HOMILY ON THE RIGHT USE OF THE CHURCH
AN HOMILIE OF THE RIGHT VSE OF
the Church or Temple of GOD,
and of the reuerence due vnto the same.
THE FIRST CHAPTER.
WHERE there appeareth at these dayes great slackenesse and negligence of a great sort of people, in resorting to the Church, there to serue GOD their heauenly Father, according to their most bounden duety, as also much vncomely and vnreuerent behauiour of many persons in the same when they be there assembled, and therby may iust feare arise of the wrath of GOD, and his dreadful plagues hanging ouer our heads for our grieuous offences in this behalfe, amongst other many and great sinnes which wee dayly and hourely commit before the Lord. Therefore for the discharge of all our consciences, and for the auoyding of the common perill and plague hanging ouer vs, let vs consider what may be sayd out of GODS holy booke concerning this matter, whereunto I pray you giue good audience, for that it is of great weight, and concerneth you all. Although the eternall and incomprehensible Maiestie of GOD, the Lord of heauen and earth, whose feat is heauen, and the earth his footstoole, cannot bee inclosed in temples or houses made with mans hand, as in dwelling places able to receiue or conteyne his Maiestie, according as is euidently declared by the Prophet Esaias (Isaiah 66.1), and by the doctrine of S. Steuen, and S. Paul in the Actes of the Apostles (Acts 17.24). And where King Solomon (who builded vnto the Lord, the most glorious Temple that euer was made) saith, Who shal be able to build a meet or worthy house for him? if heauen, and the heauen aboue all heauens cannot conteine him: how much lesse can that which I haue builded (1 Kings 8.27)? And further confesseth: What am I, that I should bee able to build thee an house, O Lord? But yet for this purpose onely it is made, that thou mayest regard the prayer of thy seruant, and his humble supplication. (2 Chronicles 2.6, 2 Chronicles 6.18) Much lesse then be our Churches meet dwelling places to receiue the incomprehensible Maiestie of GOD. And indeed, the chiefe and speciall Temples of GOD, wherein hee hath greatest pleasure, and most delighteth to dwell and continue in are the bodies and minds of true Christians, and the chosen people of GOD, according to the doctrine of the holy Scripture, declared in the first Epistle to the Corinthians. Know yee not (saith Saint Paul) that ye be the Temple of GOD, and that the spirit of GOD dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of GOD, him wil GOD destroy. For the temple of GOD is holy, which ye are (1 Corinthians 3.16-17). And againe in the same Epistle: Know yee not that your body is the Temple of the holy Ghost dwelling in you, whom yee haue giuen you of GOD, and that yee be not your owne? For yee are dearely bought. Glorifie yee now therefore GOD in your body, and in your Spirit, which are GODS (1 Corinthians 6.19-20). And therefore as our Sauiour Christ teacheth in the Gospel of Saint Iohn, they that worship GOD the Father in spirit and trueth, in what place soeuer they doe it, worship him a right: for such worshippers doth GOD the Father looke for. For GOD is a Spirit, and those that worship him, must worship him in spirit and trueth (John 4.23-24), saith our Sauiour Christ. Yet all this notwithstanding, the materiall Church or Temple is a place appointed aswell by the vsage and continuall examples expressed in the olde Testament, as in the New, for the people of GOD to resort together vnto, there to heare GODS holy Word, to call vpon his holy Name, to giue him thankes for his innumerable and vnspeakeable benefits bestowed vpon vs, and duely and truely to celebrate his holy Sacraments: (In the vnfained doing and accomplishing of the which, standeth that true and right worshipping of GOD afore mentioned) and the same Church or Temple, is by the holy Scriptures both of the Olde Testament and New, called the House and Temple of the Lord, for the peculiar seruice there done to his Maiestie by his people, and for the effectuous presence of his heauenly Grace, wherewith hee by his sayd holy Word endueth his people so there assembled. And to the said house or Temple of GOD, at all times, by common order appointed, are all people that be godly indeed, bound with all diligence in resort, vnlesse by sickenesse, or other most vrgent causes they bee letted therefro. And all the same so resorting thither, ought with all quietnesse and reuerence there to behaue themselues, in doing their bounden duetie and seruice to Almightie GOD, in the Congregation of his Saints. All which things are euident to bee prooued by GODS holy word, as hereafter shall plainely appeare.
