HOMILY AGAINST STRIFE AND CONTENTION

from Short-Title Catalogue 13675.
Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.2.
© 1994, 1997 Ian Lancashire
University of Toronto

UTEL Home Page.

A SERMON AGAINST
Contention and Brawling.

[I.12.1-1]  THis day (good Christian people) shall
[I.12.1-2]  bee declared vnto you, the vnprofitable­
[I.12.1-3]  nesse and shamefull vnhonestie of conten­
[I.12.1-4]  tion, strife, and debate, to the intent, that
[I.12.1-5]  when you shall see as it were in a table
[I.12.1-6]  painted before your eyes, the euillfauou­
[I.12.1-7]  rednesse and deformitie of this most de­
[I.12.1-8]  testable vice, your stomackes may bee
[I.12.1-9]  mooued to rise against it, and to detest
[I.12.1-10]  and abhorre that sinne, which is so much
[I.12.1-11]  to be hated, and pernicious, and hurt­
[I.12.1-12]  full to all men. But among all kindes of
[I.12.1-13]  Contention, none is more hurtfull then
[I.12.1-14]  is Contention in matters of Religion. Eschew (saith Saint Paul)

[margin]
1.Tim.1.
2.Tim.2.
[margin]


[I.12.1-15]  foolish and vnlearned questions, knowing that they breed strife. It be­
[I.12.1-16]  commeth not the seruant of GOD to fight, or striue, but to bee meeke
[I.12.1-17]  toward all men. This Contention and strife was in Saint Pauls time
[I.12.1-18]  among the Corinthians, and is at this time among vs English men. For
[I.12.1-19]  too many there bee which vpon the Ale-benches or other places, delight
[I.12.1-20]  to set foorth certaine questions, not so much pertaining to edification, as
[I.12.1-21]  to vaine-glorie, and shewing foorth of their cunning, and so vnsoberly to
[I.12.1-22]  reason and dispute, that when neither part will giue place to other, they
[I.12.1-23]  fall to chiding and contention, and sometime from hot-words, to fur­

[margin]
1.Cor.3.
[margin]


[I.12.1-24]  ther inconuenience. Saint Paul could not abide to heare among the
[I.12.1-25]  Corinthians, these words of discord or dissention, I holde of Paul, I of
[I.12.1-26]  Cephas, and I of Apollo: What would hee then say, if hee heard these
[I.12.1-27]  words of Contention (which be now almost in euery mans mouth?)
[I.12.1-28]  Hee is a Pharisee, he is a Gospeller, he is of the new sort, he is of the olde
[I.12.1-29]  faith, he is a new broched brother, he is a good Catholike Father, hee is
[I.12.1-30]  a Papist, he is an Heretike. O how the Church is diuided? Oh how
[I.12.1-31]  the cities be cut and mangled? O how the coat of Christ, that was with­
[I.12.1-32]  out seame, is all to rent and torne? O body mysticall of Christ, where is
[I.12.1-33]  that holy and happy vnitie, out of the which whosoeuer is, he is not in
[I.12.1-34]  Christ? If one member be pulled from another, where is the body? If
[I.12.1-35]  the bodie be drawen from the head, where is the life of the bodie? Wee
[I.12.1-36]  cannot be ioyned to Christ our head, except we be glued with concord and
[I.12.1-37]  charitie one to another. For hee that is not of this vnitie, is not of the
[I.12.1-38]  Church of Christ, which is a congregation or vnitie together, and not a

[margin]
1.Cor.3.
[margin]


[I.12.1-39]  diuision. Saint Paul saith, That as long as emulation or enuying, con­
[I.12.1-40]  tention, and factions or sects be among vs, we be carnall, and walke ac­
[I.12.1-41]  cording to the fleshly man. And Saint Iames saith, If yee haue bitter

[margin]
Iam.3.
[margin]


[I.12.1-42]  emulation or enuying, and contention in your hearts, glorie not of it:

[margin]
1.Cor.1.
[margin]


[I.12.1-43]  for where as contention is, there is vnstedfastnesse, and all euill deeds.
[I.12.1-44]  And why doe we not heare Saint Paul, which prayeth vs, where as hee
[I.12.1-45]  might command vs, saying, I beseech you in the Name of our Lord Ie­
[I.12.1-46]  us Christ, that you will speake all one thing, and that there be no dissen­
[I.12.1-47]  tion among you, but that you will be one whole bodie, of one mind, and of
[I.12.1-48]  one opinion in the truth. If his desire be reasonable and honest, why doe
[I.12.1-49]  we not grant it? if his request be for our profit, why doe we refuse it? And
[I.12.1-50]  if we list not to heare his petition of prayer, yet let vs heare his exhortati­

[margin]
Ephes.4.
[margin]


