas the spirits of beasts do go into corruption and perish: we must needs conclude that the true wisdom is to comprehend the immortality of the Souls.

This text is like that which he addeth anon after, that a man knoweth not whether he be beloved, or hated of God, but that this thing is secret and hid, because all things come indifferently to good and evil. [Eccl. 9.1,2.] Now seeing all things are uncertain, I ask {75.A.} whether the faithful man, when he is in adversity and tribulation, shall think that God doth hate him? It is very true, that he doth not hate him. For this promise is made unto him, that it is for his health, that he might comfort himself and rejoice, being sure that tribulation is rather a sign of God’s fatherly love, than of his hatred. But Solomon speaketh of the opinion which we might have after man’s understanding. Therefore are all men vanity. We must therefore have recourse to God and to his word. For a little after he sheweth what cometh unto them that be in this fantasy, that is, that their hearts are filled with ungodliness and contempt of God: because they have this proverb, That a quick [living] dog is better than a dead Lion. [Eccl. 9.4.] Now he himself in the end of his book doth shew what we ought to think touching this matter, That is, that the body doth return unto the earth whence it came: and the spirit doth go to God which gave it. [Eccl. 12.7.]

They do principally ground themselves upon that the scripture saith, that we shall receive in the last day every man according to his works. [Matt. 16.27; Rev. 20.12,13.] For they do reason thus: Seeing that God, when he speaketh of our beatitude, and of the life everlasting, doth remit us unto the last day; And contrariwise when he threateneth the wicked he saith that he will take vengeance in that day; it is evident that unto that time the good shall not receive their reward, nor the {75.B.} wicked shall be punished. Otherwise it were in vain said, that then shall be saved all those that are written in the book of life.

Also that it shall be said unto the elect, Come and possess the kingdom. [Dan. 12.1; Matt. 25.34.] Therefore do they conclude, that seeing we shall not enter into the possession of our salvation unto the day of the last resurrection: that in the mean time our souls do sleep, & have no manner of Joy of their beatitude.

I answer that it is not a good consequence; For, though the Soul be not in glory: yet doth it not follow, that they do not live in God, whiles they do abide the revelation of the same.

And for a more full solution of this place, I would the readers should remember what I have before said, that is, that our beatitude is always in the way, unto that day. We all agree in this, that the perfection of our beatitude, is to be perfectly joined to God. And it is the mark whereunto all the promises of God do send us. For that which in times passed was said to Abraham, is also directed unto us, That is, that God is our reward. [Gen. 15.1.] This is then the end of our beatitude, of our glory and health, to be[long] all wholly to God, to possess him, and that he be altogether in us.

Now is it so that this thing shall not be accomplished before the day of the resurrection. Therefore it is not without a cause that it is called the day of health. [2 Cor. 6.2.] It is therefore said, that we shall then possess the kingdom {76.A.} of God, not that we shall not in part possess it before, (as now at this present we do possess it through hope,) but because that then we shall have the full and perfect Revelation.

But to make short, that which we have before said, might suffice for the solution of their argument. That is, that we are always in a wait and desire, until Jesus Christ do appear in our full Redemption, to receive us into the immortality and glory of his kingdom. Nevertheless in the mean while, we cease not to have our life hid in him before God as saith Paul. [Col. 3.3.]

☞ It should appear that we had sufficiently answered unto them touching the day of the resurrection: were it not that they do prosecute the matter further, bringing forth the sentence of Paul, where he saith, that we be of all men most miserable, if we shall not rise again. [1 Cor. 15.19.]

They say that this can in no wise be true, if we be blessed before the resurrection. I answer that Paul had respect unto the end of the hope of the faithful, that is, that at the day of the resurrection they shall receive that which God hath promised unto them, and so if there were no Resurrection, they should be void of all their hope.

☞ We say also, that the Souls of the faithful are blessed in waiting for that day, but that is through their looking and {76.B.} waiting for it, which being frustrate and vain, it must needs follow that they are unhappy. Seeing that all the blessedness of the children of God proceedeth and hangeth of this, that in the day of the resurrection they shall be like unto God, and enjoy their heritage, It is no marvel if Paul do say, that they should be more unhappy than the rest of the world, if there shall be no resurrection.