And first of all, I will declare by the Scriptures, that it is called (as it is in deede) the house of GOD (John 2.16), and Temple of the Lord. Hee that sweareth by the Temple (saith our Sauiour Christ) sweareth by it, and him that dwelleth therein (Matthew 23.21), meaning GOD the father, which hee also expresseth plainely in the Gospel of Saint Iohn, saying: Do not make the house of my father, the house of merchandize (John 2.16). And in the booke of the Psalmes, the Prophet Dauid saith, I will enter into thine house, I will worship in thy holy Temple, in thy feare (Psalms 5.7). And it is almost in infinite places of the Scripture, specially in the Prophets and booke of Psalmes, called the house of GOD, or house of the Lord. Sometime it is named the Tabernacle of the Lord, and sometime the Sanctuary, that is to say, the holy place or house of the Lord (Exodus 25.8-9, Leviticus 19.30). And it is likewise called the house of prayer, as Solomon, who builded the Temple of the Lord at Ierusalem, doth oft call it the house of the Lord, in the which the Lords Name should be called vpon (1 Kings 8.43, 2 Chronicles 6.10). And Esaias in the 56. Chapter, My house shall be called the house of prayer amongst all nations (Isaiah 56.7). Which text our Sauiour Christ alleadgeth in the new Testament, as doth appeare in three of the Euangelists (Matthew 12.4, Matthew 21.13, Mark 11.17, Luke 19.46), and in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publicane which went to pray, in which parable our Sauiour Christ saith, They went vp into the Temple to pray (Luke 18.10). And Anna the holy widow and prophetisse, serued the Lord in fasting and prayer in the Temple, night and day (Luke 2.37). And in the story of the Acts it is mentioned, how that Peter and Iohn went vp into the Temple at the houre of prayer (Acts 3.1). And S. Paul praying in the Temple at Ierusalem, was rapt in the Spirit, and did see Iesus speaking vnto him. And as in all conuenient places, prayer may be vsed of the godly priuately: so it is most certaine, that the Church or Temple is the due and appointed place for common and publike prayer. Now that it is likewise the place of thankesgiuing vnto the Lord for his innumerable and vnspeakeable benefits bestowed vpon vs, appeareth notably in the latter end of the Gospel of S. Luke (Luke 24.53), and the beginning of the story of the Acts, where it is written that the Apostles & Disciples after the ascension of the Lord, continued with one accord dayly in the Temple, alwaies praising, and blessing GOD (Acts 2.46-47). And it is likewise declared in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, that the Church is the due place appointed for the vse of the Sacraments (1 Corinthians 11.18). It remaineth now to be declared, that the Church or Temple is the place where the liuely word of GOD (and not mans inuentions) ought to be read and taught, & that the people are bound thither with all diligence to resort: and this proofe likewise to be made by the Scriptures, as hereafter shall appeare.
In the story of the Acts of the Apostles, we read that Paul and Barnabas preached the word of GOD in the Temples of the Iewes at Salamine. And when they came to Antiochia, they entered on the Sabbath day into the Synagogue or Church, and sate downe, & after the Lesson or reading of the Law and the Prophets, the ruler of the temple sent vnto them, saying: Ye men & brethren, if any of you haue any exhortation to make vnto the people, say it. And so Paul standing vp, and making silence with his hand, said: Ye me that be Israelites, & ye that feare God, giue eare, &c. preaching to them a sermon out of the Scriptures, as there at large appeareth (Acts 13.14-16). And in the same Storie of the Acts, the seuenteenth Chapter is testified, how Paul preached Christ out of the Scriptures at Thessalonica (Acts 17.1-2). And in the fifteenth Chapter, Iames the Apostle in that holy Counsell and Assembly of his fellow Apostles saith, Moses of old time hath in euery city certaine that preach him in the Synagogues or Temples, where he is read euery Sabboth day (Acts 15.21). By these places ye may see the vsage of reading the Scriptures of the old Testament among the Iewes in their Synagogues euery Sabboth day, and Sermons vsually made vpon the same. How much more then is it conuenient that the Scriptures of GOD, and specially the Gospel of our Sauiour Christ should bee read and expounded to vs that be Christians in our Churches, specially our Sauiour Christ and his Apostles allowing this most godly and necessary vsage, and by their examples confirme the same?
