HOMILY ON GOOD WORKS: AND FIRST OF FASTING

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

UTEL Home Page.


AN HOMILIE OF GOOD
Workes. And first of Fasting.

[II.4.1-1]  THE life which wee liue in this world
[II.4.1-2]  (good Christian people) is of the free be­
[II.4.1-3]  nefit of GOD lent vs, yet not to vse it at
[II.4.1-4]  our pleasure, after our owne fleshly will:
[II.4.1-5]  but to trade ouer the same in those works
[II.4.1-6]  which are beseeming them that are be­
[II.4.1-7]  come new creatures in Christ. These
[II.4.1-8]  workes the Apostle calleth good workes,
[II.4.1-9]  saying, We are GODS workemanship,

[margin]
Ephes.2.
[margin]

[II.4.1-10]  created in Christ Iesu to good workes,
[II.4.1-11]  which GOD hath ordained that wee
[II.4.1-12]  should walke in them. And yet his mea­
[II.4.1-13]  ning is not by these words, to induce vs,
[II.4.1-14]  to haue any affiance, or to put any confidence in our workes, as by the me­
[II.4.1-15]  rite and deseruing of them to purchase to our selues and others remission
[II.4.1-16]  of sin, and so consequently euerlasting life, for that were mere blasphemie
[II.4.1-17]  against GODS mercy, and great derogation to the bloodshedding of
[II.4.1-18]  our Sauiour Iesus Christ. For it is of the free grace and mercie of
[II.4.1-19]  GOD, by the meditation of the blood of his Sonne Iesus Christ, with­
[II.4.1-20]  out merite or deseruing on our part, that our sinnes are forgiuen vs, that
[II.4.1-21]  we are reconciled and brought againe into his fauour, and are made
[II.4.1-22]  heires of his heauenly kingdome. Grace (saith S. Augustine) belonging

[margin] August.de
diuer.quæ­
stio.ad Sim­
pli. lib. I
Quæst.28.

[margin]

[II.4.1-23]  to GOD, who doth call vs, and then hath hee good workes, whosoeuer
[II.4.1-24]  receiued grace. Good works then bring not forth grace: but are brought
[II.4.1-25]  forth by grace. The wheele (saith he) turneth round, not to the end that
[II.4.1-26]  it may be made round: but because it is first made round, therefore it tur­
[II.4.1-27]  neth round. So, no man doth good works, to receiue grace by his good­
[II.4.1-28]  workes: but because hee hath first receiued grace, therefore consequently
[II.4.1-29]  he doth good workes. And in another place hee saith: good workes goe

[margin]
August.de
fide & ope­
ribus cap.4.

[margin]

[II.4.1-30]  not before in him which shall afterward be iustified, but good works doe
[II.4.1-31]  follow after when a man is first iustified. S. Paul therefore teacheth,
[II.4.1-32]  that wee must doe good workes for diuers respects. First, to shew our
[II.4.1-33]  selues obedient children vnto our heauenly Father, who hath ordained
[II.4.1-34]  them, that we should walke in them. Secondly, for that they are good
[II.4.1-35]  declarations and testimonies of our iustification. Thirdly, that others
[II.4.1-36]  seeing our good workes, may the rather by them be stirred vp and exci­
[II.4.1-37]  ted to glorifie our Father which is in heauen. Let vs not therefore
[II.4.1-38]  be slacke to doe good workes, seeing it is the will of GOD that we should
[II.4.1-39]  walke in them, assuring our selues that at the last day, euery man shall
[II.4.1-40]  receiue of God for his labour done in true faith, a greater reward then
[II.4.1-41]  his workes haue deserued. And because somewhat shall now be spoken
[II.4.1-42]  of one particular good worke, whose commendation is both in the Law
[II.4.1-43]  and in the Gospel: thus much is said in the beginning generally of all
[II.4.1-44]  good workes. First, to remoue out of the way of the simple and vnlearned,
[II.4.1-45]  this dangerous stumbling blocke, that any man should goe about to pur­
[II.4.1-46]  chase or buy heauen with his workes. Secondly, to take away (so much
[II.4.1-47]  as may be) from enuious minds, and slanderous tongues, all iust occa­
[II.4.1-48]  sion of slanderous speaking, as though good workes were reiected. This
[II.4.1-49]  good worke which now shall be entreated of, is Fasting, which is found
[II.4.1-50]  in the Scriptures to be of two sorts. The one outward, pertaining to
[II.4.1-51]  the body, the other inward, in the heart and mind. This outward Fast,
[II.4.1-52]  is an abstinence from meat, drinke, and all naturall food, yea, from all de­
[II.4.1-53]  licious pleasures and delectations worldly. When this outward Faste
[II.4.1-54]  perteineth to one particular man, or to a fewe, and not the whole num­
[II.4.1-55]  ber of the people, for causes which hereafter shalbe declared, then it is
[II.4.1-56]  called a priuate fast: But when the whole multitude of men, women and
[II.4.1-57]  children, in a Towneshippe or citie, yea, though a whole countrey do fast,
[II.4.1-58]  it is called a publique fast. Such was that fast which the whole multi­
[II.4.1-59]  tude of the children of Israel were commanded to keepe the tenth day of
[II.4.1-60]  the seuenth moneth, because almightie God appointed that day to bee a
[II.4.1-61]  clensing day, a day of atonement, a time of reconciliation, a day where­
[II.4.1-62]  in the people were cleansed from their sinnes. The order and manner how

[margin]
Leuit.16.
and 23.

