The Book of Common Prayer … how did the Book of Common Prayer emerge, and how was it received in the Church of Ireland?
The Church of Ireland Theological Institute
MTh Year II
TH 8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context:
Thursdays: 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon, The Hartin Room.
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Anglican Studies (3.2):
Contextual understandings (1): the emergence, role and authority of the Book of Common Prayer, the Homilies, Articles of Religion.
The Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Reformation
The historical position of Anglicanism on the Eucharist is found in Article 28 of the 39 Articles (1571), which state ‘the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ’ and that ‘the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.’ The capitalisation of the terms ‘Bread’ and ‘Wine’ and the corresponding words ‘Body’ and ‘Blood’ may reflect the wide range of theological beliefs about the Eucharist among Anglicans.
The Articles also state that adoration, or worship per se, of the consecrated elements was not commanded by Christ and that those who receive unworthily do not actually receive Christ but rather their own condemnation.
The unfolding of the Anglican reformation of the liturgy can be traced through the following events:
● The decision to set up Coverdale’s English translation of the Bible in every church in England (1536).
● The publication of the Ten Articles (1536).
● Latimer’s call for baptism and matrimony in English (1536).
● In 1538 it was stipulated that the Bible should be placed in every church, that the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the 10 Commandments should recited in English, and that no-one should be admitted to Holy Communion without having learnt them.
● The publication of the Six Articles in June 1539, reaffirming traditional beliefs, including transubstantiation, communion in one kind, private confession, clerical celibacy and monastic vows.
● By 1542, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) of Canterbury was suggesting that the traditional service books should be revised.
● A ruling in 1543 that there should be one use of the liturgy throughout the realm.
● The first English-language Exhortation and Litany was introduced in 1544. This Litany was the first English-language service. Introduced at the time of the English invasion of France, it included a three-fold invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints. The collects at the end included one introduced from the Byzantine liturgy of the east – the so-called Prayer of Saint Chrysostom, which became a classic of Prayer Book spirituality. This is Cranmer’s first work, the earliest English-language service book of the Church of England. It borrowed greatly from Luther’s Litany and Coverdale’s New Testament, and was the only service that might be considered ‘Protestant’ from the reign of Henry VIII.
● Edward VI succeeds his father on the throne in January 1547.
● The First Book of Homilies was published in July 1547.
● In August 1547, an instruction was issued that the Epistle and Gospel should be read from the English Bible on Sundays.
● An ‘Order for Holy Communion’ (January 1548) provided for vernacular Communion devotions during the Latin Mass, including the exhortations, confession and absolution. It introduced in English the Comfortable Words and Prayer of Humble Access, along with a formula for the administration of Holy Communion in both kinds.
● By May 1548, many parishes were singing whole services in English. Shortly after this, John Marbecke was asked to write a chant, based on mediaeval examples, to fit the new vernacular service.
● In September 1548, a group of bishops was summoned to Chertsey Abbey and Windsor to agree on ‘a uniform order of prayer’ for the Church of England.
● The first Book of Common Prayer was sanctioned by Parliament on 21 January 1549, with a requirement that it was to be used by Whitsunday, 9 June 1549.
The Book of Common Prayer
Thomas Cranmer … instrumental in producing The Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the foundational prayer book of the Church of England and of Anglicanism. It replaced the various Latin rites in different parts of England with a single compact volume in English so that ‘now from henceforth all the Realm shall have but one use.’
The Book of Common Prayer was drastically revised in 1552, and it was more subtly changed in 1559 and 1662. It remains, in law, the primary liturgical prayer book of the Church of England, although it has been largely replaced by modern prayer books, most recently Common Worship.
The work of producing English-language books for use in the liturgy was, at the outset, undertaken by Thomas Cranmer (1489-1536), Archbishop of Canterbury (1533-1556) during the reign of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
Cranmer’s objectives were two-fold:
1, To rid the church of the abuses that existed.
2, To return, as far as possible, to the pattern of worship of the early church.
It was not until Henry VIII’s death in 1547 and the accession of Edward VI that the reform gathered pace. Cranmer finished his work on an English Holy Communion rite in 1548, obeying an order of Parliament that Holy Communion was to be given as both bread and wine. The service existed as an addition to the pre-existing Latin Mass.
It was included, one year later, in 1549, in the full prayer book, set out with a daily office, readings for Sundays and Holy Days, the Communion Service, Public Baptism, of Confirmation, of Matrimony, The Visitation of the Sick, At a Burial and the Ordinal (added in 1550).
In his preface, Cranmer explained why a new prayer book was necessary: ‘There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted.’
The 1549 Prayer Book describes the Holy Communion or Eucharist as ‘The Supper of the Lord and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass.’ Some notable survivors from the priests’ private prayers before Mass include the introductory Lord’s Prayer, to be prayed by the priest alone, and the Collect for Purity.
In the old Mass, the emphasis was on the offering of the bread and wine which were to become the body and blood of Christ. Now the emphasis was on the offering of thanks and praise for Christ’s one sacrifice, and the offertory included a collection for the poor.
At this stage, the congregation would move into the chancel, around the altar for Communion. In the past, people only received rarely, perhaps at Easter; now reception was inseparable from participation.
But despite the reformers’ hopes, few remained for communion, and the service often ended there. If it continued, then the Eucharistic prayer was based on the older canon of the Mass. But the intercessions served to abolish the practice of private praying. The blessing of the gifts of bread and wine included the sign of the cross and an invocation of the Holy Spirit. The words of institution were widely regarded as the consecration, with a direction that there should be no elevation. The words of administration were deliberately ambiguous.
The Book of Common Prayer (1552)
Meanwhile, stone altars were removed and replaced by wooden tables, with the direction that they were to be placed in the chancel, lengthwise, so that communicants in the chancel stalls could knell around them.
