15 And again he himself saith, [*1] I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying: He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him seeing he delighted in him.
16 Ye see, beloved, what the pattern is that has been given to us. For if the Lord thus humbled himself, what should we do who are brought [*2] by him under the yoke of his grace?
17 Let us be followers of those who went about in goat-skins and sheep-skins; preaching the coming of Christ.
18 [*3] Such were Elias, and Elisaeus, and Ezekiel the prophets. [*4] And let us add to these such others as have received the like testimony.
19 Abraham has been greatly witnessed of; having been called the friend of God. And yet he steadfastly beholding the glory of God, says with all humility, [*5] I am dust and ashes.
20 Again of Job it is thus written, [*6] That he was just and without blame, true; one that served God, and abstained from all evil. Yet he accusing himself, says, [*7] No man is free from pollution, no not though he should live but one day.
21 Moses was called faithful[p. 121]
Click to enlarge
THE TWO SPIES SENT BY JOSHUA TO JERICHO, AND THEIR ESCAPE FROM THE HOUSE FROM RAHAB. FROM MOSAICS OF THE FIRST CENTURY IN THE CHURCH OF ST. MARIA MAGGIORE, ROME.
in all God's House; and by his conduct [*1] the Lord punished Israel by stripes and plagues.
22 And even this man, though thus greatly honoured, spake not greatly of himself; but when the oracle of God was delivered to him out of the bush he said, [*2] Who am I, that thou dost send me? I am of a slender voice, and a slow tongue.
23 And again he saith, [*3] I am as the smoke of the pot.
24 And what shall we say of David, so highly testified of in the Holy Scriptures? To whom God said [*4] I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse, with my holy oil have I anointed him.
25 But yet be himself saith unto God, [*5] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
26 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
27 Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
28 Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
29 Behold, thou desireth truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
30 Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
31 Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
32 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
33 Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
34 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.
35 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.
36 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
37 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
38 O Lord open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
39 For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offerings.
40 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
He again persuades them to compose their divisions.
THUS has the humility and [*6] godly fear of these [*7] great and excellent men, [*8] recorded in the Scriptures, through obedience, made not only us, but also the generations before us better; even as many as have received his holy oracles [*9] with fear and truth.
2 Having therefore so many,[p. 122]
and such great and glorious [*1] examples, [*2] let us return to that peace which was the mark that from the beginning was set before us;
3 Let us look up to the Father and Creator of the whole world; and let us hold fast to his glorious and exceeding gifts and benefits of peace.
4 Let us [*3] consider and behold with the eyes of our [*4] understanding his long-suffering will; and think how gentle and patient he is towards his whole creation.
5 The heavens moving by his appointment, are subject to him in peace.
6 Day and night accomplish the courses that he has allotted unto them, not disturbing one another.
7 The sun and moon, and all the several [*5] companies and constellations of the stars, run the [*6]courses that he has appointed to them in concord, without departing in the least from them.
8 The fruitful earth yields its food plentifully in due season both to man and beast, and to all animals that are upon it, according to his will; not [*7] disputing, nor altering any thing of what was ordered by him.
9 So also the unfathomable and unsearchable floods of the deep, are kept in by his command;
10 [*8] And the [*9] conflux of the vast sea, being brought together by his order into its several collections, passes not the bounds that he has set to it;
11 But as he [*10] appointed it, so it remains. For he said, [*11] Hitherto shalt thou come, and thy floods shall be broken within thee.
12 The ocean, unpassable to mankind, and the worlds that are beyond it, are governed by the same commands of their great master.
13 Spring and summer, autumn and winter, give place peaceably to each other.
14 The several [*12] quarters of the winds fulfil their [*13] work in their seasons, without offending one another.
15 The ever-flowing fountains, made both for pleasure and health, never fail to reach out their breasts to support the life of men.
16 Even the smallest creatures [*14] live together in peace and concord with each other.
17 All these has the Great Creator and Lord of all, commanded to observe peace and concord; being good to all.
18 But especially to us who flee to his mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.
He exhorts them to obedience, from the consideration of the goodness of God, and of his presence in every place.
TAKE heed, beloved, that his many blessings be not to [*15] us to condemnation; except we shall walk worthy of him, doing with [*16] one consent what is good and pleasing in his sight.
2 [*17] The spirit of the Lord is a[p. 123]
candle, searching out the inward of the belly.
3 Let us therefore consider how near he is to us; and how that none of our thoughts, or reasonings which we frame with in ourselves, are [*1] hid from him.
4 It is therefore just that we should not forsake our rank, by doing contrary to his will.
5 Let us choose to offend a few foolish and inconsiderate men, lifted up and glorying [*2] in their own pride, rather than God.
6 Let us reverence our Lord Jesus Christ whose blood was given for us.
7 Let us honour those who are set over us; let us respect the aged that are amongst us; and let us instruct the younger men, in the discipline and fear of the LORD.
