With a protestation if his sorrow for it (lest they should thinke him to
reioyce in their perdition.) he insinuateth the Iewes to be reprobate, although they come to
Abrahams flesh, 6. saying, to the sonnes of God goeth not by that, but by God's grace: 19.
considering that al were one demaned masse. 24. By which grace the Gentils to be made his people:
& so the Prophets to haue foretold of them both. 30. And the cause hereof to be, that the Gentils
submit themselues to the faith of Christ, which the Iewes wil not.
1. I SPEAKE the verity in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witnes in the Holy Ghost,
2. that I haue great sadnesse & continual sorrow in my hart.
3. For I wished my self to be an Anathema.
Anathema by vse of Scripture is either that which by separation from profane vse, and by dedication to God, is holy, dreadful, and not vulgarly to be touched; or contrariewise, that which is reiected, seuered, or abandoned from God, as cursed and detested, and therfore is to be auoided. And in this later sense (according as S. Paul taketh it 1. Corinth. 16. If any loue not our Lord IESVS CHRIST, be he Anathema, that is to say, Away with him, Accursed be he, Beware you company not with him) the Church and holy Councels vse the word, for a curse and excommunication against Heretikes & other notorious offenders& blasphemers.
In what sense S. Paul wisheth to be anathema.
Now how the Apostle, wishing himself to be Anathema from Christ to saue his Countrie-mens soules, did take this word, it is a very hard thing to determine. Some thinke, he desired only to die for their saluation. Others, that being very loth to be kept from the fruition of Christ, yet he could be content to be so stil for to saue their soules. Others, that wished what malediction or separation from Christ soeuer that did not imply the disfauour of God towards him, nor take away his loue toward God. This only is certaine that it is a point of vnspeakable charitie in the Apostles breast, and a paterne to al Bishops and Priests, how to loue the saluation of their flocke. As the like was vttered by Moyses when he said: *Either forgiue this people, or blot me out of thy booke.
*Exo. 32,32. anathema from Christ for my brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh,
4. who are Israelites, whose is the adoption of sonnes, and the glorie, and the Testament, and the law-giuing, & ἡ λατρεία. the seruice, and the promises:
5. whose are the Fathers, & of whom Christ is according to the flesh, who is aboue al things God Blessed for euer. Amen.
6. But not that the word of God is frustrate. For, Not al of Israel.
God's promise not made to carnal Israel.
Though the people of the Iewes were many waies honoured and priueledged, and namely by Christes taking flesh of them, yet the promise of grace and saluation was neither only made to them, nor to al them that carnally came of them or their Fathers: God's election, and mercie depending vpon his owne purpose, wil, and determination, and not tied to any Nations, familie, or person. not al that are of Israel, they be Israelites:
7. nor they that are the seed of Abraham, al be children: Gen. 21,12. but But in Isaac.
Isaac preferred before Ismael.
The promise made to Abraham was not in Ismael, who was a sonne borne only by flesh and nature; but in Isaac, who was a sonne obtained by promise, faith, and miracle; and was a figure of the Churches children borne to God in Baptisme. in Isaac shal the seed be called vnto thee:
8. that is to say, not they that are the children of the flesh they are the children of God: but they that are the children of the promise, are esteemed for the seed.
9. For the word of the promise is this: Gen. 18,10. According to this time wil I come; & Sara shal haue a sonne.
10. And not only she. But Gen. 25,21. Rebecca S. Hierom. q. 10. ad Hedibiam.
Al the epistle surely to the Romanes needeth interpretation, and is enwrapped with so great obscurities that to vnderstand it we the need help of the Holy Ghost, who by the Apostle did dictate these same things: but especially this place. Howbeit nothing pleaseth vs but that which is Ecclesiastical, that is, the sense of the Church. also conceiuing Of one copulation.
Iacob before Esau.
It is proued also by God's choosing of Iacob before Esau (who were not only brethren by father and mother, but also twinnes, and Esau the elder of the two, which according to carnal count should haue had the preeminence) that God in giuing graces followeth not the temporal or carnal prerogatiues of men and families. of one copulation, of Isaac our Father.
11. For when they were Not yet borne.
By the example of Iacob and Esau, is shewed God's mere mercie in the Elect, & the iustice in the Reprobate.
