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A68610 A booke of Christian questions and answers Wherein are set foorth the cheef points of the Christian religion ... A worke right necessary and profitable for all such as shal haue to deale vvith the capious quarelinges of the vvrangling aduersaries of Gods truthe. Written in Latin by the lerned clerke Theodore Beza Vezelius, and newly translated into English by Arthur Golding.; Quaestionum et responsionum Christianarum libellus. English Bèze, Théodore de, 1519-1605.; Golding, Arthur, 1536-1606. 1574 (1574) STC 2038; ESTC S112801 79,360 184

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A booke of Christian Questions and answers Wherein are set foorth the cheef points of the Chris●●●●●●ligion in maner of an ●…dgment A worke right necessary and profitable for all such as s●al haue to deale with the captious quarelinges of the wrangling aduersaries of Gods truthe Written in Latin by the lerned clerke Theodore Beza Vezelius and newly translated into English by Arthur Golding Imprinted at London by William How for Abraham Veale dwellyng in Paules Church yarde at the signe of the Lambe Ano. 1574. ¶ To the Right honorable and his singular good Lorde Henry Earle of Huntingdon Baron Hastinges Knight of the most noble order of the Garter c. Arthur Golding wissheth abundance of Gods grace increase of honour and longe continuance of life in health and prosperitie MY very good Lord it is daylie and in maner commonly to beseene I pray God that our vnthankefulnes cause vs no more to feele it that the peruerse through setled Papists the professed enemies of God all goodnes linking thēselues in league with worldlinges Epicures Athiestes Neuters birdes of their own broode do euen yet after so great light of the Gospell and so manifest conuictiō of their Grosse errors stil boldly persist in their wilfull wickednes not only hardening their own stubborne hartes against the apparant truth but also as much as in thē lyeth stealīg away the kie of knowledge frō others that would fain enter into the kingdome of heauen if they letted thē not casting stumbling blockes in the waies of the weake vncircumspect of whose soules they make marchandise by their deceiuable and inuenimed speeche But certesse although long impunity haue made thē ouer bould both to prate to Practise in maner what they lyst ●…et not withstanding for as much as the general brightnes of Christes Gospell discouereth their grosser sorte of ●ealinges vntoo mostmen they assaulte vs not nowe so much with open manifest vntruthes whiche were ordinary weapons of their warfare whē they had the swoorde of souereintie and the law of crueltie in theyr owne hand as with secret inuasions of sophisticall reasons and crabbed questions specially where they finde hope of victorie by meanes of other mens simplicitie want of learning to withstand them And truly in that art no folke are so cunning as the children of darknes For worldly wisdome hauing bent hir self to mainteine error is a fruiteful moother of all sortes of quiddities and the olde serpent is both slie and vnslothfull in trāsforminge himselfe and his impes into all shapes to doo mischiefe For asmuch therefore as there be many godly and welminded persons who hauinge not yet mounted aboue the short reache of naturall reason doo still measure Gods misteries howbecit with a single meaninge mind by their slender capacitie of their small vnderstādinge dealinge in likewise as if a man that were iorneying by the first dawning of the day shoulde trip his foote against some stone which he woulde eschew at the comminge of the cleere and open light whose faith is often times shaken yea and nowe and then crased also eyther by such as standing vpon the reputacion of their owne skil hunt for vainglory by russhinge vnaduisedly into the discourse of Gods deepest misteries whiche ought not to be spoken of without great reuerence and modesty or by suche as being wilfully blind diffame the things that they know not or by such as being giuen vp too a hardened minde blaspheme the knowen truthe through malicious spitefulnes or by such as being giuen wholly to their belly their bed cannot abide to hecre of any thing that might make them goodmen or else by suche as haue learned in Lucians schoole to scoffe at all thinges that like not their fantasticall folie too the intent that the godly persos might alwaies haue at hand as well wherwith to satisfie themselues and other well disposed persōs in doubtful cases as also to stop the slaūderous mouthes of the quarelinge aduersaries or at leastwise wherwith to aunswere their captious cauelinges in the chiefe points of our religion I haue translaied this Christen treatise of the learned writer Theodore Beza who by a certein modest questioninge answering ther vnto doth in dialogwise briefely set forth vnto vs the true knowing of God our selues the right vse and end of the same For taking his beginning at the intent of our creation he declareth that God must be worshipped and serued in none otherwise than hee himselfe hath taught vs by his worde written The authoritie wherof being auouched by many profes he setteth downe what the same teacheth vs to beleeue concerninge the Godhead