The Thirty-Nine Articles Of The Church Of England,
Confirmed By Texts Of Holy Scripture, And Testimonies Of The Primitive Fathers: To Which Are Added Short Notes In Illustration Of The Articles.
By Edward Welchman,
S. P. C. K., 1842
[Bible citations converted to all Arabic numerals. Spelling and punctuation selectively modernized. Margin notes moved in square brackets within body of text.]
Edward Welchman, the author of the following Treatise, was born at Banbury, in the year 1665. He entered the University of Oxford as a Commoner of Magdalen Hall, and, after taking his first degree in Arts, he was elected Fellow of Merton College. By this Society he was presented to the rectory of Lapworth, which he held with Solihull; and he was afterwards advanced to the dignity of Archdeacon of Cardigan, in the diocese of St. David’s. He died May, 1739.
Beside these Annotations on the Articles, he was the author and the editor of other works; some of which were intended only for the study of scholars and divines, whilst others were fitted more for the instruction in righteousness of Christians in the humbler walks of life. Thus we find that he prepared for the use of his parishioners of Lapworth, principally engaged in agriculture, a little work called “The Husbandman’s Manual, directing him how to improve the several actions of his calling, and the most usual occurrences of his life, to the glory of God, and the benefit of his soul.” He was a zealous advocate for the religious education of the poor, at a time when the duty of Christians in that particular was little understood, and still less practiced. On this subject, in May, 1707, he preached an able discourse before the subscribers to the Charity School established in his native town of Banbury. This sermon he published under the title of “The Duty and Reward of Charity, especially as regardeth the Education of poor Children.” The following Treatise on the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion the Author published in Latin, and in a much shorter form, about the year 1713. To that edition he prefixed the first part of his Preface, closing it with the passage in which he maintains the doctrine, that “what was first, is true”; and when afterwards he sent forth a new edition, with the quotations from the early Fathers, he suffered his former Preface to remain unaltered; adding to it, however, the latter part, as it stands at present.
The Archdeacon did not publish the work at all in English; but, shortly after his death, a translation of it was undertaken by a Clergyman of the university of Oxford, who also quoted the passages of Scripture at length, and, instead of reserving the testimonies of the ancient Fathers for the end of the notes on each Article, added each passage to that portion of the Article which it was intended to confirm or illustrate. The present Edition is principally grounded on that translation: the whole however has been carefully revised; the references to the writers of the Primitive Church and the English divines, have been verified, and adapted to the most approved editions of their works; and the Preface, as it is found in the last Latin editions, which seems never to have been translated before into English, is here given entire.
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, March, 1842.
Archdeacon Welchman’s Preface,
Addressed To A Student In The University Of Oxford.
My Dear Young Friend,
I here lay before you the “Articles of faith and religion,” which, as is customary, you have already subscribed at your matriculation, and which you will, if it so please God, subscribe again and again. The University expects you to do so hereafter with judgment; and if ever you become a candidate for Holy, Orders, our holy Mother, the Church, expects that you should do so with erudition also. However that be, duty requires you to pay attention to these Articles, unless you would be ready to sign what you do not understand; a proceeding unworthy of an ingenuous mind. Remember, I pray you, that implicit faith is discountenanced by the Church of England. That I might, therefore, in some small degree assist you in this point, I thought it desirable to publish an edition of the Articles established by texts of Holy Scripture, subjoining some short notes, in which I have merely touched upon the heads of the various subjects, referring the reader who desires more, to the celebrated Divines of our own Church who have handled the several points more at large.
For myself, I am far from daring to frame a new exposition of the Articles; a task full of so much danger and hazard, that a prelate of great name, Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, could, in consequence of it, scarcely escape the charge of heresy. But when I witnessed his work torn to pieces by the reproaches of many, and discarded by more; and I considered it myself better adapted for the reading of a theologian than of a student in theology; and since the work of Beveridge (as is usually the case with posthumous productions) was imperfect, and scarcely bore internal evidence of its author; and young men rejected the works of Ellis and Rogers as poor and spiritless, I thought it desirable to enter upon a new path, hoping, that for an age like the present, which is led by names rather than by things, I should attempt a work neither unacceptable nor useless, if I could by the pleasing inducement of great names lead men onward to the knowledge of things.
The writers whom I have cited with approbation are abundantly celebrated, and are fully sufficient for my purpose; they are all English with the exception only of Grotius, of whose works, however, I have only quoted two, and those approved by the testimony of the Universal Church. And from whom should the mind of the Church of England be sought, but from the writers of the same Church? I could, indeed, have produced many more; but in these you have the advantage of a selection; and I would not oppress you by a multitude of books. Among a thousand others you will find few equal to these, none superior to them; especially Nowell and Jewel, to whom, as far as the Articles are concerned, next to the Homilies and Liturgy, the first place must always be assigned: since not only were they the greatest Divines, but they formed also an important part of the very Convocation in which the Articles were put forth and confirmed; the one being a Bishop, the other the Prolocutor.
And do not feel aggrieved that I am calling you back to these more ancient writers: for these men, free from all party spirit, and from the other defects of the present age, followed the pure truth with a pure mind, and attained it; and their study was to say, not so much what was agreeable to themselves and their friends, as what was in accordance with the truth. When, however, you have thoroughly read these, I do not object to your having recourse to the more modern writers; rather, I encourage and advise you to do so, for we have many most worthy of perusal. But should anything in the course of your reading fall in your way new and hitherto unheard of, (which will not unfrequently happen, especially to one who indiscriminately reads the authors of the present day,) be upon your guard, I beseech you; for what has a Religion which has existed for 1700 years to do with new opinions? Moreover, let this be a settled point with you, and fixed in your mind, that nothing is to be admitted into religion, except what is established by most sure warrant of Holy Scripture; and that we may safely remain in ignorance of all those points, of which the Holy Fathers, as well of the Primitive, as of the Reformed Church, were ignorant; in a word, that THAT is TRUE which was FIRST.
Out of numberless testimonies of Holy Scripture, I have pointed out to you those which seemed to me most apposite. But I have done no more than point them out, and with this design, that you should yourself study the Sacred Volume, compare the texts with the contexts, and writing them out with your own hand fix them thoroughly in your memory. If you have any desire of proficiency, you will in no wise decline this light task, so useful and so necessary. I would by no means withdraw it from you.
Although, however, it were undoubtedly sufficient to confirm the Articles by texts of Holy Scripture, and though human testimonies are superfluous where divine are abundantly supplied, yet since men who have nothing better to do will raise disputes on the clearest passages of Holy Writ, and since the Romanists and other heretical persons assert that we are distorting the Scriptures to our own destruction, it has been judged right to adjoin to each Article the testimonies also of the most ancient Fathers, that it may be evident that the Church of England agrees in sentiment with them on religion, and maintains the same doctrine at the present time which formerly the Primitive Church maintained. You have therefore, my young friend, the Fathers of the three first centuries here giving their suffrages to our Articles; Augustin alone, where these failed, being once summoned to lend his aid, and that in a point very little controverted. The other authors of an inferior age I have purposely omitted; because my sole object was to establish that the doctrine of our Church is the most ancient, the most pure, and truly Christian; a point which I am very confident that I have sufficiently made good by the evidences adduced. I have, indeed, in readiness many others of the same tendency; but those for the present I lay aside, to be collected, as I trust, at some future time by yourself. The more conversant you become with the study of the ancients, the more dear to you will be the Church of England.
One point yet remains for me to lay before you, by way of admonition, that this Book of Articles was published and confirmed for the purpose of “taking away diversities of opinion, and for establishing consent touching true religion.” Consequently you must guard yourself against the errors, not to say the dishonesty, of those men, agreeably to whose opinion these Articles may be subscribed, even by those who dissent from them. For men there are, who will have these to be merely Articles of Peace; so that forsooth those who subscribe them are under no obligation to agree with them, only not openly to oppugn them. But they were put forth to take away diversities of opinions as well as of discourses; to establish consent in true religion, not only to stop the mouths of oppugners.
Others moreover say that men are at liberty to subscribe these Articles with a private interpretation, even against the received and defined sense of the Church. But by what bands can these men be bound, such double dealers, and of so slippery a faith, that according to them, one might subscribe the Creed of Pius the Fourth, or the Coran of Mahomet? Be assured, I pray you, that every one who subscribes these Articles, openly approves of the doctrine contained in them; and with his own hand affirms all, and every of them, accepted in the literal and grammatical sense, to be agreeable to the Word of God. The man who with a different sense subscribes, is guilty of a solemn falsehood; acts the part, not of an honest Christian, but of a dishonest Jesuit; and will some day suffer the penalty due to such perfidiousness. [See Royal Declaration prefixed to the Articles. See also the 36th Canon.]
A List of the Fathers Quoted In This Work, and of the Editions of
Their Works Which Have Been Consulted For This Edition.
Apostolical Fathers (Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, and Polycarp), A.D. 71–140. 2 vols. 8vo. Oxford, 1840.
Arnobius, A.D. 306. Ed. Orellii. 3 vols. 8vo. Leipsic, 1816.
Athenagoras. A.D. 178. See Justin Martyr.
Augustine, A.D. 395. Bened. Ed. 11 vols. fol. 1679.
Barnabas, A.D. 71. First vol. of the Bibliotheca Patrum, Ed. Gallandii. Venice, 1765.
Chrysostom, A.D. 398. Bened. Ed. 13 vols. fol. Paris, 1718.
Clemens Alexandrinus, A. D. 204. Ed. Potteri. 1 vol. fol. Venice, 1757.
Clemens Romanus. See Apostolical Fathers.
Cyprian, A.D. 248. Bened. Ed. 1 vol. fol. Paris, 1726. Fell’s ed. Oxford.
Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 348. Ed. Mills. 1 vol. fol. Oxford, 1703.
Gregory Thaumaturgus, A.D. 243. Ed. Paris, 1622.
Ignatius. See Apostolical Fathers.
Irenaeus, A.D. 178. Bened. Ed. 2 vols. fol. Venice, 1734. Ed. Grabii. 1 vol. fol. Oxford, 1702.
Justin Martyr, A.D. 155, (with Athenagoras and Theophilus of Antioch.) Bened. Ed. 1 vol. fol. Paris, 1742.
Lactantius, A.D. 306. Ed. Le Brun and Dufresnoy. 2 vols. 4to. Paris, 1748.
Origen, A.D. 230. Bened. Ed. 4 vols. fol. Paris, 1733.
Philocalia, (a selection from Origen’s Commentaries by Basilius Magnus and Gregorius Theologus) 4to. Paris, 1619.
Tertullian, A.D. 200. Ed. Rigaltio-Prioriana. 1 vol. fol. 1695. Theophilus of Antioch, A.D. 180. See Justin Martyr.
A List of Modern Authors and Works Referred to in This Volume.
Abbot, Archbishop, Defence of Perkin’s Reformed Catholic.
Andrews’s, Bishop, Sermons.
Art of Contentment. By the Author of the Whole Duty of Man.
Bedel, Bishop, Life and Letters.
Bilson, Bishop, On Christian Subjection.
Blackhall, Bishop, Sermons at the Boyle Lectures; Sermons on James 2:24.
Buckeridge, Bishop, On Kneeling at the Communion.
Bull, Bishop, Defensio Fidei Nicaenae; Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicae.
Burscough, Discourse of Schism.
Cave, Historia Literaria; Discourse of Ancient Church Government.
Chillingworth, Religion of Protestants.
Cosin, Bishop, Scholastical History of the Canon of Scripture.
Discourse of Communion in One Kind. 1687.
Field, Of the Church.
Grotius de Veritate Religionis Christianae; de Satisfactione Christi.
Goodman, Penitent Pardoned.
Hall, Bishop, Works, Oxford Edition.
Hammond, Practical Catechism; Discourse of Schism.
Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity.
Jewel, Bishop, Works.
Kettlewell, Measures of Obedience.
Lively Oracles. By the Author of the Whole Duty of Man.
Lloyd, Bishop, Historical Account of Church Government in Great Britain.
Mason, De Ministerio Anglicano; Authority of the Church.
Nelson, Companion to the Fasts and Festivals.
Outram, de Sacrificiis.
Patrick, Bishop, Answer to the Touchstone.
Pearson, Bishop, Exposition of the Creed.
Potter, Archbishop, On Church Government.
Prideaux, Fasciculus Controversiarum Theologicarum.
Ray, Wisdom of God in Creation.
Sanderson, Bishop, Sermons; de Obligatione Juramenti.
Scott, Christian Life.
Sherlock, Bishop, Discourse on Divine Providence; on the Future Judgment.
Stillingfleet, Bishop, Origines Sacrae; Discourse on the Sufferings of Christ; Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity; Idolatry of the Church of Rome.
Tillotson, Archbishop, Sermons.
Treatise on the Celibacy of the Clergy.
Vindication of the Ordinations of the Church of England. 1688.
Walker, Modest Plea for Infant Baptism.
Wall, History of Infant Baptism; Conference.
Whitgift, Archbishop, Defence of his Answer to the Admonition.
Whole Duty of Man.
Wilkins, Bishop, Principles and Duties of Natural Religion.
Notes on the Thirty-Nine Articles
Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
There is, &c.] That there is a God, is manifest,
1. From the order of causes, which derives its origin from some first, self-existent cause. 2. From the very idea or notion of a God, which implies in it a necessary existence. 3. From the consent of all nations. 4. From the origin of the world, and the order and usefulness of all things therein. 5. From the force of conscience. 6. From prophecies. 7. From miracles. See Pearson on the Creed, Art. i. Wilkins’s Natural Religion, bk. i. ch. 4–6. Stillingfleet’s Orig. Sacr. bk. iii. ch. 1, 2. Grotius de Verit. Christians Relig. lib. i. c. 2. Tillotson on Job 28:28.
One God] That there is but one God, appears from the very nature of God, which is incompatible with a plurality of gods, inasmuch as He is the first cause, and the ultimate end of all things, and is also a being infinitely perfect: whereas if there were more gods, then one of them might be produced by another, and they might even clash one with another. And further, as one God is sufficient, so, if there were more, neither this nor that would be necessary. But God is a necessary being. See Exod. 3:14. “God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” See also 1 Cor. 8:4. “There is none other God but one.”
See also Ignatius. “There is one God (says he) who hath manifested Himself by Jesus Christ his Son, who is his eternal Word.” [Epist. ad Magnes. c. 8.]
And Justin Martyr. “That there is but one God, is the first document of true religion.” [Ad Graecos Cohortat. c. 36.]
And St. Cyprian. “There is one God, who is Lord of all; for his sublime greatness cannot admit of a partner, since it is alone possessed of all power.” [De Idol Van.]
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. i. Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. c. 8. Grotius de Verit. Relig. lib. i. c. 3.
Living and true God] See 1 Thess. 1:9. “Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.”
Everlasting] Inasmuch as He is the first cause, which could not possibly be produced either from any other cause or from nothing. Now that which is not produced by any other cause, exists of itself; and that which exists of itself, must always exist. See 1 Tim. 1:17. “Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever.” See also Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. ch. 8. Grotius de Verit. Rel. lib. i. c. 6.
Without body] That is, immaterial and spiritual. For a spiritual substance excels a bodily one: and therefore if God were a bodily substance, He would be more ignoble than the angels, and the souls of men. Besides, all matter is of itself inactive, and void of motion, unless it be moved by something else. But God is the first mover. See John 4:24. “God is a spirit.”
See also Theophilus of Antioch. “The form or shape of God (says he) is ineffable and inexpressible, and cannot be seen with bodily eyes. For He is infinite in glory, incomprehensible in greatness, superexcellent in power, incomparable in wisdom, inimitable in goodness, unspeakable in beneficence.” [Ad. Autolyc. l. i. c. 3.]