By the same example of those twinnes, it is euident also, that neither Nations nor particular persons be elected eternally, or called temporally, or preferred to God's fauour before others, by their owne merits: because God, when he made choise, and first loued Iacob, and refused Esau, respected them both as il, and the one no lesse then the other guilty of damnation for original sinne, which was a-like in them both. And therfore where iustly he might haue reprobated both, he saued of mercie one. Which one therfore, being as il and as void of good as the other, must hold of God's eternal purpose, mercie, and election, that he was preferred before his brother which was elder then himself. And his Esau on the other side hath no cause to complaine. For that God neither did nor suffred any thing to be done towards him, that his sinne did not deserue. For although God elect eternally & giue his first grace without al merites, yet he doth not reprobate or hate any man but for sinne, or the foresight thereof. not yet borne, nor had done any good or euil (that the purpose of God according to election might stand)
12. not of workes, but of the Caller it was said to her: That the elder shal serue the yonger,
13. as it is written: Iacob I loued, but Esau I hated.
14. What shal we say then? Is there iniquitie?
That God is not vniust, or an accepter of persons, is declared by similar examples.
Vpon the former discourse, that of two persons equal God calleth the one to mercie, and leaueth the other in his sinne, one might inferre that God were vniust and an accepter of persons. To which the Apostle answereth, that God were not iust nor indifferent indeed, so to vse the matter where grace or saluation were due. As if two men being Christened, both beleeue wel, & liue-wel: if God should giue Heauen to the one, and should damne the other, then were he vniust, partial, & forgetful of his promise: but respecting or taking two, who both be worthy of damnation (as al are before they be first called to mercie) then the matter standeth on mere mercie, and of the giuers wil and liberalitie, in which case partialitie hath no place. As for example
Predestination & reprobation take not away free-wil; neither must any man be retchlesse & desperate.
In al this mercie of God towards some, and iustice towards othersome, both the pardoned worke by their owne free-wil, and thereby deserue their saluation; and the other no lesse by their owne free-wil, without al necessitie, worke wickednes, & themselues and only of themselues procure their owne damnation. Therfore no man may without blasphemie say, or can truely say, that he hath nothing to doe towards his owne saluation, but wil liue, and thinketh he may liue without care or cogitation of his end the one way or the other, saying: If I be appointed to be saued, be it so: if I be one designed to damnation, I can not helpe the matter: come what come may. These speaches and cogitations are sinful & come of the enemie, and be rather signes of reprobation, then of election. Therfore the good man must without search of God's secrets, worke his owne saluation, and (as S. Peter saith) *make his election sure by good workes, with continual hope of God's mercie, being assured that if he beleeue wel & doe wel, he shal haue wel. For example, if a husband-man should say: If God wil, I shal haue corne enough; if not, I can not make it; and so neglect to til his ground: he may be sure that he shal haue none, because he wrought not for it. Another man vseth his diligence in tilling & ploughing, and commiteth the rest to God: he findeth the fruit of his labours.
*2. Peter 1,10. Is there iniquitie with God? God forbid.
15. For to Moyses he saith: I wil haue mercie on whom I haue mercie; and I wil shew mercie to whom I wil shew mercie.
16. Therfore it is Not of the willer.
Our election or conuersion is not of our selues, but of God's grace and mercie.
If our election, calling, or first comming to God, lay wholy or principally vpon our owne wil or workes; or if our willing or endeuouring to be good, would serue without the help and grace of God, as the Pelagians taught, then our election were wholy in our selues, which the Apostle denieth. And then might Pharao and other indurate persons (whom God hath permitted to be obstinate, to shew his power and iust iudgement vpon them) be conuerted when themselues lift without God's help and assistance: whereas we see the contrarie in al such obstinate offenders, whom God for punishment of former sinnes visiteth not with his grace, that by no threats, miracles, nor persuasion, they can be conuerted. Whereupon we may not with Heretikes inferre, that man hath not free-wil, or that our wil worketh nothing in our conuersion of comming to God: but this only, that our willing or working of any good to our saluation, commeth of God's special motion, grace, and assistance, that it is the secondary cause, not the principal. not of the willer, nor the runner, but of God that sheweth mercie.
17. For the Scripture saith to Pharao: Exo. 9,16. That To this very purpose haue I raised.
In what sense, God raised vp Pharao.
