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A Sermon Preached by M. Hugh Latimer,
At Stamford, November 9, Anno 1550.
Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris Casari, et quae sunt Dei Deo. — Matthew xxii. 21.
Give that that is Caesar’s to Caesar, and that that is God’s to God.
This doctrine is grievous, heavy, and irksome to covetous hearts, rebellious and seditious hearts. Give, give, they cannot away with it; it cannot stick in their minds, nor settle in their stomachs: they would rather be taking, scraping, and catching, than giving. But godly persons will well accept and take it; for it is to them a great pleasure, joy, and comfort. For the better understanding of this place, ye shall understand, Christ came to bring us out of bondage, and to set us at liberty, not from civil burthen, as from obeying the magistrates, from paying tax and tribute; but from a greater burthen, and a more grievouser burthen, the burthen of sin; the burthen, not of the body, but of the soul; to make us free from it, and to redeem us from the curse and malediction of the law unto the honourable state of the children of God. But as for the civil burthens, he delivered us not from them, but rather commanded us to pay them. “Give, give,” saith he, “to Caesar obedience, tribute, and all things due to Caesar.”
For the understanding of this text, it shall be very needful to consider the circumstance going before: which thing duly considered giveth a great light to all places of the scripture. Who spake these words: to whom they were spoken: upon what occasion; and afore whom? Therefore I will take the whole fragment and shred, taken out of God’s book for the Gospel of this day; written in the Gospel of Matthew, the twenty-second chapter: Tunc abierunt Pharisaei; “Then went the Pharisees, and took a counsel.” Luke hath observantes, marking, spying, looking, tooting,6767 Slyly prying. watching: like subtle, crafty, and sleighty fellows, they took a counsel, and sent to him their disciples, which should “feign themselves just men,” godly men, glad to learn his doctrine; and with them Herod’s servants to trap him in his words: and they said to him, “Master, we know that thou art a true man, and teachest the way of God in veritate, truly, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the personage of man. Tell us therefore, what thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give Caesar tribute-money, or no?” This was their question that they would have snarled him with. In answering him to this, they would have caught him by the foot. But Jesus, cognita malitia eorum, knowing their malice, their wickedness, their uncharitableness, said to them: “Hypocrites, why do ye tempt me? Shew me a piece of the tribute money. And they brought him a penny. And he said to them, Whose image is this, and the writing? They answered, Caesar’s. He said to them, Give to Caesar, that that belongeth to Caesar, and to God that that is God’s.” Thus ye may perceive, it was our Saviour Christ that spake these words; and they were spoken unto the Pharisees that tempted him. But they be a doctrine unto us, that are Christ’s disciples. For whose words should we delight to hear and learn, but the words and doctrine of our Saviour Christ? And that I may at this time so declare them, as may be for God’s glory, your edifying, and my discharge, I pray you all to help me with your prayers.
In the which prayer, &c., for the universal church of Christ through the whole world, &c., for the preservation of our sovereign lord king Edward the Sixth, sole supreme Head, under God and Christ, of the churches of England and Ireland, &c. Secondly, for the king’s most honourable council. Thirdly, I commend unto you the souls departed this life in the faith of Christ, that ye remember to give laud, praise, and thanks to Almighty God for his great goodness and mercy shewed unto them in that great need and conflict against the devil and sin, and that gave them at the hour of death faith in his Son’s death and passion, whereby they might conquer and overcome and get the victory. Give thanks, I say, for this; adding prayers and supplications for yourselves, that it may please God to give you the like faith and grace to trust only unto the death of his dear Son, as he gave unto them. For as they be gone, so must we: and the devil will be as ready to tempt us as he was them; and our sins will light as heavy upon us as theirs did upon them; and we are as weak and unable to resist, as were they. Pray therefore that we may have grace to die in the same faith of Christ as they did, and at the latter day be raised with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and be partakers with Christ in the kingdom of heaven. For this and grace let us say the Lord’s prayer.
Tunc abeuntes. Tunc, it hangeth on a text before. Christ told them a similitude, that the kingdom of heaven is like to a king that made a bridal to his son: he married his son, and sent his servants out to bid his guests. Well; they would not come, although he had made great preparing and much cost for them. Ambition, covetousness, and cruelty would not let them come. Then he sent his warriors and destroyed them; and again and again sent other servants to bid guests to his bridal, hand over head, come who would. They did his bidding, and the house was full of guests. The king now would view his guests, and finding there one not clad in marrying garments, he asked him: “Friend, how camest thou here, not having a marriage-garment? And commanded to bind him hand and foot, and cast him into utter darkness: there was wailing and grinding of teeth. For many be called and few be chosen.” Now Christ expoundeth this: The kingdom of heaven is preaching of the gospel. This marriage is the joining of Christ and his church; which was begun by Christ here in earth, and shall continue to the end of the world. The bidders of his guests are preachers: but here are so many lets and hinderances. Covetousness is a let; ambition is a let; cruelty is the greatest let. For they beat his servants; brake their heads; yea, murdered them which bade them to this bridal. With this the king was angry, and sent his men of war to destroy those unthankful people. Was he not angry with covetousness, and with ambition? Yes, he is angry with covetous men, with ambitious men; but most of all with cruelty. This is an anger above common anger, when men be not only unthankful, but also add cruelty, to persecute the preachers that come to call us to this marriage. This toucheth God so nigh, that he saith, Qui vos audit me audit; “He that heareth you heareth me.” This cruelty the king would not leave unpunished, but sent forth his men of war. They are called his men of war, his men; his men, for wars come at his commandment. Titus and Vespasian were sent of God to punish those covetous Jews, ambitious Jews, cruel Jews, that would not credit Christ, nor believe the preaching of salvation. Now in war what part soever get the victory, that is God’s part, that is God’s host. Nabuchadonoser was an evil man, a wicked man; yet was he sent of God to punish the stubborn and covetous Jews for their ambition and cruelty, and forsaking God’s most holy word, and he is called in scripture “God’s servant.” It is no good argument, He hath the victory,; ergo he is a good man. But this is a good argument: He hath the victory, ergo God was on his side, and by him punished the contrary party.
