Elements Of Christian Theology:

Containing Proofs of the Authenticity and Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures; A Summary of the History of the Jews; A Brief Statement of the Contents of the Several Books of the Old and New Testaments;

By George Tomline; 14th Edition.

Designed Principally For the Use of Young Students in Divinity.

With Additional Notes, and a Summary of Ecclesiastical History, By Henry Stebbing.

Vol.  II (of II).  1843.

[Spelling selectively modernized.  Bible citations converted to all Arabic numerals.  Notes moved into or near their places of citation.]


Contents of the Second Volume


Part  III.

Chapter 1 – Of the English Translations of the Bible

Chapter 2 – Of the Liturgy of the Church of England

Chapter 3 – Introduction to the Exposition of the Thirty-nine

                        Articles of the Church of England

An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles.

            I.  Of Faith in the Holy Trinity

            II.  Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very Man

            III.  Of the going down of Christ into Hell

            IV.  Of the Resurrection of Christ

            V.  Of the Holy Ghost

            VI.  Of the Sufficiency of Holy Scripture for Salvation

            VII.  Of the Old Testament

            VIII.  Of the Creeds

            IX.  Of Original or Birth Sin

            X.  Of Free Will

            XI.  Of the Justification of Man

            XII.  Of Good Works

            XIII.  Of Works before Justification

            XIV.  Of Works of Supererogation

            XV.  Of Christ alone without Sin

            XVI.  Of Sin after Baptism

            XVII.  Of Predestination and Election

            XVIII.  Of obtaining Eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ

            XIX.  Of the Church

            XX.  Of the Authority of the Church

            XXI.  Of the Authority of General Councils

            XXII.  Of Purgatory

            XXIII.  Of Ministering in the Congregation

            XXIV.  Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the People understandeth

            XXV.  Of the Sacraments

            XXVI.  Of the Unworthiness of Ministers, which hinders ndt the Eflect of the Sacraments

            XXVII.  Of Baptism

            XXVIII.  Of the Lord’s Supper

            XXIX.  Of the Wicked which eat not the Body of Christ in the Use of the Lord’s Supper

            XXX.  Of both Kinds

            XXXI.  Of the One Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross

            XXXII.  Of the Marriage of Priests

            XXXIII.  Of Excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided

            XXXIV.  Of the Traditions of the Church

            XXXV.  Of the Homilies

            XXXVI.  Of the Consecration of Bishops and Ministers

            XXVII.  Of the Civil Magistrates

            XXXVIII.  Of Christian Men’s Goods, which are not common

            XXXIX.  Of a Christian Man’s Oath


Part  III.

Chapter 1.

Of the English Translations of the Bible.

         That it was the practice, in the early ages of the Gospel, to translate the Scriptures into the language of every country in which they were received, is evident from a variety of testimonies; but the following passage in Theodoret, who lived in the beginning of the fifth century, may be considered as alone decisive: “We Christians are enabled to show the powers of apostolic and prophetic doctrines, which have filled all countries under heaven; for that which was formerly uttered in Hebrew is not only translated into the language of the Greeks, but also of the Romans, the Indians, Persians, Armenians, Scythians, Samaritans, Egyptians, and, in a word, into all the languages that are used by any nation.” [Theod. ad Graec. Infid. Serm. 5.  Vide Euseb. Dem. Evan. lib. iii. cap. ult. and Usser Hist. Dogm.  Both the Old and New Testaments were very accurately translated immediately from the Hebrew and Greek originals into the Syriac language, before the end of the first century.  This ancient version is held in very high esteem by the learned, and is still used by many of the Christians in the East.  In some of the villages near Mount Libanus, Syriac is still the vulgar tongue.  There is another Syriac version of the Old Testament made from Origen’s Hexapla, about 600 years after Christ, but that is not much esteemed.] – “For the sacred Writ being the foundation of the Christian religion, upon which they built the whole system of their morality and doctrine, and which the Christians were obliged to read both in public and private, the several churches of the world could not be long without such translations as might be understood by everybody.” [Johnson’s Hist. Account of the English Translations of the Bible.]  It is impossible to ascertain the exact time at which Christianity was introduced into this Island [I desire to refer the reader to a work upon this subject, published by the bishop of St. David’s since the last edition of this book, in which he states strong reasons for the opinion that a Christian church was planted in Britain by the Apostle St. Paul.]; nor do we know how soon there was a translation of the Scriptures into the language of its inhabitants.  The earliest of which we have any account, is a translation of the Psalms into the Saxon tongue by Adhelm, the first bishop of Sherborne, about the year 706.  Egbert, bishop of Landisfern, who died in the year 721, made a Saxon version of the four Gospels; and not long after, Bede translated the whole Bible into that language.  There were other Saxon versions of the whole or parts of the Bible of a later date [King Alfred, who died A.D. 900, translated the Psalms.  This translation was published by Spelman, A.D. 1640, with the Latin interlinear text.]: and it appears, indeed, that new translations were made, from time to time, as the language of the country varied; but when the popes of Rome had established their spiritual tyranny in this as well as in other countries of Europe, they forbad the reading of these translations; and in the fourteenth century the common people had been so long deprived of the use of the Scriptures, that the latest of the translations were become unintelligible.

