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unto the honour of God, the creator of heaven and earth : and under the Gospel unto the honour of Christ the Redeemer of his Church : and all other days, that are now put apart among us from the common affairs of the world, they are sanctified to that end, that God might be honoured in them, and by them.
And therefore we put a great difference between these holy days, and the Sabbath, or Lord's day. First of all in that we know this latter to stand upon a better foundation than they, as having his institution from Christ and his Apostles, and so doth bind all nations, and is perpetual, never to be changed. Whereas the former have their warrant only from men, and so do not bind all Churches alike, and may be changed, yea taken clean away: and serve only for Christian policy, and good order in the Church, that men upon these days might come together, and serve God. And therefore it is to be provided, that there should not be too many of them, lest thereby men should be hindered from the necessary works of their callings; which hath moved the Reformed Churches, as in this realm, so elsewhere, to cut off many that were used in the time of Popery, and so to keep themselves in a mediocrity, neither having too many, nor putting down all.
Secondly, there is a difference between them, in the manner of keeping the one, and the other: for on the Christian Sabbath the laws of our kingdom and Church do restrain all men from many things, as from markets, and fairs, and keeping of assizes and sessions for the execution of justice : which they do tolerate and permit upon other holydays. Whereas in the time of blindness they sometimes preferred these days before the Sabbath ; and had more solemn service and feasts, upon them, and counted it a more deadly sin then to work, than
upon the Sabbath-day. Besides this, they appointing these days to the honour of men, did thereby greatly dishonour the Saints themselves. For what greater dishonour can there be unto any man, than to make him a traitor? and to give unto, him that honour, that is due only to the Prince? And if any should in simplicity and good-will ascribe so much to the greatest nobleman in the realm, that at the last he should give him the titles that belong unto the King, and so bring him into the suspicion of treason against his will, it were
no honour, but dishonour unto him: so the Papists in extolling the Saints so highly, that they consecrate days unto them, and thereby seek to honour them, and hope that therefore they will become patrons unto them: all which are proper unto Christ; in so doing they dishonour them : for they make them, as much as lieth in them, to be traitors unto Christ, in robbing him of that honour that is
proper unto him. The Angel would not suffer St. John to worship him (Rev. c. 22, v. 8 and 9).
And these Saints, if they were now alive upon earth, would not only not take this honour unto themselves, and thank them for it, but altogether refuse it, and rebuke them for it; as Paul and Barnabas did unto the people at Lystra, when they brought bulls with garlands, and would have sacrificed unto them: they rent their cloathes, and ran in among them (Acts c. 14, v. 14), saying, O men, why do you these things ? we are men subject unto the like passions, that you be: and preach unto you, that you should turn from these vain things unto the living God.
In this text there are these four things principally to be observed : first of all the great infidelity of St. Thomas the Apostle, who did not believe the resurrection of Christ, reported unto him by all his fellow Apostles, who had seen him (v. 24, 25). Secondly, the great mercy of Christ, who did not cast him off, and leave him to perish in this unbelief of his, but most lovingly in time convenient sought to pull him out of it by all good means ; even the very same, which himself desired (ver. 26, 27). Thirdly, the increase of faith in Thomas by these means, appearing by the confession that he made, after that he was thus confirmed, namely, that he did believe, not only that he was risen again, but for him, and therefore calleth him, his Lord and his God (ver. 28). Lastly, here Christ upon this occasion delivereth a general doctrine, and so applieth this fact of Thomas unto the whole Church ; even that they should be blessed who should believe in hin, though they did not see him, as he had done.
I do not purpose to intreat of all these, but only of so much, as doth concern the unbelief of St. Thomas. But before I come to it, it may seem somewhat strange, that St. John in his Gospel doth write this of his fellow Apostle, seeing it tendeth so wholly to his discredit. The other Evangelists all of them have left it out, it may seem in favour of him; and it might be thought, that it had been better, if he had passed it over with silence also. But this Apostle living longer than all the rest, about an bundred years after Christ, and so seeing all their writings, doth add this, as a matter of special moment: as indeed in it there is offered to the Church great instruction and consolation,
And this plain dealing of his is a note of that integrity, that is to be found in all the Scriptures, as being penned by the Spirit of God. For they came not in old time, as St. Peter saith (2 Peter, c. 1, v. 21), by the will of man: but holy men of God did speak and write as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. And therefore they greatly differ from the writings of men, which savour of the spirit of men; and so are in many things partial : as this is a common fault in many historiographers, that they flatter great men, and speak only of their virtues, which they set out to the full; but their vices either they wholly