The preachers called good and bad. They can do no more but call; God is he that must bring in; God must open the hearts, as it is in the Acts of the Apostles: when Paul preached to the women, there was a silk-woman, cujus cor Deus aperuit, “whose heart God opened.” None could open it but God. Paul could but only preach, God must work; God must do the thing inwardly. But good and bad came. Therefore the preaching is likened to a fisher’s net, that taketh good fish and bad, and draweth all to the shore. In the whole multitude that profess the gospel, all be no good; all cannot away with the mortifying of their flesh. They will with good will bear the name of Christians, of gospellers; but to do the deeds they grudge, they repine, they cannot away with it. Among the apostles all were not honest; nay, one was a devil. So among so great a number of gospellers, some are card-gospellers; some are dice-gospellers; some pot-gospellers. All are not good; all seek not amendment of life.
Then cometh the king to see his guests, and findeth one not having the marriage-garment, and saith to him, “Friend, how camest thou hither, and hast not the marriage-garment?” Faith is the marriage-garment; not a feigned faith without good living, but “faith that worketh by love.” He was blamed because he professed one thing, and was indeed another. Why did he not blame the preachers? There was no fault in them, they did their duties: they had no further commandment but to call them to the marriage. The garment he should have provided himself. Therefore he quarrelleth not with the preachers, “What doth this fellow here? Why suffered ye him to enter,” &c. For their commission extended no further but only to call him. Many are grieved that there is so little fruit of their preaching. And when as they are asked, “Why do you not preach, having so great gifts given you of God?” “I would preach,” say they, “but I see so little fruit, so little amendment of life, that it maketh me weary.” A naughty answer: a very naughty answer. Thou art troubled with that God gave thee no charge of; and leavest undone that thou art charged with. God commandeth thee to preach: and si non locutus fueris, if thou speak not, if thou warn not the wicked, that they turn and amend, they shall perish in their iniquities; sanguinem autem ejus de manu tua requiram. This text nippeth; this pincheth; this toucheth the quick: “He shall die in his wickedness, but I will require his blood at thy hand.” Hearken well to this, mark it well, ye curates; “I will ask his blood at thy hand.” If you do not your office, if ye teach not the people, and warn them not, you shall be damned for it. If you do your office, you are discharged; Tuam animam liberasti. Warn them, therefore, to leave their wickedness, their covetousness, their ambition, their cruelty, unmercifulness, &c., and thou hast saved thine own soul. For there was no quarrel with the preachers; but he was cast in prison, “where was weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth”: these were his delicates. Multi sunt vocati; “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
To this parable now joineth this gospel. Tunc Pharisaei abeuntes. The Pharisees were a sect of religion among the Jews, most exquisite, perfect, holy, and learned, and were reputed most godly men; even such as in holiness excelled all other, as our monks were of late among us, and be yet in other places. They were in God’s bosom, even at heaven-gates, in the sight of the world; but inwardly superstitious, feigned, hollow-hearted, dissimulers. Now at this time, I know none more like them than the hypocritical hollow-hearted papists. The name is changed, but the thing remaineth. Therefore they may well be called by the name that keep the thing. These were enemies to Christ and his doctrine. They would be ordered by old wont, customs, forefathers; and, to maintain their traditions, set aside the commandments of God, refused Christ and his word. St Luke hath observantes, “observants,” that is, watchers, tooters, spies; much like the Observant Friars, the barefoot friars, that were here; which indeed were the bishop of Rome’s spies, watching in every country, what was said or done against him. He had it by and by, by one or other of his spies: they were his men altogether, his posts to work against the regality. In the court, in the noblemen’s houses, at every merchant’s house, those Observants were spying, tooting, and looking, watching and prying, what they might hear or see against the see of Rome. Take heed of these Observants. To understand the word observantes, mark what the poet saith in his comedy, Observa Davum. Take heed, beware and mark Davum; for they will be stirring in every town, in every gentleman’s house, yea, at their very tables. Well, be wise, beware of them.
Inierunt consilium, “They took a counsel.” Some goodly thing, some weighty matter, I am sure, that these holy fathers consulted upon. It must needs be for the commonwealth, and the profit of many, that these holy fathers came together for. It was “to snarl or trap him in his words.” This was their device, this was their counsel. To this end they gather such a company of holy fathers. “A council, a council: Bonum est concilium,” said one. “Yea, marry,” quoth another, “sed bonorum.” “A council is good: yea, sir, if it be of good men.” For else what is a council, if it be wicked, of wicked men? If they say, “This was done by a council, determined in a council;” what is it the better, if the council be wicked? The Nicene council was gathered of a great number of bishops and learned men; yet had not one man been there, they had determined contrary to God’s word. They were minded and earnestly bent to make a decree, that no priest should marry; but one old man, and unmarried himself, withstood that act, and turned the council’s mind; so that they meddled not with that decree. And why? More credence is to be given to one man having the holy word of God for him, than to ten thousand without the word. If it agree with God’s word, it is to be received; if it agree not, it is not to be received, though a council, yea, though an angel from heaven, had determined it. Truth it is, that Christ granteth to a congregation gathered in his name, to be amongst them; yea, though it be but two or three. There is as much granted to two or three, as to ten thousand, so they come in Christ’s name: Ubi duo vel tres congregati sunt in nomine meo, ibi sum in medio eorum. In nomine meo. Much wickedness is done, in nomine Domini. When they come together seeking their own private lust, pleasures, and ambitious desires, it is not in nomine Domini; “in the name of the Lord.” But to seek God’s glory, Christ’s glory, Christ’s true religion, that is in nomine Christi; and then they are to be heard. But what was these men’s counsel? Ut illaquearent cum in sermone; “to snarl or tangle him in his words”: tooters and watchers, to catch him in his word, that they might enforce somewhat against him. Non est consilium adversus Dominum. These were wily pies, sleighty children, children of the world, and craftily they handled their matters. Miserunt discipulos suos cum Herodianis. They would not go themselves, lest they might have been known; but he knew not their disciples, as they thought. And they went not alone, but had with them Herod’s soldiers, Herod’s favourers. This Herod was an Idumean, and was appointed by the Romans to govern the Jews, and to gather the tribute money. Therefore he was hated among the Jews; and so were those that favoured the Romans’ part, and in disdain they were called Herodians. Now was the time come, that the holy patriarch prophesied, that the sceptre and kingdom was removed, and Christ was born. This they should have marked, and received his doctrine. But they went about to destroy him, and therefore they brought the Herodians with them. Here now is an agreement in wickedness between the Pharisees and the Herodians against the truth: against Christ, against God’s word they agree together; whereas indeed neither loved other, but hated each other as a toad. So many nowadays of our Pharisees, papists, in destroying the truth they agree wondrous well, whereas in private matters they hate one another as a toad.