[I.12.1-51]  on, where he saith, I exhort you that you walke as it becommeth the vo­
[I.12.1-52]  cation in which you be called, with all submission and meekenesse, with
[I.12.1-53]  lenitie and softnesse of minde, bearing one another by charitie, study­
[I.12.1-54]  ing to keepe the vnitie of the spirit by the bond of peace: For there is one
[I.12.1-55]  Bodie, one Spirit, one Faith, one Baptisme. There is (saith he) but
[I.12.1-56]  one Bodie, of the which he can be no liuely member, that is at variance
[I.12.1-57]  with the other members. There is one Spirit, which ioyneth and knit­
[I.12.1-58]  teth all things in one. And how can this one Spirit raine in vs, when
[I.12.1-59]  we among our selues be diuided? There is but one Faith, and how can we
[I.12.1-60]  then say, He is of the old Faith, and he is of the new Faith? There is but
[I.12.1-61]  one Baptisme, and then shall not all they which be Baptized be one? Con­
[I.12.1-62]  tention causeth diuision, wherefore it ought not to be among Christians,
[I.12.1-63]  whom one Faith and Baptisme ioyneth in an vnitie. But if wee con­
[I.12.1-64]  temne Saint Pauls request and exhortation, yet at the least let vs regard
[I.12.1-65]  his earnest entreating, in the which hee doeth very earnestly charge vs

[margin]
Philip.2.
[margin]


[I.12.1-66]  and (as I may so speake) coniure vs in this forme and manner, If there
[I.12.1-67]  be any consolation in Christ, if there be any comfort of loue, if you haue
[I.12.1-68]  any fellowship of the Spirit, if you haue any bowels of pittie and com­
[I.12.1-69]  passion, fulfill my ioy, being all like affected, hauing one charitie, being
[I.12.1-70]  of one mind, of one opinion, that nothing be done by contention, or vaine­
[I.12.1-71]  glorie. Who is he that hath any bowels of pittie, that will not be moo­
[I.12.1-72]  ued with these wordes so pithie? whose heart is so stonie, that the sword
[I.12.1-73]  of these words (which be more sharpe then any two edged sword) may not
[I.12.1-74]  cut and breake asunder? wherefore let vs endeauour our selues to fulfill
[I.12.1-75]  Saint Pauls ioy here in this place, which shall be at length to our great
[I.12.1-76]  ioy in another place. Let vs so read the Scripture, that by reading

[margin]
How wee
should read
the Scrip­
ture.
[margin]


[I.12.1-77]  thereof, wee may be made the better liuers, rather then the more conten­
[I.12.1-78]  tious disputers. If any thing be necessary to be taught, reasoned, or
[I.12.1-79]  disputed, let vs doe it with all meekenesse, softnesse, and lenitie If any
[I.12.1-80]  thing shall chance to be spoken vncomely, let one beare anothers frailtie.
[I.12.1-81]  He that is faultie, let him rather amend, then defend that which hee
[I.12.1-82]  hath spoken amisse, lest hee fall by contention from a foolish errour into
[I.12.1-83]  an obstinate Heresie. For it is better to giue place meekely, then to win
[I.12.1-84]  the victorie with the breach of charitie, which chanceth when euery man
[I.12.1-85]  will defend his opinion obstinately. If wee be the Christian men, why

[margin]
Matth.11.
[margin]


[I.12.1-86]  doe we not follow Christ, which saith, Learne of mee, for I am meeke
[I.12.1-87]  and lowly in heart? A Disciple must learne the lesson of his Schoole­
[I.12.1-88]  master, and a seruant must obey the commandement of his Master. Hee
[I.12.1-89]  that is wise and learned, (saith Saint Iames) let him shew his goodnesse

[margin]
Iames 3.
[margin]


[I.12.1-90]  by his good conuersation, and sobernesse of his wisedome. For where
[I.12.1-91]  there is enuie and contention, that wisedome commeth not from GOD,
[I.12.1-92]  but is worldly wisedome, mans wisedome and deuilish wisedome. For
[I.12.1-93]  the wisdome that commeth from aboue from the spirit of GOD, is chaste
[I.12.1-94]  and pure, corrupted with no euill affections: it is quiet, meeke, and peace­
[I.12.1-95]  able, abhorring all desire |&| contention: it is tractable, obedient, not grud­
[I.12.1-96]  ging to learne, and to giue place to them that teach better for the refor­
[I.12.1-97]  mation. For there shall neuer bee an end of striuing and contention, if
[I.12.1-98]  we contend who in contention shall be master, and haue the ouer hand: if
[I.12.1-99]  wee shall heape errour vpon errour, if wee continue to defend that obsti­
[I.12.1-100]  nately, which was spoken vnaduisedly. For trueth it is, that stifnesse
[I.12.1-101]  in maintaining an opinion, breedeth contention, brawling, and chi­
[I.12.1-102]  ding, which is a vice among all other most pernicious and pestilent to
[I.12.1-103]  common peace and quietnesse. And it standeth betwixt two persons and
[I.12.1-104]  parties (for no man commonly doth chide with himselfe) so it comprehen­
[I.12.1-105]  deth two most detestable vices: the one is picking of quarrelles, with
[I.12.1-106]  sharpe and contentious words: the other standeth in froward answering,
[I.12.1-107]  and multiplying euill wordes againe. The first is so abominable, that