The 1552 Book of Common Prayer marked a considerable change. In response to criticisms by Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer and others, deliberate steps were taken to excise Roman Catholic practices and to introduce more Calvinist ideas to England. The Holy Communion service in the 1552 Book was yet another stage in a process that began in the 1530s.
Similarly, the 1552 services of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer were the next stage in a process that began with the first introduction of English into the Latin offices in 1543, and the two revisions of the Breviary, before the publication of the two prayer books.
The decision to proceed with liturgical revision and reform by stages expressed a concern by the Tudor monarchy for cohesion and unity, and Cranmer’s concern for the spiritual unity of the Church.
Between 1549 and 1552, Cranmer was engaged in a controversy with Bishop Stephen Gardiner on the Lord’s Supper. Cranmer expressed a respect for antiquity, yet appealed to antiquity when he thought change was needed. He drew on the liturgical works of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Cyprian, De Sacramentis, Pseudo-Dionysius, Isidore, the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and other Orthodox sources, the Mozarabic Missal, and the use of the epiclesis in the Eastern or Byzantine liturgies.
Four centuries later, the Lambeth Conference of 1958 would argue that the ‘recovery of the worship of the Primitive Church’ was ‘the aim of the compilers of the first Prayer Books of the Church of England.’ [Lambeth Conference 1958, Resolution 74 c.] But Cranmer also drew on the work of others, including Cardinal Quinones and the Lutherans.
The second prayer book was introduced in England in 1552, but it was never authorised for use in the Church of Ireland.
What changes were made to the Holy Communion service between 1549 and 1552? In the Holy Communion or the Eucharist in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer? They included:
1, Gone were the words Mass and altar; the stone altars were to be replaced by movable, wooden tables.
2, The Introit Psalm of the 1549 book was omitted.
3, Gone was the Kyrie (‘Lord have mercy’), to be replaced by the Ten Commandments, used as a kind of litany.
4, The Gloria was removed to the end [Why?].
5, After the collection for the poor came the intercessions, including a prayer ‘for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here on earth’ but no reference to the faithful departed. In this position, they could be said whether or not there was Communion, and they were not associated with the communion and its mediaeval connotations of sacrifice.
6, Gone was any reference to an offering of a ‘Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving’ in the Eucharistic prayer, which ended with the words of institution (“This is my body … This is my blood…’).
7, Then came the restructured canon: confession, absolution, the comfortable words, Sursum Corda, Preface and Sanctus, and the Prayer of Humble Access [The reason?].
8, The part of the prayer that followed, the Prayer of Oblation, was transferred, much changed, to a position after the congregation had received communion.
9, The words of institution were no longer referred to as the consecration, although this title would be restored in 1662.
10, The epiclesis, which Cranmer had introduced from patristic or Byzantine sources in 1549, was (inexplicably) omitted in 1552.
11, The words at the administration of communion in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer described the Eucharistic species as ‘The body of our Lorde Jesus Christe …,’ ‘The blood of our Lorde Jesus Christe …’ In 1552, the words of administration were replaced with the words, ‘Take, eat, in remembrance that Christ died for thee …’ &c.
12, Communion was followed by the Lord’s Prayer and either a prayer of thanksgiving or a prayer offering praise, thanksgiving and self-oblation.
13, The Peace, at which in earlier times the congregation had exchanged a greeting, was removed altogether.
14, The Gloria was said or sung before the blessing.
15, Vestments such as the stole, chasuble and cope were no longer prescribed, but only a surplice.
16, The ‘black rubric’ was introduced – this declaration on kneeling was only added after the printing process began, so it was omitted from some printed copies. It was omitted again in 1559, but was reintroduced, with changes, in 1662. But it was not an ordinary rubric, and was printed in black rather than red.
It was the final stage of Cranmer’s work of removing all elements of sacrifice from the Latin Mass.
Compared with the state of liturgy at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII, we could say that Cranmer and his Books of Common Prayer achieved the following revisions and reforms in the liturgy:
1, The language was altered from Latin to English;
2, A multiplicity of service books was reduced to one;
3, A number of regional uses was reduced to one national use;
4, The rubrics were pruned, simplified and fully integrated with the liturgical texts;
5, The lectionary was reformed;
6, Preaching was revived;
7, The congregation was given a considerable part in the services;
8, The cup was restored to the laity;
9, The practice of receiving Holy Communion once a year was challenged;
10, A new structure was given to the Mass/Holy Communion/ Eucharist;
11, The eight daily offices were combined in two (Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer);
12, The Biblical content of most services was greatly increased;
13, Traditional doctrines and practices were reformed or removed where they were seen to conflict with Biblical theology (including concept of sacrifice, transubstantiation, reservation, confessional, invocation of the saints, and petitions for the departed).
The Book of Common Prayer (1559)
Elizabeth I … ‘His was the Word that spake it: He took the bread and brake it. And what that Word did make it, I do believe and take it.’
Under Elizabeth I, the alterations of the 1559 Book of Common Prayer from the 1552 version, though minor, had major implications. Instead of banning vestments, the ‘Ornaments Rubric’ of 1559 allowed what had been used ‘in the second year of K[ing]. Edward VI.’ This allowed the more traditionalist clergy to retain some of the vestments they felt were appropriate to liturgical celebration. The cope and surplice remained the prescribed vesture for celebrations in cathedrals and collegiate churches, and this rubric was used in the 19th century to restore vestments such as chasubles, albs and stoles.
Some of the other changes included:
● At the administration of the Holy Communion, the words ‘the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ &c, were combined with the words of Edward’s second book, ‘Take eat in remembrance …,’ &c.