Here come me now these holy fathers from their council, and send their disciples with the Herodians: mark their behaviour, and mark Christ’s behaviour. They come lowting and with low curtesy, as though they would creep into his bosom. As for Herod’s men, they meddle not, but stand by to hear the tale as witnesses; and if he should speak any thing amiss, be ready to lay hands upon him. They would fain rid him and destroy him; but they would turn the envy of the deed upon Herod, so that they would be seen faultless. It had been more meet for them to have counselled how to amend their faults, and to have come to Christ to learn his doctrine, than to study maliciously to trap him and to destroy him. What said they? Magister, scimus quod verax es; “Master, we know thou art a true man, and, teachest the way of God truly. Master, we know that thou art Tom Truth, and thou tellest the very truth, and sparest for no man. Thou art plain Tom Truth.” Goodly words, but out of a cankered stomach and malicious heart! Smiling speakers creep into a man’s bosom, they love and all-to love him; they favour his word, and call him master, and yet would gladly see him hanged! These are indeed hypocrites, one in heart, and another in mouth! “We know that thou art a true man, et viam Dei in veritate doces!” Yea, this is God’s way, taught truly! There is God’s way, and man’s way. Many teach men’s way, but that should not be. We should learn viam Dei, God’s way; and that truly, without mixture, temperature, blanching, powdering. Many teach God’s way, and shall preach a very good and godly sermon; but at the last they will have a blanched almond, one little piece of popery patched in, to powder their matter with, for their own lucre and glory. They make a mingling of the way of God and man’s way together; a mingle-mangle, as men serve pigs in my country. Christ did not so: he taught the way of God truly, without mixture, powdering, or blanching. These be the properties of all true preachers, that these confess to be in Christ. It was true every word that they spake. Christ is our master appointed of God: he was true, and taught God’s way, not man’s way; truly, not blanching it with man’s doctrine. So should we preachers be true men; preachers of God’s way, truly, truly, without regard of person: that is, for no man’s pleasure corrupting the word, or mingle-mangle the word with man’s invention and traditions.
Here may patrons of benefices learn upon what manner of a man they should bestow their benefice: upon a true man, a teacher. He may not be to learn, and a scholar, when he should teach others; but one learned; able to teach, able and well willing to discharge his cure. But what do you, patrons? Sell your benefices, or give them to your servants for their service, for keeping of hounds or hawks, for making of your gardens. These patrons regard no souls, neither their own nor other men’s. What care they for souls, so they have money, though they perish, though they go to the devil? Whereas indeed the office of a patron is to have a care, a zeal, a vigilant eye for souls’ health, and to provide for his churches, that he is patron of; that they might be taught in God’s word. Truly, many nowadays strive to be patrons of benefices, and go to the law who should be patron. And what strive they for, think ye? Even which of them shall go to the devil first. For they regard not soul-health, nor the office of preaching, the office of salvation; whereas, indeed, therefore are they patrons, to look to it, and to see it be provided for. God of his goodness and almighty power might ordain other ways and means of salvation; but this office of preaching is it that God hath ordained, as St Paul saith: Cum non cognoverit mundus per sapientiam Deum, placuit Deo per stultitiam praedicationis salvos facere credentes; “Whereas the world by his wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by foolish preaching to save” credentes, “those that believe,” per stultitiam praedicationis, “by foolishness of preaching,” or foolish preaching, it maketh no matter. Not that it was foolish indeed, but that the wise men of the world did so esteem and take the preaching of the gospel: whereas indeed it is most godly wisdom, and the preaching office is the office of salvation, and the only means that God hath appointed to salvation. Credentes, those that believe, be saved by this holy office of preaching. I would wish it were better looked unto and provided for, and that patrons and bishops should see more diligently to it, than hath been done aforetime. I would ask no more diligence to this office of salvation, than men are wont to bestow upon their worldly pleasures, and lucre, or commodities. Nay, would they but bestow half the labour and pains, and some little part of the expenses, it were well. To consider what hath been plucked from abbeys, colleges, and chantries, it is marvel no more to be bestowed upon this holy office of salvation. It may well be said by us, that the Lord complaineth by his prophet, Domus mea deserta, vos festinatis unusquisque in domum suam. What is Christ’s house, but Christian souls? But who maketh any provision for them? Every man scrapeth and getteth together for this bodily house, but the soul-health is neglected. Schools are not maintained; scholars have not exhibition; the preaching office decayeth. Men provide lands and riches for their children, but this most necessary office they for the most part neglect. Very few there be that help poor scholars; that set their children to school to learn the word of God, and to make a provision for the age to come. This, notwithstanding, is the only way to salvation. God will not devise any new way, as far as I perceive, but would have us to use this way ordained already. This preaching way we ought to use, and not to look for any new way. This office of salvation we ought to maintain, and not look for any other. My request is, that ye would bestow as much to the maintenance of this necessary office of salvation, as ye were wont to bestow in times past upon Romish trifles, and things of man’s traditions. Neither do I now speak for myself and my convent, as the begging Friars were wont to do. I have enough, I thank God, and I need not to beg. I would every preacher were as well provided as myself, through this realm; as indeed I think them as well worthy as myself. I wish, I say, ye would bestow as much upon this necessary office of salvation, as in times past ye bestowed in pilgrimages, in images, in gilding, painting, in masses, diriges, trentals, chantries, and such vain things of the Romish Pharisees’ and papists’ inventing. Ye would do that without calling; and to this will you not be ready when ye be called. If it be no better in time to come than hitherto looked unto, then England will at the last bewail it. Christ knew what a charge hangeth upon this necessary office of preaching, the office of salvation, and therefore most earnestly applied it himself. And when he chose his twelve apostles to send them forth unto this office, he first prayed all the night. He, being God almighty with the Father, might have given all gifts fit for this office; but to teach us, he would first pray all night. Here is good matter for bishops and patrons to look upon; and not to regard so little whom they give their benefice unto, or whom they admit to cure the souls they have charge of. A notable example: Christ prayed all night, ere he would send them forth, ere he would put them in this preaching office, this most necessary office of salvation. For he saw that they had need of great zeal to God and to souls’ health, that should take upon them to keep souls, and a bold courage and spirit, that should rebuke the world of their sin and wickedness. Many will choose now such a curate for their souls, as they may call “fool,” rather than one that shall rebuke their covetousness, ambition, unmercifulness, uncharitableness; that shall be sober, discreet, apt to reprove and resist the gainsayers with the word of God.