He doth not say, that he hath of purpose raised or set him vp to sinne, or that he was the cause of the same in Pharao, or that he intended his damnation directly or absolutely, or any otherwise but in respect of his demerits: but rather (as the Apostle saith straight after in this chapter of such hardned and obstinate offenders) that he with long patience and toleration expected his conuersion, and (as S. Chrysostome interpreteth this word, Excitaui) preserued him aliue to repent, whom he might iustly haue condemned before. In the 9. of Exodus, whence this allegation is, we read, *Posui te, I haue put or set vp, as here, I haue raised thee. That is to say, I haue purposely aduanced thee to be so great a King, and chosen thee out to be a notorious example both of the obdurate obstinancie that is in such whom I haue for so great sinnes forsaken, and also to shew to the world, that no obstinancie of neuer so mightie offenders can resist me, or doe any thing which shal not fal to my glorie. Which is no more to say, but that God often for the punishment of Nations, and to shew his iustice & glorie, giueth wicked Princes vnto them, & by indowing them with power and prosperitie, and by taking his grace from them vpon their deserts, so harndeth their harts, as they withstand and contemne him, and afflict his people, in whose end and fal, either temporal or eternal, at the length God wil euer be glorified. Neither would he either raise or suffer any such, or giue them power and prosperitie in this life, wherupon he knoweth they wil be worse, but that he can worke al that to his honour and glorie. Mary, that he vseth not such rigorous iustice on al that deserue it, that is his great grace and mercie. And that he exerciseth his iustice vpon some certaine persons, rather then vpon othersome of equal deserts, that lieth wholy vpon his wil, in whose iudgements there be many things secret, but nothing vniust: as S. Augustine teacheth. Ser. 8 8. de temp. Where (as also, li. de prædest. & grat: c. 15. and in other places) he hath manie goodlie lessons touching this high point of doctrine. Of which we intend to recite some more vpon the 7. or 9. chapt. of Exodus; if God wil giue vs meanes to set forth the old Testament in English.
*Exodus 9,16. to this very purpose haue I raised thee, that in thee I may shew my power; and that my name may be renowmed in the whole earth.
18. Therfore on whom he wil, he hath mercie; and whom he wil, he doth indurate.
19. Thou saist therfore vnto me: Why doth he yet complaine? for who resisteth his wil?
20. O man, Who art thou?
Heretical bookes concerning predestination.
Here the Apostle staith the rashnes and presumption of such poore wormes, as take vpon them to question with God of their election or reprobation, as certaine impious Heretikes of our time haue done, setting out bookes farsed with most blasphemous and erroneous doctrine concerning this high & hidden mysterie, and haue giuen occasion to the ignorant which alwaies be curious, to iangle, and perniciously to erre in these things, that are impossible to be vnderstood of any, or wel thought of, but of the obedient and humble. who art thou that doest answer God? Doth the worke say to him that wrought it: Why hast thou made me thus?
21. Or hath not The potter.
The example of the pot and the potter.
This example of the potter reacheth no further but to declare, that the creature may not reason with God his Maker, why he giueth not one so great grace, as another, or why he pardoneth not one as wel as another: no more then the chamber-pot may chalenge the Potter why he was not made a drinking-pot, as wel as another. And therfore the Heretikes that extend this similitude to proue that man hath no free-wil no more then a peece of clay, do vntruely and deceitfully apply the example. Specially when we may see expresly in the booke of Exodus, that Pharao notwithstanding his indurate hart, had free-wil; where both it is said: He would not dismisse the people; and: He indurated his owne hart himself. Exo. c. 8,15. and (in the Hebrew) v. 32. and c. 9,35. 1. Reg. 6,6. And this Apostle also writeth, that *a man may cleanse himself from the filthy, and so become a vessel of honour in the house of God.
*2. Tim. 2,21. the potter of clay, power, of the same masse to make one vessel vnto honour, and another vnto contumelie?
22. And if God willing to shew wrath, & to make his might knowen, That God is not the cause of any mans reprobation or damnation, otherwise then for punishment of his sinnes, he sheweth by that that he expecteth al mens amendement with great patience, & consequently that they haue also free-wil. susteined in much patience the vessels of wrath apt to destruction,
23. that he might shew the riches of his glorie vpon the vessels of mercie which he prepared vnto glorie.
24. Whom also he hath called, vs, not only of the Iewes, but also of the Gentils,
25. as in Osee he saith: Osee 2,25. I wil cal that which is not my people, my people; & her that was not beloued, beloued: & her that hath not obteined mercie, hauing obteined mercie.
26. Osee 1,10. And it shal be, in the place where it was said to them, you are not my people: there they shal be called the sonnes of the liuing God.
27. And Esaie crieth for Israel: Isai. 10,22. If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remaines shal be saued.
28. For consummating a word, and abbridging it in equitie: because a word abbridged shal our Lord make vpon the earth.
29. And as Esay foretold: Isai. 1,9. Vnles the Lord of Sabaoth had left vs seed, we had been made like Sodom, and we had been like as Gomorrha.
30. What shal we say then? That the Gentils which pursued not after iustice, haue apprehended iustice, but the iustice that is of faith.
31. But Israel in pursuing the law of iustice, is not come vnto the law of iustice.
32. Why so? Because not of faith, but as it were of workes. For Here we see that they are the cause of their owne damnation by infidelity. they haue stumbled at the stone of stumbling,
33. as it is written: Isai. 8,14. 28,16. Behold I put in Sion a stone of stumbling, and a rocke of scandal: and whosoeuer beleeueth in him, shal not be confounded.