[margin]
1.Cor.5.
[margin]


[I.12.1-108]  Saint Paul saith, if any that is called a brother, be a worshipper of idoles,
[I.12.1-109]  a brawler, a picker of quarrels, a thiefe, or an extortioner, with him
[I.12.1-110]  that is such a man, see that yee eate not. Now here consider that Saint
[I.12.1-111]  Paul numbreth a scoulder, a brawler, or a picker of quarrelles, among
[I.12.1-112]  theeues and idolaters, and many times there commeth lesse hurt of a

[margin]
Against
quarrell pic­
king.
[margin]


[I.12.1-113]  theefe, then of a railing tongue: for the one taketh away a mans good
[I.12.1-114]  name, the other taketh but his riches, which is of much lesse value and
[I.12.1-116]  estimation then is his good name. And a theefe hurteth but him from
[I.12.1-117]  whom hee stealeth: but hee that hath an euill tongue, troubleth all the
[I.12.1-118]  towne, where hee dwelleth, and sometime the whole countrey. And a
[I.12.1-119]  rayling tongue is a pestilence so full of contagiousnesse, that Saint Paul

[margin]
1.Cor.5.
[margin]


[I.12.1-120]  willeth Christian men to forbeare the company of such, and neither to
[I.12.1-121]  eate nor drinke with them. And whereas hee will not that a Christian
[I.12.1-122]  woman should forsake her husband, although he be an Infidell, or that a
[I.12.1-123]  Christian seruant should depart from his Master, which is an Infidell
[I.12.1-124]  and Heathen, and so suffer a Christian man to keepe company with an
[I.12.1-125]  Infidell: yet he forbiddeth vs to eate or drinke with a scoulder, or quarrel­
[I.12.1-126]  picker. And also in the first Chapter to the Corinthians, hee saith thus,

[margin]
1.Cor.6.
[margin]


[I.12.1-127]  Be not deceiued, for neither fornicators, neither worshippers of Idols,
[I.12.1-128]  neither theeues, nor drunkards, nor cursed speakers shall dwell in the
[I.12.1-129]  kingdome of heauen. It must needs be a great fault, that doth moue and
[I.12.1-130]  cause the father to disherite his naturall sonne. And how can it other­
[I.12.1-131]  wise be, but that this cursed speaking must needs be a most damnable sin,
[I.12.1-132]  the which doeth cause GOD our most mercifull and louing Father, to
[I.12.1-133]  depriue vs of his most blessed kingdome of heauen? Against the other sin

[margin]
Against fro
ward answe­
ring.
[margin]


[I.12.1-134]  that standeth in requiting taunt for taunt, speaketh Christ himselfe, say­
[I.12.1-135]  ing: I say vnto you, resist not euill, but loue your enemies, and say well
[I.12.1-136]  by them, that say euill by you, doe well vnto them that doe euill vnto you,

[margin]
Matth.5.
[margin]


[I.12.1-137]  and pray for them that doe hurt and persecute you, that you may bee the
[I.12.1-138]  children of your Father which is in heauen, who suffereth his Sunne to
[I.12.1-139]  rise both vpon good and euill, and sendeth his raine both vpon the iust
[I.12.1-140]  and vniust. To this doctrine of Christ agreeth very well the teaching of
[I.12.1-141]  S. Paul, that chosen vessell of GOD, who ceaseth not to exhort and call
[I.12.1-142]  vpon vs, saying, Blesse them that curse you, blesse I say, and curse not,

[margin]
Rom.12.
[margin]


[I.12.1-143]  recompense to no man euill for euill, if it be possible (as much as lyeth in
[I.12.1-144]  you) liue peaceably with all men.



¶ The second part of the Sermon against
Contention.

[I.12.2-145]  IT hath beene declared vnto you in this Sermon against
[I.12.2-146]  strife and brawling, what great inconuenience com­
[I.12.2-147]  meth thereby, specially of such contention as groweth
[I.12.2-148]  in matters of religion: and how when as no man will
[I.12.2-149]  giue place to another, there is none end of contention
[I.12.2-150]  and discord: and that vnity which GOD requireth of
[I.12.2-151]  Christians, is vtterly thereby neglected and broken: and
[I.12.2-152]  that this contention standeth chiefly in two points, as in picking of quar­
[I.12.2-153]  relles, and making of froward answers. Now yee shall heare Saint

[margin]
Rom.12.
[margin]


[I.12.2-154]  Pauls words, saying, Dearely beloued, auenge not your selues, but ra­
[I.12.2-155]  ther giue place vnto wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, and
[I.12.2-156]  I will reuenge, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemie hunger, feed
[I.12.2-157]  him, if hee thirst, giue him drinke: bee not ouercome with euill, but o­
[I.12.2-158]  uercome euill with goodnesse. All these bee the words of Saint Paul, but
[I.12.2-159]  they that bee full of stomacke, and set so much by themselues, that they
[I.12.2-160]  may not abide so much as one euill word to be spoken of them, peraduen­
[I.12.2-161]  ture will say: If I be reuiled, shall I stand still like a Goose, or a foole,