Without parts] For every thing that is divisible has parts beyond other parts, and therefore has extension and materiality (quantum): moreover, since material things do not penetrate each other, if the Infinite God had materiality, He would so fill all places, that there would be no room for any other bodies.
Without passions] Or, according to the Latin article, impassible, that is, incapable of suffering. Whatever suffers, does so from an agent stronger than itself, and is in some measure impotent. But God is a being of immense power. For He, from whom all power is derived, must necessarily be omnipotent. And if any thing could resist God, it would either have that power from itself, and consequently would itself be God; or else it would have it from another, that is, from God. But how should God confer such a power as is greater than his own?
The English article has, “without parts or passions,” for what the Latin one expresses by impartibilis and impassibilis. And here it is to be observed, that the Scriptures indeed seem to attribute members to God, such as eyes and hands, &c. as also passions, such as love, anger, hatred, &c.; of all which, since he is the most simple essence, and is also immutable, and always infinitely happy, He is utterly incapable; and therefore that those things are spoken by way of accommodation to the weakness of men, and not as suitably to the perfections of God.
See Psalm cii. 26, 27. “They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old as a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
See also Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. ch. 8. Pearson on the Creed, Art. vi.
Of infinite power] See Matt. 19:26. “With God all things are possible.” See also Clement of Rome. [Epist. ad Cor. c. 27.] “There is nothing (says he) impossible with God. By the word of his majesty were all things made, and by a word He can destroy them.”
Of infinite wisdom] God’s infinite wisdom appears from the admirable order and usefulness of things, and from the various effects of Divine Providence. See Psalm 147:5. “His understanding is infinite.” See also Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. ch. 6, 9. Ray’s Wisdom of God, &c. Sherlock of Providence, ch. viii.
Of infinite goodness] God’s infinite goodness appears from the creation and preservation of all things; but especially, from the redemption of mankind by Christ. See Luke 18:19. “Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.” See also Sherlock of Providence, ch. vii. Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. ch. 10. Art of Contentment, sect. 3, 4. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. vol. i. ch. 4. and vol. ii. ch. 5.
Maker of all things] That the world is not eternal, is manifest, from the arts which in these latter ages of it have been invented; from the countries which of late have been discovered, and which were as yet uncultivated; and from all the histories of it, which do not reach many ages back. It was therefore made. And that it was thus made by chance, is absurd and impossible. It had therefore a Creator. And who could that be but God? See Col. 1:16, 17. “By him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” [Advers. Haeres. l. i. c. 22. (c. 19, Oxf. ed.)]
See also Irenaeus. “ God hath no need of any thing, inasmuch as He made all things by his Word and Spirit, and still ordereth and governeth all things, which all receive their being from him.”
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. i. Wilkins’s Nat. Rel. bk. i. ch. 5. Stillingfleet’s Orig. Sacr. 1. iii. c. 2. Tillotson on Job 28:28.
Preserver of all things] For nothing exists necessarily, and of itself, except God. And therefore all things depend upon God. See Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. vol. i. ch. 4. sect. 1. Nowelli Catech. p. 61, 62. Sherlock of Providence, ch. ii.
And in the Unity, &c.] Since it is most certain that there is but one God, and yet that those attributes and divine honours are in Scripture ascribed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which belong to no other being but God; it is very justly said, that there is one God, but three Persons.
See Matt. 28:19. “Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And 2 Cor. 13:14. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.” And 1 John 5:7. “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.”
See also Clement of Rome. “Have we not one God, and one Christ, and one Spirit of grace?” [Epist. ad Cor. c. 46.]
And Ignatius. “Be subject to your bishop – as the apostles were to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit.” [Epist. ad Magnes. c. 13.]
And Justin Martyr. “Him, and his Son begotten by Him, and the prophetical Spirit, we worship and adore.” [Apol. i. c. 6.]
And Athenagoras [Legatio pro Christo, c. 10.]. “From Him, and by Him, were all things made since the Father and the Son are one and since the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, by the union and power of the Spirit.” And again [Ibid.], “who therefore would not wonder that we should be called atheists, who acknowledge God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, declaring their power in unity [or their unity in power] and their difference in order?”
And Theophilus of Antioch. “The three days which preceded the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, God, and his Word, and his Wisdom.” [Ad Autolyc. l. 2. c. 15.]
And Tertullian. “The connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Comforter, makes three cohering with one another. These three are one thing, not one person; and therefore it is said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ with regard to the unity of person, not the singularity of number.” [Adv. Praxeam, c. 25.] And again, [Ib. c. 30.] “It is made the chief article of faith amongst the Jews, so to believe in one God, as not to join the Son, or the Holy Ghost with Him. For what difference will there be, except that, between them and us? What is the business of the Gospel, or what is the substance of the New Testament, which acknowledge the law and the prophets until John, if from thence it do not appear, that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, who are believed to be three, yet constitute but one God.”
And St. Cyprian. “These words, ‘Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,’ intimate the Trinity, into the belief and profession of which the Gentiles were to be received by the sacrament of baptism.” [Epist. 73.]
See also Stillingfleet’s Doctrine of the Trinity. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 51. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. c. 2. q. 2. Nelson’s Festivals, Trin. Sund. Nowelli Catech. p. 58.
Of The Word, Or Son of God, Which Was Made Very Man.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
The Son, &c.] The second person in the Trinity is that “Word,” which was declared by St. John, ch. 1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
See Theophilus of Antioch. “God having his Word in Himself, begot Him with his Wisdom, producing Him before all things.” [Ad Autolyc. l. 2. c. 10.] And Justin Martyr, “The Word, being the first-begotten of God, is also God, and heretofore appeared to Moses, and the rest of the prophets, in the likeness of fire, and in an incorporeal figure.” [Apol. i. c. 63.] – And Irenaeus. “Know ye, who are void of understanding, that Jesus, who suffered for us, and who dwelt among us, even He Himself is the Word of God.” [Adv. Haer. l. i. c. 9. (c. 1. § 20, Oxf. ed.)] – And Origen, “Let our accusers know, that He whom we think and believe to be from the beginning God, and the Son of God, is the very Word, the very Wisdom, and the very Truth.” [Contra Celsum, l, 3. c. 41.] And again. “He who was the maker of this universe, is the Son of God.” [Ib. l. 6. c. 47.] – And Tertullian. “We say that He came forth from God, and that He so came forth by generation, and therefore that He is called the Son, and God, by reason of the unity of substance. – That which came forth from God, is God, and the Son of God, and both these are one.” [Adv. Gentes, c.21.] – And St. Cyprian. “He is the power of God, his reason, his wisdom, and his glory.” [De Idol. Van.]
Begotten from everlasting] “Begotten” indeed, or else He would not be a son; but from “everlasting,” or else He would “not be God.” See Heb. 1:5-12. “Unto Which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. – And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” And Rev. 22:13. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” And Isa. 44:6. “Thus saith the Lord the king of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of Hosts, I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.” And John 10:30. “I and the Father are one.”
See also Clement of Rome. “The Sceptre of God’s majesty, which is our Lord Christ Jesus, though endued with power, came not in the boasting of pride and arrogance.” [Ad Cor. c. 16.] – And Ignatius. “I glorify Jesus Christ, who is God – our Lord, who is indeed of the family of David according to the flesh; the Son of God, according to the will and power of God, truly begotten of a Virgin.” [In Epist. ad Smyrn. c. 1.] – And Clement of Alexandria. “Our Lord, as He is God, foreknew both what questions He should be asked, and what answers any one would give Him.” [Quis div. salv. c. 6.] – And Arnobius. “Should then any blustering, peevish, and enraged person say, Is that Christ then a God? our answer will be, He is a God, and even a God who controls the interior powers and faculties of man.” [Adv. Gentes, l. i. c. 42.]
Very God] That is, not metaphorically, but properly so called. See Rom. 9:5. “Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
Of one substance, &c.] That is, of one and the same Godhead with the Father. See Pearson on the Creed, Art. ii. Bulli Judic. Eccl. Cath. et Fid. Nic. Def. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 1. Cave’s Dissert. de Euseb. Arianismo. Prideaux’s Fasc. Cont. c. 2. q. 3, 4. Tillotson’s Sermons on Christ’s Divinity.
In the womb, &c.] Since God hath promised that the “seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head” (Gen. 3:15), it was necessary that He should be born of a virgin, that so He might not be the seed of man, as all other men are.
See Justin Martyr. “Now in the times of your empire, He was a man begotten of a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father.” [Apol. i. c. 63.] – And Origen. “We say that his mortal body, and the human soul in it, partook of the Godhead, not only by a communication with that Word, but also, by union and commixture with it, obtained the highest dignity, so that by fellowship with the divinity of the Word it became divine.” [Contra Celsum, l. 3. c. 41.] And Tertullian. “That Ray of God, as had always been foretold, descending into a virgin, and in her womb becoming organized flesh, is born God-man, or God and man together.” [Adv. Gentes, c. 21.] And St. Cyprian. “He descends into a virgin, and puts on flesh, by the cooperation of the Holy Ghost. God is mixed and joined together with man: He is our God, He is Christ.” [De Idol. Van.]
Two natures] See Rev. 1:5, 6, 17, 18. “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. – He laid his right-hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” And Acts 20:28. “The church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.”
See also Ignatius. “Expect Him who is before all time, eternal, invisible, yet visible for our sakes; not capable of being touched, impassible, and yet for our sakes passible.” [Contra Celsum, l. 6. c. 47.] – And Origen. “It is not to be wondered at, that the soul of Jesus is said to be united with the closest union to so great a Son of God, no more to be separated from Him.”
Joined together] The two natures, the divine and the human, are indeed joined together in Christ, but not confounded; and from these two natures, each of which still remains entire, is made one person, of which, thus united, that is often predicated or spoken, which is only proper to one of the natures. Thus God is said to have shed his blood, Acts 20:28, and the man Christ Jesus is proposed to be worshipped by the angels, Heb. 1:6. This sort of predication, or this manner of expression, is called, a communication of idioms. But the conjunction of the two natures is termed, the hypostatic union. Concerning which, Nestorius first, and then Eutyches, have shamefully erred; the former by dividing the person, and the latter by confounding the two natures. An effectual stop was put to both those errors, in four words, by the council of Chalcedon, which taught that Jesus Christ is one and the same in two natures, ασυγχύτως, ατρέπτως, αδιαιρέτως, αχωρίστως, that is, without confusion or change of natures, against Eutyches ; and without division or separation of them, against Nestorius.
See Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 12, 13. Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii. and iv. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 1. Nelson on the Feast of the Annunciation. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 51, &c.
Who truly suffered, &c.] That is, according to his human nature; for as to his divine nature, he was impassible. See Matt. 27. See also Clement of Rome. [Ad Cor. c. 49.] “Christ our Lord, by the will of God, gave his blood for us, and his flesh for our flesh, and his soul for our souls.” And Ignatius. “His flesh was truly pierced with nails for us, under Pontius Pilate, and Herod the Tetrarch.” [Ad Smyrn. c 1.] See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. iv. Nelson’s Fasts, Good-Friday.
To reconcile his Father to us] Or, according to the Scripture’s usual manner of speaking, “To reconcile us to his Father.” Whether this be expressed after the one way or the other, it comes to the same thing: as Pearson in his Exposition of the Creed (Art. 10.) has proved against Socinus. This is certain, that Christ by his death has procured for us the Divine favour. For He, lest mankind, who upon the account of their sins were obnoxious to the Divine justice, should utterly perish, offered Himself as an expiatory sacrifice to God; from whence He is said (Matt. 20:28) δουναι την ψυχην αυτου λύτρον αντι πολλων, “to give his life a ransom for many”; and 1 Tim. 2:6 it is said that He “gave himself a ransom for all” (ο δους εαυτον αντίλυτρον υπερ πάντων). See also Eph. 2:16, 17, 18. “That he might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby”: He “came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
See also Ignatius. “All these things He suffered for us, that we might be saved.” [Ad Smyrn. c. 2.] And again. “He underwent all sorts of sufferings for our sakes.” [Ad Polycarp, c. 3.] And Justin Martyr. “He bore to be set at nought, and to suffer, for those who believe in Him.” [Apol. i. c. 63.] And Clement of Alexandria. “For this reason He came down from heaven, and for this He put on man, that being measured according to the weakness of us whom He loved, He might measure to us again according to his own power: and being now to be sacrificed for us, and now giving Himself for the price of our redemption, he leaves us a new covenant.” And St. Cyprian. “Christ, the Mediator between two, puts on man, that He may bring man to the Father. Christ would be what man is, that man might be what Christ is.” [Quis dives salv. c. 37.]
See also Outram de Sacrificiis, lib. ii. Grotius de Satisfactione Christi. Stillingfleet of the Sufferings of Christ. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 4. Nelson’s Fasts, Good-Friday. Nowelli Cat. p. 79–81. Pearson on the Creed, Art. x.
To be a sacrifice] See Isa. 53:4, 5, 6. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And 1 John 2:2. “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” And 2 Cor. 5:21. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
For original guilt] See Article ix.
For actual sins] Excepting one sin, that against the Holy Ghost; of which see the notes on Article xvi.
Of the Going Down of Christ Into Hell.
As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also is it to be believed, that he went down into Hell.
Went down, &c.] The soul of Christ went εις άδου, “to hell”, that is, the state of souls separated from their bodies. See Acts 2:27. “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.”
See also Irenaeus. “Since our Lord was in the middle of the shadow of death, where the souls of the dead [Adv. Haer. l. 5. c. 31.] were, and then rose again with his body, and after his resurrection was taken up into heaven; it is manifest,” &c.
And Tertullian. “If Christ, who is God, yet, as man too, was dead and buried according to the Scriptures, and also satisfied this law by going through the form of human death amongst those who are in the invisible world,” &c. [De Anima, c. 55.]
And St. Cyprian. “He was not to be overcome by death, nor to remain in hell.” [Test. adv. Judaeos, l. 2. c. 24.]
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. v. Hammond’s Prac. Cat. bk. v. sect. 2. Nowelli Cat. p. 83. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 19.
Of the Resurrection of Christ.
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature, wherewith be ascended into heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all men at the last day.
Did truly rise] For He rose again with the same body, which was crucified and buried. See Matt. 28:6. “He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
See also Ignatius. “I know that He was in the flesh after the resurrection, and believe that He is. And when He came to those who were with Peter, he said to them, Take hold of Me, feel Me, and see that I am no unbodied spirit.”
See also Pearson on the Creed, Art. V. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 5. Nelson’s Festivals, Easter Sunday. Homily of the Resurrection. Nowelli Catech. p. 83, 84.
Took again his body, &c.] See Luke 24:39. “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
See also Irenaeus. “Christ rose again the substance of flesh, and showed his disciples the mark of the nails, and the wound in his side; which are proofs that his flesh rose again from the dead.” [Adv. Haer. l. 5. c. 7.]
And Tertullian. [Adv. Marcion. l. 4. c. 43.] “ But as to the reality of his body, what can be clearer? Since He said to his disciples, who doubted whether He were not a spirit, yea believed Him to be a spirit, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold,” &c. Luke 24:38, 39.
All things appertaining, &c.] See John 20:27. “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” And Acts 10:40, 41. “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” See also Irenaeus. “It was still one and the same Jesus Christ, to whom also the gates of heaven were opened to receive Him in the flesh.” [Adv. Haer. l. 3. c. 16. (c. 18, Oxf. ed.)]