the three persons therof Then shewing vs what we ought to consider chiefely in God he vnfoldeth the misterie of the vniō of the two natures in the one person of Christ whereby hee confuteth the heresie of the Manichees and layeth forth the order of our saluatiō by Christs incarnation death resurrection and Ascentiō Here vpon he taketh occasion to ●hew the maner of Christs being present absent and thereby condemneth the errors of popishe transsubstantiation of the vbiquitie or euerie where being of Christs māhod mainteined by Brentius and certeine others After this he passeth forth to Christes mediation intercession where he disproueth the heresie of Arrius the opiniō of surmising three Gods the dotages of Samosatene the forgeries of the Papists in praying vnto saincts Frō thence he descendeth to the laste iudgement and answering by the way to an obiection of the foreiudgemēt that eche seuerall person receiueth at his departure out of this life he procedeth to the generall rising again of the flesh to the rewards of the godly the punishment of the wicked whereby he taketh occasion too inquire of the way to eternall life which is Christ taken holde on by fayth There sheweth he what faith is and whence it cōmeth and so discoursinge largely of mans corruptiō he disproueth the Pelagians freewyll declareth in what wise mans naturall will woorketh together with Gods preuentinge grace and how the continuance of Gods graces insewinge is the cause of the effectuall working of the former graces wherby he vtterly ouerthro weth the merit or deseruing of mēs owne workes Afterward hauing first shewed the maner of the spreding of originall sin into al mankind he returneth to the ●emedie therof by being greffed into Christ the maner wherof he describeth at large and there agein confuteth the heresie of Transsubstantiation and declareth faith to be the free gift of god through christ by whom wee obteine wisedome Rightuosnes Holines and Redemptiō which are the fruites of beinge greffed into him by the benefite whereof we begin also in part to vnderstand aright to will aright and to woorke a right whiche is as muche as to liue after the spirite In the layinge forth of these things he rippeth vp the feeblenes of mans naturall reason wassheth away the excuse of his vnhablenes to
seme worthy to please at leastwyse in somme behalfe Answete Most falfe is this consequence For God cannot no not euen of couenant allow any other rightuousnes as worthye of that name than such as is fully answerable to the law in all pointes except he wil be repugnant too himselfe which thynge were a sinne to say Thus therefore oughtest thou too haue gathered The woorkes of the regenerated do please God though they bee vnperfect ●rgo God is exceeding mercifull Question Besydes this there is mention made euerywhere of hyre wages reward requiting and recompence An. The name of Wages hath a larger scope than the name of euerlastinge life And it is certain that God of his passinge liberality rendereth temporal blissinges euen too the vngodly be they neuer so vnworthy Againe whither you referre the name of wages too eternall life or too other benifites yet doth it not folow that the same is payde as dewe det But rather this dooth most of all commend Gods mercy that he vout saueth to geue the name of Wages or hyre too the vndew reward which he bestoweth vpon vs of his owne mere grace in Christ too the end y we although we bee but vnprofitable seruantes for who is able too bestow any thing vpon god might notwithstandinge perceiue that wee haue not lost our labour Finallye although this wages be promised fréely and geuen fréely yet is it geuen too hym that woorketh and therefore it is called a wages or hyre Quest If it bee geuen too him that worketh ergo it is geuē him for his works An. Nay rather if it bée geuen wée bee sure it is not payde as a dewtye Agayn there is farre difference betwéen geuing too a woorker and geuinge for workes I may well say therefore that eternall life is geuen to them worke bicause faith shall bée esteemed by the frutes of it and rightuousnesse by faith but not payde them for theyr works sakes And after this manner must that text bée expownded where it is sayde Euery man shal bee iudged accordinge to the thinges that he hath done in his body and suche other like sentences Quest VVhy so Ans Bycause good woorkes make not men rightuouse but folowe him that be leeueth and that is aredy becom rightuous in Christe like as good fruytes make not a tree too bee good but a tree is knowen to be good by the good fruites of it Que. But alitle afore you fetched good works not out of iustificatiō but out of Sanctification An. I graunt it For there is no man iustified by imputation of Christes rightuousnes but he is also sanctified by his spirit Quest Say you then that good woorkes bee needefull to saluation An. If faith bee needefull too saluation and woorkes doo of necessity accompany tre●e faith as whiche cannot bee ydle surely the other foloweth also that good woorks bee needefull to saluation how beeit not as a cause of saluation for we bee iustified and therfore also do liue by faith only in Christ but as a thinge that of necessity cleaueth vnto trew faith So saith Paule that those