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 Issues | Church History | John Jewell

 

The Faith of English Churchmen
by John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury (1522-1571)

Extracted from his Apologia Anglicanae and translated by Frederick Meyrick MA Non-Residentary Canon of Lincoln. (Published by Church Book Room - date not known.) Meyrick does not give references to the Apology. This forms Part 2 of the Apology.

The Lord Jesus Christ

We believe there is one Divine nature and energy which we call God; and that it is constituted by three equal and distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all of the same power, the same majesty, the same eternity, the same divinity, the same substance. And though these three Persons are so distinguished that the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Holy Ghost or the Father, yet we believe that God is one, and that that one God created the heaven and the earth and all things contained therein. We believe that Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Eternal Father, as it had been decreed before the beginning of things, when the fulness of time had come, took flesh and all the nature of man of the blessed and pure Virgin, that He might reveal to men the secret will of His Father, which had been hidden for ages and generations, and that He might work out the mystery of our redemption in the body of a man, and nail to the Cross our sins and the handwriting which was against us. (Col 2.14)

We believe that He died for us, and was buried and descended into hell, and on the third day returned to life by Divine power, and rose from the dead; and that after forty days, in the presence of His disciples, He ascended into heaven, that He might fill all things; and that He has seated in majesty and glory that very body in which He was born, in which He lived on earth, in which He was mocked, in which He suffered the greatest tortures and a death of agony, in which He rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father, above all principality and power and strength and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world but in the world to come. And we believe that He is now sitting at the right hand, and will sit there till all be fulfilled (Acts 3.21). And though the majesty and divinity of Christ is everywhere present, nevertheless His Body, as Augustine says, (AD 354-430) says must be in one place (Aug., Tract. 30 in Johan): for we hold that Christ has bestowed majesty on His Body but has not taken away the nature of a body, and that we must not declare Christ to be God in such a way as to deny that He is man; for as the martyr Vigilius (AD 480) says, Christ left us in His human nature, but has not left us in His Divine nature; though absent from in the form of a servant, He is nevertheless always with us in the form of God (Vigil. Contra Eutych. lib. 1; Fulgentius (AD468-533) Ad Regem Thraysym). We believe also that Christ will return from heaven to judge those whom He will find still living and the dead.

We believe that the Holy Ghost, who is the Third Person in the Holy Trinity, is true God; not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding from both, that is, from the Father and the Son, in a way which to mortals is incomprehensible and ineffable. It is His work, when He is received in the soul, by the preaching of the gospel of salvation or in any other way, to soften the hardness of the human heart: it is He that enlightens men and brings them to the knowledge of God, and way of truth, and newness of life steadfast hope of salvation.