[margin]
An obiecti­
on.
[margin]


[I.12.2-162]  with my finger in my mouth? Shall I be such an ideot and dizard, to suf­
[I.12.2-163]  fer euery man to speake vpon me what they list, to raile what they list, to
[I.12.2-164]  spue out all their venome against me at their pleasures? Is it not conue­
[I.12.2-165]  nient that he that speaketh euill, should be answered accordingly? If I
[I.12.2-166]  shall vse this lenitie and softnesse, I shall both increase mine enemies fro­
[I.12.2-167]  wardnesse, and prouoke other to doe like. Such reasons make they that
[I.12.2-168]  can suffer nothing, for the defence of their impatience. And yet if by fro­

[margin]
An answere.
[margin]


[I.12.2-169]  ward answering to a froward person, there were hope to remedie his fro­
[I.12.2-170]  wardnesse, hee should lesse offend that so should answere, doing the same
[I.12.2-171]  not of ire or malice, but onely of that intent, that he that is so froward or
[I.12.2-172]  malicious, may be reformed. But he that cannot amend an other mans
[I.12.2-173]  fault, or cannot amend it without his owne fault, better it were that one
[I.12.2-174]  should perish, then two. Then if he cannot quiet him with gentle words,
[I.12.2-175]  at the least let him not follow him in wicked and vncharitable words.
[I.12.2-176]  If he can pacifie him with suffering, let him suffer, and if not, it is better
[I.12.2-177]  to suffer euill, then to doe euill, to say well, then to say euill. For to speake
[I.12.2-178]  well against euill, commeth of the Spirit of GOD: but to render euill
[I.12.2-179]  for euill, commeth of the contrary spirit. And he that cannot temper nor
[I.12.2-180]  rule his own anger, is but weake |&| feeble, and rather more like a woman
[I.12.2-181]  or a childe, then a strong man. For the true strength and manlinesse is to
[I.12.2-182]  ouercome wrath, and to despise iniuries, and other mens foolishnesse. And
[I.12.2-183]  besides this, he that shall despise the wrong done vnto him by his enemy,
[I.12.2-184]  euery man shall perceiue that it was spoken or done without cause:
[I.12.2-185]  whereas contrarily, he that doth fume and chase at it, shall helpe
[I.12.2-186]  the cause of his aduersarie, giuing suspicion that the thing is true.
[I.12.2-187]  And in so going about to reuenge euill, wee shew our selues to bee
[I.12.2-188]  euil, and while we will punish and reuenge another mans follie, we
[I.12.2-189]  double and augment our owne follie. But many pretences finde they
[I.12.2-190]  that bee wilfull, to colour their impatience. Mine enemy, say they,
[I.12.2-191]  is not worthy to haue gentle words or deeds, being so full of malice
[I.12.2-192]  or frowardnesse. The lesse hee is worthy, the more art thou there­
[I.12.2-193]  fore allowed of GOD, and the more art thou commended of Christ,
[I.12.2-194]  for whose sake thou shouldest render good for euill, because hee hath
[I.12.2-195]  commaunded thee, and also deserued that thou shouldest so doe. Thy
[I.12.2-196]  neighbour hath peraduenture with a word offended thee: call thou to
[I.12.2-197]  thy remembrance with how many words and deeds, how grieuously
[I.12.2-198]  thou hast offended thy Lord GOD. What was man, when Christ
[I.12.2-199]  dyed for him? was hee not his enemy, and vnworthy to haue his fa­
[I.12.2-200]  uour and mercie? Euen so, with what gentlenesse and patience do­
[I.12.2-201]  eth hee forbeare, and tolerate, and suffer thee, although hee is dayly
[I.12.2-202]  offended by thee? Forgiue therefore a light trespasse to thy neighbour
[I.12.2-203]  that Christ may forgiue thee many thousands of trespasses, which art
[I.12.2-204]  euery day an offender. For if thou forgiue thy brother, being to thee a
[I.12.2-205]  trespasser, then hast thou a sure signe and token, that GOD will forgiue
[I.12.2-206]  thee, to whom all men bee debters and trespassers. How wouldest thou
[I.12.2-207]  haue GOD mercifull to thee, if thou wilt be cruell vnto thy brother?
[I.12.2-208]  Canst thou not finde in thine heart to doe that towards another that is
[I.12.2-209]  thy fellow, which GOD hath done to thee, that art but his seruant?
[I.12.2-210]  Ought not one sinner to forgiue another, seeing that Christ which was
[I.12.2-211]  no sinner, did pray to his Father for them that without mercy and despite­

[margin]
1.Pet.2.
[margin]