It is written in the Stories of the Gospels in diuers places, that Iesus went round about all Galile, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdome (Matthew 4.23, Mark 1.14, Luke 4.15, Matthew 13.54, Mark 6.1-2, Luke 13.10): In which places is his great diligence in continual preaching and teaching of the people most euidently set forth.
In Luke ye read, how Iesus according to his accustomed vse came into the Temple, and how the booke of Esaias the Prophet was deliuered him, how he read a text therein, and made a Sermon vpon the same.
And in the xix. is expressed how hee taught dayly in the Temple (Luke 19.47). And it is thus written in the viii. of Iohn: Iesus came againe early in the morning into the Temple, and all the people came vnto him, and he sate downe and taught them (John 8.1-2). And in the xviii. of Iohn, our Sauiour testifieth before Pilate, that he spake openly vnto the world, and that hee alwayes taught in the Synagogue and in the Temple, whither all the Iewes resorted, and that secretly hee spake nothing (John 18.20). And in Saint Luke Iesus taught in the Temple, and all the people came early in the morning vnto him, that they might heare him in the Temple (Luke 21.37-38).
Here ye see aswell the diligence of our Sauiour in teaching the word of GOD in the Temple daily, and specially on the Sabboth dayes, as also the readinesse of the people resorting altogether, and that earely in the morning, into the Temple to heare him.
The same example of diligence in preaching the word of GOD in the Temple, shall ye find in the Apostles, and the people resorting vnto them. Acts the fift., where the Apostles, although they had beene whipped and scourged the day before, and by the high Priest commanded that they should preach no more in the Name of Iesus, yet the day following they entred earely in the morning into the Temple, and did not cease to teach and declare Iesus Christ (Acts 5.21, 42). And in sundry other places of the storie of the Actes, ye shall finde like diligence both in the Apostles in teaching, and in the people in comming to the Temple to heare GODS word (Acts 13.15, 17). And it is testified in the first of Luke, that when Zacharie the holy Priest, and father to Iohn Baptist, did sacrifice within the Temple, all the people stoode without a long time praying, such was their zeale and feruencie at that time (Luke 1.9-10). And in the second of Luke appeareth what great iourneyes men, women, yea and children tooke, to come to the Temple on the Feast day, there to serue the Lord, and specially the example of Ioseph, the blessed virgin Marie, mother to our Sauiour, and of our Sauiour Christ himselfe, being yet but a child, whose examples are worthy for vs to follow (Luke 2.41, 46). So that if wee would compare our negligence in resorting to the house of the Lord there to serue him, with the diligence of the Iewes in comming daily very early, sometime by great iourneys to their Temple, and when the multitude could not be receiued within the Temple, the feruent zeale that they had, declared in standing long without and praying: we may iustly in this comparison condemne our slouthfulnesse and negligence, yea plaine contempt, in comming to the Lords house, standing so neere vnto vs, so seldome, and scarcely at any time. So farre is it from a great many of vs to come early in the morning, or giue attendance without, who disdain to come into the Temple: and yet we abhorre the very name of the Iewes when wee heare it, as of a most wicked and vngodly people. But it is to bee feared, that in this point wee be farre worse then the Iewes, and that they shall rise at the day of Iudgement, to our condemnation, who in comparison to them, shew such slackenesse and contempt in resorting to the house of the Lord, there to serue him, according as we are of duety most bound. And besides this most horrible dread of GODS iust Iudgement in the great day, wee shall not in this life escape his heauy hand and vengeance for this contempt of the house of the Lord, and his due seruice in the same, according as the Lord himselfe threatneth in the