bee Goddes childrē which are led by gods spirite Iohn saith that those be rightuous which work rightuousnes And Iames also declaring not by what meanes we be iustified but wherby trew faith insticatiō are discerned proueth by Abrahams exāple y those are not iustified which vtter no workes of faith For in such wise must Iames be made to agree with Paule too the ende it may playnely appeere how they bee but brabblers which condemne the necessity of good workes for false doctrine Question VVhat if a man should neuer be endewed with fayth tyl the laste instant of his death for so it seemeth too haue happened too the theefe that hunge by Christ VVhat manner of good works ●halll such a one bee able to bring forth An. Uerely the faith of that théefe was vnspeakably workful in that short time ●or he rebuked the blasphemies and wicked dooinges of the other theefe he detested his owne crimes with an assured and passing wonderfull faith he acknowledged Christ for the euerlasting kinge euen in the reprochefulnes of his crosse when all his disciples hilde their peace he called vppon him as his sauiour and finallye hée openlye reprooued the mercilesse cruelty and wicked spéeches of the ●ewes But the acknowledginge of sin the callinge vpon god the father in christ and thankesgeuinge are the excellentest woorkes of the firste table whiche cannot bée vtterly seperated from fayth in no man And admitte that some man beeing preuented with death is able too shewe no woorkes of the seconde table Yet is not the faith in him therefore too be counted ydle because that althoughe it haue not Charitie in actuall deede yet is it accompanied with it in possibilitie Quest I haue yet one doubt more behinde VVhy any man shoulde be damned for euill woorkes if no man be iustified for good woorkes Ans The reasone is manifest namely because that euen the lightest sin that is deserueth althoughe not the extreamest paines in euerlastinge death yet euerlastinge death it selfe whiche generallye is the hyre of sinne but no rightuousnesse can worthely deserue eternal lyfe except it be suche a rightuousnes as the law requireth that is to wit a perfect and sound state Therefore shew me one that fulfilleth the law as there is none found which is not a breaker of the lawe and I will graunt the foresaide argument Quest Saye you then that there shal bee oddes in the punishements of the damned sort An. Althoughe this matter bee to be inquired of verye soberlye yet haue I not spoken it vnaduisedly For besides that the order of Iustice requireth that hee whiche hathe sinned more greeuouslye should be more greuously punished considering that all sinnes are not alike heynous sauing so farforthe as they matche in generalitie for it is a Paradoxe of the Stoykes not of christians to auouch that all sins bee equal christ himself witnesseth the same thing expresly saying y the case of the Sodomites shal bee more tolerable in the day of iudgement than the case of them that had reiected him Quest Then shall therebe oddes in the glory of those that shal be saued An. Verelye so doothe the reason of contraries require And wheras the Apostle sayeth that suche as haue sowen sparelie shall reape sparelye it séemeth not that the same shoulde be restrained to temporall blessinges onely Quest But of sowinge cometh reapinge ergo rightuousnes and life proceede of good workes An. Truely similitudes must neuer bée racked further than the nature of the thinges that are treated of and the purpose of him that vseth the similitudes will beare For else ther wil ensew most fond false things out of nomber which thing whē vnskilful interpreters marke not they must néedes setforth manye foolishe and false thinges But in the foresaide place the Apostle
woord of the Gospell pertayneth too euery seuerall persone Wherfore as touching those that wee speake of there is found in them no stubbornnesse against the Gospell but onely originall corruption whiche notwithstanding is euen of it self alone sufficient to damne the reprobates Besides this although the condition of beléeuing bee annexed yet doth not the ordinance hang vpon that but rather that hangeth vppon the ordinaunce as which goeth in order before all other inferior causes Else see howe false and vnreasonable thinges insew For it will folowe that God in deuising with himselfe did firste set before him his whole woork as already finished and that accordinge as he saw his woorke should bée disposed of itselfe and not by him that made it he should therupon take occasion too determine that is too say too appoynt eyther too saluation or damnation Or if yee like better that god himselfe was vncerteine how the performing or not performinge of the condition woulde fall out Then must it bée concluded that Gods ordinance hangeth in suspence and that the determination of the case as Austin trimly sayeth is not in the power of the potter but of the clay And herevpon wil be grounded another false opiniō namely that faith hath not his beginnyng of God but of the will of man if it bee so that Gods foresight gaue him cause too determin vpon his choise Neither is it too the purpose to obiect that faith is not foresene forasmuch as it is a gift of god that commeth in by the waye but that