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church of catechisers ; which office, as we see in St. Cyprian's forty-second epistle, that great man Optatus exercised at Carthage, and Origen at Alexandria. When St. Augustine took the epistle, and the gospel, and the psalm of the day, for his text to one sermon, did he, think you, much more than paraphrase, than catechise? When Athanasius makes one sermon, and, God knows, a very short one too, contra omnes hæreses, to overthrow all heresies in one sermon ; did he, think you, any more than propose fundamental doctrines, which is truly the way to overthrow all heresies? When St. Chrysostom enters into his sermon upon the third chapter to the Galatians, with that preparation, Attendite diligenter, non enim rem vulgarem pollicemur, Now hearken diligently, says he, for it is no ordinary matter that I propose. There he proposes catechistical doctrine of faith and works. Come to later times, when Chrysologus makes six or seven sermons upon the Creed, and not a several sermon upon every several article, but takes the whole Creed for his text, in every sermon, and scarce any of those sermons a quarter of an hour long: will you not allow this manner of preaching to be catechising? Go as low as can be gone, to the Jesuits; and that great catechiser amongst them, Canisius, says, Nos hoc munus suscipimus : We, we Jesuits make catechising our profession. I doubt not but they do recreate themselves sometimes in other matters too, but that they glory in, that they are catechisers. And in that profession, says he, we have St. Basil, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril, in our society; and truly as catechisers, they have ; as state friars, as Jesuits, they have not. And in the first capacity they have him, who is more than all; for as he says rightly, Ipse Christus catechista, Christ's own preaching was a catechising. I pray God that Jesuit's conclusion of that epistle of his, be true still; there he says, Si nihil aliud, If nothing else, yet this alone should provoke us to a greater diligence in catechising: Improbus labor, et indefessa cura, That our adversaries the Protestants do spend so much time (as he says) day and night in catechising. Now, if it were so then, when he writ, and be not so still amongst us, we have intermitted one of our best advantages: and therefore God hath graciously raised a blessed and a royal instrument, to call us back to that which
advantaged us, and so much offended the enemy, That man may sleep with a good conscience, of having discharged his duty in his ministry, that hath preached in the forenoon, and catechised after, Quære, says Tertullian, (and he says that with indignation) an idolatriam committat, qui de idolis catechizat? Will any man doubt, says he, whether that man be an idolater, that catechises children and servants in idolatry? Will any man doubt, whether he be painful in his ministry, that catechises children and servants in the sincere religion of Christ Jesus? The Roman church hath still made her use of us; of our fortunes, when she governed here, and of our example, since she did not : they did, as they saw us do; and thereupon they came to that order in the council of Trent, That upon Sundays and holidays they should preach in the forenoon, and catechise in the afternoon; till we did both, they did neither. Except ye become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven 39, says Christ. Except yo, ye the people be content at first to feed on the milk of the Gospel, and not presently to fall to gnawing of bones, of controversies, and unrevealed mysteries ; and except ye, the ministers and preachers of the Gospel, descend and apply yourselves to the capacity of little children, and become as they, and build not your estimation only upon the satisfaction of the expectation of great and curious auditories, you stop theirs, you lose your own way to the kingdom of heaven. Not that we are to shut up, and determine ourselves, in the knowledge of catechistical rudiments, but to be sure to know them first. The apostle puts us upon that progress, Let us learn the principles of the doctrine of Christ, and go on to perfection as, Not leave at them ; but yet not leave them out : endeavour to increase in knowledge, but first make sure of the foundation. And that increase of knowledge is royally and fatherly presented to us, in that which is another limbo of his majesty's directions, the thirty-nine articles.
The foundation of necessary knowledge, is in our catechisms; the super-edification, the extension, in these articles. For they carry the understanding, and the zeal of the ablest man, high enough and deep enough. In the third article there is an ortho38 Matt. xviii. 3.