[margin]

[II.4.1-63]  it was done, is written in the. xvi. and xxiii. Chapters of Leuiticus.
[II.4.1-64]  That day the people did lament, mourne, weepe, and bewaile their for­
[II.4.1-65]  mer sins. And whosoeuer vpon that day did not humble his soule, be wai­
[II.4.1-66]  ling his sinnes, as is said, abstaining from all bodily foode, vntill the e­
[II.4.1-67]  uening, that soule, (saith the almightie GOD) should be destroyed from
[II.4.1-68]  among his people. Wee doe not reade that Moses ordeined, by order of
[II.4.1-69]  law, any dayes of publique fast throughout the whole yeere, more then

[margin]
Zach.8.
[margin]

[II.4.1-70]  that one day. The Iewes notwithstanding had more times of common
[II.4.1-71]  fasting, which the Prophet Zacharie reciteth to bee the fast of
[II.4.1-72]  the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seuenth, and the fast
[II.4.1-73]  of the tenth moneth. But for that it appeareth not in the Lawe
[II.4.1-74]  when they were instituted, it is to bee iudged, that those other times of
[II.4.1-75]  fasting, more then the fast of the seuenth moneth, were ordained among
[II.4.1-76]  the Iewes by the appointment of their gouernours, rather of deuotion,
[II.4.1-77]  then by any expresse commandement giuen from GOD. Upon the or­
[II.4.1-78]  dinance of this generall fast, good men tooke occasion to appoint to them­
[II.4.1-79]  selues priuate fastes, at such times as they did either earnestly lament
[II.4.1-80]  and bewaile their sinfull liues, or did addict themselues to more feruent
[II.4.1-81]  prayer, that it might please GOD to turne his wrath from them, when
[II.4.1-82]  either they were admonished and brought to the consideration thereof by
[II.4.1-83]  the preaching of the Prophets, or otherwise when they saw present dan­
[II.4.1-84]  ger to hang ouer their heades. This sorrowfulnesse of heart, ioyned with
[II.4.1-85]  fasting, they vttered sometime by their outward behauiour and gesture of
[II.4.1-86]  body, puting on sackecloth, sprinckeling themselues with ashes and dust,
[II.4.1-87]  and sitting or lying vpon the earth. For when good men feele in them­
[II.4.1-88]  selues the heauie burden of sinne, see damnation to bee the reward of it,
[II.4.1-89]  and behold with the eye of their minde the horrour of hell, they tremble,
[II.4.1-90]  they quake, and are inwardly touched with sorrowfulnesse of heart for
[II.4.1-91]  their offences, and cannot but accuse themselues & open this their griefe
[II.4.1-92]  vnto Almighty GOD, and call vnto him for mercy. This being done
[II.4.1-93]  seriously, their minde is so occupied, partly with sorrow and heauinesse,
[II.4.1-94]  partly with earnest desire to bee deliuered from this danger of hell, and
[II.4.1-95]  damnation, that all desire of meate and drinke is layd apart, and loth­
[II.4.1-96]  somenesse of all worldly things and pleasures commeth in place, so that
[II.4.1-97]  nothing then liketh them more, then to weepe, to lament, to mourne and
[II.4.1-98]  both with wordes and behauiour of body, to shew themselues weary of
[II.4.1-99]  this life. Thus did Dauid fast, when hee made intercession to Almighty
[II.4.1-100]  GOD for the childes life, begotten in adultery of Bethsabe Vrias wife.
[II.4.1-101]  King Achab fasted after this sort, when it repented him of murdering of
[II.4.1-102]  Naboth, bewayling his owne sinfull doings. Such were the Nineuites
[II.4.1-103]  fast, brought to repentance by Ionas preaching. When fourty thousand
[II.4.1-104]  of the Israelites were slaine in battaile against the Beniamites, the scrip­
[II.4.1-105]  ture saith All the children of Israel, and the whole multitude of the peo­
[II.4.1-106]  ple went to Bethel, and sate there weeping before the Lord, and fasted all
[II.4.1-107]  that day till night. So did Daniel, Hester, Nehemias, and many others in

[margin]
Iudges 20.
[margin]

[II.4.1-108]  the old Testament fast. But if any man will say, it is true, so they fasted
[II.4.1-109]  in deede, but we are not now vnder that yoke of the law, we are set at li­
[II.4.1-110]  berty by the freedome of the Gospel: therefore those rites & customes of the
[II.4.1-111]  old law bind not vs, except it can be shewed by the Scriptures of the new
[II.4.1-112]  Testament, or by examples out of the same, the fasting now vnder the Gos­
[II.4.1-113]  pel, is a restraint of meat, drink, and all bodily food and pleasures from the
[II.4.1-114]  body, as before. First, that we ought to fast, is a truth more manifest, then
[II.4.1-115]  that it should here neede to bee prooued, the Scriptures which teach
[II.4.1-116]  the same, are euident. The doubt therefore that is, is whether when
[II.4.1-117]  we fast, wee ought to withhold from our bodies all meate and drinke du­
[II.4.1-118]  ring the time of our fast, or no? That we ought so to doe, may bee well
[II.4.1-119]  gathered vpon a question mooued by the Pharisees to Christ, and by his
[II.4.1-120]  answere againe to the same. Why (say they) doe Iohns disciples fast often,

[margin]
Luke 5.
[margin]

[II.4.1-121]  and pray, & we likewise? but thy disciples eat and drinke, & fast not at all.
[II.4.1-122]  In this smoothe question, they couch vp subtilly this argument or reason:
[II.4.1-123]  Who so fasteth not, that man is not of GOD. For fasting and prayer
[II.4.1-124]  are workes both commended and commanded of GOD in his Scrip­
[II.4.1-125]  tures, and all good men, from Moses till this time, aswell the Prophets
[II.4.1-126]  as others, haue exercised themselues in these workes. Iohn also and his
[II.4.1-127]  disciples at this day doe fast oft, and pray much, and so doe we the Phari­
[II.4.1-128]  sees in like maner: But thy disciples fast not at all, which if thou wilt
[II.4.1-129]  denie, wee can easily prooue it. For whosoeuer eateth and drinketh, fa­
[II.4.1-130]  steth not. Thy disciples eate and drinke, therefore they fast not. Of this
[II.4.1-131]  we conclude (say they) necessarily, that neither art thou, nor yet thy dis­
[II.4.1-132]  ciples, of GOD. Christ maketh answere, saying, Can yee make that
[II.4.1-133]  the children of the wedding shall fast, while the bridegrome is with them?
[II.4.1-134]  The dayes shall come, when the bridegrome shall bee taken from them:
[II.4.1-135]  In those dayes shall they fast. Our Sauiour Christ, like a good master,
[II.4.1-136]  defendeth the innocencie of his disciples against the malice of the arro­
[II.4.1-137]  gant Pharisees, and prooueth that his disciples are not guilty of trans­
[II.4.1-138]  gressing any iote of GODS Law, although as then they fasted, and in
[II.4.1-139]  his answere reprooueth the Pharisees of superstition and ignorance.
[II.4.1-140]  Superstition, because they put a religion in their doings, and ascribed
[II.4.1-141]  holinesse to the outward worke wrought, not regarding to what end fa­
[II.4.1-142]  sting is ordeined. Of ignorance, for that they could not discerne betweene
[II.4.1-143]  time and time. They knew not that there is a time of reioycing and
[II.4.1-144]  mirth, and a time againe of lamentation and mourning, which both he
[II.4.1-145]  teacheth in his answere, as shalbe touched more largely hereafter, when
[II.4.1-146]  we shall shew what time is most fit to fast in.

