Friday, September 18, 2015

18 September 2015 A.D. Jewel’s “Apology”—bishop of Rome impugns morals of English Reformed Church, pp.67-68

18 September 2015 A.D. Jewel’s “Apology”—bishop of Rome impugns morals of English Reformed Church, pp.67-68
Jewel, John. “The Apology of the Church of England.” Project Gutenberg. 5 Aug 2006. Accessed 1 Aug 2015.
Wherefore, when these men saw they could not rightly find fault with our doctrine, they would needs pick a quarrel and inveigh and rail against our manners, surmising, how that we do condemn all well-doings: that we set open the door to all licentiousness and lust, and lead away the people from all love of virtue.  And in very deed, the life of all men, even of the devoutest and most Christian, both is, and evermore hath been, such as one may always find some lack, even in the very best and purest conversation.  And such is the inclination of all creatures unto evil, and the readiness of all men to suspect that the things which neither have been done, nor once meant to be done, yet may be easily both heard and credited for true.  And like as a small spot is soon espied in the neatest and whitest garment, even so the least stain of dishonesty is easily found out in the purest and sincerest life.  Neither take we all them which have at this day embraced the doctrine of the Gospel, to be angels, and to live clearly without any mote or wrinkle; nor yet think we these men either so blind, that if anything may be noted in us, they are not able to perceive the same even through the least crevice: nor so friendly, that they will construe aught to the best: nor yet so honest of nature nor courteous, that they will look back upon themselves, and weigh our fashions by their own.  If so be we list to search this matter from the bottom, we know in the very Apostles’ times there were Christians, through whom the Name of the Lord was blasphemed and evil spoken of among the Gentiles.  Constantius the emperor bewaileth, as it is written in Sozomenus, that many waxed worse after they had fallen to the religion of Christ.  And Cyprian, in a lamentable oration, setteth out the corrupt manners in his time: “The wholesome discipline,” saith he, “which the Apostles left unto us, hath idleness and long rest now utterly marred: everyone studied to increase his livelihood; and clean forgetting either what they had done before whilst they were under the Apostles, or what they ought continually to do, having received the faith they earnestly laboured to make great their own wealth with an unsatiable desire of covetousness.  There is no devout religion,” saith he, “in priests, no sound faith in ministers, no charity showed in good works, no form of godliness in their conditions: men are become effeminate, and women’s beauty is counterfeited.”  And before his days, said Tertullian, “O how wretched be we, which are called Christians at this time! for we live as heathens under the Name of Christ.”  And without reciting of many more writers, Gregory Nazianzen speaketh thus of the pitiful state of his own time: “We,” saith he, “are in hatred among the heathen for our own vices’ sake; we are also become now a wonder, not only to angels and men, but even to all the ungodly.”  In this case was the Church of God, when the Gospel first began to shine, and when the fury of tyrants was not as yet cooled, nor the sword taken off from the Christians’ necks.  Surely it is no new thing that men be but men, although they be called by the name of Christians.

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