☞ And indeed, in one manner sense, he putteth these two things: that there is no resurrection, and that our hope should be only in this world. I doubt not but that every man seeth plainly, that this sentence of Paul is nothing against us. For he saith, that if we be deceived in our hope which we have of the resurrection: that we be unhappy. And we say that the souls of the faithful are right happy through the same hope, without which we confess that they can have no Joy nor blessedness. In this there is no contradiction.

☞ They object yet more against us, that which is written in the epistle to the Hebrews, of the Ancient Fathers, how that they departed in faith, without receiving the promises: but saluted them afar off, and confessed themselves to be strangers upon the earth. [Heb. 11.13.]

Now in saying thus, they do signify that they sought their heritage and natural country, in that they had no mind of {77.A.} that country from whence they came: they might have returned: but they desired a better: that is to say from heaven. [Verses 14-16.] This text is wickedly depraved by them, through false glosses, in that they do refer this to the present time: where the Apostle speaketh of the time when the Patriarchs were conversant in this world. Howbeit touching the purpose of our matter, I am right well content to allow their gloss. They make their argument thus, if Abraham and the other fathers do desire the heavenly heritage, then they have it not yet. I reply to the contrary, that if they have a desire, then do they live, and have feeling [awareness] of good and evil. Where is their sleeping then? Thus we see that they be contrary to themselves like little children. Touching the rest, I will well the Apostle saith afterward, that all the ancient fathers, have not yet received that which in this world they looked for, because God hath ordained, that they without us should not be made perfect. [Heb. 11.39,40.] And this is it that we say, that all the consolation which the faithful souls have, is reduced to this glorious immortality, in which, we shall all at one time, be gathered together, when Jesus Christ shall appear in judgment. These places which hereafter I will recite shall declare, how these fantasticals do heap together all the cavillations that they can, and that impudently, to have some appearance to colour their error. If the souls (say they) being separate from their bodies {77.B.} do live with God, then did saint Peter great injury to Tabitha in raising her up, seeing it was a withdrawing of her from the company of God, and from the blessed life, when he brought her again into this sea of miseries. [Acts 9.36-43.] I answer, that this argument maketh as much against them, as against us. For if she slept without feeling any evil, we may say that it was not for her profit, to come from such a rest, to enter into the fights of this present life. I might require of them the solution of this argument. But I know that it were vain to tarry for any good solution of them. Touching us, our answer is easy: that which Paul spake of himself is common to all faithful men. That is, that it is profitable for us to die, & that it is for our advantage to be with Christ. [Phil. 1.21-23.] And yet notwithstanding, he saith that God when he healed Epaphroditus of his sickness, and delivered him from death, had pity on him, although he were of the number of the faithful. [Phil. 2.27.] The Anabaptists do say that this is a cruelty if the souls do live after death.

☞ We say that it is a merciful deed when it pleaseth God to be magnified in us in this corporal life, making us instruments of his glory.

Moreover it is not said that Tabitha was raised up for her own commodity: but at the request of the poor which {78.A.} wept for the losses that they had by her death. Therefore let us abide fast by this, that the Lord doeth always unto us a singular grace when he maketh us to live, and die to him.

☞ Let us come to the testimonies which they allege of David, although I be ashamed to rehearse them, because they do abuse them so childishly. But yet must I rehearse them, because they go about to deceive the simple with them. They do allege this sentence: I have said, you are gods and sons of the most highest, yet shall you die like men. [Psalm 82.6,7.]

They do expound thus, that the faithful are there called gods: but yet do they like the reprobate, and that there condition is like until the day of judgment. But we have the exposition of Christ [John 10.35,] that in that place, is mention made of princes, and ministers of Justice which have the title of gods: because that in their estate, they are as his lieutenants. And though our saviour Jesus Christ had spoken nothing thereof, yet the phrase of scripture doth declare it plainly. And the text itself is so plain, that it beareth his gloss with it. For, there are reproved all such as exercise tyranny and iniquity, and it is said to them that they must die, and be deprived of that dignity which they have, and must give an account to God, as well as the least of all. {78.B.}

They allege also this text: put not your trust in men; the spirit of man goeth, and returneth into his earth, and in that day shall perish all their cogitations. [Psalm 146.3,4.] They take this word spirit for wind, as though there were none other soul in man. Then do they make their argument thus: If man's cogitations do perish, it must follow that the soul doth sleep, or else that it is nothing. I answer, that the spirit of man, doth signify another thing than breath, as I have right well proved before. But were it so, that this word in this place were taken in such a signification, as it is taken in some other places: yet should it not therefore follow that man hath none other soul but breath.