[II.4.1-147]  But here, beloued, let vs note, that our Sauiour Christ, in making his
[II.4.1-148]  answere to their question, denied not, but confessed that his disciples fa­
[II.4.1-149]  sted not, and therefore agreeth to the Pharisees in this, as vnto a manifest
[II.4.1-150]  trueth: that who so eateth and drinketh, fasteth not. Fasting then, euen
[II.4.1-151]  by Christs assent, is a withholding of meate, drinke, and all naturall foode
[II.4.1-152]  from the body, for the determined time of fasting. And that it was vsed
[II.4.1-153]  in the primitiue Church, appeareth most euidently by the Chalcedon coun­
[II.4.1-154]  cell, one of the foure first generall councels. The fathers assembled there,
[II.4.1-155]  to the number of 630. considering with themselues how acceptable a
[II.4.1-156]  thing fasting is to GOD, when it is vsed according to his word: Againe,
[II.4.1-157]  hauing before their eyes also the great abuses of the same crept into the
[II.4.1-158]  Church at those dayes, through the negligence of them which should haue
[II.4.1-159]  taught the people the right vse thereof, and by vaine gloses, deuised of
[II.4.1-160]  men: to reforme the sayd abuses, and to restore this so good and godly a
[II.4.1-161]  worke, to the true vse thereof, decreed in that councell, that euery person
[II.4.1-162]  aswell in his priuate as publique fast, should continue all the day with­
[II.4.1-163]  out meate and drinke, till after the Euening prayer. And whosoeuer did
[II.4.1-164]  eate or drinke before the Euening prayer was ended, should be accounted
[II.4.1-165]  and reputed not to consider the puritie of his fast. This Canon teacheth
[II.4.1-166]  so euidently how fasting was vsed in the primitiue Church, as by words
[II.4.1-167]  it cannot be more plainely expressed.

[II.4.1-168]  Fasting then, by the decree of those sixe hundred and thirty fathers,
[II.4.1-169]  grounding their determination in this matter vpon the sacred Scrip­
[II.4.1-170]  tures, and long continued vsage or practise, both of the Prophets and
[II.4.1-171]  other godly persons, before the comming of Christ, and also of the Apo­
[II.4.1-172]  stles and other deuout men in the new Testament, is, a withholding
[II.4.1-173]  of meate, drinke, and all naturall foode from the body, for the determi­
[II.4.1-174]  ned time of fasting. Thus much is spoken hitherto, to make plaine vn­
[II.4.1-175]  to you what fasting is. Now hereafter shall be shewed the true and right
[II.4.1-176]  vse of fasting.

[II.4.1-177]  Good workes are not all of one sort. For some are of themselues and of
[II.4.1-178]  their owne proper nature alwayes good: as to loue GOD aboue all
[II.4.1-179]  things, to loue thy neighbour as thy selfe, to honour thy father and mo­
[II.4.1-180]  ther, to honour the higher powers, to giue to euery man that which is
[II.4.1-181]  his due, and such like. Other workes there bee, which considered in
[II.4.1-182]  themselues, without further respect, are of their owne nature meerly in­
[II.4.1-183]  different, that is, neither good nor euill, but take their denomination of
[II.4.1-184]  the vse or ende whereunto they serue. Which workes hauing a good
[II.4.1-185]  end, are called good workes, and are so in deede: but yet that commeth
[II.4.1-186]  not of themselues, but of the good end whereunto they are referred. On
[II.4.1-187]  the other side; if the end that they serue vnto, bee euill, it can not then
[II.4.1-188]  otherwise bee, but that they must needes bee euill also. Of this sort of
[II.4.1-189]  workes, is fasting, which of it selfe is a thing meerely indifferent: but
[II.4.1-190]  it is made better or worse by the ende that it serueth vnto. For when
[II.4.1-191]  it respecteth a good ende, it is a good worke: but the ende being euill,
[II.4.1-192]  the worke it selfe is also euill. To fast then with this perswasion of
[II.4.1-193]  minde, that our fasting, and our good workes, can make vs perfect and
[II.4.1-194]  iust men, and finally, bring vs to heauen: this is a diuelish perswasion,
[II.4.1-195]  and that fast is so far of from pleasing GOD, that it refuseth his mer­
[II.4.1-196]  cy, and is altogether derogatory to the merites of Christs death, and his
[II.4.1-197]  pretious bloodshedding. This doeth the parable of the Pharisee and the

[margin]
Luke 28.
[margin]

