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even the enemies of God; and such kind of punishments whereby they go about to destroy them, shall be forced by God's power, might, and fatherly providence, for to do them service.
It is not as the wicked thinketh, that poverty, adversity, sickness, tribulation, yea, painful death of the godly, be tokens that God doth not love them; but even clean the contrary, as all the whole course of Scripture doth evidently declare; for then he would never have suffered his most dear beloved, the patriarchs, to have had such troubles, his Prophets, his Apostles, his martyrs, and chief champions and maintainers of his truth and gospel, so cruelly of the wicked to have been murdered and slain : “ of the which some were racked, as the Apostle saith, and would not be delivered, that they might receive a better resurrection. Some were tried by mockings and scourgings, yea moreover by bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned; they were hewn and cut asunder; they were tempted; they were slain with the sword ; they wandered up and down in sheeps' skins and goats' skins, being forsaken, afflicted, and tormented; such men as the world was not worthy to have, wandering in wildernesses, in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. All these were approved by the testimony of faith, and received not the promise, because God did provide better for us, that without us they should not be consummated." They tarry now for us undoubtedly, longing for the day; but they are commanded to have patience; "yet,” saith the Lord, "a little while," until the number of their fellow-servants be fulfilled, and of their brethren which are yet to be slain, as they were.
Now, thou, O man of God, for our Lord's sake, let us not, for the love of this life, tarry then too long, and be occasion of delay of that glorious consummation, in hope and expectation whereof they departed in the Lord, and the which also the living, endued with God's Spirit, ought so earnestly to desire and to groan for with all the creatures of God. Let
us all with John, the servant of God, cry in our hearts unto Apoc. xxii. our Saviour Christ, Veni Domine Jesu, “Come, Lord Jesu,
come.” For that when Christ, which is our life, shall be made manifest and appear with him in glory, then shall the
children of God appear what they be, even like unto Christ; for this our weak body shall be transfigurated and made like unto Christ's glorious body, and that by the power whereby he is able to subdue unto himself all things: then that which is now corruptible, shall be made incorruptible: that is now vile, shall then be made glorious ; that is now weak, shall rise then mighty and strong; that is gross and carnal shall be made fine and spiritual ; for then we shall see and have the unspeakable joy and fruition of the glorious majesty of our Lord, even as he is.
Who or what then shall let us to jeopardy,—to jeopardy?yea, to spend this life, which we have here, in Christ's cause, in our Lord God his cause? O thou therefore, man of God, thou that art laden, and so letted like unto a woman with child, that thou canst not fly the plague; yet if thou lust after such things as I have spoken of, stand fast, whatsoever shall befall in thy Master's cause; and take this thy letting to fly for a calling of God to fight in thy Master Christ his cause. Of this he thou certain, they can do nothing unto Nothing thee, which thy Father is not aware of, or hath not foreseen without before; they can do no more than it shall please him to suf- sight. fer them to do for the furtherance of his glory, edifying of his church, and thine own salvation. Let them then do what they shall, seeing to thee, O man of God, all things shall be forced to serve, and to work with thee unto the best before God. Obe not afraid, and remember the end.
All this which I have spoken for the comfort of the lamentable case of the man whom Christ calleth women with child, I mean to be spoken likewise to the captive and prisoner in God's cause : for such I count to be, as it were, already summoned and pressed to fight under the banner of the cross of Christ, and, as it were, soldiers allowed and taken up for the Lord's wars, to do to their Lord and Master good and honourable service, and to stick to him, as men of trusty service in his cause, even unto death ; and to think their life lost in his cause is to win it in eternal glory for evermore.
Therefore now to conclude, and to make an end of this treatise, I say unto all that love God, our heavenly Father, that love Christ Jesus, our Redeemer and Saviour; that love
Gou's foreMatt. x.
to follow the ways of the Holy Ghost, which is our Comforter and Sanctifier of all; unto all that love Christ's spouse and body, the true Catholic church of Christ, yea, that love life and their own soul's health ; I say unto all these, Hearken, my dear brethren and sisters, all you that be of God, of all sorts, ages, dignities, or degree; hearken to the word of our Saviour Jesus Christ, spoken to his Apostles, and meant to all his, in Saint Matthew's Gospel : "Fear not them which kill the body, for they cannot kill the soul; but fear him more which may destroy, and cast both body and soul into hell fire. Are not two small sparrows sold for a mite, and one of them shall not fall or light upon the ground without your Father? all the hairs of your head be numbered. Fear them not, you are much more worth than are the little sparrows.”—“Every one then that confesseth me before men, him shall I likewise confess before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, I shall deny him likewise before my Father which is in heaven.”
The Lord grant us therefore of his heavenly grace and strength, that here we may so confess him in this world, amongst this adulterous and sinful generation, that he may confess us again at the latter day, before his Father which is in heaven, to his glory and our everlasting comfort, joy, and salvation.
To our heavenly Father, to our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour now and for ever. Amen.
Note.—[To the letters of Careless, which have the signatures following those of Ridley, i. e. beginning F. 1-the date 1556 is prefixed and this colophon is appended.