● The prohibition on kneeling at the Communion was omitted.
In addition, Elizabeth ordered the bread at Holy Communion to be “of the same fineness and fashion round, though somewhat bigger in compass and thickness, as the usual bread and wafer, heretofore named singing cakes.”
The 1559 book was regarded as offensive by some bishops, such as Bishop Stephen Gardiner, and as a break with the tradition of the Western church, and by others as too close to Rome. Still, the 1559 book offered enough to traditionalists and radical reformers to establish it at the heart of the first relatively stable Protestant state in Europe – the ‘Elizabethan settlement’ was the foundation of the Anglican via media. Elizabeth’s Eucharistic theology has been summarised in the verses ascribed to her:
His was the Word that spake it:
He took the bread and brake it
And what that Word did make it,
I do believe and take it.
In the reign of James I, the liturgical changes included altering the title of the confirmation service, limiting the administration of private baptism to those who had been ordained, adding to portion of the Catechism dealing with sacraments, and introducing new prayers of thanksgiving.
The Book of Common Prayer (1662)
A statue of Charles II outside Lichfield Cathedral … following the restoration, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer introduced a number of changes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer was printed two years after the restoration of the monarchy. With the exception of the modernisation of only the most archaic words and phrases, the actual language of 1662 changed little from that of Cranmer. But the other changes included:
1, The inclusion of the Offertory by inserting the words ‘and oblations’ into the prayer for the Church and the revision of the rubric to require the monetary offerings be brought to the Table (instead of being put in the poor box) and the bread and wine placed upon the Table. Previously it was not clear when and how bread and wine were produced.
2, A number of new rubrics, marked by greater fullness and clarity, ensuring reverent behaviour. They included providing for the restoration of the fraction (the breaking of the bread), though in a new position.
3, Despite objections, the Benedicite was retained [Why?]
4, The concept of consecration of the elements was made explicit.
5, There were new regulations about further consecration if the elements ran short.
6, After the Communion, the unused but consecrated bread and wine were to be reverently consumed in church rather than being taken away and used for any other occasion.
7, A new General Thanksgiving was provided.
8, A service of adult baptism was provided for [Why?].
9, The requirement of Episcopal ordination was made absolute.
However, the revisers did not introduce:
1, The 1637 Scottish positions of the prayer of oblation, the Lord’s Prayer and the Prayer of Humble Access;
2, The epiclesis;
3, A rubric on the positioning of the Lord’s Table or Altar.
It is often said that the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is Cranmer’s text with Laudian rubrics. Others argue that it subtly subverted Cranmer’s purposes, leaving it for generations to argue over the precise theology of the rite.
However, it would be wrong to say that because Cranmer was negligent about rubrics he did not believe in consecration, or thought Christ’s institution to consist simply of eating and drinking without thanksgiving or manual acts. In reality, he stressed the importance of thanksgiving in his third exhortation and prayer of oblation; omitted the fraction only because the incidental reference to it was misused by Stephen Gardiner; and always adhered to the idea of consecration.
The Book of Common Prayer in the Church of Ireland
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin … the Book of Common Prayer (1549) was used for the first time in Ireland here on Easter Day, 29 March 1551 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
At the time of the Reformation in England, the Church of Ireland had no convocation. And so the Reformation was introduced through government writ rather than through ecclesiastical measures.
Edward VI’s Act of Parliament which commanded that Holy Communion should be given ‘under both kinds” applied to the ‘people within the Church of England and Ireland.’ The Proclamation affixed to ‘The Order of the Communion’ (1548) made no distinction between the two countries. However, only one attempt was made to introduce the Order in Ireland. But those efforts by Bishop Edward Staples of Meath caused such uproar that both he and the other bishops took refuge in silence in the years immediately after.
Eventually, in 1551 a royal letter was sent to the Lord Deputy reminding him that the king had ‘caused the Liturgy and prayers of the Church to be translated into our mother tongue of this realm of England.’ He was instructed that the Book of Common Prayer was to be provided in English in places where English was understood.
St Leger summoned an ecclesiastical assembly of the bishops and clergy and placed the order before them. It was strongly resisted by Archbishop George Dowdall of Armagh, who left the assembly with the greater part of bishops. Those who remained included Archbishop George Browne of Dublin, Bishop Staples of Meath and three others.
On Easter Day, 29 March 1551, the first Book of Common Prayer (1549) was introduced for the first time in the Church of Ireland. This service in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, was the first occasion on which the post-Reformation liturgy in English was used in any church in Ireland. But this was a culturally significant moment in Irish life in general too, for this was the first book printed in Ireland.
St Leger also had the Book of Common Prayer translated into Latin, but instructions to have the services read in the Irish language were not followed in areas where people used Irish as their first language. In other words, the majority of people on the island was by-passed or ignored.
Only five Irish bishops, led by Archbishop George Browne of Dublin, were prepared to use The Book of Common Prayer. The Archbishop of Armagh left his diocese, saying ‘he would never be a bishop where the Holy Mass were abolished,’ and fled the country.
John Bale insisted on using the 1552 Book of Common Prayer for his consecration as Bishop of Ossory in Dublin in 1553
And so, the progress of The Book of Common Prayer in Ireland was very slow from the beginning. In the greater part of the country English was less understood than Latin. A year after the introduction of the book, in 1552, St Leger found great negligence. The old ceremonies were still being used in many places, even in English-speaking cities and towns.
The second Book of Common Prayer (1552) was never authorised for use in Ireland, and its only recoded use was when John Bale (1495-1563), a former Carmelite friar, insisted on using it for his consecration as Bishop of Ossory in Dublin on 2 February 1553, although during the service the Dean of Christ Church, Thomas Lockwood, protested against the use of the revised office.