[II.4.1-198]  Publicane teach. Two men (sayth Christ) went vp together into the
[II.4.1-199]  Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, the other a Publicane: The Phari­
[II.4.1-200]  see stood and prayed thus with himselfe: I thanke thee, O GOD, that
[II.4.1-201]  I am not as other men are, extortioners, vniust, adulterers, and as this
[II.4.1-202]  publicane is, I fast twise in the weeke, I giue tithes of all that I possesse.
[II.4.1-203]  The Publicane stood a farre of, and would not lift vp his eyes to heauen,
[II.4.1-204]  but smote his brest, and said, GOD bee mercifull to me a sinner. In the
[II.4.1-205]  person of this Pharisee, our Sauiour Christ setteth out to the eye, and
[II.4.1-206]  to the iudgement of the world, a perfect, iust, and righteous man, such a
[II.4.1-207]  one as is not spotted with those vices that men commonly are infected
[II.4.1-208]  with, extortion, bribery, polling and pilling their neighbour, robbers and
[II.4.1-209]  spoylers of common weales, crafty, & subtile in chopping and changing,
[II.4.1-210]  vsing false weightes, and detestable periury in their buying and selling,
[II.4.1-211]  fornicators, adulterers, & vicious liuers. The Pharisee was no such man,
[II.4.1-212]  neither faulty in any such like notorious crime. But where other trans­
[II.4.1-213]  gressed by leauing things vndone, which yet the Lawe required: this
[II.4.1-214]  man did more then was requisite by the Law. For hee fasted thrise in the
[II.4.1-215]  weeke, and gaue tithes of all that hee had. What could the world then
[II.4.1-216]  iustly blame in this man? yea, what outward thing more could bee de­
[II.4.1-217]  sired to be in him, to make him a more perfect and a more iust man? True­
[II.4.1-218]  ly nothing by mans iudgement: And yet our Sauiour Christ preferreth
[II.4.1-219]  the poore Publicane without fasting before him with his fast. The cause
[II.4.1-220]  why hee doeth so, is manifest. For the publicane hauing no good workes
[II.4.1-221]  at all to trust vnto, yeelded vp himselfe vnto GOD, confessing his
[II.4.1-222]  sinnes, and hoped certainely to bee saued by GODS free mercie onely.
[II.4.1-223]  The Pharisee gloried, and trusted so much to his workes, that he thought
[II.4.1-224]  himselfe sure ynough without mercy, and that hee should come to heauen
[II.4.1-225]  by his fasting and other deeds. To this end serueth that parable. For it is
[II.4.1-226]  spoken to them that trusted in themselues, that they were righteous, and
[II.4.1-227]  despised other. Now because the Pharisee directeth his worke to an
[II.4.1-228]  euill ende, seeking by them iustification, which in deede is the proper
[II.4.1-229]  worke of GOD, without our merites, his fasting twise in the weeke,
[II.4.1-230]  and all his other workes, though they were neuer so many, and seemed
[II.4.1-231]  to the world neuer so good and holy, yet in very deede before GOD they
[II.4.1-232]  are altogether euill and abominable. The marke also that the Hypo­
[II.4.1-233]  crites shoote at with their fast, is, to appeare holy in the eye of the world,
[II.4.1-234]  and so to winne commendation and praise of men. But our Saui­

[margin]
Matt.6.
[margin]

[II.4.1-235]  our Christ sayth of them, they haue their reward, that is, they haue
[II.4.1-236]  prayse and commendation of men, but of GOD they haue none at
[II.4.1-237]  all. For whatsoeuer tendeth to an euill end, is it selfe, by that euill
[II.4.1-238]  end, made euill also. Againe, so long as wee keepe vngodlinesse in our
[II.4.1-239]  hearts, & suffer wicked thoughts to tarry there, though we fast as oft as
[II.4.1-240]  did either S. Paul, or Iohn Baptist, and keepe it as straightly as did the
[II.4.1-241]  Niniuites: yet shall it bee not only vnprofitable to vs, but also a thing

[margin]
Esay.1.
[margin]

[II.4.1-242]  that greatly displeaseth Almighty GOD. For he sayth, that his soule ab­
[II.4.1-243]  horreth and hateth such fastings, yea they are a burden vnto him, and he
[II.4.1-244]  is weary of bearing them. And therefore hee enueieth most sharpely a­
[II.4.1-245]  gainst them, saying by the mouth of the Prophet Esay, Behold, when

[margin]
Esay.8.
[margin]

[II.4.1-246]  you fast, your lust remaineth still, for doe ye no lesse violence to your debt­
[II.4.1-247]  ters. Loe, ye fast to strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wicked­
[II.4.1-248]  nesse. Now ye shall not fast thus, that you may make your voice to be heard
[II.4.1-249]  aboue. Thinke yee this fast pleaseth me, that a man should chasten him­
[II.4.1-250]  selfe for a day? should that bee called a fasting, or a day that pleaseth the
[II.4.1-251]  Lord? Now dearely beloued, seeing that Almighty GOD alloweth not
[II.4.1-252]  our fast for the works sake, but chiefely respecteth our heart how it is af­
[II.4.1-253]  fected, & then esteemeth our fast either good or euill by the end that it ser­
[II.4.1-254]  ueth for: it is our part to rent our hearts, & not our garments as we are

[margin]
Ioel.2.
[margin]

[II.4.1-255]  aduertised by the Prophet Ioel, that is, our sorrow and mourning must
[II.4.1-256]  bee inward in heart, and not in outward shew onely, yea, it is requisite
[II.4.1-257]  that first before all thinges, wee cleanse our heartes from sinne, and then
[II.4.1-258]  to direct our fast to such an end as GOD will allowe to be good.

[II.4.1-259]  There bee three endes, whereunto if our fast bee directed, it is then a
[II.4.1-260]  worke profitable to vs, and accepted of GOD.

[II.4.1-261]  The first is, to chastise the flesh, that it be not too wanton, but tamed
[II.4.1-262]  and brought in subiection to the spirit. This respect had Saint Paul in
[II.4.1-263]  his fast, when he sayd, I chastice my body, and bring it into subiection,

[margin]
1.Cor.9.
[margin]

[II.4.1-265]  lest by any meanes it commeth to passe, that when I haue preached to o­
[II.4.1-266]  ther, I my selfe be found a castaway.

[II.4.1-267]  The second, that the spirit may be more earnest and feruent to prayer.

[margin]
Acts 13.
[margin]

[II.4.1-268]  To this end fasted the Prophets and teachers that were at Antioch, be­
[II.4.1-269]  fore they sent foorth Paul and Barnabas to preach the Gospel. The same
[II.4.1-270]  two Apostles fasted for the like purpose, when they commended to GOD,
[II.4.1-271]  by their earnest prayers, the congregations that were at Antioch, Pvsidia,

[margin]
Acts 14
[margin]

[II.4.1-272]  Iconium, and Lystra, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.

[II.4.1-273]  The third, that our fast bee a testimonie and witnesse with vs before
[II.4.1-274]  GOD, of our humble submission to his high maiesty, when we confesse
[II.4.1-275]  and acknowledge our sinnes vnto him, and are inwardly touched with
[II.4.1-276]  sorrowfulnesse of heart, bewayling the same in the affliction of our bo­
[II.4.1-277]  dies. These are the three ends, or right vses of fasting. The first belong­
[II.4.1-278]  eth most properly to priuate fast. The other two are common, aswell to
[II.4.1-279]  publike fast, as to priuate: and thus much for the vse of fasting. Lord
[II.4.1-280]  haue mercy vpon vs, and giue vs grace, that while wee liue in this mise­
[II.4.1-281]  rable world, we may through thy helpe bring forth this, and such other
[II.4.1-282]  fruites of the spirit, commended and commanded in thy holy word, to the
[II.4.1-283]  glory of thy Name, and to our comforts, that after the race of this
[II.4.1-284]  wretched life, we may liue euerlastingly with thee in thy hea­
[II.4.1-285]  uenly kingdome, not for the merits and worthinesse of our
[II.4.1-286]  workes, but for thy mercies sake, and the merites
[II.4.1-287]  of thy deare Sonne Iesus Christ, to whom
[II.4.1-288]  with thee & the Holy Ghost, be all laud,
[II.4.1-289]  honour, and glory, for euer and
[II.4.1-290]  euer. Amen.