first Chapter of the Prophet Aggeus, after this sort: Because you haue left my House desert and without company (saith the Lord) and ye haue made hast euery man to his owne house, for this cause are the heauens stayed ouer you, that they should giue no deaw, and the earth is forbidden that it shall bring foorth her fruit, and I haue called drought vpon the earth, and vpon the mountaines, and vpon corne, and vpon wine, and vpon oyle, and vpon all things that the earth bringeth foorth, and vpon men, and vpon beasts, and vpon all things that mens hands labour for (Haggai 1.9-11). Behold, if wee bee such worldlings that wee care not for the eternall Iudgements of GOD (which yet of all other are most dreadfull, and horrible) we shall not escape the punishment of GOD in this world by drought and famine, and the taking away of all worldly commodities, which we as worldlings seeme onely to regarde and care for. Whereas on the contrary part, if we would amend this fault, or negligence, slouthfulnesse and contempt of the house of the Lord, and his due Seruice there, and with diligence resort thither together, to serue the Lord with one accord and consent, in all holinesse and righteousnesse before him, wee haue promises of benefits both heauenly and worldly. Wheresoeuer two or three bee gathered in my Name (sayth our Sauiour Christ) there am I in the middest of them (Matthew 18.20). And what can be more blessed, then to haue our Sauiour Christ among vs? Or what againe can bee more vnhappy or mischieuous then to driue our Sauiour Christ from amongst vs, to leaue a place for his and our most ancient and mortall enemy the old Dragon and serpent Satan the diuel in the middest of vs? In the second of Luke it is written, how that the mother of Christ and Ioseph, when they had long sought Christ, whom they had lost, and could find him no where, that at the last they found him in the Temple, sitting in the middest of the Doctors (Luke 2.46). So if wee lacke Iesus Christ, that is to say, the Sauiour of our soules and bodies, wee shall not find him in the Market-place, or in the Guild-hall, much lesse in the Ale-house or Tauerne, amongst good fellowes (as they call them) so soone as wee shall find him in the Temple, the Lords house, amongst the Teachers & Preachers of his Word, where indeed hee is to be found. And as concerning worldly commodities, wee haue a sure promise of our Sauiour Christ: Seeke ye first the kingdome of GOD, and the righteousnesse thereof, and all these things shall withall be giuen vnto you. And thus we haue in the first part of this Homily declared by GODS word, that the Temple or Church is the house of the Lord, for that the Seruice of the Lord (as teaching and hearing of his holy Word, calling vpon his holy Name, giuing thankes to him for his great and innumerable benefits, and due ministring of his Sacraments) is there vsed. And it is likewise declared by the Scriptures, how all godly and Christian men and women ought at times appointed, with diligence to resort vnto the house of the Lord, there to serue him, and to glorifie him, as he is most worthy, and wee most bound, to whom bee all glorie and honour world without end. Amen.
THE SECOND PART OF THE HOMILY OF THE RIGHT VSE OF THE CHURCH.
IT was declared in the first part of this Homily, by GODS word, that the Temple or Church is the house of the Lord, for that the Seruice of the Lord (as teaching and hearing of his holy Word, calling vpon his holy Name, giuing thankes to him, for his great and innumerable benefits, and due ministring of the Sacraments) is there vsed. And it is likewise already declared by the Scriptures, how all godly and Christian men and women, ought at times appointed, with diligence to resort vnto the house of the Lord, there to serue him, and to glorifie him, as he is most worthy, and we most bounden.
Now it remaineth in this second part of the Homilie concerning the right vse of the Temple of GOD, to be likewise declared by GODS word, with what quietnesse, silence, and reuerence, those that resort to the house of the Lord, ought there to vse and behaue themselues.