The 1559 Book of Common Prayer in Ireland
In January 1560, the Irish Parliament introduced the 1559 Book of Common Prayer with the passing of the Act of Uniformity. The 1559 book was printed in both English and Latin, but not in Irish. The Latin translations were made in 1560 and 1571. Eventually, the 39 Articles were accepted by the Irish Convocation in 1634.
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer in Ireland
In 1665, the 1662 book was annexed to the Irish Act of Uniformity, having already been approved by the Irish Convocations, and this book, with a few minor differences, served the Church of Ireland, until a separate revised Book of Common Prayer was approved in 1878.
The 39 Articles in The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ireland (2004), pp 778-789:
Articles of Religion
Agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of both provinces and the whole Clergy, in the Convocation holden at London in the year 1562 for the avoiding of the diversities of opinions, and for the establishment of consent touching true religion.
Received and approved by the Archbishops and Bishops, and the rest of the Clergy in Ireland, in the Synod holden in Dublin, A.D. 1634.
Received and approved by the Archbishops and Bishops, and the Clergy and the laity of the Church of Ireland, in the Synod holden in Dublin, A.D., 1870.
1. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
2. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
3. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.
As Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed, that he went down into Hell.
4. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.
5. Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
6. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
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 the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The First Book of Esdras, The Second Book of Esdras, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the greater, Twelve Prophets the less.
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
The Third Book of Esdras, The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Tobias, The Book of Judith, The rest of the Book of Esther, The Book of Wisdom, Jesus the Son of Sirach, Baruch the Prophet, The Song of the Three Children, The Story of Susanna, Of Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasses, The First Book of Maccabees, The Second Book of Maccabees.
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
7. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
8. Of the Creeds.
The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’ Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.
9. Of Original or Birth-Sin.
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, phrónema sarkós, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
10. Of Free-Will.
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
11. Of the Justification of Man.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
12. Of Good Works.
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
13. Of Works before Justification.
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
14. Of Works of Supererogation.
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
15. Of Christ alone without Sin.
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
16. Of Sin after Baptism.
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
17. Of Predestination and Election.
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
18. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
19. Of the Church.
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.
20. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
21. Of the Authority of General Councils.
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God), they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.
22. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
23. Of Ministering in the Congregation.
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.
24. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.
25. Of the Sacraments.
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
26. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.
27. Of Baptism.
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed, Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
28. Of the Lord’s Supper.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
29. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
30. Of both Kinds.
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
31. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.
32. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.
33. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.
34. Of the Traditions of the Church.
It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.
35. Of the Homilies.
The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of the Homilies.
1 Of the right Use of the Church.
2 Against Peril of Idolatry.
3 Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
4 Of good Works: first of Fasting.
5 Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
6 Against Excess of Apparel.
7 Of Prayer.
8 Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
9 That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
10 Of the reverent Estimation of God’s Word.
11 Of Alms-doing.
12 Of the Nativity of Christ.
13 Of the Passion of Christ.
14 Of the Resurrection of Christ.
15 Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
16 Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
17 For the Rogation days.
18 Of the State of Matrimony.
19 Of Repentance.
20 Against Idleness.
21 Against Rebellion.
36. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering: neither hath it anything, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
37. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.
The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.
Where we attribute to the King’s Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not our Princes the ministering either of God’s Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.
It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.
38. Of Christian Men’s Goods, which are not common.
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
39. Of a Christian Man’s Oath.
As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's teaching in justice, judgement, and truth.
The 104 Articles of the Church of Ireland, 1604:
ARTICLES OF RELIGION agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops and the rest of the clergy of Ireland
In the Convocation held at Dublin in the year of our Lord God 1615, for the avoiding of Diversities of Opinions, and the establishing of consent touching true Religion.
Of the Holy Scripture and the three Creeds.
1. The ground of our Religion, and rule of faith and all saving truth is the word of God contained in the Holy Scripture.
2. By the name of Holy Scripture we understand all the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, namely:
Of the Old Testament Of the New Testament
The 5 Books of Moses
The first and second of Samuel
The first and second of Kings
The first and second of Chronicles
The Song of Solomon
Jeremiah, his Prophecy and Lamentation
The 12 Minor Prophets
The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
The Acts of the Apostles
The Epistle of S. Paul to the Romans
The Epistle of S. James
Saint Peter, 2
Saint John, 3.
The Revelation of S. John
All which we acknowledge to be given by the inspiration of God, and in that regard to be of most certain credit and highest authority.
3. The other Books commonly called Apocryphal did not proceed from such inspiration and therefore are not of sufficient authority to establish any point of doctrine; but the Church doth read them as Books containing many worthy things for example of life and instruction of manners.
Such are these following:
• The third book of Esdras.
• The fourth book of Esdras.
• The book of Tobias.
• The book of Judith.
• Additions to the book of Esther.
• The book of Wisdom.
• The book of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, called Ecclesiasticus.
• Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah.
• The song of the three Children.
• Bel and the Dragon.
• The prayer of Manasses.
• The First book of Maccabees.
• The Second book of Maccabees.
4. The Scriptures ought to be translated out of the original tongues into all languages for the common use of all men: neither is any person to be discouraged from reading the Bible in such a language as he doth understand, but seriously exhorted to read the same with great humility and reverence, as a special means to bring him to the true knowledge of God and of his own duty.
5. Although there be some hard things in the Scripture (especially such as have proper relation to the times in which they were first uttered, and prophesies of things which were afterwards to be fulfilled), yet all things necessary to be known unto everlasting salvation are clearly delivered therein: and nothing of that kind is spoken under dark mysteries in one place, which is not in other places spoken more familiarly and plainly to the capacity of learned and unlearned.