         Wickliff, [He was born in 1324, and died in 1384.  “Some writers have conceived that an English translation was made before the time of Wickliff; and there are some copies of an English translation at Oxford, Cambridge, and at Lambeth, which Usher assigns to an earlier period; but it is probable that these may be genuine, or corrected copies of Wickliff’s translation.” – Gray.] therefore, who was a strenuous opposer of the corruptions and usurpations of the church of Rome, and from whom we are to date the dawn of the Reformation in this kingdom, published a translation of the whole Bible in the English language then spoken; but not being sufficiently acquainted with the Hebrew and Greek languages to translate from the originals, he made his translation from the Latin Bibles, which were at that time read in the churches.  “So offensive was this translation of the Bible to those who were for taking away the key of knowledge, and means of better information, that a bill, we are told, was brought into the House of Lords, 13 Richard the Second, A. D. 1390, for the purpose of suppressing it; on which the duke of Lancaster, the king’s uncle, is reported to have spoken to this effect: ‘We will not be the dregs of all, seeing other nations have the law of God, which is the law of our faith, written in their own language.’ [It is worthy of observation that whatever countries might be referred to by the duke of Lancaster, the earliest complete translation of the Scriptures known in Italy was made by Niccolo Malerbi, about the year 1470, a Venetian by birth, but a monk of Camaldoli, and afterwards abbot of the monastery of S. Michele di Lemmo.  This translation was printed at Venice, and published in two large folio volumes, in August, 1471.  Many editions were published in the course of a few years; and this, it is observed, by the learned Tiraboschi, is a sufficient proof of the value which the version, rude and imperfect as it was, possessed in the eyes of the people.  Some partial translations it appears existed in manuscripts of an early date, but they seem to have been deposited in libraries, and to have never gained any general notice. – Tiraboschi Storia della Lett. Ital. t. vi. p. 313. – Editor.]  At the same time he declared, in a very solemn manner, ‘That he would maintain our having this law in our own tongue against those, whoever they should be, who brought in this bill.’” [Lewis’s History of the Translations of the Bible.]

         The bill, through the influence of the duke, was rejected; and this success gave encouragement to some of Wickliff’s followers to publish another, and more correct, translation of the Bible.  But in the year 1408, in a convocation held at Oxford by archbishop Arundel, it was decreed by a constitution, “That no one should thereafter translate any text of Holy Scripture into English, by way of a book, or little book, or tract; and that no book of this kind should be read, that was composed lately in the time of John Wickliff or since his death.”  This constitution led the way to great persecution, and many persons were punished severely, and some even with death, for reading the Scriptures in English.

