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witness and a keeper of holy Writ, yet as it ought not to decree any thing against the same; *s0 besides the same ought it not to enforce any
e But here they will allege for themselves, that there are divers necessary points not expressed in holy Scripture, which were left to the revelation of the Holy Ghost; who being given to the Church, according to Christ's promise, hath taught many things from time to time, which the Apostles could not then bear. (John xvi. 12.) To this we may easily answer by the plain words of Christ, teaching us, that the proper office of the Holy Ghost is, not to institute and bring in new ordinances, contrary to his doctrine before taught; but to expound and declare those things which he had before taught; so that they might be well and truly taught.“ When the Holy Ghost," saith he, “ shall come, he shall lead you into all truth.” (John xv. 13.) What truth doth he mean? Any other than he himself had before expressed in his word? No. For he saith, “ He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you.” (John xvi. 14.) Again, he shall bring you in remembrance of all things that I have told you. It is not then the duty and part of any Christian, under pretence of the Holy Ghost, to bring in his own dreams and fantasies into the Church; but he must diligently provide that his doctrine and decrees be agreeable to Christ's holy testament : otherwise, in making the Holy Ghost the author thereof, he doth blaspheme and belie the Holy Ghost to his own condemnation. Hom. xxviii. 2.
It were a point of intolerable ungodliness and madness to think either that God had left an imperfect doctrine, or that men were
know all things. I have not write of the Spirit is given to every man ten unto you because ye knew not to profit withal. For to one is the truth, but because ye know it, given by the Spirit the word of and that no lie is of the truth.- wisdom; to another the word of The anointing which ye have re- knowledge by the same Spirit; to ceived of him abideth in you, and another prophecy. 1 Cor. xii. 7, 8, ye need not that any man teach 10. you. 1 John ii. 20, 21, 27. Prove Though we or an angel from all things, hold fast that which is heaven preach any other gospel good. 1 Thess. v. 21. Hold fast unto you than that we have preached the form of sound words which thou unto you, let him be accursed. As hast heard of me, in faith and love we said before, so say I now again, which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. i. If any man preach any other gospel 13. The things which thou hast unto you, than that ye have reheard of me among many witnesses, ceived, let him be accursed. Gal. the same commit thou to faithful i. 8, 9. Beware of false prophets. men, who shall be able to teach Matt. vii. 15. Be not carried about others also. 2 Tim. ii. 2. The with divers and strange doctrines. church of th living God, the For it is a good thing that the ground and pillar of the truth. heart be established with grace; i Tim. iii, 15. The manifestation not with meats, which have not
thing to be believed for necessity of salvation.
able to make that perfect which God left imperfect. Therefore the Lord hath most straitly forbidden men, that they neither add any thing to, nor take any thing from, his word, nor turn any way from it, either to the right hand or to the left.
Q. If this be true that thou sayest, to what purpose then are so many things so oft in councils, ecclesiastical assemblies, and by learned men, taught in preaching, or left in writing ? A. All these things serve either to expounding of dark places of the word of God, and to take away controversies that arise among men, or to the orderly stablishing of the outward governance of the Church, and not to make new articles of religion. For all things necessary to salvation, that is to say, how godliness, holiness, and religion are to be purely and uncorruptedly yielded to God; what obedience is to be given to God, by which alone the order of a godly life is to be framed; what affiance we ought to put in God; how God is to be called upon, and all good things to be imputed to him; what form is to be kept in celebrating the divine mysteries : all things, I say, are to be learned of the word of God, without the knowledge whereof all these things are either utterly unknown, or most absurdly done; so that it were far better they were not done at all. Nowell, p. 3.
profited them that have been occu- old wives' fables. 1 Tim. iv. 7. I pied therein. Heb. xiii. 9. O Ti. beseech you, brethren, mark them mothy, keep that which is com- which cause divisions and offences, mitted to thy trust, avoiding pro- contrary to the doctrine ye have fane and vain babblings, and oppo- learned; and avoid them. Rom. sitions of science falsely so called. xvi. 17. 1 Tim. vi. 20. Refuse profane and
XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils. “GENERAL Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together *(forasmuch as they be an assembly of men,
a The Christian emperors in the old time appointed the councils of the bishops. Constantine called the council at Nice: Theodosius the First called the council at Constantinople : Theodosius the Second called the council at Ephesus : Marcian called the council at Chalcedon. And when Ruffinus the heretic had alleged for his authority a council, which as he thought should make for him, St. Jerome his adversary, to confute him, “ Tell us," quoth he, “ what emperor commanded this council to be called?” The same St. Jerome again, in his epitaph upon Paula, maketh mention of the emperor's letters, which gave commandment to call the bishops of Italy and Greece to Rome to a council. Continually for the space of five hundred years the emperor alone appointed the ecclesiastical assemblies, and called the councils of the bishops together. Jewell.