6. The holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation, and are able to instruct sufficiently in all points of faith that we are bound to believe, and all good duties that we are bound to practice.
7. All and every the Articles contained in the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Athanasius, and that which is commonly called the “Apostles” Creed ought firmly to be received and believed, for they may be proved by most certain warrant of holy Scripture.
Of faith in the holy Trinity.
8. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons of one and the same substance, power, and eternity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
9. The essence of the Father doth not beget the essence of the Son; but the person of the Father begetteth the person of the Son by communicating his whole essence to the person begotten from eternity.
10. The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
Of God’s eternal decree, and Predestination.
11. God from all eternity did by his unchangeable counsel ordain whatsoever in time should come to pass: yet so, as thereby no violence is offered to the wills of the reasonable creatures, and neither the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established rather.
12. By the same eternal counsel God hath predestinated some unto life, and reprobated some unto death: of both which there is a certain number, known only to God, which can neither be increased nor diminished.
13. Predestination to life, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed in his secret counsel to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.
14. The cause moving God to predestinate unto life, is not the foreseeing of faith, or perseverance, or good works, or of any thing which is in the person predestinated, but only the good pleasure of God himself. For all things being ordained for the manifestation of his glory, and his glory being to appear both in the works of his Mercy and of his Justice; it seemed good to his heavenly wisdom to choose out a certain number towards whom he would extend his undeserved mercy, leaving the rest to be spectacles of his justice.
15. Such as are predestinated unto life be called according unto God’s purpose (his Spirit working in due season) and through grace they obey the calling, they be justified freely, they be made sons of God by adoption, they be made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by Gods mercy they attain to everlasting felicity. But such as are not predestinated to salvation shall finally be condemned for their sins.
16. The godlike consideration of Predestination and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things: as well because it doth greatly confirm and establish their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: and on the contrary side, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s predestination is very dangerous.
17. We must receive God’s promises in such wise as they be generally set forth unto us in holy Scripture; and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.
Of the creation and government of all things.
18. In the beginning of time when no creature had any being, God by his word alone, in the space of six days, created all things, and afterwards by his providence doth continue, propagate, and order them according to his own will.
19. The principal creatures are Angels and men.
20. Of Angels, some continued in that holy state wherein they were created, and are by God’s grace for ever established therein: others fell from the same, and are reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
21. Man being at the beginning created according to the image of God (which consisted especially in the Wisdom of his mind and the true Holiness of his free will) had the covenant of the law ingrafted in his heart: whereby God did promise unto him everlasting life, upon condition that he performed entire and perfect obedience unto his Commandments, according to that measure of strength wherewith he was endued in his creation, and threatened death unto him if he did not perform the same.
Of the fall of man, original sin, and the state of man before justification.
22. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death went over all men, for as much as all have sinned.
23. Original sin standeth not in the imitation of Adam (as the Pelagians dream) but is the fault and corruption of the nature of every person that naturally is engendered and propagated from Adam: whereby it cometh to pass that man is deprived of original righteousness, and by nature is bent unto sin. And therefore, in every person born into the world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation.
24. This corruption of nature doth remain even in those that are regenerated, whereby the flesh always lusteth against the spirit, and cannot be made subject to the law of God. And howsoever, for Christ’s sake there be no condemnation to such as are regenerate and do believe: yet doth the Apostle acknowledge that in itself this concupiscence hath the nature of sin.
25. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasing and acceptable unto God without the grace of God preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.
26. Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit are not pleasing unto God, for as much as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School Authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done in such sort as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they are sinful.
27. All sins are not equal, but some far more heinous than others; yet the very least is of its own nature mortal, and without God’s mercy maketh the offender liable unto everlasting damnation.
28. God is not the Author of sin: howbeit he doth not only permit, but also by his providence govern and order the same, guiding it in such sort by his infinite wisdom, as he turneth to the manifestation of his own glory and to the good of his elect.
Of Christ, the mediator of the second Covenant.
29. The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the true and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood were inseparably joined in one person, making one Christ very God and very man.
30. Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, from which he was clearly void, both in his life and in his nature. He came as a Lamb without spot to take away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself once made, and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. He fulfilled the law for us perfectly: For our sakes he endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body. He was crucified, and died to reconcile his Father unto us, and to be a sacrifice not only for original guilt, but also for all our actual transgressions. He was buried and descended into hell, and the third day rose from the dead, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature: wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, until he return to judge all men at the last day.
Of the communicating of the grace of Christ.
31. They are to be condemned that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature. For holy scripture doth set out unto us only the name of Jesus Christ whereby men must be saved.
32. None can come unto Christ unless it be given unto him, and unless the Father draw him. And all men are not so drawn by the Father that they may come unto the Son. Neither is there such a sufficient measure of grace vouchsafed unto every man whereby he is enabled to come unto everlasting life.
33. All God’s elect are in their time inseparably united unto Christ by the effectual and vital influence of the Holy Ghost, derived from him as from the head unto every true member of his mystical body. And being thus made one with Christ, they are truly regenerated and made partakers of him and all his benefits.
Of Justification and Faith.
34. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, applied by faith; and not for our own works or merits. And this righteousness, which we so receive of God’s mercy and Christ’s merits, embraced by faith, is taken, accepted, and allowed of God for our perfect and full justification.
35. Although this justification be free unto us, yet it cometh not so freely unto us that there is no ransom paid therefore at all. God showed his great mercy in delivering us from our former captivity, without requiring of any ransom to be paid, or amends to be made on our parts; which thing by us had been impossible to be done. And whereas all the world was not able of themselves to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly Father of his infinite mercy without any desert of ours, to provide for us the most precious merits of his own Son, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death. He for them fulfilled the law in his life. That now in him, and by him every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the law: forasmuch as that which our infirmity was not able to effect, Christ’s justice hath performed. And thus the justice and mercy of God do embrace each other: the grace of God not shutting out the justice of God in the matter of our justification; but only shutting out the justice of man (that is to say, the justice of our own works) from being any cause of deserving our justification.
