An Introduction to the Articles of the Church of England

By G. F. Maclear and W. W. Williams

Macmillan, 1895

[Bible citations have been converted to all Arabic numerals.  Footnotes have been moved into or near their places of citation within square brackets.  Spelling and punctuation have been selectively modernized.]

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      This Volume which forms one of Messrs Macmillan’s well-known Theological Manuals has been for some time in preparation and at length is in the reader’s hands.  The wide circulation, which has been attained by other Volumes in the series, encourages the hope that like them it will be found to supply a want.

      The present Treatise forms an Introduction to the Articles of the Church of England.  I have used the term “Introduction” designedly.  The Volume is not intended in any degree to enter into competition with such works on the same subject as those of Bishop Burnet, Bishop Beveridge, Bishop Browne, or Bishop Forbes.  It contains numerous references to their works and to others of more recent authority, and the notes and illustrations, with which it is supplied, are intended to guide the student to the Authors, who have written more largely on the different topics which again and again challenge discussion.

      The great object I have kept in view has been to secure as much clearness and distinctness of statement as possible, and by dividing the text into consecutive paragraphs, to emphasize the chief points which call for the student’s attention in grasping the meaning and interpretation of the Articles.  Hence also I have constantly endeavoured to trace the connection of the several Articles; to indicate their source, object, and aim in the light of the great movements which called them forth; and then to illustrate and explain by reference to Holy Scripture and Patristic writers the statements they contain, and to support these, where necessary, by reference to other symbolical writings of the Anglican Church, her Prayer Book, Ordinal, Homilies, and Canons.

      In the interpretation of the Articles I have striven always to give due weight to their plain and grammatical sense, as they were understood by the divines of the period of Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth, and wherever the language of the Articles themselves has been doubtful or obscure, to remember the recommendation of the Canon of 1571 laid down in the same Convocation that required subscription to the Articles, to put forth only “that, which is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testaments, and that which the Catholic doctors and ancient Bishops have collected out of the same doctrine.”  “The Church of England,” writes Bishop Bull, “professeth not to deliver all her Articles as essentials of faith without the belief whereof no man can be saved; but only propounds them as a body of safe and pious principles, for the preservation of peace to be subscribed; and not openly contradicted by her son.” [Bishop Bull, A Vindication of the Church of England, xxvii.  Works, Vol. II. p. 211.  Oxford, 1846.]  “We do not hold our Thirty-nine Articles,” says Archbishop Bramhall, “to be such necessary truths, ‘extra quam non est salus,’ ‘without which there is no salvation’; nor enjoin ecclesiastic persons to swear unto them, but only to subscribe them, as theological truths, for the preservation of unity among us, and the extirpation of some growing errors.” [See Archbp Bramhall, Works, Vol. II. p. 201; also p. 476, Oxford, 1842; see also Keble, Catholic Subscription to the xxxix Articles, p. 13.]  Made originally as comprehensive as possible [See Dixon, History of the Church in England, Vol. III. pp. 520–527.] they are to be regarded as Articles of Peace intended to include and not exclude different schools of thought.

      In compiling this Introduction to the Articles I have had the advantage of the advice and cooperation of my friend and colleague the Rev. W. W. Williams, Fellow of S. Augustine’s College.  He has carefully gone over the sheets and made many suggestions, which his extensive Patristic reading has made very valuable.  I must also acknowledge with my best thanks the kindness of Messrs G. Bell and Co., for allowing me to make use of Appendix iii. to Archdeacon Hardwick’s History of the Articles, and to place side by side the Latin Articles of 1563 and the English Articles of 1571.  Nor must I forget the help I have received from one of our Augustinian Students, Mr. P. R. L. Fisher, who has verified for me many of the references in the text and the notes, and last but not least from the staff of the Cambridge University Press for not a few valuable hints and suggestions while the work was passing under their hands.

      If this Introduction shall in any degree serve as a help to Theological Students in their study of the Articles, my labours will have been amply rewarded, and I shall feel I have attained the object at which I have aimed. [For several points connected with the first Five Articles the Student will do well to consult the “Introduction to the Creeds.”]

G. F. M.

S. Augustine’s College, S. Peter’s Day, 1895.


      “One Canon reduced to writing by God Himself, two Testaments, three Creeds, four General Councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the three centuries, that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.”

Bp Andrewes, Opusc. Posthuma, p. 91.


Synopsis of Contents

I.  Historical Introduction.  Origin and History of the Thirty-nine Articles

II.  The Articles.  Group  I.  Articles  I—V.

            The Teaching of the Church concerning the Three Persons in the Trinity.

III.  The Articles.  Group  II.  Articles  VI—VIII.

            The Church’s Rule of Faith.

IV.  The Articles.  Group  III.  Articles  IX—XVIII.

            The Teaching of the Church respecting Christians as individuals.

V.  The Articles.  Group  IV.  Articles  XIX—XXXIV.

            The Teaching of the Church respecting Christians

            as members of a religious Society.

VI.  The Articles.  Group  V.  Articles  XXXV—XXXIX.

            The Teaching of the Church respecting certain special points

            affecting the national Church and Realm of England.

VII.  Appendix.

            I.  The Lambeth Articles.

            II.  Chronological Tables.

            III.  General Index. (omitted for web)

            IV.  Index of Greek words explained in the Notes

            V.  Index of Latin words explained in the Notes

            VI.  Index of English words explained in the Notes

            VIII.  Maps.

                        The Revolt from Rome.

                        The Universities of Europe in the Sixteenth Century.


Historical Introduction.


Chapter  I – Origin of the Articles.

      i.  The Articles of the Church of England are a distinct product of the Sixteenth Century.  They were drawn up amidst the mighty controversies, which convulsed the Church at the time of the Reformation.  The original object, therefore, of the compilers will be best ascertained by remembering the peculiarities of the crisis which led to their promulgation. [Hardwick, History of the Articles, p. l.]

      ii.  The Need of some Reformation had long before the Sixteenth Century been felt in well-nigh every province of the Western Church.  The abuses which had pervaded the whole system of the Church had been pressed on the attention of successive Popes, Kings, Parliaments, Councils, and Diets. [Comp. Hardwick, Middle Age, p. 371, n. 3.  At the Council of Pisa A.D. 1409 “the prelates and proctors of England, France, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, and Provence presented to the Pope a list of grievances to which they called his attention, as deviating from the old laws and. customs of the Church.  They enumerate translations of bishops against their will, Papal reservations and provisions, destruction of the rights of patronage of bishops and chapters, the exaction of firstfruits and tenths, grants of exemption from the visitatorial power of bishops, the excessive liberty of appeal to the Pope in cases which had not been heard in the inferior courts.”  Creighton’s History of the Papacy, i. p. 221; for the same desire of reform at the council of Constance 1414 see Ibid. p. 261.]  Select committees of Cardinals, like that appointed by Pope Paul III in 1538, for the reform of the Church only touched the surface of scandals, against which the disciples of Wiclif in England, of Huss and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia, had protested in vain.  Even the Popes themselves, if they had been religious and willing, might have reformed the Church.  But they took no effectual steps in the right direction, [Two plans seemed possible for conducting a Reformation; “the one involving the cooperation of the Pope and hierarchy, and through them extending to the whole of Western Christendom; the other starting from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of each particular state or nation and removing the abuses which especially affected it.”  Hardwick, Hist. Reform. p. 3.] and the sale of Indulgences under Pope Leo X precipitated the revolt of the Teutonic Churches from the Roman centre. [The great attempt, which found expression in the councils of Pisa (1409), Constance (1414), Basel (1431), and culminated in the council of Trent (1542–1563) was only in part due to the Papacy.  It is doubtful whether, but for the efforts of the Emperor, the Universities, and the Nations, it would ever have been made, and it is most naturally associated with such names as those of the Gallicans D’Ailly and Gerson.  Caraffa, who afterwards became Pope Paul IV, was a devout man and a great reformer of abuses, but in the words of a distinguished Roman Catholic writer of today, speaking of “the nine Popes who successively followed Nicholas V (d. 1455),” “it is not too much to say that under such Pontiffs moral skepticism must have radiated from those who sat in the Apostolic Chair.”  Lilly’s Claims of Christianity, p. 162, Ed. 1894.]

      iii.  The Guiding Principle of the Church of England in the Sixteenth Century was not any wish to found a new Church or a novel system of her own, but to return to the old paths [“The Reformation fell back upon the ancient Creeds in their integrity.  For the most part, those symbols were laid as the foundations of the new superstructure, and were assumed into its formularies; thus establishing at the very outset a broad basis of connection and unity with the faith as delivered by the Apostles to the Church, and by the learning, zeal, and fidelity of the Church expressed in these primitive standards.”  Winer’s Confessions of Christendom, Introd. p. xiii.]; not to make a new, but to bring back the old national Church; not to break away from the rest of Christendom, but only to extinguish the unlawful jurisdiction of a proud and bold usurper, [For the (1) religious, (2) political, and (3) social causes of the Reformation see Creighton’s History of the Papacy, i. pp. 261 sqq.; Perry’s Reformation, pp. 2–6.] and by following in the footsteps of the Primitive Church, to eliminate the distinctively Roman but not Catholic element which had intruded itself into her. [Reformatio non aurum abstulit, sed purgavit a luto: non vel fundamenta evertit vel parietes diruit aut tecta, sed vepres solum exscidit, et fimum ejecit: non carnem, ossa, aut sanguinem corpori detraxit, sed saniem et humores pestiferos expulit ... De substantia antiquae et Catholicae fidei nihil quidquam a nobis immutatum; quidquid tale est ambabus ulnis, exosculamur, tuemur.”  Crackanthorp, Defensio Eccl. Anglicanae, p. 601, Ed. Wordsworth, 1847.]

      iv.  The Revolt of England from Rome differed from the revolt on the Continent.  In Germany and Switzerland a religious movement preceded and caused a political change.  In England the political change came first, and the religious change afterwards, and in these islands the nation, being compact and having a strong central government, instead of splitting into parties and being distracted by civil war, revolted altogether. [Seebohm’s Protestant Revolution, p. 167.]  The King and Parliament acted in unison, and their action in transferring to the crown the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, hitherto exercised by the Pope, was endorsed by Convocation, by the Universities, and by the Cathedral bodies.

      v.  The Change effected was very gradual in this country.  For a time all went on as before.  People repaired to the same Churches, used the same prayers, and conformed to the same customs as in times past, only there was no longer any recognition of the supremacy of the Popes.*  Henry VIII clung firmly to the old mediaeval doctrines,** and though the Latin Service Books were revised, and the Litany was put forth in English for public use, there was little progress in any doctrinal Reformation.  The translation, however, of the Holy Scriptures, and their circulation during this monarch’s reign, accompanied as they were by the general revival of learning, while they gave a great impetus to the new movement, stirred no little controversy and speculation in men’s minds, accustomed as they had long been to turn for guidance to the decrees of the Roman See.

            [*“It was the Church, not of Rome, but of England (Ecclesia Anglicana), of which the rights and liberties were declared inviolable by King John’s Great Charter, confirmed by Henry the Third.  It is the Holy Church of England (Seinte Eglise d’Engleterre), which, in the preamble to the Statute of Provisors of 23 Edward III. (A.D. 1350), was described ‘as founded in the estate of Prelacy, within the realm of England.’  The Papal encroachments which the Statute was passed to restrain, were described as tending to ‘the annullation of the Estate of the Holy Church of England’”.  Earl Selborne’s Defence of the Church of England against Disestablishment, pp. 9, 10, 3rd ed.]

            [*The Reformation was but the continuation and development of a struggle which had long been going on in this country, and the reassertion of the independence of the English National Church, an independence which had never been lost sight of since the days of the British Church, and indeed from the very commencement of the history of the Church in these islands.  Before the Norman Conquest the English Church had yielded but a partial assent to the Pope’s claim to be autocrat over all the Churches, and though the Norman dynasty fell in with the prevailing tone of subjection to Roman claims, William I contended stoutly for his own ecclesiastical supremacy, and refused to do homage to the Pope for the realm of England, or to allow Papal Bulls to run in his kingdom.  See Stubbs’ Constitutional History, i. pp. 281, 285; Lord Selborne’s Defence of the Church of England, p. 15.  Henry II. by the Constitutions of Clarendon, A.D. 1164, strongly asserted the rights of the National Church of England.  “King John in the first Article of Magna Charta declared that the Church of England should be free, and enjoy its whole rights and licenses inviolable.  During the reign of Edward III and Richard II no less than six Acts of Parliament declared the interference of the Pope with the temporalities of the English Church to be illegal.”  See Lord Selborne’s Defence, pp. 28–31; Aubrey Moore’s History of the Reformation, pp. 35, 40.]

      vi.  The Danger.  It was impossible, however, that so great a change in the attitude of the English Church towards the Roman See could be unattended with danger.  For various conflicting opinions were at once put forth on matters of faith and doctrine, and every man challenged to himself the right of private judgment, and many not only abused it, but indulged too often in wild speculation and unauthorized practices.  It was the natural wish, therefore, of several leaders in the new movement, both on the Continent and in this country, that formal “Confessions” or “Articles of Faith” should be drawn up, which should put an end to these mischievous divisions, exhibit the actual tenets of those who had separated themselves from the Roman centre, and in some measure define their dogmatical position, as Rome herself did more exhaustively afterwards at the Council of Trent. [“We did not at the Reformation start our career in separation from Rome by drawing up a formulated constitution, as did the American leaders at the Declaration of Independence.  Our Articles do not treat exhaustively the whole field of Theology; they impose limits in some directions and define principles in others, but cannot be regarded as dealing in full with all the functions of the English Church.”  The Anglican Position, Article in “The Guardian,” Jan. 10, 1894.]


Chapter II – The Augsburg Confession.

      i.  The Schwabach Articles.  One of the earliest occasions when the idea of presenting a defense of their Faith took actual shape amongst the Continental Reformers was in 1529.  In this year a document was put forth known by the name of the “Schwabach Articles,” so called from the Convent [Schwabach was a small town in Bavaria, nine miles south-west of Nuremberg, upon a small river of the same name.] where they were drawn up.  They were seventeen in number, and were really a corrected copy of the text offered at Marburg to the Zwinglians, and refused by them [From this time dates the great feud between the Lutherans and the followers of Zwingli.  Hardwick’s Reformation, pp. 57 sqq.] as too conservative and Lutheran in their tone.

      ii.  The Augsburg Confession.  The Schwabach Articles formed the groundwork of a still more important document, which, under the name of the “Augsburg Confession,” was presented to the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg on the 25th of June 1530.  It was drawn up by Melancthon in Latin and German, and was signed by John, the Elector of Saxony, George the Markgrave of Brandenburg, and other members of the Diet.

      iii.  The Latin draft of this document was sent May 11, 1530 to Luther, then in the Castle of Coburg on the Saxon frontier, with a request from the Elector of Saxony that he would read and revise it.  His reply, dated May 15, was as follows: – “I have read over the Apology of Master Philip: it pleases me very well, and I know of nothing whereby I could better it or change it, nor would it be becoming, for I cannot tread so gently and softly.  May Christ our Lord help, that it may bring forth much and great fruit, as we hope and pray.  Amen.” [Luther’s Briefe, iv. a7; see Hardwick Articles, pp. 16, 17.].” The doctrinal matter of this Confession was due to Luther, while Melancthon’s scholarly and methodical mind elaborated it into its final shape and form, and breathed into it a moderate, conservative tone. [Schaff’s Creeds of Christendom, i.]

      iv.  The Importance of this Confession does not consist in its completeness as a system of doctrine, to which it does not pretend, but in the fact that it formed an apologetic statement in reference to many points which were then in dispute, and also exercised a great influence in England.  It was distinguished by a marked moderation of tone, and while it steered a middle path between the teaching of the past and the new movements now in progress, it strove to preserve everything primitive and Catholic, and protested against modern distortions and innovations. [Hardwick’s Hist. Articles, p. 16.]

      v.  Analysis.  The Augsburg Confession consisted of two parts.  The first part had reference to matters of faith; the second to those Roman abuses which were deemed most objectionable: –

      (a) Part i. consisted of twenty-two Articles:–

(a) The first six Articles treated of the Trinity, Original Sin, the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord, the Ministry of the Church, and the relation between Faith and Works;

(b) The next eight Articles treated of the Church, Baptism, the Eucharist, Confession, Penance, the Use of the Sacraments, and Holy Orders;

(c) The following seven Articles (i) vindicated the authority of the Civil Power, the lawfulness of war, property, and oaths; (ii) asserted the ancient doctrine of the Resurrection and the Final Judgment; (iii) dealt with free will, original sin, good works, and the invocation of saints.

      (b) Part ii. consisted of seven Articles: –

They formed a kind of Appendix, and treated of certain abuses relating to (1) Communion in both kinds; (2) Clerical Celibacy; (3) Obligatory Confession; (4) the Mass; (5) ceremonial feasts and fasts; (6) monastic vows; (7) the secular power of the bishops. [Hardwick’s Hist. Articles, pp. 17–23; Aubrey Moore’s Hist. Reform. pp. 378, 379.]

      vi.  Result.  This rough analysis sufficiently proves how anxious the compilers of “the Apology,” as they term it, were to keep as much as possible within the boundaries of the Western Church, and to diverge as little as possible from primitive and Catholic uses.  The presentation of the document excited great discussion, and the moderate party found themselves unable to make head against the more violent Mediaevalists.  Finally it was agreed that till some general Council could be summoned, the Reformers should be directed to appoint no more married priests, to teach the duty of Confession, to allow the celebration of private Masses, and accept the validity of Communion in one kind.  Thus all hopes of reconciliation were broken off, and the schemes of the more moderate of both .parties were frustrated. [See Ranke, Reform. iii. 310.]


Chapter  III – The English Articles of 1536 and 1538.

      i.  English movements.  From the Continent we come to our own land.  Here, four years after the Diet of Augsburg, the English Church definitely threw off the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, [The first steps taken towards a separation from Rome were taken in a constitutional manner.  In 1530 an Act of Parliament was passed, which forbade an application to Rome for dispensations from certain English Laws.  In 1531 all money payments claimed by the Roman see were forbidden to be paid any more.  In 1533 a third Act was passed forbidding any appeal to Rome from the English Courts. In 1534 Convocation, the Parliament of the Church, decided that the Popes had no more right given them by God over the kingdom than any other foreign bishop.  These acts simply reclaimed the ancient independence of the English State and the English Church.  See Lord Selborne’s Defence, pp. 28–31.] and an attempt was made for the first time to deal with the question of doctrine during the reign of Henry VIII.

      ii.  The Ten Articles.  Accordingly in 1536 the Ten Articles were published, “devised by the king’s highnesse majestie to stablyshe christen quietnes and unitie amonges us, and to avoyde contentious opinions.”  Of these Articles it is probable that a rough draft was made by a committee of the moderate divines of each party, presided over by the King himself, or placed in frequent communication with him, and that this draft, after various modifications subsequently made, was submitted to the Upper House of Convocation for further criticism.  The compilers of these Articles having stated their object to be the establishment of charitable concord and unity, proceed to draw a distinction between such things as are expressly commanded by God, and are necessary to salvation, and such things as, though not expressly commanded by God nor necessary to salvation, should yet be preserved: –

      (i)  The things necessary to be believed are

(a)  The grounds of Faith, viz. the Bible, the three Creeds, the Four Holy Councils, and the Traditions of the Fathers which are not contrary to God’s word;

(b)  The Sacrament of Baptism, the Sacrament of Penance, the Sacrament of the Altar, Justification.

