[Article XIV(VII): Of Church Government]
Written in Latin by Philip Melanchthon (1531)
Translated from the Latin into German by Justus Jonas (1531)
English Translation by Ambrose and Socrates Henkel (1851), Revised by W. F. Lehmann (1854)
Link to Bente/Dau Translation from Latin (1921)
[1(24)] The fourteenth article, in which we say, that no one should be permitted to preach, or to administer the Sacraments in the church, except those only who are duly called, they accept, provided that we mean by this the call of priests, who are ordained or consecrated according to the canons. On this subject, we have several times declared in this convention, that we are most willing to assist in maintaining the old ecclesiastical regulations, and episcopal government, which is called canonica politia, provided the bishops would tolerate our doctrine, and receive our priests.
[2(25)] But the bishops have hitherto persecuted and murdered our ministers contrary to their own laws. Nor have we as yet been able to induce them to desist from this tyranny. Our opponents are, therefore, to blame that the bishops are not obeyed, [3(26)] and we are excused before God and all pious men. For since the bishops will not tolerate our divines, unless they reject the doctrine which we profess, and which we are bound before God to confess and maintain, we cannot recognize the bishops, and prefer to obey God, [4(27)]knowing that the Christian church is, wherever the Word of God is correctly taught. Let the bishops see to it, how they can answer for the distraction and devastation of the churches, by such tyranny.