What Do We Owe to the Reformation?
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Our lot is cast in days when it is the fashion to despise everything that is old. There is a morbid readiness to throw aside all things which bear about them the least mark of antiquity, and to treat them with as little respect as last year’s almanacs or worn-out clothes. The only exceptions I can think of are, old lace, old coins, old pictures, and old wine! But as a general rule, old opinions and old institutions are often condemned as useless lumber, and shovelled out of the way, simply because they are old.
Now, I am not one of those who object to all changes and reform of old things. Nothing of the kind. I heartily thank God for most of the changes of the last half-century, whether political, or social, or scientific, or educational. I should not be an honest man if I did not declare my conviction that on the whole they are great improvements. But there is one subject about which I cannot take up new views, and that subject is the English Reformation. I cannot agree with those who now tell us that the Reformation was a blunder—that the Reformers are overpraised—that Protestantism has done this country no good—and that it would matter little if England placed her neck once more under the foot of the Pope of Rome. Against these new-fangled opinions I enter my solemn protest. I want no departure from the old Protestant paths which were made by Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, three hundred years ago. In short, about the value of the English Reformation I want no new views. I unhesitatingly affirm that the “old are better.”
Author: J.C. Ryle
Publisher: Protestant Truth Society
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