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Sect. 8. That we set nought by the authority of the ancient fathers, and councils of old time :: that we have rashly and presumptuously disannulled the old ceres monies, which have been well allowed by our father's and forefathers many hundred years past, both by good customs, and also in ages of more purity : and that we have, by our own private head, without the authority of any sacred and general council, brought new traditions into the Church: and have done all these things, not
6 [The councils of old time,' were assemblies of bishops, convened to deliberate concerning matters relative to the interests of the Church, either at large, or in a particular district, and concerning points of doctrine, rites and ceremonies, and matters of religious dispute or controversy generally. Presbyters, and sometimes deacons and even laymen, were permitted to assist in the deliberations, but were not considered as having a voice in the decision.
They were distinguished into General (called also Universal, and Ecumenical,) and Provincial. The former consisted of bishops summoned from all Christian countries: the latter, of those of a particular district or province.
The first General Council was assembled at the call of the emperor Constantine, at Nice, and consisted of three hundred and eighteen bishops. Its object was to settle the dispute relative to the Arian heresy, which was attempted by the promulgation of the creed known as the Nicene.
The second General Council was convened, with reference to the disputes relative to the doctrine of the Trinity, by the emperor Theodosius the Great. It assembled at Constantinople, in 381, and consisted of a hundred and fifty bishops.
The third General Council was held at Ephesus, to determine on the Nestorian heresy, in the year 431. Cyril of Alexandria presided. The disorderly mode, and vehemence, of its proceedings, have stamped it with indelible disgrace.
The fourth General Council, convened at Chalcedon, by the einperor Marcion, in 451, condemned the Eutychian heresy, and in a great measure revoked the decisions of its predecessor.
These four councils have been acknowledged as General, by most Protestants in their disputes with the Romish divines, and especially by the Church of England. Their decisions have accordingly been respected (due allowance being made for the circumstances in which they were made,) as expressions of the opinion of the Church in the several ages in which they were convened.
To these, three more are added, but without so general an allowance of their decisions. The fifth, the second council of Constantinople, convened by the emperor Justinian, in 553, to quell the Monophysite heresy. The sixth, the third of Constantinople, assembled, in 580 by the emperor Constantine Pogonatus, for the recognition of the decisions of the preceding five, and the condemnation of the Monothelite heresy. The seventh, the fourth of Constantinople, convoked by the emperor
for religion's sake, but only upon a desire of contention and strife. But that they, for their part, have changed no manner of thing, but have held and kept still, such a number of, years, to this very day, all things as they were delivered from the apostles, and well approved by the most ancient fathers.b
Sect. 9. And that this matter should not seem to be done but upon privy slander, and to be tossed to and fro in a corner only to spite us, there have been
Constantine Copronymus, in 756, for the condemnation of the worship of images.
To these, the Greeks add, as an eighth, the fifth council of Constantinople, convoked in 879 by the emperor Photius, for the establishment of image-worship.
This list is swelled by the Roman Church to the number of eighteen; among the more modern of which, those of Constance, held in 1414, of Basle, in 1438, and the last, that of Trent, which sat at intervals from 1547 to 1563, are the most famous.
Of all these councils, none were properly universal. The decisions of the first four, or five, are allowed. greater weight than those of the other two, as being fairer representations of the opinions of the Church in those ages, and as agreeing better with the universally received doctrine of the Church of Christ.
The 21st Article of the Church of England, relates to "The Authority of General Councils.” It is as follows : “General Councils may
hered together without the commandment and will of princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and word of God, they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertain. ing unto Gov. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they are taken out of Holy Scriptures." This article is omitted by our Church, partly on account of its recognition of an establishment of religion, and partly as being already implied in the 6th Article.
op"We allow," adds Jewell, "the ancient fathers the same credit that they themselves have ever desired. St. Augustine hereof writeth thus : Neque quorumvis disputationes, quantumvis catholicorum et laudatorum hominum, velut Scripturas canonicas habere debemus, ut nobis non liceat, salva reverentia quæ illis debetur, aliquid in illorum Scriptis improbare aut respuere, si forte invenerimus quod aliter senserint quam veritas habet, Talis sum ego in scriptis aliorum ; tales volo esse intellectores meorum.' "We receive not the disputations or writings of any men, be they never so catholic or praiseworthy, as we receive the canonical Scriptures; but that, saving the reverence due unto them, we may well reprove or refuse some things in their writings, if it happen we find they have otherwise thought, than the truth may bear them, Such am I in the writings of others; and such would I wish others to be in mine.'."-Defence, p. 19. .]
