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for things indifferent. That is indifferent' (says Jerome to Augustine)
which is neither good nor evil; so that, whether you do it or do it not, you are never the more just or unjust thereby.' Therefore, when
, things indifferent are wrested to the confession of faith, they cease to be free; as Paul does show that it is lawful for a man to eat flesh if no man do admonish him that it was offered to idols (1 Cor. x. 27, 28); for then it is unlawful, because he that eats it does seem to approve idolatry by eating of it (1 Cor. viii. 10).
OF THE GOODS OF THE CHURCH, AND THE RIGAT USE
The Church of Christ has riches through the bountifulness of princes, and the liberality of the faithful, who have given their goods to the Church. For the Church has need of such goods; and has had goods from ancient time for the maintenance of things necessary for the Church. Now, the trne use of the ecclesiastical goods was, and now is,
. to maintain learning in schools and in holy assemblies, with all the service, rites, and buildings of the Church; finally, to maintain teachers, scholars, and ministers, with other necessary things, and chiefly for the succor and relief of the poor. But for the lawful dispensing of these ecclesiastical goods let men be chosen that fear God: wise men, and such as are of good report in the government of their families.
But if the goods of the Church, by injury of the time, and the boldness, ignorance, or covetousness of some, be turned to any abuse, let them be restored again, by godly and wise mnen, unto their holy use; for they must not connive at so impious an abuse. Therefore, we teach that schools and colleges, whereinto corruption is crept in doctrine, in the service of God, and in manners, must be reformed; and that there provision should be made, piously, faithfully, and wisely, for the relief
of the poor.
CHAPTER XXIX.—OF SINGLE LIFE, WEDLOCK, AND HOUSEHOLD GOVERNMENT.
Such as have the gift of chastity given unto them from abore, so that they can with the heart or whole mind be pure and continent, and not be grievously burned with lust, let them serve the Lord in that calling, as long as they shall feel themselves endued with that heavenly gift; and let them not lift up themselves above others, but let them all of this' (Matt. xxvi. 27); which he did not so plainly say of the bread.
What manner of mass it was that the fathers used, whether it were tolerable or intolerable, we do not now dispute. But this we say freely, that the mass which is now used throughout the Roman Church is quite abolished out of our churches for many and just causes, which, for brevity's sake, we will not now particularly recite. Truly we could not approve of it, because they have changed a most wholesome action into a vain spectacle; also because the mass is made a meritorious matter, and is said for money; likewise because in it the priest is said to make the very body of the Lord, and to offer the same really, eren for the remission of the sins of the quick and the dead. Add this also, that they do it for the honor, worship, and reverence of the saints in heaven (and for the relief of sonls in purgatory), etc.
CHAPTER XXII. - OF HOLY AND ECCLESIASTICAL MEETINGS.
Although it be lawful for all inen privately at home to read the Holy Scriptures, and by instruction to edify one another in the true religion, yet that the Word of God may be lawfully preached to the people, and prayers and supplications publicly made, also that the sacraments may be lawfully administered, and that collections may be made for the poor, and to defray all necessary charges, or to supply the wants of the Church, it is very needful that there should be holy meetings and ecclesiastical assemblies. For it is manifest that, in the apostolic and primitive Church, there were such assemblies, frequented of godly mnen. So many, then, as do despise them, and separate themselves from them, they are contemners of true religion, and are to be urged by the pastors and godly magistrates to abstain from stubbornly absenting themselves from sacred assemblies. Now, ecclesiastical assemblies must not be hidden and secret, but public and common; except persecution by the enemies of Christ and the Church will not suffer them to be public; for we know what manner of assemblies the primitive Church had formerly in secret corners, being under the tyranny of Roman emperors. But let those places where the faithful meet together be decent, and in all respects fit for God's Church. Therefore, let houses be chosen for that purpose, or churches, that are large and fair, so that they be purged from all such things as do not beseem the Church. And let all things be ordered as is most meet for comeliness, necessity, and godly decency, that nothing be wanting which is requisite for rites and orders, and the necessary uses of the Church.
And as we believe that God does not dwell in temples made with hands, so we know that by reason of the Word of God, and holy exercises therein celebrated, places dedicated to God and his worship are not profane, but holy; and that therefore such as are conversant in them ought to behave themselves reverently and modestly, as they who are in a sacred place, in the presence of God and his holy angels. All excess of apparel, therefore, is to be abandoned in churches and places where Christians meet for prayer, together with all pride and whatsoever else does not beseem Christian humility, discipline, and modesty. For the true ornament of churches does not consist in ivory, gold, and precious stones; but in the sobriety, godliness, and virtues of those who are in the church. “Let all things be done decently and in order' in the church (1 Cor. xiv. 26). To conclude, “Let things be done unto edifying' (ver. 40). Therefore, let all strange tongnes keep silence in the holy assemblies, and let all things be uttered in the vulgar tongue, which is understood of all men in the company.