Ascended into heaven] That is, the highest heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father, and intercedes for us. See Mark 16:19. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 85. Pearson on the Creed, Art. vi. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 5. Nelson’s Festivals, Ascension Day.
There sitteth] See Acts 3:20, 21. “He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Until he return, &c.] A certain number of years, and even of days, is doubtless assigned for the duration of this world, though it is unknown to angels, as well as to us. At the end of which, Christ will return from heaven to judge all men, both the quick and dead; and then will He render to every one according to his works. See Acts 10:42. “He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” See also Irenaeus. “He will come again in the same flesh, in which He suffered.” [Adv. Haer. l. 3. c. 16. (c. 18, Oxf. ed.)]
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 95, 96. Nelson’s Festivals, ch. ii. Pearson on the Creed, Art. vii. Sherlock, Of Judgment. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 10.
Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
The Holy Ghost, &c.] Since those operations are attributed to the Holy Ghost which cannot be ascribed but to a person distinct from the Father and the Son, such as, “to make intercession for the saints” (Rom. 8:27), to “come as sent by the Father in the name of Christ” (John 14:26), to “take what was Christ’s, and show it unto others,” (John 14:14), and since those things are attributed to Him which cannot be ascribed to any other but God, such as to have the bodies of the faithful for his temples (1 Cor. 3:16. and 6:19), and even to have the whole church dedicated by baptism to Him, as well as to the Father, and the Son, (Matt. 28:19), it necessarily follows that He is “very and eternal God,” equal with the Father and the Son, and together with them to be adored and invoked.
See Irenaeus. “The church which was planted throughout the whole world, received of the Apostles and their disciples that faith which is in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Ghost, who spake by the prophets.” [Adv. Haer. l. 1. c. 10. (c. 2. Oxf. ed.)]
See also the Homily on Whit Sunday, part i. Pearson on the Creed, Art. viii. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 1. Nelson’s Festivals, Trinity Sunday. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. c. 2. q. 5, 6. Andrews on Acts 19:1, 2, 3.
Proceeding from the Father] See John 15:26. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
And the Son] See 1 Pet. 1:11. Where the Holy Ghost is called “the Spirit of Christ.” [Adv. Praxeam, c. 30.] See also Tertullian. “In the mean time He poured forth the Holy Ghost, a gift which He had received from the Father; the third name of the Godhead, and the third person in the order or rank of the Divine majesty.”
Of one substance, &c.] See 1 Cor. 3:16, 17. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And 1 Cor. 6:19. “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” And Acts 5:3, 4. “Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”
See also Justin Martyr. “Acknowledging the Son of the true God himself, and placing Him as next in order, and then the prophetical Spirit, we will show that we justly honour them.” [Apol. 1. c. 13.] And again: “We worship and adore the prophetical Spirit.” [Ib. c.6.] And Irenaeus “He (meaning God the Father) is ministered unto in every thing by his offspring and resemblance, that is, the Son and Holy Ghost, his word and wisdom, whom all the angels serve and are subject to.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 7. (c. 17, Oxf. ed.)] And again: “Because wisdom also, which is the Holy Ghost, was with God before the creation of all things; therefore He saith, by Solomon, that the Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth,” Prov. 3:19. [Ib. l. 4. c. 20. (c. 3, Oxf. ed.)] And again: “Now we receive some portion of his Spirit to perfect us, and to prepare us for a state of incorruption, accustoming ourselves by little and little to comprehend and bear the majesty of God.” [Ib. l. 5. c. 8.] And St. Cyprian: “If he be made the temple of God, I ask, Of what God? If he answer, Of the Creator, he could not be his temple, because he did not believe in Him. If he say of Christ, neither can he be made his temple, because he denies Christ to be God. Or if he say, Of the Holy Ghost, yet since these three are one, how can the Holy Ghost be reconciled to that man, who is an enemy either to the Father or to the Son?” [Epist. 73.]
Very and eternal God] The most notorious opposer of the Godhead of the Holy Ghost was Macedonius, Patriarch of Constantinople. The heresy itself is called the heresy of the Pneumatomachi, or Fighters against the Spirit; as denying the divinity of the Holy Ghost, and asserting that He is only a created energy or power, attending upon and ministering unto the Son. In order to put a stop to this heresy, the first council of Constantinople, to these words in the Nicene Creed, “I believe in the Holy Ghost,” added, “The Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified ; who spake by the prophets.” See Pearson on the Creed, Art. viii.
Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
Genesis. Exodus. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy. Joshua. Judges. Ruth. The 1st Book of Samuel. The 2d Book of Samuel. The 1st Book of Kings. The 2d Book of Kings. The 1st Book of Chronicles. The 2d Book of Chronicles. The 1st Book of Esdras. The 2d Book of Esdras. The Book of Esther. The Book of Job. The Psalms. The Proverbs. Ecclesiastes, or Preacher. Cantica, or Song of Solomon. 4 Prophets the greater. 12 Prophets the less.
And the other books (as Hierome saith) [Preface to Book of Proverbs] the Church doth read for example of life, and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following: The 3d Book of Esdras. The 4th Book of Esdras. The Book of Tobias. The Book of Judith. The rest of the Book of Esther. The Book of Wisdom. Jesus the Son of Sirach. Baruch the Prophet. The Song of the Three Children. The Story of Susanna. Of Bel and the Dragon. The Prayer of Manasses. The 1st Book of Maccabees. The 2d Book of Maccabees.
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
All things necessary, &c.] For the Holy Scripture contains all things which relate either to faith or practice, beyond which God requires nothing of us. See 2 Tim. 3:15, 16, 17. “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
See also Ignatius. “The Gospel is the perfection of uncorruptness.” [Epist. ad Phliad. c. 9.] And Tertullian. “We have no need of being curious since the coming of Jesus Christ, nor inquisitive since the publication of the Gospel. When we believe, we want nothing further to be believed. For this we first believe, that we ought not to believe any thing further.” [De Praescript. adv. Haer. c. 8.] And St. Cyprian. “From whence is that tradition? Is it derived either from the authority of our Lord and his Gospel, or from the commands and Epistles of his Apostles? For God testifies that we are to do those things which are written.” [Epist. 74.] And Irenaeus. “The Scriptures indeed are perfect, as being dictated by the word of God and his Spirit.” [Lib. 2. c. 28. (c. 47, Oxf. ed.)] And again. “We, following the one and sole true God as our teacher, and having his words for the rule of truth, say always the same things concerning them.” [Lib. 4. c. 35. (c. 69. Oxf; ed.)]
Whatsoever is not read therein, &c.] Since He only has a right to prescribe the conditions of salvation, who has the sole power of conferring it; it does not belong to man to command or teach any other things as necessary to salvation, than what God himself hath commanded and taught in the Scriptures, and what He hath declared to be sufficient for that end. See Matt. 15:9. “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” And Gal. 1:8, 9. “Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
See also Tertullian. “Let Hermogenes, out of his storehouse of learning, show that it is written. If it be not written, let him fear that woe which is destined for those who either add to, or detract from the Scriptures.” [Adv. Hermogen. c. 22.]
See also the Homily of reading the Holy Scripture. Nowelli Catech. p. 12–14. Jewel’s Apol. Def. part i. ch. 8, 9. Chillingworth’s Rel. Prot. ch. 2. Stanhope on 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. i. sect. 14, and bk. ii. sect. 8. Field, Of the Church, Appendix to bk. iii. ch. 2. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 1. q. 6, 7. Hall’s Roma Irreconcil. sect. S. part 2. Bishop Blackhall’s Eight Sermons at Mr. Boyle’s Lecture.
Canonical] That is, inspired by God, and given us for a rule of faith and manners.
In the Church] Namely, in the Catholic or Universal Church. For some particular Churches did for some time doubt of a few of them, viz. the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, the Second and Third Epistles of St. John, and the Revelation.
See Stillingfleet’s Orig. Sacr. Grotius de Ver. Rel. 1. iii. Cosin’s Histor. Scholast. Christian’s Birthright. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 1. q. 2. Hall’s Roma Irreconcil. sect. iii. part 2. Field, Of the Church, Append. to bk. iii. chap. i.
Second Book of Esdras] That is, the book of Nehemiah.
As Hierome saith] Namely, in his Preface to the Proverbs. “It is to be observed,” says Origen, “that the books of the Old Testament, as the Hebrews report, are twenty-two; which is the number of the Hebrew letters.” [Philocal. c. 3.]
Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be beard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
Is not contrary, &c.] So far are the Old and New Testaments from being contrary the one to the other, that they confirm one another, and convey authority to each other. See Matt. 5:17, 18. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” And Acts 18:28. “He (St. Paul) mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the Scriptures, that Jesus was Christ.” And John 5:39, 46. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. – Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.”
See also Origen. “He who is instructed in the divine music, knows that all the Scripture is a perfect and well-tuned instrument of God’s, which soundeth forth, to those who are desirous to learn it, one harmonious and salutary voice, though composed of different sounds; a voice which stills and restrains all the energy and power of the evil Spirit.” [Philocal. c. 6.]
Both in the Old and New, &c.] They both aim at the same end, which is, the eternal salvation of mankind by Jesus Christ. The Old Testament gives us the law, and promises salvation to such as obey it. But since such is the infirmity of human nature, that no man can pay an exact obedience to the law, it follows that by the law no man is saved. And therefore the Old Testament points out to us Christ, as the only Author of our salvation, through the shadowing of ceremonies, and types, and prophecies, whereas the New Testament shows Him to us clearly and plainly.
See Gen. 3:15. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” And Gen. 12:3. “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
And Dan. 12:2, 3. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
See also Rom. 3:21. “Now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” And Rom. 16:25, 26. “The revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations, for the obedience of faith.” And Gal. 3:24. “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
See also Ignatius. “We love the prophets, because they also preached the Gospel, and hoped in him (to wit, Christ) and waited for him.” [Epist. ad Philad. c. 5.] And Theophilus of Antioch. “The writings of the prophets and evangelists are found to agree together, with respect to the righteousness of which the law speaks.” [Ad Autolyc. l. 3. c. 12] And Irenaeus. “Let them not therefore ascribe the unbelief of some persons to the law; for the law did not forbid them to believe in the Son of God, but exhorted them to the contrary, by telling them, that there was no other way for men to be healed of the old wound which was given them by the serpent, but by believing in him, who according to the likeness of sinful flesh was lifted up from the earth upon the tree of martyrdom, and who draws all things to himself, and quickens the dead.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 2. (c. 5, Oxf. ed.)] And Justin Martyr. “In the books of the prophets we find our Lord Jesus Christ foretold as born of a Virgin, and crucified, and dying,” &c. [Apol. 1. c. 31.]
See also Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. i. sect. 1. Preface to the Whole Duty of Man, sect. 12, &c. Clagget on 2 Pet. i. 19. Nowelli Cat. p. 52.
The only Mediator] Namely, with respect to intercession, as well as redemption. See 1 John 2:1. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” See also 1 Tim. 2:5. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” See also Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 1. 6. Nowelli Cat. p. 125.
They are not to be heard,. &c.] That the old fathers looked for spiritual and eternal things, sufficiently appears from Heb. 11:10. 14. 26. 35. “He (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” – “They that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country.” – “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” – “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” See also, Field, Of the Church, bk. i. ch. 5.
Although the Law given, &c.] That the ceremonies of the Mosaical law were to be abolished, God himself foretells, in Jer. 31:31, 32. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.” See also Gal. 3:25. “After that faith is come, we are no longer under a school- master.” And Gal. 5:1. “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” And Col. 2:16, 17. “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath-days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” And Acts 15, the whole chapter. And Heb. 7:12. 28. “The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. – The law maketh men high-priests, which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”
See also Ignatius. “It is absurd to call Jesus the Christ, and at the same time to judaize.” [Epist. ad Magnes. c. 10. (c. 8, Oxf. ed.)] And Irenaeus. “The law began in Moses’ time and of course ended in the time of John, when Christ came to fulfill it.” [Advers Haeres. l. 4. c. 4.] And Origen. “The same Providence which heretofore gave the law, and now the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not being willing to retain the rites and ceremonies of the Jews, destroyed their city and temple,” &c. [Contra Celsum. l. 7. c. 26.] And Justin Martyr. “We do not hope in Moses, or in the law for then we should do the same with you: but now, I have read that there was to be the last law, and a testament the strongest of all, which now all men must obey, whoever would lay claim to the inheritance of God. For the law which was given in Horeb is now antiquated.” [Dialog. cum Tryp. c. 11.] See also Stillingfleet’s Orig. Sacr. 1. ii. ch. 7.
Yet no Christian man, &c.] The precepts of the moral law are so excellently adapted to human nature, that if they should be made void, the condition of mankind would be extremely miserable. And therefore Christ himself hath ratified them anew, Matt. 5:17–20. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven.” See also James 2:8–11. “If ye fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”
See also Irenaeus. “That our Lord did not abrogate the natural duties prescribed by the law, by which duties a man is justified, and which those men who were justified by faith, and pleased God, observed before the giving of the law, but that he enlarged them, and supplied what was wanting in them, is manifest from those discourses of his which begin in this manner: It was said by them of old time,” &c. [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 13. (c. 27, Oxf. ed.).] See Matt. 5:21, &c.
See also Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. ii. sect. 3. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. i. sect. 15.
Of the Three Creeds.
The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’s Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of holy Scripture.
Creeds] In Latin they are called symbola, which also signify watchwords or signals in war. And thus, as by those signals or watchwords the soldiers of one side are distinguished from those of the other; so by these creeds the orthodox or sound Christians of the Catholic or Universal Church are distinguished from Infidels and Heretics.
Nicene Creed] So called, because the greatest part of it was composed by the Fathers who were assembled at the council of Nice. The part of it which relates to the Divinity of the Holy Ghost was added by the council of Constantinople, except these words, “and the Son”, which were added by the Western Church. See Field, Of the Church, bk. iii. ch. i. Pearson on the Creed, Art. viii.
Athanasius’s] So called, not because it was written by Athanasius, but because it is very agreeable to his sentiments, who was the most celebrated champion for the orthodox faith.
Commonly called, &c.] For it does not sufficiently appear that it was written by the Apostles themselves. See Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 42. Wall’s Hist. of Infant Baptism, part ii. ch. 9. sect. 10. Cave’s Hist. Lit. Vit. Athanasii, sect. 6. n. 10. Bulli Judic. Eccl. Cath. c. 5. Waterland’s Critic. Hist. of the Athanasian Creed.
Ought thoroughly to be received, &c.] As many therefore as subscribe to this Book of Articles, and yet do not believe that these Creeds are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, are guilty of lying abominably both to God and men. See Jude, verse 3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”
Almost all things contained in these Creeds have already been confirmed, under the preceding Articles, by the testimonies of the Fathers. But because heretics bitterly and reproachfully inveigh against the Nicene Fathers and against Athanasius, as if they were corruptors of the Christian faith; I shall here insert some expositions of faith which are older than the Nicene Creed.
An Exposition of the Catholic Faith as Taken from Irenaeus.
The Church which was planted all over the world, even to the ends of the earth, received both from the Apostles and their disciples that faith which is in one God, the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things which are therein; and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Ghost, who by the prophets foretold the appointments of God, and the coming of his beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord, his being born of a Virgin, his passion, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven in the flesh, and his coming again from heaven in the glory of the Father, to bring all things to a consummation, and to raise the whole race of mankind from the dead; that so to Christ Jesus, our Lord and our God, our Saviour and our King, every knee may bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue may confess to Him, and that He may administer true judgment unto all; that He may send the spiritual wickednesses, and the angels who transgressed, and became apostates, and impious, unjust, unreasonable, and blasphemous men, into eternal fire; but that, giving life to the righteous and religious, to those who observe his precepts, and persevere in loving Him, some from the beginning, and some from the time of their repentance, He may reward them with incorruption, and surround them with everlasting brightness and glory. [Adv. Haer. l. 1. c. 10. (c. 2. Oxf. ed.)]