      (ii)  The things to be retained though not necessary to salvation are

Veneration of Images, Honour due unto Saints, Praying to Saints, Rites and Ceremonies, Purgatory.

      iii.  Their Features.  The Ten Articles testify to a compromise between the champions of the Old and the New Learning. [Aubrey Moore’s Hist. Reform. pp. 137, 138.]  They represent a transition period, and embody the ideas of men who were gradually emerging into a different sphere of thought, and reflect the essential tenets of the Mediaeval School, simply substituting the Royal for the Papal Supremacy.  They were in many ways extremely well calculated for the guidance of the Clergy in the instruction of the people. [See Perry’s Reformation, p. 44.]  This early set of Articles, however, was received with the greatest hostility in the North, and the disaffected of all classes flew to arms in vindication of the ancient system.  It was virtually superseded in the next year, 1537, by the “Institution of a Christian Man,” [Or “the Bishop’s Book,” set forth though without any formal sanction from Convocation or the Crown, a copy of which with the King’s annotations still exists in the Bodleian.] and was eventually supplanted by the “Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man,” or the “King’s Book” set forth in 1543.

      iv.  The Conferences.  Two years after the promulgation of the Ten Articles, or 1538, a deputation of three German divines [They were Francis Burckhardt, vice-chancellor to the Elector of Saxony, George Boyneburg, a nobleman of Hesse and doctor of laws, and Frederic Mekum or Myconius, “ superintendent” (quasi-bishop) of the Church of Gotha.  “Burckhardt was the head of the legation and bore with him a commendatory letter to King Henry, dated May 12, 1538.”  Hardwick, Articles, p. 56.] came over to this country, and by order of Henry VIII many conferences took place between them and a select committee of English theologians headed by Cranmer.  The result was the compilation of Thirteen Articles on some of the leading points of the Christian Faith.  This manifesto is of special interest as supplying the groundwork of the Articles now in use.

      v.  The Thirteen Articles were discovered in their collected form by Dr Jenkyns among the MSS. of Archbishop Cranmer in the State Paper Office. [Hardwick, Hist. Articles, pp. 59, 60.]  They treat of the Unity of God and the Trinity, [This Article is almost a verbal copy of Art. i. of the Augsburg Confession, and includes the first of the xlii Articles of Edward VI.] Original Sin, [It corresponds with the 2nd of the Augsburg Series, and like the 8th of the xlii Articles speaks of “peccatum originale” instead of “peccatura originis,” and contains the expression “originalis justitia,” which is not in the Augsburg Series.  Hardwick, Hist. Art. p. 62.] the Two Natures of Christ, [This Article contains almost the very words of our present second Article, and the “vere resurrexit” of Article iv.] Justification, [Like the 4th of the Augsburg Series it affirms that men are accepted by God “gratis propter Christum per fidem.”] the Church, [This Article includes the 23rd and the 24th of the Edwardine Series, but uses language in both cases not found in the Augsburg Confession.] Baptism, the Eucharist, Penance, the Use of the Sacraments, [Its language is almost identical with the 29th of the xlii Articles.] the Ministers of the Church, Ecclesiastical Rites, Civil Affairs, the Resurrection, and Final Judgment.

      vi.  The Six Articles. Interesting, however, as it is to notice the relation of these Articles to the subsequent series, the discussions between the foreign and English theologians roused the polemical spirit of Henry VIII, who was determined to maintain Communion in one kind, private Masses, and the celibacy of the Clergy. [For the ascendancy at court at this time of Bishop Gardiner see Hardwick’s Hist. Reform. p. 189, and notes.]  Consequently the Conferences were broken off, and the King not only issued a proclamation denouncing penalties against married priests, but under the influence of Bishop Gardiner promulgated the Six Articles Law in 1539. [These Articles were first resolved by Convocation, and then accepted by Parliament. Hardwick’s Reformation, p. 189.]  These Articles are important as representing the farthest point to which the reaction in this monarch’s reign extended, and the first attempt to enforce by terrible penalties [Those who wrote, spoke, or preached against the first Article were to be burned as heretics “without any abjuration”.  Those who preached or obstinately disputed against the others were to be hanged as felons.  Those who spoke against them in any way were to be imprisoned.  Married priests were to be separated from their wives; if they returned to them they were to be hanged as felons, and their wives were to suffer in like manner.  Those who abstained from confession or the Sacrament of the Altar were for the first offence to forfeit their goods and be imprisoned; for the second to suffer as felons. Perry’s Reformation, pp. 52, 53.  The Act was repealed by 1 Edw. VI. 12.] religious doctrine as part of the Statute Law.  They enforced (i) a belief in Transubstantiation; (ii) the needlessness of Communion in both kinds; (iii) Clerical celibacy; (iv) the obligation of vows of chastity; (v) the use and efficacy of private Masses; (vi) the obligation of auricular confession.


Chapter  IV – The Articles in the reign of Edward VI.

      i.  Accession of Edward VI.  On the death of Henry VIII. in 1547 and the accession of Edward VI an opportunity seemed to be presented for carrying out a plan which had hitherto borne but little fruit, and producing a body of Articles for the English Church.  Accordingly Cranmer began by issuing in 1549 a Book of Articles to be circulated only in the Southern Province for the purpose of testing the orthodoxy of all lecturers and preachers in Divinity.  By these the Primate hoped at all events in his own Diocese to check those members of the Reforming party who were developing eccentric opinions and irregular modes of action, and to promote unity of opinions. [Hardwick, Hist. Reformation, p. 211.]

      ii.  Need of New Articles.  But before long Cranmer saw that something more was needed to secure an adequate amount of harmony amongst preachers, lecturers, and others, and in 1551 he was directed by the King and Council to frame a body of Articles, which should be more developed than those he had already drawn up.  This quite fell in with the Primate’s earnest desire that a Confession of Faith, set forth by authority, should state the doctrines of the Church of England as against the Canons then being fashioned at Trent.

      iii.  Their Compilation.  Accordingly the task was undertaken and busily prosecuted during the year 1551.  Drafts of Articles drawn up by Cranmer and Ridley were forwarded for their consideration to such bishops and divines as it was thought could be trusted for the work.  They remained in their hands till the spring of the following year, 1552, when the Council requested that the draft of the Confession might be laid before them. [Hardwick, Hist. Articles, pp. 73, 74.]  This was done, and the Articles were then returned to the Archbishop, who after adding titles and some supplementary clauses submitted them to the king. [“I have sent the Book of Articles for Religion unto Mr. Cheke, set in a better order, than it was, and, the titles upon every matter, adding thereto that which lacked.”  Cranmer to Cecil, Sep. 19, 1552; Strype’s Cranmer, ii. App. No. lxvi.]  Edward VI gave them for review to six chaplains, who sent them again to the Archbishop with some suggestions for “the last corrections of his judgment and his pen”.  The Primate remitted them after review to the Council, and it seems probable that they were submitted to Convocation in March 1553.  Whether they received the formal sanction of Convocation is a matter of dispute,* but in compliance with Cranmer’s wish it seems that a mandate was issued June 19, 1553, in the name of the king, requiring that the new form should be publicly subscribed, and in the few remaining days of Edward’s reign the order was apparently obeyed, at least to some extent, in two or three dioceses of the realm.

            [*Writing to Bullinger, Sir John Cheke says of the king, “Nuper Articulos Synodi Londinensis promulgavit.”  John Clement, a martyr in the Marian persecution, says in his Confession, “I do accept, believe, and allow, for a very truth all the godly Articles that were agreed upon in the Convocation House, and published by the King’s Majesty’s authority, in the last year of his most gracious reign.”  Strype, Eccl. Memorials, iii. App. 215.  On this vexed question see Hardwick, Hist. Articles, pp. 106–112; Dixon, iii. 513 sqq. holds that they had no Synodical authority.  Tierney in Dodd, Church Hist. of England, ii. p. 58 states that on October 20th, 1553, “the Lower House of Convocation of Canterbury, with only five dissentients, signed a paper denying that the Articles set forth in the late reign had received the sanction of that body,” basing his statement on Foxe, Acts and Monuments, iii. p. 16.]

      iv.  The Articles thus issued were Forty-two in number, and when compared with the present Thirty-nine we notice that they exhibit certain additions and certain omissions:–

      (a) Certain Additions:–

(i) An important supplementary clause in the Third Article respecting the preaching of Christ in Hades; (ii) An Article on Grace; [The old Tenth Article.] (iii) An Article on Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; [The old Sixteenth Article.] (iv) An Article stating that “all men are bound to keep the moral commandments of the Law”, [The old Nineteenth Article.] (v) An important clause in the 29th Article respecting the Holy Eucharist; (vi) Four Articles, xxxi–xxlii, setting forth that (a) the resurrection of the dead has not yet been brought to pass, (b) the souls of the departed neither die with their bodies, nor sleep idly, (c) the teaching of the Millenarii cannot be accepted, (d) all men shall not be saved in the end.

      (b) Certain Omissions:–

(i) The present Fifth Article respecting the Holy Ghost; (ii) the Catalogue of the Canonical Books attached to the 6th Article; (iii) the present 12th Article on “Good Works”; (iv) the present 29th, “Of the Wicked which eat not the Body of Christ in the Use of the Lord’s Supper”; (v) the present 30th Article respecting Communion in both kinds; (vi) the Catalogue of the second Book of Homilies as given in Article xxxv.

      v.  Death of Edward VI.  But before the new Manifesto, thus drawn up and issued, could be adequately discussed by the Clergy, Edward VI., who had long been ailing, passed away on the 6th of July, 1553. [The anniversary, as pious Roman Catholics did not fail to observe, of the execution of Sir Thomas More.  See Froude, iv. p. 179.]  Thus the very year, which witnessed the publication of this body of Articles, witnessed also their practical abrogation, for the accession of Mary put an end to all the movements of the men of “the New Learning,” and to all the hopes of the Reforming party.


Chapter  V – The Articles in the reign of Elizabeth.

      i.  The Accession of Elizabeth revived the hopes of the Reformers, but it was some time before the subject of the Articles was taken in hand, and for the first four years of the new reign there was no doctrinal standard for the English Church beyond that which was contained in the Prayer Book.  The fact was the Queen far more earnestly desired to reestablish the Service Book and enforce discipline, than to put forth any sharp delimitations of doctrine, which would shut out the more moderate section of the Roman party, whom she desired to include within the Church.

      ii.  The Eleven Articles.  During the interval, however, the Bishops found it necessary to put forth a short form, contained in Eleven Articles, which were to be accepted by the Clergy, and publicly professed by them not only on admission to their benefices, but also read twice every year after the Gospel for the day. [Hardwick, Hist. Articles, p. 118.]  They were compiled in 1559 or early in 1560 under the eye of Archbishop Parker, and received the sanction of the Northern Metropolitan, and most of the other English prelates.  But they had no legal or binding character, and were not ratified by the Queen, though in 1566 they were legalized for the Church of Ireland, and constituted the sole formulary of that Church till 1615. [Hardwick, Hist. 4rticles, p. 120, and notes.]

      iii.  Revision of the Forty-two Articles.  At length it was proposed to reconsider the Forty-two Articles of Edward VI, on the assembling of the first Elizabethan Convocation in January 1562.  Already before it met, Parker had been busy upon them, and had been assisted by several of his brother prelates, and especially by Bishop Cox of Ely, and Guest, now Bishop of Rochester.  They took the Latin Articles of 1553 as the basis of their revision, and the results of their preliminary criticisms are preserved in the Parker MSS. now in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.  As Cranmer had used for a model the Confession of Augsburg, so Parker, instead of consulting the Swiss Confessions, which favoured the views of the more extreme Marian exiles, [Hardwick’s Reformation, p. 230, and notes.  Ed. 1880.] had recourse to the Confession of Wurtemberg, which had been presented to the Council of Trent in 1552 by the ambassadors of that State.

      iv.  The Effect of this searching criticism by the Primate and his colleagues was

      (i) To add Four Articles, viz.

(1) Of the Holy Ghost (v); (2) Of Good Works (xii); (3) Of the Wicked which do not eat the Body of Christ (xxix); (4) Of Communion in both kinds (xxx):–

      (ii) To take away an equal number:

(1) The Article on Grace (x); (2) that on Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (xvi); (3) that to the effect that all men are bound to keep the moral Commandments of the Law (xix), which was now incorporated into Article vii; (4) that, concerning Heretics called Millenarii (xli):—

      (iii) To modify by partial amplification or curtailment as many as seventeen of the remainder. [Amongst modifications notice (1) the addition in Article xxviii of the words “sacramenti naturam evertit”; (2) the addition in the same Article of the statement “Corpus Christi ...tantum coelesti et spirituali ratione,” both due to Bishop Guest; (3) the removal from Article xxv of the implied condemnation of the view that Sacraments confer grace ex opere operato.]

      v.  Adoption by Convocation.  The Synod of Canterbury began to consider the Articles on Jan. 19, 1563.  As first presented to this body they were, by reason of the balance in previous changes, still forty-two in number.  But on the 29th of the month, the date of the Episcopal subscriptions, three were erased.  These were the 39th, 40th, and 42nd of the series of 1552, which related to various Anabaptist theories. [See above.  The cause of their suppression was probably the comparative disappearance of the Anabaptist sect, whose theories had previously been denounced.]  The whole number was now reduced to Thirty-nine, and in this form the document was sent down to the Lower House.  Here, after some delay, it was subscribed by the majority, and forwarded to the Queen for ratification.

      vi.  The Queen’s Ratification.  It was some time before this was given.  When, however, the Latin copy with the ratification was issued from the Royal Press the Twenty-ninth Article relating to “Unworthy participation of the Eucharist” was found wanting, and the clause affirming that “the Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies, and authority in controversies of Faith,” [In the troublous times of Charles I, Archbishop Laud was actually accused of having introduced this clause.] appeared at the commencement of the Twentieth Article.  A great dispute has arisen about this clause.  In the English copy of the Articles, which was printed soon after the Latin copy was issued bearing the Queen’s ratification, it does not appear.  The change was probably introduced by the Royal Council in compliance with the wishes of the Queen, or the scruples of her chief advisers, [Cardwell’s Synod, i. pp. 38, 39, Ed. 1842; Hardwick, Hist. Articles, pp. 143, 144.] and thus the number of the Articles was reduced to Thirty-eight.

      vii.  The revision of 1571.  In 1566, when the vestment controversy had reached its highest point, an attempt was made in Parliament to carry an Act making subscription to the Articles binding on all the Clergy.  The Copy specified in the Bill was the English Version of 1563, which lacked the clause in the Twentieth Article inserted by the Queen, and also the Twenty-ninth Article.  Whatever was the cause, whether it was the omission of this clause she had inserted, or her great dislike to any interference by Parliament in matters of religion, certain it is that the Bill, having passed the Commons, was abruptly “stayed” by the Queen’s command in the House of Lords. [Her alleged reason was not “that she disliked the doctrine of the Book of Religion, for that it containeth the religion which she doth openly profess, but the manner of putting forth the Book.”  Parker’s Correspond., p. 291; Hardwick, Hist. Articles, p. 148.]  This greatly annoyed the Bishops, and they in vain remonstrated.  It was not till May 1571 that an Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament and received the Royal assent, which enacted that all the Clergy shall before Christmas next, in the presence of their Ordinaries, subscribe the Book of the Articles of Religion.  They were now carefully revised in Convocation.  The clause inserted in the Twentieth Article was now accepted, [“The disputed clause occurs in the English copy of the Articles, subscribed by the Southern Convocation in 1604, and by the Northern in 1605.  It enters therefore into the series contemplated by the 36th Canon.”  Hardwick, p. 155.] and the Twenty-ninth having been restored, they were in this form subscribed, while the revision of the English edition* was entrusted to Bishop Jewel.  The shape given to them by Jewel is that which has been retained ever since, and the Ratification** still subjoined in our Prayer Books is the same as that which was put forth in the reign of Elizabeth.

            [*As regards the English and Latin versions, the words of Waterland are important: – “I might justly say,” he writes, “with Bishop Burnet, that the Latin and English are both equally authentical.  Thus much, however, I may certainly infer, that if in any places the English version be ambiguous, where the Latin original is clear and determinate, the Latin ought to fix the more doubtful sense of the other (as also vice versa), it being evident that the Convocation, Queen, and Parliament intended the same sense in both.”  Waterland, Works, ii. 317.  Oxf. 1843.]

            [**From this Ratification we learn (i) that the Articles are “allowed to be holden and executed within the Realme,” by the assent and consent of the Queen, (ii) that they were deliberately read, and confirmed, and subscribed by the Archbishops and Bishops of the Upper House, (iii) that they were subscribed by the whole clergy of the Nether House in their Convocation, in the year of our Lord, 1571.]


Group  I

Articles 1–5.


      The Articles in this grout relate to God as He has revealed Himself to us.

      They treat of

(a) The essential attributes of God and His mode of existence in three Persons, or the mystery of the Trinity in Unity (Art. i.);

(b) The nature and work of the Divine Son of God:

(1) His Life and Ministry on Earth, including His Incarnation, Passion, and Sacrifice upon the Cross (Art. ii.);

(2) His descent into Hades (Art. iii.);

(3) His Resurrection, Ascension, and Future Coming to Judgment (Art. iv.);

(c) The Deity and Personality of the Holy Ghost (Art. v.).


Article  I.



De fide in Sanctanm Trinitatem.

Of fayth in the holy Trinitie.

      Vnvs est viuus et uerus Deus, aeternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, impassibilis, immensae potentiae, sapientiae ac bonitatis: creator et conseruator omnium tum uisibilium tum inuisibilium.  Et in Vnitate huius diuinae naturae tres sunt Personae, eiusdem essentiae, potentiae, ac aeternitatis, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus sanctus.

      There is but one lyuyng and true God, euerlastyng, without body, partes, or passions, of infinite power, wysdome, and goodnesse, the maker and preseruer of al things both visible and inuisible.  And in vnitie of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substaunce, power, and eternitie, the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost.


      i.  Subject.  The first Five Articles, as we have seen, treat of the Fundamental Doctrines of the Catholic Faith.  Of these the first relates to the Holy Trinity, and the Title has remained uniform in Latin and English since 1553.

      ii.  Source.  The source of the Article is the corresponding First Article of the Augsburg Confession,* derived apparently through the medium of the Thirteen Articles of 1538.  The language has suffered no material alteration since the first draft.

            [*Compare the words of the First Article of the Augsburg Confession: “De Unitate Essentiae Divinae et de Tribus Personis, censemus decretum Nicenae Synodi verum, et sine ulla dubitatione credendum esse, videlicet, quod sit una Essentia Divina, quae et appellatur et est Deus, aeternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, immensi potentia, sapientia, bonitate, Creator et Conservator omnium rerum visibilium et invisibilium, et tamen tres sint Personae ejusdem essentiae et potentiae, et coaeternae, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.”  Comp. also the Reformatio Rerum Ecclesiasticarum, De Summa Trinitate, c. 2.]

      iii.  Object.  The object of the Article is to defend the doctrine of the Trinity against unbelievers, Polytheists and Pantheists, [Comp. Article i. of the Thirteen Articles: “Damnamus omnes haereses contra hunc articulum exortas, ut Manicheos, qui duo principia ponebant, bonum et malum; item Valentinos, Arianos, Eunomianos, Mahometistas, et omnes horum similes.”] and against all, who, under the disguise of Anabaptists, were reviving in the sixteenth century some of the chief errors of Arianism, Sabellianism, and kindred heresies.

      iv.  Analysis.  The Article may be divided into two parts:–

            (1) It treats of the existence, unity and attributes of God;

            (2) It states the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity in Unity.




The Existence of God.

      v.  The Existence of God.  This, the fundamental conception of religion, the Article assumes on Scriptural grounds, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him (Heb. 11:6).  It is indeed impossible to demonstrate the existence of God in such a way as shall admit of no contradiction.  Were it possible, it would involve the exclusion of faith, and of the moral qualities which are inseparable from faith.  The evidence, however, of His existence, which comes from several different and independent sources, may be arranged as follows:–

(1) The Evidence of Consciousness: – The thought of God is latent in the human mind, its earliest, its most universal, its most ineradicable conception.  The most ordinary and fundamental ideas, those, for instance, of time, space, growth, and the like presuppose the existence of  a Being superior to time or space.  “The soul does not willingly consent to regard so inspiring a conception as a mere thought.  To consider it as unreal, with no counterpart in the realm of actual existence, is felt as a bereavement and a pain.” [See The Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief by Professor Fisher, p. 40; McCosh’s Intuitions of the Mind, p. 191, n.; Flint’s Theism, p. 264.]  Man cannot help thinking of God.  “He learns to pray before he learns to reason.” [Mansel’s Limits of Religious Thought, p. 115, “Man feels within him the consciousness of a Supreme Being, and the instinct of worship, before he can argue from effects to causes, or estimate the traces of wisdom and benevolence scattered through the creation.”  “Belief in God ... has an intellectual foundation deeper than almost any other article of the Creed.”  Bp of Carlisle, Foundation of the Creed, p. 32.  Speaking in the Debate on the Socialist Bill, Oct. 1878, Prince Bismarck is reported to have said that “he would not desire to live a day longer, if he had not what Schiller calls the ‘belief in God and a better future’.”  Ibid. p. 36, n.  Even Cicero speaks of “insitas Deorum, vel potius innatas cognitiones,” as holding their place in the background of all hearts, De Nat. Deorum, 1. 17. 44, and see Christlieb, Modern Doubt and Christian Belief, p. 141. Transl., Edinburgh, 1874.]

