He teacheth Nicodemus, that to come to the Kingdom of God, Baptisme is necessarie, as being
our Regeneration. 10. Which point Nicodemus as then not vnderstanding. 11. he sheweth that they
must beleeue him, and what good cause there is for them so to doe. 23. After this is he also
baptized, & Iohn likewise at the same time, 25. Wherevpon a question being moued, whether Baptisme is
better, 25. Iohn answereth it by saying, that he is so farre inferiour to Christ, as a mere man to
God most high.
The Ghospel vpon Holie Roode day, or Inuention of the holy Crosse. Maij 3.
AND there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a Prince of the Iewes.
2. This man came to Iesvs by night, and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come from God a Maister; for no man can doe these signes which thou doest, vnles God be with him.
3. Iesvs answered, and said to him: Amen, Amen I say to thee, vnles a man be borne againe, he can not see the Kingdom of God.
4. Nicodemus said to him: How can a man be borne, when he is old? can he enter into his mothers wombe againe & be borne?
5. Iesvs answered: Amen, Amen I say to thee, vnles a man be Borne againe of water.
Baptisme in water necessarie to saluation.
As no man can enter into this world not haue his life and being in the same, except he be borne of his carnal parents: no more can a man enter into the life and state of grace which is in Christ, or attaine to life euerlasting, vnles he be borne and baptized of water and the Holy Ghost. Whereby we see first, this Sacrament to be called our regeneration or second birth, in respect of our natural and carnal which was before. Secondly, that this Sacrament consisteth of an external element of water, and internal vertue of the Holy Spirit: wherein it excelleth Iohns Baptisme, which had the external element, but not the spiritual grace. Thirdly, that no man can enter into the Kingdom of God, not into the fellowship of Holy Church, without it. Whereby the *Pelagians, and Caluinists be condemned, that promisse life euerlasting to yong children that die without Baptisme, and al other that thinke only faith to serue, or the external element of water superfluous or not necessarie: our Sauiours wordes being plaine and general.
Baptisme in water in two cases otherwise supplied.
Though in this case, God which hath not bound his grace, in respect of his owne freedom, to any Sacrament, may and doth accept them as baptized, which either are martyred before they could be baptized, or els depart this life with vow and desire to haue that Sacrament, but by some remedilesse necessitie could not obtaine it. Lastly, it is proued that this Sacrament giueth grace ex opere operato, that is, of the worke itself (which al Protestants denie) because it so breedeth our spiritual life in God, as our carnal birth giueth the life of the world.
*Aug. hæres. 88. borne againe of water and the Spirit, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God.
6. That which is borne of the flesh, is flesh: & that which is borne of the Spirit, is spirit.
7. Maruel not, that I said to thee, You must be borne againe.
8. The Spirit breatheth where We follow rather S. Aug. and those ancient Fathers, which most commonly vnderstand this place of the Holy Ghost, and not of the winde: although both senses be good. he wil; and thou hearest his voice, but thou knowest not whence he commeth and whither he goeth: so is euery one that is borne of the Spirit.
9. Nicodemus answered, & said to him: How can these things be done?
10. Iesvs answered, and said to him: Thou art a Maister in Israel, and art thou ignorant of these things?
11. Amen, Amen I say to thee, that we speeke that which we know, and that which we haue seen we testifie, and our testimonie you receiue not.
12. If I haue spoken to you earthly things, and you beleeue not: how if I shal speake to you heauenly things, wil you beleeue?
13. And no man hath ascended into Heauen, but he that descended from Heauen, the Sonne of man which is in Heauen.
14. And as Num. 21,9. Moyses exalted the serpent in the desert, so must the Sonne of man be exalted:
15. that euery one which beleeueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting.
16. The Ghospel vpon Munday in the whitson-weeke. For so God loued the world, that he gaue his only-begotten Sonne; that euery one that beleeueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting.
17. For God sent not his Sonne into the world, to iudge the world, but that the world may be saued by him.
18. He that beleeueth in him, is not iudged. But he that doth not beleeue, is Is iudged already.
Euery infidel, and namely Heretikes, are iudged already.
He that beleeueth in Christ with faith which worketh by charitie (as the Apostle speaketh*) shal not be condemned at the later day nor at the houre of his death: but the Infidel, be he Iew, Pagan, or Heretike, is already (if he die in his incredulitie) by his owne profession and sentence condemned, and shal not come to iudgement either particular or general, to be discussed according to his workes of mercie done or omitted. In which sense S. Paul saith** that the obstinate Heretike is condemned by his owne iudgement, preuenting in himself, of his owne free wil, the sentence both of Christ and of the Church.
**Tit. 3,11. already iudged: because he hath not beleeued in the name of the only-begotten Sonne of God.
19. And this is the iudgement: because the light is come into the world, and men haue loued the darkenesse rather then the light: for their workes were euil.
20. For euery one that doth il, hateth the light, and commeth not to the light, that his workes may not be controuled.
21. But he that doth veritie, commeth to the light, that his workes may be made manifest, because they were done in God.
22. After these things Iesvs came and his Disciples into the countrie of Iewrie; & there he abode with them, and baptized.
23. And Iohn also was baptizing in Ænon beside Salim; because there was much water there, and they came, and were baptized.
24. For Iohn was not yet cast into prison.
25. And there rose a question of Iohns Disciples with the Iewes concerning purification.
26. And they came to Iohn, and said to him: Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Iordan, to whom Iohn 1,19. thou didst giue testimonie, behold he baptizeth, and al come to him.
27. Iohn answered and said: A man can not receiue any thing, vnlesse it be giuen him from Heauen,
28. Your selues doe beare me witnesse, Iohn 1,20. that I said, I am not Christ; but that I am sent before him.
29. He that hath the bride, is the bridegrome: but the freind of the bridegrome that standeth and heareth him, reioyceth with ioy for the voice of the bridegrome. This my ioy therfore is filled.
30. He must increase, and I diminish.
31. He that commeth from aboue.
The excellencie of Christs power and graces.
As though he should say: No maruel that men resort to Christ so fast and make lesse account of me. For, his baptisme and his preaching and his Person are al from Heauen immediatly. He bringeth al from the very bosome, mouth, and substance of God his Father. Whatsoeuer is in me, is but a litle drop of his grace. His spirit and graces are aboue al measures or mens gifts, euen according to his Manhood: and al power temporal and spiritual, the Kingdom and the Priesthood, and al soueraigntie in Heauen and earth are bostowed vpon him as he is man also. He that commeth from aboue, is aboue al. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that commeth from Heauen, is aboue al.
32. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth: and his testimonie no men receiueth.
33. He that hath receiued his testimonie, hath signed that God is true.
34. For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the wordes of God. For God doth not giue the Spirit by measure.
35. The Father loueth the Sonne: & he hath giuen al things in his hand.
36. He that beleeueth in the Sonne: hath life euerlasting: but he that is incredulous to the Sonne, shal not see life, but the wrath of God remaineth vpon him.