36. When we say that we are justified by faith only, we do not mean that the said justifying faith is alone in man, without true Repentance, Hope, Charity, and the fear of God (for such a faith is dead, and cannot justify), neither do we mean that this our act to believe in Christ, nor this our faith in Christ, which is within us, doth of itself justifie us, nor deserve our justification unto us (for that were to account ourselves to be justified by the virtue or dignity of some thing that is within ourselves): but the true understanding and meaning thereof is that although we have Faith, Hope, Charitie, Repentance, and the fear of God within us and add never so many good works thereunto: yet we must renounce the merit of all our said virtues, of Faith, Hope, Charitie, and all our other virtues, and good deeds, which we either have done, shall do, or can do, as things that be far too weak and imperfect, and insufficient to deserve remission of our sins, and our justification: and therefore we must trust only in God’s mercy, and the merits of his most dearly beloved Son, our only Redeemer, Saviour, and Justifier, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, because Faith doth directly send us to Christ for our justification, and that by faith given us of God we embrace the promise of God’s mercy, and the remission of our sin (which thing none other of our virtues or works properly doth): therefore the Scripture saith, that Faith without works; and the ancient fathers of the Church to the same purpose, that only Faith doth justify us.
37. By justifying Faith we understand not only the common belief of the Articles of Christian Religion, and a persuasion of the truth of God’s word in general: but also a particular application of the gratuitous promises of the Gospel, to the comfort of our own souls: whereby we lay hold on Christ with all his benefits, having an earnest trust and confidence in God that he will be merciful unto us for his only Son’s sake. So that a true believer may be certain, by the assurance of faith, of the forgiveness of his sins, and of his everlasting salvation by Christ.
38. A true, lively, justifying faith, and the sanctifying Spirit of God is not extinguished nor vanisheth away in the regenerate, either finally or totally.
Of sanctification and good workes.
39. All that are justified are likewise sanctified: their faith being always accompanied with true Repentance and good Works.
40. Repentance is a gift of God, whereby a godly sorrow is wrought in the heart of the faithful for offending God their merciful Father by their former transgressions, together with a constant resolution for the time to come to cleave unto God and to lead a new life.
41. Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot make satisfaction for our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment: yet are they pleasing to God, and accepted of him in Christ, and do spring from a true and lively faith, which by them is to be discerned as a tree by the fruit.
42. The works which God would have his people to walk in are such as he hath commanded in his holy Scripture, and not such works as men have devised out of their own brain, of a blind zeal and devotion, without the warrant of the word of God.
43. The regenerate cannot fulfil the law of God perfectly in this life. For in many things we offend all: and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
44. Not every heinous sin willingly committed after baptism is sin against the holy Ghost and unpardonable. And therefore to such as fall into sin after baptism, place for repentance is not to be denied.
45. Voluntary works besides, over, and above Gods commandments, which they call works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogance and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required.
Of the service of God.
46. Our duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, to worship him, and to give him thanks, to put our whole trust in him, to call upon him, to honour his holy Name and his word, and to serve him truly all the days of our life.
47. In all our necessities we ought to have recourse unto God by prayer: assuring ourselves that whatsoever we ask of the Father in the name of his Son (our only mediator and intercessor) Christ Jesus, and according to his will, he will undoubtedly grant it.
48. We ought to prepare our hearts before we pray, and understand the things that we ask when we pray: that both our hearts and voices may together sound in the ears of God’s Majesty.
49. When almighty God smiteth us with affliction, of some great calamity hangeth over us, or any other weighty cause so requireth; it is our duty to humble ourselves in fasting, to bewail our sins with a sorrowful heart, and to addict ourselves to earnest prayer, that it might please God to turn his wrath from us, or supply us with such graces as we greatly stand in need of.
50. Fasting is a with-holding of meat, drink, and all natural food, with other outward delights, from the body for the determined time of fasting. As for those abstinences which are appointed by public order of our state, for eating of fish and forbearing of flesh at certain times and days appointed, they are no way meant to be religious fasts, nor intended for the maintenance of any superstition in the choice of meats, but are grounded merely upon politic considerations for provision of things tending to the better preservation of the Commonwealth.
51. We must not fast with this persuasion of mind, that our fasting can bring us to heaven, or ascribe holiness to the outward work wrought. For God alloweth not our fast for the work’s sake (which of itself is a thing merely indifferent), but chiefly respecteth the heart, how it is affected therein. It is therefore requisite that first before all things we cleanse our hearts from sin, and then direct our fast to such ends as God will allow to be good: that the flesh may thereby be chastised, the spirit may be more fervent in prayer, and that our fasting may be a testimony of our humble submission to God’s majesty, when we acknowledge our sins unto him, and are inwardly touched with sorrowfulness of heart, bewailing the same in the affliction of our bodies.
52. All worship devised by man’s fantasy, besides or contrary to the Scripture (as wandering on Pilgrimages, setting up of Candles, Stations, and Jubilees, Pharisaical sects and feigned religions, praying upon Beads, and such like superstition) hath not only no promise of reward in Scripture, but contrariwise threatenings and maledictions.
53. All manner of expressing God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in an outward form is utterly unlawful. As also all other images devised or made by man to the use of Religion.
54. All religious worship ought to be given to God alone; from whom all goodness, health, and grace ought to be both asked and looked for, as from the very author and giver of the same, and from none other.