Touching that it is is said, that the cogitations do perish: that doth import none other thing, but that the enterprises of men are dissipate by death, and vanish as smoke as it is said in another place, [Psalm 112.10,] that the desires of sinners shall perish, to signify that they shall not come to their effect. Therefore David saith not, that men shall think nothing after their death, but he meaneth that all their deliberations shall come to nothing.

They allege another place almost like this: he hath remembered that they are but flesh, a spirit that goeth and returneth not again. [Psalm 78.39.] Now, I grant, that in this place this word spirit doth signify wind, or breath. But I do deny that this place doth make {79.A.} anything for the confirmation of their error. For by this manner of speech, the prophet would express the fragility of our estate and condition, and the shortness of man's life. It is said in the history of Job, that man is as a flower springing out of the earth which incontinent withereth, and as a shadow passeth away. [Job 14.2.]

☞ Esaias commandeth all preachers to cry, that all flesh is but grass. [Isa. 40.6.] If the Anabaptists do out of this conclude, that the soul withereth away: they do see more clearly than did Peter, which proveth that the souls of the faithful are immortal [1 Peter 1.23]: because the Prophet immediately addeth, that the word of God abideth forever. [Verse 8.]

There is a like reason in this, which is spoken in another Psalm [103.13-16]: As a father hath pity of his children, even so hath the Lord had pity of his servants. For he knoweth whereof we are made. He doth remember that we be dust, that our days be as grass whereof the flowers doth quickly wither away. That the spirit passeth in us, and tarrieth not, and knoweth no more his place. In all these sentences, let us note that man is admonished of his frailty, chiefly when God withdraweth his hand, and his virtue from him: that he should know that he is nothing, and less than nothing, if that God do not keep and preserve him by his grace. And indeed, when we say that the souls are immortal, we intend not by that saying to derogate anything from {79.B.} God's title, the which as Paul saith, is only immortal. [1 Tim. 6.16.] But we rather think it a blasphemy so to attribute immortality unto the soul, as if she by her proper virtue did subsist. But in the meanwhile we must consider what property and nature God hath given to the souls: and that is, by his hand to subsist, for to be in beatitude immortal, or in malediction.

☞ But they think that they have a very strong weapon, of this which is spoken in another Psalm [88.11,12]: wilt thou do a miracle in raising up the dead, that they may praise thee. Shall any man in the grave shew forth thy mercy, or thy righteousness in the Land of forgetfulness?

Again, the dead praise not thee, oh Lord, neither yet all they that do descend into the grave. But we that live shall praise God. [Psalm 115.17,18.] Again, what profit shall there be in my blood when I shall descend into corruption? Shall the dust praise thee, or shall it shew forth thy verity? [Psalm 30.9.] Also that which Hezekiah saith in his song: The grave shall not praise thee, and the death shall not give glory to thee. They which descend down shall not look for thy verity. The living, the living shall confess. The father shall declare unto his son thy verity. [Isa. 38.18,19.]

For solution hereof, there are two things to be noted: the one is, that by death, we may not simply understand the common death by which we must all pass: but a death which is a punishment expressed, and sign of the wrath of God, & {80.A.} which doth import a rejection of men, for [to] destroy them utterly. The second where it is said, that the dead shall not praise thee, it is meant of that praise of God, which is done among those men which have felt his grace.

As touching the first, it is true that this word hell doth oftentimes signify a grave as we have also translated it. But they which are exercised in the scripture, are not ignorant but that which I have said, is signified by these words death and grave. And that chiefly in the Psalms. Therefore those whom God hath rejected, and whom he chasteneth in his wrath, not only touching their bodies, but much more touching their souls, are called dead, and the anguish which they feel is called a grave, as when it is said, Let the death come upon them, and let them descend alive into the grave. [Psalm 55.15.] Again, Lord God if thou cease to help me, I shall be like unto them that go down into the grave. [Psalm 28.1.]