An Exposition of Faith, as Taken from Tertullian.
The rule of faith is that by which we believe that there is one God, and no other besides the Creator of the world, who made all things out of nothing by his Word, whom He begot before all things; that this Word, who is called his Son, in divers manners appeared to the patriarchs in the name of God, and was heard in the prophets; that at length by the Spirit and power of God He descended into the Virgin Mary, was incarnate in her womb, was born of her in the human nature, and so became Jesus Christ; that afterwards He preached a new law, and a new promise of the kingdom of heaven; that He wrought miracles, was nailed to the cross, and rose again the third day; that He was taken up into heaven ; and sat at the right hand of the Father; that He sent the power of the Holy Ghost to supply his absence, and to influence those who believe in Him; and that He shall come again with splendour to receive the saints into the enjoyment of eternal life, and the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after having raised both parties from the dead, and restored to them their fleshly bodies. [De Praescrip. adv. Haer. c. 13.]
The Ancient Creed of the Church of Jerusalem.
From St. Cyril.
Catachesis 5. Appendix.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; Very God by whom all things were made; who was incarnate and made man, crucified and buried; who rose again the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father; who shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end: And in the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, who spake by the prophets: And in one baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins: And in one Catholic Church: And in the resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life.
The Creed of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of Neociesarea in Pontus.
There is one God, Father of the living world, of the subsisting Wisdom, and of the eternal power and express form of Himself; the perfect begetter of Him who is perfect; the Father of the only-begotten Son. There is one Lord, the sole Lord from the sole God, God of God, the character and image of the Godhead, the efficacious Word, the Wisdom which comprehends the frame and constitution of all things, the Power which forms and actuates all creatures, the true Son of the true Father; invisible of Him who is invisible, incorruptible of Him who is incorruptible, immortal of Him who is immortal, and eternal of Him who is eternal. And there is one Holy Ghost, having existence from God, and who appeared to men by the Son; the perfect image of the perfect Son; the life, the cause of the living; the holy fountain, sanctity, and the giver of sanctification; In whom God the Father is manifested, who is above all, and in all; and God the Son, who is through all. And there is a perfect Trinity, which is not divided, nor excluded, in glory, and eternity, and dominion. There is not any thing then created, or dependent in the Trinity; nor any thing superinduced, as if it did not exist before, but came in afterwards. And therefore the Father was never without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit; but there was always the same immutable and invariable Trinity.
Of Original or Birth Sin.
Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk); but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit ; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, φρόνημα σαρκος, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle cloth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
Original Sin, &c.] Since infants, as well as adult persons, have need of a Mediator, it follows, that there is something in them which stands in need of being remitted. And what can that be but sin? And since they are not capable of following or imitating any other person, it is evident that the sin is the fault and corruption of nature. See Rom. 5:14. “Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”
It is the fault, &c.] See Rom. 5:19. “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” See also Clement of Rome. “It is also thus written concerning Job, ‘That he was a righteous man, unblameable, a person of veracity, devout towards God, eschewing all evil:’ and yet this same Job, accusing himself, intimates, that there is no one free from pollution, even though his life be but a day long.” [Ep. ad Cor. c. 17.]
And Irenaeus. “As in the beginning all of us were by our first parents brought into bondage through the obligation we were under to suffer death; so at length, by the latter Adam, all who from the beginning have been his disciples, being cleansed and washed from such things as are of a deadly nature, are permitted to enter into the life of God.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 22. (c. 39, Oxf. ed.)] And again. “As we offended God in the first Adam, by not obeying his commandment; so we are reconciled in the second Adam, being made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none but Him, whose commandment we had transgressed from the beginning.” [Ib. l. 5. c.16.]
And St. Cyprian. “That no one is without pollution and sin, appears from what Job says, Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.’ Job 14:4. [Test. ad. Quirin. l. 3. c. 54.] And from Psalm 51:5. ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ And from 1 John 1:8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” – And again. “Moreover, if to the greatest sinners, and to those who have offended God a long time since, yet afterwards believe in Him, remission of sins is granted, and no one is debarred from receiving baptism and grace; how much more ought not those benefits to be denied to an infant, who, being but newly born, hath as yet no way sinned, except that being born in the flesh according to Adam, he hath contracted the contagion of the old death from his very birth; who is the more easily admitted to receive remission of sin upon this very account, because he hath no sins of his own to be remitted, but only those of others.” [Epist. 59. (Ep. 64, Oxf. ed.)]
Naturally is engendered] Christ is exempted from this guilt, as being engendered supernaturally. See Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii.
Is very far gone, &c.] See Rom. vii. 18. “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Of his own nature inclined, &c.] See Gen. 8:21. “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” And Gal. 5:17. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Deserveth God’s wrath, &c.] Not because God imputes to Adam’s posterity the crime of his having eaten the forbidden fruit, for which crime he is supposed to have pardoned Adam upon his repentance; but because by that sin Adam thoroughly corrupted his nature, and because from a corrupt parent we also are born a corrupt offspring. For the original righteousness being lost, nothing of good remains in us, but we are naturally propense to all evil: and therefore we are “by nature the children of wrath,” Eph. 2:3. And what wonder is it, if, since we are so impure, and averse to God, a God of the utmost purity should also be averse to us? This rather is to be wondered at, that any way to salvation should be found out for such lost and abandoned creatures. See Rom. 5:18. “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 65, 66. Homily of the Nativity; and Homily of the Passion, part ii. Wall’s Hist. of Inf. Bapt. part i. ch. 19. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. c. 3. q. 3.
This infection of nature doth remain, &c.] This certainly cannot be doubted of, since it is too plainly manifested by sad experience. See Gal. 5:17, above cited.
Is not subject, &c.] See Rom. 8:7. The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Although there is no condemnation, &c.] See Rom. 8:1. “There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Hath of itself the nature of sin] Of a sin of infirmity at least; for unless it hurry the will along with it, doubtless it is not a voluntary one, nor will it be imputed to the regenerate for their condemnation. See Rom. 7:7. “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
See also Nowelli Cat. p. 51; Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 3. q. 5. Jewell’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 11. x. Divis. 3. Field, Of the Church, bk. Ai. ch. 26. Pearson on the Creed, Art. 10.
The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
The condition, &c.] God created man perfect in his kind, and with a will which was free to choose either good or evil. But he fell from that liberty when he committed sin; he broke that power which he had of election or choice; he ceased to be free with relation to good, and became the servant of sin. From thence proceeds such a blindness of his understanding, such a perverseness of his will, and such an impetuousness of his passions and appetites, that, when left to himself, he is not able either to discern or choose those things which are truly good, but is hurried into the choice of such things as are contrary thereto. And therefore the Apostle says, that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Rom. 8:8. Hence we have need of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to choose and perform whatever is good; which, as it is the most excellent gift of God, and as it is freely given, is by way of eminence called Grace. And indeed it seems to be wanting to no one who is not wanting to himself.
See John 15:4, 5. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” And John 6:44. “No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” And 1 Cor. 2:14. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And 1 Cor. 12:3. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
See also Clement of Alexandria. “Whilst a man strives and labours by himself to subdue his vicious affections, he is able to perform nothing: but, if he show himself to be very earnestly and vehemently desirous of it, he becomes able, through the addition of the divine power, to accomplish what he desired: for God favours and cooperates with willing minds.” [Quis dives salv. c. 21.] And Irenaeus: “No man, who does not partake of the blessing assistance of the Lord, can procure to himself the means of salvation.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 13. (c. 27, Oxf. ed.)] And Tertullian. “Our Saviour himself declared, that He did not his own, but his Father’s will. Doubtless the things which He did were the will of his Father, and the patterns which we are now called forth to imitate, that we may both preach, and work, and bear them even unto death: which, that we may accomplish, we have need of the will of God.” [De Oratione, c. 4.]
Good works] Works done before the grace of Christ may have some specious appearance of good, from whence they are called good, but improperly: for in reality they are not good. See Article XIII.
Without the grace of God, &c.] For neither can we believe unless God “open our hearts,” (Acts 16:14) neither can we will or do, unless He “of his good pleasure work in us” for those ends. Phil. 2:13. See Nowelli Catech. p. 116. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. v. sect. 4. Wall’s Hist. of Inf. Bapt. part i. ch. 19. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 3. q. 4. Hall’s Roma Irreconcil. sect. 3. part 2. Field, Of the Church, Append. bk. iii. ch. 10. Pearson on the Creed, Art. viii.
By Christ] All the spiritual benefits which God ever conferred upon men, He conferred by and for the sake of Christ alone. And therefore as many as under the first covenant pleased God, (and that some of them pleased him, appears from Heb. 11) did it not by the strength of their own free will, but by the assistance of God’s grace, which was then also conferred through Christ. For his merits extended to all ages of the world; and therefore He is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” Rev. 13:8. This Article is also leveled against the Pelagians, who asserted that men were sufficiently enabled by their own natural strength to do good works, and that the grace of God, by which we may the more easily observe his commands, is given us according to our merits. See St. Augustine de Haer. ch. 88.
See also Irenaeus. “The Lord himself gave a sign of our salvation, Behold a Virgin shall conceive EMMANEL; because it was the Lord himself who saved them, who were able to do nothing towards saving themselves. And therefore St. Paul, speaking of man’s infirmity, says, ‘I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thing;’ signifying that the blessing of our salvation is not of ourselves, but of God. And again, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ And then he comes to mention his deliverer; ‘I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’” [Adv. Haer. l. 3. c. 20. (c. 22, Oxf. ed.)]
Of the Justification of Man.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
Only for the merit] Since the very best works of even the best of men are imperfect, so that if God should enter into judgment with his servants, no man living would be justified, (Psalm 143:2) it follows, that as many as are justified, are justified only because of the merits of Christ by faith; I mean a lively faith, “which worketh by love,” Gal. 5:6. See Rom. 3:24–26. “Being justified by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” And Ephes. 2:8, 9. “By grace ye are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
See also Clement of Rome. “And we therefore, who are called by his will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, not by our own wisdom, our own understanding, or our own godliness, or by works which we have done in the sanctity of our heart; but by faith, by which God Almighty had justified all those who have been justified from the beginning of the world.” [Epist. ad Cor. c. 32.]
Thus Irenaeus says: “The faith which is towards the most High God, justifieth man.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 5. (c. 13, Oxf. ed.)] And again: “‘For the just shall live by faith.’ Now this doctrine, that ‘the just shall live by faith,’ was foretold by the prophets.” [Ib. c. 34. (c. 67, Oxf. ed.)]
Thus St. Cyprian says: “That faith is profitable altogether; and that we are able to do in proportion to our believing; as appears from the book of Genesis, where we find that Abraham believed God, and that it was imputed to him for righteousness.” [Testim. ad. Qurin. l. 3. c. 42.] And again he says: “That the blessing which was given to Abraham belonged to us Christians also. For if Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, then whosoever believeth God, and liveth by faith, is found righteous.” [Epist. 63.]
By faith] Note, that we are justified by faith, not because of faith. For there is not more merit in our faith, than in our works; since faith also is imperfect in us, and it all, how great soever it be, “is the gift of God,” Eph. 2:8. Faith therefore is not the cause, but the condition, of our justification, which is solely to be attributed to the bounty of God and the merits of Christ.
By faith only] No sooner is the mind endued with a true faith, than a man is reputed righteous before God. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” Rom. 10:10. But the confession also of the mouth, and all other good works, are required for salvation, when we have the power to perform them. But if this be wanting, faith alone is sufficient. See Rom. 5:1, 2. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 56. 114. Homilies of Salvation and Faith. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. i. sect. 4. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 5. q. 5. Blackhall on James 2:24. Hooker’s Discourse of Justification. Hall’s Roma Irreconcil. sect. 3. part 1. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part i. ch. 10. div. 1.
Of Good Works.
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
Good Works] Though good works are not meritorious, yet that they are pleasing to God, and accepted through Christ, appears from hence, because God hath created us “in Christ Jesus unto good works,” (Ephes. 2:10) and because Christ “gave himself for us, that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” (Titus 2:14) “who also will render to every man according to his deeds,” Rom. 2:6. Our works indeed are imperfect, so that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment, much less expiate our sins, since they themselves rather want to be expiated by the merits of Christ. But for his sake God deals bountifully with us, and does not judge us severely, but has compassion upon our weakness, and ordains infinite rewards for those who do well, though imperfectly.
The fruits of Faith] See James 2:17, 18. “Faith, if it have not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” And the Apostle proceeds to illustrate this point to the end of the chapter.
See also Ignatius. “Faith is your guide, and love is the way which leads you to God. – No man who binds himself by the covenant of faith, sinneth; nor doth any one hate who is possessed of love. A tree is known by its fruit: and thus they who have engaged themselves to be Christians, shall be manifest by the things which they do.” [Epist. ad Ephes. c. 9. Ib. c. 14.] See also Clement of Rome. “Abraham, who was styled the Friend of God, was found faithful, because he was obedient to God’s commands.” [Epist. ad Cor. c. 10.]
And Justin Martyr. “Let such as are found to live otherwise than Christ taught, know that they are not Christians, though they take the doctrines of Christ into their mouths. For He hath declared, that not they who only profess his religion, but they who do the works which He hath commanded them, shall be saved.” [Apol. 1. c. 16.]
Cannot put away, &c.] See 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” And Psalm 143:2. “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”
Pleasing and acceptable to God] See Heb. 13:16. 20, 21. “To do good, and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.”
Spring out necessarily, &c.] A true faith has always love joined to it, and consequently is neither inactive nor unfruitful. And further, he who truly believes the Gospel will be “careful to maintain good works”; which he who neglects to do has only a dead faith, or even none at all. See Gal. 5:6. “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.”
By them a lively faith may be known, &c.] See James 2:18. “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” And Matt. 7:16. “Ye shall know them by their fruits: do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
See Homily of Faith. Nowelli Catech. p. 57. 115, 116. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. i. sect. 3. Whole Duty of Man, Sund. 1. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 20. div. 1.
Of Works Before Justification.
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
Works done before, &c.] That works may be perfectly good, they must flow from a good principle, namely, faith; and they must tend to a good end, namely, the glory of God; and they must in no respect be deficient. But what mortal man, either before or after the grace of Christ, hath been thus happy in doing well? And therefore the works of unbelievers, how specious soever, can deserve nothing, by reason of their imperfection; and they are to be looked upon as evil rather than good, upon the account of their defects. See Rom. 3:9, 10. 19, 20, 23. “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin: as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. – Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” See also Rom. 8:7, 8. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
See also Ignatius. “They who are carnal, cannot do the things which are spiritual; neither can unbelief do the works of faith.” [Epist. ad Ephes. c. 8.]
And Irenaeus. “As the wild olive, if it be not grafted, continues useless to its owner, by reason of its wild quality, and, as unfruitful wood, is cut down, and cast into the fire; so man, who receives not the grafting of the Spirit by faith, continues to be what he was before, flesh and blood, which cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” [Adv, Haer. l. 5. c. 10.]
See also the Homily of Good Works, part i. Saunderson on Rom. 3:8. sect. 3, 4. Nowelli Catech. p. 116. Field, Of the Church, Append. bk. iii. ch. 5.
