Seeing that Christ Jesus is he whom God the Father hath commanded only to be heard and followed of his sheep, we judge it necessary, that his gospel be truly and openly preached in every church and assembly of this realm; and that all doctrine regnant to the same be utterly repressed, as damnable to man’s salvation.
The Explication of the First Head
1. Lest upon this generality ungodly men take occasion to cavil, we add this explication. By preaching of the gospel, we understand not only the Scriptures of the New Testament, but also of the Old, to wit, the Law, Prophets, and Histories in which Christ Jesus is no less contained in figure, them we have him now expressed in verity: And therefore with the Apostle we affirm, that all Scripture inspired of God is profitable to instruct, to reprove, and to exhort. In which books of the Old And New Testaments we affirm, that all thing necessary for the instruction of the church and to make the man of God perfect, is contained and sufficiently expressed.
2. By the contrary doctrine we understand whatsoever men by laws, councils, or constitutions, have imposed upon the consciences of men, without the express commandment of God’s word, such as be the vows of chastity, forswearing of marriage, bind of men and women to several and distinguished apparels, to the superstitious observance of fasting days, difference of meat for conscience sake, prayer for the dead; and keeping of fly days of certain saints commanded by men, such as be all those that the Papists have invented, as the Feasts (as they term them) of the Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins, of Christmas, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification, and other fond Feasts of our Lady, Which things because in God’s Scriptures they nether have commandment nor assurance, we judge them utterly to be abolished from this realm; affirming farther, that the obstinate maintainers and teachers of such abominations ought not the escape the punishment of the civil magistrate (spelling modernized).