[I.12.2-212]  fully put him to death? Who, when hee was reuiled, he did not vse reui­
[I.12.2-213]  ling words againe, and when he suffred wrongfully, he did not threaten,
[I.12.2-214]  but gaue all vengeance to the iudgement of his Father which iudgeth
[I.12.2-215]  rightfully. And what crakest thou of thy head, if thou labour not to bee
[I.12.2-216]  in the body? Thou canst bee no member of Christ, if thou follow not the

[margin]
Esai.53.
[margin]


[I.12.2-217]  steppes of Christ: (who as the Prophet saith) was ledde to death like a
[I.12.2-218]  Lambe, not opening his mouth to reuiling, but opening his mouth to

[margin]
Luke 23.
[margin]


[I.12.2-219]  praying for them that crucified him, saying, Father, forgiue them, for
[I.12.2-220]  they cannot tell what they doe. The which example, anon after Christ,

[margin]
Actes 7.
[margin]


[I.12.2-221]  Saint Steuen did follow, and after S. Paul: We be euill spoken of, (saith
[I.12.2-222]  he) and wee speake well: wee suffer persecution, and take it patiently:

[margin]
1.Cor.4.
[margin]


[I.12.2-223]  Men curse vs, and we gently entreate. Thus S. Paul taught that he did,
[I.12.2-224]  and he did that he taught. Blesse you (saith he) them that persecute you:
[I.12.2-225]  blesse you, and curse not. Is it a great thing to speake well to thine ad­
[I.12.2-226]  uersary, to whom Christ doth command thee to doe well? Dauid when
[I.12.2-227]  Semei did call him all to naught, did not chide againe, but said patiently,
[I.12.2-228]  Suffer him to speake euill, if perchance the Lord will haue mercy on me.
[I.12.2-229]  Histories bee full of examples of Heathen men, that tooke very meekely
[I.12.2-230]  both opprobrious |&| reprochful words, and iniurious or wrongful deedes.
[I.12.2-231]  And shall those Heathen excell in patience vs that professe Christ, the
[I.12.2-232]  teacher and example of all patience? Lisander, when on did rage against
[I.12.2-233]  him, in reuiling of him, he was nothing mooued, but sayd, Goe to, go to,
[I.12.2-234]  speake against me as much and as oft as thou wilt, and leaue out nothing,
[I.12.2-235]  if perchance by this meanes thou mayest discharge thee of those naughty
[I.12.2-236]  things, with the which it seemeth that thou art full laden. Many men
[I.12.2-237]  speake euill of all men, because they can speake well of no man. After this
[I.12.2-238]  sort, this wise man auoydeth from him, the reprochfull words spoken vn­
[I.12.2-239]  to him, imputing and laying them to the naturall sickenesse of his aduer­
[I.12.2-240]  sary. Pericles when a certaine scoulder, or rayling fellow did reuile him,
[I.12.2-241]  hee answered not a worde againe, but went into a gallery, and after to­
[I.12.2-242]  wards night, when he went home, this scoulder followed him, raging still
[I.12.2-243]  more and more, because he saw the other to set nothing by him: and after
[I.12.2-244]  that he came to his gate (being darke night) Pericles commanded one of
[I.12.2-245]  his seruants to light a torch, and to bring the scoulder home to his owne
[I.12.2-246]  house. Hee did not onely with quietnesse suffer this brauler patiently,
[I.12.2-247]  but also recompenced an euill turne with a good turne, and that to his
[I.12.2-248]  enemie. Is it not a shame for vs that professe Christ, to be worse then Hea­
[I.12.2-249]  then people, in a thing chiefely pertayning to Christs religion: shall phi­
[I.12.2-250]  losophie perswade them more then GODS word shall perswade vs?
[I.12.2-251]  shall naturall reason preuaile more with them, then religion shall with
[I.12.2-252]  vs? shall mans wisedome leade them to those things, whereunto the hea­
[I.12.2-253]  uenly doctrine cannot leade vs? What blindnesse, wilfulnesse, or rather
[I.12.2-254]  madnesse is this (Pericles being prouoked to anger with many villanous
[I.12.2-255]  wordes answered not a word. But we, stirred but with one little word,
[I.12.2-256]  what foule worke doe we make? How doe wee fume, rage, stampe, and
[I.12.2-257]  stare like mad men? Many men, of euery trifle wil make a great matter,
[I.12.2-258]  and of the sparke of a little word will kindle a great fire, taking all things
[I.12.2-259]  in the worst part. But how much better is it, and more like to the exam­

[margin]
Reasons to
moue men
from quarel­
picking.
[margin]