      (2) The Evidence of General Consent: – There is no age so distant, no country so remote, no people so barbarous, but they have testified in some form or other to the existence of One higher, greater, than themselves.  This is a great spiritual fact, running through the entire history of the human race in all ages, and it is impossible to conceive that this universal belief in God is the result of accident.  We trace the conviction of the being of One, Who is the Foundation of all existence, in the Vedic [In speaking of the Vedic deities, Prof. Max Müller makes the following comment: “Whenever one of these individual gods is invoked, they are not conceived as limited by the powers of others, as superior or inferior in rank.  Each god is to the mind of the supplicant as good as all gods.  He is felt, at the time, as a real divinity, as supreme and absolute.”  Chips from a German Workshop, i. p. 27.  See the remarkable Hymn referred to by Max Müller, Rig Veda, x. 129, translated in Muir’s Sanskrit Texts, Vol. iv. p. 4.] and Zoroastrian [“The Duad, with the Monad brooding behind it,” as has most truly been said, “is the fundamental principle of the Avesta, and of the old and once wide-spread faith that is set forth in its venerable Hymns.”  Bp Ellicott’s The Being of God, p. 36.  For Bishop Butler’s reference to “the general consent of mankind,” see Analogy, Introduction, i. p. 7.] systems, in those of Greece and Rome, [“Even through the vista of the mixed deities of the pantheon of Rome, half national and half utilitarian, we just catch sight of one supreme and ultimate Being, a Jupiter Optimus Maximus of whom all other deities were but the manifestations and attributes.”  Ibid. p. 37.] in that of Confucius, [See Legge, Life and Teachings of Confucius, p. 100, alluded to by Bp Ellicott, p. 38, n.] in the religion of ancient Egypt, [In ancient Egypt I AM THAT I AM appears, almost beyond doubt, to have been the object of esoteric worship which was taught to the initiated.  Clarke, Ten Great Religions, pp. 242, 251.  On the avowedly atheistic feature of Buddhism, see Bp Ellicott’s Being of God, pp. 40, 41 ; Prof. Flint’s Antitheistic Theories, p. 282 sq.] as well as in those of the Kaffir and Zulu races and the tribes of Central Africa, amongst the lowest as well as the highest races of mankind. [“The result of my investigation,” says De Quatrefages, “is this: Obliged, in my course of instruction, to review all human races, I have sought atheism in the lowest as well as in the highest.  I have nowhere met with it, except in individuals or in more or less limited schools, such as those which existed in Europe in the last century, or which may still be seen at the present day.”  The Human Species, p. 482 (E. Transl. ).]

      (3) The Evidence of Nature.  The feeling of man, common alike to the child and to the scientist, in the presence of Nature is one of wonder.  Such wonder is, if not the basis of; at least closely allied to religious awe. [“The mysteries of the Church are child’s play compared with the mysteries of nature.  The doctrine of the Trinity is not more puzzling than the necessary antinomies of physical speculation; virgin procreation, and resuscitation from apparent death, are ordinary phenomena for the naturalist.”  Huxley, Letter to the late Dean of Wells, quoted in Gore’s Bampton Lectures, pp. 246, 247.]  But Nature does more than thus impress us; she invites us both to trace her to her source, and to investigate her special purposes and her general end.  Causation leads the enquirer to the limit of the ken of science, where he is left in the presence of the Great Unknown.  We trace effects back to their causes; but these causes are found to be also effects. [“There is an absurdity involved in the idea of an endless regress, of an infinite series, in the succession of whose limits no causal energy, or cause answerable to the demand of reason, is contained.”  Prof. Fisher, Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief, p. 42.  “Napoleon’s savants, Bourrienne tells us, in that voyage to Egypt, were one evening busily occupied arguing that there could be no God.  They had proved it, to their satisfaction, by all manner of logic.  Napoleon, looking up into the stars, answers, ‘Very ingenious, Messieurs; but who made all that?’  The Atheistic logic runs off from him like water; the great Fact stares him in the face, ‘Who made all that?’”  Carlyle’s Lectures on Heroes, Lect. VI. p. 385.  “I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind.”  Bacon’s Essays, Atheism, ad init.  For Scriptural statements of the knowledge of God as derived from Nature, see Psalm 19:1, Isa. 45:18, Acts 14:15–17, Rom. 1:19, 20.]  The path is endless.  There is no goal.  There is no rest or satisfaction, [Flint’s Theism, pp. 118–124.] save in the assumption of the existence of a “Causa Causans,” a supreme First Cause, itself more exalted than all, and therefore self-existent and eternal, and which can be no inert or formless matter. [“No one has ever yet built up one particle of living matter out of lifeless elements; every living creature, from the simplest dweller on the confines of organization up to the highest and most complete, has its origin in preexistent living matter.”  Prof. Allman, Address to British Association.]

      (4) The Evidence of Design.  When we attend to the various objects of which we take cognizance in the world of nature, we discover something more than the properties, which distinguish them one from another, and the causes which bring them into being.  In the process of investigation we are struck with the fact that there is a cooperation of physical causes for the production of definite effects. [See Ebrard’s Christian Apologetics, Vol. i. pp. 170–172.  English Translation, 1886.]  These causes are so disposed as to concur in the production of the effect, and that of necessity.  We assume that they concur in order that the result may follow.  This assumption of design is the result of no effort on our part.  It is spontaneous.  The conviction of design is brought home to us by the objects themselves.  “We see a thought realized and thus recognize in it a forethought.” [“This thought has impressed the philosopher and the peasant alike.  Socrates enforced the argument by the illustration of a statue, as Paley, two thousand years later, by the illustration of a watch.”  Prof. Fisher, Grounds of Belief, p. 43.  See Flint’s Theism, Lec. v., vi.; Liddon’s Some Elements, pp. 53–55; Mozley’s Essays, Vol. ii. pp. 363–413.]  The observation of order and adaptation in nature inspires the conviction of a designing Mind concerned in its origination, [“When we see a purpose carried out, we are impelled to trace the operation to an intelligent Author, whether the end is obtained by an agency acting from within or from without.  The accurate mathematics of the planetary bodies, marking out for themselves their orbits, the unerring path of the birds, the geometry of the bee, the seed-corn sending upward the blossoming and fruit-bearing stalk, excite a wonder, the secret of which is the insufficiency of the operative cause to effect these marvels of intelligence and foresight.”  See Bp Ellicott’s Being of God, pp. 84–111.] which possesses the full intelligence [“Science will not allow us to say that things made themselves, or are their own causes.  The only alternative is that they were made by some external power, and any power which could contrive and execute all the complex machinery of the heavens and the earth, or could initiate anything capable of developing such machinery, must be practically infinite and must possess those attributes of superhuman power and superhuman wisdom which belong only to God.”  Sir William Dawson, Present Day Tracts, vii. 5; Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 79, E. T.] of all these adaptations to definite ends, and is itself the Supreme Cause of all. [The Psalmist says (94:9), “He that made the ear, shall He not hear?  And He that made the eye, shall He not see?”  Why not add? “He that made the mind shall He not think?”  Liddon’s Some Elements, p. 53.  Scientific study favours the view that matter itself is an effect.  If we accept the hypothesis of molecules as the ultimate forms of matter, Sir John Herschel finds in each of these, as related to the others, “the essential qualities of a manufactured article.”]

      (5) The Evidence of Conscience.  Conscience is man’s faculty of knowing together with God (conscientia), the relation of his personal being to God. [“Every man bears in himself the ethical law as a determinateness of his peculiar essence. ... In the ethical law the personal, holy God gives practical proof of Himself as One addressing Himself to the will of man.”  Ebrard’s Apologetics; Eng. Trans. i. p. 250.  Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 6, E. T.]  Every man has a voice within him, which says to him, “This is right, this is wrong”; “This is your duty, this is not your duty.”  “This voice within gives no proof, appeals to no evidence, but speaks as having a right to command, and requires of a man his obedience by virtue of its own inherent superiority.” [See Bp Temple’s Bampton Lectures, p. 47.  “Conscience is no descendant of our will or our reason.  It is no product of our own mind.  It is the product of a moral spirit above and beyond ourselves, whose voice speaks to us through conscience.”  Luthardt’s Fundamental Truths, p. 54.]  Now it is impossible to dissociate this mysterious Voice, which utters “the moral imperative” within the soul, [Butler, in his Sermons on Human Nature, says of the conscience, “Had it the power as it has manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world.”  But authority presupposes power.  The conscience has authority because it witnesses to a law, a purpose, of One Who has the power upon which its own authority must rest.  Strong’s Syst. Theol., p. 46; Liddon’s Some Elements, pp. 66–70.] from the Being of all beings, the supreme Vindicator of the moral Law, to whom we stand in a personal relation, and who has a claim upon the obedience of us all. [“Ethical enquiry, where it is true to its subject matter, postulates an absolute and superhuman law of righteousness, with which men are as truly brought into relation through conscience, as they are, through the eye, into relation to the objective reality of light”; Gore, Bampton Lectures, p. 31; see also Liddon, Some Elements of Religion, pp. 69, 71.]

      (6) The Argument from History: – At first sight nothing is more intricate and anomalous than the history of the different nations of the earth.  It seems at first an inextricable coil of men and actions.  Then it seems a constant recurrence of the same events under different forms.  Then on closer observation it is discovered that it contains a providential order and a moral order within it. [Fisher’s Grounds of Belief, p. 69; Flint’s Theism, pp. 227–261.]  Thoughtful men [The evidences of physical and moral disorder in the world do not destroy the force of this argument; for (a) the most they can be said to prove is that the complete fulfillment of God’s design has not yet been attained; (b) whatever may be the nature and origin of evil, it does not defeat the continual moral progress of the world; (c) there are abundant indications that God so overrules the forces of evil that He makes them instruments in accomplishing His own good designs.] admit that the course of human history exhibits continual progress towards a more and more perfect exhibition of righteousness and goodness. [Butler’s Analogy, Pt. i. chap. vii.]  The history of social life, of nations, crime, law, and religion, supplies abundant evidence of this.  But a moral government of the world and an education of the human race imply a moral Governor and Educator.  For an unconscious government, an unconscious education of the human race according to moral laws, is a contradiction in terms, a simple impossibility. [Flint’s Theism, Lecture viii; Liddon’s Some Elements, pp. 142–148.]

      vi.  The Force of the arguments thus advanced for the existence of God is cumulative, and sufficient to produce in any unprejudiced mind a moral certainty that He exists. [Barry’s Boyle Lectures, 1876, Lect. iii; Strong’s Syst. Theol., p. 50; Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, chap. i. § 2.]  They do not originate our faith in His existence.  They justify it, and lead us to infer that our worship is due to God, and that our lives must be conformed to His will, however made known. [See S. Aug. De Fide et Symbolo, cap. 2; The Doctrine of God, F. J. Hall, pp. 46–55.]



The Unity of God.

      vii.  The Unity of God.  Belief in the existence of God implies a belief also in His Unity, as testified by the Nicene and other Eastern Creeds.  If we rest our rational belief in the being of God upon the idea of cause, and speak of the necessity of conceiving an origin for the physical universe and for all phenomena, it is self-evident that we must needs conceive of only One cause.  The idea of two first causes, self-existent and, supreme, involves a manifest contradiction.  The unity of God means the absolute distinction of His being, [The integral unity of God does not signify the absence of real distinctions in His nature, but the absence of divisions simply.  His tri-personal subsistence is not inconsistent with this.  See Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, i. 11.] as original and independent and self-existing, from all other being.  All other being must be regarded as dependent upon and derived from Him.  He is the power of all being, the eternal life, self-originating and self-sufficing.  He is His own eternal act, and hence the end and origin of all things. [Deus si non unus est, non est ... omnium conscientia agnosset, Deum summum esse magnum ... si fuerit aliud summum magnum, adaequabitur, et si adaequabitur, non erit jam summum magnum.” Tertullian adv. Marcion. i. 3.]  The Unity of God is constantly and expressly affirmed in Holy Scripture, and was the great doctrine which Moses delivered to the Israelites: –

(a) Hear, O Israel, he saith, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut. 6:4);

(b) The Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him (Deut. 4:35);

(c) This is the life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God (John 17:3);

(d) We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one (1 Cor. 8:4) [The Unity of God thus set before us is not numerical.  There is no special virtue in the number one, which mathematicians describe as unity.  It does not simply deny the existence of a second God.  It is integral, denying the possibility of division.  “Deus, cum unus dicitur, unus, non numeri sed universitatis vocabulo nuncupatur, id est, qui propterea unus dicitur quod alius non sit.”  Rufinus in Symb. Apost. c. 5.  This is explained by Moses Maimonides thus: “God is one, not two, or more than two, but only one; whose unity is not like that of the individuals of this world; neither is it one by way of species, comprehending many individuals; neither one in the manner of a body which is divisible into parts and extremes; but in one, as no unity like His is to be found in the world.”  See the passage quoted by Bp Pearson on the Creed, Art. i.; Bp of Carlisle’s Foundations of the Creed, p. 39.]

      The Unity of God, that which other religions were feeling after and tending towards, [For the way in which the traditional polytheism was challenged in Greece by Plato and Xenophon, see Lux Mundi, pp. 69, 70, and the passages quoted from The Republic, pp. 377–385; Theaet. 176, C.] stands out clearly and distinctly as the characteristic of the religion of Israel, and is fearlessly claimed as an inheritance from the patriarchal age.



The Attributes of God.

      viii.  Connection.  Having spoken of God as One, the Article proceeds to deal with His attributes: – and it states,

      (i)  That He is “living,” “true,” “eternal”;

(a) Living, “Vivus.”  He is not simply vivens, but vivus, the source of life, the only efficient principle, to Whom all things owe their existence. [Vivus denotes that God is the πηγη ζωης, the source of life, Fons et Origo Vitae.  Or as He is called in Scripture ο ζων θεός = the living God.  Comp. Acts 14:15, Rom. 9:26, 2 Cor. 3:3, 6:16; 1 Thess. 1:9, 1 Tim. 3:15, Heb. 3:12, and observe in each passage the emphasis laid upon the participle, whether by position or otherwise.  See S. Thom.  Summ. Theol. i. 18.]

(b) True, “Verus,” [Verus, αληθινός, not verax, αληθής.  For the difference between the two words see Introduction to the Creeds, p. 83, n.  For the application of the word to God see John 17:3; τον μόνον αληθινον θεόν; 1 Thess. 1:9, θεω ζωντι και αληθινω; 1 John 5:20, ουτός εστιν ο αληθινος θεός.] for He is the one real, absolute God, in opposition to the unreal, false gods of heathenism, who have no substantial existence;

(c) Eternal, “AEternus,” for He hath neither beginning nor end. [Time is a relation of created things and of finite events.  When of things, it expresses their duration; when of events, it is the measure of their succession.  But Divine eternity is an idea which transcends duration, and excludes all but logical succession.  The Schoolmen describe it as “Interminabilis vitae tota simul et perfecta possessio.”  S. Thos. i. 10 C.]  He never began to be and never can cease to be.  He is the one eternal “Now,” from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2). [In the correct sense the Eternal is the supra-temporal, it is that which is without change and without succession; for time is the measure of change.  As time is a fleeting Now that ever eludes our grasp, so eternity is a stationary Now, that is constantly present and constantly invariable.  And this necessary association between the variable and the temporal leads us to conceive of the eternal God as the abiding and the real, and of the life of God as the Life which really is, “the Life which is Life indeed.”  “Fuisse et futurum esse non est in ea (vita divina), sed esse solum, quoniam aeterna est.  Nam fuisse et futurum esse non est aeternum.”  S. Aug. Conf. ix. 10. 24.]

      (ii)  That He is “without body, parts, or passions”: –

(a) Without body, “incorporeus.” [Incorporeus.  The word occurs only in post-classical writers.  Comp. Macrob. S. vii. 15, “De incorporeis disputat.”]  We are apt to think of God in terms of human understanding, to acquire the habit of regarding Him as “a magnified, non-natural man.”  He has no body such as the human body.  He is immaterial, He is spirit (John 4:24). [See Westcott in loc., and Dr Döllinger’s Conversations, p. 219, Engl. Transl.

(b) Without parts, [Impartibilis generally appears in the form impertibilis, from in and partior = “that cannot be divided into parts, indivisible.”] “impartibilis,” for in Him there is nothing divisible, inchoate, or incomplete, He is whole in Himself, in substance and essence, perfect and simple. [“God is one in the simplest and strictest truly one as any individual soul or spirit is one; nay infinitely more so, for all creatures are imperfect, and He has all perfection.’ Newman, Par. Sermons, Vi. 348.]

(c) Without passions, “impassibilis.”  He is not subject, like man, to varying emotions which affect the perfect justice of His actions and His orderly conduct of the universe. [Impassibilis, from in and patior.  The word is not found in Latin classical writers.  It occurs only in ecclesiastical Latin.  Thus Tertull. Apol. 10, “Deus impassibilis.”  For the use of the term in the Creed of Aquileia, comp. Introd. to the Creeds, pp. 21, 22.]  Thus in Numb. 23:19 we read, God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent; and again, Mal. 3:6, He Himself says, I am the Lord, I change not; and S. James describes Him as the Father of Lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning (Jas. 1:17). [Scripture, however, justifies the ascription to God of such feelings as anger, jealousy, and the like, because such language is the only means of expressing to us that disturbance in the operation of the Divine attributes which is caused by sin.  On the other hand, Scripture tells us that God is Love, but the attribute referred to as Love is something very different from the human emotion, for it is the very Divine Essence itself eternally operative between the Sacred Persons of the Blessed Trinity.  His Love is that passionless and changeless movement of His essence, whereby He desires to gather into union with Himself all who are good.  S. Thomas Summ. Th. i. 20; Martensen’s Dogmatics, § 51; Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, pp. 39, 40.  Thus S. Augustine, commenting on the expression του Υίου της αγάπης Αυτου, says, “Charitas quippe Patris quae in Natura Ejus est ineffabiliter simplici, nihil est aliud quam Ejus ipsa Natura atque Substantia.”  S. Aug. de Trinit. xv. 19. 37.]

      (iii)  That He is “of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.”

(a) Of infinite [Immensus, from in and metior = immeasurable, boundless.  Cp. Cie. De Nat. Deor. i. 10. 26, “Aëra deum statuit eumque gigni esseque immensum et infinitum.”  The moral limitations to the Divine Power are well put by S. Augustine; “Deus omnipotens est, et cum sit omnipotens, mori non potest, falli non potest, mentiri non potest, et quod ait Apostolus, negare Se Ipsum non potest.”  Ad Catech. ii..] power, “immensae potentiae,” for He is Almighty, and can do all things that do not imply imperfection and that consist with His Attributes, so that none can stay His Hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? (Job 42:2, Dan. 4:35).  His omnipotence signifies (a) His infinite energy and freedom to do all that is consistent with His nature; (b) His sovereignty over all that is or can be done. [See S. Thos. Summ. Th. i. 25; Schouppe El. Th. Dog., v. 161–165; Martensen’s Dogmatics, § 49.]

(b) Of infinite wisdom, “sapientiae.”  His wisdom is His absolute infallibility of judgment, by virtue of which He provides perfectly for all things and cannot err in any question of action.  Prudence has been defined as choosing the best means to a certain end; Wisdom as choosing the best means to the best end.  Now God alone knows what is the best end; He is the only, wise God [Et sapientiae ejus non est numerus.  Vulg.  The wisdom of God “non tantum cognitionem includit, sed etiam cognitioni operationem consentaneam.”  He is the μόνος σοφος Θεός, and has the characteristic of soleness, aloneness, in His wisdom.  See Vaughan in loc.] (Rom. 16:27), and as the Psalmist says, great is His Power, yea and His wisdom is infinite (Ps. 147:5).  His wisdom, according to the teaching of S. Paul, is markedly exemplified by the economy of Redemption. [See 1 Cor. 1:23, 24; 2:7; Eph. 3:8–11, and note especially the phrase η πολυποίκιλος σοφία του Θεου, Eph. 3:10.]

