Imatges de pÓgina

baptism, Servetianism", or any other heresy; and in number fifty, every Decade containing (as the word importeth) ten ; so that they may easily be so divided as there may be for every Sunday in the year one. Neither is it material what those fanatical fellows say, which can away with no homilies or sermons, be they never so sound, pithy, and effectual, to be read in churches. They are like physicians which forbid their patients all those meats which they may have and would do them good; and appoint thein only such, as by no means they can obtain : for it will not yet be, that every parish shall have a learned able preacher resident and abiding in it. And in the mean time it cannot be denied, but that an homily or sermon, penned by some excellent clerk, being read plainly, orderly, and distinctly, doth much move the hearers, doth teach, confirm, confute, comfort, persuade, even as the same pronounced without the book doth.

Perhaps some hearers, which delight more to have their eyes fed with the preacher's action, than their hearts edified with his sermon, are more moved with a sermon not read: but to a good christian hearer, whose mind is most occupied on the matter, there is small odds. Better is a good sermon read than none at all. But nothing (say they) must be read in the open congregation, but the very canonical scriptures 6. That rule is somewhat strait and precise. Then may not either the creed, called the Apostles' creed, or the Nicene creed, or the creed called Athanasius' creed, or any prayers which are not word for word contained in the canon of the scriptures, nor any contents of chapters, be read in the congregation. The church and congregation of the Colossians were enjoined by St Paul, Col. iv. ver. 16, to read amongst them the epistle written from Laodicea ; which epistle (as Calvin thinketh) was not written by Paul, but by the church of Laodicea, and sent to Paul, and is not contained in the canon of the scriptures. The church of Corinth also, and other churches of the godly, soon after the apostles' times (as

[5 Michael Servetus published his heretical work on the Trinity in 1531; he was burnt at Geneva in 1553. P.]

[6 See Hooker’s Eccles. Pol. book v. § 20.]

[Falso putarunt a Paulo scriptam esse. Non dubito quin epistola fuerit ad Paulum missa. -Calvin. Comment. in loc.]

appeareth out of Eusebius, Lib. iv. cap. 231, and the writers of the Centuries?, Cent. II. cap. 10) did use to read openly, for admonition sake, certain epistles of Clement, and of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth. Master Bucer, in his Notes upon the Communion Book in king Edward's time, writeth thus: “ It is better, that where there lacks to expound the scriptures unto the people, there should be godly and learned homilies read unto them, rather than they should have no exhortation at all in the administration of the supper3.” And a little after he saith: “There be too few homilies, and too few points of religion taught in them : when, therefore, the Lord shall bless this kingdom with some excellent preachers, let them be commanded to make more homilies of the principal points of religion, which may be read to the people by those pastors that cannot make better themselves 4." And that worthy martyr, doctor Ridley, bishop of London, speaking of the church of England that was in the reign of king Edward (as he is reported by master Foxe, in his book of Acts and Mon., To. 11. page 1940) saith thus 5 : “ It had also holy and wholesome homilies in commendation of the principal virtues which are commended in scriptnre, and likewise other homilies against the most pernicious and capital vices that use, alas! to reign in this church of England.” So long,

[! 'Εν αυτή δε ταύτη (επιστολή) και της Κλήμεντος προς Κορινθίους μέμνηται (Διονύσιος) επιστολής, δηλών ανέκαθεν εξ αρχαίου έθους επί της εκκλησίας την ανάγνωσιν αυτής ποιείσθαι. Λέγει γούν. Την σήμερον ούν κυριακήν αγίαν ημέραν διηγάγομεν, εν ή ανέγνωμεν υμών την επιστολήν. -Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Lib. iv. cap. 23. ed. Burton.]

[? Hæc in multis etiam ecclesiis palam ac publice jam olim, et apud nos quoque legi cognovimus.—Cent. 1. Lib. 11. 10. This is given as a quotation from Eusebius, Lib. III. cap. 16.]

[3 Præstat quidem, dum desunt qui scripturas populo viva voce rite explicent, recitari populis pias et doctas homilias, quam ut nulla ei doctrina atque exhortatio in administranda S. cæna exhibeatur.-Bucer. Script. Anglic. Bas. 1577, p. 465.]

(4 Est etiam nimis exiguus homiliarum numerus, paucique loci religionis nostræ his docentur. Cum itaque Dominus regnum hoc donarit aliquot pereximiis concionatoribus, demandandum illis esset, ut Homilias plures, atque de præcipue necessariis locis componerent, quæ populis ab iis recitarentur pastoribus, qui ipsi meliores non possent afferre.--Ibid. p. 466.]

[5 Vol. vii. 554, ed. 1838.] [6 realm, Foxe.]

be so.

therefore, as none are read in the church but such as are sound, godly, and learned, and fit for the capacity of the people; and whiles they are not thrust into the church for canonical scriptures, but are read as godly expositions and interpretations of the same; and whiles they occupy no more time in the church than that which is usually left and spared, after the reading of the canonical scriptures, to preaching and exhortation; and whiles they are used, not to the contempt, derogation, or abandoning of preaching, but only to supply the want of it; no good man can mislike the use of them, but such contentious persons as defy all things which they devise not themselves.