{P} The second part of the Homily
of Fasting.

[II.4.2-291]  IN the former Homilie (beloued) was shewed, that among
[II.4.2-292]  the people of the Iewes, fasting as it was commanded
[II.4.2-293]  them from God by Moses, was to abstaine the whole day,
[II.4.2-294]  from morning till night, from meat, drink, & all maner of
[II.4.2-295]  food, that nourisheth the body, & that whoso tasted ought
[II.4.2-296]  before the euening, on the day appointed to fasting, was
[II.4.2-297]  accounted among them a breaker of his fast. Which order,
[II.4.2-298]  though it seemeth strange to some in these our dayes, because it hath not
[II.4.2-299]  been so generally vsed in this Realme of many yeeres past: yet that it was
[II.4.2-300]  so among Gods people (I meane the Iewes) whom before the comming
[II.4.2-301]  of our Sauiour Christ, GOD did vouchsafe to chuse vnto himselfe, a
[II.4.2-302]  peculiar people aboue all other nations of the earth, and that our Saui­
[II.4.2-303]  our Christ so vnderstood it, and the Apostles after Christs ascension did so
[II.4.2-304]  vse it, was there sufficiently prooued by the testimonies and examples of
[II.4.2-305]  the holy Scriptures, aswell of the new Testament, as of the old. The
[II.4.2-306]  true vse of fasting was there also shewed. In this second part of this
[II.4.2-307]  Homilie shalbe shewed, that no constitution or Law made by man, for
[II.4.2-308]  things which of their owne proper nature be meere indifferent, can binde
[II.4.2-309]  the conscience of Christian men to a perpetuall obseruation and keeping
[II.4.2-310]  thereof, but that the higher powers haue full liberty to alter and change
[II.4.2-311]  euery such law and ordinance, either Ecclesiasticall or Politicall, when
[II.4.2-312]  time and place shall require. But first an answere shall be made to a que­
[II.4.2-313]  stion that some may make, demanding what iudgement wee ought to
[II.4.2-314]  haue of such abstinences as are appointed by publike order and Lawes
[II.4.2-315]  made by Princes, and by the authority of the Magistrates, vpon policy,
[II.4.2-316]  not respecting any Religion at all in the same. As when any Realme in
[II.4.2-317]  consideration of the maintayning of fisher townes bordering vpon the
[II.4.2-318]  seas, and for the encrease of fisher men, of whom doe spring Mariners to
[II.4.2-319]  goe vpon the sea, to the furnishing of the nauie of the Realme, whereby
[II.4.2-320]  not onely commodities of other countries may bee transported, but also
[II.4.2-321]  may be a necessary defence to resist the inuasion of the aduersary.

[II.4.2-322]  For the better vnderstanding of this question, it is necessary that wee
[II.4.2-323]  make a difference betweene the policies of Princes, made for the ordering
[II.4.2-324]  of their common weales, in prouision of things seruing to the most sure
[II.4.2-325]  defence of their subiects and countreyes, and betweene Ecclesiasticall po­
[II.4.2-326]  licies, in prescribing such workes, by which, as secondary meanes,
[II.4.2-327]  GODS wrath may be pacified, and his mercy purchased. Positiue
[II.4.2-328]  lawes made by Princes, for conseruation of their policie, not repugnant
[II.4.2-329]  vnto GODS Law, ought of all Christian subiects with reuerence of
[II.4.2-330]  the Magistrate to bee obeyed, not onely for feare of punishment, but also
[II.4.2-331]  (as the Apostle saith) for conscience sake. Conscience I say, not of the
[II.4.2-332]  thing which of it owne nature is indifferent: but of our obedience,
[II.4.2-333]  which by the Law of GOD wee owe vnto the Magistrate, as vnto
[II.4.2-334]  GODS minister. By which positiue lawes, though wee subiects for
[II.4.2-335]  certaine times and dayes appointed, bee restrained from some kindes of
[II.4.2-336]  meates and drinke, which GOD by his holy word hath left free to bee
[II.4.2-337]  taken and vsed of all men with thankesgiuing in all places, and at all
[II.4.2-338]  times: yet for that such lawes of Princes and other Magistrates are not
[II.4.2-339]  made to put holinesse in one kinde of meate and drinke more then another,
[II.4.2-340]  to make one day more holy then another, but are grounded meerely vpon
[II.4.2-341]  policie, all subiects are bound in conscience to keepe them by GODS
[II.4.2-342]  commandement, who by the Apostle willeth all without exception, to
[II.4.2-343]  submit themselues vnto the authority of the higher powers. And in this
[II.4.2-344]  point concerning our dueties which be here dwelling in England, enui­
[II.4.2-345]  roned with the sea as we be, we haue great occasion in reason to take the
[II.4.2-346]  commodities of the water, which almighty GOD by his diuine proui­
[II.4.2-347]  dence hath layd so nigh vnto vs, whereby the encrease of victuals vpon
[II.4.2-348]  the land may the better be spared and cherished, to the sooner reducing of
[II.4.2-349]  victuals to a more moderate price, to the better sustenance of the poore.
[II.4.2-350]  And doubtlesse hee seemeth to be too dainty an Englishman, who consi­
[II.4.2-351]  dering the great commodities which may ensue, will not forbeare some
[II.4.2-352]  piece of his licentious appetite vpon the ordinance of his Prince, with the
[II.4.2-353]  consent of the wise of the Realme. What good English heart would not
[II.4.2-354]  wish that the old ancient glory should returne to the Realme, wherein it
[II.4.2-355]  hath with great commendations excelled before our dayes, in the furni­
[II.4.2-356]  ture of the Nauie of the same? What will more daunt the hearts of the
[II.4.2-357]  aduersaries, then to see vs well fenced and armed on the sea, as we be re­
[II.4.2-358]  ported to be on the land? If the Prince requested our obedience to for­
[II.4.2-359]  beare one day from flesh more then we doe, and to bee contented with one
[II.4.2-360]  meale in the same day, should not our owne commodity thereby perswade
[II.4.2-361]  vs to subiection? But now that two meales bee permitted on that day
[II.4.2-362]  to bee vsed, which sometime our Elders in very great numbers in the
[II.4.2-363]  Realme did vse with one onely spare meale, and that in fish onely: shall
[II.4.2-364]  we thinke it so great a burthen that is prescribed?

