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HOMILY ON THE TRUE AND LIVELY FAITH

[The following is a portion of a three point sermon taken from the First Book of Homilies. The Anglican Homilies, which are referred to in Article XXXV of the 39 Articles, explain a number of the doctrines and practices of the Church]

THE first coming unto GOD is through Faith, whereby we be justified before GOD. And lest any man should be deceived, for lack of right understanding thereof, it is diligently to be noted, that Faith is taken in the Scripture two manner of ways.

A Dead Faith. There is one faith, which in Scripture is called a dead faith, which bringeth forth no good works, but is idle, barren, and unfruitful. And this faith, by the holy Apostle Saint James, is compared to the faith of Devils, which believe GOD to be true and just, and tremble for fear, yet they do nothing well, but all evil (James 2:17,19). And such a manner of faith have the wicked and naughty Christian people, which confess GOD, (as St. Paul saith) in their mouth, but deny him
in their deeds, being abominable, and without the right faith, and to all good works reprovable (Titus 1:16). And this faith is a persuasion and belief in mans heart, whereby he knoweth that there is a GOD, and agreeth unto all truth of GOD’S most holy word, contained in the holy Scripture. So that it consisteth only in believing in the word of GOD, that it is true. And this is not properly called faith. But as he that readeth Caesar’s Commentaries, believing the same to be true, hath thereby a knowledge of Caesar’s life, and notable acts, because he believeth the history of Caesar: yet it is not properly said that he believeth in Caesar, of whom he looketh for no help nor benefit. Even so, he that believeth that all that is spoken of GOD in the Bible is true, and yet liveth so ungodly, that he cannot look to enjoy the promises and benefits of GOD: although it may be said, that such a man hath a faith and belief to the words of GOD, yet it is not properly said that he
believeth in GOD, or hath such a faith and trust in GOD, whereby he may surely look for grace, mercy, and everlasting life at GOD’S hand, but rather for indignation and punishment, according to the merits of his wicked life.

A Lively Faith. This dead faith therefore is not the sure and substantial faith, which saveth sinners. Another faith there is in Scripture, which is not (as the foresaid faith) idle, unfruitful, and dead, but
worketh by charity (as St. Paul declareth, Galatians 5:6). Which as the other vain faith is called a dead faith, so may this be called a quick or lively faith. And this is not only the common belief of the
Articles of our faith, but it is also a true trust and confidence of the mercy of GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ, and a steadfast hope of all good things to be receiveth at GOD’S hand: and that although we, through infirmity or temptation of our ghostly enemy, do fall from him by sin,
yet if we return again unto him by true repentance, that he will forgive, and forget our offenses for his Son’s sake our Savior Jesus Christ, and will make us inheritors with him of his everlasting Kingdom, and that in the meantime until that kingdom come, he will be our protector and defender in all perils and dangers, whatsoever do chance: and that though sometime he doeth send us sharp adversity, yet that evermore he will be a loving Father unto us, correcting us for our sin, but not withdrawing his mercy finally from us, if we trust in him, and commit ourselves wholly unto him, hang only upon him, and call upon him, ready to obey and serve him. This is the true, lively, and unfeigned Christian faith, and is not in the mouth and outward profession only: but it liveth, and stireth inwardly, in the heart. And this faith is not without hope and trust in GOD, nor without the love of GOD and of our neighbors, nor without the fear of GOD, nor without the desire to hear GOD’S word, and to follow the same in eschewing evil, and doing gladly all good works.

This faith (as Saint Paul describeth it) is the sure ground and foundation of the benefits which we ought to look for, and trust to receive of GOD, a certificate and sure looking for them, although they yet sensibly appear not unto us. And after he saith, He that cometh to GOD, must believe, both that he is, and that he is a merciful rewarder of well doers. And nothing commendeth good men unto GOD, so much as this assured faith and trust in him (Hebrews 11:1,6).

Three Things Are to Be Noted of Faith. Of this faith, three things are specially to be noted. First, that this faith doth not lie dead in the heart, but is lively and fruitful in bringing forth good works.
Second, that without it, can no good works be done, that shall be acceptable and pleasant to GOD. Third, what manner of good works they be, that this faith doth bring forth.

