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and therefore, seeing we may presume men commonly otherwise, there is no necessity that our practice should frame it self by that which the apostle doth prescribe to the gentiles. lib. i. tit. 1.
Harmenop. Again, their use of meats was not like unto our ceremonies ; sect. 28. that being a matter of private action in common life; where every man was free to order that which himself did; but this a public constitution for the ordering of the church : and we are not to look that thechurch should change her public laws and ordinances, made according to that which is judged ordinarily and commonly fittest for the whole, although it chance that for some particular men the same be found inconvenient, especially when there may be other remedy also against the sores of particular inconveniences. In this case therefore, where any private harm doth grow, we are not to reject instruction, as being an unmeet plaster to apply unto it; neither can we say, that he which appointeth teachers for the physicians in this kind of evil, is, “as if a man would T. C. set one to watch a child all day long lest he should hurt him-1.ji, self with a knife, whereas by taking away the knife from him, the danger is avoided, and the service of the man better employed.” For a knife may be taken from a child, without depriving them of the benefit thereof which have
and discretion to use it. But the ceremonies which children do abuse, if we remove quite and clean, as it is by some required that we should: then are they not taken from children only, but from others also: which is as though because children may perhaps hurt themselves with knives, we should conclude, that therefore the use of knives is to be taken quite and clean even from men also. Those particular ceremonies which they pretend to be so scandalous, we shall in the next book have occasion more thoroughly to sift, where other things also, traduced in the public duties of the church whereunto each of these appertaineth, are together with these to be touched, and such reasons to be examined as have at any time been brought either against the one or the other. In the meanwhile, against the conveniency of curing such evils by instruction, strange it is, that they should object the multitude of other necessary matters wherein preachers may better bestow their time, than in giving men warning not to abuse ceremonies. A wonder it is, that they should object
* It is not so convenient that the minister, baving so many necessary points to be. stow bis time in, should be driven to spend it in giving warning of not abusing them, of which (although they were used to the best) there is no profit. T. C. 1. iii. p. 177.
this, which have so many years together troubled the church with quarrels concerning these things; and are even to this very hour so earnest in them, that if they write or speak publicly but five words, one of them is lightly about the dangerous estate of the church of England, in respect of abused ceremonies. How much happier had it been for this whole church, if they which have raised contention therein, about the abuse of rites and ceremonies, had considered in due time that there is indeed store of matters fitter and better a great deal for teachers to spend time and labour in? It is through their importunate and vehement asseverations more than through any such experience which we have had of our own, that we are enforced to think it possible for one or other, now and then at leastwise, in the prime of the reformation of our church, to have stumbled at some kind of ceremonies. Wherein, forasmuch as we are contented to take this upon their credit, and to think it may be ; sith also, they farther pretend the same to be so dangerous a snare to their souls that are at any time taken therein; they must give our teachers leave for the saving of those souls (be they never so few), to intermingle sometime with other more necessary things, admonition concerning these not unnecessary. Wherein they should in reason more easily yield this leave, considering that hereunto we shall not need to use the hundredth part of that time, which themselves think very needful to bestow in making most bitter invectives against the ceremonies of the church.
13. But to come to the last point of all; the church of
England is grievously charged with forgetfulness of her duty, against, for which duty had been to frame herself unto the pattern of
their example that went before her in the work of reformation. a«. For as the churches of Christ ought to be most unlike the
synagogue of antichrist in their indifferent ceremonies; so out those they ought to be most like one unto another, and for prethings,
servation of unity, to have as much as possible may be all
the same ceremonies. And therefore St. Paul, to establish standing
this order in the church of Corinth, that they should make ple to the
their gatherings for the poor upon the first day of the sabcontrary, do retain still. bath (which is our Sunday), allegeth this for a reason, That • T. C. 1. i. he had so ordained in other churches.” Again,“ As children of
one Father, and servants of one family; so all churches should not only have one diet, in that they have one word, but also wear, as it were, one livery in using the same ceremonies."
Our ceremonies excepted
that some churches, reformed
b 1 Cor.