The Catholic Church

We believe that there is one Church God and that it is not shut up in one corner of the world or one kingdom, as was formerly the case with the Jews, but that it is Catholic or universal and spread throughout the whole world, so that there is now no nation which has to complain that it is shut out, and cannot belong to the Church and people of God. We believe that that Church is the kingdom, the body, the bride of Christ; that Christ alone is the ruler of that kingdom, that Christ alone is the head of that body, that Christ alone is the bridegroom of that bride. We hold that there are diverse orders of Ministers in the Church, that some of those to whom the teaching of the people and the care and charge: of religion have been committed are deacons: others, presbyters; others, bishops; but that there is and can be no one man to govern the whole, for (1), Christ is always with His Church and has no need of a man to take His place as vicar possessed of His full endowments; (2), there can be no mortal man whose grasp of comprehension can embrace the universal Church, that is, every part of the world, still less order it rightly and duly administer it. The Apostles, as Cyprian (AD 250) says, were “all of equal powers” and the rest were “the same that Peter was”: to all of them it was equally said “Feed my sheep”; to all it was equally said “Go into the whole world”; and to all the command was given, “Preach the gospel.” As Jerome says, “All bishops, wheresoever they may be, whether at Rome, or at Eugubium, or at Constantinople, or at Rhegium, are of the same worth and the same priesthood” (Ad Evagrium. Op. Tom 4., part 2, p.803, Ed. Rened). We hold, as Cyprian says, that “there is one episcopacy of the Church and that every bishop has his share in it as though he possessed the whole” (De Unitat.); and we learn from the Council of Nicea (AD 325) that the Roman bishop has no more authority over the Church of God than the other patriarchs, the Patriarch of Alexandria and the Patriarch of Antioch; and the Roman bishop, who now claims everything for himself alone, ought not of right to be called a bishop or even a presbyter, unless he fulfils his duties as such, that is, administers the sacraments, instructs the people, and warns and teaches the flock. For Augustine says, “Bishop is not merely a title of honour, but of a work” (De Civ. Dei, 19.19); so that a man who wants to rule and not to do work must understand that he is not a bishop at all. Neither the Roman bishop nor any other mortal man can be head of the whole Church or universal bishop, any more than he can be the bridegroom, or the light, or the salvation, or the life of the Church. For these are the privileges and titles of Christ alone, and they belong to Him and none other. No Roman bishop ever allowed himself to be addressed with so proud a title before the time of the Emperor Phocas (who, we know, murdered his lord, the Emperor Maurice, and gained the Imperial throne by crime and outrage), and that was in the year 613 after Christ. Further, a council of Carthage (Concil. Carth. 3.26) directly forbade any bishop to be called either chief pontiff or first bishop. But the Roman bishop now desires to be so addressed, and claims to himself power belonging to others, and in this he not only sets himself in opposition to the old councils and Fathers, but, if he will believe his own predecessor Gregory (544-604) is adopting for himself a title “arrogant,” “profane,” “sacrilegious,” “anti-christian,” he is the “king of pride,” he is “Lucifer, who puts himself above his brethren,” he has “cast away the faith,” and he is “the pre-cursor of Anti-Christ” (Greg. Epist. 4. 76-80). We hold that a. minister must be lawfully called, and appointed over the Church of God in a due and orderly manner, and that no one must intrude into the sacred ministry at his own will and choice. The greater therefore is the wrong done to us by those men who are constantly repeating that in our Church nothing is carried on in an orderly and comely manner, but that all is confusion and disorder, and that we are all of us priests, all of us doctors, all of us expounders.

Binding and Loosing

We say that the power of binding and loosing, opening and shutting, is given to the ministry by Christ. Loosing consists (1) in the minister's offering to distressed souls that are truly penitent the merits of Christ, and a consequent full pardon, which he does by expounding the gospel to them; and in giving them the assurance of forgiveness of sins and of the hope of eternal salvation; or (2) in reconciling and restoring to the communion of the faithful those who have offended their brethren by some grave scandal, or notorious sin, and have thus in a way estranged themselves from the membership of the Church and from the body of Christ. We say that the minister exercises the power of binding and of shutting whenever he (1) closes the door of the kingdom of heaven to non-believers, or stubborn sinners, and warns them of the vengeance of God, and eternal punishment, or (2) excludes from the bosom of the Church those who are publicly excommunicated. Whatever sentence the ministers of God pass in this way, God Himself confirms, so that whatever is loosed or bound on earth by their instrumentality, He will loose or bind in ratifying the sentence in Heaven. But the keys by which they can close or open the kingdom of Heaven we say with Chrysostom (AD 347-406) are the knowledge of scripture, and with Tertullian (AD 145-220) the interpretation of the law, and with Eusebius, (AD 250-337) the Word of God. We hold that the disciples of Christ received this power, not in order to hear the confessions of the people in secret, and catch their faint whispers, as all the Roman priests now do, just as if the whole force and use of the keys was for that thing alone, but that they might go forth and teach and preach the gospel; whereby they were to believers a savour of life unto life, and to unbelievers a savour of death unto death; that the souls of pious people, alarmed by the consciousness of the faults of their past life, having now begun to see the light of the gospel and to believe in Christ, might have their hearts opened by the Word of God as doors are opened by a key, while irreligious men and obstinate transgressors and all who refused to believe and return into the way of righteousness were left, as it were, shut and locked, and as St. Paul says, “waxed worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3. 13). We consider that that is the meaning of the keys, and that in this way the consciences of men are opened or left shut up. The Priest indeed has to judge, but yet, as Ambrose says, he has no powers of his own. When Christ was denouncing the negligence of the Scribes and Pharisees in teaching, He condemned them in the following words: “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, for you have taken away the key of knowledge and have shut up the kingdom of Heaven before men” (Luke 11. 52; Matt. 23.13). As the key by which there is opened to us a way unto the kingdom of God is the word of the gospel, and the exposition of the law and the scriptures, we say that there is no key where there is no Word; and as there is but one Word, given to all, and one key, which all may use, we say that all of God's ministers have the same power so far as opening and shutting are concerned. Nay, we say that even the pontiff, although his parasites sing sweetly in his ears, “I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 16.19), as though they belonged to him alone, and to no one else on earth, neither opens nor shuts, nor has the keys at all, unless he occupies himself in turning the hearts of men to obedience to the Word of God, and further, even if he does teach and instruct the people (which indeed I wish he would sometimes do and would count it at least a part of his duty), nevertheless, his key is none the better and none the more effective than that of others. Who made a distinction for him? Who taught him to open with greater learning or to absolve in any better way than his brethren?

