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BOOK diction, to do the same. And also, that you and they seve
rally calling the most apt grave men to confer with, in your
Your loving brother,
Matt, Cant. the xxx of Jan. 1564. .
to use his interest that conformity to the habits might not
be imposed. MSS. G. Pe- RIGHT honorable and my singular good Lord. Love tyt. Armig. and duty towards your Lordship force me to write, though
partly fear to trouble, and chiefly despair to do good, greatly
sider the great charge joined to us of Almighty God, and BOOK the strait account that we have to make for the right use and 11. true dispensation of his mysteries, I find no comparison that might justly move any Christian to doubt of the better of these two choises. Only, that which maketh a shew for the maintenance of that apparel, is the opinion of indifferency. Which thing he that wil persuade, must then prove that it tendeth to God's glory, consenteth with his word, edifieth his Church, maintaineth Christian liberty. Which conditions and circumstances if they want, the thing which other-44 wise by nature is indifferent, doth degenerate and become hurtful. But how can God's glory be advanced by those garments which superstitious men and Antichrist have invented for the maintaining and beautifying of idolatry? What agrément can mens superstitious inventions have with : the eternal word of God? What edification can there be, where the Spirit of God is grieved, Christ's little ones discouraged, the weak brethren brought in doubt of religion, the wicked Papist confirmed in his error, and a door of new set open to al Popish traditions and Antichristian impiety?
Neither can any cal this Christian liberty, where a yoke is laid on the disciples neck, where the conscience is clogged, true preachers threatned, the course of God's word stayed, the congregation spoiled of godly and learned Pastors, the sacraments brought under subjection of idolatrous and superstitious vestments.
Therefore, my Lord, where either the former conditions want, or those latter be annexed, I cannot cal it a thing merely indifferent. S. Augustin writing of things indifferent saith, Quæ non sunt contra fidem, neque contra bonos mores, et habent aliquid ad exhortationem vitæ melioris, ubicunque institui videmus, vel instituta cognoscimus ; non solum non improbemus, sed etiam laudando et imitando sectemur, si aliquorum infirmitas non ita impeditur, ut amplius detrimentum sit. Here Augustin requireth two points in things indifferent; that they induce to a better life, and so serve to edification : next, that we beware lest any offence come therby, or any weak consciences be hindred in the doctrines of
BOOK religion. And a little after he addeth these words, Omnia
itaque talia, quæ neque sanctarum Scripturarum auctoritatibus continentur, nec in Conciliis Episcoporum statuta, inveniuntur, nec consuetudine universa Ecclesiæ roborata sunt, sed universorum locorum moribus mirabiliter variantur, ita ut vix aut omnino nunquam inveniri possunt cause, quas in iis constituendis homines secuti sunt, ubi facultas tribuitur, sine ulla dubitatione resecanda existimo.
I might with divers examples and testimonies prove, that things which of themselves have been or are indifferent, by circumstance and abusing become evil. But I would be loth to be tedious to your Lordship, seeing that for your own part you are fully perswaded herein. Yet a few I trust wil not be impertinent. What thing is more requisite for sundry causes in this life than fasting? And for the days and time, what can be more indifferent ? Yet if by the observation of days and appointing of time we
should confirm the opinion of the wicked, and so give consent Ep. 86.
to them, we were to be reproved : as S. Augustin witnesseth, writing after this sort, Die Dominico jejunare scandalum est magnum, maximè postquam innotuit detestabilis, multumque fidei Catholicæ Scripturisque divinis aptissime contraria hæresis Manichæorum, qui suis auditoribus jejunandum istum tanquam legitimum constituerunt diem. I refer the application therof to your godly judgment. Tertullian, in his book De Corona Militis, defendeth the cause of a soldier that was zealous for the glory of God, and would not wear a garland on his head, as the rest of his fellows did, lest he should seem to consent with idolaters, and so bring true religion into doubt. And whereas many of the Christians misliked of this soldier's fact, which for so smal a trifle would hazzard the Emperor's favour, and so venture
his life, saying, that to wear the garland was not against the Tertull. de Scriptures, Tertullian, who justified this zealous fact, an
swereth on the soldier's behalf, saying, Si idem dicerem coronari licere, quia non prohibeat Scriptura, retorquebitur, ideo coronari non licere, quia Scriptura non jubeat. I omit on purpose many notable places of this ancient Father for
brevity sake.. Concilium primum Toletanum, cap. 5. or- BOOK dains, that in baptism should be used but once dipping, lest_ they should seem to consent with the heretics, which used Concil. 1. to dip the child thrice: and sending to Gregory for his Tolet. 5. counsel herein, they received his answer, Propter vitandum schismatis scandalum, vel hæretici dogmatis, unam simplicem teneamus Baptismi mersionem, ne videantur apud nos, qui tertio mergunt, hæreticorum approbare assertionem, dum sequuntur et morem.
