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and a watching and chastising of our flesh, taken up for present necessity, whereby we are humbled before God, and withdraw from the flesh those things with which it is cherished, to the end that it may the more willingly and easily obey the Spirit. Wherefore they do not fast at all that have no regard for those things, but imagine that they fast if they stuff their bellies once a day, and for a set or prescribed time do abstain from certain meats, thinking that by this very work wrought they please God and acquire merit. Fasting is a help of the prayers of the saints and all virtues; but the fasts wherein the Jews fasted from meat, and not from wickedness, pleased God nothing at all, as we may see in the books of the Prophets.
Now, fasting is either public or private. In olden times they celebrated public fasts in troublesome times and in the afflictions of the Church; wherein they abstained altogether from meat till the evening, and bestowed all that time in holy prayers, the worship of God, and repentance. These differed little froin mournings and lamentations; and of these there is often mention made in the Prophets, and especially in the 2d chapter of Joel. Such a fast should be kept at this day, when the Church is in distress. Private fasts are used by every one of us, according as every one feels the spirit weakened in him; for so he withdraws that which might cherish and strengthen the flesh.
All fasts ought to proceed from a free and willing spirit, and such a one as is truly humbled, and not framed to win applause and the liking
much less to the end that a man might merit righteousness by them. But let every one fast to this end, that he may deprive the flesh of that which would cherish it, and that he may the more zealously serve God.
The fast of Lent has testimony of antiquity, but none out of the apostles' writings; and therefore ought not, nor can not, be imposed on the faithful. It is certain that in old time there were divers manners and uses of this fast; whereupon Irenæus, a most ancient writer, says, “Some think that this fast should be observed one day only, others two days, but others more, and some forty days. This diversity in keeping this fast began not in our times, but long before us; by those, as I suppose, who, not simply holding that which was delivered thein from the beginning, fell shortly after into another custom, either through negligence or ignorance. Moreover, Socrates, the historian, says, 'Be
before God, holy and good works indeed, and do please God no less than prayers, fastings, and alms-deeds. For so the apostle has taught in his epistles, especially in those to Timothy and Titus. And with the same apostle we account the doctrine of such as forbid marriage, or do openly dispraise or secretly discredit it as not holy or clean, among the doctrines of demons' (1 Tim. iv. 1).
And we do detest unclean single life, licentious lusts, and fornications, both open and secret, and the continency of dissembling hypocrites, when they are, of all men, most incontinent. All these God will judge. We do not disallow riches, nor contemn rich men, if they be godly and use their riches well; but we reprove the sect of the Apostolicals, etc.
CHAPTER XXX.-OF THE MAGISTRACY.
The magistracy, of what sort soever it be, is ordained of God himself, for the peace and quietness of mankind; and so that he should have the chief place in the world. If the magistrate be an adversary to the Church, he may hinder and disturb it very much; but if he be a friend and a member of the Church, he is a most useful and excellent member thereof; he may profit it very much, and finally may help and further it very excellently.
The chief duty of the civil magistrate is to procure and maintain peace and public tranquillity: which, donbtless, he shall never do more happily than when he shall be truly seasoned with the fear of God and true religion—namely, when he shall, after the example of the most holy kings and princes of the people of the Lord, advance the preaching of the truth, and the pure and sincere faith, and shall root out lies and all superstition, with all impiety and idolatry, and shall defend the Church of God. For indeed we teach that the care of religion does chiefly appertain to the holy magistrate.
Let him, therefore, hold the Word of God in his hands, and look that nothing be taught contrary thereunto. In like manner, let him govern the people, committed to him of God, with good laws, made according to the Word of God in his hands, and look that nothing be taught contrary thereunto. Let him hold them in discipline and in duty and in obedience. Let him exercise judgment by judging uprightly: let him not respect any man's person, or receive bribes. Let 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 Judaisin 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 npon
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 throughout 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
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
as do either openly or closely refuse to perform those duties which they owe.
The Conclusion.—We beseech God, our most merciful Father in heaven, that he will bless the rulers of the people, and us, and his whole people, through Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour; to whom be praise and glory and thanksgiving, both now and forever. Amen.
serve the Lord daily in simplicity and humility. For such are more apt for attending to heavenly things than they who are distracted with the private affairs of a family. But if, again, the gift be taken away, and they feel a continual burning, let them call to mind the words of the apostle,' It is better to marry than to burn' (1 Cor. vii. 9).
For wedlock (which is the medicine of incontinency, and continency itself) was ordained by the Lord God himself, who blessed it most bountifully, and willed man and woman to cleave one to the other inseparably, and to live together in great concord (Gen. ii. 24; Matt. xiv. 5, 6). Whereupon we know the apostle said, ' Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled' (Heb. xiii. 4). And again, 'If a virgin marry, she hath not sinned' (1 Cor. vii. 28). We therefore condemn polygamy, and those who condemn second marriages. We teach that marriages ought to be contracted lawfully, in the fear of the Lord, and not against the laws which forbid certain degrees to join in matrimony, lest the marriages should be incestuolis. Let marriages be made with consent of the parents, or such as are instead of parents; and for that end especially for which the Lord ordained marriages. And let them be confirmed publicly in the Church, with prayer and blessing. Moreover, let them be kept holy, with peace, faithfulness, dutifulness, love, and purity of the persons coupled together. Therefore let thein take heed of brawlings, debates, lusts, and adulteries. Let lawful judgments and holy judges be established in the Church, who may maintain marriages, and may repress all dishonesty and shamefulness, and before whom controversies in matrimony may be decided and ended.
Let children also be brought up by the parents in the fear of the Lord; and let parents provide for their children, remembering the saying of the apostle, “He that provideth not for his own, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel' (1 Tim. v. 8). But especially let them teach their children honest arts and occupations, whereby they may maintain themselves. Let them keep them from idleness, and plant in them a true confidence in God in all these things; lest they, through distrust, or overmuch careless security, or filthy coretousness, wax loose, and in the end come to no good.
Now, it is most certain that those works which parents do in true faith, by the duties of marriage, and government of their families, are,