Marriage of the clergy

We say that marriage is holy and honourable in every class and order of lien, in patriarchs, prophets, apostles, holy martyrs, church ministers, bishops, and we hold as Chrysostom says (In Titum, Hom. 2), that it is right and proper that married men should sit upon the bishop's throne; and as Sozomen (AD 400) says about Spiridion (Lib. 1., Chap. 11.), and as Nazianzen (AD326-393) says of his own father (In monod super Basil), that a pious and active bishop fulfils his ministry no worse but better and more usefully from being a married man. We think that the regulation which forcibly takes away that liberty from men, and compels them against their will to be celibates is, as St. Paul says, a “doctrine of devils” (1 Tim. 4. 1); and that an incredible immorality and frightful vices have resulted from it in the lives of God's ministers; and that the Roman bishop, Pius II (AD 1458) was right when he said, that he saw many reasons for taking away wives from priests, but many more, and those of a more grave character, for restoring them (Platina, Life of Pius II.). The evil is acknowledged by Faber, Bishop of Augsburg, Latomus, the Abbot of Palermo, by the work appended to the second volume of the Councils in three divisions, by other defenders of the papal side, by plain facts, and by the whole of history.

Scripture

We receive and embrace all the canonical Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, and we thank our God for having given us there a light which we may have always before our eyes, so as not to be led away into errors and fables, either by the guile of men or the devices of devils. Those, we say, are the voices from heaven by which God has manifested His will to us, and in them alone the mind of man can rest; in them everything necessary for our salvation is abundantly and fully contained, as Origen (AD185-255) Augustine, Chrysostom, and Cyril have taught. They are “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1.16); they are “the foundations of the prophets and apostles,” on which the Church of God is built; they are a most certain standard up to which the Church must be brought in the case of doubt or error, and to which all Church doctrine ought to be called back; against them neither law nor tradition nor custom is to be listened to, not even if Paul himself, or an angel from heaven, should come and teach otherwise (Gal. 1. 8).

Sacraments

We receive the Sacraments of the Church, that is, certain sacred signs and ceremonies which Christ has willed that we should use in order that by them He may place before our eyes mystical representations of our salvation and confirm our faith in His blood, and seal His grace in our hearts. With Tertullian, Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Chrysostom, Basil, (AD 329-379), Dionysius, (AD 220-265) and other Catholic Fathers, we call them figures, signs, symbols, types, antitypes, forms, seals, impressions, likenesses, copies, images, reminders, memories. And at the same time, we do not hesitate with the same Fathers to say that they are words made visible to the eyes by acts, seals of righteousness, symbols of grace, and we declare in plain words that in the Supper there are really presented to the faithful the Body and Blood of our Lord, the flesh of the Son of God, giving life to our souls, a food coming from on high, a nourishment of immortality, grace, truth, and life : and that this is the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, by participating in which we are made to live, are quickened, and nourished for immortality, and by which we are joined, united and incorporated with Christ, so that we abide in Him, and He in us.