         In the reign of Henry the Eighth, William Tyndalee [He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and became Canon of Christ Church soon after it was founded.] a favourer of the reformed doctrines, which were then making rapid progress, was compelled by the Romish priests to leave England.  After travelling for some time in Germany, where he became acquainted with Luther and other learned men, he settled at Antwerp; and with the assistance of John Fry or Fryth [He was educated at Cambridge.  He was burnt in Smithfield as a heretic, in July, 1552.] and William Roye, [He suffered death in Portugal as a heretic.] he translated the New Testament from the original Greek, and printed it, with some short glosses, or comments, without a name, at Hamburgh, or Antwerp, about the year 1526.  This was the first printed edition of any part of the Holy Scriptures in the English language.  The impression was sent over to England; and the eagerness which was generally shown by the people, to read the Gospel in the vulgar tongue, quickly excited alarm among those who were devoted to the Romish church.  Sir Thomas More, lord chancellor, and Tonstall, bishop of London, caused all the copies they could purchase or procure, to be burnt [“A copy of this translation, supposed to be the only one remaining, was purchased for Lord Oxford, who settled 20l. a year on the person who procured it.  Out of Lord Oxford’s collection it was purchased by Mr. Ames for 15l., at whose sale (1760) it was purchased for 14l. 14s. 6d.” – Gilpin’s Cranmer.] at St. Paul’s Cross; and the selling or dispersion of them was prohibited under heavy penalties. In the meantime Tyndalee, with the assistance of Miles Coverdale, [He was made bishop of Exeter by Edward the Sixth; but going to Geneva in queen Mary’s reign, he imbibed the principles of Calvin, and refused to return to his bishopric in queen Elizabeth’s reign.] undertook the translation of the Old Testament, and published the Pentateuch at Hamburgh, in the year 1530, with prefaces reflecting upon the English bishops and clergy; and in the same year he published a more correct translation of the New Testament.  In 1531, he published an English version of the prophet Jonah, with a preface full of invective against the church of Rome, proving himself, as Lord Herbert calls him, “a witty, but violent, and sometimes railing disputant.” [Life of Henry the Eighth, p. 406.]  He was proceeding in the translation of the other books, when he was seized and imprisoned by the emperor, through the influence of king Henry the Eighth and his ministers; and in the year 1536, he was put to death at Villefont, near Brussels, in consequence of a decree made in an assembly at Augsburg.

         In the year 1531, George Joye, an English refugee, published at Strasburg a translation of Isaiah; and in the year 1534 he published at Antwerp a translation of the Prophecies of Jeremiah, and of the Psalms, and of the Song of Moses.

         In the year 1535, Miles Coverdale published, in folio, the first English translation of the whole Bible, and dedicated it to king Henry the Eighth.  It was probably printed at Zurich; and though it passed under the name of Coverdale only, it is generally supposed that great part of the work was performed by Tyndalee, before he was imprisoned, [It is said that he had advanced as far as Nehemiah inclusive, when he was apprehended.  The rest of the books were probably translated by Coverdale himself.] and that his name was not mentioned, because he was then under confinement.

         Those who were adverse to any translation of the Scriptures, not daring openly to avow their principles, [Even Sir Thomas More acknowledges, “Holy doctors never meant, as I suppose, the forbidding of the Bible to be read in any vulgar tongue; for I never yet heard any reason laid, why it were not convenient to have the Bible translated into the English tongue.”  Such is the testimony of this great man and professed Papist, upon the general question of the right and expediency of a translation of the Scriptures, although he did everything in his power to suppress the translations which were actually made.] complained of the inaccuracy of Wickliff’s and Tyndale’s translations; and on that ground objected to the use of them: but on the other hand it was contended, by the friends of the Reformation, that if these translations were erroneous, care should be taken to publish one more faithful.  In the year 1535, Cranmer, who had been advanced to the See of Canterbury two years before, and whose endeavours to promote the cause of the Reformation were unremitted, had sufficient interest to procure a petition from both houses of convocation to the king, requesting that he would allow a new translation of the Scriptures to be made.  Henry consented; and Cranmer, dividing an old English translation of the New Testament into nine or ten parts, distributed them among the most learned bishops and others, requiring that they should return their respective portions, corrected and amended, by a certain day.  Every one sent his part at the time appointed, except Stokesly, bishop of London,* and his positive refusal to have any concern in the business seems to have put a stop to the work for the present.  However, early in the year 1536, Lord Cromwell, keeper of the privy seal, and the king’s vicar-general, and vice-gerent in ecclesiastical matters, published injunctions to the clergy, by the king’s authority, of which the seventh was, “that every parson or proprietary of any parish church within the realm, before August the first, should provide a book of the whole Bible, both in Latin, and also in English, and lay it in the choir, for every man that would to look and read therein; and should discourage no man from reading any part of the Bible, either in Latin or English, but rather comfort, exhort, and admonish every man to read it as the very word of God, and the spiritual food of man’s soul.”

         *[This was not the only matter in which Stokesly opposed the archbishop.  He resisted him in his visitation, making a formal appeal to the king against his supposed encroachments.  Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, adopted a plan of opposition, peculiar to himself, proposing that if a translation were made, all words of a certain ecclesiastical importance should be left in their Latin form.  Among these words, were “ecclesia, poenitentia, pontifex, baptizare, mysterium, elementa, idiota, religio, Spiritus Sanctus, panis propositionis, presbyter, sacrificium, confiteor tibi Pater,” etc. etc. – Collier, part b. 3. – Editor.]