CHAPTER XXII.—OF THE PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, OF SINGING, AND OF
CANONICAL HOURS. True it is that a man may lawfully pray privately in any tongue that he does understand; but public prayers ought, in the holy assemblies, to be made in the vulgar tongue, or such a language as is known to all. Let all the prayers of the faithful be poured forth to God alone, through the mediation of Christ only, out of a true faith and pure love. As for invocation of saints, or using them as intercessors to entreat for us, the priesthood of our Lord Christ and true religion will not permit us. Prayer must be made for the magistracy, for kings, and all that are placed in authority, for ministers of the Church, and for all necessities of churches; and especially in any calamity of the Church prayer must be made, both privately and publicly, without ceasing.
Moreover, we must pray willingly, and not by constraint, nor for any reward; neither must we superstitiously tie prayer to any place, as though it were not lawful to pray but in the church. There is no necessity that public prayers should be in form and time the same or a schoolmaster or tutor. But Christ, the deliverer, being once come, and the law taken away, we who believe are no more under the law (Rom. vi, 14), and the ceremonies have vanished out of use. And the apostles were so far from retaining them, or repairing them, in the Church of Christ, that they witnessed plainly that they would not lay any burden upon the Church (Acts xv. 28). Wherefore we should seem to bring in and set up Judaism again if we should multiply ceremonies or rites in the Church according to the manner of the Jewish Church. And thus we are not of their judgment who would have the Church of Christ bound by many and divers rites, as it were by a certain schooling. For if the apostles would not thrust upon the Christian people the ceremonies and rites which were appointed by God, who is there, I pray you, that is well in his wits, that will thrust upon it the inventions devised by man? The greater the heap of ceremonies in the Church, so much the more is taken, not only from Christian liberty, but also from Christ, and from faith in him; while the people seek those things in ceremonies which they should seek in the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, through faith. Wherefore a few moderate and simple rites, that are not contrary to the Word of God, do suffice the godly.
And in that there is found diversity of rites in the churches, let no man say, therefore, that the churches do not agree. Socrates says, in his Church History, 'It were not possible to set down in writing all the ceremonies of the churches which are observed thronghout cities and countries. No religion does keep every where the same ceremonies, although they admit and receive one and the self-same doctrine touching them; for even they who have one and the self-same faith do disagree among themselves about ceremonies. Thus much says Socrates; and we, at this day, having diversities in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and in certain other things, in our churches, yet we do not disagree in doctrine and faith; neither is the unity and society of our churches rent asunder. For the churches have always used their liberty in such rites, as being things indifferent; which we also do at this day.
But yet, notwithstanding, we admonish men to take heed that they count not among things indifferent such as are not indeed indifferent; as some nsed to count the mass and the use of images in the Church
CHAPTER XXIV.—OF HOLYDAYS, FASTS, AND CHOICE OF MEATS. Although religion be not tied unto time, yet can it not be planted and exercised without a due dividing and allotting-out of time. Every Church, therefore, does choose unto itself a certain time for public prayers, and for the preaching of the Gospel, and for the celebration of the sacraments; and it is not lawful for any one to overthrow this appointment of the Church at his own pleasure. For except some due time and leisure were allotted to the outward exercise of religion, without doubt men would be quite drawn from it by their own affairs.
In regard hereof, we see that in the ancient churches there were not only certain set hours in the week appointed for meetings, but that also the Lord's Day itself, ever since the apostles' time, was consecrated to religious exercises and to a holy rest; which also is now very well observed by our churches, for the worship of God and the increase of charity. Yet herein we give no place unto the Jewish observation of the day, or to any superstitions. For we do not account one day to be holier than another, nor think that mere rest is of itself acceptable to God. Besides, we do celebrate and keep the Lord's Day, and not the Jewish Sabbath, and that with a free observation.
Moreorer, if the churches do religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord's Nativity, Circumcision, Passion, Resurrection, and of his Ascension into heaven, and the sending of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples, according to Christian liberty, we do very well approve of it.
of it. But as for festival days, ordained for men or saiuts departed, we can not allow of them. For, indeed, festival days must be referred to the first table of the law, and belong peculiarly unto God. To conclude, those festival days which are appointed for saints, and abrogated by us, have in them many gross things, unprofitable and not to be tolerated. In the mean time, we confess that the remembrance of saints, in due time and place, may be to good use and profit commended unto the people in sermons, and the holy examples of holy men set before their eyes to be imitated by all.
Now, the more sharply the Church of Christ does condemn surfeiting, drunkenness, and all kinds of lusts and intemperance, so much the more earnestly does it commend unto us Christian fasting. For fasting is nothing else than the abstinence and temperance of the godly,