We acknowledge two Sacraments, properly to be accounted such, Baptism and the Eucharist. For we see that that is the number delivered and solemnly appointed by Christ and accepted by the ancient Fathers, Ambrose (AD 340-397) and Augustine. Baptism we regard as the Sacrament of the remission of sins and of our washing in the Blood of Christ. None who will profess the name of Christ will be denied it, not even infants who are the children of Christians, since they are born in sin, and yet they belong to the people of God. The Eucharist is also a Sacrament, that is, a notable symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ, by which there is, in a way, set Ambrose, before our eyes the death of Christ and His Resurrection and all that He did in His human body; so that we may return thanks for His death and our deliverance, and by frequenting the Sacraments may constantly renew the memory of Him and may be nourished by the true body and blood of Christ to the hope of resurrection and eternal life, and that we may be assured that the body and blood of Christ is the nourishment of our souls as bread and wine are of our bodies. We say that the people are to be invited to this feast, so that all may communicate together and may publicly signify, and bear witness to the union that they enjoy with one another and to the hope which they have in Christ Jesus. Therefore, if anyone would be a spectator only, and not a communicant, the old Fathers, and the Roman bishops in the Primitive Church, before Private Masses grew up, excommunicated him as a wicked man and a heathen (Chrysost. Ad Ephes. 11.23); and at that time there was no Christian who communicated by himself while the congregation looked on. And so Calixtus decreed that when the consecration had taken place, all were to communicate or absent themselves from the Church. So, he says, the apostles appointed, and the Holy Roman Church held. We hold that both parts of the Eucharist must be given to the laity when they come for Holy Communion, for that was the command of Christ, and the apostles everywhere instituted the practice and all the old Fathers and Catholic Bishops followed them in it; and if any did otherwise, as Gelasius says, they committed sacrilege. Our adversaries of to-day, therefore, who, without the authority of the Word of God, or any old council, or any Catholic Fat her, or any example of the Primitive Church, and without any reason for what they do, defend private masses and the mutilation of the Sacraments (which gives up and does away with true communion), acting thus contrary to the express command and order of Christ, and also against all antiquity, are guilty of impiety and sacrilege.

We say that the Bread and Wine are sacred and heavenly mystical representations of the Body and Blood of Christ, and that by them, Christ Himself, the true Bread of eternal life, is in such a way exhibited to us as present that we verily take His Body and Blood by faith. But by this we do not mean that the nature of Bread and Wine is altogether changed and annihilated. This is what many in these latest centuries have dreamt, though they have never been able as yet to come to any satisfactory understanding about this dream of theirs. For Christ's purpose was not that wheaten bread should lose its nature, and clothe itself in a sort of novel divinity, but rather should work a change in us, and as Theophylact (AD 1070) says, trans-element us into His own body (Theoph. In Johan ch. 6.). What can be more clear than the saying of Ambrose, “The bread and wine are what they were, and yet are changed into something else” (De Sacr. 4.4); or Gelasius’ saying (AD 492-496), “It does not cease to be the substance of Bread or the nature of Wine” (Contr. Eutych.); or Theodoret’s saying (AD 386-453), “After consecration the mystical symbols do not lose their own proper nature, for they remain in their former substance and shape and kind” (In Dialog. 1 and 2); or Augustine's saying, “What you see is bread and the cup, as indeed your eyes tell you, but as your faith requires to be taught, the Bread is the Body of Christ and the cup His Blood” (In Serm. ad. Infant.); and Origen's saying, “The bread consecrated by the Word of God, so far as its matter is concerned goes into the belly and is cast out into the draught” (In Matt. 15.); or the words of Christ who said, not only after the consecration but even after the communion, “I will not drink any more of this fruit of the vine” (Luke 22.18). For it is certain that the fruit of the vine is wine and not blood. Yet by thus saying we do not depreciate the Supper of the Lord or teach that it is merely a bare ceremony with no results, as many calumniously report of us. For we assert that Christ verily exhibits Himself as present in His Sacraments, in Baptism that we may put Him on, in the Supper that we may feed upon Him by faith and in our hearts, and derive eternal life from His Cross and blood; and we say that this takes place not cursorily and ineffectively, but verily and indeed. For though we do not touch the body of Christ with our teeth and jaws, yet by faith in our heart and spirit we hold Him, and hold Him close. For that is not a vain faith which embraces Christ, nor is that an ineffective apprehension when the soul and spirit and faith apprehend. For Christ Himself, in all His integrity, is offered and given to us in those mysteries, so that we may assuredly know that we are now flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones, and that Christ abides in us and we in Him.

