An Exhortation concerning good Order, and obedience to Rulers and Magistrates.

HOMILY ON OBEDIENCE Short-Title Catalogue 13675. Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.1. copyright 1994 Ian Lancashire (ed.) University of Toronto

ALmighty GOD hath created and appointed all things in heauen, earth, and waters, in a most excellent and perfect order. In Heauen, hee hath appointed distinct and seuerall orders and states of Archangels and Angels. In earth hee hath assigned and appointed Kings, Princes, with other gouernours vnder them, in all good and necessary order. The water aboue is kept, and rayneth downe in due time and season. The Sun, Moone, Starres, Rainebow, Thunder, Lightning, Clouds, and all Birdes of the ayre, doe keepe their order. The Earth, Trees, Seedes, Plants, Hearbes, Corne, Grasse, and all maner of Beasts keepe themselues in order: all the parts of the whole yeare, as Winter, Summer, Moneths, Nights and Dayes, continue in their order: all kindes of Fishes in the Sea, Riuers, and Waters, with all Fountaines, Springs, yea, the Seas themselues keepe their comely course and order: and man himselfe also hath all his parts both within and without, as soule, heart, minde, memory, vnderstanding, reason, speech, with all and singular corporall members of his body in a profitable, necessarie, and pleasant order: euery degree of people in their vocation, calling and office, hath appointed to them their duty and order: some are in high degree, some in low, some Kings and Princes, some inferiours and subiects, Priests, and lay men, masters and seruants, fathers, and children, husbands and wiues, rich and poore, and euery one haue neede of other, so that in all things is to bee lauded and praised the goodly order of GOD, without the which no house, no Citie, no Commonwealth can continue and endure, or last. For where there is no right order, there reigneth all abuse, carnall liberty, enormitie, sinne, and Babylonicall confusion.

Take away Kings Princes, Rulers, Magistrates, Iudges, and such estates of GODS order, no man shall ride or goe by the high way vnrobbed, no man shall sleepe in his owne house or bedde vnkilled, no man shall keepe his wife, children, and possession in quietnesse, all things shall bee common, and there must needes follow all mischiefe, and vtter destruction both of soules, bodies, goodes, and common wealthes. But blessed bee GOD, that wee in this Realme of England, feele not the horrible calamities, miseries, and wretchednesse, which all they vndoubtedly feele and suffer, that lacke this godly order: and praysed bee GOD, that wee know the great excellent benefit of GOD shewed towards vs in this behalfe, GOD hath sent vs his high gift, our most deare Soueraigne Lord King IAMES, with a godly, wise, and honourable Counsell, with other superiours and inferiours, in a beautifull order, and godly.

Wherefore, let vs subiectes doe our bounden dueties, giuing hearty thankes to GOD, and praying for the preseruation of this godly order. Let vs all obey euen from the bottome of our heartes, all their godly proceedings, lawes, statutes, proclamations, and iniunctions, with all other godly orders. Let vs consider the Scriptures of the holy Ghost, which perswade and command vs all obediently to bee subiect, first and chiefely to the Kings Maiestie, supreme gouernour ouer all, and the next to his honourable counsell, and to all other noble men, Magistrates, and officers, which by GODS goodnesse, be placed and ordered.

For Almighty GOD is the onely authour and prouider for this forenamed state and order, as it is written of GOD, in the booke of the Prouerbs: Thorow mee kings doe raigne, thorow mee counsellers make iust lawes, thorow mee doe princes beare rule, and all iudges of the earth execute iudgement, I am louing to them that loue mee (Proverbs 8.15, 17). Here let vs marke well, and remember that the high power and authoritie of Kinges, with their making of lawes, iudgements and offices, are the ordinances not of man, but of GOD: and therefore is this word (through mee) so many times repeated. Here is also well to bee considered and remembred, that this good order is appointed by GODS wisedome, fauour, and loue, especially for them that loue GOD, and therefore hee sayth, I loue them that loue mee. Also in the booke of wisedome wee may euidently learne, that a kinges power, authoritie, and strength, is a great benefite of GOD, giuen of his great mercie, to the comfort of our great miserie. For thus wee reade there spoken to kinges, Heare O yee Kinges, and vnderstand, learne yee that bee Iudges of the endes of the earth, giue eare yee that rule the multitudes: for the power giuen you of the Lord, and the strength, from the highest (Wisdom 6.1-3). Let vs learne also here by the infallible and vndeceiueable word of GOD, that kinges and other supreme and higher officers, are ordeined of GOD, who is most highest: and therefore they are here taught diligently to apply and giue themselues to knowledge and wisedome, necessary for the ordering of GODS people to their gouernance committed, or whom to gouerne they are charged of GOD.

And they bee here also taught by Almighty GOD, that they should acknowledge themselues to haue all their power and strength not from Rome, but immediatly of GOD most Highest. Wee reade in the booke of Deuteronomie, that all punishment pertaineth to GOD, by this sentence, Vengeance is mine, and I will reward (Deuteronomy 32.35). But this sentence wee must vnderstand to pertaine also vnto the Magistrates which doe exercise GODS roome in iudgement, and punishing by good and godly lawes, here in earth. And the places of Scripture, which seeme to remooue from among all christian men, iudgement, punishment, or killing, ought to be vnderstood, that no man (of his owne priuate authority) may bee iudge ouer other, may punish, or may kill. But we must referre all iudgement to GOD, to Kings, and Rulers, Iudges vnder them, which be GODS officers to execute iustice, and by plaine wordes of Scripture, haue their authoritie and vse of the sword graunted from GOD, as we are taught by Saint Paul, that deare and chosen Apostle of our Sauiour Christ, whom wee ought diligently to obey, euen as we would obey our Sauiour Christ if hee were present.