39 Heb. vi. 1. 40 Old edition, limne.—ED.
dox assertion of Christ's descent into hell; who can go deeper? In the seventeenth article there is a modest declaration of the doctrine of predestination ; who can go higher? Neither do these articles only build up positive doctrine ; if the church had no adversaries, that were enough ; but they embrace controversies too, in points that are necessary. As in the twenty-second article of purgatory, of pardons, of images, of invocations : and these not in general only, but against the Romish doctrine of pardons, of images, of invocation. And in the twenty-eighth article against transubstantiation, and in such terms as admit no meeting, no reconciliation ; but that it is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, and hath given occasion to many superstitions, And in one word, we may see the purpose and scope of these articles, as they were intended against the Roman church, in that title which they had in one edition in which, though there were some other things that justly gave offence, yet none was given or taken in this). That these articles were conceived and published, to condemn the heresies of the Manichees, of the Arians, of the Nestorians, of the Papists, and others. And therefore in these reasons, which his majesty hath descended to give of his directions, himself is pleased to assign this, That the people might be seasoned in all the heads of the Protestant religion, Not only of the Christian against Jews, Turks, and Infidels, but of the Protestant against the Roman church,
The foundation is in the catechism; the growth and extension in the articles, and then the application of all to particular auditories in the homilies : which, if his majesty had not named, yet had been implied in his recommendation of the articles. For the thirty-fifth article appoints the reading of them : both those which were published in the time of Edward the Sixth, and those which after. In the first book, the very first homilies are, of the sufficiency of Scriptures, and of the absolute necessity of reading them ; sufficiently opposed against that which hath been said in that church, both of the impertinency of Scriptures, as not absolutely necessary, and of the insufficiency of these Scriptures, if Scriptures were necessary. And in the second book, the second homily is against idolatry; and so far against all approaches towards it, by having any images in
churches, as that perchance moderate men, would rather think that homily too severe in that kind, than suspect the homilies of declination towards papistry. Is it the name of homilies that scandalizes them ? would they have none ? St. Cyril's thirty Paschal sermons, which he preached in so many several Easter-days, at his archbishopric of Alexandria, and his Christmasday's sermons too, were ordinarily exscribed, and rehearsed over again, by the most part of the clergy of those parts: and in their mouths they were but homilies. And Calvin's homilies upon Job (as Beza in his preface before them, calls them) were ordinarily repeated over again in many places of France: and in their mouths they were but homilies. It is but the name, that scandalizes ; and yet the name of homilia and concio, a homily and a sermon, is all one. And if some of these were spoken, and not read, and so exhibited in the name of a sermon, they would like them well enough. Certainly his majesty mistook it not, that in our catechisms, in our articles, in our homilies, there is enough for positive, enough for controverted divinity; for that Jesuit, that intended to bring in the whole body of controverted divinity into his book, (whom we named before) desired no other subject, no other occasion to do that, but the catechism of that church ; neither need any sober man, that intends to handle controversies, ask more, or go further.
His majesty therefore, who as he understands his duty to God, so doth he his subjects'duties to him, might justly think, that these so well grounded directions might, (as himself says) be received upon implicit obedience. Yet he vouchsafes to communicate to all, who desire satisfaction, the reasons that moved him. Some of which I have related, and all which, all may, when they will see, and have. Of all which the sum is, his royal and his pastoral care, that by that primitive way of preaching, his subjects might be armed against all kind of adversaries, in fundamental truths. And when he takes knowledge, that some few churchmen, but many of the people, have made sinister constructions of his sincere intentions, as he is grieved at the heart, (to give you his own words) to see every day so many defections from our religion to popery and anabaptism; so without doubt he is grieved with much bitterness, that any should so pervert his meaning, as to think
that these directions either restrained the exercise of preaching, or abated the number of sermons, or made a breach to ignorance and superstition, of which three scandals he hath been pleased to take knowledge. What could any calumniator, any libeller on the other side, have imagined more opposite, more contrary to him, than approaches towards ignorance, or superstition? Let us say for him, can so learned, so abundantly learned a prince be suspected to plot for ignorance? And let us bless God that we hear him say now, that he doth constantly profess himself an open adversary to the superstition of the papist (without any milder modification) and to the madness of the anabaptist: and that the preaching against either of their doctrines is not only approved, but much commended by his royal majesty, if it be done without rude and indecent reviling. If he had affected ignorance in himself, he would never have read so much; and if he had affected ignorance in us, he would never have written so much, and made us so much the more learned by his books. And if he had had any declination towards superstition, he would not have gone so much farther, than his rank and quality pressed him to do, in declaring his opinion concerning Antichrist, as out of zeal, and zeal with knowledge he hath done. We have him now, (and long, long, Oh eternal God, continue him to us,) we have him now for a father of the church, a foster-father; such a father as Constantine, as Theodosius was ; our posterity shall have him for a father, a classic father; such a father as Ambrose, as Austin was. And when his works shall stand in the libraries of our posterity, amongst the fathers, even these papers, these directions, and these reasons shall be pregnant evidences for his constant zeal to God's truth, and in the mean time, as arrows shot in their eyes, that imagine so vain a thing, as a defection in him, to their superstition. Thus far he is from admitting ignorance, and from superstition thus far, which seems to be one of their fears. And for the other two, (which concur in one) that these directions should restrain the exercise of preaching, or abate the number of sermons, his majesty hath declared himself to those reverend fathers, to be so far from giving the least discouragement to solid preaching, or to discreet and religious preachers, or from abating the number of sermons, that he expects at their hands, that this