網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Christ.' For that marriage should be among them,” the Waldenses, “as it is among us, their state and condition does not allow. In the meantime, it is sufficient, that what is lawful to all, is not taught to be sin to any, and is believed, without injury to individual faith and conscience."*

In a letter, 1535, to these same brethren of the Waldenses in Bohemia, MELANCTHON thus writes:

* Sed nunc prodeunt non paulo cultiores et liberiores, ne dicam etiam, illustriores et meliores ut sperem non ingratos neque inamabiles fore omnibus vere Christianis, ita, ut sperem et gratias nos agere oporteat quam maximas Deo et Patri D. N. Jesu Christi, qui secundum divitias gloriæ suæ jussit è tenebris splendescere lumen hoc verbi sui, quo denuo in nobis destrueret morteni et illuminaret vitan : et gratulari tum illis, tum nobis, quod qui inter nos ipsos quoque longè fuimus, destrucs to nunc interstitio suspicionis, quo nobis mutuo hæretici videbamur, facti sumus prope, et reducti simul sumus in unum ovile sub unum illum Pastorem et Episcopum animarum nostrarum, qui est benedictus in secula. Amen.

Quod si quæ differentiæ in hac eorum Confessione occurrent de ritibus et ceremoniis, vel de cælibatu, meminerimus nunquam fuisse, neque potuisse omnium Ecclesiarum omnes ritus et observationes esse æquales vel casdeni. Id enim non permittunt hominum, regionum, temporum rationes et varietates, modo salva sit doctrina fidei et morum. Ilæc enim debet esse eadem, ut Paulus sæpe monet. Idem dicatis (inquit) omnes. as, Ut uno ore honorificetis Deum et Patrem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi. Nam ut conjugium sit apud eos eo modo liberum, ut apud nos, non sinit eorum status et conditio: Interim satis est, quod cuilibet licitum, et nulli peccatum esse docetur, et creditur salva unius cujusque fide et conscientia. Comnendo igitur in Domino omnibus piis et hanc Confessionem Fratrum, in qua videbunt clare quanta injuria hactenus a Papistis fuerint damnati et vexati. Præf. ad Conf. Bohem. Synt. part r.

279.

1

* Since we agree in the principai articles of Christian doctrine, let us embrace each other with mutual love. Nor ought dissimilitude and variety of rites and ceremonies to sever our affections. Paul often discourses concerning ceremonies, and forbids Christians to fall out on account of their variety, although the world fight furiously about them.*

“ As to my own feelings toward you, be assured, that I most earnestly wish that thosc who love the gospel, and desire to glorify the name of Christ, would cultivate mutual love to each other; and so, by their common endeavours, make their doctrine redound to the glory of Christ, that they may not destroy themselves by domestick feuds and discords, especially on account of things for which it is not necessary to excite disturbance."

By " things for which Christians ought not to raise disturbance,” Melancthon evidently understands all things which belong not to the principal articles of Christian doctrine.”

* “ Cum de præcipuis articulis Doctrinæ Christianæ inter nos constet, complectamur nos mutuo amore. Neque dissimilitudo et varietas ritrum et cæremoniarum disjungere debet mentes nostras. Sæpe Paulus concionatur de cæremoniis, et prohibet Christianos dissidere propter varietatem ritum et cæremoniarum, quamvis mundus propter cæremonias vehementer pugnet.

IB, p. 280.

But among all the reformers, no one stands forth a more conspicuous advocate for Catholick communion than JOHN CALVIN.*

His Institutes of the Christian religion, first published in 1536, and dedicated to FRANCIS the I. of France, are a professed commentary upon thai little doctrinal abstract, called “the apostles' creed.” On the article concerning the “ Holy Catholic church, and the communion of saints," which forms the basis of his fourth book, he discusses, at length, in his first chapter, this whole subject of church-communion. He refutes the arguments which are used at this hour, for sepa- , rate communions-And he maintains, with that point and decision which so eminently characterize his pien, that it is not lawful, but most unlawfalsubversive of Christian unity, and an affront

* The Paul of the Reformation. Had any thing been wantingin his own writings, in the opinion of his contemporaries, in his influenee with the political and ecclesiastical cabinets of Protestant Europe, ind in the dread and terrour of the Papists; to evince the greatness af this extraordinary man, it would have been supplied by the rancorous malignity which assailed him during his life; and which has been bardly, if at all, abated by his death. His very name seems at this day to blister the tribes of errour in all its gradations; and to form a solitary exception to the reverence which the world entertains for departed genius. More then two hundred and fifty years have elapsed since he went to join the apostle whom he so much resembled, in the kingdom of God; and there is hardly an enemy to the truth, of whatcyer size, who doe9 not think it incumbent on him to derive impor: tance from a gird," at the memory of CALVIN,

to the majesty in the hearens, lo rithdraw, upo! any pretext whatever, from communion with other churches which are sound in the substanta tial faith.

Nothing could more ornament this work than the insertion of his entire chapter. But as it would extend to at least fifty pages, which would far exceed the limits of quotation; and as it is, like the most of his writings, too dense for abridgement, the reader must put up with a passage or t:vo, merely as a specimen, and be relorred to the chapter itself for more full satisfaction.

" Where the preached gospel is reverently heard, and the sacraments are not neglected, there, during such time, there is no deceitful nor ambiguous appearance of a church, of which no man is permitted to despise the authority, to disregard the admonitions, to resist the advices, or to mock the chasiisements: much less to revolt from her, and to break her unity. For the Lord lays so much stress upon communion with his church, as to account that man a fugitive and a deserter from religion, who shall contumaciously alienate himself from any Christian society achich only cherishes the true ministry of the wore! and sacraments. He so recommends her authori. ty, as to reckon the yiolation thereof a diminution of his own," which 1 Tim. 3. 15. Eph. 1.

לל

23. 5. 27. are produced to prove. Calvin then proceeds, “Whence it follows, that a departure from the church is a denial of God and of Christ. Wherefore, we ought to be the more on our guard against so wicked a dissention. Because, while we endeavour, as much as in us lies, to effect the ruin of God's truth, we deserve to be crushed by the lightnings of his wrath. A more atrocious crime cannot be imagined, than to violate, with sacrilegious perfidy, the conjugal union which the only begotten Son of God has deigned to contract with us."*

Again. “Our assertion, that the pure ministry of the word and the pure celebration of the

* Ubi reverenter auditur Evangelii prædicatio, neque Sacramenta negliguntur, illic pro eo tempore neque fallax neque ambigua Ecclesiæ apparet facies: cujus vel auctoritatem spernere, vel monita res. puere, vel consiliis refragari, vel castigationes ludere, neminį impune licet: multo ninus ab ea deficere, ac ejus abrumpere unitatem, Tanti cnim Ecclesiæ suæ communionem facit Dominus, ut pro transfuga et desertore religionis habeat, quicunque se a qualibet Christiana societate, quæ modo verum verbi ac sacramentorum ministerium colat, contumaciter alienarit. Sic ejus auctoritatem commendat, ut dum illa violatur, suam ipsius imminutam censeat. -Unde sequitur, discessionem ab Ecclesia, Dei et Christi abnegationem esse : quo magis e tam scelerato dissidio cavendum est: quia dum veritatis Dei ruinam, quantum in nobis egt, molimur, digni sumus ad quos conterendos toto iræ suæ iinpetu fulminet. Nec ullum atrocius fingi crimen potest, quam sacrilega perfidia violare conjugium quod nobiscum unigenitus Dei fili. us contrahere dignatus est.

CALVINI, Ifst. Lib. IV. c. 1.8 10.

« 上一頁繼續 »