[I.12.2-260]  ple and doctrine of Christ, to make rather of a great fault in our neighbor,
[I.12.2-261]  a small fault, reasoning with our selues after this sort. Hee spake these
[I.12.2-262]  wordes, but it was in a suddaine heate, or the drinke spake them, and not
[I.12.2-263]  he, or he spake them at the motion of some other, or hee spake them being
[I.12.2-264]  ignorant of the trueth, hee spake them not against mee, but against him
[I.12.2-265]  whom he thought me to be. But as touching euill speaking, he that is
[I.12.2-266]  ready to speake euill against other men, first let him examine himselfe,
[I.12.2-267]  whether he bee faultlesse and cleare of the fault which hee findeth in ano­
[I.12.2-268]  ther. For it is a shame when hee that blameth another for any fault, is
[I.12.2-269]  guiltie himselfe, either in the same fault, or in a greater. It is a shame for
[I.12.2-270]  him that is blind to call another man blinde, and it is more shame for him
[I.12.2-271]  that is whole blind to call him blinkard, that is but purblinde. For this
[I.12.2-272]  is to see a straw in another mans eye, when a man hath a blocke in his
[I.12.2-273]  owne eye.

[I.12.2-274]  Then let him consider, that he that vseth to speake euill, shall common­
[I.12.2-275]  ly be euill spoken of againe. And hee that speaketh what hee will for his
[I.12.2-276]  pleasure, shall be compelled to heare what hee would not, to his displea­
[I.12.2-277]  sure. Moreouer, let him remember that saying, that wee shall giue an

[margin]
Matth.12.
[margin]


[I.12.2-278]  account for euery idle word. How much more then shall we make recko­
[I.12.2-279]  ning for our sharpe, bitter, brauling and chiding words, which prouoke
[I.12.2-280]  our brother to bee angrie, and so to the breach of his charitie? And as
[I.12.2-281]  touching euill answering, although wee bee neuer so much prouoked by
[I.12.2-282]  other mens euill speaking, yet wee shall not follow their frowardnesse by
[I.12.2-283]  euill answering, if wee consider that anger is a kinde of madnesse, and
[I.12.2-284]  that hee which is angrie, is (as it were for the time) in a phrensie. Wher­

[margin]
Reasons to
moue men
form fro­
ward answe­
ring.
[margin]


[I.12.2-286]  fore let him beware, least in his fury hee speake any thing, wherof after­
[I.12.2-287]  ward hee may haue iust cause to bee sorry. And he that will defend that
[I.12.2-288]  anger is not fury, but that hee hath reason, euen when hee is most an­
[I.12.2-289]  gry: then let him reason thus with himselfe when hee is angry; Now
[I.12.2-290]  I am so mooued and chafed, that within a little while after I shall be o­
[I.12.2-291]  therwise minded: wherefore then should I now speake any thing in mine
[I.12.2-292]  anger, which heereafter, when I would fainest, cannot bee changed?
[I.12.2-293]  Wherefore shall I doe any thing, now being (as it were) out of my wit
[I.12.2-294]  for the which, when I shall come to my selfe againe, I shall bee very sad?
[I.12.2-295]  Why doth not reason, why doth not godlines, yea why doth not Christ ob­
[I.12.2-296]  taine that thing now of mee, which hereafter time shall obtaine of mee?
[I.12.2-297]  If a man bee called an adulterer, vsurer, drunkarde, or by any other
[I.12.2-298]  shamefull name, let him consider earnestly, whether hee bee so called
[I.12.2-299]  truely or falsely: if truely, let him amend his fault, that his aduersarie
[I.12.2-300]  may not after worthily charge him with such offences: if these things bee
[I.12.2-301]  layd against him falsly, yet let him consider whether he hath giuen any
[I.12.2-302]  occasion to bee suspected of such things, and so hee may both cut off that
[I.12.2-303]  suspicion, whereof this flander did arise, and in other things shall liue
[I.12.2-304]  more warily. And thus vsing our selues, wee may take no hurt, but ra­
[I.12.2-305]  ther much good, by the rebukes and slaunders of our enemie. For the
[I.12.2-306]  reproch of an enemie may be to many men a quicker spurre to the amend­
[I.12.2-307]  ment of their life, then the gentle monition of a friend. Philippus the king
[I.12.2-308]  of Macedonie, when he was euill spoken of by the chiefe Rulers of the citie
[I.12.2-309]  of Athens, he did thanke them heartily, because by them he was made bet­
[I.12.2-310]  ter, both in his wordes and deedes: for I studie (sayeth hee) both by my
[I.12.2-311]  sayings and doings to prooue them lyars.



¶ The third part of the Sermon
against contention.

[I.12.3-312]  YEe heard in the last lesson of the Sermon against strife
[I.12.3-313]  and brawling, how we may answere them which main­
[I.12.3-314]  taine their froward sayings in contention, and that will
[I.12.3-315]  reuenge with wordes such euill as other men doe them,
[I.12.3-316]  and finally how we may according to GODS will or­
[I.12.3-317]  der our selues, and what to consider towards them when
[I.12.3-318]  wee are prouoked to contention and strife with rayling
[I.12.3-319]  wordes. Now to proceede in the same matter, you shall know the right
[I.12.3-320]  way how to disprooue and ouercome your aduersarie and enemie. This
[I.12.3-321]  is the best way to improue a mans aduersary, so to liue, that all which
[I.12.3-322]  shall know his honestie, may beare witnesse that he is slaundered vnwor­
[I.12.3-323]  thily. If the fault, whereof he is slaundered, be such, that for the defence
[I.12.3-324]  of his honestie, hee must needes make answere, let him answere quietly
[I.12.3-325]  and softly, on this fashion, That those faults be layd against him falsely.

