The I. parte:
THE ACTS of Christ before his manifestation, whiles Iohn Baptist was yet baptizing. The preface of the Euangelist, commending Christ (as being God the Sonne incarnate) to the Gentils, and setting out the blindnes of the Iewes in not receiuing him. 19. Then, the testimonie of Iohn Baptist, first to the solemne legacie of the Iewes: 29. secondly, when he saw Iesvs come to him: 35. thirdly, to his owne Disciple also putting them ouer from himself to Iesvs who made is plainer to them that he is Christ, 40. and so began he also to haue Disciples. 1. The Ghospel at the third Masse vpon Christmas day. And euery day at the end of Masse. IN THE beginning Was the Word.
How God the Sonne is call the WORD.
The second Person in Trinitie which is the natural, only, and eternal Sonne of God the Father, is called the WORD: not as the holy Scriptures or speaches of the Prophets and Apostles (written and spoken by Gods commandement for the vttering of his diuine wil towards man) be called his word, but in a more diuine, eminent and ineffable sort, to expresse vnto vs in a sort, by a terme agreable to our capacitie, that the Sonne of God so is and so from euerlasting is borne of God the Father, as our prime concept (which is our internal and mental word) is and issueth out of our intelligence and mind. This WORD then, Sonne, or second Person in the holy Trinitie, was and had his being then already, when other creatures (of what sort soeuer) had but their beginning, and therfore cannot be a creature, as many Heretikes before the writing of this Ghospel thought, and as the Arians after taught.
And this first sentence of the Ghospel not only the faithful, but the Platonikes did so admire (as S. Augustine writeth*) that they wished it to be written in gold.
*Augu. de Ciu. Dei. li. 10. c. 29. was the Word, and the Word was With God.
The WORD coeternal with the Father, distinct in Person and of the Father.
Because a man might say; If the WORD were before any thing was created, where or how could he be? the Euangelist preuenting that carnal concept, saith first, that he was with God, whose being dependeth not vpon time, place, space, or any other creatures, al which were made by him. Secondly, he giueth vs to vnderstand, that the WORD hath his proper subsistence or personalitie distinct from God the Father, whereby Sabellius the old Heretike is refuted. Thirdly, here is insinuated the order of these two persons, one towardes the other, to wit, that this Sonne is with and of the Father, and not the Father of the Sonne. Fourthly, you may confute here the blasphemie of Caluin,* holding the second Person to be God, not as of the Father, but as of himself. And yet such are the bookes that our youth now read commonly in England, and that by commandement.
*Calu. inst. li. 10,13. Sect. 23. & 25. with God, and God was the Word.
The WORD true God by nature.
Lest any man vpon the premisses, which set forth the relation and distinction of the second Person from the first, might thinke that the Father only were God, the Euangelist expresly teacheth, the WORD to be God. For though the wordes seeme to lie otherwise (because we haue of purpose followed the elegancie which the Euangelist himself obserued in placing them so, and therfore they stand so both in Greeke and Latin) yet indeed the construction is thus: The WORD was God, and (as in his first Epistle the same Apostle writeth*) true God: lest any might say (as the Arians did) that he was God indeed, but not truly and naturally, but by common adoption or calling, as good men in the Church be called the sonnes of God.
The Protestants are like the wrangling Arians.
What wonderful wrangling and tergiuersation the Arians vsed to auoid the euidence of this place, we see in S. Augustine li. 3 de Doct. Christ. c. 2. euen such as the Protestants doe, to auoid the like wordes, This is my body, concerning the B. Sacrament.
*1. Iohn c. 5,20. God was the Word.
2. This was in the beginning with God.
3. Al things were made By him.
The WORD not a creature but the Creatour.