         In the year 1537, a folio edition of the Bible was printed by Grafton and Whitchurch, at Hamburgh or at Paris, more probably at Hamburgh: it varied but little from Tyndale’s and Coverdale’s translation; and the few emendations and additions it contained were supplied by John Rogers, [He was educated at Cambridge, and was the first person who suffered death on account of religion in queen Mary’s reign.] who superintended the publication, and assumed the name of Matthews: hence this is always called Matthews’s Bible.  A copy of this book was presented by Cranmer to Lord Cromwell, with a request that he would obtain the king’s permission for the free use of it among his subjects; and there are two letters of the archbishop preserved by Strype, which show that the royal license was granted through the application of Cromwell.

         In the year 1538, an injunction was published by the vicar-general, “ordering the clergy to provide, before a certain festival, one book of the whole Bible of the largest volume in English, and to set it up in some convenient place within their churches, where their parishioners might most commodiously resort, and read it” [Lewis.]; and in the same year a royal declaration was also published, which the curates were commanded to read in their several churches, informing the people, “that it had pleased the king’s majesty to permit and command the Bible, being translated into their mother tongue, to be sincerely taught by them, and to be openly laid forth in every parish church.” [Appendix to Strype’s Life of Cranmer.] – “It was wonderful,” says Strype, “to see with what joy this book of God was received, not only among the more learned, and those who were noted lovers of the Reformation, but generally all over England, among all the common people, and with what greediness God’s word was read, and what resort there was to the places appointed for reading it.  Every one that could, bought the book, and busily read it, or heard it read; and many elderly persons learnt to read on purpose. [Life of Cranmer.]

         In 1538, Grafton obtained leave from Francis the First, king of France, through the intercession of Henry the Eighth, to print an English Bible at Paris, on account of the superior skill of the workmen, and the comparative goodness and cheapness of the paper.  But this royal permission did not prevent the inquisitors from summoning before them the French printers, the English employers, and Coverdale, who superintended the work; and the whole impression, consisting of 2500 copies, was seized, and condemned to the flames.  Some few copies only were saved; but the English proprietors of this undertaking found means to carry with them to London the presses, types, and printers.

         In 1539, Grafton and Whitchurch printed, at London, the Bible in large folio, under the direction of Coverdale and patronage of Cranmer, containing some improvement of Matthew’s translation; this is generally called the Great Bible, and it is supposed to be the same which Grafton obtained leave to print at Paris.  There were several editions of it, and particularly one in 1540, for which Cranmer wrote a preface, showing that “Scripture should be had and read of the lay and vulgar people”; hence this edition of 1540 is called Cranmer’s Bible.  In this year the curates and parishioners of every parish were required, by royal proclamation, to provide themselves with the Bible of the largest size, before the feast of All Saints, under a penalty of forty shillings a month; and all ordinaries were charged to see that this proclamation was obeyed.  A brief or declaration was published to the same effect in the year 1541; but after that time the influence of the popish party increased both in parliament and with the king, and Cranmer’s exertions were frustrated by the opposition of Gardiner and other popish bishops.  In the year 1542, it was enacted by the authority of parliament, “That all manner of books of the Old and New Testament, of the crafty, false, and untrue translation of Tyndale, be forthwith abolished, and forbidden to be used and kept; and also that all other Bibles, not being of Tyndale’s translation, in which were found any preambles or annotations, other than the quotations or summary of the chapters, should be purged of the said preambles or annotations, either by cutting them out, or blotting them in such wise that they might not be perceived or read; and, finally, that the Bible be not read openly in any church, but by the leave of the king, or of the ordinary of the place; nor privately by any women, artificers, apprentices, journeymen, husbandmen, labourers, or by any of the servants of yeomen or under”; but through the interest of Cranmer a clause was inserted, allowing “that every nobleman and gentleman might have the Bible read in their houses, and that noble ladies, gentlewomen, and merchants, might read it themselves, but no man or woman under those degrees; which was all the archbishop could obtain.  In the same year Cranmer proposed in convocation that there should be a revision of the translations of the Bible; but so many difficulties were started by Gardiner, and the proposal was so feebly supported by the other bishops, that he was unable to accomplish his object, and desisted from the attempt.  In the year 1546, the last of his reign, Henry issued a proclamation, prohibiting the having and reading of Wickliff’s, Tyndale’s, and Coverdale’s translations, and forbidding the use of any other not allowed by parliament.

