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believed without Scripture for all their miracles. Where
fore, inasmuch as Christ's congregation is spread abroad no more be taught us into all the world much broader than Moses; and inasmuch than is contained in
as we have not the Old Testament only, but also the New, the Scrip- wherein all things are opened so richly, and all fulfilled
that before was promised ; and inasmuch as there is no promise behind of ought to be shewed more save the resurrection ; yea, and seeing that Christ and all the apostles, with all the angels of heaven, if they were here, could preach no more than is preached of necessity unto our souls: how then should we receive a new article of the faith, without Scripture, as profitable unto my soul, when I had believed it, as smoke for sore eyes ? What holp it
me to believe that our lady's body is in heaven? what am Y. I the better for the belief of purgatory ? To fear men, thou
wilt say. Christ and his apostles thought hell enough. And yet (besides that the fleshly imagination may not stand with God's word) what great fear can there be of that terrible fire which thou mayest quench almost for three half-pence?
And that the apostles should teach ought by mouth which they would not write, I pray you for what purpose ? because they should not come into the hands of the heathen for mocking, saith M. More. I pray you what thing more to be mocked of the heathen could they teach, than the resurrection, and that Christ was God and man, and died between two thieves, and that for his death's sake all that repent and believe therein should have their sins forgiven them? Yea, and if the apostles understood thereby as
we do, what madder thing unto heathen people could they The hea have taught them that bread is Christ's body, and wine his then
blood ? And yet all these things they wrote. And again, thought nothing purgatory, confession in the ear, penance and satisfaction more madder than
for sin to Godward, with holy deeds, and praying to saints the doc. with such like, as dumb sacraments and ceremonies, are trine of them
marvellous agreeable unto the superstition of the heathen people, so that they needed not to abstain from writing
of them, for fear lest the heathen should have mocked them.
Moreover, what is it that the apostles taught by mouth, The aposand durst not write? The sacraments? As for baptism and the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ they that they
were afraid wrote, and it is expressed what is signified by them. And to write. also all the ceremonies and sacraments that were from s.
Sacraments Adam to Christ had significations; and all that are made have signimention of in the New Testament; wherefore, inasmuch as the sacraments of the Old Testament have significations ; and inasmuch as the sacraments of the New Testament (of which mention is made that they were delivered unto us by the very apostles, at Christ's commandment) have also significations; and inasmuch as the office of an apostle is to edify in Christ; and inasmuch as a dumb ceremony edifieth not, but hurteth altogether (for if it All the sapreach not unto me, then I cannot but put confidence
taught therein, that the deed itself justifieth me, which is the de- either in nying of Christ's blood); and inasmuch as no mention is Testament made of them, as well as of other, nor is known what is or new,
have signimeant by them; therefore, it appeareth that the apostles fications, taught them not, but that they be the false merchandise of wily hypocrites. And thereto, priesthood was, in the time of the apostles, an office which if they would do truly it would more profit than all the sacraments in the world. The popish And again, God's holinesses strive not one against another, s nor defile one another. Their sacraments defile one against another. For wedlock defileth priesthood more than whoredom, theft, murder, or any sin against nature.
They will haply demand where it is written, that women should baptize? Verily, in this commandment, Love thy neighbour as thyself, it is written, that they may and ought to minister not only baptism, but all other in time of need, if they be so necessary as they preach them.
Sacraments And finally, though we were sure that God himself had
significagiven us a sacrament, whatsoever it were, yet if the signi- tions, are
not to be fication were once lost, we must of necessity, either seek received.
sacraments strive one
up the signification or put some signification of God's word thereto, what we ought to do or believe thereby, or else put it down. For it is impossible to observe a Sacrament, without signification, but unto our damnation. If we keep the faith purely and the law of love undefiled, which are the significations of all ceremonies, there is no jeopardy to alter or change the fashion of the ceremony, or to put it down if need require.
. WHETHER THE CHURCH CAN ERR.
Whether. the church can err, or not.
What the very church is, and what faith saveth.