[margin]
Prou.15.
[margin]


[I.12.3-326]  For it is trueth that the wise man saith, A soft answere asswageth an­
[I.12.3-327]  ger, and a hard and sharpe answere doeth stirre vp rage and furie. The

[margin]
1.King.25.
[margin]


[I.12.3-328]  sharpe answere of Nabal, prouoked Dauid to cruell vengeance: but the
[I.12.3-329]  gentle wordes of Abigail quenched the fire againe that was all in a flame.
[I.12.3-330]  And a speciall remedie against malicious tongues, is to arme our selues
[I.12.3-331]  with patience, meekenesse, and silence, lest with multiplying wordes with

[margin]
An obie­
ction.
[margin]


[I.12.3-332]  the enemie, we be made as euill as he. But they that cannot beare one
[I.12.3-333]  euil word, peraduenture for their own excuse wil alledge |&|that; which is writ­

[margin]
Prou.26.
[margin]


[I.12.3-334]  ten: He that despiseth his good name, is cruell. Also we reade, Answere
[I.12.3-335]  a foole according to his foolishnesse. And our Lord Iesus did holde his
[I.12.3-336]  peace at certaine euill sayings: but to some he answered diligently. He
[I.12.3-337]  heard men call him a Samaritane, a Carpenters sonne, a wine drinker,

[margin]
Answere.
[margin]


[I.12.3-338]  and he held his peace: but when he heard them say, Thou hast the deuill
[I.12.3-339]  within thee, he answered, to that earnestly. Trueth it is indeede, that
[I.12.3-340]  there is a time, when it is conuenient to answer a foole according to his
[I.12.3-341]  foolishnesse, lest hee should seeme in his owne conceit to bee wise. And
[I.12.3-342]  sometime it is not profitable to answer a foole according to his foolish­
[I.12.3-343]  nesse, lest the wise man be made like to the foole. When our infamie, or
[I.12.3-344]  the reproach that is done vnto vs, is ioyned with the perill of many, then
[I.12.3-345]  it is necessary in answering, to be quicke and ready. For wee read that
[I.12.3-346]  many holy men of good zeale, haue sharpely and fiercely both spoken and
[I.12.3-347]  answered tyrants and euill men: which sharpe words came not of anger,
[I.12.3-348]  rancor, or malice, or desire of vengeance, but of a feruent desire to bring
[I.12.3-349]  them to the true knowledge of GOD, and from vngodly liuing, by an
[I.12.3-350]  earnest and sharpe rebuke and chiding. In this zeale, Saint Iohn Bap­
[I.12.3-351]  tist called the Pharisees, Adders brood: and Saint Paul called the Gala­

[margin]
Matt. 3.
Gal. 3.
Titus 1.
. Phil. 3.
[margin]


[I.12.3-352]  thians, fooles: and the men of Creete, he called liars, euill beasts, and
[I.12.3-353]  sluggish bellies: and the false Apostles, he called dogges, and crafty work­
[I.12.3-354]  men. And his zeale is godly, and to bee allowed, as it is plainely proo­
[I.12.3-355]  ued by the example of Christ, who although hee were the fountaine and
[I.12.3-356]  spring of all meekenesse, gentlenesse, and softnesse: yet he called the obsti­
[I.12.3-357]  nate Scribes and Pharisees, blinde guides, fooles, painted graues, hy­

[margin]
Matt. 23.
[margin]


[I.12.3-358]  pocrites, Serpents, Adders brood, a corrupt and wicked generation.

[margin]
Matth.16.
[margin]


[I.12.3-359]  Also he rebuketh Peter eagerly, saying, Get behinde mee Satan. Like­
[I.12.3-360]  wise S. Paul reprooueth Elimas, saying, O thou full of all craft and guile,

[margin]
Acts 13.
[margin]


[I.12.3-361]  enemy to all iustice, thou ceasest not to destroy the right wayes of GOD:
[I.12.3-362]  and now loe, the hand of the Lord is vpon thee, and thou shalt be blinde,
[I.12.3-363]  and not see for a time. And Saint Peter reprehendeth Ananias very sharp­
[I.12.3-364]  ly, saying, Ananias, how is it that Satan hath filled thy heart, that thou

[margin]
Acts 5.
[margin]