(c) Of infinite goodness, “bonitatis.”  The term “goodness,” as an attribute of God, is equivalent to the Greek word translated “kindness” in the Authorized and Revised Versions.  It denotes the Divine Will realizing itself in imparting happiness to the creature, according to the capacities of the creatures, and the counsels of Divine Wisdom. [Bonitas in Latin, in Greek χρηστότης.  See Rom. 2:4, 11:22; Tit. 3:4.  The Latin bonitas = (i) Natural goodness, i.e. the good quality of a thing, e.g. soli, Caesar, B. G. i. 28; vini, Plin. xiv. 4. 6.  (ii) Moral goodness, i.e. the conformity of the free will with right reason, e.g. “eam potestatem bonitate retinebat,” Corn. Nep. Milt. viii.  (iii) Relative goodness, i.e. active benevolence: comp. “bonitas et beneficentia,” Cic. N. D. i. 43. 121; “facit parentes bonitas, non necessitas,” Phaedr. iii. 15. 18.  Comp. French bonté.]  It is that which in regard of human demerits we term “grace,” in regard of human misery, “pity”.

(iv)  That He is “the Maker and Preserver of all things visible and invisible.”  The Article here refers almost in the language of the first clause of the Nicene Creed to the exercise of the operative attributes of God in the creation and preservation of the universe. [As applied to God bonitas denotes Constans Dei voluntas communicandi felicitatem suis creaturis, secundum conditionem earum, et consilia sapientiae sua.  Schouppe, Elem. Theo. Dog., i. p. 297.]

(a) The Maker, Creator. [Creator et conservator omnium tum visibilium tum invisibilium = ποιητην ουρανου και γης, ορατων τε πάντων και αδοράτων.  Symb. Nic.]

For of His Almighty power He has given the most signal proof by creating and calling into being all things that exist in the heavens above and the earth beneath.  All the gods of the nations, says the Psalmist, are idols, but the Lord made the heavens (Ps. 96:5).  Thou, Lord God, exclaims Jeremiah, hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee (Jer. 32:17); and the song of the celestial host as heard by S. John is, Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power; for Thou hast created all things, and. for Thy pleasure they are and were created. (Apoc. 4:11).

(b) The Preserver, [Conservator.  The word is not uncommon as a divine epithet among classical writers, e.g. “Pro dei immortales, custodes et conservatores hujus urbis atque imperii.” Cic. Sest. xxiv. 53.  In inscriptions it occurs as an epithet of Jupiter.  The preposition in composition has an intensifying force, and denotes to keep thoroughly, to retain in existence, to uphold and preserve.  Hence God is Omnitenens as well as Omnipotens.  See Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 214; Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, pp. 34, 35.] Conservator.

But God is not only the Creator of all things, He is the sovereign, and preserves and upholds all things.  His relation to the universe did not, as the Deists hold, cease at Creation.  He is the “Vigor tenax rerum,” and exercises an all-sustaining power, upholding all things by the Word of His power (Heb. 1:3). [Φέρων τε τα πάντα τω ρήματι της δυνάμεως αυτου.  Vulg. portans, O. L. ferens v. gerens.  This present and continuous support and carrying forward to their end of all created things was attributed by Jewish writers to God no less than their creation.  The action of God is in this passage referred to the Son: conf. Col. 1:17.  He in the words of OEcumenius περιάγει και συνέχει και πηδαλιουχει ... τα αόρατα και τα όρατα περιφέρων και κυβερνων.  See Barrow’s Sermons on the Creed, vol. iv. p. 163; Westcott’s Historic Faith, p. 37.]


Part  II – The Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity.

      ix.  The Trinity.  Having dealt with the essence and the attributes of God, the Article proceeds to deal with the doctrine of the Trinity, [The word “Trinity” does not occur in Scripture.  It is first found in Theophilus of Antioch, A.D. 170.  His Greek τριάς is first occurs in its Latin equivalent in Tertullian.  See Introduction to the Creeds, p. 62, 3.] and states that “In Unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

      x.  The word Person,* as applied to God, is inadequate, for it symbolizes that which transcends our experience and our comprehension.  But, according to the definitions of the ancient Church, we acknowledge that in the one Divine Essence there are three Persons,** inseparably united, coequal in eternity and perfection.

            [*Persona (fr. personare = to sound through) denotes: (i) A mask, i.e. that through which the sound of the voice passes; (ii) A character represented by an actor; (iii) An individual person.  The use of the term by the Latins was regarded with suspicion by the Greeks on account of its equivocal meaning, while the Latins were alike suspicious of the Greek υπόστασις, which they could only translate by substantia, as suggesting that the three Persons had not the same Essence.  Since, however, the Council of Alexandria, A. D. 362, at which the matter was discussed, Persona and υπόστασις have generally been accepted as equivalent.  See Introd. to the Creeds, p. 49, n. 3.]

            [**Or Hypostases.  “The word υπόστασις was a metaphysical word, for which we have no exact equivalent.  Having originally meant the sediment at the bottom of a fluid, it came to mean the substratum or ground of qualities, and so a person, that is, the underlying reality upon which various characters and experiences are based.”  Strong’s Manual of Theology, p. 183.]

      xi.  The Evidence of the Old Testament.  Intimations that “the Name of the One God, when written out in full, is a threefold Name,” are traceable in the Old Testament: — Thus

      (i) At the Creation of Man we hear God saying, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness (Gen. 1:26), and yet in the following verse we read, And God created man in HIS own image (Gen. 1:27).

      (ii) After the Fall we hear God saying, Behold, the man is become as one of us (Gen. 3:22); while, when He reveals Himself to Moses at the burning bush, He bids him tell the people, I AM hath sent Me unto you (Ex. 3:14);

      (iii) The Psalmist says, The Lord said unto my Lord; Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool (Ps. 110:1);

      (iv) In the vision of Isaiah the Seraphim cry one unto another, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory (Isa. 6:3).

      Here, however mysteriously, we have a foreshadowing of a plurality in the Godhead, [Comp. the threefold priestly benediction under the Jewish Law, Num. 6:24–26, with the counterpart benediction of 2 Cor. 13:14.] intimations that the one Personal God is a Living Monad, [“More really one even than an individual man is one.”  Newman’s Grammar of Assent, p. 121.] at the same time “Tres et Unus,” [“Unus,” not merely “unum.”  This may be called the keynote of the Athanasian Creed.] a Divine Three.

      xii.  The Evidence of the New Testament.  The obscure intimations, however, of the Old Testament become express revelations in the New.  Thus

      (a) The account of our Lord’s Baptism reveals to us the Son baptized, the Father acknowledging Him from heaven, the Holy Ghost descending upon Him in the form of a dove (Matt. 3:16, 17);

      (b) Again, while our Lord expressly declares Himself to be one with the Father [Εγω και ο πατηρ έν εσμεν, I and the Father are one.  “Every word in this pregnant clause is full of meaning.  It is I, not the Son; the Father, not my Father; one essence (έν Vulg. unum), not one person (εις Gal. 3:28, unus); are not am.”  Bp. Westcott in loc.] (John 10:30), He yet says, I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth (John 14:16, 17);

      (c) But with still greater clearness, when He gives His Apostles their last commission, He commands them to go into all the world, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the Name [Εις το όνομα, not εν τω ονόματι.  “By choosing without repetition to say ‘the Name,’ He teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.  The revelation of each of the Three is the revelation of the other Two.  They cannot be known apart.”  Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, p. 44.] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 28:19). [S. Paul’s final benediction to the Corinthians is a commemoration of our Lord Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 13:14).]

      Thus the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is taught us not primarily and originally by any Apostolic teacher, or any Apostolic Council, but by our Lord Himself.

      xiii.  The Unity of the Godhead.  The Three Persons of the Trinity have, as we have seen, a common Divine Nature, which is numerically One, [Numerically, not collectively.  A collective Unity is a Union and therefore a Composition of Parts.  This latter the attribute of Simplicity excludes from God.] as our Lord Himself says, I and the Father are one [“Absolute Pater Deus et Filius Deus Unum sunt, non Unione Personae, sed Substantiae Unitate.”  S. Hilar., De Trin., cap. iv.] (John 10:30).  This Unity of the Godhead the Article upholds, when it asserts that the Three Persons are “of the same essence, power, and eternity,” in other words, that each is God, and each expresses the whole fullness of the Godhead with all His Attributes. [See Cardinal Newman’s Grammar of Assent, p. 133.  “To each person in one passage or other of the New Testament are ascribed the same titles and works; each is acknowledged as Lord; each is eternal; ... each is Creator; each wills with a supreme will; each is the Author of the new birth; ... what is all this but the Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Omnipotent; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost God?”  Comp. the Athanasian Creed.]  For the Catholic doctrine is that,

      (1) The Father is the One Eternal Personal God,

      (2) The Son is the One Eternal Personal God,

      (3) The Spirit is the One Eternal Personal God.

      Each Person possesses all the Divine attributes, which are inherent in the Divine Essence.  Each, in the language of the Athanasian Creed, is Uncreate; each is Infinite; each is Eternal; each is Almighty; each is God; each is Lord.

      xiv.  The Characteristics of the Three Persons.  In speaking, indeed, of the Three Persons we are wont to speak of the Father as the first, the Son as the second, and the Holy Ghost as the third Person in the Trinity.  We use this language, not because one Person is “afore or after other,” either prior or posterior in time, either superior or inferior in rank, but because there is in the Godhead a certain order of source or origin.  Thus it is the property or characteristic

      (i) Of the Father,

            to be unbegotten, the Fountain and Source of being; [Πηγη Θεότητος; Αρχή; Αιτία; Principium; “Totius Divinitatis, vel, si melius dicitur, Deitatis, principium Pater est.”  S. Aug. de Trin. iv. 20.  Comp. Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 65, 66, 209.  “‘Pater est Vita in Semetipso non a Filio,’ as S. Augustine says in another place; He is above time and beyond space, His own law, His own sufficiency, His own centre, His own end.”  Bp Forbes On the Articles, p. 21.]

      (ii) Of the Son,

            to be begotten of the Father; [Filius est Vita in Semetipso sed a Patre.”  “He is of the Father alone, neither made, nor created, but begotten.”  Athan. Creed.  “What the Father is, He is from None.  What the Son is, He is from Him, being the Eternal Son of an Eternal Father.”  See Pearson on The Creed, pp. 62, 63; Hooker, Eccl. Pol., v. 51. 1.  Πάντα όσα έχει ο πατήρ, τουΥιου εστι, πλην της αιτίας· πάντα δε όσα του Υιου, και του Πνέυματος, πλην της υιότητος, και των όσα σωματικως περι αυτου λέγεται.  S. Greg. Nazianz., Orat. xxxiv. 10.]

      (iii) Of the Holy Ghost,

            to proceed, [Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio, non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus est, sed procedens.  Athan. Symb.]

but while there is this order of source or origin, whereby One Person may be, not before the other, but from the other, all the three Persons are equally God and equally Lord, for the whole perfection of the Divine Nature is in each. [“The Catholic dogma may be said to be summed up in the formula on which St Augustine lays so much stress, “Tres et Unus” not merely “Unum”; hence it is the keynote, as it may be called, of the Athanasian Creed.  In that Creed we testify to the Unus Increatus, to the Unus Immensus, Omnipotens, Deus, and Dominus; yet each of the Three also is by Himself Increatus, Immensus, Omnipotens, for Each is that One GOD, though Each is not the Other; Each, as is intimated by Unus Increatus, is the One Personal GOD of Natural Religion.”  Cardinal Newman’s Grammar of Assent, p. 221.]


Article  II.



Verbum Dei uerum hominum esse factum.

Of the worde or sonne of God which was made very man.

      Filius, qui est uerbum Patris, ab aeterno a patre genitus uerus et aeternus Deus, ac Patri consubstantialis, in utero Beatae uirginis ex illius substantia naturam humanam assumpsit: ita ut duae naturae, diuina et humana, integre atque perfecte in unitate personae, fuerint inseparabiliter coniunctae: ex quibus est vnus CHRISTVS, verus Deus et verus Homo: qui uere passus est, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, ut Patrem nobis reconciliaret, essetque hostia non tantum pro culpa originis, uerum etiam pro omnibus actualibus hominum peccatis.

      The Sonne, which is the worde of the Father, begotten from euerlastyng of the Father, the very and eternall GOD, of one substaunce with the father, toke man’s nature in the wombe of the blessed Virgin, of her substaunce: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, were ioyned together in one person, neuer to be diuided, whereof is one Christe, very GOD and very man, who truely suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his father to vs, and to be a sacrifice, not only for originall gylt, but also for all actuall sinnes of men.


      i.  Connection.  The subject of the Incarnation naturally follows that of the Blessed Trinity.  God, being such as the first Article has stated Him to be, has supplemented His original act of Creation by the manifestation of Himself in human form.  The second Article, therefore, proceeds to treat of the nature and purpose of the Self-manifestation of the Son of God by taking upon Him human flesh.

      ii.  Title.  In the Edition of 1553 the Title of the Article both in Latin and English varied from the present English form, and ran as follows, “Verbum Dei verum hominem esse factum,” “That the Worde or Sonne of God was made a very man.”  The authoritative Latin edition of 1571 has “De Verbo, sive Filio Dei qui verus homo factus est,” “Of the Worde or Sonne of God which was made very Man.”

      iii.  Source.  The Article, as originally drafted, and as it appeared in the Latin and English editions of 1553, lacked the clauses stating the Eternal generation of the Son and His consubstantiality with the Father.  In its earliest form it had constituted, with very slight variation, a portion of the Third Article of the Thirteen of 1538, which was identical with the Third Article of the Augsburg Confession.  The additional clauses were introduced in 1563 from the Wurtemberg Confession of 1552. [This Confession was a Lutheran Manifesto based very largely upon the Augsburg Confession.  It was presented to the Council of Trent by the ambassadors of Wurtemberg.  The Article de Filio Dei agrees verbatim with the clauses inserted in this Article in 1563; “Credimus et confitemur Filium Dei, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, ab aeterno a Patre suo genitum, verum et aternum Deum, Patti suo consubstantialem.”  Hardwick, Hist. of the Articles, p. 127.]

      iv.  Object.  The Article was not directed against the Mediaeval party, for they held the orthodox doctrine respecting the Deity of the Son and His Incarnation.  It is rather aimed against the ancient Docetic teaching revived by the Anabaptists in the sixteenth century.  They denied altogether that Christ was “born of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh,” [“The chief opponents of Christ’s Divinity,” we read in one of the Zurich letters dated Aug. 14, 1551, “are the Arians, who are now beginning to shake our Churches with greater violence than ever, as they deny the conception of Christ by the Virgin.”  Hardwick, p. 90.  Hooper, writing to Bullinger, June 25, 1549, says, “ The Anabaptists ... deny altogether that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary according to the flesh.”] and amidst many other tenets that savoured of Arianism, rejected the doctrine of the Universality of Christ’s redemption. [A work published in 1556 tells of one condemned for holding “that Christ was only incarnate and suffered death for them that died before His Incarnation, and not for them that died since.”  Hardwick, pp. 89, 90.]

      v.  Analysis.  The Article treats of the following points:–

(1)  The Deity of the Son of God;

(2)  His Incarnation;

(3)  The Union In Him of the two Natures, the Divine and Human;

(4)  The Fact of the Passion;

(5)  The Object of the Passion.


(a)  The Deity of the Son of God.

      vi.  The statements of the Article on this point are fourfold.  It speaks of the Son (i) as the Word of the Father; (ii) as begotten from everlasting of the Father; (iii) as Very and Eternal God; and (iv) as consubstantial with the Father.

      vii.  The Word of the Father.  In Scripture the application of this term to the Son is confined to the writings of S. John.  In the beginning, we read, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1) [Εν αρχη ην ο Λόγος, και ο Λόγος ην προς τον Θεον, και Θεος ην ο Λόγος.  The idea of Logos or Wisdom is dimly traceable in the Old Testament (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9; Ps. 33:6; Prov. 8, 9); becomes more clear in the Apocrypha (Ecclus. 1:1–20, 24:1–22; Wisdom 6:22 sqq.; 9:17, 13), and clearer still in the Targums and the writings of Philo.  In the Targums or Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, we read in Gen. 3:8, instead of “they heard the Voice of the Lord God,” they heard “the Voice of the Word (Memra) of the Lord God”; again in Gen. 3:9, instead of “God called unto Adam,” we read “the word (Memra) of the Lord called unto Adam.”  In the writings of Philo the Logos was an intermediate agency between the Creator and the creature.]; and the message of the same Apostle in his Epistle is, That which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1). [“S. John taking the expression the Word, on which human reason had lighted in its gropings, stripped it of its merely philosophical and mythological wrappings, and fixed it as the Divine Word by identifying it with the Person of Christ.”  See Bp Westcott’s Com. on John 1:1.]  The term Word, or Logos, marks the inseparable inherence of the Son in the Unity of the Godhead.  It defines the fact that the Son is the Mediator between the Creator and the creature, the Person by whom the Father is naturally and properly revealed.  Hence Scripture tells us that by Him God made the worlds (Heb. 1:2), that in Him all created being subsists (Col. 1:17), [Intimation of this is found in the expression God said (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9).  Εξ ουκ όντων τα πάντα πεποίηκε δια του ιδίου Λόγου του Κυρίου ημων Ιησου Χριστου.  S. Athan. de Incarn. iii. 3.  As such the Son is πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως (Col. 1:15), the Λόγος προφορικός (Theoph. ad Autolyc. ii. 22), the ιδέα και ενέργεια of Creation (Athenag. pro Christ. § 10).  Comp. Heb. 1:3, φέρων τε τα πάντα τω ρήματι της δυνάμεως αυτου.] and that through Him God spake to man at the end of these days (Heb. 1:2).

      viii.   Begotten from everlasting of the Father.  But He, the Word, was none other than the Son of God, begotten from everlasting of the Father.  Preexistent from all eternity, [Εν αρχη ην ο Λόγος (S. John 1:1).  Εν αρχη expresses not at the time of Creation, but in Eternity, before there was such a thing as time at all.] He stands in a relation wholly peculiar to the Father.  He is God’s own proper Son, [Hence S. Paul says του ιδίου υιου ουκ εφείσατο (Rom. 8:32); and our Lord could speak of God as His own “proper Father,” πατέρα ίδιον έλεγε τον Θεόν (John 5:18).  “We are apt to say at first hearing that He is God, though He is the Son of God, marveling at the mystery.  But what to man is a mystery, to God is a cause.  He is God, not though, but because He is the Son of God.”  Newman, Parochial Sermons, vi. 57.  The Arians made great efforts to avoid acknowledging the proper Sonship of the Word, arguing that He was a Κτίσμα, after His creation made to be Son, instrumental in the creation of all else than Himself.  Thus they admitted that He existed before time, but asserted that ην ότε ουκ ην, “there was when He was not.”] the only One to whom the title belongs, and that in a sense in which it could be applied to no other.  He is Μονογενής, only-begotten (John 1:18), and as such, His generation is unique, being “before all worlds,” not in time, but in eternity.  We cannot fathom that which is unfathomable, a property of the Divine Nature, known only to God and to His Son.  All that we can dare to say is that though this relationship is, in its deepest essence, incomprehensible for the finite understanding, as indeed is impressed upon us by our Lord Himself, [Matt. 11:27, ουδεις, επιγινώσκει τον υιόν, ει μη ο πατήρ· ουδε τον πατέρα τις επιγινώσκει, ει μη ο υιός Nemo novit Filium nisi Pater, neque Patrem quis novit nisi Filius.  Vulg.  Επιγινώσκει, as distinguished from the simple verb, implies a perfect and thorough knowledge.  Comp. Luke 1:4, and Bp. Lightfoot on Col. 1:9.  There is a remarkable affinity between this verse and the general import of the Gospel according to S. John.  It brings out an absolute and unique mystery of spiritual community, both in reference to power and to knowledge, between the Father and the Son.  See Lange in loc., and compare Luke 10:21, 22.] yet we must believe that the Infinite could not be the perfectly Blessed One, without an eternal and perfect object of His Love. [Oosterzee’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 275.]  And this object He has in His Son, who, while He must necessarily be another than the Father, yet has continually the ground of His existence in the being and essence of the Father, and is not a Son of God, but the Son of God, His beloved Son, in Whom He is ever well pleased (Matt. 3:17) [Ουτός εστιν ο υιός μου ο αγαπητός, εν ω ευδόκησα Filius Meus dilectur, in quo mihi complacui.  Vulg.].