Again, Lord thou hast drawn my soul out of the grave, and hast delivered me from them which are laid in the grave. Again, let sinners be cast into the grave, and all people which forget God. Again, if God had not holpen me, my soul had dwelled in the grave. Again, our bones were scattered near to the grave. Again, he hath placed me in an obscure place like the dead. [Psalms 30.3; 94.17; 141.7; 143.3.]

As contrariwise it is said they live, to whom God sheweth his mercy. {80.B.}

The Lord, saith David in another place, hath ordained benediction and everlasting life, among his people. Again, delivering their souls from death, and nourishing them in time of famine. [Psalm 133.3; 33.19.]

Again, God shall pluck thee from thy tabernacle, and thy root from the Land of the living. Again, I shall please the Lord in the Land of the living. [Psalm 52.5; 116.9.]

But there is one text among the rest, which doth so well express both meanings, that it shall suffice us for all together. Shall man pay a price for his Soul, that he may live ever? Shall he not see death, seeing that wise men do die? Fools and wise men say I, shall die together: they shall be laid in grave like sheep, and death shall devour them. But the righteous shall have rule over them in the morning: their strength shall perish in the Sepulchre, and their glory shall [fade] and the Lord shall draw my soul from the power of the grave. [Psalm 49.7, &c.]

The sum of this Psalm is, that all such as put trust in their riches or strength shall all die, as well the poor as the rich, as well the fool as the wise: but he that trusteth in God, shall be delivered from the grave. These things well marked, we have a solution for all the places which the Anabaptists do allege.

☞ It is therefore declared, how the Saints being astonished for the apprehension of death, do desire God to withdraw [rescue] them. {81.A.}

How cometh it that they have such an horror? Let us behold all the ensamples of the faithful: we Read not that they did make any great complaints or lamentations when the time was come, that they should die, but did submit themselves to the good will of God, in patience, I say also David and Hezekiah. Wherefore then have they used such complaints in the places above alleged? But only because in death they did conceive the wrath and severity of God, the which did astonish them, and not without a cause.

Now there is no doubt, but that the man which feeleth the rigour of God, and is persecuted by his vengeance, cannot praise him: forasmuch as we cannot give him hearty thanks, except we feel his goodness. Secondly, where it is said in these places, [Isa. 38.18,] that the dead do not praise God, that is not meant that they do not praise him in their mind: but is meant, that they cannot tell his praises unto others. Which thing the words which are there put, do import: for to shew it, to tell it, and to declare it to their children, doth signify with the mouth to celebrate the benefits of God, that the world may [so] understand them.

☞ They bring yet more two verses out of the Psalms. The one is, I will praise thee Lord in my life. I will sing to my God while I am. Again, go from me that I may take courage, until I go hence, and be no more. [Psalm 104.33; 39.13.] In place of the first text, I will {81.B.} bring them forth five others, to prove the contrary of that which they pretend. Lord God I will confess thee everlastingly. [Psalm 30.12.] Again, I will bless the Lord always; His praise shall be ever in my mouth. [Psalm 34.1.] Again, I will praise thee everlastingly, for those things which thou hast done. [Psalm 52.9.] Again, I will ever praise thy name, and in the world of worlds. [Psalm 145.1.] Again, I will ever sing Psalms unto thy name, and in the world of worlds. [Psalm 61.8.] David saith not that he will praise the Lord only during this present life: but he promiseth to do the same without end. What meaneth he then in the other places? Some man will answer that he doth promise to praise the Lord whilst he liveth. I answer that, that doth not exclude the praises which the saints do give after their death: because the manner of their praising of God, is other than ours. Touching the second place, they be the words of a man pressed with anguish of conscience, the which desireth of God, if he have deserved to be thrust down, that he may be [left alone] but once, as we have a like example of Job, where he saith to God, Let me alone that I may a little bewail my sorrow, and whilst I go to the region of darkness, where there is nothing but confusion, and eternal horror. [Job 10.20-22.] This maketh nothing to the purpose, to prove that the souls have an end.