[II.4.2-365]  Furthermore, consider the decay of the townes nigh the seas, which
[II.4.2-366]  should be most ready by the number of the people there to repulse the ene­
[II.4.2-367]  mie, and we which dwell further off vpon the land, hauing them as our
[II.4.2-368]  buckler to defend vs, should bee the more in safetie. If they be our neigh­
[II.4.2-369]  bours, why should we not wish them to prosper? If they be our defence
[II.4.2-370]  as nighest at hand to repell the enemie, to keepe out the rage of the seas
[II.4.2-371]  which els would breake vpon our faire pastures, why should we not che­
[II.4.2-372]  rish them? Neither doe we vrge that in the Ecclesiasticall policie, prescri­
[II.4.2-373]  bing a fourme of Fasting, to humble our selues in the sight of almighty
[II.4.2-374]  GOD, that that order which was vsed among the Iewes, and practi­
[II.4.2-375]  sed by Christes Apostles after his ascension, is of such force and necessitie,
[II.4.2-376]  that that onely ought to bee vsed among Christians, and none other, for
[II.4.2-377]  that were to binde GODS people vnto the yoke and burthen of Moses
[II.4.2-378]  policie, yea, it were the very way to bring vs which are set at libertie by
[II.4.2-379]  the freedome of Christs Gospel, into the bondage of the Law againe,
[II.4.2-380]  which GOD forbid that any man should attempt or purpose. But to
[II.4.2-381]  this end it serueth, to shew how farre the order of fasting now vsed in the
[II.4.2-382]  Church at this day, differeth from that which then was vsed. GODS
[II.4.2-383]  Church ought not, neither may it be so tyed to that or any other order
[II.4.2-384]  now made, or hereafter to be made and deuised by the authoritie of man,
[II.4.2-385]  but that it may lawfully for iust causes, alter, change, or mitigate those
[II.4.2-386]  Ecclesiasticall decrees and orders, yea, recede wholy from them: and
[II.4.2-387]  breake them, when they tend either to superstition, or to impietie, when
[II.4.2-388]  they draw the people from GOD, rather then worke any edification in
[II.4.2-389]  them. This authoritie Christ himselfe vsed, and left it to his Church.
[II.4.2-390]  He vsed it I say: For the order or decree made by the Elders for washing
[II.4.2-391]  oft times, which was diligently obserued of the Iewes, yet tending to
[II.4.2-392]  superstition, our Sauiour Christ altered and changed the same in his
[II.4.2-393]  Church, into a profitable Sacrament, the Sacrament of our regenera­
[II.4.2-394]  tion or new birth. This authoritie to mitigate lawes and decrees Ec­

[margin]
Actes 15.
[margin]

[II.4.2-395]  clesiasticall, the Apostles practised, when they, writing from Ierusalem
[II.4.2-396]  vnto the congregation that was at Antioch, signified vnto them that they
[II.4.2-397]  would not lay any further burthen vpon them, but these necessaries:
[II.4.2-398]  that is, that they should abstaine from things offered vnto idoles, from
[II.4.2-399]  blood, from that which is strangled, and from fornication, notwithstan­
[II.4.2-400]  ding that Moses law required many other obseruances. This authoritie
[II.4.2-401]  to change the orders, decrees, and constitutions of the Church, was after
[II.4.2-402]  the Apostles time vsed of the Fathers about the manner of fasting, as it

[margin]
Tripartit.
hist.lib.9.
cap.38.

[margin]

[II.4.2-403]  appeareth in the Tripartite history, where it is thus written: Touching
[II.4.2-404]  fasting, we finde that it was diuersly vsed in diuers places by diuers men.
[II.4.2-405]  For they at Rome fast three weekes together before Easter, sauing vpon
[II.4.2-406]  the Saturdayes and Sundayes, which fast they call Lent. And after a
[II.4.2-407]  few lines in the same place, it followeth: They haue not all one vniforme
[II.4.2-408]  order in fasting. For some doe fast and abstaine both from fish and flesh.
[II.4.2-409]  Some when they fast, eate nothing but fish. Others there are, which
[II.4.2-410]  when they fast, eate of all water foules, aswell as of fish, grounding them­
[II.4.2-411]  selues vpon Moses, that such foules haue their substance of the water,
[II.4.2-412]  as the fishes haue. Some others when they fast, will neither eate hearbs
[II.4.2-413]  nor egges. Some fasters there are, that eate nothing but drye
[II.4.2-414]  bread. Others when they fast, eate nothing at all, no not so much as dry
[II.4.2-415]  bread. Some fast from all maner of foode till night, and then eate, with­
[II.4.2-416]  out making any choice or difference of meates. And a thousand such like
[II.4.2-417]  diuers kindes of fasting may bee found in diuers places of the world,
[II.4.2-418]  of diuers men diuersly vsed. And for all this great diuersitie in fasting,

[margin]
Euseb.lib.5.
cap.24.

[margin]

[II.4.2-419]  yet charitie the very true bond of Christian peace was not broken, neither
[II.4.2-420]  did the diuersitie of fasting breake at any time their agreement and con­
[II.4.2-421]  cord in faith. To abstaine somtime from certaine meates, not because the
[II.4.2-422]  meates are euill, but because they are not necessary, this abstinence
[II.4.2-423]  (saith Saint Augustine) is not euill. And to restraine the vse of meates

[margin]
Dogma.
ecclesiast.
cap.66.

[margin]

[II.4.2-424]  when necessary and time shall require, this (saith he) doth properly per­
[II.4.2-425]  taine to Christian men.

