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THE PREFACE, As it was published in the year 1562.
CONSIDERING how necessary it is, that the Word of God, which is the only food of the soul, and that most excellent light that we must walk by, in this our most dangerous pilgrimage, should at all convenient times be preached unto the people, that thereby they may both learn their duty towards God, their Prince, and their neighbours, according to the mind of the Holy Ghost, expressed in the Scriptures, and also to avoid the manifold enormities which heretofore by false doctrine have crept into the Church of God; and how that all they which are appointed Ministers have not the gift of preaching sufficiently to instruct the people, which is committed unto them, whereof great inconveniences might rise, and ignorance still be maintained,
if some honest remedy be not speedily found and provided: the Queen's most excellent Majesty, tendering the souls' health of her loving subjects, and the quieting of their consciences in the chief and principal points of Christian religion, and willing also by the true setting forth and pure declaring of God's Word, which is the principal guide and leader unto all godliness and virtue, to expel and drive away as well corrupt, vicious, and ungodly living, as also erroneous and poisoned doctrines, tending to superstition and idolatry, hath, by the advice of her most honourable Counsellors, for her discharge in this behalf, caused a Book of Homilies, which heretofore was set forth by her most loving brother, a Prince of most worthy memory, Edward the Sixth, to be printed anew, wherein are contained certain wholesome and godly exhortations, to move the people to honour and worship Almighty God, and diligently to serve him, every one according to their degree, state, and vocation. All which Homilies her Majesty commandeth and
straitly chargeth all Parsons, Vicars, Curates, and all others having spiritual cure, every Sunday and Holy-day in the year, at the ministering of the holy Communion, or if there be no Communion ministered that day, yet after the Gospel and Creed, in such order and place as is appointed in the Book of Common Prayers, to read and declare to their parishioners, plainly and distinctly one of the said Homilies, in such order as they stand in the book, except there be a Sermon, according as it is enjoined in the book of her Highness' Injunctions; and then for that cause only, and for none other, the reading of the said Homily to be deferred unto the next Sunday or Holyday following. And when the foresaid Book of Homilies is read over, her Majesty's pleasure is, that the same be repeated and read again, in such like sort as was before prescribed. Furthermore, her Highness commandeth, that notwithstanding this order, the said ecclesiastical persons shall read her Majesty's Injunctions at such times, and in such order as in
the book thereof appointed; and that the Lord's Prayer, the Articles of the Faith, and the Ten Commandments, be openly read unto the people, as in the said Injunctions is specified, that all her people, of what degree or condition soever they be, may learn how to invocate and call upon the name of God, and know what duty they owe both to God and man: so that they may pray, believe, and work according to knowledge, while they shall live here, and after this life be with him that with his blood hath bought us all. To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory for ever. Amen.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
A fruitful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture.
UNTO a christian man there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable, than the knowledge of holy scripture, forasmuch as in it is contained God's true word, setting forth his glory, and also man's duty. And there is no truth nor doctrine necessary for our justification and everlasting salvation, but that is, or may be, drawn out of that fountain and well of truth. Therefore as many as be desirous to enter into the right and perfect way unto God, must apply their minds to know holy scripture, without the which, they can neither sufficiently know God and his will, neither their office and duty. And as drink is pleasant to them that be dry, and meat to them that be hungry: so is the reading, hearing, searching, and studying of holy scripture, to them that be desirous to know God or themselves, and to do his will. And their stomachs only do loath and abhor the heavenly knowledge and food of God's word, that be so drowned in worldly vanities that they neither favour God, nor any godliness: for that is the cause why they desire such vanities, rather than the true knowledge of God. As they that are sick of an ague, whatsoever they eat and drink, though it be never so pleasant, yet it is as bitter to them as wormwood, not for the bitterness of the meat, NO. 1.