[I.12.3-365]  shouldest lie vnto the holy Ghost? This zeale hath beene so feruent in ma­
[I.12.3-366]  ny good men, that it hath stirred them; not onely to speake bitter and ea­
[I.12.3-367]  ger words, but also to doe things, which might seeme to some to be cruell,
[I.12.3-368]  but indeed they be very iust, charitable, and godly, because they were not
[I.12.3-369]  done of ire, malice, or contentious minde, but of a feruent minde, to the
[I.12.3-370]  glory of GOD, and the correction of sin, executed by men called to that
[I.12.3-371]  office. For in this zeale our Lord Iesus Christ did driue with a whippe
[I.12.3-372]  the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. In this zeale Moses brake the

[margin]
Iohn 2.
Exod. 32.
[margin]


[I.12.3-373]  two Tables which hee had receiued at GODS hand, when hee saw
[I.12.3-374]  the Israelites dancing about the Calfe, and caused to be killed xxiiii. M.
[I.12.3-375]  of his owne people. In this zeale Phinees the sonne of Eleazer, did thrust

[margin]
Num. 25.
[margin]


[I.12.3-376]  thorow with his sword, Zimri, and Cosbi, whom hee found together ioy­

[margin]
But these ex­
amples are
not to be fol­
lowed of eue­
ry body, but
as men bee
called to of­
fice and set
in authority.
[margin]


[I.12.3-377]  ned in the act of vncleannesse, Wherefore now to returne againe to con­
[I.12.3-378]  tentious words, and specially in matters of Religion, and GODS
[I.12.3-379]  word (which would bee vsed with all modesty, sobernesse, and chastity)
[I.12.3-380]  the words of S. Iames ought to be well marked, and borne in memory,
[I.12.3-381]  where he sayth, that of contention riseth all euill. And the wise King
[I.12.3-382]  Solomon sayth, Honour is due to a man that keepeth himselfe from con­
[I.12.3-383]  tention, and all that mingle themselues therewith bee fooles. And be­
[I.12.3-384]  cause this vice is so much hurtfull to the society of a common wealth, in

[margin]
Pro. 20.
[margin]


[I.12.3-385]  all well ordered cities, these common brawlers and scoulders be punished
[I.12.3-386]  with a notable kinde of paine: as to be set on the cucking stoole, pillory,
[I.12.3-387]  or such like. And they bee vnworthy to liue in a common wealth, the
[I.12.3-388]  which doe as much as lieth in them, with brawling and scoulding to di­
[I.12.3-389]  sturbe the quietnesse and peace of the same. And whereof commeth this
[I.12.3-390]  contention, strife, and variance, but of pride and vaine glory? Let vs

[margin]
.Pet.5.
Luk. 1.
[margin]


[I.12.3-391]  therefore humble our selues vnder the mighty hand of GOD, which
[I.12.3-392]  hath promised to rest vpon them that be humble and low in spirit. If we
[I.12.3-393]  bee good |&| quiet Christian men, let it appeare in our speech and tongues.
[I.12.3-394]  If we haue forsaken the Diuell, let vs vse no more Diuellish tongues:
[I.12.3-395]  He that hath beene a rayling scowlder, now let him bee a sober counsay­
[I.12.3-396]  ler. He that hath beene a malicious slanderer, now let him bee a louing
[I.12.3-397]  comforter. He that hath been a vaine rayler, now let him be a ghostly tea­
[I.12.3-398]  cher. He that hath abused his tongue in cursing, now let him vse it in bles­
[I.12.3-399]  sing. He that hath abused his tongue in euill speaking, now let him
[I.12.3-400]  vse it in speaking well. All bitternesse, anger, rayling, and blasphemy,
[I.12.3-401]  let it be auoyded from you. If you may, and it be possible, in no wise be
[I.12.3-402]  angry. But if you may not be cleane voyd of this passion, then yet so
[I.12.3-403]  temper and bridle it, that it stirre you not to contention and brawling. If
[I.12.3-404]  you be prouoked with euill speaking, arme your selfe with patience, leni­
[I.12.3-405]  tie, and silence, either speaking nothing, or else being very soft, meeke, and
[I.12.3-406]  gentle in answering. Ouercome thine aduersary with benefits and
[I.12.3-407]  gentlenesse. And aboue all things, keepe peace and vnity: bee no peace
[I.12.3-408]  breakers, but peace makers. And then there is no doubt, but that GOD
[I.12.3-409]  the authour of comfort and peace, will grant vs peace of conscience, and
[I.12.3-410]  such concord and agreement, that with one mouth and minde, wee may
[I.12.3-411]  glorifie GOD the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, to whom bee all
[I.12.3-412]  glory, now and for euer. AMEN.



HEereafter shall follow Sermons of Fasting, Praying, Almes
deedes, of the Natiuity, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension
of our Sauiour Christ: of the due receiuing of his blessed Body
and Blood, vnder the forme of Bread and Wine: against Idlenesse, a­
gainst Gluttony and Drunkennesse, against Couetousnesse, against En­
uie, ire, and malice, with many other matters, aswell fruitfull as neces­
sary to the edifying of Christian people, and the increase of godly liuing.



God Saue the King.