Againe, by this he signifieth the eternitie, diuinitie, omnipotencie, and equalitie of the WORD or Sonne, with God the Father, because by him al things were created. Al things he saith, both visible of this world: and inuisible, as Angels and al spiritual creatures. Wherevpon it is euident also, that himself is no creature, being the Creatour of al: neither is sinne of his creation, being a defect of a thing, rather then a thing itself, and therfore neither of nor by him. by him: and without him was made ✟ 'nothing that was made.' nothing. That which was made,
4. in him was life, and the life was the light of men:
5. and the light shineth in darkenesse, and the darkenesse did not comprehend it.
6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was Iohn.
7. This man came for testimonie; to giue testimonie of the light, that al might beleeue through him.
8. He was not the light, but to giue testimonie of the light.
9. It was the true light, which lighteneth euery man that commeth into this world.
10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11. He came into his owne, and his owne receiued him not.
12. But as many as receiued him, He gaue them power.
Free wil to receiue or acknowledge Christ, and power giuen to men, if they wil, to be made by Christ the sonnes of God: but not forced or drawen therevnto by any necessitie. he gaue them ✟ Beza falsly translated dignitatem for potestatem ἐξουσιαν. power to be made the sonnes of God, to those that beleeue in his name.
13. Who, not of bloud, nor of the wil of flesh, nor of the wil of man, but of God are borne.
14. ✟ ET VERBVM CARO FACTVM EST. And The Word made flesh.
Humble kneeling at the solemne wordes of Christs incarnation.
This is the high and diuine testimonie of Christs incarnation and that he vouchsafed to become man. For the acknowledging of which inexplicable benefit and giuing humble thankes for the same, al Christian people in the world by tradition of the Fathers prostrate themselues or kneele downe, when they heare it sung or said at the holy Masse, either in this Ghospel, or in the Creede by these wordes: ET HOMO FACTVS EST. The Word was Made Flesh, and dwelt in vs (and we saw the glorie of him, glorie as it were of the Only-begotten of the Father) ful of grace and veritie.
15. Iohn giueth testimonie of him, and crieth saying: This was he of whom I spake, He that shal come after me, ✟ He is preferred and made of more dignitie and excellencie then I, because he was before me and al things Eternal God. is made before me: because he was before me.
16. And of his fulnes we al haue receiued, and grace for grace.
17. For the law was giuen by Moyses, grace and veritie was made by Iesvs Christ.
18. God No man hath seen.
How mortal men see God.
Neuer man in this mortalitie saw God in the very shape and natural forme of the diuine essence, but men see him only in the shape of visible creatures, in or by which it pleaseth him to shew himself vnto many diuersly in this world: but neuer in such sort as when he shewed himself in the Person of the Sonne of God, being made truey man and conuersing with men. no man hath seen at any time: the only-begotten Sonne which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared.
19. The Ghospel vpon the 3. Sunday in Aduent. And this is Iohns testimonie, when the Iewes sent from Hierusalem Priests and Leuites to him, that they should aske him, who art thou?
20. And he confessed, and did not denie: and he confessed, That I am not Christ.
21. And they asked him: What then? Art thou * Mal. 4,5. Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou ✟ By like the Iewes ignorantly vnderstood not the place in Deuteronomie, of Christ, and therefore they aske also whether he be the Prophet there spoken of. See also c. 7, 40. the * Deu. 18,15. Prophet? And he answered: No.
22. They said therefore vnto him: Who art thou, that we may giue an answer to them that sent vs? what saiest thou of thy self?
23. He said: * Isai. 40,3. I am the voyce of one crying in the desert, make straight the way of our Lord, as Esaie the Prophet said.
24. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees.
25. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then doest thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet?
26. Iohn answered them, saying: * Mat. 3,11.
Luke 3,16. I ✟ He doth often here signifie the great difference of his Baptisme and of Christs, as of his person and Christs. See Annot, Mat. 3. baptize in water; but there hath stood in the middes of you whom you know not.
27. The same is he that shal come after me, that is made before me; whose latchet of his shoe I am not worthie to loose.
28. These things were done in Bethania beyond Iordan, where Iohn was baptizing.
29. The Ghospel on the octaue of the Epiphanie. The next day Iohn saw Iesvs comming to him, and he saith: Behold the lamb of God, behold him that taketh away the ✟ 'sinnes' Agnus Dei at Masse. sinne, of the world.