         Though in the reign of Edward the Sixth the reading of the Scriptures was encouraged by royal proclamations, acts of parliament, and by every other means, and there were many impressions [Eleven of the whole Bible, and six of the New Testament.] of the English Bible, it does not appear that there was any new translation of the Bible, or even any considerable correction of the old ones, during the seven years and a half that excellent prince sat upon the throne; but it was ordered that the Epistles and Gospels, and the Lessons, both from the Old and New Testament, should be read in English in the Churches, in the manner they now are.

         The terrors of persecution in the reign of queen Mary drove many of our principal Reformers out of the kingdom; several went to Geneva, and there employed themselves in making a new translation of the Bible.  The New Testament was published in 1557, and the remainder of the work in 1560.  This is called the Geneva Bible.  It was accompanied with annotations, which were, as might be expected, from the place where they were written, of a Calvinistic cast; and therefore this translation was held in high esteem by the Puritans. [“Above thirty editions of this were published by the queen’s and king’s printers between 1560 and 1616, and others were printed at Edinburgh, Geneva, Amsterdam, etc.  The New Testament of this is said to have been the first English edition of the Scriptures which was divided into verses.  The Greek and Latin Bibles were not anciently divided into chapters or verses, at least not like those now used.  Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reigns of king John and of king Henry the Third, is said to have first contrived the division into chapters; others ascribe the invention to cardinal Hugo, a Dominican monk of the 13th century, who adopted also subdivisions, distinguished by the seven first letters of the alphabet placed in the margin, as convenient for the use of the Concordance, which he first planned for the Vulgate.  About 1445, Rabbi Mordecai Nathan, alias Rabbi Isaac Nathan, a western Jew, to facilitate the conduct of a controversy with the Christians, introduced this division of chapters into the Hebrew Bibles, and resumed also the ancient division into verses numerically distinguished by marginal letters at every fifth verse, and from him the Christians received and improved the plan; and Robert Stephens adopted the division into the New Testament, of which he published a Greek edition in 1551.  Vide Praefat. Buxtorf. ad Concord. Bibl. Hebraic. Morin. Exercit. Bibl. Praef. ad Concord. Graec. N. Test. Fabricii Bibliothec. Grec. lib. iv. cap. 5. Prid. vol. i. book 5.” – Gray.]

         Soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth, a new translation of the Bible was undertaken by royal command, and under the direction of archbishop Parker.  Distinct portions, fifteen at least, were allotted to as many persons, eminent for their learning and abilities; they all performed the work assigned to them, and the whole was afterwards revised with great care by other critics.  This translation was published in 1568, with a preface written by the archbishop; and it is generally called the Bishops’ Bible, because eight of the persons originally concerned in it were bishops.

         The Romanists, finding it impossible to keep the Scriptures out of the hands of the common people, printed at Rheims, in the year 1582, an English New Testament, translated from the Vulgate, but they retained in it many Eastern, Greek, and Latin words, and contrived to render it unintelligible to common readers. [Fuller, in the ninth book of his Church History, called it “a translation which needed to be translated.”]  The Old Testament was afterwards published at Douay, in two volumes, the former in 1609, and the latter in 1610.

         In the conference held at Hampton Court, in 1603, before king James the First, between the Episcopalians and Puritans, Dr. Reynolds, the speaker of the Puritans, requested his majesty that a new translation of the Bible might be made; alleging, that those which had been allowed in former reigns were incorrect; and in 1604, the king commissioned fifty-four learned men of the universities and other places to make a new and more faithful translation of the Bible, according to rules which he himself prescribed.  Seven of those who were appointed either died before the work was begun, or declined to engage in it; and the other forty-seven were divided into six companies, who met at Cambridge, Oxford, and Westminster, and translated the books respectively assigned to them.  This work was begun in the spring of the year 1607, and at the end of three years it was finished.  Two persons selected from the Cambridge translators, two from those of Oxford, and two from those of Westminster, then met at Stationers’ Hall in London, and read over and corrected the whole.  Lastly, it was reviewed by Bilson bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Myles Smith, who prefixed arguments to the several books. [The chronological index and marginal references were afterwards added by bishop Lloyd, one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the reign of James the Second.]  Dr. Smith wrote the preface, and the person alluded to in it as “the chief overseer and taskmaster” is supposed to have been Bancroft bishop of London.  This translation was published in 1611; and the improvements made in it were such as might have been expected from the judicious care with which it was conducted, and the joint labours of so many distinguished men: – “It is a most wonderful and incomparable work, equally remarkable for the general fidelity of its construction, and the magnificent s implicity of its language.” [Gray.]  This is the translation now in use.*  Since that time there has been no authorized translation of any part of the sacred volume.

