In order rightly to appreciate the position of those…Branches of the Church, of which we are severally members, it will be necessary that you should fully understand the principles upon which the great work of the Reformation was conducted, and what it really effected. This is far too wide a subject for me to do more than just glance at; but I would wish you carefully to note that it was not a work completed at once, or by one generation of men; and that it resulted in two inestimable blessings, which we now possess as our inheritance, which have preserved to us “the truth once delivered to the saints,” and which, I trust, we shall faithfully hand down to those that come after.
The first and greatest of these blessings was The Bible, which now once more received its due reverence and regard; and, having been translated into the language known and used by the people, was placed by command in all churches and places of public worship, that it might be read by all for their guidance and comfort, and be referred to by all who, respecting any matters of faith or doctrine, wished to “search the Scriptures to see whether these things were so.” [Acts xvii. 11.] And it is the great excellence of the Church, to which we belong, that, in all her formularies and articles, she shrinks from no inquiry, and fears no comparison with the written Word; and teaches expressly, in her Sixth Article, that “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”
The other blessing I refer to is “the Book of Common Prayer,” which serves not only as our guide and assistant in public worship, and in most simple and spiritual language leads us with one mind and one voice to praise and worship God; but it also provides us with Confessions of Faith, and standards of doctrinal truth, by means of which the maintenance of a full and pure system of Christian belief is always preserved, and the Gospel-message necessarily set forth before men.
The weakness of man is so extreme, the temptation to evil so great, and false doctrine so agreeable to our natural inclination, that we may truly bless God that we have not been left, each of us to search out for himself, without such a guide to help us, the great and essential truths contained in the Word of God.
Read it all.