I put case, these abbots and bishops have no knowledge : what if they understand nothing, what religion is, nor how we ought to think of God ? I put case, the pronouncing and ministering of the law be decayed in priests, and good counsel fail in the elders, as the prophet Micah saith, “The night be unto them instead of a vision, and darkness instead of prophesying.” Or, as Esaias saith, “ What if all the watchmen of the city be become blind?” “What if the salt have lost his proper strength and savouriness, and,” as Christ saith, “ be good for no use, scant worth the casting on the dunghill :” Jewell.
• David gathered all Israel to- 2 Chron. sv. 9-12. Hezekiah gether to bring the ark of God brought in the priests and the Lefrom Kirjathjearim. 1 Chron. xiii. vites, and gathered them together 1-5. Solomon assembled the elders into the east street, and said unto of Israel, &c. that they might bring them, Hear me, ye Levites, &c. up the ark of the covenant of the 2 Chron. xxix. 4. Josiah sent and Lord out of the city of David, gathered together all the elders of which is Zion. And all the men of Judah and Jerusalem. And the Israel assembled themselves unto king went up into the house of the King Solomon. 1 Kings viii. 1, 2. Lord. -And he read in their ears Asa gathered all Judah, and Ben- all the words of the book of the jamin, and the strangers with them covenant that was found in the out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and house of the Lord. And the king out of Simeon--and they entered stood in his place, and made a cointo a covenant to seek the Lord venant before the Lord and he God of their fathers with all their caused all that were present to heart and with all their soul. stand to it. 2 Chron, xxxiv. 29.
whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary
When Nazianzen saw in his days how men in such assemblies were so blind and wilful, that they were carried with affections, and laboured more to get the victory than the truth, he pronounced openly, that he never had seen any good end of any council. Jewell.
• Indeed Peter Asotus and his companion Hosius stick not to affirm, that the same council, wherein our Saviour Jesus Christ was condemned to die, had both the spirit of prophesying, and the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit of truth : and that it was neither a false nor a trifling saying, when those bishops said, We have the law, and by our law he ought to die : and that they so saying did light upon the truth of judgment; (for so be Hosius's words ;) and that the same plainly was a just decree, whereby they pronounced that Christ was worthy to die. This, methinketh, is strange, that these men are not able to speak for themselves, and to defend their own cause, but they must also take part with Annas and Caiaphas against Christ. For if they will call that a lawful and a good council, wherein the Son of God was most shamefully condemned to die the death, what council will they then allow for false and naught. And yet (as all their councils, to say truth, commonly be) necessity compelled them to pronounce these things of the council holden by Annas and Caiaphas. Jewell.
The Emperor Constantine not only sat together with them in the council of Nice, but gave also advice to the bishops, how it was best to try out the Apostles' and Prophets' writings, as
c Then gathered the chief priests and beaten them, they commanded and the Pharisees a council. that they should not speak' in the Then from that day forth they name of Jesus, and let them go. took counsel together for to put And they departed from the prehim to death. John xi. 47, 53. sence of the council, rejoicing that Then assembled together the chief they were counted worthy to suffer priests, and the scribes, and the shame for his name.' Acts v. 40, 41. elders of the people, unto the palace d What thing soever I command of the high priest who was called you, observe to do it: thou shalt Caiaphas, and consulted that they not add thereto, nor diminish from might take Jesus by subtilty, and it. Deut. xii. 32. Walk ye not in kili him. Matt. xxvi. 3, 4. The the statutes of your fathers, neither chief priests held a consultation observe their judgments: I am the with the elders and scribes and the Lord your God:
walk in my whole council, and bound Jesus, statutes, and keep my judgments, and carried 'him away, and deli- and do them. Ezekiel xx. 18, 19. vered him to Pilate. Mark xv. 1. See Art. VI. and Art. XX. When they had called the apostles
to salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it inay be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.
appeareth by these his own words : “ In disputations of matters of divinity, we have set before us to follow the doctrine of the Holy Ghost. For the Evangelists' and the Apostles' works, and the Prophets' sayings, shew us sufficiently what opinion we ought to have of the will of God.” Jewell.