8 Our wives let us [*3] direct to do that which is good.
9 Let them show forth a lovely habit of purity in all their conversation; with a sincere [*4] affection of meekness.
10 Let the [*5] government of their tongues [*6] be made manifest by their silence.
11 Let their charity be without respect of persons alike towards all such as religiously fear God.
12 Let your children [*7] be bred up in the instruction of Christ:
13 And especially let them learn how great a power humility has with God; how much a pure and holy charity avails with him; how excellent and great his fear is; and how it will [*8] save all such as turn to him with holiness in a pure mind.
14 For he is the searcher of the thoughts and counsels of the heart; whose breath is in us, and when he pleases he can take it from us.
Of faith, and particularly what we are to believe as to the resurrection.
BUT all these things [*9] must be confirmed by the faith which is in Christ; for so he himself bespeaks us by the Holy Ghost.
2 [*10] Come ye children and hearken unto me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there that desireth life, and loveth to see good days?
3 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile.
4 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and ensue it.
5 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.
6 But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
7 The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles.
8 Many are the troubles of the wicked; but they that trust in the Lord, mercy shall encompass them about.
9 Our all-merciful and beneficent Father hath bowels of compassion towards them that fear him; and kindly and lovingly bestows his graces upon all such as come to him with a simple mind.[p. 124]
10 Wherefore let us not [*1] waver, neither let us have any doubt in our hearts, of his excellent and glorious gifts.
11 [*2] Let that be far from us which is written, [*3] Miserable are the double-minded, and those who are doubtful in their hearts.
12 Who say these things have we heard, and our fathers have told us these things. But behold we are grown old, and none of them has happened unto us.
13 O ye fools! [*4] consider the trees: take the vine for an example. First it sheds its leaves; then it buds; after that it spreads its leaves; then it flowers; then come the sour grapes; and after them follows the ripe fruit. Ye see how in a little time the fruit of the tree comes to maturity.
14 Of a truth, yet a little while and his will shall suddenly be accomplished.
15 The Holy Scripture itself bearing witness, That [*5] He shall quickly come and not tarry, and that the Lord shall suddenly come to his temple, even the [*6] holy ones whom ye look for.
16 Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord does continually shew us, that there shall be a future resurrection; of which he has made our Lord Jesus Christ the first fruits, raising him from the dead.
17 Let us [*7] contemplate, beloved, the resurrection that is [*8] continually made before our eyes.
18 Day and night manifest a resurrection to us. The night lies down, and the day arises: main the day departs, and the night comes on.
19 Let us behold the fruits of the earth. Every one sees how the seed is sown. The sower [*9] goes forth, and casts it upon the earth; and the seed which when it was sown fell upon the earth dry and naked, in time dissolves.
20 And from the dissolution, the great power of the providence of the Lord raises it again; and of one seed many arise, and bring forth fruit.
The Resurrection further proved.
LET us consider that wonderful [*10] type of the resurrection which is seen in the Eastern countries; that is to say, in Arabia.
2 There is a certain bird called a Phoenix; of this there is never but one at a time: and that lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near, that it must die, it makes itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices into which when its time is fulfilled it enters and dies.
3 But its flesh putrifying, breeds a certain worm, which being nourished with the juice of the dead bird brings forth feathers; and when it is grown to a perfect state, it takes up the nest in which the bones of its parents lie, and carries it from Arabia into Egypt, to a city called Heliopolis:
4 And flying in open day in the sight of all men, lays it upon the altar of the sun, and so returns from whence it came.
5 The priests then search into the records of the time; and find that it returned precisely at the end of five hundred years.[p. 125]
6 And [*1] shall we then think it to be any very great and strange thing for the Lord of all to raise up those that religiously him in the assurance of good faith, when even by a bird he shews us the greatness of his power to fulfil his promise?
7 For he says in a certain place, Thou shalt raise me up, and I shall confess unto thee.
8 And again [*2] I laid me down and slept, and awaked, because thou art with me.
9 And again, Job says, [*3] Thou shalt raise up this flesh of mine, that has suffered all these things.
10 Having therefore this hope, let us [*4] hold fast to him who is faithful in all his promises, and righteous in all his judgments; who has commanded us not to lie: how much more will he not himself lie?
11 For nothing is impossible with God but to lie.
12 Let his faith then be stirred up again in us; and let us consider that all things are nigh unto him.
13 By the word of his [*5] power he made all things; and by [*6] the same word he is able (whenever he will), to destroy them.
14 Who shall say unto him, what dost thou? or who shall resist the power of his strength? [*7]
15 When, and as he pleased, [*8] he will do all things; and nothing shall pass away of all that has been determined by him.
16 All things are open before him; nor can anything be hid from his council.
17 [*9] The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
It is impossible to escape the vengeance of God, if we continue in sin.
SEEING then all things are seen and heard by God; let us fear him, and let us lay aside our wicked works which proceed from ill desires; that through his mercy we may be [*10] delivered from the [*11] condemnation to come.
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