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sitie troubleth the, make the moone to me, whan soeuer thou lackest any thinge, aske it of me. I am not far from the, I am thy God. At al times I wil be present with the, and I will helpe the in all thinges.
Now good children, dyligently learne ye this lesson, and graue it into youre memories : so you shal loue God, and put your trust in him. For this is the meanynge of this first commaundement that we ought to feare and loue the Lord God, aboue all thing, and fasten our hope in him. Wherfore good children with all dilygence learne you this rule. And when this question shal be demaunded of you, how do you vndrestand the first commaundement? then shal ye answer thus. In this precept we be commaunded to feare and loue God with al oure harte, and to put our whole trust and confidence in him.
THE CONCLUSION. Now ye haue hearde good childerne in a briefe summe, the trewe sincere and playne exposityon of the first commaundemente, beare awaye I pray you this doctrine, and diligently recorde it, walke in the feare of the Lorde, that you transgresse not these commaundementes. For what soeuer God byddeth, that is right, iust, good and holye, what soeuer he forbiddeth, that is wrong, vniust, euil and synne. He himselfe requireth of vs, to kepe his commaundementes, and not dyspise them. For he saith. I am the Lorde thy God, a stronge and a ielous God, whiche do punyshe the children that do hate me, euen to the thirde and fourth generation, for the iniquite of their Exod. 18. parentes. And cantrariwyse, I do shewe mercy to a thousande generacions of them that loue me and kepe my commaundementes. In these wourdes God dothe threaten greuous punyshementes to all them that breake these commaundementes, wherfore it is our dewtie, to feare his indignation and punishment and not to prouoke his wrath vpon vs by oure disobedience. And contrary he doth
promise his fauor and goodnes to all theim that kepe these his commaundementes. Therefore we ought to loue hym, cast oure affiance in him, and obey hys commaundementes. And specially ye good childerne oughte to feare God, kepe his preceptes, and to desire grace and helpe of him, that you maye perfourme and fulfyll them. For the feare of God is the begynnyng of all wysedome, and it maketh men godly and disposeth them to all good workes. And suche hauynge the fauour of God, may profit many, bothe in commen and priuate affaires. Out of this feare of God, springeth also a good conscience, peace and quietnes of the same, as you haue herde out of the Psalme whiche was rehersed in the beginnyng of the preface, and yf we continew to thende of our lifes in this trew knowlege and faith of God, that he ouer and besyde the forsaide benefites, wyll gyve vnto vs lyfe euerlastyng the whiche he graunt to you that is blessed for euer Amen.
Note that both the preface, and the conclusion also, of
this firste sermon shalbe repeted, (thone in the begynning, and thother in the latter ende) in euery sermon made for the residew of the commaundementes.
Y E haue herd good children in the former sermon, that all maner of idolatrie is forbid by this commaundement. Thou shalt haue none other gods but me. Where also it was declared vnto you, howe you may commit spirituall ydolatrie, by ouer muche fearyng, trustynge and louyng of creatures. But nowe I wyll speake of the moost grosse ydolatrie, whiche standeth in wourshyppynge of ymages, eyther of creatures or of God hymselfe.
And this ydolatrye is forbyd by expresse wordes in this commaundement, where God sayeth thus.
Thou shalt make the no grauen ymage, nor any lykenesse of anye thynge which is in heuen aboue, or in earth benethe, or in the water under the earthe. Thou shalt not bow dowone onto it, nor wourshyp it.
These wordes (by most interpretors of late tyme belonge to the fyrst commaundement, althoughe after the interpretation of manye auncient autors they be the seconde commaundemente) in whiche wordes it is to be noted, that it is not wythoute greate cause, that God with so playne and expresse words doth forbydde wourshippynge of ymages. For he sawe that mans corrupte nature from the fyrst tyme that he fell from God, hathe euer ben enclined and redy to ydolatry, and to bowe downe to creatures, rather than to looke vp to God that made him. Wherfore he inhibiteth all occations of the same.