Thus your Lordship may see, that to use the outward shew and maner of the wicked, is to approve their false doctrin. God forbid, that we, by wearing the Popish attyre, as 45 a thing but indifferent, should seem therby to consent to their blasphemies and heresies. S. Hierom, upon the place of Hieron. in
Ezek. cap. Ezek. cap. xliv. Caput suum non radent, neque comam nu- xliv, trient, writeth on this sort, Perspicuè demonstratur nec ra-, sis capitibus, sicut Sacerdotes cultores Isidis atque Serapis, nos esse debere, nec rursum comam demittere, quod proprium luxuriosorum, barbarorumque, et militantium est, sed ut honestus habitus Sacerdotum facie demonstretur. These godly Fathers, with one consent, seeking the oppressing of hypocrisy and superstition, and the advancement of the Gospel, confess that al agrements and outward similitude with idolatry, is so far from indifferency, that it is rather pernicious.
But they say, that this apparel serveth not to set forth Papistry, but is reserved as a thing merely tending to the conservation of policy ; Vox tantum est, præterea nihil. Surely, my Lord, it may seem to be a very poor policy to think by this means to change the nature of superstition, or to deck the spouse of Christ with the ornaments of the Babylonical strumpet, or to force the true preachers to be like in outward shew to the Papists, Christ's enemies. Almighty God would not permit his people in the old Law to retain any of the Gentile maners for policy, but expresly commanded, that they should not be like unto them : and therefore should destroy whatsoever thing pertained to their idolatry and superstition. And in the time of the Gospel our Savi
BOOK our Christ thought it not policy either to wear the Pharisa
_ical robes himself, or to suffer any of his Apostles to do it; but he doth sharply speak against it, as a thing altogether superstitious. If in the civil state it be great disorder to make no distinction between the good and honest citizens and the wicked unthrifts, it must certainly be a more confusion in the spiritual state, to make no difference between a preaching pastor, and a Popish mass-monger. When I consider how Jeroboam maintained his calves in Dan and Bethel, under this persuadable name of policy, it makes me to tremble so often as I see the Pope-like ornaments avouched and set forth under the vizzard and countenance of policy. For if policy may cloak Papistry and superstition, then may crowns and crosses, oil and cream, images and candles, palmes and beads, with such like baggage, ab inferis revocari, and so claim a place again by virtue of this policy. But let us term it as we list, yet the thing it self must be considered, and not the name only. For a thing that of it self is good, cannot by an evil man be made naught; neither can a thing that is evil be commendable by a good man. To cal black white, maketh not the black, for so terming it, to lose his nature. Yea, the Prophet crieth, Ve! qui dicitis malum bonum. I read in Epiphanius, that the learned father Origenes, being forced by occasion to come before the image of Serapis at Athens, was commanded to deliver boughs of palm-trees to them that worshipped the idol. Whereunto he did not unwillingly consent, thinking to have coloured the matter by a fair title or policy, Venito, incipito, non frondes simulachrorum, sed frondes Christi. But the thing being like, the title nothing availed him, as after appeared to his great grief and shame. For the malicious idolaters, seeing him entangled with this absurdity, ceased not til they had brought him to a farther inconvenience. But the confessor and godly martyr did excommunicate him. This example teacheth us to embrace the truth with simplicity, and to detest al dissimulation and counterfeiting of things, under the opinion of wel doing.
S. Jerom giveth a good rule for the trial of such things,