There be yet other places in the history of Job which they do wrest to their purpose, which I will briefly touch as they shall come to my purpose. The first is, Wherefore {82.A.} did I not die in the matrix [womb], or why did I not perish coming out of my mother's womb? For then should I now sleep in silence, and should rest in my sleep, where I should be as a child born before the time, and as those which being conceived, do not come to perfection of life. I should be in the place where both great & small do rest. [Job 3.11-19.] But if I should allege against them the 14th chapter of Isaiah, where he describeth the dead, coming before the King of Babylon to mock him, what would they answer unto me? But I will pass that over, and content myself with the simple exposition of Job, which is this: He being pressed down to the uttermost, and almost overcome with his burden, had no respect, but only to his present misery: and therefore he maketh it greater than all other things. Therefore he had not death in horror, but rather desired it, as that which is the end of all misery, having no respect to that which doth follow after death. And this is the manner of all such as be compassed with great anguish and dolour. For if in the great heats of the summer we desired a great frost, and again in winter, having forgotten how much the heat did grieve us, would desire that it might be very hot, it were no great marvel though a vehement passion did drive us to such a desire. Let us now therefore see, what a man, persecuted by the hand of God, may do: that is, whether he may not in such wise be transported that he forget altogether [everything] by reason of his dolour. {82.B.}

There is a like reason in many other sentences which he afterward speaketh, as be these which do follow: Remember, Lord, that my life is but wind, and that mine eye shall not return to see his good. Again, there remaineth nothing for me but the grave. Again, all that belongeth unto me, shall descend into the depth of the pit, and such like places. [Job 7.7; 17.1; 17.16.] For we see here, that Job being compassed with the distress which he felt, because that God did persecute him in his wrath, had nothing before his eyes but confusion, and took death but as an abolishment of his whole life, having no respect to that which doth follow after, as we have said.

[Conclusion of Discussion on Soul-Sleep]

Wherefore to conclude by this, that the soul of man perisheth with the body, is not only a most shameful beastliness, but also a most shameless boldness. Wherefore in this, and in all the rest, I think I have so evidently reproved all that which the Anabaptists do pretend, to give colour to their wicked opinion, that I may well make an end of this matter.

[Conclusion of Treatise Against the Anabaptists]

I protested in the beginning, and not without a cause, that mine intent was not to entreat of all the opinions which the Anabaptists do hold: for that were to enter into a forest which hath none end. And besides that it shall not greatly need. It were an enterprise more curious than profitable: to heap together all the foolish fantasies which every foolish head among them hath imagined. I thought it therefore sufficient, briefly {83.A.} to treat, as faithfully as I could, those articles, that they commonly hold which have the most subtle wit, or at the least be the least brainless among the whole sect. For touching those which name themselves Libertines, which are wholly mad and without wit, I will reserve them to another treatise.

Now for conclusion, I beseech all christian readers, to examine this wholly by the scriptures: as by that which is the true touchstone to examine all doctrines. I doubt not but that whosoever will suffer himself to be led by the truth of God, and will submit himself to reason, shall find sufficiently wherewith to be satisfied, touching the articles which I have here entreated of.

Besides this I have endeavoured myself, as much as I could, to accommodate myself unto the rudeness of the simple, for whom chiefly I travail. So the Anabaptists cannot make cavillation, as they are wont, that I would overcome them by subtlety, or oppress them by craft of man's eloquence: seeing I have used as homely and as simple manner as can be desired. Yet is it meet that I do advertise all faithful men of their malice, because they cannot make their matter appear good but in mingling all together, in such wise as all their doctrine is a confused mess. As a body without head, arms, and legs, they use oftentimes foolish and strange manner of speeches, and without a deliberate purpose, still leaping from the Cock to the Ass, do interlace divers matters, and bring in divers places of scripture {83.B.} cut and broken: and so pleasing themselves in this matter, make men believe that there is much more majesty to speak so brutishly, than well to digest the matter by order. Now to confound them, there is no better way, than to expound and deduce the matters distinctly, and by a certain order to bring forth one matter after another, well weighing and marking the sentences of the scripture, to draw out thereof the true and natural sense, and to use a simplicity and plainness of words, which is not strange from the common speech. Which thing if a man do, they cry out, that men go about to deceive and circumvent them by human subtlety and sophistry: as though it were the custom or intent of sophisters, to make dark things clear. For my part I confess, that asmuch as in me is, I do study to dispose by order those things which I speak, that I may give the more clear and easy understanding. If the Anabaptists may not abide thus, I wot not what to say, but that he which doeth evil, hateth the light. [John 3.20.]