It may teach vs sufficiently how well it doeth become vs Christian men reuerently to vse the Church and holy house of our prayers, by considering in how great reuerence and veneration in the Iewes in the olde law had their Temple, which appeareth by sundry places, whereof I will note vnto you certaine. In the xxvi. of Matthew, it is laid to our Sauiour Christs charge before a Temporall Iudge, as a matter worthy death, by the two false witnesses, that he had said, hee could destroy the Temple of GOD, and in three dayes build it againe, not doubting but if they might make men to beleeue that hee had sayde any thing against the honour and maiestie of the Temple, he should seeme to all men most worthy of death. And in the xxi. of the Actes, when the Iewes found Paul in the Temple, they layd hands vpon him, crying, Yee men Israelites helpe, this is that man who teacheth all men euery where against the people and the law, and against this place: besides that, hee hath brought the Gentiles into the Temple, and hath prophaned this holy place (Acts 21.27-28). Behold how they tooke it for a like offence to speake against the Temple of GOD, as to speake against the Law of GOD, and how they iudged it conuenient, that none but godly persons and the true worshippers of GOD, should enter into the Temple of GOD (Acts 24.6). And the same fault is layd to Pauls charge by Tertullus an eloquent man, and by the Iewes in the xxiiii. of the Actes, before a temporall Iudge, as a matter worthy of death, that hee went about to pollute the Temple of GOD. And in the xxuii. of Matthew, when the chiefe Priests had receiued againe the pieces of siluer as Iudas hand, they said, It is not lawfull to put them into Corban (which was the treasure house of the Temple) because it is the price of blood (Matthew 27.6). So that they could not abide that not onely any vncleane person, but also any other dead thing that was iudged vncleane, should once come into the Temple, or any place thereto belonging. And to this end is S. Pauls saying in the second Epistle to the Corinthians the vi. Chapter to bee applied: What fellowship is there betwixt righteousnesse, and vnrighteousnesse? or what communion betweene light and darkenesse? or what concorde betweene Christ, and Belial? or what part can the faithfull haue with the vnfaithfull? or what agreement can there be betweene theTemple of GOD and images (2 Corinthians 6.14-16)? Which sentence, although it be chiefely referred to the temple of the minde of the godly: yet seeing that the similitude and pith of the argument is taken from the materiall Temple, it enforceth that no vngodlinesse, specially of images or idols, may be suffered in the Temple of GOD, which is the place of worshipping GOD: and therefore can no more bee suffered to stand there, then light can agree with darkenesse, or Christ with Belial: for that the true worshipping of GOD, and the worshipping of images, are most contrary. And the setting of them vp in the place of worshipping, may giue great occasion to the worshipping of them. But to turne to the reuerence that the Iewes had to their Temple. You will say that they honoured it superstitiously, and a great deale too much, crying out, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord (Jeremiah 7.4), being notwithstanding most wicked in life, and be therefore most iustly reproued of Ieremie the Prophet of the Lord. Trueth it is that they were superstitiously giuen to the honouring of their Temple. But I would wee were not as farre too short from the due reuerence of the Lords house, as they ouershot themselues therein. And if the Prophet iustly reprehended them, hearken also what the Lord requireth at our hands, that we may know whether we be blame-worthy or no. It is written in Ecclesiastes the fourth Chapter: When thou doest enter into the house of GOD (saith he) take heede to thy feete, draw neere that thou mayest heare: for obedience is much more worth then the sacrifice of fooles, which know not what euill they doe. Speake nothing rashly there, neither let thine heart be swift to vtter words before GOD. For GOD is in heauen, and thou art vpon the earth, therefore let thy wordes be few (Ecclesiastes 5.1-2). Note (welbeloued) what quietnesse in gesture and behauiour, what silence in talke and wordes, is required in the house of GOD; for so he calleth it, See whether they take heede to their feete, as they be here warned, which neuer cease from vncomely walking and ietting vp and downe, and ouerthwart the Church, shewing an euident signification of notable contempt, both of GOD, and all good men there present: and what heede they take to their tongues, and speech, which doe not onely speake wordes swiftly and rashly before the Lord (which they be here forbidden) but also oftentimes speake filthily, couetously, and vngodly, talking of matters scarce honest or fitte for the Ale-house or Tauerne, in the house of the Lord, little considering that they speake before GOD, who dwelleth in heauen, (as is here declared) when they be but vermins here creeping vpon the earth, in comparison to his eternall