Neither deserve grace] See Tit. 3:5. “Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” And Rom. 4:2. 6. “If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”
Grace of congruity:] Some of the Schoolmen have devised a twofold merit; a merit of congruity, and a merit of condignity. The latter they ascribe to works, which a man does by the assistance of grace, and to which a reward is in justice due. The former they ascribe to such works as a man does by the mere strength of free will, and which are to be rewarded only out of liberality. But what foundation is there for this sort of merit, since all of us are by nature evil? “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” Rom. 7:18. “They that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Rom. 8:8. “A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit,” Matt. 7:17. And therefore this sort of merit is rejected by others, and even by those of the Church of Rome, as savouring of Pelagianism.
Of Works of Supererogation.
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
Works of Supererogation] Since the law of God is perfect in every part, and requires us to do every good work; since we are commanded to “love God with all our souls, and with all our strength,” (Luke 10:27) and since that love is the impulsive cause of our performing every good work; what room is there for supererogation? And how should man be more perfect than the law of God, which is the exact rule of all perfection, and which proposes God himself as a pattern to man in doing well? “Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” Matt. 5:48. So far is any man from being more good than he ought to be, that neither is he able to fulfill what he ought to do. And therefore even the best of men, laying aside all notions of supererogation, are daily to pray that their debts (or trespasses) may be forgiven them. But that any one should at the same time be both a debtor and a supererogator is manifestly absurd.
See Luke 18:10–14. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
See also St. Cyprian. “We ought not to glory in any thing, since nothing is our own. For, as we have it in St. John’s Gospel, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.’” John 3:27. [Testim. l. 3. c. 4.]
And again. [Ib. c. 51.] “No one ought to be lifted up upon the account of what he does. For thus we read in St. Luke’s Gospel: Which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterwards thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’” Luke 17:7–10.
See also Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 18. Field, Of the Church, Append. bk. iii. ch. 13.
Of Christ Alone Without Sin.
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world, and sin, as St. John saith, was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
In the truth of, &c.] Though Christ was a man as well as we, yet He was entirely free from sin. If He had been guilty of any sin, He would have wanted a Redeemer as well as we. But what Redeemer could have been found for Him? See Heb. 2:14. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” See also Nowelli Catech. p. 73. Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 5.
Sin only except] See Heb. 4:15. “We have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” And John 14:30. “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” And 1 Pet. 2: 22. Christ “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”
See also Irenaeus. “If any man say that the flesh of our Lord differed from ours in this respect, because it committed no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, but that we are sinners; he speaketh rightly.” [Lib. 5. c. 14.]
Came to be the Lamb, &c.] See John 1:29. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” And Heb. 9:14. 26. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? – Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” And 1 John 3:5. “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
All we the rest, &c.] There is no mortal man that is or ever was perfectly good. Some few indeed are said in the Scripture to be righteous, such, for instance, as Noah, Job, and Zacharias; but they were only so comparatively, and according to the free and undeserved favour of God, who accepts of sincerity of mind instead of absolute perfection.
In many things, &c.] See James 3:2.
If we say, &c.] See 1 John 1:8.
See also Tertullian. “There are some sins which every day we are all liable to run into. For who is there that doth not happen to be angry without cause, or to let the sun go down upon his wrath, or to strike his neighbour, or freely to rail against him, or to swear rashly, or to break the promises he made in covenants, or bargains, or to tell a lie through bashfulness, or necessity ?” [De Pudicit. c. 19.]
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 70, 116. Jewel’s Apol. Defens. part ii. c. 19. divis. 1. Mason de Minist. Angl. lib. v. c. 5. sect. 8. Field, Of the Church, Append. bk. iii. ch. 2.
Of Sin After Baptism.
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.
Every deadly sin, &c.] Every sin is in its nature deadly, since “the wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6:23, and every sin is committed against the Holy Ghost, as well as against the Father and the Son; but still pardonable, if it be not that sin which is emphatically styled “the sin against the Holy Ghost”. And that is “blasphemy” against the Holy Ghost. Of which sin St. Jerome says, that “They only are guilty, who, though in miracles they see the very work of God, yet slander them, and say that they are done by the devil; and ascribe to the operation of that evil spirit, and not to the divine power, all those mighty signs and wonders, which were wrought for the confirmation of the Gospel.” [Epist. ad Marcellam contra Novat. Haeret. tom. 4. p. 164. ed. Ben. 1706.]
See Tillotson on Matt. 12:31, 32. “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Compare this with Mark 3:28–30. See also Kettlewell’s Measures of Obedience, bk. v. ch. 6. – And Clement of Rome. “Let us fix our thoughts on the blood of Christ, and let us consider how precious that blood is in the sight of God, which, being shed for our salvation, hath offered the grace of repentance to the whole world.” [Epist. ad Cor. c.7.]
The grant of repentance, &c.] See Gal. 6:1. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” – See also Ignatius. “The Lord pardons all such as repent, if they repent with regard to the unity of God, and to their communion with the Bishop.” [Epist. ad Philadelph. c. 8.] – And Clement of Alexandria. “The doors are open to every one who in truth, and with his whole heart, returns to God; and the Father most willingly receives a son who truly repents.” [Quis dives salv. c. 39.] And Irenaeus. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding; but to understand transgression produces repentance; and to such as repent God bestoweth mercy.” [Adv. Haer. l. 3. c. 23. § 5. (c. 37, Oxf. ed.)]
After we have received the Holy Ghost, &c.] This is manifest from the examples of David, Peter, &c. Since then God is ready to pardon repenting sinners, the Church should be so too. See Luke 22:32. “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” See also St. Cyprian. “We had long since, my dearest brother, ordained, after having had due consultation together, that they who, when they were infested by persecution, had been foiled by the enemy, and had lapsed, and had defiled themselves with unlawful sacrifices, should undergo a full and long penance; and that, in case of any dangerous sickness, they should receive absolution a little before their death.” [Epist. 54. (Ep. 57, Oxf. ed.)]
See also the Homily of Repentance, part i. Kettlewell’s Measures of Obedience, bk. v. ch. 1. Goodman’s Penitent Pardoned, bk. iii. ch. 1. Pearson on the Creed, Art. x.
They are to be condemned which say, &c.] See 1 John 1:10. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Or deny the place of forgiveness, &c.] See 2 Cor. 2:6–8. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise, ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you, that ye would confirm your love towards him.” See also St. Cyprian. “It did not seem to be right or agreeable to fatherly love, or divine clemency, that the Church should be shut against such as knock for admission; that the comfort of the hope of salvation should be denied to those who grieve, and sue for pardon; and that so they should leave this world, and go to God, without communion and peace with the Church ; since our great Lawgiver, as He hath assured us, that what is bound on earth, shall be bound in heaven; so He hath likewise promised, that what is first loosed in the Church here, shall also be loosed in heaven.” [Epist. 54. (Ep. 57. Oxf. ed.)]
Of Predestination and Election.
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
The everlasting purpose, &c.] The truth of this whole article will sufficiently appear from the texts of Scripture which I shall here subjoin. But I would desire the reader to observe, that only the grace of election is asserted in it, and that the severity of reprobation is left wholly untouched upon. And here I would advise him to stop, and to restrain his curiosity. For the doctrine of predestination is a profound abyss; in sounding of which, it is but to little purpose for young men to busy themselves. Much less does it become preachers to trouble their auditors about these deep mysteries: they should rather set forth God’s promises in general terms, as they are proposed in the Holy Scriptures, and as it is our duty to embrace them.
Before the foundation, &c.] See Eph. i. 4, 5. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” And Matt. 25:34. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And 2 Tim. 1:9. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” See also Ignatius. “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of Ephesus in Asia, which is blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the world began unto eternal glory.” [Epist. ad Ephes. Introd.] – And again. “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church among the Trallians in Asia, beloved of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, holy elect.” [Epist. ad Trall. Introd.] – And Clement of Rome. “The Church of God which is at Rome, to the Church of God which is at Corinth, called and sanctified by the will of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Epist. ad Cor. Introd.]
Deliver from curse, &c.] See Gal. 3:13. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”
Whom he hath chosen, &c.] See 1 Pet. 1:2. “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Vessels made to honour] See Rom. 8:30. “Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
Justified freely] See Eph. 1:7. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
Made sons of God] See Gal. 4:4, 5. “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Made like the image, &c.] See Rom. 8:29. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Walk religiously, &c.] See Eph. 2:10. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.”
By God’s mercy obtained, &c.] See Eph. 1:11. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” And 1 Pet. 1:3–5. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Generally set forth] See John 3:16. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And in 1 Tim. 2:4. 6. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth: who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
Expressly declared] See Luke 10:25–28. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
Of Obtaining Eternal Salvation Only By The Name Of Christ.
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.
Are to be had accursed, &c.] They certainly, if any, deserve to be anathematized or accursed, who look upon the Gospel as entirely useless. For in vain did Christ reveal it, and in vain did He command it to be preached through the whole world, if, after all, believers and unbelievers are equally entitled to salvation. And yet, as we find in Mark 16:16, this salvation is promised only to those who believe, and eternal damnation is denounced against those who believe not. How God will deal with those among whom Christ has not been preached, is not our business to determine. Charity indeed requires us to hope well of such of them, if any such there be, who live up to the rules of right reason; but to place them upon a level with the Church of God is a very high degree of boldness and presumption. Concerning such persons, this Article is silent; and it only declares those men to deserve being anathematized, or had accursed, who hold all religions to be indifferent matters, as if God regarded them all alike; whereas the religion of Christ is still the only way to salvation which is instituted by God.
See Ignatius. “Both the beings which are above the heavens, the glorious order of angels, and the invisible as well as visible powers, unless they believe in the efficacy of the blood of Christ, are obnoxious to judgment.” [Epist. ad Smyrn. c. 6.] – And again. “He is the Door of the Father, by which Abraham and Isaac, and the Prophets, and the Apostles, and the Church all enter.” [Epist. ad Philad. c. 9.] – And again. “Without Him we have not the true life.” [Epist. ad Trallenses, c. 9.]
See also Barnabas [Epist. cap. 12.]. “What is the design of this?” (the lifting up of the arms of Moses when the Amalekites were defeated, Ex. 17). “It is, that they may know, that they cannot be delivered, unless they have hoped in the cross of Christ.” [Testim. ad Quirin. l. 3. c. 24.] – And St. Cyprian. “There is no coming to the Father but by his Son Jesus Christ; as appears from what He says in the Gospel according to St. John: ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’” John 14:6.
See also Sherlock on Judgment, ch. 6. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. cap. 4. q. 7. Pearson on the Creed, Art. ix.
Only the name of Jesus] See John 14:6, above cited. And Acts 4:12. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” And 1 John 5:11, 12. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life ; and he that hath not the Son hath not life.”
Of the Church.
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.
Visible church, &c.] Since it is religion that makes a Church, and not the Church that makes religion, the Church is to be tried and discerned by religion, and not religion by the Church. And the visible Church (for the invisible one, which consists solely of the elect, is not here treated of) is that which maintains the religion of Christ, and professes its belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by baptizing its members in their names, and celebrating the holy Supper, as Christ hath appointed. These things are essential to a Church; and as long as these are preserved, a Church does not cease to be, though in some other things it may err. For every error does not subvert the foundation of a Church. But particular Churches may not only err, but also fall off entirely from Christ. For that saying of Christ, Matt. 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” is to be understood only of the Catholic or Universal Church.
See Nowelli Cat. p. 101–103. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. iii. ch. 1. Chillingworth’s Rd. Prot. ch. 3. Homily on Whitsunday, part ii. Prideaux’s Fasc. Cont. ch. 4. sect. 1. q. 6. Pearson on the Creed, Art. ix. Field, Of the Church, bk. ii. ch. 2.
A congregation of faithful men, &c.] See Acts 2:42. They continued stedfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.
See also Tertullian. “The Apostles having obtained the power of the Holy Ghost which was promised them, in order to work miracles, and to speak boldly, ‘in all utterance,’ and having first borne their testimony to the faith of Jesus Christ throughout Judea, and planted Churches there, went afterwards into other parts of the world, and published the same doctrine of the same faith to the Gentiles, and so proceeded to found Churches in every city; from which afterwards other Churches borrowed, and still continue to borrow the principles of their faith, and the rudiments of their doctrine, that so they might become Churches. And by this means they also are reputed Apostolical, as being the offspring of the Apostolical Churches. Every kind is to be estimated according to its original; and therefore, so many and great Churches are nothing else but that primitive one, from which all the rest proceed. Thus they are all primitive, and all apostolical, whilst they all agree in one and the same truth; whilst there is amongst them a communication of peace, and an appellation of brotherhood, and a league of hospitality; which rights are no otherwise to be preserved inviolable, than by a uniform participation of the same holy sacrament.” [De Praescript. c. 20.]
Note, that the Church of Rome kept the Faith uncorrupt for some ages; and therefore that it is no wonder if we find it commended by the primitive Fathers for its constancy in preserving that faith: though even then it was not entirely free from error, since, as St. Jerome, in his Comment on Isa. 8 witnesses, it did not receive the Epistle to the Hebrews into the Canon of Scripture. But how much it afterwards erred from the truth, will abundantly appear from the following Articles.
As the Church of Jerusalem, &c.] This Article takes notice of the errors of the Churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, because they were the most famous ones, and were advanced to the dignity of being Patriarchal Churches as well as that of Rome. As to which last, Pope Eleutherius fell into the error of Montanus, Pope Liberius into that of Arius, Pope Zosimus into that of Pelagius, &c., and at length that very Church became a most loathsome sink of various errors.
See Abbot’s Answer to Bishop’s Epistle, sect. 13. Hall’s Dissuasive from Popery.
Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness, and a keeper of holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
The Church, &c.] By the Church is here meant, they who are vested with ecclesiastical authority. Now, since it is their business to take care that in the Church “all things be done decently and in order,” (1 Cor. 14:40) and that the true faith be preserved, they must necessarily have a power to decree rites and ceremonies, without which nothing can be decently and orderly done in public assemblies; and they must also have authority in controversies of faith, in order to prevent the peace of the Church from being disturbed by contentious disputations, and the minds of the faithful from being corrupted by the sophistry of heretics.
See Esth. 9:27, 28. “The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail that they would keep these two days, according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year; and that these days should be remembered, and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.” And John 10:22, 23. “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter: And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”
Irenaeus, speaking of the churches which differed as xx. to their observation of fasting-days, and the feast of Easter, says thus: “Notwithstanding these things, they all preserved peace with one another, and the difference with respect to fasting days was a means of confirming their unity and agreement in faith ... And they who did not observe those days kept peace with those who came to them from the churches in which they were observed, though that observance was very contrary to the inclinations of those who did not observe them: and yet no one was ever debarred from holding communion with any of those churches upon that account.” [Frag. Epist. ad Vict. Papam. And Euseb. Hist. l. 5. c. 24.]
See also Mason, Of the Authority of the Church. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. iii. and viii. Potter, Of Church Government, ch. 5. sect. 2. 7. Field, Of the Church, bk. iv. c. 13, 14.
Authority in controversies] See 1 Tim. 1:3. “That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. And Tit. 3:10. “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.”
It is not lawful for the Church, &c.] If this were lawful, the Word of God would soon be made a jest of, and that very authority of the Church would be destroyed, if it depended upon so unstable a foundation. See Matt. 28:20. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
See also Ignatius. “Avoid those corrupt trees, which bring forth deadly fruit; of which, if a man taste, he dieth thereby. For these are not planted by the Father.” [Epist. ad Trall. c. 11.]