[II.4.2-426]  Thus yee haue heard, good people, first that Christian subiectes are
[II.4.2-427]  bound euen in conscience to obey princes lawes, which are not repug­
[II.4.2-428]  nant to the Lawes of GOD. Ye haue also heard that Christes Church
[II.4.2-429]  is not so bound to obserue any order, law, or decree made by man, to
[II.4.2-430]  prescribe a fourme in religion: but that the Church hath full power and
[II.4.2-431]  authoritie from GOD, to change and alter the same, when neede shall re­
[II.4.2-432]  quire, which hath beene shewed you by the example of our Sauiour
[II.4.2-433]  Christ, by the practise of the Apostles, and of the fathers since that
[II.4.2-434]  time.

[II.4.2-435]  Now shall be shewed briefly what time is meete for fasting, for all times
[II.4.2-436]  serue not for all things: but as the wise man saith, All things haue their
[II.4.2-437]  times. There is a time to weepe, and a time againe to laugh, a time
[II.4.2-438]  to mourne, and a time to reioyce. &c. Our Sauiour Christ excused his

[margin]
Eccles 3.
[margin]

[II.4.2-439]  disciples, and reprooued the Pharisees, because they neither regarded the
[II.4.2-440]  vse of fasting, nor considered what time was meete for the same. Which
[II.4.2-441]  both he teacheth in his answere, saying, The children of the mariage can­
[II.4.2-442]  not mourne, while the bridegrome is with them. Their question was of

[margin]
Matth.9.
[margin]

[II.4.2-443]  fasting, his answere is of mourning, signifying vnto them plainely that
[II.4.2-444]  the outward fast of the body, is no fast before GOD, except it be accompa­
[II.4.2-445]  nied with the inward fast, which is a mourning and a lamentation of the
[II.4.2-446]  heart, as is before declared. Concerning the time of fasting, he saith, The
[II.4.2-447]  dayes will come, when the bridegrome shall be taken from them, in those
[II.4.2-448]  dayes they shall fast. By this it is manifest, that it is no time of fasting
[II.4.2-449]  while the mariage lasteth, and the bridegrome is there present. But

[margin]
Luke 5.
Matth.6.
[margin]

[II.4.2-450]  when the mariage is ended, and the bridegrome gone, then is it a meete
[II.4.2-451]  time to fast. Now to make plaine vnto you what is the sense and meaning
[II.4.2-452]  of these words, Wee are at the mariage, and againe, The bridegrome is taken
[II.4.2-453]  from vs: Ye shall note, that so long as GOD reuealeth his mercy vnto vs,
[II.4.2-454]  and giueth vs of his benefites, either spirituall or corporall, wee are sayd
[II.4.2-455]  to be with the bridegrome at the mariage. So was that good olde father
[II.4.2-456]  Iacob at the mariage, when hee vnderstood that his sonne Ioseph was a­
[II.4.2-457]  liue, and ruled all Egypt vnder king Pharao. So was Dauid in the mari­
[II.4.2-458]  age with the bridegrome, when he had gotten the victory of great Goliah,
[II.4.2-459]  and had smitten off his head. Iudith and all the people of Bethulia were the
[II.4.2-460]  children of the wedding, and had the bridegrome with them, when GOD
[II.4.2-461]  had by the hand of a woman slaine Holofernes, the grand captaine of the
[II.4.2-462]  Assyrians host, and discomfited all their enemies. Thus were the Apo­
[II.4.2-463]  stles the children of the mariage while Christ was corporally present with
[II.4.2-464]  them, and defended them from all dangers, both spirituall and corporall.
[II.4.2-465]  But the mariage is said then to bee ended, and the bridegrome to be gone,
[II.4.2-466]  when Almighty GOD smiteth vs with affliction, and seemeth to leaue
[II.4.2-467]  vs in the middest of a number of aduersities. So GOD sometime stri­
[II.4.2-468]  keth priuate men priuately with sundry aduersities, as trouble of mind,
[II.4.2-469]  losse of friendes, losse of goods, long and dangerous sicknesses, &c. Then
[II.4.2-470]  is it a fit time for that man to humble him selfe to Almighty GOD by
[II.4.2-471]  fasting, and to mourne and to bewaile his sinnes with a sorrowfull heart,

[margin]
Psal.51.
[margin]

[II.4.2-472]  and to pray vnfainedly, saying with the Prophet Dauid, Turne away
[II.4.2-473]  thy face, O Lord, from my sinnes, and blot out of thy remembrance all
[II.4.2-474]  mine offences. Againe, When GOD shall afflict a whole region or coun­
[II.4.2-475]  trey with warres, with famine; with pestilence, with strange diseases
[II.4.2-476]  and vnknowen sicknesses, and other such like calamities: then is it time
[II.4.2-477]  for all states and sortes of people, high and low, men, women, and chil­
[II.4.2-478]  dren, to humble themselues by fasting, and bewaile their sinfull liuing
[II.4.2-479]  before GOD, and pray with one common voyce, saying thus, or some
[II.4.2-480]  other such like prayer. Bee fauourable O Lord, be fauourable vnto thy
[II.4.2-481]  people, which turneth vnto thee, in weeping, fasting, and praying,
[II.4.2-482]  spare thy people whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood, and
[II.4.2-483]  suffer not thine inheritance to bee destroyed and brought to confusion.
[II.4.2-484]  Fasting thus vsed with prayer, is of great efficacie, and waigheth much
[II.4.2-485]  with GOD. So the angel Raphael told Tobias. It also appeareth by
[II.4.2-486]  that which our Sauiour Christ answeared to his disciples, demanding
[II.4.2-487]  of him why they could not cast foorth the euill spirit out of him,
[II.4.2-488]  that was brought vnto them. This kinde (saith hee) is not cast out
[II.4.2-489]  but by fasting and prayer. How auaileable fasting is, how much it wai­
[II.4.2-490]  eth with GOD, and what it is able to obtaine at his hand, can not
[II.4.2-491]  better bee set foorth, then by opening vnto you, and laying before you
[II.4.2-492]  some of those notable things that haue beene brought to passe by it. Fa­
[II.4.2-493]  sting was one of the meanes whereby Almighty GOD was occasio­

[margin]
3.King.21
[margin]