Maiestie, and lesse regarding that they must giue an account at the great day, of euery idle worde wheresoeuer it bee spoken (Matthew 12.36), much more of filthy, vncleane, or wicked wordes spoken in the Lords house, to the great dishonour of his Maiestie, and offence of all that heare them. And indeede concerning the people and multitude, the Temple is prepared for them to bee hearers, rather then speakers, considering that aswell the word of GOD is there read or taught, whereunto they are bound to giue diligent eare, with all reuerence and silence, as also that common prayer and thankesgiuing are rehearsed and sayd by the publique Minister in the name of the people and the whole multitude present, whereunto they giuing their ready audience, should assent and say, Amen, as S. Paul teacheth in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 14.16). And in another place, glorifiing GOD with one spirit and mouth: which cannot bee when euery man and woman in seuerall pretence of deuotion prayeth priuately, one asking, another giuing thankes, another reading doctrine, and not regarding to heare the common prayer of the Minister. And peculiarly, what due reuerence is to bee vsed in the ministring of the Sacraments in the Temple, the same S. Paul teacheth to the Corinthians, rebuking such as did vnreuerently vse themselues in that behalfe. Haue ye not houses to eate and drinke in (sayth he?) Doe ye despise the Church or congregation of GOD? What shall I say to you? Shall I prayse you? In this I prayse you not (1 Corinthians 11.22). And GOD requireth not onely this outward reuerence of behauiour and silence in his house, but all inward reuerence in cleansing of the thoughts of our hearts, threatning by his Prophet Osee in the ix. Chapter, that for the malice of the inuentions and deuices of the people, he will cast them out of his house: whereby is also signified the eternall casting of them out of his heauenly house and kingdome, which is most horrible (Hosea 9.15). And therefore in the xix. of Leuiticus GOD saith, Feare you with reuerence my Sanctuary, for I am the Lord (Leviticus 19.30). And according to the same the Prophet Dauid sayth, I will enter into thine house. I will worship in thy holy Temple in thy feare (Psalms 5.7): shewing what inward reuerence and humblenesse of minde the godly men ought to haue in the house of the Lord. And to alleadge somewhat concerning this matter out of the new Testament, in what honour GOD would haue his house or Temple kept, and that by the example of our Sauiour Christ. whose authoritie ought of good reason with all true Christians to bee of most weight and estimation. It is written of all the foure Euangelists. as a notable act, and worthy to be testified by many holy witnesses, how that our Sauiour Iesus Christ, that mercifull and milde Lord, compared for his meekenesse to a sheepe, suffering with silence his fleece to bee shorne from him, and to a Lambe led without resistance to the slaughter, which gaue his body to them that did smite him, answered not him that reuiled, nor turned away his face from them that did reproch him and spit vpon him, and according to his owne example, gaue precepts of mildnesse and sufferance to his disciples (Isaiah 53.7, Acts 8.32, Isaiah 50.6, Matthew 5.39-48): Yet when hee seeth the Temple and holy house of his heauenly Father misordered, polluted, and prophaned, vseth great seuerity and sharpenesse, ouerturneth the tables of the exchanges, subuerteth the feates of them that sold doues, maketh a whip of cordes, and scourgeth out those wicked abusers and prophaners of the Temple of GOD, saying, My house shalbe called the house of prayer, but yee haue made it a denne of theeues (Matthew 21.12, Mark 11.15, Luke 19.45, John 2.14), And in the second of Iohn, Doe not ye make the house of my Father, the house of merchandize (John 2.16). For as it is the house of GOD, when GODS seruice is duely done in it: So when wee wickedly abuse it with wicked talke or couetous bargaining, wee make it a denne of theeues, or an house of merchandize. Yea, and such reuerence would Christ should bee therein, that hee would not suffer any vessell to bee caryed through the Temple (Mark 11.16). And whereas our Sauiour Christ (as is before mentioned) could bee found no where (when he was sought) but only in the; Temple amongst the doctors (Luke 2.46), and now againe hee exerciseth his authoritie and iurisdiction, not in castles and princely palaces amongst souldiers, but in the Temple: Ye may hereby vnderstand in what place his spirituall Kingdome (which he denyeth to be of this world) is soonest to be found, and best to be knowen of Chrysost all places in this world. And according to this example of our Sauiour Christ in the primitiue Church, which was most holy and godly, and in the which due discipline with seueritie was vsed against the wicked, open offenders were not suffered once to enter into the house of the Lord, nor admitted to common prayer, and the vse of the holy Sacraments with other true Christians, vntill they had done open penance before the whole Church.