         *[It may, perhaps, be useful to state, under one point of view, the different printed translations which have been noticed with their dates: –

            Tyndale’s first translation of the New Testament – 1526

            Tyndale’s more correct translation of the New Testament – 1530

            Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch – 1530

            Coverdale’s translation of the whole Bible – 1535

            Matthews’s Bible – 1537

            The Great Bible – 1539

            Cranmer’s Bible – 1540

            The Geneva Bible – 1560

            The Bishops’ Bible – 1568

            The Rheims Bible – 1582, etc.

            King James’s Bible – 1611]

         “Happy, thrice happy, hath our English nation been, since God hath given it learned translators, to express in our mother tongue the heavenly mysteries of his holy word, delivered to his church in the Hebrew and Greek languages; who, although they may have in some matters, of no importance unto salvation, as men, been deceived and mistaken, yet have they faithfully delivered the whole substance of the heavenly doctrine contained in the Holy Scriptures, without any heretical translations or willful corruptions.  With what reverence, joy, and gladness, then ought we to receive this blessing!  Let us read the Scriptures with an humble, modest, and teachable disposition; with a willingness to embrace all truths which are plainly delivered there, how contrary soever to our own opinions and prejudices; and in matters of difficulty, readily hearken to the judgment of our teachers, and those that are set over us in the Lord; check every presumptuous thought, or reasoning, which exalts itself against any of those mysterious truths therein revealed; and if we thus search after the truth in the love of it, we shall not miss of that knowledge which will make us wise unto salvation.”  [Johnson’s Hist. Account. If the reader wishes for more minute information upon the subject of this chapter, he may consult Johnson’s Historical Account of the several English Translations of the Bible, and an Historical View of the English Biblical Translations, by Dr. Newcome, late primate of Ireland.]


Chapter 2.

Of the Liturgy* of the Church of England.

         Before the Reformation, the public service of our church was performed only in Latin, and different Liturgies were used in different parts of the kingdom.  These Liturgies consisted of prayers and offices, some of which had been transmitted from very ancient times, and others were of later origin, accommodated to the Romish religion, which was then the established religion of this country.  It is well known, that the renunciation of the Pope’s supremacy by Henry the Eighth paved the way for introducing the reformed doctrines and discipline into the Church of England; but that great and glorious event was accomplished by slow degrees.  Our ancestors did not at once pass from the various errors in belief, and from all the superstitious practices of the Church of Rome, to that purity of faith and simplicity of worship by which the Church of England is now distinguished; and we shall find that it required the labours of the pious and learned of several successive periods to bring our Liturgy to its present state of excellence.

         *[Till comparatively modern times, the word liturgy was used exclusively to describe that portion of the service which we now commonly call the Communion Service.  It is conjectured that there were anciently four liturgies of chief consideration in the Catholic church.  These were, the Oriental liturgy, the liturgy of Alexandria, the Roman, and the Gallican liturgy.  From these, others sprung, but differing only in some unimportant points.  It is questioned, whether there ever existed a liturgy peculiar to the British church, and the probability is that it received both its clergy and its church services from Gaul.  The church, as established among the Saxons by Augustine, could scarcely have failed to receive the Sacramentary of Gregory; and this, we may believe, continued to be strictly observed, till extensive dioceses were established, and the prelates who presided over them deemed it expedient, and had sufficient confidence, to introduce modified forms of the service, and make such alterations of ceremony, as the state of their people seemed to require.  Hence in the course of time there were the “uses” as they were called, or formularies of Sarum, York, Lincoln, and other places; that of Sarum, owing to the care of Osmund, bishop of the diocese in 1078, obtaining higher consideration than any of the rest.  Others, however, continued to exist, and they underwent a general and careful examination, when the reformers of the national church proposed to establish a form of service which should be free from the corruptions, and yet not want the venerable character and authority of antiquity.  See Mr. Palmer’s highly valuable work on the “Antiquities of the English Liturgy.” – Editor.]