besides wilily procured by the Bishop of Rome certain persons of eloquence enough, and not unlearned neither, which should put their help to this cause, now almost despaired of; and should polish and set forth the same, both in books, and with long tales, to the end that when the matter was trimly and eloquently handled, ignorant and unskilful persons might suspect there was some great thing in it. Indeed, they perceived that their own cause did every where go to wreck : that their sleights were now espied, and less esteemed ; that their helps did daily fail them, and that their matter stood altogether in great need of a cunning spokesman.
i (Language more appropriate could hardly have been selected to describe the tistoire des Variations des Eglises Protestantes, (History of the Variations of Protestant Churches) published more than a century after JEWELL’s death, in 1688, by the eloquent and subtle Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux. His object was to represent the Reformation as involving men in numberless distractions, and a bewi dering maze of controversy, and to hold out the Church of Rome as atranquil restingplace, to which they might repair for safety. The same course Bishop BURNET assures us, was resorted to in England, about the same time, with the view of supporting the tottering interests of James II. and keeping alive the feeble hopes which the Romanists had begun to entertain, of renewed power in Britain. History of his own Times Anno 1686.]
Reasons for Answering the Charges against the
Reformed. Sect. 1. Now, as for those things which by them have been laid against us, in part they be manifestly false, and condemned so by their own judgments, which spake against them : partly again, though they be as false too, indeed, yet bear they a certain show and colour of truth, so as the reader (if he take not good heed) may easily be tripped and brought into error by them, especially when their fine and cunning tale is added thereunto. And part of them be of such sort, as we ought not to shun them as crimes, or faults, but to acknowledge and confess them, as things well done, and upon very good reason. For, shortly to say the truth, these folks falsely accuse and slander all our doings, yea, the same things which they themselves cannot deny but to be rightly and orderly done ; and fur malice do so misconstrue and deprave all our sayings and doings, as though it were impossible that any thing could be rightly spoken or done by us. They should more plainly and sincerely have gone to work, if they would have dealt truly. But now they neither truly, por sincerely, nor yet Christianly, but darkly and craftily charge and batter us with lies, and do abuse the blindness and fondness [silliness] of the people, together with the ignorance of princes, to cause us to be hated, and the truth to be suppressd.
- This, lo ye, is the power of darkness, and of men which lean more to the amazed wondering of the rude multitude, and to darkness, than they do to truth and light; and, as St. JEROME saith, “ do openly gainsay the truth, closing up their eyes, and will not see, for the nonce [designedly]."\ But we give thanks to the most good and mighty God, that such is our cause ; where-against (when they would fainest) they were able
* HIERONYM. adv. Rufinum.
to utter no despite, but the same which might as well be wrested against the holy fathers, against the prophets, against the apostles, against Peter, against Paul, and against Christ himself.
Sect. 2. Now therefore, if it be lawful for those folks to be eloquent and fine-tongued in speaking of evil, surely it becometh not us in our cause, being so very good, to be dumb in answering truly! For men to be careless what is spoken by them, and their own matter, be it never so falsely and slanderously spoken, (especially when it is such that the majesty of God, and the cause of religion, may thereby be damaged,) is the part, doubtless, of dissolute and reckless persons, and of them which wickedly wink at the injuries done unto the name of God. For although other wrongs, yea, oftentime great, may be borne and dissembled of a mild and Christian man, yet he that goeth smoothly away, and dissembleth the matter, when he is ncted of heresy, RUFINUS was wont to deny that man to be a Christian.We, therefore, will do the same thing which all laws which Nature's own voice, doth command to be done ; and which CHRIST himself did, in like case, when he was checked and reviled : to the intent we may put off from us these most slanderous accusations, and may defend soberly and truly our own cause and innocency.
Sect. 3. For Christ verily, when the Pharisees charged him with sorcery, as one that had some familiar spirits, and wrought many things by their help : 6 1,” said he,“ have not a devil ; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me." And St. Paul, when Festus the lieutenant scorned him as a madman : " I." said he, “ am not mad, 'most noble Festus ; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”. And the
i p"Retchless," is the word in the original. Its use in this passage may serve to throw light on the word "wretchlessness," in the XVIIth Article. It is no doubt a variety of spelling for "retchlessness,” and answers to the modern form “recklessness,” utter carelessness and self-abandonment.] "m “Unam notam hereseos qui dissimulat, non est Christianus. RuFix. • John viii. 49. • Acts xxvi. 25.