It is not the spirit of man that can, and doth thus work: for first, the spirit of man perceiveth not the things of God, till God’s Spirit acquaint him with them. Secondly, they be foolishness unto him. Thirdly, his wisdom is enmity with God, so as God’s wisdom in divine mysteries, and man’s wisdom can never agree in one. Fourthly, the spirit of man savoreth the things of the flesh, and not of the Spirit of God. Fifthly, his heart is continually evil, till he be regenerate. Sixthly and lastly, it is evidently known by too much miserable experience, that man loveth not the study of the Scriptures, he cannot delight in them, he cannot away to frame his life after them; everyone that hath any spark of divine knowledge, knoweth this to be true from his own natural corruption, both in himself and others also.

Now can any reasonable-minded man think, that such an averse spirit as is in man, so disaffecting the holy Scriptures, and the study thereof, that it can be that Spirit which persuadeth and draweth men, contrary to it corrupt self, to embrace that Religion which is grounded upon the Scriptures, and to press to the obedience thereof? Yea, can it be man’s spirit, that worketh love to such a Religion, which so opposeth man’s corruption, as the worldly wise Politician derideth it, the pleasurable man hateth it, the greedy of gain cannot abide to be ruled by it, and the haughty spirit which hunteth after the pride of life, hath it in great contempt? so as none in very deed, but only such as do deny themselves, do forsake the world, and can be well contented to take up their cross, and follow Christ, either can, or will embrace the same.

Richard Bernard, Look beyond Luther: or An answer to that question, so often and so insultingly proposed by our adversaries, asking us; where this our religion was before Luther’s time? Whereto are added sound props to bear up honest-hearted Protestants, that they fall not from their saving-faith (London: Felix Kingston, 1623), p. 4.

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