These be the properties of every good preacher: to be a true man; to teach, not dreams nor inventions of men, but viam Dei in veritate, “the way of God truly”; and not to regard the personage of man; not to creep into his bosom, to claw his back; to say to the wicked he doth well, for filthy lucre’s sake. Ah, these flatterers! no greater mischief in the commonwealth, than these flatterers! But who would have discerned this, but our Saviour Jesus Christ? He spied them out, and knew all their malicious hearts, their uncharitable hearts, their dissembling hearts, and said, Quid me tentatis, hypocritae? Hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites! one in heart, another in mouth; fair in pretence, but full of mischief and malicious hatred within; he saw what was within. Then have at ye, ye hypocrites! They put forth their question, Licet censum dare Caesari, an non? A perilous question to answer to! This was the fruit of their counsel, and this was the snare laid for him. What should he do now? Hold his peace? That had been a slander to his doctrine. They would have said, “Lo, how ignorant he is in the law, that hath no answer to this simple and plain question.” If he affirm, and bid pay the tribute, he shall incur the hatred of the people, and seem to speak in favour of the Romans. If he would have denied it, then had they that they sought. The Herodians were ready to lay hands upon him, to have him to Bocardo. “To prison with him, a traitor that speaketh against Caesar! Away with this seditious fellow!”
O Lord, what peril is it to have to do with these hypocrites! Who could have escaped this snare but Christ only, which is the wisdom of the. Father, and knew all their maliciousness and crafty sleights? And as he then by his wisdom overcame them, so now doubtless he giveth wisdom to all his, to spy out and beware of their subtle crafts. For such trains, traps, snares and subtleties, as these Pharisees laid for Christ, such have our pharisaical papists laid for Christ’s preachers. But he mercifully ever fulfilled his promise, Dabo os et sapientiam, cui non possunt resistere omnes adversarii vestri: “I will,” saith Christ, “give mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist.” They shall not be tongue-tied, they have their answer; yea, so wise that their adversaries shall not be able to resist. They may well oppress it here in this world with power, but they cannot be able to overcome it with arguments of truth: no, all the pack of adversaries, with all their subtleties, snares, and gins. They may rail upon it, as in many places lewd fellows do against priests’ marriages; “that dame, his wife, his whore, &c:” but they cannot deny it by any scripture, but that the marriage of priests is as good and godly, as the marriage of any other man. For “wedlock is honourable among all men, and the wedded bed undefiled. And to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife.” Well, let them rail; let them do what they can against the truth. Respice finem, “mark the end;” look upon the end. The end is, all adversaries of the truth must be confounded and come to nought, neither shall they be able to resist it. And though the poor disciples be troubled, vexed and persecuted, “mark the end.” The highest promotion that God can bring his unto in this life is, to suffer for his truth. And it is the greatest setting forth of his word; it is God’s seed. And one suffering for the truth turneth more than a thousand sermons.
I will tell you an example of this, how God giveth mouth and wisdom. I was once in examination before five or six bishops, where I had much turmoiling. Every week thrice I came to examinations, and many snares and traps were laid to get something. Now God knoweth I was ignorant of the law; but that God gave me answer and wisdom what I should speak. It was God indeed, for else I had never escaped them. At the last I was brought forth to be examined into a chamber hanged with arras, where I was before wont to be examined, but now at this time the chamber was somewhat altered: for whereas before there was wont ever to be a fire in the chimney, now the fire was taken away, and an arras hanging hanged over the chimney, and the table stood near the chimney’s end; so that I stood between the table and the chimney’s end. There was among these bishops that examined me, one with whom I have been very familiar, and took him for my great friend, an aged man, and he sat next the table end. Then among all other questions, he put forth one, a very subtle and crafty one; and such one indeed as I could not think so great danger in. And when I should make answer; “I pray you, Master Latimer,” said he, “speak out; I am very thick of hearing, and here be many that sit far off.” I marvelled at this, that I was bidden speak out, and began to misdeem, and gave an ear to the chimney. And, Sir, there I heard a pen walking in the chimney behind the cloth. They had appointed one there to write all mine answers: for they made sure work that I should not start from them; there was no starting from them. God was my good Lord, and gave me answer I could never else have escaped it. The question was this: “Master Latimer, do you not think on your conscience, that you have been suspected of heresy?” A subtle question, a very subtle question. There was no holding of peace would serve. To hold my peace had been to grant myself faulty. To answer it was every way full of danger. But God, which alway hath given me answer, helped me, or else I could never have escaped it; and delivered me from their hands. Many one have had the like gracious deliverance, and been endued with God’s wisdom and God’s Spirit, which all their adversaries could not be able to resist.