[II.4.2-494]  ned to alter the thing which hee had purposed concerning Ahab, for
[II.4.2-495]  murdering the innocent man Naboth, to possesse his vineyard. GOD
[II.4.2-496]  spake vnto Elia, saying: Goe thy way and say vnto Ahab, Hast thou killed,
[II.4.2-497]  and also gotten possession? Thus sayth the Lord, In the place where
[II.4.2-498]  dogges licked the bloud of Naboth, shall dogges euen licke thy bloud also.
[II.4.2-499]  Behold, I will bring euill vpon thee, and will take away thy posteritie:
[II.4.2-500]  Yea, the dogges shall eat him of Ahabs stocke that dieth in the city, and
[II.4.2-501]  him that dieth in the field shall the foules of the ayre eate. This punish­
[II.4.2-502]  ment had Almighty GOD determined for Ahab in this world, and to
[II.4.2-503]  destroy all the male kinde that was begotten of Ahabs body, besides that
[II.4.2-504]  punishment which should haue happened vnto him in the world to come.
[II.4.2-505]  When Ahab heard this, he rent his clothes, and put sackecloth vpon him,
[II.4.2-506]  and fasted, and lay in sackecloth, and went barefooted. Then the word
[II.4.2-507]  of the Lord came to Elia, saying, seest thou how Ahab is humbled before
[II.4.2-508]  me? Because he submitteth himselfe before me, I will not bring that euill
[II.4.2-509]  in his dayes, but in his sonnes dayes will I bring it vpon his house. Al­
[II.4.2-510]  though Ahab through the wicked counsell of Iesabel his wife had commit­
[II.4.2-511]  ted shamefull murder, and against all right disinherited and dispossessed
[II.4.2-512]  for euer Nabothes stocke of that vineyard: yet vpon his humble submissi­
[II.4.2-513]  on in heart vnto GOD, which hee declared outwardly by putting on
[II.4.2-514]  sackecloth and fasting, GOD changed his sentence, so that the punish­
[II.4.2-515]  ment which hee had determined, fell not vpon Ahabs house in his
[II.4.2-516]  time, but was deferred vnto the dayes of Ioram his sonne. Heere we may
[II.4.2-517]  see of what force our outward fast is, when it is accompanied with the
[II.4.2-518]  inward fast of the mind, which is (as is sayd) a sorrowfulnes of heart, dete­
[II.4.2-519]  sting and bewayling our sinfull doings. The like is to be seene in the Ni­
[II.4.2-520]  neuites: For when GOD had determined to destroy the whole city of Ni­
[II.4.2-521]  neue
, and the time which he had appointed, was euen now at hand, hee

[margin]
Ionas 3.
[margin]

[II.4.2-522]  sent the Prophet Ionas to say vnto them: yet forty dayes, and Nineue shall
[II.4.2-523]  be ouerthrowen. The people by and by beleeued GOD, and gaue them­
[II.4.2-524]  selues to fasting, yea, the King by the aduice of his counsell, caused to bee
[II.4.2-525]  proclaimed saying, Let neither man nor beast, bullocke nor sheepe taste
[II.4.2-526]  any thing, neither feed nor drinke water: But let man and beast put on
[II.4.2-527]  sackecloth, and crie mightily vnto GOD, yea, let euery man turne from
[II.4.2-528]  his euill way, and from the wickednesse that is in their hands. Who can
[II.4.2-529]  tell if GOD will turne and repent, and turn away from his fierce wrath,
[II.4.2-530]  that we perish not? And vpon this their hearty repentance, thus declared
[II.4.2-531]  outwardly with fasting, renting of their clothes, putting on sackecloth,
[II.4.2-532]  and sprinkling themselues with dust and ashes, the Scripture saith, God
[II.4.2-533]  saw their works that they turned from their euill waies, & God repented
[II.4.2-534]  of the euill that he had sayd that he would do vnto them, and he did it not.
[II.4.2-535]  Now beloued, yee haue heard first what fasting is, aswell that which is
[II.4.2-536]  outward in the body, as that which is inward in the heart. Ye haue heard
[II.4.2-537]  also that there are three ends or purposes, whereunto if our outward fast
[II.4.2-538]  be directed, it is a good worke that GOD is pleased with. Thirdly
[II.4.2-539]  hath beene declared, what time is most meet for to fast, either priuately or
[II.4.2-540]  publikely. Last of all, what things fasting hath obtayned of GOD, by
[II.4.2-541]  the examples of Ahab and the Nineuites. Let vs therefore dearely belo­
[II.4.2-542]  ued, seeing there are many more causes of fasting and mourning in these
[II.4.2-543]  our dayes, then hath beene of many yeeres heeretofore in any one age,
[II.4.2-544]  endeuour our selues both inwardly in our hearts, and also outwardly
[II.4.2-545]  with our bodies, diligently to exercise this godly exercise of fasting, in
[II.4.2-546]  such sort and manner, as the holy Prophets, the Apostles, and diuers o­
[II.4.2-547]  ther deuout persons for their time vsed the same. GOD is now the same
[II.4.2-548]  GOD that he was then. GOD that loueth righteousnesse, and that
[II.4.2-549]  hateth iniquity, GOD which willeth not the death of a sinner, but ra­
[II.4.2-550]  ther that he turne from his wickednesse and liue, GOD that hath pro­
[II.4.2-551]  mised to turne to vs, if we refuse not to turne to him: yea, if we turne our
[II.4.2-552]  euill workes from before his eyes, cease to doe euill, learne to doe well,
[II.4.2-553]  seeke to doe right, releeue the oppressed, be a right iudge to the fatherlesse,
[II.4.2-554]  defend the widow, breake our bread to the hungry, bring the poore that
[II.4.2-555]  wander into our house, clothe the naked, and despise not our brother
[II.4.2-556]  which is our owne flesh: then shalt thou call (sayth the Prophet) and the
[II.4.2-557]  Lord shall answer, thou shalt crie, and hee shall say, heere am I: Yea,
[II.4.2-558]  GOD which heard Ahab and the Nineuites, and spared them, will also
[II.4.2-559]  heare our prayers, and spare vs so, that we after their example, will vn­
[II.4.2-560]  faynedly turne vnto him: yea, he will blesse vs, with his heauenly bene­
[II.4.2-561]  dictions the time that we haue to tarrie in this world, and after the race
[II.4.2-562]  of this mortall life, he will bring vs to his heauenly kingdome, where we
[II.4.2-563]  shall reigne in euerlasting blessednes with our Sauiour Christ, to whom
[II.4.2-564]  with the Father and the holy Ghost, bee all honour and glory for euer
[II.4.2-565]  and euer, Amen.