And St. Cyprian. “We must by no means depart from the precepts of the Gospel. The disciples also must observe and do the same things which their Master taught and did. The blessed Apostle more fully and strenuously urges this in another place [Gal. 1:6, 7] saying, ‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’. ... For we are not to follow the custom of men, but the truth of God.” [Epist. 63.]
Neither may it so expound, &c.] See Rom. 3:4. “Let God be true and every man a liar: as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
The Church a witness and keeper, &c.] See Rom. 3:2. “Unto them were committed the oracles of God.”
Against the same] See Acts 4:19. “Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
Besides the same] See Gal. 3:15. “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.” And Gal. 1:9. “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other Gospel unto you, than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” See also Article VI.
Of the Authority of General Councils.
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.
May not be, &c.] Since it is not lawful for bishops to leave their own country, and go into other dominions, without the leave of their own princes, it follows, that they cannot without the will of princes assemble at general councils. There were indeed many provincial councils, but no general one, before Constantine, by whose authority the first, that is, the Nicene Council, was assembled, as also the following ones were by the authority of the following emperors. See Rom. 13:1. “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.”
See also Andrews’s Sermon of Calling Assemblies. Jewel’s Apol. Def. part vi. ch. 12. div. 2, &c. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. viii. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 52.
May err] Since bishops are still but men, as well when they are in a council, as when they are out of it, and still liable to the weaknesses and imperfections of human nature, it is no wonder that what is human should err, and it is manifest that even they have actually erred.
See Bilson, Of Christian Subjection, part ii. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 4. q. 4. Jewel’s Apol. Def. part iv. ch. 22. div. 3, 4. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 51.
Wherefore things ordained, &c.] See Ignatius. “Stop your ears, if any man speak to you without Jesus Christ.” [Epist. ad Trall. c. 9.] See also Article VI.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
Concerning Purgatory,] Purgatory, as the Romanists pretend, is a certain place in hell, in which after this life those souls are purged or cleansed, which were not fully purged from their sins during this life.
But see 1 John 1:7. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” And Rev. 14:13. “I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
See also Clement of Alexandria. “He who receives the angel of repentance here shall not repent when he leaves the body; neither shall he be ashamed when he sees his Saviour coming in glory, with his heavenly host; neither shall he be afraid of the fire.” [Quis dives salv. c. 42.] And St. Cyprian. “There is no confession in the invisible world, nor any discipline of repentance there.” [Epist. 52. (Ep. 55. Oxf. ed.)]
See also the Homily of Prayer, part iii. Stillingfleet’s Idolatry of the Church of Rome, ch. 3. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 47. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 4. sect. 2. q. 7. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 16. div. 1. Field, Of the Church, bk. iii. ch. 17. and App. bk. iii. ch. 21.
Pardons] Or Indulgences. The Romanists raise a fund out of the superabundant merits of Christ and the saints, of which the pope is the chief manager; who applies to whomsoever he pleases as much of these merits as he thinks fit, for the remission of such punishments as remain to be inflicted after the faults themselves are remitted. And this special grace or favour is called an indulgence.
But see 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And Clement of Alexandria. “To repent, is to be truly sensible of our sins past, and to beg pardon for them of the Father, who of all beings is the only one that can undo those things which are done, and who only, by his mercy, and by the dew of his Spirit, can blot out our former transgressions: In which, saith he, if I find you, for them will I judge you.” [Quis dives salv. c. 40.]
See also Stillingfleet’s Idolatry of the Church of Rome, ch. 6. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, ch. 16. Field, Of the Church, App. bk. iii. ch. 25.
Worshipping, &c.] The worshippers of images would fain clear themselves from the charge of idolatry, by distinguishing between an image and an idol, and between an absolute and relative worship. But in vain. For God hath forbidden us to pay any religious worship to images, Exod. 20:4, 5. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” And whence comes it that reliques are to be adored? The saints themselves, while they lived upon earth, rejected the adoration which was offered to them, and that too with indignation; as appears from Acts 10:25, 26. “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” Are the reliques of the saints more holy than the saints themselves?
See also Deut. 27:15. “Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.” And 1 John 5:21. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
See also Lactantius. “It is not to be doubted, but that there is no religion, wherever there is an image. For if religion relates to such things as are divine, and there is nothing of what is divine but in heavenly things ; then images have nothing to do with religion : because there can be nothing of heavenly in what is made out of earthly things.” [Institut. l. 2. c. 19.]
See also Stillingfleet’s Idolatry of the Church of Rome, ch. 1. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 35. 49. Homily against Idolatry. Jewel’s Reply, Art. xiv. Bilson, Of Christian Subj. part iv.
Reliques] See 2 Kings 18: “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it.” See also the declaration Euseb. of the Church of Smyrna. “Not knowing, that neither can we ever leave Christ, who suffered for the salvation of all those who out of mankind are saved, neither can we worship any other. For we adore Him as the Son of God; but we love the martyrs as we ought to love them, as being the disciples and imitators of our Lord, and for the sake of their unshaken affection to their King and Master.” [Euseb. Hist. l. 4. c. 15.]
Invocation of saints] Since all invocation is vain, where there is no faith, (see James 1:6, where we are commanded to ask in faith) and since there can be no faith where there is no word of God to support it; it follows, that the invocation of saints must be a vain thing, as not being founded upon any word of God. Besides, since there is “one mediator between God and men,” (1 Tim. 2:5) who “is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” (Heb. 7:25) he who betakes himself to the mediation of saints, affronts the true and only Mediator Christ Jesus.
See Psalm 65:2. “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” And Rev. 19:10. “I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant: worship God.” – See also St. Origen, “If it is right to believe, as reason hath taught us, in any one of those who have formed particular sects, which are famous among the Greeks or Barbarians; how much more should we believe in Him, who is God over all? in Him who teaches us that He only is to be worshipped? And to look upon other things either as if they did not exist, or, if they do exist, as worthy indeed of honour, but not of adoration, and religious worship ?” [Contra. Celsum, l. 1. c. 11.]
See also Nowelli Catech. p. 121, 122. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 4. sect. 2. q. 1. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 33, 34. Stillingfleet’s Idol. ch. 2. Homily of Prayer, part ii. Field, Of the Church, bk. iii. ch. 20, and App. ch. 22. Abbot’s Answer to Bishop’s Epist. sect. 9.
Of Ministering in the Congregation.
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have publick authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.
To take upon him, &c.] Since the ministers of the word and sacraments are “ambassadors for Christ,” and “ministers of God” (2 Cor. 5:20 and 6:4) they must necessarily receive their authority from God, and be sent by Him; and must not assume that authority to themselves, unless they are called to it by God. And since God our Saviour, from the time when He called the apostles, has not immediately called any one to the ministry; it follows, that they must be called by those whose business it is to call others. Thus the apostles ordained presbyters and bishops, and the bishops ordained by the apostles did from thenceforth ordain others.
See Acts 20:28. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” And Heb. 5:4. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”
See also Clement of Rome. “The high-priest hath his proper ministry allotted him; the priests have their proper place assigned them; the Levites likewise have their proper services appointed them; and thus the layman is to perform such things as belong to laymen. ... Let every one of you, my brethren, in his proper place and station, give thanks to God, keeping a good conscience, and taking care, with due gravity, not to transgress the prescribed rule of his ministry, or his duty.” [Ad Cor. c. 40, 41.]
See also Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 77. Potter, Of Church Government, ch. 4, 5.
By men who have public authority, &c.] We know that this power was granted only to the bishops, from the age of the apostles to the time of the Reformation, but that from thenceforward some churches, who in other things were rightly reformed, have allowed it also to presbyters; whether justly or not, we leave it to themselves to consider. We neither judge, nor despise them. But the case is widely different with our own countrymen, who, rebelling against an excellently well constituted Church, have arrogated to themselves this power of ordination. These, therefore, we rightfully and deservedly account guilty of schism and irregularity.
See Tit. 1:5. “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.”
See also Clement of Rome. “Our apostles knew from our Lord Jesus Christ that there would arise a contention about the name of bishops. For this reason, having had a perfect knowledge of them, they chose the aforesaid persons, and invested them with the pastoral care; that after their deaths, other men also, having first been tried and approved, might still succeed them in their office.” [Ad Cor. c. 44.] – And Ignatius. “Since charity does not permit me to be silent concerning you, I have therefore written to you first, to exhort you to concur with the sentence of God. For Jesus Christ, who is inseparably the life of our souls, is the sentence of the Father; as also the bishops, who are appointed even to the ends of the earth, are the sentence of Jesus Christ.” [Epist. ad Ephes. c. 3.]
See also Bilson’s Perpetual Government, ch. 12, 13. Hall’s Episcopacy by Divine Right, part ii. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. vii. sect. 5. Bishop Lloyd’s Historical Account of Church Government; Burscough, Of Schism, sect. 2, 3. Scott’s Christian Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 10. Field, Of the Church, bk. iii. ch. 39. and bk. v. ch. 27.
Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People Understandeth.
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.
Tongue not understanded, &c.] Since all divine worship is rather an act of the mind than of the body, it follows, that the worship in which the mind is not concerned is impious and absurd.
See 1 Cor. 14:11. “If I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” And verses 14–19. “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” See also John 4:24. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him xxiv. in spirit and in truth.”
See also Justin Martyr. “On the day which is called Sunday there is an assembly of all those who live either in cities, or in the country; and the books of the prophets, or the writings of the apostles, are there read as long as time will permit. When the reader has done, he who presides in the assembly makes an harangue, in which he admonishes and exhorts us to imitate and practice the excellent things we have heard. Then we all rise up with one consent, and send forth our prayers to God.” [Apolog. i. c. 67.] – And Tertullian. “We go together into our assemblies, that, as it were with a well disciplined body, we may surround God by our prayers. This force is acceptable to God.” [Apolog. adv. Gent. c. 39.] And Origen. “Every one prays in his own tongue, and praises God according to his power; and the Lord of all tongues hears them praying with all their several tongues.” [Contra Celsum. l. 8, c. 37.] And St. Cyprian. “When we stand up to pray, my dearly beloved brethren, we ought to watch, and attend to our prayers with our whole heart. All carnal and worldly thoughts should be discarded, and the mind should be solely intent upon what it prays for. And therefore the priest, before the prayer, doth by a preface prepare the minds of the brethren, saying, ‘Lift up your hearts’; that while the people answer, ‘We lift them up unto the Lord,’ they may be admonished that they ought to think of nothing else but the Lord. Our breast should be then shut against the adversary, and open to God only; neither should God’s enemy be suffered to come near it in the time of prayer. For he frequently steals upon us, and gets admission into us, and by his subtle deceit diverts our prayers from God; so that we have one thing in our mouth, and another in our heart: whereas we ought to pray to the Lord, not only with the sound of the voice, but with the sincere intenseness of the mind and spirit.” [De Oratione Dominica.]
See also the Homily of Common Prayer and Sacraments. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 52. Jewel’s Reply, Art. iii. Nowelli Catech. p. 129. Bilson, Of Christian Subjection, part iv. Field, Of the Church, App. to bk. iii. ch. 4.
Of the Sacraments.
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
Not only badges or tokens, &c.] The Sacraments are indeed tokens, by which Christians are distinguished from Infidels ; but moreover, they are visible signs of an invisible grace, and do really convey that grace, of which they are signs, to those who receive them worthily. But they do this, not by their own virtue, but by the operation of the Holy Spirit accompanying them. Now since to institute sacraments belongs only to Him, who has the power of conferring that grace which companies them, they cannot be more than God Himself hath instituted.
They be certain sure witnesses, &c.] See Acts 2:38. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” And 1 Cor. 10:16. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” And Eph. 5:26. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
There are two, &c.] It is plain that Christ instituted only two sacraments, to wit, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord; for to these only doth the definition of a sacrament agree.
Baptism] See Matt. 28:19. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
The Supper of the Lord] See 1 Cor. 11:23–26. “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
Those five, &c.] The word sacrament is indeed used by the Fathers to signify almost every sacred rite, or every holy thing: but if that word be taken in a proper sense, for an outward sign of a covenant between God and men, instituted by God Himself, for a pledge of our justification, and a means of our sanctification, which is the ratio formalis, the constituent part of a sacrament, or that without which, properly speaking, it could not possibly be one; then those five must presently be excluded from the number of sacraments.
See the Homily of Common Prayer and Sacraments. Nowelli Catech. p. 156, 157. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. vi. sect. 1. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 2. div. 2. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 50. 57. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 6. q. 1, 2.
It is here to be observed, that if we do not find the number of the sacraments determined in so many words by the primitive Fathers, it is, because in their time there was no dispute about this matter. Peter Lombard, a writer of the twelfth century, was the first that made them precisely seven. Eugenius IV, about the year of Christ 1439, taught the Armenians the same doctrine. The council of Trent afterwards confirmed it by a decree; from whence Pius IV inserted it in his new creed: and so at length the whim of a trifling school man became an article of faith.
On the other hand, Justin Martyr [Apol. 1. a cap. 61. ad fin.] in his Exposition of our Religion, (in which also he declares that he speaks nothing out of spite to any man, nor with any dissimulation,) makes mention of only two sacraments, to wit, Baptism, and the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. Tertullian likewise [De Corona Militis, c. 3. De Doct. Christ. l. 3. c. 13. Epist. 54 & 23. In Joann. Hom. 85. c. 3.] joins the two together, and says nothing of De Corona any more. To pass by St. Augustin, and St. Chrysostom, and other writers of the following ages.
Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, Which Hinders Not
the Effect of The Sacrament.
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving of the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ’s ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith and rightly do receive the sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that enquiry be made of evil ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally being found guilty, by just judgement be deposed.
Sometimes the evil have chief, &c.] The ministers of the Gospel do not administer their own, but Christ’s sacraments; and the Church, in receiving them, hath respect unto Christ himself, and not to them; and therefore it receives them, not so much from the ministers, as from Christ himself, through their hands. The virtue then and efficacy of them, since it depends upon Christ alone, cannot be hindered by a minister, how wicked soever he may be.
See Whitgift’s Def. Tract. 9. c. 3. Nelson’s Festivals, ch. 13. and Fasts, ch.10. Field, Of the Church, bk. i. ch. 14. Bishop Andrews’s Serm. on John 20:22.
Not in their own name] See 1 Cor. 3:5. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”
See also St. Augustine. “A minister, that is, a dispenser of the Word and Sacraments of the Gospel, if he be a good man, is an associate with the Gospel; but if he be a bad man, he is not therefore no dispenser of the Gospel. ... Peter preached it, as likewise did other good men; and so did Judas, though unwillingly; and yet being sent together with them, he also preached it: the dispensation of it was likewise committed to him, though they only have a good reward for dispensing it.” [Contra Lit. Petiliani, l. 3. c. 67.]
We may use their ministry] See Matt. 23:2, 3. “The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.”
Both in hearing the Word] See Phil. 1:15–18. “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
Neither is the effect, &c.] See 1 Cor. 3:7. “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
Appertaineth to the discipline, &c.] See 1 Tim. 5:19. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”
Being found guilty, &c.] See 3 John 10. “Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth.” – See also St. Cyprian. “As to Felicissimus the deacon, let him know that he is cast out from among us; inasmuch as besides his frauds and robberies, of which we are very certain that he is guilty, he is also charged with adultery, which some of our brethren, who are grave men, declare that they have caught him in, and have engaged themselves to make good the charge.” [Epist. 38. (Ep. 41. Oxf. ed.)]
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God. The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.
