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trust of salvation in any other thing, saving in God, loseth not only his salvation, but also robbeth God of his glory, and doth God (as much as lieth in him) manifest wrong, as the wicked people amongst the Jews did, that said, as long as they honoured and trusted unto the queen of heaven, all things prospered with them; but when they hearkened to the true preachers of God's word, they said all things came into worse state, and that with scarcity and trouble they were overwhelmed. (Hosea, ii. Jeremiah, xliv.)
He that putteth also his trust and confidence in any learning or doctrine besides God's word, doth not only fall into error, and lose the truth; but also, as much as lieth in him, he robbeth God's book of his sufficient truth and verity, and ascribeth it to the books of men's decrees; which is as much wrong to God and his book, as may be thought or done. In the which robbery (or rather sacrilege) no man should put his trust, as the Prophet saith.
Another way wrongs be done unto man; when the rich and sturdy of the world, by abusing of friendship, oppress, rob, and spoil the poor; and by his thus doing, first he deceiveth himself; for evil-gotten goods cannot long prosper, neither can any family advanced by fraud, craft, or subtlety, long time endure. Then he deceiveth the simple and poor that trusteth upon the outward show of his port and estimation, which glittereth in the world as a vainglorious and deceivable beauty and honour, and marketh neither how wickedly the glory of the robber and doer of wrong sprang up, nor how miserably God hath ordained it to fall again.
But seeing carnally, he seeth a vain man in vanity prosper for a time; he trusteth in this vanity, pampered up with robbery and wrong, until such time as vanity fadeth, and he much lamenteth that he put in
vanity so much vain hope. But grant that honour and fiches by God's gift and truth abound, yet were they not given for men to trust in, but for men to give God more thanks, and to help the poor with them from injuries of oppression, and need of hunger, thirst, and poverty. Therefore the Prophet saith:
Although riches do abound, yet men should not put their hearts upon them :" that is to say, men should not trust in them, nor keep them otherwise than their use or keeping should serve to the glory of God; in abundance to be liberal, and in time of need to be careful not to keep them for a private commodity, but, as Joseph did say, to save the multitude from scarcity and penury. (Gen. xli.) Thus doth the Prophet. exhort all men to beware they put not their trust in men; for both they and all that they have of worldly things be transtitory, vain, and
THE SIXTH PART.
Ver. 11. God spake once, and twice I have also heard the same, that power belongeth unto God: Ver. 12. And that thou, Lord, art merciful; for thou rewardest every man according to his work.
The sixth part containeth how that God hath promised to help the afflicted, &c.
Job hath the same phrase and manner of speech: "The Lord spake once, and will not repeat the same again" (Job, xxiii.): that is as much as to say, as that the word of God is so sure, that it cannot be So saith made frustrate, nor changed by any means. this Prophet Asaph, "God spake once," which standeth sure for ever, and cannot be altered.
This word of God hath relation to the verses before: wherein he opened the vanity of man or insufficiency to help himself or others in trouble, which cannot be changed, nor ever shall be, but as flesh
is vanity, be it never so holy as Adam called his best son and holy martyr Abel, that is to say in the Hebrew tongue, vanity (Gen. iv.), perfectly knowing that all flesh by sin was vile and vain, and therefore not to be trusted unto.
This (once) speaking of God is also referred unto the text that followeth, which declareth two virtues in God, power and mercy; power to punish his enemies, and mercy to recompense his faithful afflicted and this is so true, that it shall never be made false; the wicked to feel God's strength in damnation, and the faithful to feel God's mercies in salvation; not because their works deserve it, but because God of his mercy so contented to bless the poor faithful workman.
Now the Prophet saith, he heard it twice at God's mouth; that is to say, he knew God had made promise of mercy to save the faithful penitents, and of justice to punish the impenitent sinner. And this he heard in the time of the law of nature, by reading of Moses' books, and also by the Holy Ghost in his own time, when by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost he wrote this Psalm and the rest of his prophecies. The same have we likewise heard, first, by reading of the books of Moses; next, by reading of the Scriptures of the Prophets; and thirdly, by reading of the New Testament: the which I pray God give us grace to believe and follow. Amen.
THE matter and argument of this Psalm is a consolation for them that are wont much to be moved and afflicted, when they see the ungodly flourish and prosper in all wealth and pleasure; and contrariwise, the godly and good people oppressed with poverty, and all other calamities and afflictions; as ye may see the Prophet Asaph entreat of this matter in this his first Psalm. The same ye may see also in King David, in his 37th Psalm; wherein he exhorteth men not to judge amiss of God, nor to leave off godly conversation, although the best be punished, and the worse scape quit. These two Psalms, entreating of one matter, are to be read and known of us in these perilous days, lest the hatred and persecution that happeneth to God's truth, and to the lovers thereof, might unhappily make us to judge of God, and to forsake his truth, as many have done, and daily the number of them increase, with the decrease of God's honour, and the increase of their own damnation. For now Christ trieth the chaff from the corn, the rust from the metal, and hypocrisy from truth. If we will not or cannot abide the hammer, or trying-pot that God setteth us in, to explorate and search whether our faith will abide the fire of trouble and persecution, or not; if we suffer not, all our religion is not worth a haw. For it is not words that prove faith, but deeds; if it abide the trial, it is true; and the more it is tried, the finer it will be, and at length brought into such fineness, as corruption shall never hurt nor harm it
in the world of grace and virtue. God therefore grant us grace to suffer his trial, and search strongly, patiently, and thankfully. Amen. (Matt. xxvi. 1 Tim.i. 2 Tim. iv. 1 John, ii. 1 Cor. iii. Heb. xi. Matt. x. James, ii. Gen. xii. xv. xvii. xxii. Rom. iv. Matt. vii.)
THE ORDER OF THE PSALM.
I. THE TEXT AND LETTER OF THE PSALM.
II. THE PARAPHRASE, OR PLAIN EXPLANATION OF
THE TEXT AND LETTER OF THE PSALM OF ASAPH. THE FIRST VERSE.
1. Truly God is loving unto Israel; even unto such as are of a clean heart.
THE PARAPHRASE, OR PLAIN EXPLANATION.
God loveth the godly, although they be afflicted and hateth the ungodly, although they be in prospe rity. The Lord is loving and merciful to such as be afflicted, and specially if their hearts be pure and clean, and judge nothing of God amiss, whether they see the good oppressed, or the evil exalted, In their hearts they murmur nothing at God's doings, nor in their minds they find no fault with God's order and providence. (Matt. v. Luke, vi. Rev. iii. Prov, iiis Heb, xi.)
THE SECOND AND THIRD VERSES.
2. Nevertheless, my feet were almost gone; my treadings had well near slipt.
3. And why? I was grieved at the wicked; I do see also the ungodly in such prosperity,
THE PLAIN EXPLANATION.
Yet notwithstanding, when I saw the good af flicted, and the evil prosper, it troubled my mind';