         Though Henry himself was by no means a sincere and uniform friend to the cause of the Reformation, yet his resentment against the Roman pontiff induced him to authorize many publications, [The King’s Primer; the Godly and Pious Institution of a Christian Man; a necessary Doctrine and Erudition for Christian Men, etc. etc.] which were calculated to expose the abuses and corruptions that had so long prevailed; and the several translations of the Bible into English, mentioned in the last chapter, contributed greatly to enlighten the minds of men, and to prepare them for that important change which took place immediately after his death. [It was not till after the death of Henry that the mass ceased to be celebrated according to the ancient method, or that the people were allowed the cup.  The order of the communion was publicly set forth in March, 1548.  In the May of the same year the commissioners, consisting of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “with other learned and discreet bishops and divines,” met at Windsor, and having compiled a Book of Common Prayer, obtained for it the approval both of the convocation and the parliament.  It is a matter of great doubt whether the foreign divines did really exercise much influence in the matter.  “It does not appear,” says Dr. Cardwell, “however anxious he was to offer his assistance, that the peculiar opinions of Calvin were approved, or his advice either sought or rejected, by the primate and the other commissioners; and it is clear, on examination, that the faults discovered by Martyr and Bucer, of which they drew up a report at the request of Cranmer, were neither all that were admitted to exist by English divines, nor were themselves corrected, in most instances, in the way that Martyr and Bucer recommended.  On the contrary, it was stated to Martyr, when he gave in the account of his objections, that the bishops had already agreed on many alterations; and the report of Bucer was delivered to the commissioners at so late a period, that we may fairly presume the greatest portion of their work to have been already completed.  It cannot, indeed, be doubted, that the many learned foreigners who were at this time settled and actively employed in England, and were almost without exception in favour of more extensive changes, exerted an important influence on public opinion; but it is also certain, that many English reformers, and the most active and considerable among the commissioners themselves, were desirous of a greater degree of simplicity both in faith and worship.” – The Two Books of Common Prayer compared with each other.  Preface, p. 25. – Editor.]

         In the first years of Edward the Sixth, who was firmly attached to the principles of the reformed religion in which he had been educated, the king and his council nominated Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ridley, afterwards Bishop of London, and other eminent divines, to draw up a Liturgy in the English language for the general use of the Church, free from those unfounded doctrines and superstitious ceremonies which had disgraced the Latin Liturgies.  These commissioners entered upon the work with the greatest alacrity and zeal; and when they had finished it, Cranmer presented it to the young king, and in the end of the year 1548 it was ratified by parliament, under the title of “The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, after the Use of the Church of England.”

         It was the principle of Cranmer to proceed in the glorious work of Reform with moderation: he cautiously avoided the rejection of too much at once of what the people had been accustomed to consider as parts of religion, not merely to prevent public commotions, but in order to procure a gradual change in their opinions, rather than give a shock to their faith.  It was however soon perceived that this first attempt to establish an English Liturgy upon the authority of Scripture and the practice of the primitive church was imperfect, and in some respects liable to objection; and we find Cranmer, very soon after its publication, consulting such of the foreign divines [Particularly Bucer and Martyr, who, through his recommendation, were now divinity professors in Cambridge and Oxford.] as were most celebrated for their learning and discretion, respecting further improvements.  The portion of Scripture which was now daily read in the churches, and the zeal and diligence with which the genuine truths of Christianity were disseminated among the people, opened their minds, and operated so strongly upon their understandings, that in about two years a general revision of the Liturgy was thought expedient, and commissioners were appointed for that purpose.  The revision was made with the utmost care and judgment; and the book, thus improved, was confirmed by parliament in the beginning of April, 1552, and ordered to be used in all churches throughout the kingdom, from the feast of All Saints following.  In this “Second Book,” as it is called, of King Edward, there were many additions and corrections.  Among the former were the sentences, exhortation, confession, and absolution, at the beginning of the morning and evening prayer, and the ten commandments in the communion service.  The principal omissions were the use of oil and the sign of the cross in confirmation, extreme unction at the visitation of the sick, and prayers for the dead, both in the communion and in the burial service, the use of the cross and the invocation of the Holy Ghost, and the mixture of water with wine in the celebration of the holy supper; and there were also, several other alterations in the communion service.  By these, additions and alterations, our public offices were, in all important points of doctrine, brought nearly to their present state.

         Soon after the publication of this book, King Edward died, and his successor, Mary, immediately upon her accession, caused both the statutes to be repealed which had authorized and directed the use of these two books, and restored the Latin Liturgies according to the popish forms of worship.