Ostendite mihi numisma census: “Shew me,” said he, “a penny of the tribute money.” They laid snares to destroy him, but he overturneth them in their own traps: qui comprehendit astutos in fallacia eorum; “He taketh the crafty in their own subtle gins and snares:” but not maliciously to destroy them, as they maliciously would have seen him hanged; but mercifully to turn them from their wicked imaginations, that they might consider that “no wisdom, no subtle crafts, nor counsel is against the Lord,” and so repent and become new men. At illi obtulerunt illi denarium; “And they brought him a denary,” a piece of their current coin, that was worth ten of our usual pence: such another piece as our testoon. And he said, Cujus est imago haec et superscriptio? Dicunt ei, Caesaris: “Whose image is this, and superscription? They said, Caesar’s”: for now was Jewry brought under the bondage of the Romans, and therefore used they the Roman coin, and had upon it both Caesar’s image, and Caesar’s superscription. Then answered Jesus, Reddite ergo quae sunt Caesaris Caesari, et quae sunt Dei Deo; “Pay to Caesar that is due to Caesar, and to God that which is due to God.” Make not a mingle-mangle of them: but give to God his own, give to Caesar his own. To God give thy soul, thy faith, thy hope, thy obedient mind, to keep his word, and frame thy life thereafter: to Caesar give tribute, tax, subsidy, and all other duties pertaining to him; as to have him in thy honour and reverence, and to obey his just laws and righteous commandments, &c.
But because the time is past, I will here make an end for this forenoon; desiring you to pray to God for his help for at afternoon I purpose to begin again at this text, and to go forth as God shall give me his grace. Now let us all say together the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father which art in heaven,” &c.
The Residue of the Gospel, declared in the Afternoon, by M. Latimer.
Reddite Caesari quae sunt Caesaris, et qua sunt Dei Deo. — Matt. xxii. 21.
Yield to Caesar that belongeth to Caesar, and to God that belongeth to God.
Ye may perceive by that we have said, who spake these words, and upon what occasion they were spoken. Our Saviour Christ spake them to the tempting Pharisees, to the crafty and subtle hollow-hearted Pharisees; willing them to know their duty by their own confession, and to give to Caesar his duty, and to God his duty. Our Saviour Christ spake them. If he spake them, we ought to regard them. Regard them, I say, and make much of them; for though they were then spoken to them, yet in them they were spoken to all the world. I use to make a rehearsal of that I spake before, but because the time is short, I will omit it. The service must be done, and the day goeth fast away. Therefore I will to my matter, and leave the rehearsal.
These words be words of great importance, and would well be considered: for he that doth this, receiveth great benefits by it; but he that doth it not, incurreth great damage and danger. The occasion was a counsel taken among these holy fathers to snarl Christ. A good and charitable deed! Yet were they holy men, holy fathers, full of charity up to the hard ears. This they learned in their council; and this now they set on broach. But Christ now causeth them to make answer to their own question, as he did also a little before. When he was come up into Jerusalem, and had driven out the buyers and sellers in the temple; the arch-Pharisees, Provincials, and Abbots-Pharisees, came stoutly to him as he was preaching in the temple, and said to him, Qua auctoritate ista facis? Aut quis dedit tibi istam auctoritatem? “By what authority dost thou these things? Who hath given thee this authority? We have the, rule of the people of God, we have given thee no such authority.” A wondrous thing! Christ had testimony of his Father: “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” John had borne him witness, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” His works and miracles were testimonies that his doctrine was of God. Well, all this would not serve. He must have license of these holy fathers, or else all is nothing worth. Christ answered not directly to their question, but asked them another question, and made them give answer against themselves; and as it were with one wedge drived out another. “The baptism of John, was it of God, or of man? Was John sent of God? Had he his authority of God or of man?” Here he driveth them to confess his doctrine to be of God. For John, whom they could not deny to have been sent from God, bare witness that his doctrine was true. If they had confessed this, he would have inferred, “Why believe ye him not?” If they should have said, “John was not of God,” then would all the people have been against them; yea, in a hurly-burly have stoned them. This they considered within themselves, and yet their malicious hearts would not bear it to confess the truth: nay, rather, like wise gentlemen, they answered, “We know not we cannot tell.” These arch-Pharisees thought nothing might be done or taught without their license, nor otherwise but as they pleased to interpret. They were like our religion and clergy, that thought nothing might be taught but as they pleased. They would pay no tax nor tribute. They had their immunities, privileges, and grants, from the Roman bishop. And to maintain this they alleged many scriptures, as thus, Nolite tangere Christos meos; which is, “Touch not mine anointed or consecrated people.” Which words the Lord spake by the Israelites in Egypt, warning king Pharao to leave and cease from persecuting the Israelites: and it maketh as much for our clergy’s immunity and proveth it as well, as if a man alleged, Quem terra, pontus, to prove that an ape hath a tail.
Well, they answered, Caesaris, “Caesar’s.” They confessed it was Caesar’s money, and Caesar’s image and writing. upon it. Here Christ compelled them to make answer unto their own question; and if envy should arise, to take it themselves: for they confessed it to be Caesar’s. Then said he, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that is due to God.” This answer of Christ I would have you all to learn. Give to your Caesar; to your king, to our most noble king Edward, our Caesar, our king and magistrate appointed and given to us of God, — give to him that which is due to him. This is a commandment of God, as are these, “Thou shalt not murder: Thou shalt not steal, nor bear farse witness against thy neighbours.” And as thou art bound upon peril of thy soul to obey the other; so upon peril of thy soul thou art bound to obey and keep this. Look well upon it, for it is upon peril of thy soul. Date, “Give, give;” a heavy word to a covetous heart, to a rebellious heart. They would nor hear reddite, or date, “pay, or give;” but “take, catch, keep fast.” We are all bound to live in obedience unto our king, under his just and rightwise laws and commandments. Christ came, indeed, to deliver us from burthens and bondage, but that was not from civil and politic laws and obedience. He came to deliver us from the greatest bondage that can be, from sin and damnation. The heaviest burthen that can be is sin; and in comparison of it, all other burthens are but light and easy matters to bear. Therefore Christ came to deliver us from that, and gave his body to be torn upon the cross for that. Neither could any work, or law, or sacrifice redeem us from that, but Christ only. I never preached in Lincolnshire afore, nor came here afore, save once when I went to take orders at Lincoln, which was a good while ago; therefore I cannot say much of Lincolnshire, for I know it not. But 1 dare say, if Lincolnshire be as other places that I know, this text condemneth a great many of Lincolnshire, and driveth them down to hell for breaking of this commandment, “Give to Caesar that which is due to Caesar, and to God that which is due to God.”