      ix.  Very and Eternal God.  Since the Word is in a proper and yet unique sense, Son of God, He is not another God, a sort of under-God, but “very and Eternal God.”  Scripture is clear as to the Deity of the Son.  S. John distinctly says, the Word was God (John 1:1), and S. Paul tells us that in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9), [Εν αυτω κατοικει παν το πλήρωμα της Θεότητος σωματικως.  His is not Θειοτής, Divinity, or the possession of Godlike properties, such as Spirituality, but Οεότης, Deity, or the possession of the nature of God.  He is perfectus Deus, and not the less such, because whether in virtue of the order of origin, or in virtue of His human nature, He is subordinate to the Father, “aequalis Patri secundum Divinitatem, minor Patre secundum Humanitatem.”  Athanasian Creed.] and that He is from all eternity in the essential form of God (Phil. 2:6). [Εν μορφη Θεου υπάρχων.  Μορφή expresses essential being, as distinct from σχημα (Lat. habitus), which is mere external shape.  Μορφή is the forma, σχημα is the figura forma.  The verb υπάρχων expresses that He was originally in the form of God.  See Bp Lightfoot in loc.]  Moreover he speaks of Him as our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:13), [Του μεγάλου Θεου και Σωτηρος ημων Ιησου Χριστου.  That one and the same Person is intended in this phrase is made quite clear by the use of the one article.  Supposing the writer to designate one Person as μεγάλου Θεου and another Person as Σωτηρος ημων, the article would have been repeated before Σωτηρος.  “We have here,” writes Bp Ellicott, “a direct, definite, and even studied declaration of Christ’s Divinity.”  See Ellicott in loc.] as over all, God blessed for ever (Rom. 9:5).  Indirect testimony to the same effect is afforded by the ascription to the Son of the same attributes as to the Father, the same power (John 5:21), the same knowledge (John 21:17), the same wisdom (Luke 11:49), the same immortality (Heb. 13:8).  Moreover He performs the same works as the Father; He forgives sins (Matt. 9:2 sq.); He quickens and judges men (John 5:24–29).  He claims the same honour as is rendered to the Father (John 5:23, 14:1), and He allows the homage due to God to be paid to Himself (John 20:28).

      x.  Consubstantial with the Father.  Moreover, as very and eternal God, He is of one substance with the Father.  He is ομοούσιος, [On the word ομοούσιος, see Introduction to the Creeds, p. 84, n. 1, and the references there given.] of one and the same essence with the Father.  This famous term, of which “consubstantial” is the English equivalent, is not found in Scripture, but acquired an important dogmatic meaning owing to the exigencies of the Arian controversy.  God as the I AM, has an essence.  The Son, if He be God, and no mere creature, is of the essence of the Father, and the term ομοούσιος is a perfectly natural statement of the relation between the Father and the Son.  The Arians were willing to exalt Him to any conceivable height short of Godhead, [See Dean Church’s Sermon on the Incarnation, S. P. C. K. Series, i. p. 138.] but in so doing they parted Him from the Divine essence by a fathomless chasm, and really placed between God and the creature a subordinate God.  The Nicene Fathers, therefore, proclaimed in unmistakable terms the real and proper Godhead of the Son, and laid it down that He was not of a different nature from the Father, as are all things visible and invisible, whereof He is the Maker; nor of a merely similar nature and essence, ομοιούσιος, as one man resembles another without identity; but that He is of one and the same nature, essence, and substance, ομοούσιος with the Father, God Himself in all His perfection and completeness, blessed for evermore (Rom. 9:5) [“Between the Son and the Father there exists unceasingly the most intimate community of life and love.  This lies in the nature of the case, and is besides constantly asserted by the Son Himself.  The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth (John 5:20).  The Father honoreth the Son (John 8:54), and hath delivered all things unto Him (Matt. 11:27).  The Son, on the other hand, doeth all things whatsoever the Father doeth (John 5:19), and is in heaven with the Father while he holds converse with men on earth (John 3:13).  Without any limitation, therefore, He is able to speak of all that is the Father’s as at the same time His (John 17:10), and thus Himself justifies us in speaking of a true oneness of nature (ομοουσία) between Him and the Father.”  Oosterzee,  Christian Dogmatics, pp. 277, 278.]


(b)  The Incarnation of the Son of God.

      xi.  The Incarnation.  Having stated that the Word is consubstantial with the Father, the Article proceeds to treat of His consubstantiality with man, or His Incarnation.  Respecting this unspeakable mystery it affirms that the ever blessed Son of God “took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance.”  The Article thus agrees with the statements of the Creeds.  For whereas the Apostles’ Creed affirms that He, Who was with the Father before all worlds, “was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary”; and the Nicene Creed expands this by stating that He was “incarnate by the Holy Ghost ... and was made man”; and the Athanasian Creed declares that “our Lord Jesus Christ, ... God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds,” became “Man, of the substance of His mother, born in the world,” the Article gathers together these statements into one whole, and places before us in terms at once accurate and distinct the mighty mystery of the Incarnation.

      xii.  Foreshadowings of the Incarnation.  This stupendous event had long been foretold and foreshadowed. [See Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 97, 98.]  The Eternal Word in frequent Theophanies had presented Himself to the vision of Patriarchs and Prophets.  He had imaged Himself beforehand in elect sons of men under the Old Covenant, [See Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 238; Westcott’s Introduction to the New Testament, p. 153; Liddon’s University Sermons, i. p. 197.] and in them had realized, long before He appeared, some features of the Being, Whose entire Divine and human fullness He purposed to express in the revelation of Himself, as at once the Son of God and the Son of Man.  But since the taint and corruption of our nature descends to all men, who are born in the ordinary course of the offspring of Adam, it was not possible that He could be conceived like other men.  Accordingly the Spirit, [Πνευμα Άγιον επελεύσεται επί σε, και δύναμις υψίστου επισκιάσει σοι (Luke 1:35)] who in the beginning brooded over the waters, and awoke order out of chaos and life out of death (Gen. 1:2), brought it about by the exercise of Divine Power that in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4) the Virgin Mary should, without the intervention of any human father whatever, become in time the mother of Him Who was with the Father from all eternity.  In meek submission to the Divine will she humbly accepted the supernatural dignity in store for her, and gave herself up to be the instrument of the Divine counsel, saying to the angel Gabriel, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38).

      xiii.  The Fulfillment.  Thus it came to pass that He, Who is very God, condescended to be “conceived by the Holy Ghost,” and so far from “abhorring the Virgin’s womb,” deigned to take unto Him “of her substance” the simplest original element of man’s nature, before it came to have any personal human subsistence. [Hooker, Eccl. Pol. V. 53. 3.]  Moreover, passing through all the stages necessary to maturity, He was born into this our world of the Virgin Mary, even as other children are born, at Bethlehem of Judah in the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus (Luke 2:6, 7).  Thus “ in great humility” He willed [“Opportunitate temporis, quando voluit, quando sciebat, tunc natus est; non enim nolens natus est.  Nemo nostrum quia vult nascitur, et nemo nostrum quando vult moritur.  Ille quando voluit natus est.” S.  Aug.  Serm. ad Catech. c. viii.] to be conceived and take upon Him our nature, and so the new Adam was formed, not as the first Adam out of the dust of the ground, lest He should miss the participation with us in a common nature, but from a woman, of the substance of the Virgin Mary His mother, that as her seed He might “bruise the serpent’s head.”


(c)  The Union of the two Natures.

      xiv.  The Effect of this infinite condescension on His part, of this conjunction of the Divine with the human, is stated in the Article to have been this, that

(a) “Two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided”; [The two Natures were in the language of the Article joined together (1) integre, (2) perfecte, and (3) inseparabiliter in unitate Personae.  See Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. 52 and 53; Pearson on the Creed, i. 289, Art. 3.]

(b) “Whereof [Whereof = ex quibus, i.e. of which two whole and perfect Natures.] is one Christ, very God, and very Man.”

For in taking upon Him man’s nature the second Person in the Trinity lost nothing of His essentially Divine attributes, [“Nunquam destitit esse Deus.”  S. Leo, Serm. in Nativ. 26, c. 2.  “Assumpsit quod non erat, et permansit quod erat.”  Aug. Serm. 184. 1.  “Verbum igitur Dei Deus, Filius Dei ... factus est homo; ita se ad susceptionem humilitatis nostrae sine diminutione suae majestatis inclinans, ut manens quod erat, veram servi formam ei formae, in qua Deo Patri est aequalis, uniret, et tanto foedere naturam utramque conseret, ut nec inferiorem consumeret glorificatio, nec superiorem minueret assumptio.”  S. Leo, Serm. in Solem. Nativ. 20, c. 2.] and while the Manhood He assumed did not lessen the form of God, the form of God did not annihilate His Humanity.  “He was, in the flesh, as before the Incarnation, in the bosom of the Father.” [Strong’s Manual of Theology, p. 279.]  Hence by this union a Personality appeared in this our world, in which the Divine just as little existed without the human, as the human without the Divine, “One Christ,” true God and true Man.  Both natures, though originally by no means identical, became in consequence of this personal union henceforth inseparably joined together, [“This Blessed union is incapable of dissolution.  As there ever has been, and ever will be, the eternal Son of God, so will there ever remain the eternal Son of Man”  Archer Butler’s Sermons Series i. p. 73.] and that not by any blending or confusion of the Divine and human essence, or any conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by His “taking the Manhood into God,” and as the rational soul and flesh constitute one man, [Unus autem non conversione Divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione Humanitatis in Deum.”  The words of the Athanasian Creed “unus omnino,” rendered in a Prymer of 1543, “utterly one,” denote an absolute, entire, oneness.  On the Arian, Apollinarian, Nestorian, and Eutychian heresies as regards the Incarnation, see Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 106, 107.] so God and man is one Christ.  And the two natures thus united are not only real but complete.  Our Lord, as born of the Virgin Mary, was not an emanation from God, or a Being all but God, He was God Himself, in all His Perfection and Completeness.  But He was also perfect Man.  No one element or faculty of human nature was wanting to the Manhood which He assumed.  He had a body; He had a soul; He had a spirit; and the two natures were perfectly and inseparably united. [“To the question who is the ‘I’ who presents Himself as speaking in the Gospel? we cannot reply Only the Man Jesus, or Only the Son of God; but the God-man in undivided personality.  Hence the Lord never says ‘I and the Logos,’ or ‘I and the Son,’ but ‘I and the Father are one thing’; for this ‘I’ is the Son Himself, who is inseparably one with Jesus of Nazareth.”  Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, p.. 513.  “Videmus duplicem statum, non confusum, sed conjunctum in una persona, Deum et hominem Jesum ... et ... salva est utriusque proprietas substantiae.”  Tertullian, adv. Prax. 27.  “Ad rependendum nostrae conditionis debitum natura inviolabilis naturm est units passibili, Deusque verus et homo verus in unitatem Domini temperatur, ut quod nostris remediis congruebat, unus atque idem Dei hominisque Mediator, et mori posset ex uno, et resurgere posset ex altero.”  S. Leo, In Sol. Nat. 20, c. 2.]  The manner of this union is to our finite understanding incomprehensible.  It is the mystery of mysteries, the one everlasting mystery of Divine power and love.  But we cannot be surprised at its baffling our comprehension.  “The highest miracle in the world’s history will assuredly be the last of all to be understood.” [Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, p. 516.]


(d)  The Fact of the Passion.

      xv.  Who truly suffered.  Having declared that the Eternal Son of God thus became Man, the Article proceeds to enunciate the truth that He still further humbled Himself even unto death, that He truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried.  Here again the statement made sums up the teaching of the Creeds.  For while the Athanasian Formula simply asserts that He “suffered,” and the Nicene affirms that He “was crucified under Pontius Pilate, ... suffered, and buried,” and the Apostles’ Creed adds that “He died,” the Article brings out strongly the fact that His Passion and death were real and actual [Vere passus est, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus.] and not in appearance only.  It was not unimportant to insist on this, for many of the Anabaptist School in the sixteenth century had revived the erroneous teaching of the Docetae, and represented the Death of our Redeemer as having been apparent only and not real.  In respect to this idea, which has been revived in modern times, it is to be observed that on purely historical grounds there is no single reason for doubting the reality of His Death.  On the contrary

(a) Our Lord’s words before the event imply it; [Luke 23:46, Father, into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit; and having said this, He gave up the ghost.  These words imply that His Spirit was separated from His body, and, as death consists in this separation, so far as He was man, He died.]

(b) Friends like the Holy Women, [Mark 15:47.] Joseph of Arimathaea, [Mark 15:43.] Nicodemus, [John 19:39.] and the Apostles, [Acts 2:23.] were certain of it;

(c) Foes as (1) the soldier who thrust the head of his spear into His side [John 19:31–37.  The spear used is called λόγχη, Vulg. lancea.  It was either (1) the Roman hasta, the iron head of which was the width of a hand-breadth and pointed at the end, or (2) the long lance of a horseman.]; (2) Pilate who examined the centurion as to the reality of the death [Mark 15:44.]; (3) the Jewish Sanhedrim, who begged that His grave might be carefully guarded, were convinced of it; [Matt. 27:62–66.]

(d) The narrative of the Evangelists, the dogmatic statements of the Epistles, [Rom. 4:24, 25; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 2:24.] the distinct assertion of the glorified Lord after the Ascension, [Apoc. 1:18.] assume it without hesitation;

(e) The clear statement of the historian Tacitus [Christus, Tiberio imperitante, per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum, supplicio affectus erat.”  Tac. Ann. xv. 44.  Supplicio affectus erat denotes that He suffered the capital penalty.  “It is true that according to the Gospel History Pilate, took Jesus and scourged Him (John 19:1), and in this sense punished Him or caused Him to suffer; but this would have been a trifle to the mind of a Roman historian, not worthy of being recorded; the only ground for referring to Christ would be that under Pontius Pilate His life and labours came to an end.”  Bp Goodwin’s Foundations of the Creed, p. 151.] records it as an historical fact, and not only was it accepted in an age which had its archives and its registers, but it is mentioned by later authors as a matter of common notoriety, and, besides being never disproved, gave point to the opprobrious epithets of remorseless foes. [Patibulo affixus interiit ... crucis supplicio interemptum et Deum fuisse contenditis.”  Arnob. Adv. Gentes, t. xxvi. 40.  “How could He have gone through the Crucifixion without dying?  What would have been His physical condition, even if a spark of life had remained?  If He did not die then, when did He die?  Did He and the Apostles agree to pretend that He had died?  Why should men make up a story, which was to bring them no benefit, but only contempt, persecution, and death?”  Fisher’s Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief, p. 167.]


(e)  The Object of the Passion.

      xvi.  Its twofold Nature.  Having asserted that the Passion of our Lord was a real objective fact, the Article proceeds to deal with its object and purpose.  The Nicene and Athanasian symbols affirm that “He suffered for us and for our salvation.”  The Article amplifies this statement and affirms that our Lord humbled Himself to the death of the Cross

(1) “That He might reconcile His Father to us”;

(2) “That He might be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.”

It thus emphasizes two of the three figures, under which Scripture represents to us the purpose of the Passion, (1) Reconciliation or At-one-ment; (2) Propitiation or Sacrifice.

      xvii.  Reconciliation.  The idea which lies at the root of the Greek word καταλλαγή, [For καταλλαγή, Vulg. reconciliatio, see Introduction to the Creeds, p. 133, n. 2.] which we have rendered by Reconciliation or At-one-ment, is that of bringing together those who have been at variance.  Now in consequence of the Fall man is not only in a state of bondage, but also in one of alienation from God, and S. Paul speaks of the wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). [Των την αλήθειαν εν αδικία κατεχόντων.  Κατέχειν = (1) to hold firmly, comp. Luke 8:15, ακούσαντες τον λόγον κατέχουσιν; to hold down, restrain, hinder; comp. Gen 24:56, LXX. μη κατέχετέ με; Luke 4:42, κατειχον αυτον του μη πορεύεσθαι απ αυτων.  The latter, says Sr. Vaughan, appears the sense here – who hinder, hold down, the truth by living in unrighteousness.]  One of the purposes, then, of our Lord’s Passion was in our nature and for us to do that which we could not do ourselves, and make peace between man and God.  When, therefore, He offered Himself on the Altar of His Cross, He died for all, and all died in Him, [Εις υπερ πάντων απέθανεν άρα οι πάντες απέθανον (2 Cor. 5:15), we thus judge that one died for all, therefore all died (in Him).  See a striking sermon of F. W. Robertson on this verse.] and so He abolished in His flesh the enmity which sin had interposed between the creature and the Creator.  Hence S. Paul affirms that in Christ God reconciled man, [Εκ του Θεου του καταλλάξαντος ημας εαυτω δια Χριστου, 2 Cor. 5:18.] the world, [Θεος ην εν Χριστω κόσμον καταλλάσσων εαυτω, 2 Cor. 5:19.] and all things [Εν αυτω ευδόκησε παν το πλήρωμα κατοικησαι, και δι αυτου αποκαταλλάξαι τα πάντα εις αυτόν, Col 1:19, 20.  Observe the compound form here used αποκαταλλάξαι = to restore or reconcile completely.  See Bp. Lightfoot’s note in loc.] to Himself.  Here, as in other places, Holy Scripture speaks of the sinner as reconciled to God, not of God as reconciled to the sinner.  Still the language of the Article holds good.  For while the essential nature of God is unchangeable Love, it is also and equally unchangeable Righteousness, and the fact of sin in man had disturbed the relations of God towards man.  If, then, reunion was to be brought about and an at-one-ment rendered possible, the righteous anger of God against sin must be satisfied.  And it was satisfied, when the Son of God, having in our nature lived a life of perfect obedience, offered up that unblemished life upon His Cross, [When our Lord suffered on the Cross, our nature suffered in Him, for all Humanity was represented by Him and gathered up in Him.  In Him our nature satisfied its old and heavy debt, for the presence of His Divinity gave it transcendent merit.  “Dignitas carnis Christi non est aestimanda solum secundum carnis naturam, sed secundum personam assumentem, in quantum scilicet erat caro Dei ex quo habebat dignitatem infinitam.”  S. Thom. Aq. Sum. iii. 48. 2.  “That which setteth the high price on this sacrifice, is this; that He which offereth it unto God, is God.”  Bp Andrewes, Serm. ii. 152.  “There was a virtue in His death which there could be in no other, for He was God.”  Newman, Paroch. Serm. vi. 71.] and thus reconciled man to God and God to man.

      xviii.  A Sacrifice.  Besides bringing about this Reconciliation, the Article further affirms that the object of our Lord’s Passion was that He might be a Victim and a Sacrifice “not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.” [Or as it is rendered in 1553 “to be a Sacrifice for all sinne of manne, both originall, and actuall.”  “The omission of the important word ‘all’ in many modern copies of the Article is without the least authority.  It appears in the editions of 1628, but is dropped as early as 1630, and deliberately in the received text of the Assembly of Divines, 1643.”  Hardwick, Hist. Art. p. 290, n.]  On this subject the language of Holy Scripture is explicit: for

(a) It was expressly said to Joseph by the Angel, Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for He [Αυτος γαρ σώσει.  “Αυτος, casu recto, semper habet emphasin, hic maximam.”  Bengel.] shall save His people from their sins (Matt. 1;21);

(b) Again John the Baptist expressly pointed Him out as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29);

(c) And the Apostle John writes, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1, 2).