30. This is he of whom I said: After me there commeth a man, which is made before me: because he was before me.
31. And I knew him not, but that he may be manifested in Israel, therefore came I baptizing in water.
32. And Iohn gaue testimonie, saying: That I saw The Spirit.
The B. Trinitie.
Here is an euident testimonie of the third Person in Trinitie, which is the Holy Ghost: so that in this one Chapter we finde expresly against al Heretikes, Iewes, and Pagans, set forth the truth of the Churches doctrine concerning the whole Trinitie. the Spirit descending as a doue from Heauen, and he remained vpon him.
33. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said to me: He vpon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining vpon him, he it is that baptizeth in the Holy Ghost.
34. And I saw; and I gaue testimonie that this is the Sonne of God.
35. The Ghospel vpon S. Andrews eue. The next day againe Iohn stood, and two of his Disciples.
36. And beholding Iesvs walking, he saith: Behold the Lamb of God.
37. And the two Disciples heard him speaking, and they followed Iesvs.
38. And Iesvs turning, and seeing him: Rabbi (which is called by interpretation, Maister) where dwellest thou?
39. He saith to them: Come and see. They came, and saw where he abode, and they taried with him that day: and it was about the tenth houre.
40. And Andrew the brother of Simon Peter was one of the two that had heard of Iohn, and followed him.
41. He findeth first his brother Simon, and saith to him: We haue found ✟ Messias in Hebrew, in Greeke Christ, in English Anointed, to wit, with the spiritual oile of grace aboue his brethren. Ps. 44. Messias, which is being interpreted, Christ.
42. And he brought him to Iesvs. And Iesvs Looking vpon him.
Peter by his new name designed to be the Rocke of the Church.
This beholding of Simon, insinuateth Christs designement: and preferring of him to be the cheefe Apostle, the Rocke of the Church and his Vicar; and therfore vpon that Diuine prouidence and intention he accordingly changeth his name, calling him for Simon, Caiphas which is a Syriake word, as much to say as Rocke or Stone. And S. Paul commonly calleth him by this name Cephas, whereas other both Greekes and Latines call him altogether by the Greeke word, Peter, which signifieth the selfsame thing*. Whereof S. Cyril saith, that our Sauiour by foretelling that his name should no more now be Simon, but Peter, did by the word itself aptly signifie, that on him, as on a rocke and stone most firme, he would build his Church.
*Cephas. Petrus. Li. 2. c. 12. in Iohn. looking vpon him, said: Thou art Simon the sonne of Iona: thou shalt be called ✟ Cephas in Syriake, and Peter in Greeke, in English Rocke. See Mat. 16,18. Cephas, which is interpreted, Peter.
43. On the morrow he would goe forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philippe. And Iesvs saith to him: Follow me.
44. And Philippe was of Bethsaida, the citie of Andrew and Peter.
45. Philippe findeth Nathanael, and saith to him: Him whom Moyses in the law, and the Prophets wrote of, we haue found, Iesvs the sonne of Ioseph, of Nazareth.
46. And Nathanael said to him: From Nazareth can there be any good? Philippe saith to him: Come and see.
47. The Ghospel vpon a votiue Masse of the holy Angels. Iesvs saw Nathanael comming to him, and he saith of him: Behold an Israelite in very deed, in whom there is no guile.
48. Nathanael saith to him: How knowest thou me? Iesvs answered and said to him: Before that Philippe did cal thee, when thou wast vnder the figtree, I saw thee.
49. Nathanael answered him and saith: Rabbi, thou art the Sonne of God, thou art the King of Israel.
50. Iesvs answered, and said to him: Because I said vnto thee, I saw thee vnder the figtree, thou beleeuest; greater then these things shalt thou see.
51. And he saith to him: Amen Amen I say to you, You shal see the Heauen opened, and the * Gen. 28,22. Angels of God ascending and descending, vpon the Sonne of man.