And to give the better colour to their doctrine, they have imprinted with their resolution, the history of the death of one Michael, their accomplice, and maintainer of their sect. And indeed they are wont to make a great buckler, of [the fact] that many have suffered death, to maintain their opinions, and would not recant although thereby they might have escaped death, and have redeemed their life. {84.A.}

[Respecting Christian Martyrdom]

And to say truth, it is a fair apparent witness to authorize a doctrine, when a man constantly and without difficulty giveth over his life, for the confirmation of the same. And when there are set before us those things which the Prophets, Apostles, & Martyrs have suffered for the maintaining of the truth of God: we be the more strengthened to cleave unto the faith which we hold, the which they have sealed by their blood. I confess therefore, that we ought not vilely to esteem the death of God's servants, seeing it is precious in his sight: and that their constancy and steadfastness is no small help to succour our infirmity. But because we might often times be deceived by this, if we looked no further, therefore must we come to the foundation without which we can have no sure judgment, nor yet certainty in this behalf. It is true, that the death of a man whatsoever he be, can not be so precious, that it may or ought in anything do prejudice to the verity of God, or can be availing to prove erroneous and perverse doctrine. Let us therefore stick fast unto this, that as the good and wholesome doctrine, founded upon reason, taketh his confirmation after the death of his witnesses and confessors, by whom it is maintained; even so if all the men on the earth should die, they cannot thereby approve [verify] a lie. And to die for a just cause, is that which doth decern [distinguish] the martyrs of God from the devil's martyrs. Therefore, even as it is a praiseworthy constancy, to suffer death, if need {84.B.} be, for witnessing of the truth: even so is it a mad obstinacy to suffer for to maintain a naughty matter. So that he which suffereth most, is so much the more to be dispraised. So far is it off that under the colour of that, we should suffer ourselves to be carried away, depriving ourselves of all judgment and consideration. If it be needful to have certitude of God's verity which we do preach, we have it more than sufficient in the death of our Lord Jesus, the Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, as well of the primitive Church as of this present time. And as for that which is repugnant unto it: whether it be sealed with blood or with wax, yet shall it always be false ∴

Finis.

☞ Anno. M. D. xlix.

xvi. daye of Aprill.


Imprinted at

London by Ihon Daye, dwel-

ling at Alderſgate, and William Se-

res, dwelling in Peter Colledge

Theſe bokes are too be ſold

at the new ſhop by the li-

tle Conduite in

Chepeſide.

☞ Cum gracia et Preuilegio ad

imprimendum ſolum.



Footnotes:

1. That is, the Schleitheim Confession, composed by Michael Sattler and others in 1527.—JTKER.

2. Because the Anabaptist article on this head, as well as the the loose practice of modern "Reformed" churches, may be misleading as to what the position and practice of the Reformed Churches was at the time of the Reformation, it will be important to consider the facts of history. In the First Helvetic Confession (1536), the first Scots Confession (1560), and the Belgic Confession of Faith (1561) the Marks of the True Church are enumerated as including the right ministration of Ecclesiastical Discipline. The German Reformed churches are not without their own particular witness in this regard, on the importance of ecclesiastical discipline, in Ursinus' Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism where he discusses the Lord's Supper. Especially in the objection and answer immediately before his Theses concerning the Lord's Supper, it will be evident what zeal there once was for this ordinance; although moderated in comparison to the separatism of the Anabaptists. In later times the Scottish Covenanters continued to account this ordinance as a mark of a true and faithful Church, as may be seen in the Informatory Vindication (1687). And although it may seem they have gone beyond Calvin in asserting that they have "ground to withdraw" from ministers who hold to errors in Discipline or are guilty of scandalous disorders, yet it should be noted that their so "withdrawing" was not any act of sinful "separation" but rather a faithful adherence to the order and government of the Church of Scotland, in opposition to a prevailing party who had really separated from the Constituted and Covenanted Doctrine & Discipline of that Church, and conspired with one another to suspend the due exercise of discipline by means of an abused ecclesiastical authority. We need not be at any great pains to guess which party John Calvin and our first Reformers would have accounted as guilty of "causing divisions" and sinful separation, either in that time, or in our present day. We stand aloof from newly constituted associations of men who allow the discipline of the church to remain unused, or be abused for the pleasure of men. They stand aloof from the original constitution and order of the Reformed Churches in disregard for the authority and example of those they call their fathers. It is true that, for a time, our private fellowships may lack the evident marks of the Church; but it is also true that their public congregations increasingly bear the evident marks of something else.—JTKER.

