The First Book of Homilies - Homily 10 HOMILY ON OBEDIENCE Almighty God has created and appointed all things in heaven and on earth and all about, in a most excellent and perfect order. In heaven, he has appointed distinct and several orders and states of Archangels and Angels. In earth he has assigned and appointed Kings, Princes, with other governors under them, in all good and necessary order. The water above is kept, and rains down in due time and season. The sun, moon, stars, rainbow, thunder, lightning, clouds, and all the birds of the air, keep their order. The earth, trees, seeds, plants, herbs, corn, grass, and all manner of beasts keep themselves in order: all the parts of the whole year, as winter, summer, months, nights and days, continue in their order: all kinds of fish in the sea, rivers, and waters, with all fountains, springs and the seas themselves keep their good course and order. Human beings also have all parts both within and without, like soul, heart, mind, memory, understanding, reason, speech, with all and singular corporal members of our body in a profitable, necessary, and pleasant order: every degree of people in their vocation, calling and office, is appointed to them their duty and order: some are in high degree, some in low, some Kings and Princes, some inferiors and subjects, priests, and layfolk, masters and servants, fathers, and children, husbands and wives, rich and poor, and everyone needs the other, so that in all things God, in good order, is lauded and praised, without which no house, city or commonwealth can continue, endure or last. For where there is no right order, there reigns abuse, carnal liberty, enormity, sin and Babylonian confusion. Take away Kings Princes, Rulers, Magistrates, Judges, and such estates of God's good order, and no one shall ride or go by the highway un-robbed, no one shall sleep in their own house or bed un-killed, no one shall keep their spouse, children, and possession in quietness, all things shall be in-common, and there must needs follow all kinds of mischief, and utter destruction of souls, bodies, goods and social well being. But blessed be God, that we in this realm of England, feel not the horrible calamities, miseries, and wretchedness, which all they undoubtedly feel and suffer, who lack this godly order: and praised be God, that we know the great excellent benefit of God shown towards us in this behalf, God has sent us his high gift, our most dear Sovereign Lord the King, with a godly, wise and honourable counsel, with other superiors and inferiors, in a beautiful and godly order. So let us subjects do our bounden duty, giving hearty thanks to God, and praying for the preservation of this godly order. Let us all obey even from the bottom of our hearts, all their godly proceedings, laws, statutes, proclamations, and injunctions, with all other godly orders. Let us consider the Scriptures with the Holy Spirit, which persuade and command us all obediently to be subject, first and chiefly to the King’s Majesty, supreme governor over all, and the next to his honourable counsellors, and to all other nobility, magistrates, and officers, who by God's goodness, have been placed and ordered. For Almighty God is the only author and provider of this state and order, as it is written of God, in the Book of Proverbs: Through me kings reign, through me counsellors make just laws, through me Princes rule, and judges of the earth execute judgement, I am loving to them that love me (Proverbs 8.15, 17). Here let us mark well, and remember that the high power and authority of Kings, with their making of laws, judgements and offices, which are the ordinances not of mortals, but of God: and this word is many times repeated. Here it is also well to be considered and remembered, that this good order is appointed by God's wisdom, favour, and love, especially for those who love God, and so he says, I love them that love me. Also in the Book of Wisdom we learn, that a king's power, authority, and strength, is a great benefit from God, given of his great mercy for the comfort us in our great misery. For we read it said to kings, Hear O Kings, and understand, learn you who are Judges of the ends of the earth, give ear you who rule the multitudes: for power is given you from the Lord, and strength, from the highest (Wisdom 6.1-3). Let us learn also by the infallible and undeceivable Word of God, that kings and other supreme and higher officers, are ordained of God, who is most high: and so they are here taught diligently to apply and give themselves to knowledge and wisdom, necessary for the ordering of God's people committed to their governance, whom they govern as charged by God. And they be here also taught by Almighty God, that they should acknowledge themselves to have all their power and strength, not from Rome but immediately of God Most High. We read in the Book of Deuteronomy, that all punishment pertains to God, by this sentence, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay (Deuteronomy 32.35). But this sentence we must understand to pertain also to the Magistrates which exercise God's gentleness in judgement, and punishing by good and godly laws, here on earth. And the places of Scripture, which seem to remove from among all christian men, judgement, punishment, or killing, ought to be understood, that no one, on their own authority, may be judge over another, may punish, or may kill. But we must refer all judgement to God, Kings and Rulers, Judges under them, which be God's officers to execute justice, and by plain words of Scripture, have their authority and use of the sword granted by God, as we are taught by Saint Paul, that dear and chosen Apostle of our Saviour Christ, whom we ought diligently to obey, even as we would obey our Saviour Christ, if he were here present. Saint Paul writes to the Romans, Let every one submit themselves to the authority of higher powers, for there is no power but of God. The powers that are, are ordained of God. Whosoever stands with the power, stands with the ordinances of God: but those who resist or are against it, shall receive damnation. For rulers are not fearful to those who do good, but to those who do evil. Will you be without fear of that power? Do well then, and so shall you be praised of the same, for they are the ministers of God, for your good. But if you do evil, then fear, for they bear not the sword for nothing, for they are the ministers of God, to take vengeance on those that do evil. So you must obey, not only for fear of vengeance, but also, because of conscience, and even for this cause you pay tribute, for they are God's ministers serving for the same purpose (Romans 13.1-6). Here we learn from Saint Paul, the chosen vessel of God, that everyone, and he excludes no one including Priest, Apostle, or Prophet, as St. Chrysostom says, owe a bounden duty, even in conscience, obedience, submission, and subjection to the high powers, which are set in authority by God. As such they are God's Lieutenants, God's Presidents, God's Officers, God's Commissioners, God's Judges, ordained of God himself, and only from God they have their power and authority. Saint Paul threatens no less pain, than everlasting damnation to disobedient persons, to resisters against this general and common authority, for as much as they resist, they resist not mortals, but God.