Thirdly, “This rule did the great council of Nice follow, when it ordained, that where certain at the feast of Pentecost did pray kneeling, they should pray standing: the reason whereof is added, which is, That one custom ought to be kept throughout all churches. It is true, that the diversity of ceremonies ought not to cause the churches to dissent one with another : but yet it maketh most to the avoiding of dissension, that there be amongst them a unity, not only in doctrine, but also in ceremonies. And therefore our form of ser- T.C. 1.1. vice is to be amended, not only for that it cometh too near P. 182, 183. that of the papists, but also because it is so different from that of the reformed churches.” Being asked to what churches ours should conform itself, and why other reformed churches should not as well frame themselves to ours, their answer is, “That if there be any ceremonies which we have better than others, they ought to frame themselves to us; if they have better than we, then we ought to frame ourselves to them : if the ceremonies be alike commodious, the latter churches should conform themselves to the first, as the younger daughter to the elder. For as St. Paul in the members, Rom. where all other things are equal, noteth it for a mark of ho- xvi.5. 7. nour above the rest, that one is called before another to the gospel; so is it, for the same cause, amongst the churches. And in this respect he pincheth the Corinths, that not being 1 Cor. the first which received the gospel, yet they would have their xiv. 37. several manners from other churches. Moreover, where the ceremonies are alike commodious, the fewer ought to conform themselves unto the more. Forasmuch, therefore, as all the churches (so far as they know which plead after this manner) of our confession in doctrine, agree in the abrogation of divers things which we retain ; our church ought either to shew that they have done evil, or else she is found to be in fault that doth not conform herself in that, which she cannot deny to be well abrogated.” In this axiom, that preservation of peace and unity amongst Christian churches should be by all good means procured, we join most willingly and gladly with them. Neither deny we, but that, to the avoiding of dissension, itavaileth much, that there be amongst them a unity as well in ceremonies as in doctrine. The
a The canon of that council which is here cited doth provide against kneeling at prayer on Sundays, or for fifty days after Easter, on any day, and not at the feast of Penteoost only. Can. 20.
only doubt is, about the manner of their unity; how far
tain ordinances, whereby that which is rightly believed sufferRespon.
eth no kind of letor impediment.” Calvin goeth farther, “ As concerning rites in particular, let the sentence of Augustine take place, which leaveth it free unto all churches to receive their own custom. Yea, sometime it profiteth, and is expedient that there be difference, lest men should think that religion is tied to outward ceremonies. Always provided, that there be not any emulation, nor that churches delighted with novelty affect to have that which others have not." They which grant it true, That the diversity of ceremonies in this kind
ought not to cause dissension in churches, must either acknowledge that they grant in effect nothing by these words; or, if any thing be granted, there must as much be yielded unto, as we affirm against, their former strict assertion. For, if churches be urged by way of duty, to take such ceremonies as they like not of, how can dissension be avoided ? Will they say, that there ought to be no dissension, because such as are urged ought to like of that whereunto they are urged ? If they say this, they say just nothing. For how should any church like to be urged of duty by such as have no authority or power over it, unto those things which being indifferent, it is not of duty bound unto them? Is it their meaning, that there ought to be no dissension, because that which churches are not bound unto, no man ought by way of duty to urge upon them; and if any man do, he standeth in the sight of both God and men most justly blameable, as a needless disturber of the peace of God's church, and an author of dissension? In saying this, they both condemn their own practice, when they press the church of England with so strict a bond of duty in these things; and they overthrow the ground of their practice, which is, That there ought to be in all kind of ceremonies uniformity, unless impossibility hinder it. For proof whereof, it is not enough to allege what St. Paul did about the matter of collections, or what noblemen do in the liveries of their servants, or what the council of Nice did for standing in time of prayer on certain days; because, though St. Paul did will them of the church of Corinth," every man to lay up somewhat by him upon the Sunday, and to reserve it in store till himself did come thither to send it to the church of Jerusalem for relief of the poor there; signifying withal, that he had taken the like order with the churches of Galatia ; yet the reason which he yieldeth of this order taken, both in the one place and the other, sheweth the least part of his meaning to have been that whereunto his words are writhed. “ Concerning collection for the saints 1 Cor. (he meaneth them of Jerusalem), as I have given order to the church of Galatia, so likewise do ye (saith the apostle); that in
every first day of the week, let each lay aside by himself, and reserve according to that which God hath blessed
a And therefore St. Paul, to establish this order in the church of Corinth, that they should make their gatherings for the poor upon the first day of the sabbath (which is our Sunday), allegeth this for a reason, that he had so ordained in other eharches. T. C. I. i. p. 133.