The office of a magistrate is grounded upon God’s word, and is plainly described of St Paul, writing unto the Romans, where he sheweth, that all souls, that is to say, all men ought to obey magistrates, for they are ordained of God; and to resist them is to resist against God. “For he is God’s minister, ordained to punish the wicked, and maintain the good.” Wherefore we ought to pay to him tribute, custom, taxes, and other things that he requireth upon us, as Christ saith here, Reddite, “give to Caesar.” How much we should give, he defineth not, but leaveth it to Caesar’s officers to determine, and to his council to appoint. Christ was not the emperor’s treasurer: therefore he meddled not with that point, but left it to the treasurer to define and determine. He went about another vocation, to preach unto the people their duty, and to obey their princes, kings, emperors, and magistrates; and to bid them give that the king requireth of them; not to appoint a king what he shall require of them. It is meet for every man to keep his own vocation, and diligently walk in it; and with faithfulness to study to be occupied in that God hath called him unto, and not to be busy in that God hath not called him unto. Therefore saith Christ, “Give to Caesar,” but he appointeth not how much; for that should his treasurer know, and should warn him of it when he hath enough; that the people be not oppressed with unnecessary burthens, nor that the king’s treasures be to seek when they should be occupied. The king must have his treasures aforehand, what chance soever come suddenly. It is no reason, when the king should occupy his treasure in maintenance of a commonwealth, in defence of a country, in maintaining of his wars, that then his money should be in thy purse to seek, and ungathered. Nay, he must have it in a readiness, at hand, that it be not to seek. And he must have as much as is necessary for him; for so much is due to a king as is necessary, and so much may he require by the law of God, and take of his commons, as is necessary. And that must not thou, nor I, that are subjects, appoint; but the king himself must appoint it; his council must appoint it. We must give it, we must pay it; for it is due to the king, and upon peril of thy soul thou must pay it. And as he that taketh my tippet or my cloak doth me wrong, and is a thief; so he that doth not pay to the king that is his due, without fraud or guile, doth the king wrong, and is in peril of his soul for so doing. Well; mark it well now, and see whether this text be a nipping text for covetous men, or no: “Give to Caesar that is due to Caesar.”
When the parliament, the high court of this realm, is gathered together, and there it is determined that every man shall pay a fifteenth part of his goods to the king; then commissions come forth, and he that in sight of men, in his cattle, corn, sheep, and other goods, is worth an hundred mark or an hundred pound, will set himself at ten pound; he will be worth no more to the king but after ten pound: tell me now whether this be theft or no? His cattle, corn, sheep, in every man’s eyes, shall be worth two hundred pounds besides other things, as money and plate; and he will marry his daughter, and give with her four or five hundred mark; and yet at the valuation he will be a twenty pound man: doth he give to Caesar that which is due to Caesar? Doth he not rather rob the king of his bound duty and debt, that he owed to the king? Yes, it is very theft; and thou mightest with as good conscience take my cloak or my tippet from me, as so unjustly take or withhold from the king that which the parliament hath given unto the king. It is thy bounden duty to pay him truly that which is granted; for it is due debt, and upon peril of thy soul thou art bound to obey it. Yea, I will say more, if the king should require of thee an unjust request, yet art thou bound to pay it, and not to resist and rebel against the king. The king, indeed, is in peril of his soul, for asking of an unjust request; and God will in his due time reckon with him for it: but thou must obey thy king, and not take upon thee to judge him. God is the king’s judge, and doubtless will grievously punish him if he do any thing unrighteously. Therefore pray thou for thy king, and pay him his duty, and disobey him not. And know this, that whensoever there is any unjust exaction laid upon thee, it is a plague and punishment for thy sin, as all other plagues are; as are hunger, dearth, pestilence, and such other. We marvel we are plagued as we be; and I think verily this unjust and unfaithful dealing with our princes is one great cause of our plague: look therefore every man upon his conscience. Ye shall not be judged by worldly policy at the latter day, but by God’s word. Sermo quem locutus sum vobis, ipse judicabit vos in novissimo die: “The word that I have spoken to you, that shall judge you at the latter day.” Look well now every man upon his conscience, and see whether ye have done this commandment of God. Give to your king that which is due to him; and he that findeth himself guilty, let him amend in time to come. “This is hard gear, and sore gear,” thou wilt say. “Give, give! I have wife and children, and great charge!” Well, I shall tell thee, it minisheth not thy stock one farthing at the year’s end. Hearken what God saith: Si audieritis verba mea, “If you will hear my words,” saith God, “and keep that I command thee, I will bless thee.” And, Si non audieritis, “If ye will not hear my words, and do my commandments, thou shalt be cursed,” &c. What is blessing? Not wagging of the fingers, as our bishops were wont: but it is, “I will favour thee, and increase thy goods, thy corn, thy cattle, thy ox, thy sheep; and in all thy business thou shalt prosper and go forward.” And what is the curse, but to be out of God’s favour? “I will impoverish thee; thy corn, thy cattle, thy ox, thy sheep, shall not prosper; what thou takest in hand, it shall not go forward.” This was not taught in times past: men had pilgrimages, images, masses, trentals, &c.