corruption and vnbeleefe are foresene which are naturall in man after his fall For the reason of the contraries requireth in any case that loke in what degrée faith is placed in the ordinance of Election euen in the same degree must faithlesnesse or vnbeeleefe bee placed in the ordinance of reprobation Therefore if ye make faith foreknowen too bee the cause of the ordinance of election which is vtterlye a poynte of a Pelagian and therefore repealed by Austin you must needes deeme the same also of vnbeleefe in the contrarye ordynance of reprobation And on the othersyde if yee submit faith vnto the sayd ordinance as you needes must for wee be chosen to the intent to beleue and not bicause wee wold or should beleue you must nedes also in the contrary member submit vnbeleefe to the ordinance of reprobation Quest VVill you then make the ordinance of reprobation to be the cause of vnbeleeue as wel as you make the ordinance of election too bee the cause of faith Answer No. For the ordinance of election is in déede the efficient cause of faith But corruption or vnbeleefe with the fruites therof are in such wise put vnder the ordinance of reprobation as that the will of man is the first efficient cause of them and yet notwithstanding they be subiect too the ordinance bycause that although it bee not throughe the ordynance yet is it not besydes the ordynance nor without the ordynance that those thinges happen whereof the fayling cause and not the efficient cause is grrounded in God as I sayde afore For like as they onely beléeue in whom God createth fayth euen so through Gods forsaking of mannes wil sinne is krepte into mankynde and there abydeth yelding ill fruit in as manye as God listeth too leaue vp too their owne lustes that they may bee the cause of theyr own damnation whervntoo they are also inregestred and appoyncted from euerlastinge Furthermore that I may retyre vntoo the other question whatsoeuer is sayde of the forenamed condition whiche is annexed too the ordinaunce as who should saye that the ordinance depended vppon the condition it is vnfitly spoken .. For the ordinance of sauinge the elect sort is another thinge than the verye glorifiynge of the elect and the ordinance of dampning the Reprobates is another thinge than the verye damninge of them in somuche as the ordinaunce it selfe must needes bee distinguished from the execution of it The execution than of the ordinaunce of election that is too wyt the saluation of the chosen dependeth vppon faythe that taketh holde of Christe and the execution of the ordinaunce of Reprobation that is too wyt the dampnation of the castawaies dependeth vppon synne ●nd there fruites thereof accordinge t●o this saying of the Prophet thy destruction O Israell commeth of thy selfe And of this ordinance of choosinge some men too bee saued by grace and of refusing othersome too bee dampned through their owne sinnes we know none other cause but this one namely that the Lord who is both incomparablye mercyfull and incomparablye rightfull will bee glorifyed in that wise He that holdes not himselfe contented with this for asmuche as hee seeketh some hygher thynge and some rightfuller thinge than Goddes will hee is worthely reprooued by the Apostle for a ●rabler Quest Ergo God hateth some not for their sinnes sake but because he listeth so too doo An. This is a slaunderous obiectiō For it is certeine that God hateth no mā but for sinne for otherwise he had hated hys owne work But it is one thing to hate and another thing to ordeine one to iuste hatred For the cause of the hatred is manifest namely euen sinne but why God appoynteth whō he listeth vntoo iust hatred thoughe the cause bee hid from vs sauinge too the ende hee may bee glorified yet cannot it not be vnrightuous tōsideringe that the will of God is the only rule of rightfulnes For if wee speake of this soueraigne will of God which ordereth disposeth the causes of all thinges wée must not say that a thinge ought too be rightful before God should wil it but contrarywise that God must firste wyll the thynge beefore it can bee ryghtfull whiche who so considereth not shall reason but confusedly of this matter Quest But yet for all this God seemeth too bee a regarder of persons if he yelde not alike vnto all that haue done alyke For in this poincte all men are like that they bee corrupted by nature spred into them from Adam An. Nay trulye it foloweth not of necessitye that whosoeuer yeeldeth not alyke vnto like shoulde bee an accepter of persons but he onlye whiche yeldeth not alyke vnto lyke because hee is parciallye mooued by some circumstaunces that accompany the person it self as if two men were offenders alike the iudge shoulde acquit the one of them bicause he is rich or his kinsman or his countrieman For these be the persons that may not bee regarded of him that will iudge vncorruptlye But I pray you let vs put the case y two men bee indetted vnto you both in like somme and both vppon like conditions Nowe if of your liberalitie you forgiue the one his dette and exact the other mans dette accordinge too extremity of law shall there bee any excepting of persons in this behalfe What if some souereigne hauing a cupple that offend alike doo of his meere grace parden