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Read Sermons on the Card, and Other Discourses Part 4

Sermons on the Card, and Other Discourses is a web novel produced by Hugh Latimer.
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Here I might take occasion to inveigh against those which little regard the office of preaching; which are wont to say, “‘What need we such preachings every day? Have I not five wits? I know as well what is good or ill, as he doth that preacheth.” But I tell thee, my friend, be not too hasty; for when thou hast nothing to follow but thy five wits, thou shalt go to the devil with them. David, that holy prophet, said not so: he trusted not his five wits, but he said, _Lucerna pedibus meis verb.u.m tuum, Domine_; “Lord, thy word is a lantern unto my feet.” Here we learn not to despise the word of G.o.d, but highly to esteem it, and reverently to hear it; for the holy day is ordained and appointed to none other thing, but that we should at that day hear the word of G.o.d, and exercise ourselves in all G.o.dliness. But there be some which think that this day is ordained only for feasting, drinking, or gaming, or such foolishness; but they be much deceived: this day was appointed of G.o.d that we should hear his word, and learn his laws, and so serve him. But I dare say the devil hath no days so much service as upon Sundays or holy days; which Sundays are appointed to preaching, and to hear G.o.d’s most holy word.

Therefore G.o.d saith not only in his commandments, that we shall abstain from working; but he saith, _Sanctificabis_, “Thou shalt hallow:” so that holy day keeping is nothing else but to abstain from good works, and to do better works; that is, to come together, and celebrate the Communion together, and visit the sick bodies. These are holy-day works; and for that end G.o.d commanded us to abstain from bodily works, that we might be more meet and apt to do those works which he hath appointed unto us, namely, to feed our souls with his word, to remember his benefits, and to give him thanks, and to call upon him. So that the holy-day may be called a marriage-day, wherein we are married unto G.o.d; which day is very needful to be kept. The foolish common people think it to be a belly- cheer day, and so they make it a surfeiting day: there is no wickedness, no rebellion, no lechery, but she hath most commonly her beginning upon the holy-day.

We read a story in the fifteenth chapter of the book of Numbers, that there was a fellow which gathered sticks upon the sabbath-day; he was a despiser of G.o.d’s ordinances and laws, like as they that now-a-days go about other business, when they should hear the word of G.o.d, and come to the Common Prayer: which fellows truly have need of sauce, to be made more l.u.s.tier to come and feed upon Christ than they be. Now Moses and the people consulted with the Lord, what they should do, how they should punish that fellow which had so transgressed the sabbath-day. “He shall die,” saith G.o.d: which thing is an ensample for us to take heed, that we transgress not the law of the sabbath-day. For though G.o.d punish us not by and by, as this man was punished; yet he is the very self-same G.o.d that he was before, and will punish one day, either here, or else in the other world, where the punishment shall be everlasting.

Likewise in the seventeenth chapter of the prophet Jeremy G.o.d threateneth his fearful wrath and anger unto those which do profane his sabbath-day.

Again, he promiseth his favour and all prosperity to them that will keep the holy-days; saying, “Princes and kings shall go through thy gates,”

that is to say, Thou shalt be in prosperity, in wealth, and great estimation amongst thy neighbours. Again: “If ye will not keep my sabbath-day, I will kindle a fire in your gates;” that is to say, I will destroy you, I will bring you to nought, and burn your cities with fire.

These words pertain as well unto us at this time, as they pertained to them at their time: for G.o.d hateth the disallowing of the sabbath as well now as then; for he is and remaineth still the old G.o.d: he will have us to keep his sabbath, as well now as then: for upon the sabbath-day G.o.d’s seed-plough goeth; that is to say, the ministry of his word is executed; for the ministering of G.o.d’s word is G.o.d’s plough. Now upon the Sundays G.o.d sendeth his husbandmen to come and till; he sendeth his callers to come and call to the wedding, to bid the guests; that is, all the world to come to that supper. Therefore, for the reverence of G.o.d, consider these things: consider who calleth, namely, G.o.d; consider again who be the guests; all ye. Therefore I call you in G.o.d’s name, come to this supper; hallow the sabbath-day; that is, do your holy-day work, come to this supper; for this day was appointed of G.o.d to that end, that his word should be taught and heard. Prefer not your own business therefore before the hearing of the word of G.o.d. Remember the story of that man which gathered sticks upon the holy day, and was put to death by the consent of G.o.d: where G.o.d shewed himself not a cruel G.o.d, but he would give warning unto the whole world by that man, that all the world should keep holy his sabbath-day.

The almighty ever-living G.o.d give us grace to live so in this miserable world, that we may at the end come to the great sabbath-day, where there shall be everlasting joy and gladness! _Amen_.

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