Latimer:

1) Man is the
cause of his
own damnation.

O what a pitiful thing is it, that man will not consider this, and leave the sin and pleasure of this world, and live godly; but is so blind and mad, that he will rather have a momentary, and a very short and small pleasure, than hearken to the will and pleasure of Almighty God! That might avoid everlasting pain and woe, and give unto him everlasting felicity. For that a great many of us are damned, the fault is not in God; for Deus vult omnes homines salvos fieri, “God would have all men be saved:” but the fault is in ourselves, and in our own madness, that had rather have damnation than salvation. Therefore, good people, consider these terrible pains in your minds, which are prepared for the wicked and ungodly: avoid all wickedness and sin; set before your eyes the wonderful joy and felicity, and the innumerable treasures which God hath laid up for you that fear and love him, and live after his will and commandments: for no tongue can express, no eye hath seen, no heart can comprehend nor conceive the great felicity that God hath prepared for his elect and chosen, as St Paul witnesses. Consider therefore, I say, these most excellent treasures, and endeavor yourselves to obtain the fruition of the same. Continue not, neither abide or wallow too long in your sins, like as a swine lies in the mire: make no delay to repent your sin, and to amend your life; for you are not so sure to have repentance in the end. It is a common saying, Pœnitentia sera raro vera: therefore consider this thing with yourself betimes, and study to amend your life; for what avails it to have all the pleasures of the world for awhile, and after that to have everlasting pain and infelicity? Hugh Latimer, Sermons and Remains of Hugh Latimer (Cambridge: CUP, 1845), 2:192-193. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; italics original; marginal references and comments cited inline and location discretionary; and underlining mine.]

2) Enter not
into the
inscrutable
mysteries
of God

But if thou art desirous to know whether thou art chosen to everlasting life, thou may not begin with God: for God is too high, thou cannot comprehend him.

Enter into
Christ, and
there seek
thy salvation.

The judgments of God are unknown to man ; therefore thou may 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 a 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 shew 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 sits at the right hand of God, and makes intercession for us ; and gives us the Holy Ghost, that comforts and strengthens our faith, and daily assures us of our salvation.

Christ is the
book of life,
wherein our
names are
written, if
we believe
in him.

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 finds thyself in Christ, then thou art sure of everlasting life. K thou he without him, then thou art in an evil case, for it is written, Nemo venit ad Pratrem nisi per me; that is, “No man comes unto the Father but through me.”

God has
given his
only Son
to redeem
sinners that
repent and
believe.

Therefore if thou knows Christ, then thou may know further of thy election. But when we are about this matter, and are troubled within ourselves, whether we be elect or no, we must ever have this maxim or principal rule before our eyes; namely, that God bears a goodwill towards us. God loves us; God bears 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, Filius, qui est in sinu Patris, ipse revelavit; that is, “The Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed” [John 1.]. Therefore we may perceive his good-will and love towards us: he hath sent the same his Son into this world, which hath suffered 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.

How you
shall know
when are
are in the
book of life.

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 m the book of life, which is Christ himself.

Also we learn by this sentence, Multi sunt vocati, that “many are called,” that the preaching of the gospel is universal; that it pertains to all mankind; that it is written. In omnem terrani exivit sonus eorum, ” 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 be damned.

God would
that all
should be saved.

For it is written thus, Deus vult omnes homines salvos fieri; “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, and we will not take it, when it is offered unto us: and therefore ho saith, Pauci vero electi, ” Few arc chosen;” that is, few have pleasure and delight in it: for the most part are weary of it, they cannot abide it.

Swift to hear
and slow to
believe.

And there are some that hear And there are some that hear it, but they will abide no danger for it: they love more their riches and possessions than the word of God. And therefore, pauci sunt electi; 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.

Note that our
stubbornness
and lack of
faith is the
cause of our
damnation.

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 hears the word of God, and follows it, the same is elect by him: and again, whosoever refuses to hear the word of God, and follow the same, is damned. So that our election is sure if we follow the word of God. Hugh Latimer, Sermons and Remains of Hugh Latimer (Cambridge: CUP, 1845), 2:204-206. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; italics original; marginal references and comments cited inline and location discretionary; square bracketed insert original; and underlining mine.]

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