God did also forsee, that in the latter dayes men shoulde come which woulde mainteine worshippinge of images. Not onlye with painted colors, but also with paynted wordes, saying. We kneele not to the ymage, but before the ymage, we worshyppe not the ymage, but the thing whiche is represented by the ymage, we worshippe not the creatures, but the creator in the creatures. And suche lyke excuses the greatest ydolaters dyd alwaies pretende. But to thentente they shoulde not so deceyue you, God doeth oftentymes in holye scripture call vpon you sayinge.
Thou shalte not make to the any grauen ymage or lykenes of any creature, thou shalt not kneele, nor bow thy selfe downe to it.
For what can be more contrarie to the dignitie of man, then he, whom God hathe made Lorde ouer all creatures to kneele or to doe reuerence to the image of a creature.
God hath so fashioned man, that he hath gyuen him a bodye standyng streighte vp, and a countenaunce to looke vpward into heauen. And why then should he bow himself downward to the earth, or to creatures made of earthe, which be rather to be troden vnder his fete, then to be worshipped of him. There is nothynge more agaynst reason, then that he whiche hathe lyfe, sence, and reason, should worshyppe that thynge, which can neither see, feele, moue, heare nor vnderstande. Wherefore God sayeth plainly, thou shalt not worshyppe ymages, that is to saye, thou shalt not gylte them, and set them in costlye tabernacles, and decke theim with coates or shertes, thou shalt not sense them, make vowes or pilgremages to them, sette candelles before them, and offer vnto them, thou shalte not kysse their feete, and bowe downe vnto them.
For God sayeth I am a ielouse God, and wyl not giue my honour to any creature, but wyl greuouslye punyshe them that breake this my commaundement. Yea I wyll punyshe their children and posteritie vnto the thirde and fourthe generation.
And thys indignation of God agaynst ydolaters, hath at sundrye tymes be shewed by greuouse punishementes for our examples.
For Salomons idolatrie, the kingdomes of Israell and Juda were deuyded, and thereof dyd ensue a continuall dyscorde betwene these two kyngdomes. And for ydolatrye God commaunded Moses to hange the capitaines of the people, and of the people were slayne xxiiii. thousande. And the bokes of the Judges, Kynges, and the Prophetes be ful of like histories, howe almyghtye God for ydolatrie was offended with the Israelites, and gaue theym into the handes of their enemies, and into the subiection and bondage of all nations about them, which did persecute and kyl them. And when they in theyr afflictions cried vnto the Lorde, he refused them saying. Go and crie to the gods whiche you haue chosen, they wyll saue you in the time of youre necessitie.
What greater punyshemente can there be then this ? to be cast away from God, when we haue mooste neede of his helpe and comforte? And in Deuteronomie almyghtye God commaunded by his prophet Moses, saying. Cursed be he, that shall make a grauen or molten ymage, abhominable before the Lorde, the worke of an artificers hande, and shall set it in a secrete place. And all the people shall answere and say Amen.
Here you see how he is accursed of God, that setteth but one ymage in a secret corner of his own house to wourshippe it. But much more daunger it is, to set vp ymages in the temple of God which is the open and commen place to honor the only lyuing God. But peraduenture some will say, that we are forbydden to worshyp ymages, but not to haue ymages. To this I answer. Fist as touchyng the ymage of God, that whan God spake vnto the children of Israell in the mount of Oreb, they heard a voice, but they sawe no maner of ymage or lykenes of any creature. And the cause was this. Lest if he had appeared in the similitude of a man or woman or of any beast vpon earthe, or of any birde in the ayer, or fishe in the water, or of any other creature, the ignoraunt people woulde paraduenture haue made an ymage like therto, and haue worshipped it.
Therfore they did se no maner of ymage, because they should make no ymage of God. Least thạt yf they had made any ymage of God, they would also haue worshipped it. And forasmuche as God is a goste not onely inuisible but also incomprehensible, therfore he can neither be made with handes, nor compassed by wit, nether is it possible, that any thyng made by mannes hande shulde represent God vnto vs, as his ymage, so far those two be vnlyke, God, and an ymage made by man. For God is a goste, without ende, without measure, withoute mixture, without corruption and most perfecte. But an ymage is a body, hathe an ende, maye be compassed and measured, it is myxed, corruptible and vnparfit. God is lyfe in him