THERE is another question, whether the church may Terr. Which, if ye understand of the pope and his generation, it is verily as hard a question as to ask whether he which hath both his eyes out, be blind or no; or whether it be possible for him that hath one leg shorter than another, to halt. But I said that Christ's elect church is the whole multitude of all repenting sinners that believe in Christ, and put all their trust and confidence in the mercy of God; feeling in their hearts, that God for Christ's sake loveth them, and will be, or rather is, merciful unto them, and forgiveth them their sins of which they repent; and that he forgiveth them also all the motions unto sin, of which they fear lest they should thereby be drawn into sin again. And this faith they have without all respect of their own deservings, yea, and for none other cause than that the merciful truth of God the Father, which cannot lie, hath so promised, and so sworn.
And this faith and knowledge is everlasting life ; and by this we be born anew, and made the sons of God, and obtain forgiveness of sins, and are translated from death to life, and from the wrath of God unto his love and favour. And this faith is the mother of all truth, and bringeth with her the Spirit of all truth. Which Spirit purgeth us, as
By faith we are made the sons of God.
blood is the
from all sin, even so from all lies and error noisome and hurtful. And this faith is the foundation laid of the apostles and prophets whereon Paul saith (Eph. ii.) that Eph. ii. we are built, and thereby of the household of God. And this faith is the rock whereon Christ built his congregation. Christ asked the apostles (Matt. xvi.) whom they Matt. xvi. took him for. And Peter answered for them all, saying, I say that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, that art come into this world. That is, We believe that thou art he that was promised unto Abraham, that should come, bless us, and deliver us. Howbeit, Peter yet wist not by what means. But now it is opened throughout all the The offerworld, that through the offering of his body and blood, is of that offering is a satisfaction for the sin of all that repent, body and and a purchasing of whatsoever they can ask, to keep them only satisin favour. And that they sin no more. And Christ faction for
our sins. answered, Upon this rock I will build my congregation : that is, upon this faith. And against the rock of this faith, can no sin, no hell, no devil, no lies, nor error prevail.
For whatsoever any man hath committed, if he repent and come to this rock, he is safe. And that this faith is the only way by which the church of Christ goeth unto God, and unto the inheritance of all his riches, testify all the apostles and prophets, and all the Scripture, with signs, and miracles, and all the blood of martyrs. And There is no whosoever goeth unto God, and unto forgiveness of sins, way to or salvation, by any other way than this, the same is an but by heretic out of the right way, and not of Christ's church
For this knowledge maketh a man of the church. passion. And the church is Christ's body, (Col. i.) and every person Col. i. of the church it a member of Christ. (Eph. v.) Now Eph. v. it is no member of Christ that hath not Christ's spirit in it; (Rom. viii.) as it is no part of me, or member of my Rom. viii. body, wherein my soul is not present, and quickeneth it. And then if a man be none of Christ's, he is not of his church,
HOW A TRUE MEMBER OF CHRIST'S CHURCH
sin cannot stand
FURTHERMORE, he that hath this faith cannot sin,
and therefore cannot be deceived with damnable errors. For by this faith we be (as I said) born of God. Now he that is born of God cannot sin, for his seed dwel
leth in him, and he cannot therefore sin, because he is 1 John. iii. born of God, (1 John iii.) which seed is the Holy Ghost
that keepeth a man's heart from consenting unto sin. Faith and And therefore, it is a false conclusion that M. More
holdeth, how that a man may have a right faith joined together.
with all kinds of abomination and sin.
And yet every member of Christ's congregation is a
sinner, and sinneth daily, some more, and some less. I John i. For it is written, (1 John i.) If we say we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. And again, If we say, we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. And Paul (Rom. vii.) saith, That good which I would, that do I not, but that evil which I would not, that do I. So it is not I that do it (saith he) but sin that dwelleth in me. Thus are we sinners, and no sinners. No sinners, if thou look unto the profession of our hearts toward the law of God; on our repentance and sorrow that we have, both because we have sinned, and also because we be yet full of sin still; and unto the promises of mercy in our Saviour Christ; and unto our faith. Sinners are we, if thou look unto the frailty of our fesh, which is as the weakness of one that is newly recovered out of a great disease, by the reason whereof our deeds are imperfect. And by the reason whereof also, when occasions be great, we fall into horrible deeds, and the fruit of the sin which remaineth in our members breaketh out. Notwithstanding yet the Spirit leaveth us not, but rebuketh us, and bringeth us home again unto
All flesh doth sin.