¶ I Say the truth in Christ and lie not, in that whereof my conscience beareth me witness in the holy ghost, that I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart. For I have wished myself to be cursed from Christ for my brethren, which are my kinsmen as pertaining to the flesh. Which are the Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the testaments, and the ordinance of the law, and the service of God, and the promises, whose also are the fathers, and they of whom (as concerning the flesh) Christ came: which is God over all things blessed forever Amen.
¶ I speak not these things as though the words of God had took none effect. For they are not all Israelites which came of Israhel, Neither are they all children straightway because they are the seed of Abraham: But in Isaac shall thy seed be called, that is to say, They which are the children of the flesh, are not the children of God. But the children of promise are counted the seed. For this is a word of promise, about this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
¶ Neither was it so with her only: but also when Rebecca was with child by one, I mean by our father Isaac, yer the children were born, when they had neither done good neither bad (that the purpose of God which is by election, might stand) it was said unto her, not by the reason of works, but by grace of the caller, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written: Iacob he loved, but Esau he hated.
¶ What shall we say then? is there any unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses: I will shew mercy to whom I shew mercy: And will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So lieth it not then in a man's will, or running, but in the mercy of God. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh: Even for this same purpose have I stirred thee up, to shew my power on thee, and that my name might be declared thorowout all the world. So hath he mercy on whom he will. And whom he will he maketh hard hearted.
¶ Thou wilt say then unto me: why then blameth he us yet? For who can resist his will? But o man what art thou, which disputest with God? shall the work say to the workman: why hast thou made me on this fashion? Hath not the potter power over the clay, even of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Even so, God willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, suffered with long patience the vessels of wrath, ordained to damnation, that he might declare the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had prepared unto glory: that is to say, us which he called, not of the jewes only, but also of the gentiles. As he saith in Osee: I will call them my people which were not my people: and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said unto them: Ye are not my people, that there shall be called the sons of the living God.
¶ But Esaias crieth for Israhel, though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet shall a remnant be saved. He finisheth the work verily and maketh it short in righteousness. For a short word will God make on earth. And as Esaias said before: Except the Lord of saboth had left us seed, we had been made as Zodoma, and had been likened to Gomorra.
¶ What shall we say then? we say that the gentiles which followed not righteousness, have overtaken righteousness I mean the righteousness which cometh of faith. But Israel which followed the law of righteousness, could not attain unto the law of righteousness. And wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith: but as it were by the works of the law. For they have stumbled at the stumbling stone. As it is written: Behold I put in Syon a stumbling stone, and a rock which shall make men fall. And none that believe on him, shall be ashamed.
© Faith of God
William Tyndale 1526