The Lantern of Light. Chapter One: The Prologue
3 min read
3 min read
God, that is good in himself, fair in his angels, marvellous in his saints, and merciful upon sinners, have mercy on us, now and ever, and give us grace to hold the way of truth in these days of great tribulation. For now, many that seemed to have been stable in virtue, fall from their holy purpose, dreading loss of goods and bodily pain. As Christ said (Matthew 24) The great plenty and abundance of wickedness shall make cold the charity of many. For now the fiend hath marred the world by his lieutenant antichrist, that men be borne about in divers doubts, as waves of the sea, wretchedly divided in opinions, each neighbour with others. But St. Paul saith, there is but one Lord, whom all men should dread and love; one faith, that all men should believe without changing; one baptism or Christendom, that all men should keep without defouling. Alas! How is this unity broken, that men unruled, walk after their lusts, as beasts in the corn! Certes the wicked man that Christ speaketh of, (Matthew 13) hath done this deed. The enemy of God hath sown tares among the seed of Jesus Christ. This wicked man is ANTICHRIST, who clouteth his laws, as rotten rags, to the clean cloth of Christ’s gospel; and waketh in malice as a child of Judas, while Simon sleepeth and taketh no heed. O thou wicked man, is there any other that may save souls than Jesus Christ? Holy and true Jesus Christ hath the key of David, which openeth and no other closeth, closeth and then no other openeth, (Revelation 3) who casteth down, and then no man reareth, who seateth and then no man casteth down. And, therefore, in the virtue of this name Jesus, standeth all man’s salvation, as it is written. Acts iv. St. Peter saith. There is none other name under heaven given to men, but this name Jesus. In which it behoves us to be made safe; for only in virtue of this name, cometh remission of sins. As it is written, (Luke 24). It behoveth to be preached among all folks, penance, and remission of sins in the name of Jesus. Art not thou a wicked man, a foultedf shepherd, a cruel beast, the son of perdition, and antichrist himself, who pretendest in thee and in thy members, to bind and loose, to bless and curse beside this name Jesus? People without number, following thee and thy divided laws, are divided from Christ Jesus, and go with the blindlings to hell for evermore. And this is greatly to sorrow, so that Christ liketh mourning thereupon, and saith, (John 6) I have come in the name of my Father, and ye have not taken me, when another comes in his own name, him ye shall take. And this is antichrist, as St. John Chrysostom saith upon this gospel, “He that will not receive Christ in pain of sin, he is constrained to receive antichrist.”
Therefore, in this time of hideous darkness, some seek the Lantern of Light, of which spake the prophet, (Psalm 119). Lord, thy word is a lantern to my feet. For as far as the light of this Lantern shineth, so far darkness of sin, and clouds of the fiend’s temptations vanish away, and may not abide. And always, when the Lantern giveth light into the heart, it cleanseth from corruption, and assuageth and healeth spiritual sores. As the wise man saith, (in the Book of Wisdom,) “Neither herb nor plaster hath healed them, but. Lord, thy mighty word that healeth all things.” For, Lord, when thou diedst upon the cross, thou puttest in thy word the Spirit of life, and gavest to it power of quickening by thy own precious blood, as thou thyself sayest. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and life.