« PreviousContinue »
From tbe Homilies.
BOOK I. Homily 1. “ A faithful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture." ! (throughout.)
BOOK 11. Hom. 10. “Of the reverend Estimation of God's Word.” (throughout.)
FROM ARCHBISHOP CRANMER'S PREFACE OR
PROLOGUE TO THE BIBLE. In the Scripture be the fat pastures of the soul, therein is no venemous meat, no unwholesome thing; they be the very dainty and pure feeding. He, that is ignorant, shall find there what he should learn. He, that is a perverse sinner, shall there find his damnation to make him to tremble for fear. He, that laboureth to serve God, shall find there his glory, and the promissions of eternal life, exhorting him more diligently to labour. Herein may princes learn, how to govern their subjects; subjects, obedience, love, and dread, to their princes. Husbands, how they should behave them unto their wives, how to educate their children and servants : and contrary, the wives, children, and servants, may know their duty to their husbands, parents, and
masters. Here may all manner of persons, men, women, young, old, learned, unlearned, rich, poor, priests, laymen, lords, ladies, officers, tenants, and mean men ; virgins, wives, widows, lawyers, merchants, artificers, husbandmen, and all manner of persons, of what estate or condition soever they be, may in this book learn all things, what they ought to believe, what they ought to do, and what they should not do, as well concerning Almighty God, as also concerning themselves and all others.
FROM KING EDWARD THE SIXTH'S CATECHISM. '
Master. That faith, which is conceived by hearing and reading of the word ; what doth it teach thee concerning God?
Scholar. This doth it principally teach: that there is one certain nature, one substance, one ghost, and heavenly mind, or rather an everlasting spirit, without beginning or ending, which we call God: whom all the people of the world ought to worship with sovereign honour, and the highest kind of reverence. Moreover, out of the holy words of God, which by the prophets and the beloved of Almighty God, are in the holy books published, to the eternal glory of his name, I learn the law and the threatenings thereof: then the promises and the Gospel of God. These things, first written by Moses and other men of God, have been preserved whole and uncorrupted,
which will muse in the law of God both day and night. Remember that he calleth him blessed, which walketh in the way of the Lord, which will search diligently his testimonies, and will in his whole heart seek the same.
FROM NOWELL'S CATECHISM. Scholar. Christian religion is the true and godly worshipping of God, and keeping of his commandments.
Master. Of whom dost thou think it is to be learned ?
Scho. Of none other surely but of the heavenly word of God himself, which he hath left unto us written in Holy Scripture.
Mast. What writings be those which thou callest the word of God and the Holy Scriptures?
Scho. None but those which have been published, first by Moses, and the Holy Prophets, · the friends of Almighty God, by the instinct of
the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament, and afterwards more plainly in the New Testament by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and by bis Holy Apostles inspired with the Spirit of God, and have been preserved unto our time whole and uncorrupted.
Mast. Why was it God's will so to open unto us his word in writing?
Scho. Because we of ourselves (such is the darkness of our hearts) are not able to understand the
will of Almighty God, in the knowledge of whom, and in obedience towards him true godliness consisteth. God having pity upon us, hath opened and clearly set it out unto us; and the same so clearly set out he hath left in the book of the two Testaments, which are called the Holy Scriptures, to the end that we should not be uncertainly carried hither and thither, but that by his heavenly doctrine there should be made us, as it were, a certain entry into heaven.
Mast. Why dost thou call God's word a Testament?
Scho. Because it is evident that in conceiving of religion, it is the chief point to understand what is the will of the everliving God. And sith by the name of Testament is signified, not only a will, but also a last and unchangeable will, we are hereby admonished, that in religion we follow nothing, nor seek for any thing further than we
are therein taught by God; but that as there is is one only true God, so there be but one godly worshipping and pure religion of one only God....
Mast. Dost thou then affirm that all things necessary to godliness and salvation, are contained in the written word of God?
Scho. Yea ; for it were a point of intolerable ungodliness and madness to think, either that God hath left an imperfect doctrine, or that man were able to make that perfect which God left imperfect. Therefore the Lord hath most straitly
forbidden men, that they neither add any thing
any way from it, either to the right hand or to the left ..... .....
Mast. Into what chief parts dost thou divide all this word of God?
Scho, Into the Law and the Gospel.
Mast. How be these two known the one from the other?
Scho. The Law setteth out our duties both of godliness towards God, that is, the true worshipping of God, and of charity toward our neighbour, and severely requireth and exacteth our precise obedience, and to the obedient promiseth everlasting life, but to the disobedient pronounceth threatenings and pains, yea, and eternal death. The Gospel containeth the promises of God; and to the offenders of the Law; so that they repent them of their offence, it promiseth that God will be merciful through faith in Christ.
REFORMATIO LEGUM, &c. Of the Holy Trinity and Catholic Faith. All Things out of the Canonical Scriptures are to be believed. Chap. 9.
This, therefore, is, generally, the Holy Scripture, in which we believe that all things to be believed as necessary to salvation, are fully and perfectly contained ; so that whatever is not read or found in it, nor lastly either follows or is to be proved clearly from it, is not to be required of any one that he should believe it as an Article of Faith.