For this reason in the Communion Office the people are properly warned before coming to communicate to “lift up their hearts” and raise their souls to Heaven, because it is there that He is, on whom we must feed and by whom we must live. Cyril says that in the partaking of the sacraments all gross thoughts must be excluded; and the council of Nicea, as its Greek text is quoted by some, directly forbids us to confine our thoughts to the bread and wine laid out before us (Mansi, 2.888). Chrysostom says rightly that, as we call the body of Christ the carcase, we ought to be eagles, and must understand that we must fly aloft if we would approach the Body of Christ, for that it is a feast of eagles and not of ravens (In I Cor. 10.). And Cyprian says “This bread is the food of the mind, not the food of the belly” (Arnold. De Caena Domini, App. Op., Cypr. 114.). And Augustine says “How shall I lay hold on one who is absent? How shall I stretch my hand to heaven and lay hold of Him who is sitting there? Stretch upwards your faith”, he says, “and you will have laid hold of Him” (In Johan. Tract 50).

Masses and Indulgences

As to buying and selling of masses, and carrying about and worshipping the bread, and other idolatrous and blasphemous follies, which none of them can say that Christ and the Apostles instituted, we do not endure them in our Churches, and we condemn the Roman bishops, who, without the authority of the Word of God or the Holy Fathers and without precedent, not only offer to the people the Eucharistic bread for divine worship, but also carry it about on a led horse, wherever they journey themselves (as the heathens carried about the Persian fire or the sacred things of Isis) and so have turned the sacraments of Christ into a show and parade. Thus men's eyes are fed on nothing but foolish spectacles and ridiculous levity, where Christ's death ought to have been taught and shown forth, and where the mysteries of our redemption ought to have been handled in holy and reverent fashion. As to what they say, and actually sometimes make simpletons believe, that by their masses they can distribute the merits of Christ's death and apply them to men who are very often not thinking about it at all, and don't know what is taking place, the claim is ridiculous, heathenish and foolish. For it is our faith which applies the death of Christ and His Cross to ourselves, not the action of a sacrificing priest. Augustine says. it is faith exercised in the sacraments which justifies, and not the sacrament. And Origen says, “He is the priest and the propitiation and the victim, and that propitiation comes to every man by way of faith” (Ad Rom. 3.). Therefore we say that the sacraments of Christ do not profit the living, unless they have faith, much less the dead. For all their vaunting about purgatory are nothing else than a stupid and old woman's tale, though we know that that is not so modern a tenet as some. Augustine sometimes says that there is such a place, sometimes will not deny that there may be such a place, sometimes doubts whether there is, sometimes altogether denies it, and thinks that men have been led astray on the point by a natural human kindness (In Psal. 85.; Enchir. 6; De Civ. Dei, 2.26). Yet from this one error such a crop of priestlings has grown up that now at every corner masses are openly sold ; the houses of God have been turned into shops for earning money; and poor mortals have been persuaded there is no fitter subject for buying and selling than masses; it is true that those who have introduced the practice find nothing more useful for themselves.