Faith Is Full of Good Works. For the first, that the light cannot be hid, but will show forth itself at one place or other: So a true faith cannot be kept secret, but when occasion if offered, it will break out, and show itself by good works. And as the living body of a man ever exerciseth such things as belong to a natural and living body, for nourishment and preservation of the same, as it hath need, opportunity, and occasion: even so the soul that hath a lively faith in it, will be doing always some good work, which shall declare that it is living, and will not be unoccupied. Therefore when men hear in the Scriptures so high commendations of faith, that it maketh us to please GOD, to live with
GOD, and to be the children of GOD: if then they fantasy that they be set at liberty from doing all good works, and may live as they lust, they trifle with GOD and deceive themselves. And it is a manifest token; that they be far from having the true and lively faith, and also far from knowledge, what true faith meaneth. For the very sure and lively Christian faith is, not only to believe all things of GOD, which are contained in holy Scripture, but also is an earnest trust, and confidence in GOD, that he doeth regard us, and that he is careful over us, as the father is over the Child whom he doth love, and that he will be merciful unto us for his only Son’s sake, and that we have our Savior Christ our perpetual advocate, and Priest, in whose only merits, oblation, and suffering, we do trust that our offenses be continually washed and purged, whensoever we (repenting truly) do return to him, with our whole heart, steadfastly determining with ourselves, through his grace, to obey and serve him in keeping his commandments, and never to turn back again to sin. Such is the true faith, that the Scripture doeth so much commend, the which when it seeth and considereth what GOD hath done for us, is also moved through continual assistance of the Spirit of GOD, to serve and please him, to keep his favor, to fear his displeasure, to continue his obedient children, showing thankfulness again by observing or keeping his commandments, and that freely, for true love chiefly, and not for dread of punishment, or love of temporal reward, considering how clearly, without deservings we havereceived his mercy and pardon freely.

This true faith will show forth itself, and cannot long be idle: For as it is written, The just man doeth live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4). He never sleepeth nor is idle, when he would wake, and be well occupied. And GOD by his Prophet Jeremiah saith, that he is a happy and blessed man, which hath faith and confidence in GOD (Jeremiah 17:7,8). For he is like a tree set by the water side, and spreadeth his roots abroad toward the moisture, and feareth not heat when it cometh, his leaf will
be green, and will not cease to bring forth his fruit: even so, faithful men (putting away all fear of adversity) will show forth the fruit of their good works, as occasion is offered to do them.

Parish News

St. Andrew’s Preschool Openhouse took place August 18, 2002. Classes
began on Tuesday, September 3, 2002.

Allison Lynn Klingen, infant daughter of Lenny & Michelle Klingen, was
baptized on Sunday, August 25, 2002. Older brother Larry and many
other relatives were present for the joyous event.

Episcopal Visit

The Rt. Rev. Daniel R. Morse will be with us Sunday, October 13, 2002.
On Saturday, October 12, Bishop Morse will conduct a Worship Seminar at
the church. The seminar will answer the question “Why We Do What We
Do”. It will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Homecoming

Sunday, October 13, 2002, plan to be here. There will be a luncheon
served in the Parish Hall by the Woman’s Guild following the service of
Holy Communion.

Domestic Missions

Please pray for Bishop and Mrs. Fincke (Ann), and their children Katie,
Emily, Elizabeth, and Andrew. All Saints Reformed Episcopal Mission in
Vacaville, CA.

Happy Birthday!

Oct. 1 - Diane Stultz
Oct. 8 - Louise Rich
Oct. 17 - Carla Yehnert
Oct. 19 - Parham Horn
Oct. 27 - Annamarie Sellers

A Spaghetti Dinner will be held in the Parish Hall on Saturday,
November 2, 2002, from 5-7 p.m. Sponsored by the Woman’s Guild.

AT DAY’S END

Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does the man whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day, or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,
“You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today”?

John Hall


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