55. The name of God is to be used with all reverence and holy respect: and therefore all vain and rash swearing is utterly to be condemned. Yet notwithstanding upon lawful occasions, an oath may be given and taken according to the word of God, justice, judgment, and truth.
56. The first day of the week, which is the Lord’s day, is wholly to be dedicated unto the service of God: and therefore we are bound therein to rest from our common and daily business, and to bestow that leisure upon holy exercises, both public and private.
Of the Civil Magistrate.
57. The King’s Majesty under God hath the Sovereign and chief power within his Realms and Dominions over all manner of persons of what estate, either Ecclesiastical or Civil, soever they be; so as no other foreign power hath or ought to have any superiority over them.
58. We do profess that the supreme government of all estates within the said Realms and Dominions in all causes, as well Ecclesiastical as Temporal, doth of right appertain to the King’s highness. Neither do we give unto him hereby the administration of the Word and Sacraments, or the power of the Keys: but that prerogative only which we see to have been always given unto all godly Princes in holy Scripture by God himself; that is, that he should contain all estates and degrees committed to his charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical of Civil, within their duty, and restrain the stubborn and evildoers with the power of the Civil sword.
59. The Pope neither of himself, nor by any authority of the Church or See of Rome, or by any other means with any other, hath any power or authority to depose the King, or dispose any of his Kingdoms or Dominions, or to authorize any other Prince to invade or annoy him or his Countries, or to discharge any of his subjects of their allegiance and obedience to his Majesty or to give license or leave to any of them to bear arms, raise tumult, or to offer any violence of hurt to his Royal person, state, or government, or to any of his subjects within his Majesty’s Dominions.
60. That Princes which be excommunicated or deprived by the Pope may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever is impious doctrine.
61. The laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences.
62. It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to bear arms, and to serve in just wars.
Of our duty towards our Neighbours.
63. Our duty towards our neighbours is to love them as ourselves, and to do to all men as we would they should do to us; to honour and obey our Superiors, to preserve the safety to men’s persons, as also their chastity, goods, and good names; to bear no malice nor hatred in our hearts; to keep our bodies in temperance, soberness, and chastity; to be true and just in all our doings; not to covet other men’s goods, but labour truly to get our own living, and to do our duty in that estate of life unto which it pleaseth God to call us.
64. For the preservation of the chastity of men’s persons, wedlock is commanded unto all men that stand in need thereof. Neither is there any prohibition by the word of God, but that the ministers of the Church may enter into the state of Matrimony: they being nowhere commanded by God’s Law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage. Therefore it is lawful also for them, as well as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.
65. The riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same: as certain Anabaptists falsely affirm. Notwithstanding every man ought of such things as he possesseth liberally to give alms to the poor according to his ability.
66. Faith given is to be kept, even with Heretics and Infidels.
67. The Popish doctrine of Equivocation & mental Reservation is most ungodly, and tendeth plainly to the subversion of all humane society.
Of the Church, and outward ministry of the Gospel.
68. There is but one Catholic Church (out of which there is no salvation) containing the universal company of all the Saints that ever were, are, or shall be gathered together in one body, under one head Christ Jesus: part whereof is already in heaven triumphant, part as yet militant here upon earth. And because this Church consisteth of all those, and those alone, which are elected by God unto salvation, and regenerated by the power of his Spirit, the number of whom is known only unto God himself; therefore it is called Catholic or universal, and the Invisible Church.
69. But particular and visible Churches (consisting of those who make profession of the faith of Christ, and live under the outward means of salvation) be many in number: wherein the more or less sincerely according to Christ’s institution, the word of God is taught, the Sacraments are administered, and the authority of the Keys is used, the more or less pure are such Churches to be accounted.
70. Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the ministration of the word & Sacraments: yet, for as much as they do not the same in their own name but in Christ’s, and minister by his commission and authority, we may use their ministry both in hearing the word and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness: nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which are effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men. Nevertheless it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church that inquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences, and finally being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.
71. It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching or ministering the Sacraments in the Church unless he be first lawfully called and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given them in the Church, to call and send ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.
72. To have public prayer in the Church, or to administer the Sacraments in a tongue not understood of the people, is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God and the custom of the Primitive Church.
73. That person which by public denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicate, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful as a Heathen and Publican until by Repentance he be openly reconciled and received into the Church by the judgment of such as have authority in that behalf.
74. God hath given power to his ministers not simply to forgive sins (which prerogative he hath reserved only to himself), but in his name to declare and pronounce unto such as truly repent and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel, the absolution and forgiveness of sins. Neither is it God’s pleasure that his people should be tied to make a particular confession of all their known sins unto any mortal man: howsoever any person grieved in his conscience, upon any special cause may well resort unto any godly and learned Minister to receive advise and comfort at his hands.
Of the authority of the Church, general Councils, and Bishop of Rome.
75. It is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s word: neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore although the Church be a witness and a keeper of holy writ: yet as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not enforce any thing to be believed upon necessity of salvation.
76. General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes; and when they be gathered together (for as much as they be an assembly of men and not always governed with the Spirit and word of God) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining to the rule of piety. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, have neither strength nor authority unless it may be shown that they be taken out of holy Scriptures.
77. Every particular Church hath authority to institute, to change, and clean to put away ceremonies and other Ecclesiastical rites as they be superfluous or be abused; and to constitute other, making more to seemliness, to order, or edification.
78. As the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in those things which concern matter of practice and point of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.
79. The power which the Bishop of Rome now challengeth, to be Supreme head of the universal Church of Christ, and to be above all Emperors, Kings and Princes, is an usurped power, contrary to the Scriptures and word of God, and contrary to the example of the Primitive Church: and therefore is for most just causes taken away and abolished within the King’s Majesty’s Realms and Dominions.