The peoples fault was most grieuous: the sentence executed otherwise and more cruell then it should. He was only dehorted from receiuing the Sacrament, vntil by Repentance he might be better prepared. And this was practised, not onely vpon meane persons, but also vpon the rich, noble, and mighty persons, yea, vpon Theodosius that puissant and mighty Emperour, whom for committing a grieuous and wilfull murder, S. Ambrose Bishop of Millaine reprooued sharpely, and did also excommunicate the sayd Emperour, and brought him to open penance. And they that were so iustly exempted and banished (as it were) from the house of the Lord, were taken (as they be indeede) for men deuided & separated from Christes Church, and in most dangerous estate, yea as S. Paul saith, euen giuen vnto Satan the deuill for a time (1 Corinthians 5.5), and their company was shunned & auoyded of all godly men and women, vntill such time as they by repentance & publike penance were reconciled. Such was the honour of the Lords house in mens hearts, and outward reuerence also at that time, and so horrible a thing was it to bee shut out of the Church and house of the Lord in those dayes, when religion was most pure, and nothing so corrupt as it hath beene of late dayes. And yet wee willingly, either by absenting our selues from the house of the Lord, doe (as it were) excommunicate our selues from the Church and fellowship of the Saintes of GOD, or else comming thither, by vncomely and vnreuerent behauiour there, by hastie, rash, yea vncleane and wicked thoughts and wordes before the Lord our GOD, horribly dishonour his holy house the Church of GOD, and his holy Name and Maiestie, to the great danger of our soules, yea and certaine damnation also, if we do not speedily and earnestly repent vs of this wickednesse.
Thus ye haue heard (dearely beloued) out of GODS word, what reuerence is due to the holy house of the Lord, how all godly persons ought with diligence at times appointed thither to repayre, how they ought to behaue themselues there, with reuerence and dread before the Lord, what plagues and punishments, aswell temporall, as eternall, the Lord in his holy word threatneth, as well to such as neglect to come to his holy house, as also to such, who comming thither, doe vnreuerently by gesture or talke there behaue themselues. Wherefore if wee desire to haue seasonable weather, and thereby to enioy the good fruites of the earth, if wee will auoyd drought and barrennesse, thirste and hunger, which are plagues threatned vnto such as make haste to goe to their owne houses, to alehouses and tauerns, and leaue the house of the Lord empty and desolate, if wee abhorre to bee scourged, not with whips made of cordes, out of the materiall Temple onely (as our Sauiour Christ serued the defilers of the house of GOD in Hierusalem) but also to bee beaten and driuen out of the eternall temple and house of the Lord (which is his heauenly kingdome) with the yron rodde of euer lasting damnation, and cast into vtter darkenesse, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth, if we feare, dread and abhorre this (I say) as wee haue most iust cause to doe: then let vs amend this our negligence and contempt in comming to the house of the Lord, this our vnreuerent behauiour in the house of the Lord, and resorting thither diligently together, let vs there with reuerent hearing of the Lords holy word, calling on the Lords holy Name, giuing of hearty thankes vnto the Lord for his manifold and inestimable benefits dayly and hourely bestowed vpon vs, celebrating also reuerently the Lords holy Sacraments, serue the Lord in his holy house, as becommeth the seruants of the Lord, in holinesse and righteousnesse before him all the dayes of our life, and then we shall bee assured, after this life, to rest in his holy hill, and to dwell in his Tabernacle, there to prayse and magnifie his holy Name in the congregation of his Saints, in the holy house of his eternall kingdome of heauen, which hee hath purchased for vs, by the death and shedding of the precious blood of his Sonne our Sauiour Iesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one immortall GOD, bee all honour, glory, praise, and thankesgiuing, world without end. Amen.
The Anglican Library, This HTML edition copyright 1999.