From “A Homily on the Right Use of the Church,” Second Book of Homilies (1571)

In several places in the gospels, we read that Jesus went through Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Mark 1:14-39). These passages show us Christ’s diligence in his continual preaching and teaching. In Luke, we read how Jesus, according to his custom, came into the temple, and how the book of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and how he read a passage there and gave a sermon on that passage. In Luke, chapter 19, we find Jesus teaching in the temple daily. And it is written in John, chapter 8, that Jesus came once again early in the morning into the temple and all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. In John, chapter 18, our Savior testifies before Pilate that he had spoken opening to the world and that he always taught in the synagogue and in the temple where all the Jews visit and gather, and that he did nothing in secret. And in St. Luke’s Gospel, we read that Jesus taught in the temple and all the people came early in the morning to him that they might hear him in the temple. Here we see the diligence of our Savior in teaching the word of God in the temple daily and especially on the Sabbath. And, likewise, we also see how ready the people were to gather early in the morning in the temple to hear him. This same example of diligence in preaching we find in the apostles and, again, we find the people resorting to them (Acts 5). Even after being whipped and scourged and commanded by the high priest to cease preaching in the name of Jesus, we find them going to the temple early the very next morning to teach and declare Jesus Christ.

The two Books of Homilies (1547 & 1571) were written to teach the reformed doctrine of the Church of England in local congregations, and were originally appointed to be read out during worship by parish priests, few of whom originally had licenses to preach. The Second Book of Homilies was mostly the work of Bishop John Jewel of Salisbury (1522-1571), a noted polemical theologian, who wrote the first major defense of the Church of England’s structure and worship.