Thursday, October 8, 2015

8 October 2015 A.D. Jewel’s “Apology”—“…O good God...how horribly was the same Church darkened and decayed…” pp.96-98


8 October 2015 A.D. Jewel’s “Apology”—“…O good God...how horribly was the same Church darkened and decayed…” pp.96-98
This notwithstanding, how often, O good God, in the meanwhile, and how horribly was the same Church darkened and decayed!  Where was that Church then, when “all flesh upon earth had denied their own way?”  Where was it, when amongst the number of the whole world there were only eight persons (and they neither all chaste and good) whom God’s will was should be saved alive from that universal destruction and mortality? when Elie the prophet so lamentably and bitterly made moan, that “only himself was left” of all the whole world which did truly and duly worship God? and when Esay said, “The silver of God’s people (that is, of the Church) was become dross: and that the same city, which aforetime had been faithful, was now become a harlot: and that in the same there was no part sound throughout the whole body, from the head to the foot?” or else, when Christ Himself said, “that the house of God was made by the Pharisees and priests a den of thieves?”  Of a truth, the Church, even as a corn-field, except it be eared, manured, tilled, and trimmed, instead of wheat it will bring forth thistles, darnel, and nettles.  For this cause did God send ever among both Prophets and Apostles, and last of all His “own Son,” who might bring home the people into the right way, and repair anew the tottering Church after she had erred.
But lest some man should say, that the aforesaid things happened in the time of the law only, of shadows, and of infancy, when truth lay hid under figures and ceremonies, when nothing as yet was brought to perfection, when the law was not graven in men’s hearts, but in stone: and yet is that but a foolish saying, for even at those days was there the very same God that is now, the same Spirit, the same Christ, the same faith, the same doctrine, the same hope, the same inheritance, the same league, and the same efficacy and virtue of God’s word: Eusebius also saith: “All the faithful, even from Adam until Christ, were in very deed Christians” (though they were not so termed), but, as I said, lest men should thus speak still, Paul the Apostle found the like faults and falls even then in the prime and chief of the Gospel in chief perfection, and in the light; so that he was compelled to write in this sort to the Galatians, whom he had well before that instructed: “I fear me,” quoth he, “lest I have laboured among you in vain, and lest ye have heard the Gospel in vain.”  “O my little children, of whom I travail anew till Christ be fashioned again in you.”  And as for the Church of the Corinthians, how foully it was denied, is nothing needful to rehearse.  Now tell me, might the Churches of the Galatians and Corinthians go amiss, and the Church of Rome alone may not fail, nor go amiss?  Surely Christ prophesied long before of His Church, that the time should come when desolation should stand in the holy place.  And Paul saith, that Antichrist should once set up his own tabernacle and stately seat in the temple of God: and that the time should be, “when men should not away with wholesome doctrine, but be turned back unto fables and lies,” and that within the very Church.  Peter likewise telleth, how there should be teachers of lies in the Church of Christ.  Daniel the Prophet, speaking of the latter times of Antichrist: “Truth,” saith he, “in that season shall be thrown under foot, and trodden upon in the world.”  And Christ saith, how the calamity and confusion of things shall be so exceeding great, “that even the chosen, if it were possible, shall be brought into error;” and how all these things shall come to pass, not amongst Gentiles and Turks, but that they should be in the holy place, in the temple of God, in the Church, and in the company and fellowship of those which profess the name of Christ.

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