      As the appointed Victim, destined in the eternal purpose [Comp. Apoc. 13:8, του αρνίου του εσφαγμένου απο καταβολης κόσμου.] to be the sacrifice for sin, He became by His death the propitiation not only for original sin, [The guilt of original sin is cancel led in Holy Baptism, when being made one with Christ (Rom. 6:3), we share the virtue of His death for the sins of the whole world, and of His glorified Humanity in heaven.] but also for all actual sins of men.  That His propitiation is valid for all alike, [See Westcott on 1 John 2:2.] and extends as far as the need of it through all place and all time, [Comp. Justin, Dial. cum Tryph. § 95, τον εαυτου Χριστον ... ο Πατηρ των όλων τας πάντων κατάρας αναδέξασθαι εβουλήθη; S. Athan. De Incarn. viii. 4, Αντι πάντων αυτο (σωμα) θανάτω παραδιδούς; S. Aug. In Psalm. xci. 13, “Totum (orbem terrarum) judicare habet (Christus), quia pro toto pretium dedit.”  When, as in Matt. 20:28, Rom. 5:19, Heb. 9:28, the Passion is referred to as endured for “many,” the word many is a quantitative designation for all, used for the purpose of contrast.  See Vaughan and Westcott, in loc., and Macaire, Theol. Dogm. ii. p. 180, French Tr.] is clear from

(a) S. Peter’s words to those who had been guilty of the awful crime [Dic immane aliquid quod commisisti, grave, horrendum, quod etiam cogitare horres; quidquid vis feceris, numquid Christum occidisti?  Non est isto facto aliquid pejus, quia et Christo nihil est melius.  Quantum nefas est occidere Christum?  Judaei tamen Eum occiderunt, et multi in Eum postea crediderunt, et biberunt Ejus sanguinem: dimissum est illis peccatum quod commiserunt.”  S. Aug. Serm. ad Catech. xv.] of crucifying the Lord of glory, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38);

(b) The words of Ananias to the repentant persecutor, Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins (Acts 22:16);

(c) The words of S. Paul respecting the Corinthians, some of whom had been stained with the foulest vices and the deadliest sins, Such were some of you, but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God (2 Cor. 6:11);

(d) The words of S. John, who, after saying that Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiation for our sins, adds, And not for ours only, but also for the whole world (1 John 2:1, 2).


Article  III.



De descensu Christi ad Inferos.

Of the goyng downe of Christe into hell.

      Qvemmadmodum Christus pro nobis mortuus est et sepultus, ita est etiam credendus ad Inferos descendisse.

      As Christe dyed for vs, and was buryed: so also it is to be beleued that he went downe into hell.


      i.  Connection.  The third Article carries on the subject treated of in the second, and assures us that as Christ died and was buried, so also it is to be believed that He went down into the place of departed spirits.  This, however, is an event in the economy of redemption, which so far differs from the above mentioned events, as it lies out of the range of human experience, and is, therefore, rather a deduction from them than an historical event coordinate with them.

      ii.  Language and History.  As it stands at present, the Article consists only of a single sentence stating simply the fact of our Lord’s descent into Hades.  Herein it differs very considerably from the draft of 1553.  Then the Article consisted of two clauses of the which the latter ran as follows: – “For the bodie laye in the sepulchre, untill the resurrection; but his Ghoste departing from hym, was with the ghostes that were in prison or in Helle, and didde preach to the same as the place of. S. Peter dothe testifie.” [The following sentence is added in one Ms.: “At suo ad inferos descensu nullos a carceribus aut tormentis liberavit Christus Dominus.” Hardwick, p. 292, n.]  In the revision of the Articles in 1563 these words were omitted.

      iii.  Object.  The object of the Article was to vindicate the Catholic doctrine of our Lord’s descent into the realm of spirits, and to calm the controversies on the subject,* which at the time agitated the country.  But their continued violence, in spite of the effort thus made, led to the omission of the clause containing the allusion to the well-known language of S. Peter on the subject (1 Pet. 3:19), when the Elizabethan revision was carried out in 1563.  There does not seem to have been the least desire to deny that the passage in S. Peter applied to the descent of our Lord into the place of departed spirits, but simply a wish to avoid any theorizing on this mysterious subject, which might only rouse still further disputation.

      [*Particularly in the Diocese of Exeter.  See the quotation from the Papers of Alley, Bishop of Exeter, in 1563.  “There have been,” he writes, “in my Diocese great invectives between the preachers, one against the other, and also partakers with them; some holding that the going down of Christ His Son to hell was nothing else but the virtue and strength of Christ His death, to be made manifest and known to them that were dead before.  Others say that descendit ad inferna is nothing else but that Christ did sustain upon the Cross the infernal pains of hell when He called, Pater, quare me dereliquisti? i.e., “Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  Finally others preach that this Article is not contained in other symbols, neither in the symbol of Cyprian, or rather Rufine.  And all these sayings they ground upon Erasmus and the Germans, and especially upon the authority of Mr. Calvin and Mr. Bullinger.”  Strype’s Annals, i. Pt i. p. 348.]

      iv.  The descent into Hell is not an Article which is found in the oldest Creeds of the Church.  The Nicene Creed after dealing with the fact of our Lord’s death proceeds to speak of His Resurrection.  The Apostles’ Creed and the Quicunque Vult, as also our present Article, following their example, declare what happened to His human spirit after death.  The actual expression “Descendit ad inferna” or “ad inferos” occurs first in the Arian Creed of the Council of Ariminum about the middle of the fourth century, [See Canon Heurtley’s Harmonia Symbolica, p. 135.          ] and in the Creed of the Church of Aquileia about A.D. 400. [Heurtley’s History of the Earlier Formularies of Faith, p. 33.]  It had then no place in the Roman Creed, but it is found in the Creed commented on by Venantius Fortunatus towards the end of the sixth century, and thenceforth is of frequent occurrence. [That is after the spread of the Apollinarian heresy, which it may have been mainly intended to counteract.  See Dean Luckock’s Intermediate State, p. 128.  When the Apollinarians denied our Lord’s possession of a rational human soul, S. Athanasius asked them how they explained the Descent into Hell.  Did He indeed divide His outer man into two parts, and thus manifest Himself at once in the tomb and in Hades?  And the question was fatal to the position which they assumed.  Μήτι γε διχη μερίσας τον έξωθεν, και εν τάφω επεδείκνυτο και εν Άιδη; S. Athan. De Incarn. Christi contra Apoll., p. 491 C.]

      v.  The word Hell, as used in the Article and in our English Version of the Creeds, is not to be confounded with “ the place of torment,” [Γέεννα Matt. 5:30, 23:33; Mark 9:43–47, Luke 12:5.] or “the bottomless pit.” [Η Άβυσσος, Luke 8:31, Rom. 10:7, Apoc. 9:2, 11.]  It is the same as the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades,* which denote “the covered place,” “the invisible underworld.”  This was represented by the Jews under a threefold phrase: – (i) “The Garden of Eden” or “Paradise”; [From the Greek word παράδεισος, originally a Persian word, denoting the park of a king rich in fruits and flowers.  The word occurs in (i) Luke 23:43, (ii) 2 Cor. 12:4, (iii) Apoc. 2:7.  See Edersheim’s Life of Jesus of Nazareth, ii. p. 599; Trench’s Epp. to the Seven Churches, pp. 93, 94.] (ii) “Under the throne of glory” [Or “Under the Altar.”  Comp. Apoc. 6:9, ειδον υποκάτω του θυσιαστηρίου τας ψυχας των εσφαγμένων.]; (iii) “In Abraham’s bosom.” [Comp. Luke 16:22, where it is said of Lazarus that after death he was borne υπο των αγγέλων εις τον κόλπον του Αβραάμ.]

      [*The English word Hell is derived from the A. S. hélan = to hide, cover, or conceal.  Compare Myrc’s Instructions for Parish Priests, 1053, 1506.

“Hast thou i-founde any [th]ynge

And helet it at askynge?

Tell me, sone, now all smerte

For alle [th]at [th]ou helest now fro me.”

Early English Text Society, pp. 32, 46.

Compare also Wiclif’s Lollard Doctrines, “Be it made unto him a clo[th]e [th]at he is helid wi[th], and a belt [th]at he is gi[th] wi[th].”

{Character for bracketed “th” above resemble “b” but angular, not rounded.}]

      vi.  The Fact of our Lord’s descent into Hades is proved most clearly from Scripture:–

(a) By His own words to the repentant malefactor on the Cross, This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43); [Where it is clear that if His soul was not left in Hades, He must Himself have been there.]

(b) By the words of S. Peter on the day of Pentecost, when, applying the prophetic language of the sixteenth Psalm, he distinctly states respecting our Lord that His soul was not left in Hades, neither did His flesh see corruption (Acts 2:31).

(c) By the words of S. Paul, when he says of Christ that He, Who ascended, is the same that descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9); [Κατέβη εις τα κατώτερα μέρη της γης.  The most ancient writers, Iren. adv. Haer. v. 31; Origen on Matt. 31, understood this to refer to the descent into Hades, and an almost identical phrase κατελθόντα εις τα κατώτατα was used in the Greek translation of the. Aquileian Creed as the equivalent of the Latin descendit ad inferos.]

(d) By the words of S. Peter in his first Epistle, when he affirms that Christ was put to death in His flesh, but was quickened in His spirit, [Comp. Vulg. Mortficatus guidem carne, vivificatus autem spiritu.] and that in His spirit He went [Πορευθείς. The word must refer to a local transference, just as in 1 Pet. 3:22 we have πορευθεις εις ουρανόν.] and preached [Εκήρυξεν = He proclaimed as a herald.  The word is nearly equivalent to ευηγγελίσατο, as in other places of the New Testament.  “The word had been familiar to the Apostle’s ear during his Lord’s ministry on earth.  It had become familiar to the Church through the oral or written narratives of the Gospel history.”  Dean Plumptre in loc.] to the spirits in prison, [Φυλακή from φυλάσσειν denotes (i) A watch of the night (Matt. 14:25, Luke 12:38); (ii) a place of safe keeping, a prison (Mark 6:17, 27, John 3:24; Acts 5:19, 12:4, 16:27, &c.).  Here it denotes the place of waiting appointed by God as the habitation of disembodied souls, between death and the resurrection.  See Bishop Horsley’s Sermon on the text.] who aforetime were disobedient, when the longsuffering of God waited [Απεξεδέχετο.  For the word compare Rom. 8:19, 23; 1 Cor. 1:7, Gal. 5:5.  Observe the imperfect tense = was waiting during the whole period of their disobedience, i.e. 120 years (Gen. 6:3).  The απο denotes the full time during which the waiting was exercised.  “Exspectabat donec exspectandi finis erat.” Bengel.  The prominence given to the history of Noah in our Lord’s eschatological teaching comes out in S. Matt. 24:37, 38; Luke 17:26, 27.  That His words made a great impression on S. Peter’s mind and recollection may be inferred both from the present passage and from 2 Pet. 2:5, 3:6.] in the days of Noah, [Eo probabilius est nonnullos ex tanta multitudine, veniente pluvia, resipuisse; cumque non credidissent, dum exspectaret Deus, dum arca strueretur, postea, cum arca structa esset, et poena ingrueret, credere coepisse; quibus postea Christus, eorumque similibus, se praeconem gratiae praestiterit.”  Bengel in loc.] while the ark was preparing (1 Pet. 3:18–20).

      vii.  As to the practical Lessons which our Lord’s descent teaches, we learn:–

(a) That as perfect Man He condescended to endure to the full all the limitations which pertain to man;

(b) That He hallowed every condition of human existence;

(c) That death has no mystery which He has not fathomed;

(d)That there is nothing in the fact of death, nothing in the consequences of death, which He has not endured for us.

      viii.  The completeness of His mediatorial work required that He should fully experience and thereby fully overcome the power of death. [Comp. Tertull. de Anima, c. 55, “Hic quoque legi satisfecit, forma humanae mortis apud inferos functus”; S. Hilar. Tract. in Psalm. liii., “Quam descensionem Dominus ad consummationem vefi hominis non recusavit.”]  The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of our beholding Jesus made a little lower than the angels ... that by the grace of God He should taste death [For the expression γεύσηται θανάτου comp. Matt. 16:28, John 8:52, and Westcott’s note in loc.] for every man (Heb. 2:9).  By the term “taste” the writer means that our Lord really experienced all that death means on our behalf, as only a perfectly Holy Being was able to do. [“Man, as he is, cannot feel the full significance of death, the consequence of sin, though he is subject to the fear of it; but Christ, in His sinlessness, perfectly realized its awfulness.  In this fact lies the immeasurable difference between the death of Christ, simply as death, and that of the holiest martyr.”  Westcott on Heb. 2:9.]  Such an experience would naturally involve the descent into Hades, for only thus could He become acquainted with death and all that follows death. Moreover the descent into Hades was essential to His conquest of death. [“By His descent into Hades, Christ revealed Himself as the Redeemer of all souls.  The descent into the realm of the dead gave expression to the truth, that the distinctions Here and There – the limits of place – are of no significance regarding Christ, and do not concern His kingdom.”  Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 316.]  In the vision of Himself in His glorified humanity to S. John He reassures the terrified Apostle with the words, I am the First and the Last and the Living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore and I have the keys of death and of Hades (Apoc. i. 17, 18). [Εγώ ειμι ο πρωτος και ο έσχατος, και ο ζων· και εγενόμην νεκρός, και ιδου ζων ειμι εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων, και έχω τας κλεις του θανάτου και του άδου.  Apoc. 1:18.  “Our Lord used the key of Hades on the Cross when He admitted the soul of the Penitent into Paradise (Luke 23:43), and He will use it at the Great Day, when He will unlock the gates of Hades, and will call forth the spirits of all men, and reunite every soul to its own body, which He will raise from the grave (John 5:28).”  Bp Wordsworth in loc.]  Now He could not have had the keys of Hades unless He had Himself been in Hades, and His possession of the keys of Hades proved His conquest of death, and that He had led captivity captive [Σταυρουται, θάπτεται, κατέρχεται εις τα καταχθόνια εν θεότητι και εν ψυχη· αιχμαλωτεύεται την αιχμαλωσίαν.  S. Epiph. adv. Haer. i. 20.  Captivity in the abstract is put for the concrete; whether the concrete be active, “him who makes captive,” or passive, “those who are made captive,” is immaterial to the final result, for if Christ led captive the conqueror, He thereby freed the conquered; if He led captive “the conquered,” He must first have “led captive the conqueror.”  There is no reference here to the Holy Spirit.  There is simply the antithesis between the lower and higher parts of Christ’s human nature, between His flesh and His spirit.] (Eph. 4:8).

      ix.  The Issues of the Descent.  What was the exact purport and issue of His activity in the abode of departed spirits we are not told, but only that invested with His human spirit [Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, p. 212.] He went and preached to the spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:19), and we gather from a passage in the succeeding .chapter of S. Peter’s Epistle that He preached to them “a Gospel” (1 Pet. 4:6), and so the power of His Passion was felt in the unseen world, even before His Resurrection. [“So also His dead Body, in the world of sense, gave signs of what was to come.  The blood and water which issued from the wound of the spear was not a sign of death.  The separation of the blood and the water, or serum, which takes place in such a rupture of the heart as our Lord is thought by some to have died of, would be the beginning of decomposition and corruption; and the sinless flesh of Jesus, though subject to death, was not subject to corruption (Acts 2:31).  We ought, therefore, rather to see in the outpouring of the blood and water, a sign that the dead body of Christ was being prepared for the coming Resurrection.”  Ibid. p. 213.]  The Catholic doctors of the early Church fully acknowledged that the Advent of the Lord in the spiritual world must have been a source of blessedness to the holy souls in Abraham’s bosom.  Hades without Him, and Hades with Him as the possessor of its keys, must have been two different places.  But the question whether His visit made any difference in their subsequent condition was more open to dispute. Some held that it made none.  Others held that He delivered some souls from Hades, [“The Gospel of Nicodemus dealt very fully with the delivery of souls from Hades, and ‘the Harrowing of Hell,’ as it was technically called in England, became a favourite subject of religious art in the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries, as may be seen in the works of Taddeo Gaddi and Simone Memmi, in the chapter house of Santa Maria Novella at Florence.”  Bp Forbes on the Articles, p. 53.] and carried them to a better place, even to His kingdom of glory.  On this point, however, Scripture preserves an impressive and significant silence.  We may surely acquiesce in the opinion of S. Augustine that we “cannot believe Christ went down to Hades in vain,” [S. August. Epist. ad Euodium, clxiv.] and leave the results under the shadow of His throne, Who by His descent into the unseen world has proved that “no powers of nature, no limits of space or time, could hinder Him from finding His way to souls.” [See Martensen’s Christian Dogmatics, p. 316.  “We are sure that the fruits of Christ’s work are made available for every man; we are sure that He crowned every act of faith in patriarch or king or prophet or saint with perfect joy; but how and when we know not, and, as far as appears, we have no faculty for knowing.”  Westcott’s Historic Faith, p. 77.]


Article  IV



Resurrectio Christi.

Of the Resurrection of Christe.

      Christus vere a mortuis resurrexit, suumque corpus cum carne, ossibus, omnibusque ad integritatem humanae naturae pertinentibus, recepit, cum quibus in coelum ascendit, ibique residet, quoad extremo die ad iudicandos [     ] homines reuersurus sit.

      Christe dyd truely aryse agayne from death, and toke agayne his body, with flesh, bones, and all thinges apparteyning to the perfection of mans nature, wherewith he ascended into heauen, and there sitteth, vntyll he returne to iudge all men at the last day.


      i.  Connection.  The fourth Article follows the third in the order suggested by the historical facts of which it treats, for, as the third Article of the Forty-two expressed it, “the bodie laye in the sepulchre, untill the resurrection; but his Ghoste departing from hym, was with the ghostes that were in prison or in Helle.”

      ii.  The Title, as found both in Latin and in English in the Forty-two Articles of 1553, corresponds with the Latin title of 1563.  The Latin Edition of 1571, printed by John Day, and published by Royal authority, has “De Resurrectione Christi,” and so corresponds with the authoritative English Edition of the same year.

      iii.  The Source, from which the Article is derived, cannot be indicated with quite the same certainty as in the case of the previous Articles.  When, however, we consider that the Treatise called Reformatio Rerum Ecclesiasticarum was being compiled during much the same period as the Articles, and that the compilers of the two formularies were in a large degree the same persons, it is possible that here and elsewhere the Articles may have been influenced by the wording of the Reformatio.  The latter formulary does not any more than the Article itself appear to borrow from any known Confession, and it is not improbable that we have in it the language of the compilers themselves.

      iv.  Object.  The Article is complementary to the second and third, and affirms the proper Manhood [Credatur item Dominus noster Jesus Christus, etiam post resurrectionem, duplici natura constare; divina quidem, immensa, incircumscripta, et infinita, quae ubique sit et omnia impleat; humana vero, finita et descripta humani corporis terminis ac finibus, qua, postquam peccata nostra perpurgavisset, in coelos ascendit, ibique ita sedet ad dexteram Patris, ut non ubique sit, quippe quem oportet in coelo remanere, usque ad tempus restitutionis omnium, cum ad judicandos vivos et mortuos veniet, ut reddat cuique juxta opera sua.”  Ref. Leg. de Summa Trin. c. 4.] of our Lord after His Resurrection in opposition to the fanatical, half-docetic school of the Anabaptists.  Of these some impugned the record of the Resurrection as a literal fact, and contended that the flesh of Christ had never been the flesh of a created being, and is now so deified as to retain no semblance of humanity. [This was specially the teaching of Caspar Schwenckfeld, a Silesian nobleman, born in 1490.  He maintained that (1) our Lord’s flesh is now so deified as to be properly Divine; (2) His proper Humanity was not created of the substance of the Blessed Virgin, but came down from heaven.  See Hardwick’s Hist. Ref., pp. 266, 267.  Compelled to leave Silesia in 1528 Schwenckfeld consorted with various sections of the Anabaptists, and Ranke thinks it highly probable that his influence contributed largely to the development of the more mystical forms of Anabaptism.  Ranke, Reform. iii. 563.]  The intention, therefore, of the Article is to assert that having taken the Manhood into God, our Lord did not lay it aside when He conquered death, but in that manhood arose from the grave, in that manhood ascended to heaven, in that manhood sitteth at the right hand of God, and in that manhood will return to judge all mankind.

      v.  Analysis.  The Article may be thus divided: –

(i)  It asserts the reality of Christ’s Resurrection from death;

(ii)  It affirms that He “took again His Body with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature”;

(iii)  It identifies the Resurrection Body with that in which He ascended up on high;

(iv)  It states the fact of the heavenly Session;

(v)  It affirms the fact and purpose of the Second Advent.


