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Hugh Latimer on election

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Bluefalcon, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon Member

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    The Pulpit of the Reformers

    From the above link one may download The Pulpit of the Reformation, Nos. 1, 2 and 3, originally published in 1834 and 1835, containing some sermons of reformers.

    I thought I'd post an excerpt on election by Hugh Latimer, one of the Oxford martyers who paid the ultimate price on Oct. 16, 1555. I don't know many non-Calvinists who would disagree with Latimer's preaching of election here. My question is whether any Calvinists here on the BB would. The following post is an excerpt from pp. 30-34 of Latimer's sermon (linked above), "The Parable of the Householder."

    Maybe this could become a more productive thread than many of late here on the BB?
     
  2. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon Member

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    And at the end he saith, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” These words of our Saviour are very hard to understand, and therefore it is not good to be too curious in them, as some vain fellows, who seeking carnal liberty, pervert, toss and turn the word of God, after their own mind and purpose. Such, I say, when they read these words, make their reckoning thus; saying, “What need I to mortify my body with abstaining from all sin and wickedness? I perceive God hath chosen some, and some are rejected. Now if I be in the number of the chosen, I cannot be damned; but if I be accounted among the condemned number, then I cannot be saved: for God's judgments are immutable.” Such foolish and wicked reasons some have; which bring them either to desperation, or else to carnal liberty. Therefore, it is as needful to beware of such reasons, or expositions of the scripture, as it is to beware of the devil himself.

    But if thou art desirous to know whether thou art chosen to everlasting life, thou mayest not begin with God: for God is too high, thou canst not comprehend him; the judgments of God are unknown to man; therefore thou mayest not begin there: but begin with Christ, and learn to know Christ, and wherefore he came; namely, that he came to save sinners, and made himself subject to the law, and a fulfiller of the same, to deliver us from the wrath and danger thereof, and therefore was crucified for our sins, and rose again to show and teach us the way to heaven, and by his resurrection to teach us to arise from sin: so also his resurrection teaches and admonishes us of the general resurrection. He sitteth at the right hand of God and maketh intercession for us, and gives us the Holy Ghost, that comforts and strengthens our faith, and daily assures us of our salvation.

    Consider, I say, Christ and his coming; and then begin to try thyself whether thou art in the book of life or not. If thou findest thyself in Christ, then thou art sure of everlasting life. If thou be without him, then thou art in an evil case. For it is written, “No man cometh unto the Father but through me.” Therefore if thou knowest Christ, then thou mayest know further of thy election. But when we are about this matter, and are troubled within ourselves, whether we are elected or no; we must ever have this maxim, or principal rule before our eyes; namely, that God beareth a good-will towards us; God loveth us; God beareth a fatherly heart towards us.

    But you will say, “How shall I know that? Or how shall I believe that?” We may know God's will towards us through Christ: God hath opened himself unto us by his Son Christ; for so saith John the Evangelist, “The Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed.” (John i.)

    Therefore we may perceive his good-will and love towards us; he hath sent his Son into this world, who suffered a most painful death for us. Shall I now think that God hates me? Or shall I doubt of his love towards me? Here you see how you shall avoid the scrupulous and most dangerous question of the predestination of God. For if thou wilt inquire his counsels, and enter into his consistory, thy wit will deceive thee; for thou shalt not be able to search the counsels of God. But if thou begin with Christ, and consider his coming into the world, and dost believe that God hath sent him for thy sake, to suffer for thee, and deliver thee from sin, death, the devil, and hell; then when thou art so armed with the knowledge of Christ, then, I say, this simple question cannot hurt thee; for thou art in the book of life, which is Christ himself.

    Also we learn by this sentence, “Many are called,” that the preaching of the gospel is universal; that it pertains to all mankind; that it is written, “Through the whole earth their sound is heard.” Now seeing that the gospel is universal, it appears that he would have all mankind saved, and that the fault is not in him if we are damned. For it is written thus, “God would have all men to be saved:” his salvation is sufficient to save all mankind, but we are so wicked of ourselves that we refuse the same, for we will not take it when it is offered unto us; and therefore he saith, “Few are chosen;” that is, few have pleasure and delight in it; for the most part are weary of it, they cannot abide it. And there are some that hear it, but they will not abide any danger for it, they love their riches and possessions more than the word of God. And therefore few are elected, there are but a few that stick heartily unto it, and can find in their hearts to forgo this world for God's sake and his holy word.