The Greek words βαπτίζω, and βαπτισμος (from whence the English word baptism is taken) among the sacred writers, denote any washing, whether it be by dipping, or sprinkling. See Mark 7:4. “And when they come from the market (εαν μη βαπτίσωνται), except they wash, they eat not: and many other things there be, which they have received to hold, such as the (βαπτισμους) washings of cups and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.” And Luke 11:38. “And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled (ότι ου πρωτον εβαπτίσθη) that he had not first washed before dinner.”
But whether the sacrament of baptism be administered by dipping, or by sprinkling, it significantly points out to us the grace which is conferred by this Sacrament. For as the filth of the body is washed away by water, so are the stains of the soul by remission of sins: and as in immersion or dipping, it is intimated that we are buried and rise again with Christ; so in aspersion, or sprinkling, it is likewise signified that we die, and are born again; since it was the custom to wash the dead, as well as those who were newly born. See Acts 9:37. “It came to pass in those days that she (Tabitha) was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.”
A sign of regeneration] See Tit. 3:5. “He saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” – See also Barnabas. “We descend into the water full of sins and pollutions, and ascend out of it full of good fruits, having fear in our hearts, and hope towards the Lord in our spirit.” [Epist.c.11.] – And Justin Martyr. “As many as are persuaded and believe that those things which are taught and declared by us are true, and undertake to lead lives agreeable thereto, are brought by us to a place where there is water, and are regenerated after the same manner of regeneration, in which we ourselves were regenerated.” [Apol. i. c. 61.]
They that receive Baptism rightly] That is, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, together with a serious profession of faith and repentance.
Are grafted into the Church] See 1 Cor. 12:13. “By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.”
The promises of the forgiveness, &c.] See Heb. 10:22. “Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” And Acts 22:16. “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” See also Justin Martyr. “That in the water we may obtain the remission of all our past sins.” [Ibid.] And Theophilus of Antioch. “The creatures also which sprung from the waters were blessed of God, that this might be a sign, that men were to receive repentance and remission of sins by water, and the laver of regeneration, even as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive the blessing from God.” [Ad Autolyc. l. 2. c. 16.]
And of our adoption] See Gal. 3:26, 27. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Faith is confirmed, &c.] At least in adult persons: and even as to infants does any one imagine, that God is in vain called upon by the Church for them? See Acts 2:41, 42. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” See also Justin Martyr. “ This laver is called illumination, because the minds of those who learn these things are enlightened.” [Apol. 1. c. 61.]
The baptism of young children, &c.] For “of such,” as Christ affirms, “is the kingdom of God,” Mark 10:14. And he commands his apostles to “go and baptize all nations,” Matt. 28:19. Now nations consist of young children, as well as of adult persons. See also 1 Cor. 7:14. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” See also Irenaeus. “Christ came to save us all by himself, all, I say, who are born again to God through him, infants, and young children, and boys, and young men, and old men.” [Ad Haer. l. 2. c. 22. (c. 39, Oxf. ed.)] And St. Cyprian, “If remission of sins be granted to the greatest sinners,” &c. [Epist. 59. (Ep. 64. Oxf. ed.)] See this quotation at length under Article IX.
See also Nowelli Cat. p. 159, 160. 162. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. vi. sect. 2, 3. Wall’s Hist. of Infant Bapt. and his Confer. Walker’s Modest Plea. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 11. divis. 3. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 6. q. 4.
Of the Lord’s Supper.
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
Not only a sign, &c.] The Lord’s Supper is, indeed, a sign of that mutual love, and of that intimate fellowship, which is, or ought to be, among Christians: “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread,” 1 Cor. 10:17. But it chiefly points out to us Christ offered as an expiatory sacrifice for us, and as such it really exhibits Him to every one who worthily partakes of the sacred elements of bread and wine. See Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 67. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. chap. 12. divis. 1.
A Sacrament of our Redemption] See Matt. 26:26–28. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.” And Luke 22:19, 20. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
– Is a partaking, &c.] This is thus expressed in 1 Cor. 10:16: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” See Justin Martyr. “We receive not the Lord’s Supper as common bread, or common drink: but as our Saviour Jesus Christ was incarnate by the Word of God, and for our salvation had both flesh and blood; so we have learnt, that this food, which hath been blessed by the prayer of the Word proceeding from Him, and by which our flesh and blood are by transmutation nourished, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.” [Apol. 1. c. 66.] And Irenaeus. “The bread which is from the earth, after the divine invocation upon it, is no longer common bread, but the eucharist, consisting of two things; the one earthly, the other heavenly.” [Adv. Haer. l. 4. c. 18. (c. 34, Oxf. ed.)]
Transubstantiation] That is, a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the flesh and blood of Christ. But this, if any credit is to be given to our reason and senses, is a most absurd notion. It is likewise contradicted by the Scripture, which calls the elements “this bread” and “this cup,” even after consecration, (1 Cor. 11:27, 28) and even by the very canon of the mass, in which it is prayed that the eucharist may become to us the body and blood of Christ; which is a plain intimation that it is not so in itself. Moreover, this doctrine of transubstantiation overthrows the nature of a sacrament: for nothing can be a sacrament (or sign) of itself. Finally, it has given occasion to much superstition; as, to the elevation of the host; to carrying it about in procession; and even to the worshipping of it.
See that remarkable testimony of Irenaeus, preserved by OEcumenius. [In Comment. in 1 Pet. c. 3.] “When the Greeks had taken some servants of the Christian catechumens, and then urged them by violence to tell them some of the secrets of the Christians; these servants having nothing to say that might gratify those who offered violence to them, except only, that they had heard from their masters that the divine communion was the blood and body of Christ; they, thinking that it was really blood and flesh, declared as much to those who questioned them. The Greeks, taking this as if it was really transacted by the Christians, discovered it to others of the Greeks, who hereupon put the martyrs, Sanctus and Blandina, to the torture, to make them confess it. To whom Blandina boldly and pertinently answered, How is it possible that they would endure to do this, who for the sake of holy exercise (or abstinence) forbear to eat even such flesh as may be lawfully eaten?”
See also Tertullian. “The bread which our Saviour took and distributed to his disciples, he made his own body, saying, ‘This is my body; that is, the figure of my body.” [Ad Marcion, l. 4. c. 40.] And St. Cyprian. “When Christ says, I am the true vine; certainly the blood of Christ is not water, but wine. His blood, with which we are redeemed and quickened, cannot seem to be in the cup, when there is no wine in the cup, by which the blood of Christ is represented.” [Epist. 63.] [This was spoken against those who gave the communion in water only, without wine mingled with it.]
Note, That if there be any transubstantiation here, it is of blood into wine, and not of wine into blood; and that since the blood is represented by the wine, the wine cannot be the blood itself, since nothing can be a sign or representation of itself.
See also Nowelli Cat. p. 172–176. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 13. div. 1. and Reply, Art. 5. 10. 25, 26. Rubric after the Communion Service. Mason de Min. Angl. bk. v. ch. 6. Tillotson’s Discourse against Transubstantiation. Pearson on the Creed, Art. iii.
After an heavenly and spiritual manner] For to do it after an earthly and bodily manner, St. Augustine says, “is an heinous wickedness.” And therefore this text, John 6:53, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you,” he says, “is a figure, which commands us to communicate the passion of our Lord, and, to our great comfort and advantage, to treasure up this in our memory, that his flesh was crucified, and wounded for us.” [De Doctr. Christiana, lib. 3. c. 24.] He also thus interprets these words of Christ, John 6:63: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [In Psa. 98. c. 9.] That is, “Ye are not to eat this body which you see, and to drink that blood, which they who shall crucify me are going to shed: I have bequeathed to you a sacrament, which, being spiritually understood, will give you life.”
The mean whereby, &c.] Since Christ saith, (John vi. 53.) “ Except ye eat the flesh,” &c., and since he also saith, (ver. 47.) that “ he that believeth on him, hath everlasting life,” it is manifest that faith is the mean by which the body of Christ is eaten. See also John vi. 35. “ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life : he that cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
See also the Homily on the Sacrament, part i. Nowelli Cat. p. 90. 170, 171. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 13. div. 1. Bilson of Christian Subj. part iv. p. 582, &c.
Was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, &c.] Christ said, “Take, eat, drink;” but not Reserve, carry about, &c. See Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 15. div. 1. and Reply, Art. 7–9.
Of the Wicked Which Eat Not the Body of Christ in the Use of the Lord’s Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
This Article is a corollary or deduction from the former. For, since faith is the mean whereby we eat the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, it is impossible that the wicked, who have no true faith, should be partakers of the body of Christ. But whilst they receive the symbols or signs of the Lord’s body, they receive them to their own condemnation, and sin against Christ, by using such holy things in so unworthy a manner.
And further, this Article, which is drawn up in the very words of St. Augustine, entirely overthrows the doctrine of transubstantiation. For if the elements be changed into the very body and blood of Christ, then no reason can be assigned, why wicked men, and even mice, may not eat the body of Christ. This even the Romanists acknowledge, and say withal, that the host, by whomsoever or whatsoever devoured, is still the body of Christ, as long as any of the species of it remains.
The passage of St. Augustine, to which this Article refers, is in his 26th treatise on St. John [c. 18.]. [John 6:66.] The words are these: “‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.’ To dwell then in Christ, and to have Him dwelling in us, this is to eat that food, and to drink that drink. And he who by this means doth not dwell in Christ, and in whom Christ doth not dwell, without doubt neither spiritually eats his flesh, nor drinks his blood, though he carnally press with his teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; but rather to his own condemnation he eats and drinks the sacrament of so great a thing, because he hath presumed to come impure to the sacraments of Christ, which none receive worthily, but they who are pure; of whom it is said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’” Matt. 5:8.
See also Antonini Florent. Summ. part iii. tit. 13. ch. 6. sect. 3. Nowelli Cat. p. 175,176. Bilson, Of Christian Subj. part iv. Field, Of the Church, Append. bk. iii. ch. 18.
In no wise are they partakers, &c.] See 1 John 1:6,7. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
To their condemnation.] See 1 Cor. 11:29. “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
Of Both Kinds.
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
Is not to be denied, &c.] If one part of this sacrament be more necessary than the other, the cup seems to be so; since it represents the blood of Christ, to which remission of sins, and our redemption, are oftener ascribed in Scripture, than to his body. Now the Romanists do but trifle, when they say, that the blood is with the body; since in the eucharist we commemorate, not the life of our Lord, but his death, in which the blood was separated from his body. See 1 Cor. 11:26. “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” And Luke 22:19, 20. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Christ himself hath also guarded against this piece of sacrilege, by commanding that all should drink of the cup, Matt. 26:27. And in Mark 14:23 it is said, that “All drank of it;” which is no where expressly said of eating the bread. See also 1 Cor. 11:26–28, in all which verses the Corinthians in general are expressly required to drink of that cup.
See also Justin Martyr. “Afterwards bread and a cup of water, and wine and water, are brought to him who presides over the brethren; and he having taken them, offers up praise and glory to the Father of all things, in the name of his Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and adds a particular thanksgiving to God, for having vouchsafed us these gifts through his hands. When he has finished the prayers and the thanksgiving, all the people present give their joyful assent to them, saying, Amen. The chief minister having thus given thanks, and all the people having thus given their assent, they whom we call deacons, distribute to every one present the bread, the wine, and the water, which have been thus sanctified by giving of thanks, that so they may all partake thereof, and carry to those who are absent .” [Apol. 1. c. 65.] – See also Ignatius. “Take care to use one eucharist. For there is but one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup for the union of his blood.” [Epist. ad Philadel. c. 4.] And St. Cyprian. “The baptism of saving water is but once received, and is not to be repeated; but the cup of the Lord is always thirsted after and drank in the Church. – Since we make mention of his passion in all our sacrifices, (for the passion of our Lord is the sacrifice which we offer) we ought to do nothing but what He did. For the Scripture saith, ‘As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.’ – For to show forth the statutes and the testament of our Lord, and not to do the same that our Lord hath done; what else is this, but to cast his sayings behind us, to despise the Lord’s discipline, and to commit, not earthly, but spiritual thefts and adulteries? Since he who steals from the truth of the Gospel such words as our Lord hath spoken, and such facts as he hath done, corrupts and adulterates the divine precepts.” [Epist. 63.] – And again. “How do we teach and encourage those, who are to fight Christ’s battles, to spend their blood in the confession of his name, if when they are going to engage, we deny them the blood of Christ? Or how do we make them fit for the cup of martyrdom, if we do not first admit them to drink in the Church the cup of the Lord, of which they have a right to partake?” [Epist. 54. (Ep. 57, Oxf. ed.)]
See also Nowelli Cat. p. 168, 169. Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 12. divis. 3. and Reply, Art. ii. Discourse of Communion in One Kind. Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. vi. sect 4. Bilson, Of Christian Subj. part iv. Field, Of the Church, App. to book iii. Introd.
Of the One Oblation of Christ Finished Upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.
Since the offering of Christ, which was once made upon the cross, is sufficient, there is no occasion for any other; and since it is perfect, it ought not to be repeated. – See Heb. 10:10. “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” And 1 John 2:2. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
See also Ignatius. “The passion of Christ is our resurrection.” [Ad Smyrn. c. 5.] And Irenaeus. “It is one and the same Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who by his passion hath reconciled us to God. – For He hath truly saved us.” [Lib. 3. c. 16. (c. 18, Oxf. ed.] – And again. “For this cause Christ died, that the testament of the Gospel being open to, and read by the whole world, might first make those who were in bondage free, and then constitute them heirs of those things which were His.” [Lib. 5. c. 9.]
None other satisfaction] See Heb. 10:26. “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” See also St. Cyprian. “We make mention of his passion in all our sacrifices; for the passion of our Lord is the sacrifice which we offer.” [Epist. 63.]
Where note, that though the passion of our Lord be a sacrifice, yet there cannot be a true sacrifice in the mass, unless our Lord truly suffered in the mass. Which to affirm is very shocking and absurd.
Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, &c.] See Heb. 9:25, 26. “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the High Priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Now if Christ himself be truly offered in the mass for the remission of sins, then he is often truly slain, and his blood is often truly shed; for “without shedding of blood is no remission,” Heb. 9:22. This certainly, if any thing be so, is a blasphemous fable. But if He is only offered mystically, that is, if in the mass that one only sacrifice, which was offered upon the cross, is again represented upon the altar; then there is not in the mass a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice, as the Romanists believe; but only a commemoration of a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice, as the Reformed believe.
See Nowelli Catech. p. 174, 175. Mason de Min. Angl. bk. v. Potter, Of Church Government, ch. 5. sect. 4. Jewel’s Reply, Art. xvii. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. 6, quest. 6. Bilson, Of Christian Subj. part iv. Field, Of the Church, App. to book iii. Introd. and ch. 19. Buckeridge, Of Kneeling at the Communion.
Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.
Since it appears from the epistles of St. Paul that the Apostles had, and led about their wives, also what qualifications the wives of presbyters and deacons ought to have; it follows, that it is lawful for the clergy to marry. – See 1 Cor. 9:5. “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” And 1 Tim. 3:11. “Even so must their wives be grave,” &c. And Heb. 13:4. “Marriage is honourable in all.”
Tertullian, a married presbyter, wrote two books to a wife; in the first of which, ch. 7, he intimates that he had made use of the rites of matrimony, saying: “Why do not we endeavour, as much as we can, after the faculty of continence? If ever it happens to be in our power, let us perfectly attain it; that so in the time of widowhood we may wholly dedicate ourselves to that which in a married state is not altogether practicable.” – And St. Cyprian [Epist. 49. (Ep. 52, Oxf. ed.)] does not find fault with Novatus, a presbyter, for being married, but for having committed parricide, by striking his wife’s belly so violently with his heel, as to cause her instantly to fall in labour, and bring forth a dead child.