(a) The Fact of the Resurrection.

      vi.  The First Propagators of the Faith placed the fact of the Resurrection in the very forefront of their preaching. [“The historical truth of the Resurrection is a most serious matter, and must be capable of standing the severest historical criticism, for if Christ did not rise again from death to life –‘cadit quaestio’ – all Christian dogma, all Christian faith, is at an end.”  Lux Mundi, p. 236.]  They distinctly asserted that Jesus of Nazareth, Who had been seen and known by many to whom they spoke, Whose crucifixion had been public and notorious, had actually risen from the dead in accordance with His own pledge beforehand that this event would take place. [Matt. 16:21, 17:23.]  The filling up of the Apostolic College, [Acts 1:21, 22.] the first sermon of S. Peter on the day of Pentecost, [Acts 2:32.] the declaration of the Apostles Peter and John before the Sanhedrim, [Acts 4:10.] the first address of S. Paul at Antioch, [Acts 13:30.] his subsequent addresses at Thessalonica [Acts 17:3.] and especially at Athens, [Acts 17:31.] the declarations contained in all his Epistles, and notably the first to the Corinthians, [1 Cor. 15. passim.] all proceed upon the assumption of the Resurrection as a literal, historical fact, all regard it as the very kernel of the Christian teaching.

      vii.  The Early Fathers naturally follow their example, and put forward the Resurrection as the keystone of the Christian Faith.  Thus

(a) Ignatius writes “ I know and believe that even after His Resurrection He was in the flesh” [Ignatius ad Smyrn. iii.  Εγω γαρ και μετα την ανάστασιν εν σαρκι αυτον οιδα και πιστεύω όντα ... μετα δε την ανάστασιν [και] συνέφαγεν αυτοις και συνέπειν ως σαρκικός, καίπερ πνευματικως ηνωμένος τω πατρί.];

(b) Irenaeus in his Creed of the Church of Lyons and Vienne puts forward the Resurrection of our Lord as one of its most definite Articles [Irenaeus adv. Haer. i. 10. 1, Ed. Massuet.  Την έγερσιν εκ νεκρων.];

(c) Justin Martyr says, “At His Crucifixion even they that were acquainted with Him all denied and forsook Him; but afterwards, when He rose from the dead, He taught them to read the prophecies, in which all these things were foretold to happen” [Justin Martyr, Apol. i. c. 50.];

(d) Tertullian writes, “Believing the Resurrection of Christ, we believe also in our own for whom He died and rose again” [Tertull.  De Patientia, cap. ix.];

(e) S. Chrysostom writes, “If Christ did not rise again, the whole reason of the Dispensation is overthrown.” [Hom. in Gen. 58:3.]


      viii.  Attestations of the Event.  The fact of the Resurrection is attested by the witness of enemies and friends: –

      (a) Of enemies

(1) The Roman guard, placed to watch the sepulchre by Pilate at the request of the Jewish Sanhedrim, went into the city and positively announced to the chief priests that He was risen from the tomb (Matt. 28:11);

(2) The Rulers thereupon called a council and gave heavy bribes to the soldiers to induce them to affirm that the disciples had stolen away the Body during the night and while they slept; [Αργύρια ικανα έδωκαν τοις στρατιώταις λέγοντες, Είπατε ότι οι μαθηται αυτου νυκτος ελθόντες έκλεψαν αυτον ημων κοιμωμένων.  Matt. 23:13.]

(3) This story was accordingly actually spread abroad and received credence, showing that the disappearance of the Body could not be disproved (Matt. 28”15).

      (b) Of friends: –

            This testimony is of the most varied kind, and comes to us from

(1) Mary of Magdala (John 20:11–18); the other ministering women (Matt. 28:9); the two disciples journeying to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35); S. Peter (Luke 24:34, 1 Cor. 15:5); the Ten (Luke 24:36–43);

(2) S. Thomas (John 20:24–29); the Seven by the lakeside (John 21:1–14); the Five Hundred brethren on the appointed mountain (Matt. 28:16–18, 1 Cor. 15:6);

(3) James the Lord’s brother (1 Cor. 15:7), and the whole Apostolic body just before the Ascension (Luke 24:50).

They saw Him not once, but many times, not separately but together, not by night only but by day.  They not only saw Him, but conversed with Him, ate in His presence, and beheld His Hands and His Feet.  They could not all have been deceived.  They could not all have been false.

      ix.  Three well-known Non-Christian explanations of the event here require to be noticed:–

      (i)  Some deny the reality of our Lord’s death.  They contend [Schleiermacher, Paulus, Hase and others.  See Christlieb’s Modern Doubt, p. 455.]

(a) That the rapidity, with which He is recorded to have died, was quite unusual in cases of crucifixion, and that the supposed death was a swoon;

(b) That consciousness was restored by the coolness of the rock-hewn tomb, and the pungency of the spices, and that as a fact such cases have been known to occur.

            But to this it may be replied that,

(a) So far from the recovery, which is thus supposed, being probable, the fact is that it was extremely difficult, with the best medical aid, to save the life of a crucified person, [Josephus records that on the occasion of the expedition of Titus into Judaea three persons, known to the centurion to have been crucified, were at his intercession taken down from the Cross, but of the three, only one, in spite of every care, survived.  See Godet’s Lectures in Defence of the Christian Faith, i. p. 24.] and this would have been impossible in the case of our Lord after all the severities He had endured;

(b) The resuscitation of a person only just not dead could not have conveyed the immediate impression of a triumph over death; [“A man half dead, dragging him self in languor out of his tomb, with wounds requiring careful and continuous medical treatment, – could he in such a state have produced upon and the grave, the Prince of Life? – an impression which nevertheless was the source and spring of all their subsequent activity.”  Strauss, Life of Jesus, p. 298, Ed. 1864. See Christlieb, p. 457.  Moreover the active exertion of the journey to Emmaus would have been impossible for a man “half dead, dragging himself in langour” from a tomb in which he had been placed as dead but three days before.  See the Bp of Derry’s Primary Convictions, p. 104.]

(c) The explanation is inconsistent with our Lord’s character in respect to His veracity.  The fraud practiced would have been as certain of detection as morally damaging;

(d) Scripture reveals an unmistakable difference in our Lord’s Body before and after His Resurrection.

      (ii)  Others maintain that the Body was stolen away by the disciples.

(1) This was the explanation circulated at the time by the Sadducees, and still current when S. Matthew’s Gospel was written.  It was also subsequently maintained by Celsus the Jew in his controversy with Origen; [Άνδρας χειροτονήσαντες εκλεκτους εις πασαν την οικουμένην επέμψατε, κηρύσσοντας ότι ... “οι μαθηται αυτου κλέψαντες αυτον απο του μνήματος νυκτός ... πλανωσι τους ανθρώπους λέγοντες εγηγέρθαι αυτον εκ νεκρων.”  Just. Mart. Dial. cum Tryph., § 108; Origen contra Cels., ii. 56; see Milligan’s Resurrection of our Lord, p. 79.]

(2) But it gains little serious acceptance in the present day, and it is sufficient to say that the exalted morality taught and practiced by the disciples is incompatible with the existence of an act of deliberate deception as the very basis of their life and work. [Others with Bauer abandon the position of valid criticism and contend that what really happened at that which we call the Resurrection remains outside the sphere of historical “investigation”.  See Godet’s Defence, i. 36, 37.]

      (iii)  Others hold the appearances of our Lord to have been subjective and unreal.

This is what is commonly called “the Theory of Visions,” and is the explanation most commonly accepted by Rationalists at the present day.  It supposes the disciples to have been either the victims of an hallucination or in a state of ecstasy.  The theory is sought to be supported by the following considerations:

(a) The excitement of the Apostles and especially of the Holy Women and Mary of Magdala on their visit to the tomb;

(b) The difficulty of believing that Jesus was really gone;

(c) The familiarity of the Jews with the idea of a resurrection from the dead;

(d) The traditions connected with some of the Old Testament Saints;

(e) The language of prophecy respecting the Messiah, and the actual predictions of Jesus.

      x.  Refutation of the Theory of Visions.  Now it is important to notice at the outset that even were it possible to reconcile this theory with the actual circumstances, it would fail to satisfy the requirements of an historical religion, for no degree of intensity in the subjective experience of the disciples can constitute the objective reality of the appearances themselves.  Their objectivity is essential to their significance.  “A conviction that a particular person had risen again when he had not is simply false, however it may have been produced.” [Bp Westcott’s Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 4.]  But to take the considerations separately, what is their worth, when tested by the facts?

      (a)  The supposed excitement is inconsistent with

(1) The calm deliberate use of the critical faculty on the part of the disciples to which the Scriptures testify; [See Matt. 28:7, 10, Mark 16:9–14, Luke 24:37 sqq., John 20:25.  The language of Matt. 28:17, οι δε εδίστασαν, compared with that of Acts 1:14, 4:33 implies the use and satisfaction of the critical faculty.]

(2) The settled depression of S. Peter and S. John [John 20:1–10.] in the early morning and of Cleopas and his companion [Luke 24:21.] on the afternoon of the first Easter Day;

(3) The practical collected forethought displayed by the disciples during the great forty days, and the ten days that followed: [See Matt. 28:19, Acts 1:3, 4, 14; 2, 3, and 4 passim.]

      (b)  The Holy Women expected to find a dead body in a closed sepulchre (Mark 16:3); and the solution of the empty sepulchre put forward by Mary of Magdala was that the dead body had been removed;

      (c)  The language of Martha (John 11:24) proves that the idea of a resurrection previous to the last day was quite unfamiliar to the Jewish mind;

      (d) The return to earth of a translated saint like Enoch, Moses, and Elijah is quite different from a resurrection.  Such a person is not supposed to die, and death therefore is not conquered but avoided.  Such a return is not a rising from the grave at all, but a mission from heaven; [“There was, it is true, a popular expectation that Elijah or some other of the old prophets should be sent from heaven, whither they had been specially withdrawn, to prepare the advent of the Messiah; but this expectation ... centered in a direct mission from God, and not in a rising from the grave to a new life.”  Westcott’s Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 51.]

      (e) Nothing in Scripture indicates that the disciples either appreciated any prophetic reference to the Resurrection of the Messiah, or understood our Lord’s predictions of it. [See Mark 9:9 sqq., John 2:22.]  On the contrary, when the event had actually occurred, the report of it seemed foolish babble, [Ληρος, Luke 24:11.  Renan understands the word in the sense of delirium; this is, however, a derived and rare sense found only in medical writers.  The original sense is nonsense, empty babble.] and the appearance of the Risen Lord, so far from being welcomed as the expected, was shunned as a phantasm, and nothing less than contact assured the Apostles of the reality.

      xi.  Further considerations.  But there are certain other considerations which are irreconcilable with the Theory of Visions.

      (a) The state of mind liable to the supposed vision has been explained as hallucination or ecstasy.  Now the former is “a symptom of some grave physical or moral derangement,” [Godet, Defence of the Christian Faith, p. 30.] and the latter has been defined as being “an affection of the brain in which the exaltation of certain ideas so absorbs the attention that sensation is suspended, voluntary movement arrested, and even the vital actions often retarded.” [Nysten, Dictionnaire de Médecine, Ed. Littré et Robinson, quoted by Godet, pp. 74, 75.]  Were Cleopas and his companion walking involuntarily to Emmaus when Jesus joined them by the way?  Was it of the result of suspended sensation that S. John could write, That which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, that which our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life ... declare we unto you (1 John 1:1, 3)?

      (b) Again, comparing the disciples before and after the appearances, we observe that while they are the same individuals, [“Those who saw our Lord in Gethsemane and on the Cross, and again upon the great Easter Sunday, cannot speak of the Resurrection without an enthusiasm which rises to almost lyrical rapture.  Listen to S. John’s conception of the self-consciousness of the Resurrection life of the Risen Lord.  I am the first and the last, and the ever-living, and I became dead, and behold! I am living to the ages of the ages.  Now this joy of the disciples, attested by all the literature which remains upon the subject, is rooted in – is unaccountable without – a real and glorious Resurrection.”  Bp of Derry’s Primary Convictions, p. 105.] their moral nature has been entirely transformed and their conception of the Person and Work of their Lord has immeasurably advanced. [Comp. Luke 18:34, or John 12:16, with Acts 2:38 and 4:12.]  Is a merely subjective experience an adequate explanation of such a changes? [“As far as we can see, there was no possible spring of hope within the disciples which could have had such an issue.”  Westcott’s Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 121.]

      (c) Moreover the circumstances of the appearances themselves are inconsistent with the Theory of Visions: – For

(1) Their duration must have sometimes been protracted.  A considerable space of time is presupposed, [See Milligan, The Resurrection, p. 106.] when on the way to Emmaus He interpreted to the two disciples in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27), and when just before His Ascension He conversed with the Eleven of the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

(2) They were made to numbers of persons at once, and all such persons were at once similarly affected by them, and that on the first occurrence to them (Luke 24:37, John 20:20);

(3) They occurred first at Jerusalem, where the prevailing tone of feeling was critical and hostile, and in spite of the fact that the disciples had been led to believe that they would find our Lord in Galilee (Matt. 28:7, 10).

(4) They suddenly ceased [If the visions were the result of ecstasy, why did they not continue?  Exactly at the moment, when enthusiasm may have been regarded as at its height, they suddenly cease, and when we should have expected they would have increased in number and become continuous, they come to an abrupt close, and give place to a life of healthy activity on the part of the Apostolic body and the believers generally.  “Psychology would rather conclude that the action of that vibration, once set in motion by the Twelve in the whole body of the Church, would continue with increasing intensity, producing a life of enjoyment altogether ecstatic, than that it should have suddenly stopped, and given place to a life of healthy practical moral activity.”  Keim, The Historical Christ, p. 136; Milligan, The Resurrection, pp. 110–112.] after forty days in spite alike of the promises of our Lord’s abiding presence with the disciples, and of the stirring events of the day of Pentecost (Matt. 28:20).


(b) The Resurrection Body.

      xii.  The Article next states that our Lord “toke agayne his body, with flesh, bones, and all thinges apparteyning to the perfection [Latin, Integritatem.  Integritas from integer (in and tango) denotes (1) freedom from disease; (2) soundness, vigour; (3) completeness, entireness.  Comp. Cic. Fin. v. 14 “quod cumulatur ex integritate corporis et ex mentis ratione perfecta.”] of mans nature.”  We gather from the Gospel narrative that

      (i)  Our Lord did not at His Resurrection either

(a) lay aside entirely His material body and assume an absolutely spiritual body, [See Luke 24:39–43, John 20:17, and Westcott in loc.] or (b) resume His material body only at special times and for special purposes; [The Gospels describe the manifestations in such terms as (a) εφανερώθη, Mark 16:12, 14, John 21:14; (b) εφανέρωσεν εαυτόν, John 21:1; (c) παρέστησεν εαυτον ζωντα, Acts 1:3.  But they afford no ground for believing in any recurrence, however momentary, to pre-Resurrection conditions, such as the occasional resumption of a material body would seem to imply.]

      (ii)  He rose with a true human Body, even the particular Body proper to Himself as the Incarnate Word.  Sight and contact were needed to convince the disciples of the verity and identity of the Body.  They were sensible of flesh and bones, even of the very wound prints, and our Lord invited them to handle Him and see for themselves (Luke 24:36 sqq., John 20:27). [While Docetism has from the first thought to find for itself support in the circumstances of the Resurrection Life of our Lord, the Church has insisted that the Resurrection diminished nothing of the verity of His Manhood.  Thus Ignatius ad Trall. ix, ος και αληθως ηγέρθη απο νεκρων; Origen, Contr. Cels. ii. 16, ο γαρ αληθως αποθανών, ει ανέστη, αληθως ανέστη.]

      (iii)  Our Lord’s human Body after His Resurrection had, without ceasing to be a true human Body, a certain independence of the conditions of time and space. [It is not sufficiently remembered that to describe a conquest of death at all, to portray the Conqueror, clothed in the mystery of the Resurrection Body, and in doing so to preserve the harmony of His moral attributes with all that has gone before, is a task transcending the art of the greatest master of poetry or fiction.  “Shakespeare has rarely represented great souls of the departed as uttering more than a few words.  The impression produced by their apparition is floated in to us through the language of the spectators rather than of the visitant.  The presence of the Ghost in ‘Hamlet’ is felt in the statelier march and more solemn music of the lines which are spoken by those under the spell.  But the language of the Ghost himself falls, on the whole, far short of the lofty and awful conception conveyed by the words of others, who impart to us the impression which the dramatist wishes us to form. ... But the little company of disciples contained a writer whose invention was such as to raise him to the level of a perfect equality with the majestic conception of a Risen God – so much at home with it that he fearlessly follows minute actions of this exalted being, and endows Him with sentence after sentence not unworthy of those Divine lips!  Shakespeare himself could not have moved on these lofty ranges of imaginative fiction without an occasional breakdown, more especially as the joyous and triumphant freedom which is required for such high creations would have been fettered at every turn by the benumbing conviction that he was degrading his powers to the service of a lie.”  The Bp of Derry’s Primary Convictions, pp. 98, 99.]  He comes we know not whence; He goes we know not whither.  Now He is with Mary of Magdala in the Garden.  Now He is with the two on the road to Emmaus.  Now He is by the Lakeside.  Now He is on the appointed mountain.  Such an independence of time and space had already in some degree been displayed previous to the Resurrection (Matt. 14:25, Mark 6:48).  But what had been hitherto, though fully potential, only partially actual, became more fully actual after the victory over death had been achieved, [See Luke 24:31, 36; John 20:19, 26.] and our Lord speaks of Himself after His Resurrection as possessing not “flesh and blood,” but “flesh and bones “ (Luke 24:39). [Comp. Eph. 5:30 where the reading εκ της σαρκος αυτου, και εκ των οστέων αυτου is not without support.  “The significant variation from the common formula ‘flesh and blood’ must have been at once intelligible to Jews, accustomed to the provisions of the Mosaic ritual, and nothing would have impressed upon them more forcibly the transfiguration of Christ’s Body than the verbal omission of the element of Blood, which was for them the symbol and seal of corruptible life.”  Westcott, Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 162, n., and Revelation of the Risen Lord, p. 69.]

      If it be objected that the Humanity thereby ceases to be real, and that personal identity is destroyed, it may be replied that (a) an independence the same in kind, though less in degree, had been displayed already previous to the Resurrection, but this is not regarded as rendering the Humanity unreal; that (b) personal identity does not depend upon an identity of material particles existing in an identical mutual relation.  We conclude, therefore, that our Lord’s Resurrection Body was not less truly human in its new condition of freedom from the limitations of time and space.


(c)  The Ascension.

      xiii.  The Ascension Body.  The Article next asserts that the Resurrection Body Was the same as that “wherewith our Lord ascended into heaven.” [On the circumstances of the Ascension, see Introd. to the Creeds, pp. 164–166.  “If the story of the Ascension had been of human invention, all we know of literature tells us how it would have been.  Over the cradle there would have been silence, and a sky as hushed as a frozen sea.  At the Ascension the air would have quivered with the melody, and the mountains have been shaken by the storm of the triumph.  But because the narrative is true, the liturgical instincts of the evangelist are kept in check.  The Church is supplied with no song for the Ascensiontide to form a counterpart to the ‘Gloria in Excelsis’. ...To the temple which the evangelist raises to the truth he will neither prefix a porch of romance, nor append an exit of fiction.  Because the narrative is true, all the songs are for the cradle, all the silence is for the return to the Throne.”  Bp of Derry’s Primary Convictions, p. 106.]  In other words it maintains the permanence of His Humanity. [“The Manhood, which He assumed, was not annulled, when He ascended, neither was it dissolved into the majesty and glory of God.”  See Pusey’s Parochial Sermons, Vol. ii., pp. 206–230.]  This is a point on which the testimony of Scripture is plain.  There is nothing to indicate that the Body with which the Lord’s disciples beheld Him going into heaven (Acts 1:11) [Εθεάσασθε.  The term quite naturally expresses sense-perception of an external object, but not equally naturally a subjective vision.  Contrast the use of the term θέαμα with that of the substantive όραμα, and we see the point of the use of the verb here.  It is used in the same sense in 1 John 1:1.  See Westcott in loc.] was other than that with which He rose from the tomb, and this view is confirmed by the language of the Epistles.  Thus

      (i)  The writer of that to the Hebrews bases much of his teaching on the permanence of Christ’s Humanity.  The very name, which he so characteristically applies to our Lord, Jesus, “the Christ in His Humanity,” [Comp. Heb. 4:14, Έχοντες ουν αρχιερέα μέγαν, διεληλυθότα τους ουρανούς, Ιησουν τον υίον του Θεου; vii. 22, κατα τοσουτον και κρείττονος διαθήκης γέγονεν έγγυος Ιησους; x. 19 sqq.  The conception of the permanence of the Humanity is involved in the use of the perfect tense πέπονθεν, ii. 18; πεπειρασμένον, iv. 15.] and its frequent emphasis by position, implies as much.