3. Here, the modern translation published by Baker Academic renders Calvin's words as, "our Lord in that passage does not even speak of secret sins." The old translation, while a little awkward, seems best to fit the context, where Calvin's point is that the Lord would not direct us to secret admonition for public scandals. In such cases, the various steps of Matthew 18 are not called for, and would serve rather for the hurt of the church than for the help of brethren.—JTKER.

4. In the old translation, this sentence appears to have the nature of a question, taking in also what follows. The modern translation of B.W. Farley seems more proper however, where he renders this sentence, "Now it is true that the usage of the sword in particular must not be entrusted to just anyone for resisting evil."—JTKER.

5. The closest thing to this in Scripture is the Lord's injunction of submission to Nebuchadnezzar among the Jews. This, however, was by a positive commandment, evidently necessary in light of the fact that such subjection could not have been seen as a general duty in such circumstances, for, as Calvin above asserts, the Lord otherwise allows, (sometimes requires,) that we employ the force of arms to defend our families and brethren, and oppose the tyranny and oppression of enemies. On this subject, the reader may consult Alexander Shields' Hind Let Loose, especially pages 430-432, and 659 of the 1797 edition.—JTKER.

6. This conclusion, up until the paragraph about the “fifth Article” is not found in the modern translation of Calvin's Treatise against the Anabaptists published by Baker Book House.—JTKER.

7. Calvin's interpretation above is well worth noting. The practical significance of his explanation in this context lends much strength to the interpretation of 1 Tim. 2.4, as referring to "all estates" of men or all kinds of men, rather than referring to a frustrated or impotent will of God concerning "all men on earth, from the first unto the last."—JTKER.

8. It is generally asserted by modern Anabaptists that the latter of these opinions, concerning soul-sleep, was not maintained by the Anabaptists in the 1500's, or cannot be proven to have been maintained among them. The evidence of Calvin's testimony is not, however, to be so discredited as if he were ignorant of facts, had no personal knowledge of such matters except by mere rumour, or would devise the accusation contrary to fact. Although his testimony will not readily be received by most Anabaptists, Zwingli also, who had perhaps more intimate acquaintance with the positions maintained among them at the time, also attributes this doctrine to the Anabaptists in the appendix to his 1527 treatise, "Refutation of the Tricks of the Catabaptists." And that the matter may be established by a third witness, the reader is referred to the testimony of Bullinger, in his "Wholesome Antidote" to the heresy of the Anabaptists, 1584; specifically dialogue 10, where the mode of reasoning on the subject makes evident a real acquaintance with both what was maintained among the Anabaptists, as well as how it was defended, whether it was ever adopted in general as a received opinion or not. Besides these, there is also the account of Edward Wightman, famous as the last heretic burned at the stake in England, who was known to have still held the doctrine of soul sleep in the early 1600's.—JTKER.

9. The reader is referred again to the footnote above.—JTKER.

10. Melusine was, according to European legend, a "spirit" of fresh waters, who sometimes assumed a shape similar to a mermaid.—JTKER.

11. Whether Calvin would have seen any reason to tolerate the heretical views of those who make each day of creation to represent an almost innumerable continuance of years, might be guessed from his method of reasoning here. We may say as Calvin above, it is "great folly" thus to trifle with the holy Scriptures.—JTKER.