See also Jewel’s Def. Apol. part ii. ch. 8, div. 1. Hall’s Letter to Whiting, Dec. ii. Epist. iii. and Honour of the Married Clergy. Patrick’s Answer to the Touchstone, sect. 44. Treatise of the Celibacy of the Clergy. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 57, 58. Mason de Min. Angl. bk. ii. ch. 8.
Of Excommunicate Persons, How They Are To Be Avoided.
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.
Since the Church is a society of holy persons subject to Christ, what can be more equitable, than that such an one as rebels against Christ, and by his notorious crimes is become a scandal to the Christian name, should be driven out from the communion of the Church, and be looked upon as a heathen, since he lives such a heathenish life? It is the duty of all good Christians to “withdraw themselves from every brother that walketh” thus “disorderly,” to “note that man, and to have no company with him, that he may be ashamed,” 2 Thess. 3:6. 14. But if he repent, he is to be restored again to communion with the Church. But in the mean time it is to be observed, that princes and subjects, husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, notwithstanding any sentence of excommunication, ought to perform their respective duties to each other; since these are obligations, which have no dependence on the religion of the persons they are to be performed to.
See 1 Cor. 5:3–5. “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
See also Ignatius. “I caution you against beasts in the shape of men, whom you ought not only not to receive, but also, if possible, not to meet.” [Ad Smyrn. c. 4.] – And St. Cyprian. “ Whoever holds not the unity of the Church, how much soever he may boast of himself, and whatever he may claim to himself, he is a profane person, an alien, and without the pale of the Church.” [Epist. 52. (Ep. 55, Oxf. ed.)]
Ought to be taken, &c.] See 1 Cor. 5:11. 13. “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” “Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” And Matt. 18:17. “If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” See also St. Cyprian. “Depart, I beseech you, from such persons, and acquiesce in the advice you have had from us.” [Epist. 40. (Ep.,43, Oxf. ed.)]
By a judge that hath authority] That is, by a bishop, or at least by a person to whom this episcopal power is rightly delegated. See Potter, Of Church Government, ch. 5. sect. 8. Whitgift’s Defence, Tract 18. Field, Of the Church, bk. i. ch. 15.
Of the Traditions of the Church.
It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, and utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever through his private judgement, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offeudeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man’s authority, so that all things be done to edifying.
Rites and ceremonies are matters indifferent in themselves; but when they are established by the authority of the Church, they ought to be observed by all, upon the account of the reverence due to that authority, which is derived from God; who hath commanded us to “obey them that have the rule over us, and to submit Heb. xiii. ourselves.” [Heb. 13:17.] He who doth otherwise is a schismatic. – See Rom. 14:17. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
See also Irenaeus, who in his account of the dispute between Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and Anicetus, bishop of Rome, concerning the observation of Easter, hath these words: “St. Polycarp being at Rome with Anicetus, and they having had some little controversy with each other about other things, presently composed the difference, and showed themselves also to be no lovers of strife upon that particular head. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to desist from observing Easter, according as he had always observed it with St. John, the disciple of our Lord, and with the rest of the apostles, with whom he had been conversant; nor could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it otherwise, than, as he said, it was his duty to do, according to the custom of the elders who were before him. This being the case between them, they notwithstanding communicated with each other.” [Fragm. Epist. ad Victorem Pap. Rom. p. 340. Ben. ed. (p. 466, Oxf. ed.)]
May fear] See 1 Tim. 5:20. “Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
Offendeth against the common order, &c.] See 1 Cor. 11:16. “If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” And 1 Cor. 14:40. “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Hurteth the authority, &c.] See Rom. 13:1. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”
Woundeth the conscience of the weak] Namely, by leading them into sin by their own bad example. See 1 Cor. 8:12. “When ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.”
Every particular or national, &c. For such churches are equal in authority, so that they have no power over each other: but Christ is the King and Lord of them all: and therefore in such things as He hath neither commanded nor forbidden, every church may use its own liberty, as occasion shall require.
See Preface to the Common Prayer. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. iii. and iv. sect. 13. Whitgift’s Def. Tract. 2. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. iv. sect. 3. q. 5. Burscough, Of Schism, sect. 4, 5.
Be done to edifying] See Rom. 14:19. “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
Of the Homilies.
The second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of the Homilies.
1. Of the right Use of the Church.
2. Against peril of Idolatry.
3. Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
4. Of good Works: first of Fasting.
5. Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
6. Against Excess of Apparel.
7. Of Prayer.
8. Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
9. That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
10. Of the reverend estimation of God’s Word.
11. Of Alms-doing.
12. Of the Nativity of Christ.
13. Of the Passion of Christ.
14. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
15. Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
16. Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
17. For the Rogation-days.
18. Of the state of Matrimony.
19. Of Repentance.
20. Against Idleness.
21. Against Rebellion.
In this Article the doctrine contained in the books of Homilies is asserted, in opposition to the Romanists, who have condemned them as heretical; and the reading them in churches is approved of, in opposition to the Puritans, who have contended that nothing ought to be publicly read in churches besides the Scriptures.
See Whitgift’s Def. Tract. 21. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 20.
But the truth and reasonableness of this article will best appear by perusing the Homilies themselves. And indeed it concerns all persons, especially those who are to subscribe to these Articles, seriously to read over the Homilies also. They are certainly very useful treatises; in perusing of which, they will have no occasion to think their labour lost. They abundantly prove the doctrine they lay down; and whenever it is requisite, they confirm it also by the testimonies of the Fathers.
Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
If any thing be wanting in the ordinations of the Church of England, the form of which is prescribed in the book here referred to, it must be either with respect to the ordainers; but these are bishops: or to the manner of ordaining; but this is the imposition of hands, with proper prayers: or to the persons who are to be ordained; but these are examined and approved as to their faith, manners, and knowledge; and on these is conferred the power of doing all things which belong to their offices. There is therefore nothing wanting to make these ordinations just and complete.
See Acts 6:6. “Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” And Acts 13:3. “And when they had fasted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” And 1 Tim. 4:14. “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” And 2 Tim. 1:6. “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
See also Mason de Minist. Anglic. lib. i. c. 4. lib. ii. c. 1. Bedel’s Answer to Waddesworth, ch. 11. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. iv. sect. 3. q. 7. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 77, 78. A Vindication of the Ordination of the Church of England. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 56.
The forms which the primitive churches made use of in consecrating the clergy are not now extant. But if the reader consults the most ancient ones that are now to be met with, he will find nothing omitted by our Church, which was formerly required to make an ordination complete.
Of the Civil Magistrates.
The Queen’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other her Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.
Where we attribute to the Queen’s Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God’s Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all states and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.
It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.
Since kings are by their office the keepers of both tables, it must necessarily follow, that ecclesiastical persons, as well as laymen, are subject to their government, and that they have power to take cognizance in all causes, as well those which concern piety towards God, as those which relate to justice towards men. Both pious princes among the Jews, and Christian emperors in the primitive Church, were invested with this authority. Now whoever shall affirm that the kings of this realm have not the same authority, are ordered by to be ipso facto excommunicated.
See Tertullian. “We reverence the emperor so far as it is lawful for us, and expedient for him; as he is a man second to God; as having received from God whatever authority he hath; and as inferior to God only.” [Ad Scapulam, c. 2.]
Note, That the Church for the first three centuries had no prince, but such as either persecuted, or at least neglected her; and therefore that she was then forced to take care of her own affairs without them. But as soon as the emperors became Christians, the affairs of the Church depended upon their management, as appears from the Preface to Socrates’s fifth book of Ecclesiastical History. For from thenceforth they began to call councils, and to receive appeals from them, and to take cognizance of ecclesiastical causes, &c. In a word, it is abundantly manifest, that whatever power the Church of England ascribes to her kings, the same was made use of by the Christian emperors.
See Jewel’s Def. Apol. part v. ch. 11. div. 1. Whitgift’s Defence, tract 20. Bilson, Of Christian Subj. part ii. Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. bk. v. sect. 1. and b. viii. Prideaux’s Fasc. Contr. ch. 4. sect. 2. q. 3. 6. Scott’s Christ. Life, part ii. ch. 7. sect. 10. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 53.
We give not to our princes, &c.] See 2 Chron. 26:16–18. “But when he (Uzziah) was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: For he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: Go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God.”
Rule all estates] See Rom. 13:1. “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.” And 1 Pet. 2:13. “Submit yourselves to – the king as supreme.”
Whether they be ecclesiastical] See 1 Kings 2:26, 27. “And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death; but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord.”
The Bishop of Rome, &c.] By what right should the bishop of Rome have any jurisdiction in this realm? Does it proceed from his being St. Peter’s successor? I answer, That all the Apostles were equal in authority; and further, that St. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles, and that he was not afraid to reprove St. Peter himself, Gal. 2:9, 14. Or does his claim depend upon his right as a patriarch? I answer, that England was not within the patriarchate of Rome. Or is it derived from Constantine’s donation? This is too ridiculous an imposture to be seriously refuted. Or, does it proceed from his being concerned in converting England to the Christian faith? Now; according to this way of reasoning, all churches, not excepting that of Rome, are subject to the Church of Jerusalem; but none to that of Rome, unless it received the Christian faith from her. But the Britons were converted to the faith long before Augustine, the pope’s legate, came amongst them. From all which it follows, that when the Pope of Rome concerns himself with our affairs, he is an interferer with another’s episcopate.
That the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction out of his own diocese, appears likewise from St. Polycarp’s not yielding to Pope Anicetus in the controversy about the observation of Easter; as was mentioned under Article XXXIV.
See also St. Cyprian. “Nor hath any of us set himself up for a bishop of bishops, or by any tyrannical terror hath driven his colleagues (or fellow bishops) into a necessity of submitting themselves to him; since every bishop is at liberty to use his power according to his discretion, and is neither to judge nor to be judged by another. But let us all look for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone hath the power both of advancing us to the government of his Church, and of judging us for what we do in the exercise of our office.” [In Concil. Carthag.]
See also Jewel’s Def. Apol. part iv. ch. 14. div. 1. Bilson, Of Christ. Subj. part i. Hammond, Of Schism, ch. 4–7. Prideaux’s Fasc. Controv. ch. iv. sect. 3. q. 1. Mason, de Minist. Angl. lib. iv. ch. 3, 4. 15, 16. Bishop Lloyd’s Hist. Account of Church Government, ch. 2. Field, Of the Church, bk. v. ch. 32, &c. Cave, Of Ch. Government.
The laws of the realm may punish, &c.] God himself arms princes with the sword, which is the instrument of civil as well as military justice. But in vain would they bear the sword, if it was not lawful for them to make use of it. See Rom. 13:4. “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
See also Irenaeus. “Because man departing from God became so outrageous, that he looked upon those of his own flesh and blood as his enemies, and was not afraid to give himself up to an unpeaceable life, to murder, and avarice; God imposed upon him the fear of man, that men being subject to, and restrained by, the laws of men, there might be something of justice and good government amongst them, as being terrified by the sword, which was publicly set before them: according to what the Apostle says; ‘For he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.’ And the magistrates being for this end invested with the laws of justice, shall not be questioned, or punished, for whatever they shall justly and lawfully do.” [Adv. Haer. l. 5. c. 24.]
It is lawful, &c.] See Luke 3:14. “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages.” And Acts 10:1, 2. “There was a certain man in Cesarea, a centurion of the band, called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” See also Tertullian [De Coron. Mil. et Apol. c. 42.]; from whom it sufficiently appears that Christians served in the wars, even under the heathen emperors. See also Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. ii. sect. 5. 9.
Of Christian Men’s Goods, Which Are Not Common.
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
Are not common,] The very precepts about communicating to, and relieving the poor, shew that it is every man’s own property, out of which he is thus obliged to relieve them. For he who thus communicates to them, communicates out of his own proper possessions; and if all things were common, then as no one would be rich, so neither would any one be poor. – See Acts v. 4. “Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?” And Rom. 13:7. “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom.” And 2 Thess. 3:12. “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” –See also Clement of Alexandria. “How much better is it, on the contrary, for a man, by possessing a competency, to be free from the hardships of want, and to be able to relieve those whom it is proper to relieve! For what means would there be left for any one to communicate to others, if no one possessed any thing of his own? How manifestly would this doctrine be found to contradict several of our Lord’s excellent precepts, and particularly this, ‘Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations?’ [Luke 16:9.] How shall any one give meat to the hungry, or give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked, or take the stranger in,’ [Matt. 25:35, &c.] (against those who neglect to do which, he denounces fire, and outer darkness) if every one was first to be deprived of the means of doing all these things.” [Quis dives salv. c. 3.] – See also the Homily of Alms-deeds.
Certain Anabaptists] Especially those of Germany, of whom Thomas Muncer was the ringleader. [See Sleidani Comment. l. 5. 10.]
Ought to give alms, &c.] See 1 Tim. 6:17, 18. “Charge them that are rich in this world, That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”
Of a Christian Man’s Oath.
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet’s teaching, in justice, judgement, and truth.
That only vain and rash oaths are unlawful, is evident from hence, because Christ himself being adjured, or called upon to answer upon oath, before the high priest’s judgement seat, refused not to do it, Matt. 26:63, 64. See also Jer. 4:2, to which the last sentence of this Article refers: “And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgement, and in righteousness.” And therefore it is only that vain and rash swearing, which is meant in Matt. 5:34. “But I say unto you, Swear not at all.” And in James 5:12. “But above all things, my brethren, swear not.”
See Clement of Alexandria. “The Christian indeed religiously observes an oath, but he is not subject to swear, as being seldom prevailed upon to swear at all.” [Strom. 1.7. c. 8.]
And Tertullian. “But God also is represented in Scripture as swearing. Do you therefore tax Him with perjury, or with vain swearing?” [Adv. Marcion. l. 2. c. 26.] We see then, that in Tertullian’s judgment, only perjury and vain swearing are to be accounted sinful.
And agreeable to the sentiments of these two fathers, are the words of St. Augustine, which contain a great deal of good advice. “Avoid swearing as much as you can. For it is better not to swear even to what is true, than to accustom one’s self to swearing, by which men often fall into perjury, and are always in danger of so doing. But there are some persons, who, as far as can perceive by their talk, are entirely ignorant of what an oath is. For they imagine that they do not swear, when they use such expressions as, these: ‘God knoweth’; or, ‘God is my witness’; or, ‘I call God for a record upon my soul.’ Because, as they allege in these cases, they do not say, ‘By God,’ and because such expressions as I just now mentioned, are found in the writings of St. Paul. But even such words as they confess to be swearing, are found there too. For thus the apostle saith, ‘I protest by your rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.’ In the original Greek, this sentence is manifestly expressed in the form of an oath. This I observe, that no one may imagine that the words, ‘By your rejoicing,’ are like these, ‘By my coming again to you,’ and the like, in which we say, ‘By a thing’ without swearing. But we must not therefore trifle with oaths, because St. Paul, a man of unshaken veracity, swore in his Epistles. For, as I said before, it is much safer for us not to swear at all; and, as our Lord advises us, to ‘let our communication be Yea, yea, Nay, nay’: Not because it is a sin to swear to what is true, but because it is a most grievous sin to swear falsely, which that man is most likely to be guilty of, who is accustomed to swear.” [Ad Hilar. Epist. 157. sect. 40. In some editions, Epist. 89.]
See also Hammond’s Pract. Cat. bk. ii. sect. 8. Nowelli Cat. p. 32, 33. Homily against Swearing, part i. Sanderson de Oblig. Juram. Praelect. i.
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