Church Ceremonies

We know that Augustine made great complaint in his time of the multitude of idle ceremonies (Ad Jan. Epist. 119). We have, therefore, cut away a peat number of them because we knew that men's consciences were troubled, and the Church of God oppressed by them. Yet we retain in honour not only those ceremonies which we know to have been delivered by the Apostles, but also some others, which we thought could be used by us without harm to the Church, seeing that we desired everything to be done decently and in order in the public service, as St. Paul desires (1 Cor 14.40). But we have utterly rejected all practices that are superstitious, or stupid, or mean, or ridiculous, or opposed to Holy Scripture, or unworthy of serious men, such as are to be found among the Papists in infinite number; for we will not have the worship of God any longer contaminated by such absurdities.

We pray in a tongue which our people can understand, as is reasonable and right, in order that the laity, as St. Paul desires (1 Cor. 14), may derive a common advantage from the common prayers. And this is the way in which all the pious Fathers and Catholic bishops prayed themselves, and taught the people to pray under the new covenant as well as the old; lest, as Augustine says, we should seem to chatter like parrots and jackdaws, without knowing the meaning of our words (In Psal. 43.).

One Mediator

We have no other mediator and intercessor by whom to draw nigh to God the Father, but Jesus Christ, in whose name alone everything is obtained from the Father. But it is a shameful and heathenish thing which we see everywhere in those men's Churches, namely, an infinite number of intercessors unauthorised by the Word of God, so that as Jeremiah says (2.28, 11.13), “the number of their gods is according to the number of their cities,” or rather surpasses them, and poor mortals don't know to whom to turn. And though they are so many that they cannot be counted, nevertheless they have their several offices appointed to each as to what they are to grant, or give, or do. Nay, not only impiously, but impudently, they call upon the Virgin Mother to remember that she is a mother, and to give orders to her Son, and make use of her rights over Him.

One Sacrifice

We say that man is born in sin, and lives in sin: that none can say with truth that his heart is clean; that the most righteous man is an unprofitable servant; that the law of God is perfect, and requires perfect and full obedience from us; that we cannot satisfy its demands in this life, and that none can be justified in the sight of God by his own efforts. Consequently we say that our only refuge is in the mercy of God the Father through Jesus Christ: being assured that He is the propitiation for our sins; that by His blood all our stains arc dune away; that He has made pence by the blood of His Cross; that He completed everything by that one sacrifice, which he once offered on the Cross; and that, for that reason, when He gave up the ghost, He said, “it is finished” (john 19.30), as wishing to show that the price was now fully paid for the sins of the human race.

If there are any who do not think this sacrifice is sufficient, let them look for another that is better; we are contented with it, knowing that it is the one and only one, that can be, and we do not look for any other; and because the offering was to be made once for all, we do not order its repetition, and because it is full and perfect in every respect, we do not substitute for it a constant succession of sacrifices.

But though we say that we put no trust in our works and deeds for our deliverance, and rest all our hope of salvation on Christ alone, we do not therefore allow of loose and unrestrained living, as if being baptized and believing were enough for a Christian man, and nothing more were expected of him. True faith is living and cannot be inactive.

LIfe Everlasting

This is what we teach the people : that God has called us not to self-indulgence and licentious living, but, as Paul says (Eph. 2.10), to good works, that we may walk in them, and that God has delivered us from tile power of darkness that may serve the living God, and cut off all remains of sin, and work out our salvation with fear and trembling, so that it may be apparent that the Spirit of sanctification is in our members, and that Christ Himself dwells in our hearts by faith. Finally, we believe that this very flesh of ours in which we live, although when we die it will turn to dust, will yet return again to life on the last day, on account of the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us. And then we believe that Christ will wipe away every tear from our eyes, however much we may suffer here meantime for His sake, and that for His merits we shall enjoy eternal life and be with Him for ever in glory. Amen.

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