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diseases and sickness, death and everlasting damnation; from the which Christ was sent (of God's inestimable love towards us) to redeem and save us! Notwithstanding, these effects of pestilence, sickness, death, and everlasting damnation, cannot be removed, except first the causes of them be eschewed: Wherefore, learn ye, and teach others to know the causes above mentioned, and also how they may be removed for as long as they work their proper nature in man, so long will they bring forth their natural effects, sickness, troubles, death, and damna! tion. The original cause of all evil was Satan, and the ungodly consent of our forefather Adam in paradise, in crediting more the devil's sophistry and gloss, than the plain and manifest word of God. And the remedy of this cause is God, who of love, against Satan's hatred, promised, in the Seed of a woman, help again for man: and that every man that believeth the devil in evil; must repent and believe God and his word in good.
Ignorance and mistaking of God's word is the second cause of evil: the remedy whereof is knowledge and right understanding of God's word.
Infidelity and accustomed doing of evil be the third cause of evil: true faith and accustomed doing of good remedieth them.
Sin and iniquity be the causes of sickness, death, and damnation: virtue and godliness heal and remove them, that they shall not bring man to everlasting death. Although sin and sickness be not clean taken from man, yet doth God in Christ take away the damnation of sin, and suffereth death to destroy by sickness none other thing than the body of the sinner, so that he use this remedy (" Repent, and believe the Gospel"); and he shall at length call the body, dead by death, out of the earth, and place it alive with the soul in heaven.
But now to use this help and remedy against the pestilence, which Christ calleth, Repent, and believe the Gospel."
The sick man must remember what the first word, "Repent," meaneth, and how he may come by it. Repentance, that God requireth, is the return of the sinner from sin, unto a new life in Christ; which return is an innovation and renovation of the mind of man by God's Spirit in Christ, with denial of the former life, to begin a new and better life. And this repentance springeth from the knowledge of sin by the law of God. From the knowledge of sin cometh the hatred of sin; from the hatred of sin proceedeth the leaving and departure from sin. From the departure from sin cometh, by faith through Christ's blood, remission of sin, From remission of sin cometh our acceptation into God's favour: from our acceptation into God's favour, come the gifts of the Holy Ghost to do and work by virtuous life the will of God. From the doing in Christ the will of God come God's defence and favour, that take from us all plagues and pestilence. From the deliverance of plagues and pestilence cometh everlasting life, as Christ saith; and as this medicine, called, "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel," declareth.
There be also many that be sick and in great danger and peril by reason of sin, and yet feel not the sore and grief thereof. Therefore they pass not whether they seek for any remedy or not: and for lack of taking heed they fall daily to more wickedness than others. Wherefore it is the office of every minister of the church, diligently (and especially in the time of pestilence and plague) to call upon the people for amendment of life, and to shew them truly, diligently, and plainly this medicine of repentance, which consisteth of these parts: first, in the knowledge of sin; secondly, in hatred of sin; thirdly, in forsaking of sin; fourthly, in believing the forgiveness
of sin for Christ's sake; and fifthly, to live in virtuous and godly life, to honour God, and to shew his obedience to God's law, that by sin is transgressed.
And these parts of penance (which be the very true and only medicines against sickness and sin) be known only by God's laws. For by the law of God sin is known, detested, and forsaken. If it be heard or read by men that pray unto God, they may understand it. Faith also believeth that remission of sin is shewed, opened, and offered by the Gospel: wherein be contained God's merciful promises towards sinners. And those promises sinners receive by faith, which believeth that whatsoever God hath promised in Christ, he will perform it. Faith doth credit and receive forgiveness of sins by the operation of God's holy Spirit. in the poor sinner. The sinner studieth and liveth a virtuous life, being led by the Holy Ghost, and worketh to serve God with such works, as God's holy commandments command every true Christian man to work and to do. And for the better assurance and farther establishing of his repentance and acceptation into the favour of God by believing the Gospel, the poor sinner useth and receiveth the holy sacrament of Christ's precious body and blood, in remembrance that Christ died to be his medicine against sin, and the effect thereof.
Wherefere, now that it pleaseth God for our offences to shew by plagues and sickness how he is offended: let us all, that be ministers of the church and watchmen of the people, call upon them diligently to "repent and believe the Gospel," and to live a godly and virtuous life, that for Christ's sake he may turn mercifully his plagues from us; and give us his most gracious favour to preserve his universal church, our most godly sovereign Lord and King, King Edward the Sixth, his Majesty's most honourable council, and the whole realm. So be it.
May 18, 1553.
TEN HOLY COMMANDMENTS
(WRITTEN IN EXODUS, XX. DEUTERONOMY, V.)
COLLECTED OUT OF THE SCRIPTURE CANONICAL,
WITH CERTAIN NEW ADDITIONS MADE BY THE SAME
"Come and see." John, i,
Imprinted by Robert Waldegrave for Thomas Woodcocke, A. D. 1550.