      (ii) For S. John it is one of the marks of the deceiver and the Antichrist that he does not confess that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh (2 John 7). [Ιησουν Χριστον ερχόμενον εν σαρκί. “The thought centers upon the present perfection of the Lord’s Manhood which is still, and is to be manifested, and not upon the past fact of His coming.”  Westcott in loc.; see also Gore’s Bampton Lectures, pp. 99, 259, 260.]


(d) The Heavenly Session.

      xiv.  Our Ascended Lord, the Article proceeds to declare, “sitteth” at the right hand of God.  This follows from S. Mark’s account of the Ascension, where he tells us that the Lord Jesus was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).  The same expression [Comp. the language of Ps. 110:1.] occurs frequently in the Epistle to the Hebrews, [Comp. Heb. 1:3, 8:1, 12:2.  In Heb. 10:12 we read that Christ μίαν υπερ αμαρτιων προσενέγκας θυσίαν εις το διηνεκες εκάθισεν εν δεξια του Θεου.  The word εκάθισεν is in sharp opposition to έστηκε λειτουργων in verse 11.  Throughout the Epistle the reference is to the act of taking the royal seat καθίζειν as contrasted with καθησθαι.  Comp. Eph. 1:20 και καθίσας εν δεξια αυτου, and Apoc. 3:21, Ο νικων, δώσω αυτω καθίσαι μετ εμου εν τω θρόνω μου.  It is noticeable that the word in the Article is not sedet but “residet”.  Residere = (1) to sit back, (2) to remain sitting.  Comp. Virg. AEn. viii. 232, “ter fessus valle resedit”; Ovid, Metam. vii. 102, “medio rex ipse resedit Agmine.”] and S. Paul, regarding the action of the Father, writes God raised Christ from the dead, and set Him at His own right Hand in the heavenly regions (Eph. 1:20).  Here it is important to observe

      (1) That as God is Spirit, “without body or parts,” we must not understand this session as determining any posture of the Body of our Lord;

      (2) The phrase expresses the peculiar royalty of the Son in His glorified Humanity, [Comp. Rom. 8:34 with Acts 7:56.  See also 1 Kings 2:19, and Matt. 20:21.] without any negation of His standing in the heavenly regions as the Archetypal High Priest;

      (3) His session implies that the Father hath conferred upon the Son all preeminence of power, favour, and felicity, [Beatus est, et a beatitudine, guae dextera Patris vocatur, ipsius beatitudinis nomen est dextera Patris.” S. Aug. Serm. ad Catech. xi.  “Ad dexteram ergo intelligendum est sic dictum esse, in summa beatitudine, ubi justitia et pax et gaudium est.”  S. Aug. de Fide et Symb., xiv.] and the place of greatest honour and most exalted dignity and most perfect bliss in the heaven of heavens. [Observe the distinction between οι ουρανοί the created heavens, and ο ουρανός, which is “coelum in quo Deus est etiam quando coelum creatum nullum est, ipsa gloria divina.”  Schmidt quoted by Delitzsch on Heb. 9:24.  For the object of the Heavenly Session, see Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 170 sqq.  We are not to conceive of His Session as though it implied a state of inactive rest.  Rather our Lord maintains in heaven not a lessened, but a continual and heightened activity.  He is there instated in the complete exercise of all the offices, and in the full enjoyment of all the privileges, belonging to Him as perfect Mediator, Sovereign King, High Priest, and Arch-Prophet of God’s Church and people.  “He did initially and in part exercise those functions upon earth; and a ground of enjoying these preeminencies He laid here; but the entire execution and possession of all, He did obtain by His Ascension into heaven, and by His Session there.”  Barrow’s Sermon on the Ascension.]


(e) The Second Advent.

      xv.  Until He return.  The Article concludes with the statement that our Lord sitteth in heaven “until He return to judge all men at the last day.”  The word “until” does not imply that thenceforward our Lord will be divested of His peculiar royalty.  It marks rather the point of transition from the Kingdom of Grace to the Kingdom of Glory, of which, as we say in the Nicene Creed, “there shall be no end.” [For the heresy of Marcellus of Ancyra, who taught that after the Judgment the Son would resign not only His royalty but His personality, see Westcott, Historic Faith, p. 199, and compare Introduction to the Creeds, p. 195.]  The purpose of the second Advent is defined to be the Judgment of all men.  That He will exercise this awful office is our Lord’s own express declaration.  Neither doth the Father, He saith, judge any man, but He hath given all judgment unto the Son ...and He gave [Gave, έδωκεν.  The tense carries us back to the Incarnation, and beyond it, beyond all time.  “Hominibus in judicio non apparebit nisi Filius.  Pater occultus est, Filius manifestus.  In quo est Filius manifestus?  In Forma qua ascendit.  Nam in Forma Dei cum Patre occultus est, in Forma servi hominibus manifestus.”  S. Aug. Tract. xxi. in Joann.] Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man (John 5:22, 27). [For our Lord’s prophetic utterances respecting the Judgment, see Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 181, 182.]  Judgment, Scripture teaches us, is the proper office of the Son in His Humanity.  It belongs to Him as Mediator because He is both Son over His (Jehovah’s) House (Heb. 3:6), and Son of Man taken from among men (Heb. 5:1).  Our Lord’s express statement on this point is confirmed by the teaching of S. Paul, when he said to the Athenians on Mars’ hill, God hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He hath ordained (Acts 17:31), and in his Epistle to the Romans he speaks of the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ (Rom. 2:16).

      xvi.  The object of the Judgment is all mankind – We shall all stand, says S. Paul, before the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10), [We shall all stand.  All the most antithetical types of character, as the context implies.  The statement indicates the regulative value, in our relations one with another, of the thought of the one βημα at which all alike will present themselves.] both small and great (Apoc. 20:12), [Τους μεγάλους και τους μικρούς, εστωτας.  “Mirabilis est parvulorum statio, ex quibus pars longe maxima generis humani constat.”  Bengel.] the quick and dead [Ζωντας και νεκρούς.  For the word “ quick,” see Introduction to the Creeds, p. 184, n.  For the various explanations of “vivos et mortuos,” see S. Aug. De Fide et Symbolo, “Vivos et mortuos: sive istis nominibus ‘justi’ et ‘peccatores’ significentur, sive quos tunc ante mortem in terris inventurus est, appellati sint ‘vivi,’ ‘mortui’ vero qui in ejus adventu resurrecturi sunt.”  Comp. ad Catech. § 12.] (2 Tim. 4:1), and shall give account of the deeds done in the body to Him, Who alone from actual experience of human life can possess “that exact temperament of affection towards men, which is requisite to the distribution of equal justice towards them, according to the due measures of mercy and severity,” [See Pearson on the Creed, p. 542.  For the fitness of the Judge and the reasonableness of the Judgment, see Introduction to the Creeds, pp. 183, sqq.  “Sedebit Judex qui stetit sub judice.  Damnabit veros reos, qui factus est falsus reus.”  S. Aug. de Verb. Dom., Serm. lxiv.] and whose perfect human nature qualifies Him to be on the one hand a merciful and faithful High priest (Heb. 2:17) and on the other a faithful and merciful Judge.  It is not an enemy who shall judge us, neither is it one indifferently affected towards us, it is He Who died for us upon the Cross, and Who is now our Mediator and Intercessor. [On the witness which is borne, independently of Revelation, to a future Judgment (1) by our conscience; (2) by reflection on the character of God as a just God; (3) by the consent of almost all mankind, see Introd. to the Creeds, pp. 189–193.  “General history points to a general judgment.  If there is no such judgment to come, then there is no one definite moral purpose in human society.  Progress would be a melancholy word, a deceptive appearance, a stream that has no issue, a road that leads nowhere.  No one who believes that there is a Personal God who guides the course of human affairs can come to the conclusion that the generations of man are to go on for ever without a winding up, which shall decide upon the doings of all who take part in human life. ... A drama, however long drawn out, must have a last act.  The last act of the drama of history is ‘The Day of the Judgment’.”  Bp of Derry’s Primary Convictions, p. 137.]


Article  V.



De Spiritu sancto.

Of the holy ghost.

      Spiritus sanctus, à patre et filio procedens, eiusdem est cum patre et filio essentiae, maiestatis, et gloriae, uerus, ac aeternus Deus.

      The holy ghost, proceedyng from the father and the sonne, is of one substaunce, majestic, and glorie, with the father and the sonne, very and eternall God.


      i.  Connection.  Having dealt with the first two Persons in the Blessed Trinity, the Article proceeds to complete the dogmatic statements respecting the Trinity, by treating of the Third Person, God the Holy Ghost.

      ii.  Source.  The Fifth is the first Article that has no equivalent in the series of Edward VI., but was adopted in its entirety in 1562 from the Wurtemberg Articles of 1552. [Credimus et confitemur Spiritum Sanctum ab aeterno procedere a Deo Patre et Filio, et esse ejusdem cum Patre et Filio essentiae, majestatis, et verum ac aeternum Deum.”  Hardwick, Hist. Art., p. 127, Ed. 1859.]

      iii.  Object.  Besides completing the dogmatic statements respecting the Trinity, the Fifth Article has for its object to refute the erroneous opinions current amongst many of the Anabaptist school, who reproduced the errors of Arius [Arius, in denying the proper Deity of the Son, by consequence denied that of the Holy Spirit also, speaking of Him as the “creature of a creature,” κτίσμα κτίσματος.] and Macedonius [Macedonius taught that the Holy Ghost was διάκονον και υπηρέτην of the Father, such in fact as all the Holy Angels.  Sozom. iv. 27.] respecting the Holy Spirit, and denied His Personality and Deity, [Illorum etiam est execrabilis impudentia, qui cum Macedonio contra Spiritum Sanctum conspiraverunt, ilium pro Deo non agnoscentes.”  Reformatio Legum, de Haeresibus, c. 6.  Compare also the First Article of the Thirteen of 1538.] representing Him as “the creature of a creature.”

      iv.  Analysis.  The Article makes three statements respecting the third Person in the Trinity:

(i) “That He proceedeth from the Father and the Son”;

(ii) “That He is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son”;

(iii) “That He is very and eternal God.”

      v.  The Characteristic of the Holy Ghost.  The First Person in the Blessed Trinity is, as we have seen, [See above.] the sole Fountain of all being, created and uncreated.  The source of the Life of the Son is in the Father by virtue of His Eternal Generation from the Father.  The source of the Life of the Holy Ghost is in the Father and the Son, and His characteristic is Procession.  He is “neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.” [Hence the three properties attributed to the Three Persons are to the Father αγεννησία, to the Son γέννησις, to the Holy Ghost εκπόρευσις.]  The Greek verb εκπορεύεσθαι, which signifies “procession,” occurs several times in the Gospels, [Comp. Matt. 3:5, Mark 10:46, Luke 4:22, &c.] and is specially used by S. John of the Holy Ghost. [John 15:26, Όταν δε έλθη ο Παράκλητος ... το Πνευμα της αληθείας, ο παρα του πατρος εκπορεύεται.  The verb is once used by S. Paul (Eph. 4:29), and several times in the Apocalypse (4:5, 11:5, 19:21, 22:1).]

      vi.  He proceedeth from the Father, for He is called the Spirit of the Father (Matt. 10:20); He is represented as sent by the Father (John 14:26); He is described as given by the Father (John 14:16); and in express words it is said that He proceedeth from the Father [Παρα του Πατρος εκπορεύεται.  The preposition παρα here used = from, from the side of, is that which is habitually used with the verb to come forth, to denote the Mission of the Son, as John 16:27, Εγω παρα του πατρος εξηλθον; 17:8, παρα σου εξηλθον.  The reference, then, in this verse is to the Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, and not to the Eternal Procession.  This is clear from the fact that in the Creeds, when the Eternal Procession is spoken of, the phrase is uniformly “which proceedeth out of,” το εκ του Πατρος εκπορευόμενον, where εκ defines the source, and the Greek Fathers, who apply this passage to the Eternal Procession, instinctively substitute εκ = out of, for παρα = from, in their application of it.  See Westcott in loc.] (John 15:26).  This last declaration is made by our Lord Himself in that discourse in which He predicted the descent of the Comforter upon the Apostles, and has accordingly been confessed in terms by every portion of the Universal Church.

      vii.  He proceedeth from the Son.  Further, in the Western recension of the Nicene formula, [For an account of this addition, see Introduction to the Creeds, p. 206, n. ; Hagenbach’s History of Doctrines, i. 371; ii. 204.  The Council of Chalcedon had ordered that the Creed of Nicaea should be accepted by all orthodox churches throughout the world in the form in which it then stood (i.e. without the Filioque), and that no addition should be made thenceforward without the decision of a general Council.  Now the Filioque clause never possessed such sanction.  It is asserted dogmatically for the first time in a Spanish provincial Council (Toledo, A.D. 589), and seems to have been really admitted by mistake.  Comp. Professor Swete’s History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit, pp. 169, 170.  “Both the King (Reccared) and his Bishops believed the words to be a true part of the original Faith.”  Strong’s Manual of Theology, p. 176.] He is said to proceed from the Son, and so it is stated in this Article.  For

(a) He is called the Spirit of Christ [Ει δε τις Πνευμα Χριστου ουκ έχει, ουτος ουκ εστιν αυτου.  Rom. 8:9.] (Rom. 8:9);

(b) He is described as sent by the Son from the Father (John 15:26);

(c) He is actually bestowed by the Son upon the Apostles (John 20:22). [Here it is the Son, Who on the day of His Resurrection says to the Apostles Λάβετε Πνευμα Άγιον, John 20:22.]

      Thus while He is termed the Spirit of the Father, He is also termed the Spirit of Christ; while He is described as sent by the Father, He is also described as sent by the Son; while He is represented as given by the Father, He is also represented as given by the Son, and can be spoken of as the Spirit of Jesus [Ελθόντες δε κατα την Μυσίαν επείραζον εις την Βιθυνίαν πορευθηναι· και ουκ είασεν αυτους το Πνευμα Ιησου.  This is the reading attested by א ABCDE.  Vulg., Spiritus Jesu.  Hence the Acts of the Apostles has been called “the Gospel of the Spirit.”  See Westcott’s Historic Faith, p. 106.] (Acts 16:7).  So also after the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost S. Peter traces it to the fact that Jesus being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received the Spirit from the Father, had poured forth that which his hearers saw and heard (Acts 2:33).  He thus regards the Holy Ghost as bestowed by the Father upon men, but as coming to them through Christ.  Similarly S. Paul writes to the Galatians, Because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father (Gal. 4:6). [Το Πνευμα του υιου αυτου.  Comp. Philip. 1:19, επιχορηγίας Πνεύματος Ιησου Χριστου) ; and 1 Pet. 1:11, το εν αυτοις Πνευμα Χριστου.]  These passages tend to establish a special relation between the Holy Spirit and the Son in His glorified Humanity.

      viii.  He proceedeth from the Father and the Son.  When, then, according to the Western recension of the Nicene Creed, we say that the Holy Spirit proceedeth from the Father, we mean that He proceeds from Him as the sole Fount of Deity. [He proceedeth from the Father ως εκ πηγης της Θεότητος, as the Beginning, the Cause, the Fountain of Godhead.  This S. Augustine expresses by the word principaliter, when he says that the Spirit proceedeth from the Father principaliter, as from the very source of Deity.  See the Report of the Second Bonn Conference, 1875.]  When we say that He proceedeth from the Son, we do not mean that He proceeds from the Son as from a source independent of the Father, or that He issues forth from the Father without coming through the Son.  We do not allow that there are two Principles or two Causes in the Godhead.  We believe in one original Principle and one original Cause, and this is the Father, to Whom all things owe their existence.  The Son, who is consubstantial with the Father, is eternally begotten of Him, and owes all that He is and has to Him.  The Procession, therefore, of the Holy Spirit is not from the Son as from a second fountain independent of the first. He proceeds “from the Father through the Son,” [Comp. S. John of Damascus De Hymno Trisag. Ep. 28, Πνευμα το Άγιον εκ του Πατρος δια του Υιου και Λόγου προϊόν.  Bp Forbes On the Articles, p. 81.] and “owes ultimately to the Father whatever belongs to Him as being the Spirit of the Son.” [See Mason’s Faith of the Gospel, pp. 220, 221.  “A Catholic believer is free to confess that he cannot justify the way in which the Filioque clause was inserted by the Western Church, without the consent of the Eastern, into a Creed which was the joint heritage of all.  He is bound also to acknowledge that as the clause stands, it needs guarding and qualifying.  Yet it would seem like receding from the truth, if the words which assert the Double Procession of the Spirit were now to be struck out from the Creed. Western theologians agree that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son as from a second fountain independent of the first.  Eastern theologians agree that the Spirit does not issue out from the Father without coming through the Son.”]  This phrase of St John Damascene the Greek theologians of the Council of Florence in 1439 admitted, with only five dissentients, to be equivalent to the Western Formula. [See Canon Liddon’s Introduction to the Report of the Second Bonn Conference, p. xxxiv; Bp Forbes On the Articles, pp. 81–83.  “Under the influence of S. Augustine Western theologians have thought more of the indissoluble unity of will and operation in the Holy Trinity than of the precise constitution (to speak in human language) of each single Person.  To them, therefore, the indifferent conjunction ‘and’ is preferable to the definiteness of the Greek preposition ‘through’.  And the difficulty which the Greeks raised against their phraseology, that it slurred over the unity of the source of Godhead, can hardly have been before their minds.  To say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son could not suggest to them a twofold origin or principle of Deity; it would simply affirm, with the indefiniteness of inadequate language, the cooperation of the Son in that which the Father does.”  Strong’s Manual of Theology, p. 179.  The phrase in the Athanasian Creed, “Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio, non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus est, sed procedens,” is sufficiently general to include the two senses in which the Holy Spirit proceeds (i) from the Father, and (ii) from, i.e. through, the Son.]

      ix.  Consubstantial and Co-Eternal.  The Article next proceeds to state that the Holy Spirit is “of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son.”  For He is not only the Personal Power of God, but truly and essentially God.  He is repeatedly indicated as such in Holy Scripture.  Thus we find

(a) Divine works are ascribed to Him, such as Creation (Ps. 33:6), the new Birth (John 3:3, 5), the inspiration of Holy Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21);

(b) Divine properties are declared to be His.  He is eternal (Heb. 9:14); He is omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10); He is omnipotent (Luke 1:35); He is all-sovereign (1 Cor. 12:11);

(c) Divine homage is rendered to Him in the Baptismal Formula (Matt. 28:19), and in the Apostolic Benediction (2 Cor. 13:14).

      Hence in the Nicene Creed He is truly termed “The Lord,” i.e. “Jehovah,” and in the Athanasian Creed He is described as being equally with the Father and the Son “uncreate, infinite, eternal, all-sovereign, God, and Lord.” [Increatus, immensus, aeternus, omnipotens, Deus, Dominus.”  Athan. Creed.]

      x.  Very and Eternal God.  The same argument applies to the statement of the Article that He is very and eternal God.  But to it may be added the fact that in Holy Scripture not only are Divine works ascribed to Him, but

(1) Failure to recognize Him is placed on a parallel with failure to recognize God Himself (1 Cor. 3:16);

(2) To lie unto Him is to lie unto God (Acts 5:3, 4);

(3) To tempt Him is to tempt God (Acts 5:9); [Moreover S. Paul ascribes to the Holy Ghost the words in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, which are there ascribed to the Lord of Hosts.  Acts 28:25 sqq.]

(4) Our bodies, which are said by S. Paul to be the temples of God (1 Cor. 3:16), are also the temples of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19);

(5) Sin against the Holy Ghost has a singular atrocity, it is the only irremissible sin (Matt. 12:31, 32).

These passages all tend to confirm the doctrine of the Deity [“That is, that He is as wholly and entirely God in the Person of the Father, as though there was no /son and Spirit; as entirely in that of the Son, as though there was no Spirit and Father; as entirely in that of the Spirit, as though there was no Father and Son.”  Newman’s Parochial Sermons, vi, p. 358.] of the Holy Spirit, and we believe and confess that such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost, very and eternal God. [For the various Offices of the Holy Ghost see Introd. to the Creeds, pp. 211–216.]