But I would have you muse of these two points: cursed, if thou hear not God’s word commanding thee to pay thy duty to the king; and blessed, if thou hear it and keep it. I would have you to muse of these two things: that it shall not minish thy stock. Shew me one man in all England, that is the poorer for paying the king his duty, for being a true dealing man, a good alms-man, &c. Many have come to poverty by dicing, carding, riot, whoredom, and such like; but never no man by truth, mercy, alms, right dealing with the king. In the Cardinal’s6868 Cardinal Wolsey. time men were put to their oaths, to swear what they were worth. It was a sore thing, and a thing I would wish not to be followed. O Lord, what perjury was in England by that swearing! I think this realm fareth the worse yet for that perjury; for doubtless, many a one willingly and wittingly forsware themselves at that time. “It is a dear time,” thou wilt say, “and men have much ado to live; therefore it is good policy to set myself much less than I am.” Well, that is thy worldly policy, and with it thou runnest into the curse of God for breaking his word and commandment, “Give to Caesar that which is due to Caesar.” I will tell thee a good policy to keep thy stock, and to maintain thine estate; not a policy of the world, but of God’s word; and it is this: Quaerite primum regnum Dei et justitiam ejus, et haec omnia adjicientur vobis; “Seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of it, and all things shall be plenteously given to you.” Dost thou not believe this to be true? Is Christ a hollow man, an untrue man, a dissembler? The Pharisees make him a true man, and we make him a false harlot. He is a true man; and his words and promise are true. Nay, we be false, hollow-hearted, and therefore justly punished. For if we would credit his words, it should without doubt be given us abundantly upon heaps; yea, more than we could desire.
When we pray for things unto almighty God, what ask we? Do we ask forthwith at the first chop our necessaries? Nay, Christ taught us first to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven; hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” &c. First, we pray these petitions for faith, hope, and charity; that God’s honour may in all things be set out among us; and then we pray after for bodily things. But now we leave these petitions, and would be in panem nostrum, “our daily bread,” at the first dash: we would have our daily bread at the first chop; and so we have that, we force little of the other. We will not say in words, that we think God false, but in deeds we plainly affirm it: for we trust him not, neither believe his promise when he biddeth us, “Give, give; I will bless ye, I will make good my word.” Nay, nay, we will scrape and scrawl, and catch and pull to us all that we may get. Alii dividunt sua, et ditiores fiunt; alii rapiunt non sua, et semper in egestate sunt: “Some men,” saith Salomon, “divide their own goods; they pay the king his duty, every man his own; give alms, and yet are more richer; they have enough and enough. Other rob other men; scratch and scrape all that they may come by; never content, never enough; heap to heap; and yet are they always beggars.”
Qui benedicit impinguabitur, “He that blesseth shall be fat and wealthy”: he that blesseth, not with wagging his fingers, but helping the poor people, he shall be blessed and ever have enough. God will bless him, God will increase him. And indeed so ought men to consider their gifts and goods to be given, ut illorum copia aliorum succurrat inopiae; that their abundance might succour the necessity, poverty, and misery of their poor neighbours; and not to waste it, consume it in riot and excess, but in deeds of mercy, in deeds of charity, and pity upon the poor. Qui miseretur pauperis, feneratur Domino: “He that hath mercy upon the poor, he lendeth upon usury unto the Lord.” This is a good usury, to make God thy debtor. Many lend upon worldly usury, which is surely a very wicked thing, and God forbiddeth it. But this usury God commandeth, and promiseth to supply the lack of it in thy coffers. He will be debtor, he will be paymaster. Thou shalt not find thy stock diminished at the year’s end by keeping God’s commandment, but rather blessed and increased. “Give therefore unto the king that is due unto the king; et qua, sunt Dei Deo, and give to God that which is God’s.” What is God’s? That I give at God’s bidding: the tithes, oblations, first-born of beasts, and sacrifice-cattle; which all God appointed unto the Jews to the maintenance of their church-ministers, of the clergy, poor widows, fatherless children, maintenance of poor scholars. This was the cause that God assigned the Jews to pay their tithes; and until the coming of Christ they were due by God’s law, and might by the law given to Moses be claimed. But now that law is at an end, neither can they be claimed any more by that law. Notwithstanding, now in the time of the new testament, the princes be bound to provide a sufficient living for the ministers, as St Paul saith, Qui evangelium praedicant de evangelio vivant. They that preach the gospel; this is the ministry of salvation, preaching of the gospel, and unto such ministers ye be bound to give a sufficient living. Communicate catechizanti in omnibus bonis: “Give part to him that teacheth you in all good things”: give him part of all your goods: see he have sufficient living. But who shall appoint him a sufficient living? himself? Nay. Who then? you? Nay, neither. The king must appoint him sufficient to live upon; for I think verily there are a great many, which if the minister should have no living but at their appointment, he should not have clouting leather to piece his shoes with; no, not clouting leather to his shoes. The king therefore must appoint the ministers their livings by his law; and that living that the king appointeth they must claim, and you must pay it to them truly; for it is their duty, and it is theft to withdraw it or hold it from them. For God commandeth you to obey your king’s laws, and by the same laws the king giveth the minister his tithes and other duties. Therefore upon peril of thy soul thou art bound to obey thy king, and to pay thy curate that tithe that thou art commanded.
But some will say, “Our curate is naught; an ass-head; a dodipole; a lack-latin, and can do nothing. Shall I pay him my tithes, that doth us no good, nor none will do?” “Yea,” I say, “thou must pay him his duty; and if he be such a one, complain to the bishop.” “We have complained to the ordinary, and he is as negligent as he.” Complain to the council. “Sir, so have we done, but no remedy can be had.” Well, I can tell where thou shalt complain; complain to God, he will surely hear thee, he will remedy it. Christ saw the people lying, tanquam oves non habentes pastores, “as sheep having no shepherd.” They had bishops, scribes, and Pharisees; curates in name, a great many; yet were they tanquam oves non habentes pastorem, “as sheep having no shepherd.” What is that to say? They had no true teachers; they had no preachers of the law of God to them. What remedy taught Christ for it? withdraw their livings? Nay. Make tumults? Nay: but rogate Dominum messis, “Pray the Lord of the harvest.” Pray, pray. Prayer is the remedy that never faileth: when all other faileth, this never faileth. Therefore pray unto God, and he will either turn his heart, and make him better; or remove him from thee, and send a better in his place; or else take him away altogether. So will the Lord do with any other oppressors of the poor: either he will turn their hearts, and make them better; or else remove them, and take them quite away. Therefore let men be patient and suffer, and pray unto God for deliverance from their troubles, and not think to remedy it themselves; but pray to God, and he will remedy it. Pray, I say, and take patience, and you shall see the Lord will in due time remedy it.