80. The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme head of the universal Church of Christ, that his works and doctrine do plainly discover him to be that man of sin, foretold in the holy Scriptures whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and abolish with the brightness of his coming.
Of the State of the Old and New Testament.
81. In the Old Testament the Commandments of the Law were more largely, and the promises of Christ more sparingly and darkly propounded, shadowed with a multitude of types and figures, and so much the more generally and obscurely delivered, as the manifesting of them was further off.
82. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New. For both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. For they looked for all benefits of God the Father through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ, as we now do: only they believed in Christ which should come, we in Christ already come.
83. The New Testament is full of grace and truth, bringing joyful tidings unto mankind, that whatsoever formerly was promised of Christ is now accomplished: and so instead of the ancient types and ceremonies, exhibiteth the things themselves, with a large and clear declaration of all the benefits of the Gospel. Neither is the ministry thereof restrained any longer to one circumcised nation, but is indifferently propounded unto all people, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. So that there is now no Nation which can truly complain that they be shut forth from the communion of Saints and the liberties of the people of God.
84. Although the Law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites be abolished, and the Civil precepts thereof be not of necessity to be received in any Commonwealth: yet notwithstanding no Christian man whatsoever is freed from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
Of the Sacraments of the New Testament.
85. The Sacraments ordained by Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession: but rather certain sure witnesses, and effectual or powerful signs of grace and God’s good will towards us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and not only quicken but also strengthen and confirm our faith in him.
86. There be two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
87. Those five which by the Church of Rome are called Sacraments, to wit, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme unction, are not to be accounted Sacraments of the Gospel: being such as have partly grown from corrupt imitation of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God, together with a promise of saving grace annexed thereunto.
88. The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect and operation; but they that receive them unworthily, thereby draw judgment upon themselves.
89. Baptism is not only an outward sign of our profession, and a note of difference whereby Christians are discerned from such as are no Christians; but much more a Sacrament of our admission into the Church, sealing unto us our new birth (and consequently our Justification, Adoption, and Sanctification) by the communion which we have with Jesus Christ.
90. The Baptism of Infants is to be retained in the Church as agreeable to the word of God.
91. In the administration of Baptism, Exorcism, Oil, Salt, Spittle, and superstitious hallowing of the water are for just causes abolished: and without them the Sacrament is fully and perfectly administered to all intents and purposes agreeable to the institution of our Saviour Christ.
Of the Lord’s Supper.
92. The Lord’s Supper is not only a sign of the mutual love which Christians ought to bear one towards another, but much more a Sacrament of our preservation in the Church, sealing unto us our spiritual nourishment and continual growth in Christ.
93. The change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ, commonly called Transubstantiation, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to plain testimonies of the Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to most gross Idolatry and manifold superstitions.
94. In the outward part of the Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ is in a most lively manner represented: being no otherwise present with the visible elements than things signified and sealed are present with the signs and seals, that is to say, symbolically and relatively. But in the inward and spiritual part the same Body and Blood is really and substantially presented unto all those who have grace to receive the Son of God, even to all those that believe in his name. And unto such as in this manner do worthily and with faith repair unto the Lord’s table, the Body and Blood of Christ is not only signified and offered, but also truly exhibited and communicated.
95. The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Lord’s Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner; and the means whereby the Body of Christ is thus received and eaten is Faith.
96. The wicked and such as want a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly (as Saint Augustine speaketh) press with their teeth the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they made partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
97. Both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, according to Christ’s institution and the practice of the ancient Church, ought to be ministered unto God’s people; and it is plain sacrilege to rob them of the mystical cup, for whom Christ hath shed his most precious blood.
98. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
99. The sacrifice of the Mass, wherein the Priest is said to offer up Christ for obtaining the remission of pain or guilt for the quick and the dead, is neither agreeable to Christ’s ordinance nor grounded upon doctrine Apostolic; but contrariwise most ungodly and most injurious to that all-sufficient sacrifice of our Savior Christ, offered once for ever upon the Cross, which is the only propitiation and satisfaction for all our sins.
100. Private Mass, that is, the receiving of the Eucharist by the Priest alone, without a competent number of communicants, is contrary to the institution of Christ.
Of the state of the souls of men, after they be departed out of this life; together with the general Resurrection, and the last Judgment.
101. After this life is ended, the souls of God’s children be presently received into Heaven, there to enjoy unspeakable comforts; the souls of the wicked are cast into Hell, there to endure endless torments.
102. The doctrine of the Church of Rome, concerning Limbus Patrum, Limbus Puerorum, Purgatory, Prayer for the dead, Pardons, Adoration of Images and Relics, and also Invocation of Saints is vainly invented without all warrant of holy Scripture, yea and is contrary unto the same.
103. At the end of this world the Lord Jesus shall come in the clouds with the glory of his Father; at which time, by the almighty power of God, the living shall be changed and the dead shall be raised; and all shall appear both in body and soul before his judgment seat, to receive according to that which they have done in their bodies, whether good or evil.
104. When the last judgment is finished, Christ shall deliver up the Kingdom to his Father, and God shall be all in all.
The Decree of the Synod.
If any Minister, of what degree of quality soever he be, shall publicly teach any doctrine contrary to these Articles agreed upon, if, after due admonition he does not conform himself, and cease to disturb the peace of the Church, let him be silenced and deprived of all spiritual promotions he doth enjoy.
4.1: The Elizabethan and Caroline Settlements.
4.2: Contextual understandings (2): art, music and culture in the development of Anglicanism.
(Revd Professor) Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism, Liturgy and Church History, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin. These notes were prepared for a seminar on 2 February 2017 as part of the MTh Year II course, TH 8825: Anglican Studies in an Irish context.