    There are some now-a-days that will not be reprehended by the gospel; they think themselves better than it. Some again are so stubborn, that they will rather forswear themselves, than confess their sins and wickedness. Such men are the cause of their own damnation; for God would have them saved, but they refuse it; like as did Judas the traitor, whom Christ would have had to be saved, but he refused his salvation; he refused to follow the doctrine of his master Christ. And so, whosoever heareth the word of God, and follows it, the same is elect by him. And again, whosoever refuses to hear the word of God, and to follow the same, is damned. So that our election is sure if we follow the word of God.

    Here is now taught you how to try out your election, namely, in Christ, for Christ is the accounting book and register of God; even in the same book, that is, Christ, are written all the names of the elect. Therefore we cannot find our election in ourselves, neither yet in the high counsel of God; for “Secret things belong to the most High.” (Deut. xxix.) Where then shall I find my election? In the counting book of God, which is Christ; for thus it is written, “God hath so entirely loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to that end, that all that believe in him should not perish, but have life everlasting.” Whereby appears most plainly that Christ is the book of life, and that all that believe in him are in the same book, and so are chosen to everlasting life; for only those are ordained which believe.

    Therefore when thou hast faith in Christ, then thou art in the book of life, and so art thou sure of thine election. And again, if thou art without Christ, and have no faith in him, neither art sorry for thy wickedness, nor have a mind and purpose to leave and forsake sin, but rather exercise and use the same, then thou art not in the book of life as long as thou art in such a case; and therefore shalt thou go into everlasting fire, namely, if thou die in thy wickedness and sin, without repentance.

    But there are none so wicked but he may have a remedy. What is that? Enter into thine own heart, and search the secrets of the same. Consider thine own life, and how thou hast spent thy days. And if thou find in thyself all manner of uncleanness and abominable sins, and so seest thy damnation before thine eyes, what shalt thou then do? Confess the same unto the Lord thy God. Be sorry that thou hast offended so loving a Father, and ask mercy of him in the name of Christ, and believe steadfastly that he will be merciful unto thee in respect of his only Son, who suffered death for thee; and then have a good purpose to leave all sin and wickedness, and to withstand and resist the affections of thine own flesh, which ever fight against the Spirit; and to live uprightly and godly, after the will and commandment of thy heavenly Father. If thou go thus to work, surely thou shalt be heard. Thy sins shall be forgiven thee; God will show himself true in his promise, for to that end he sent his only Son into this world, that he might save sinners. Consider therefore, I say, wherefore Christ came into this world; consider also the great hatred and wrath that God beareth against sin; and again consider his great love, showed unto thee, in that he sent his only Son to suffer most cruel death, rather than that thou shouldst be damned everlastingly.

    Consider therefore this great love of God the Father, amend thy life, fly all occasions of sin and wickedness, and be loath to displease him. And in doing this thou mayest be assured that though thou hadst done all the sins of the world, they shall neither hurt nor condemn thee; for the mercy of God is greater than all the sins of the world. But we sometimes are in such a case that we think we have no faith at all, or if we have any, it is very feeble and weak. And therefore these are two things; to have faith and to have the feeling of faith. For some men would fain have the feeling of faith, but they cannot attain unto it; and yet they may not despair, but go forward in calling upon God, and it will come at length: God will open their hearts, and let them feel his goodness.

    And thus may you see who are in the book of life, and who are not. For all those that are obstinate sinners, are without Christ, and so not elect to everlasting life, if they remain in their wickedness. There are none of us all but we may be saved by Christ, and therefore let us stick hard unto it, and be content to forego all the pleasures and riches of this world for his sake, who for our sake forsook all the heavenly pleasures, and came down into this miserable and wretched world, and here suffered all manner of afflictions for our sake. And therefore it is right that we should do somewhat for his sake, to show ourselves thankful unto him; and so we may assuredly be found among the first, and not among the last; that is to say, among the elect and chosen of God, that are written in the counting book of God, who are those that believe in Christ Jesus; to whom, with God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.—Amen.
     
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