There be many that turn this text clean contrary; for they yield to Caesar that which is God’s, and to God that which is Caesar’s. They had money enough to build monasteries, chantries, masses, year-days, trentals, to gild images, &c. And all this they did, say they, to honour God with. They would worship God with copes, torches, tapers, candles, and an hundred things more, that God never required at their hands. God requireth their hearts to fear him, and love him, and studiously to walk before him; but this inward service we will not give him. Nay, we give Caesar our heart, and God our outward service, as all such do as have received the Interim.6969 A statement of doctrine drawn up in the year 1548 by Romish and Protestant divines, at the command of the emperor Charles V. The name of the Interim was given to this system of doctrine, because it was intended to remain in force only until a free General Council could be held, for the purpose of settling the religious controversies which had arisen in Germany. Sleidan. History of the Reformation, pp. 458, &c.: Robertson, Charles V. Book ix. God should possess our whole hearts, and we should most studiously walk, every man in his vocation, according to the word of God, according to his commandments; obeying our king, and succouring the poor and needy, as he hath commanded us. And this is God’s true service, and the thing that belongeth to God.
If this be true, what is become of our forefathers? I answer, it is a vain and unprofitable question: either it needs not, or it boots not. Whatsoever they did, let us do well; let us keep God’s bidding, God’s commandments, and then are we safe. When one dieth, we must have bells ringing, singing, and much ado: but to what purpose? Those that die in the favour of God are well; those that die out of the favour of God, this can do them no good. Ubi ceciderit lignum, ibi erit; “Where the tree faileth, there it shall remain.” Study therefore to live in the favour and grace of God, in repentance, in amendment of life; and then diest thou well. Further, to the question of our forefathers, God knoweth his elect, and diligently watcheth and keepeth them, so that all things serve to their salvation. The nature of fire is to burn all that is laid in it; yet God kept the three young men in Babylon, that they burnt not. And Moses saw a bush on fire, but it burnt not. So false doctrine as fire burneth, it corrupteth: but God kept his elect, that they were not corrupt with it, but always put their trust in one everliving God, through the death of Jesus Christ our Lord. In Elias’ time idolatry and superstition reigned; so that Elias said, Domine, altaria tua subverterunt, “Lord, they have destroyed thine altars, and slain thy prophets and preachers, and I am left alone.” But the Lord answered him, “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men that have not bowed their knees to Baal:” so God, I trust, reserved our forefathers, in so perilous times, more graciously than we can think. Let us thank God, then, for the gracious light of his word sent unto us; and pray for our gracious king and his council, that set it forth unto us. And as for our forefathers, seeing we have no charge given us of God, leave them, and commend them unto God’s mercy, who disposed better for them than we can wish.
But some will say now, “What need we preachers then? God can save his elect without preachers.” A goodly reason! God can save my life without meat and drink; need I none therefore? God can save me from burning, if I were in the fire; shall I run into it therefore? No, no; I must keep the way that God hath ordained, and use the ordinary means that God hath assigned, and not seek new ways. This office of preaching is the only ordinary way that God hath appointed to save us all by. Let us maintain this, for I know none other; neither think I God will appoint or devise any other.
“Pay therefore to Caesar that which is due to Caesar.” And this said Christ by an heathen king, a paynim: how much more ought we to pay to our Caesar, our liege lord and king, a Christian king, and so godly and virtuous a learned king! And “pay to God that is due to God”: tithes and all duties belonging to the ministers and preachers of this office of salvation, give to them without dissembling, without withdrawing or abridging of their duties. Take heed of lying, and setting thyself at less than thou art. Mark the example of Ananias and Saphira his wife: they died suddenly for their lying and dissimulation in the like matter.
Well, this was Christ’s doctrine: this was his answer: “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s.” Et non potuerunt reprehendere verbum ejus coram populo: “And they could not find fault in his word before the people”; it was so just, so consonant with scriptures and with reason. Yet afterward they falsified his word before Pilate, accusing him, Hunc deprehendimus evertentem gentem, et vetantem tributa dani Caesari; “We found this fellow turning away the people’s hearts, and forbidding the tribute to be given to Caesar.” These be perilous people to meddle withal, malicious and uncharitable; that care not what slander they accuse a man of. Deny: they are ready to accuse. Affirm: they will yet falsify his word. Then it is best to say nothing at all. Nay, not so. Let us speak God’s truth, and live according to his commandment; he shall deliver us from the hands of our adversaries, and make us safe in his heavenly kingdom. Let us, I say, do God’s bidding and commandment. Give to our king our duties. Truly we shall have never the less; it shall not minish our stock, we shall rather have the more. For God is true of his promise. Let us maintain the necessary office of salvation; pay to the ministers the things appointed them; maintain scholars and schools; help the poor widows and fatherless children; study to do good while we have time in this present life: so shall the Lord in this life bless us, and after this life give us eternal life through Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all laud and honour. Amen.
Marvel not that I use at the sermon’s end to make prayer, for I do it not of singularity: but when I am at home, and in the country where I go, sometime when the poor people come and ask at me, I appose7070 Question, examine. them myself, or cause my servant to appose them, of the Lord’s prayer; and they answer some, “I can say my Latin Pater-noster”; some, “I can say the old Pater-noster, but not the new.” Therefore that all that cannot say it may learn, I use before the sermon and after to say it. Wherefore now I beseech you, let us say it together:
“Our Father, which art,” &c.
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