And if it be said, there be already good homilies, and those also authorised, and likewise wholesome expositions of sundry parts of scripture to the same purpose : I grant there

But store is no sore. And as in meats, which are most dainty, if they come often to the table, we care not for them; so in sermons which are most excellent, if the same come often to the pulpit, they oftentimes please not: others are desired.

But, to end : these sermons of master Bullinger's are such as, whether they be used privately or read publicly, whether of ministers of the word or other God's children, certainly there will be found in them such light and instruction for the ignorant, such sweetness and spiritual comfort for consciences, such heavenly delights for souls, that as perfumes, the more they are chafed, the better they smell; and as golden mines, the deeper ye dig them, the more riches they shew; so these : the more diligently ye peruse them, the more delightfully they will please; and the deeper ye dig with daily study in their mines, the more golden matter they

will deliver forth to the glory of
God: to whom only be praise,
for ever and ever.


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The Nicene council.

Since the time of the apostles, many councils have been celebrated in sundry provinces. Those (councils) then were synods or assemblies of bishops and holy men, meeting together to consult for keeping the soundness of faith, the unity of doctrine, and the discipline and peace of the churches. Some of which sort the epistles of the blessed martyr Cyprian have made us acquainted withala.

The first general or universal synod, therefore, is reported to have been called by that most holy emperor Constantine in the city of Nice, the year of our Lord 3243, against Arius and his partners, which denied the natural deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thither came there out of all nations under heaven two hundred and eighteen* bishops and excellent learned men, who wrote the Creed commonly called the Nicene Creed.

Hitherto the creed of the Apostles sufficed, and had been sufficient to the church of Christ even in the time of Constantine : for all men confess that all the churches used no other creed than that of the Apostles (which we have made mention of and expounded in the first Decade), wherewith they were content throughout the whole world. But

[" In his Latin Preface, Bullinger states that he prefixed to his Decades these Creeds of the most ancient councils and orthodox Fathers, that it might manifestly appear that the doctrine and faith of the Protestant churches, which was by many ill-reported of and most undeservedly condemned as heretical, was perfectly agreeable with the teaching of the apostles and of the primitive church.]

[2 viz. Councils at Rome and Carthage principally, in the matters of Novatus and Novatian, and concerning receiving back the lapsed into the communion of the church, and the validity of baptism by heretics.]

[3 More correctly, A. D. 325.—Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. Vol. 1. p. 386, n. 1. ed. Soames, 1845.)

[4 The number should be 318: see Mosheim, ibid. ; and Grier's Epit. of Gen. Councils, p. 33.]

for because in the days of Constantine the Great that wicked blasphemer Arius sprang up, corrupting the pureness of christian faith, and perverting the simple truth of doctrine taught by the apostles; the ministers of the churches were compelled of very necessity to set themselves against that deceiver, and in publishing a creed to shew forth and declare out of the canonical scriptures the true and ancient 5 confession of faith, condemning those novelties brought in of Arius. For in the creeds set forth by the other three general councils presently following neither was any thing changed in the doctrine of the apostles, neither was there any new thing added, which the churches of Christ had not before taken and believed out of the holy scripture: but the ancient truth, being wisely made manifest by confessions made of faith, was profitably and godly set against the new corruptions of heretics. Yet were the writings of the prophets and apostles the spring, the guide, the rule, and judge in all these councils ; neither did the fathers suffer any thing to be done there according to their own minds6. And yet I speak not of every constitution and canon, but namely? of those ancient confessions alone, to which we do attribute so much as is permitted by the canonical scripture, which we confess to be the only rule how to judge, to speak, and do.

The second general council was held in the royal city The council Constantinople, under Gratian the emperor, in the year of tinople. our Lord 384. There were assembled in that synod (as witnesseth Prosperus Aquitanicus) one hundred and eighty fathers or bishops, which condemned Macedonius and Eudoxius denying the Holy Ghost to be Godo.

And about the year of our Lord 434, in the very same The council

(5 Veram, id est veterem.-Lat.]

[6 See Goode's Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, Vol. 1. pp. 141156, and Vol. 11. pp. 327-360.]

(7 specially; Lat. significanter.]

[8 Synodus Patrum CLXXX apud Constantinopolim celebrata est contra Macedonium, Spiritum-sanctum Deum esse negantem.—Prosper. Aquit. Chron. Opp. Par. 1711, col 735.]

[9 This Second General Council was assembled, a. D. 381, by the Emperor Theodosius the Elder, and was attended by 150 bishops, &c. -Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. Vol. 1. p. 404. For the heresies of Macedonius and Eudoxius, see Routh, Scrip. Eccles. Opuscul. Vol. 1. p. 417, &c.; and Hammond's Canons of the Church, p. 53.]

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