         Early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, commissioners were again appointed, to prepare an English Liturgy.  Elizabeth had certainly not imbibed the same pure spirit of Christianity which had directed the pious and enlightened Edward and the venerable Cranmer; and it was at first debated whether the First or Second Book of King Edward should be made the basis of the Liturgy, which was now to be offered to parliament.  It was decided in favour of the Second Book; and the commissioners having entered upon their business in December, 1558, finished it in the April following.  This new book was immediately ratified by act of parliament, which took effect on the day of St. John the Baptist, 1559.  The following were the most considerable circumstances in which it differed from the Second Book of King Edward the Sixth: – Power was given to the ordinary to appoint the part of the church where morning and evening prayer should be read, the chancel having hitherto been the place commonly used for that purpose; proper first lessons were appointed for Sundays, no distinction of that sort having been made in former Liturgies; in the litany, a sentence, praying to be delivered “from the bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities,” was omitted, and prayers were added for the “queen’s majesty,” and “for the clergy and people”; and several alterations were made in the communion service and in the rubric, with a view to conciliate the Roman Catholics.  “This comprehensive plan, added to the Queen’s apparent attachment to usages that had obtained under the ancient establishment, induced many of the Roman Catholics to continue to join in the communion of the established church.  Even the Pope was ready to give his sanction to the Liturgy, and to assent to the use of the communion in both kinds, provided the Queen would acknowledge his supremacy; and it was not till after a conformity of more than ten years that the Roman Catholics withdrew to separate congregations.” [Shepherd’s Elucidation.]

         This Liturgy continued without any alteration, through the long reign of Queen Elizabeth; but early in the reign of James the First, when the Puritans, who were now a numerous body, petitioned for a reform of what they termed abuses, the King appointed a conference to be held at Hampton Court, between a select number of bishops of the establishment, and the principal leaders among the Dissenters, before himself as president, to hear what could be alleged for their non-conformity, and to judge whether an accommodation between the parties would be practicable.  The demands of the Puritans were far too unreasonable to be granted, and very soon set aside the idea of agreement; but their objections might contribute to produce some of the following improvements, which were soon after made in the Liturgy: – In the morning and evening prayers, a collect, and in the litany a particular intercession, were appointed for the royal family; the forms of thanksgiving upon several occasions were then added; the questions and answers concerning the sacraments were subjoined to the catechism; and the administration of private baptism was by the rubric expressly confined to the lawful minister.  These and some other additions and improvements were made by the authority of James the First, and universally adopted, although they were not ratified by parliament.

         Charles the First, by his own authority only, made some few unimportant alterations in the Liturgy; but in 1661, the year after the restoration of Charles the Second, when the hierarchy had been broken down by the monarchy above fourteen years, and the Liturgy had been entirely laid aside by puritanical usurpers of the government, twenty-four commissioners, twelve of whom were Episcopalians, and twelve Presbyterians, with nine assistants on each side, were appointed by patent, and were enjoined “to meet at the master’s lodging in the Savoy, and to take into consideration the several directions, rules, forms of prayer, and things in the Common Prayer contained; to revise the same, comparing them with the most ancient Liturgies; to advise upon the exceptions and objections that might be made; and if occasion should require, to make such reasonable corrections and amendments, as they might judge useful and expedient for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring unity, but avoiding all unnecessary abbreviations of the forms and liturgy so long received in the Church of England.”  These commissioners had several personal conferences at the Savoy, and several written communications passed between them; but they were unable to come to any agreement concerning the great points in dispute between the two parties; they therefore resolved to inform his Majesty, that “the Church’s welfare, unity, and peace, and his Majesty’s satisfaction, were ends upon which they all agreed, but as to the means they could not come to any harmony.”

         When it was found impossible to frame a Liturgy, which should be acceptable to all persons of the different religious persuasions then subsisting in the kingdom, the Convocation, which met May the 8th, 1661, took into consideration such improvements as were suggested by the Episcopalian commissioners, and the following additions and alterations were agreed to: – The collects for the Ember weeks; the prayer for the high court of parliament; the prayer for all sorts and conditions of men; the general thanksgiving; the collect for Easter Eve; the collect, epistle, and gospel for the sixth Sunday after Epiphany; a new collect for the third Sunday in Advent; the office of baptism for those of riper years; the two psalms prefixed to the lesson in the burial service; the forms of prayer to be used at sea; for the martyrdom of Charles the First, and for the restoration of the royal family, were all added.  There were also several other less material additions; and through the whole service ambiguities were removed, and various improvements were made; and in particular the portions of the Epistles and Gospels were taken from the new translation of the Bible; but the Psalms, according to the translation of Cranmer’s Bible, were retained.  The book, in this state, passed both houses of convocation; it was subscribed by the bishops and clergy; it was ratified by act of parliament, and received the royal assent, May 19th, 1662.  This was the last revisal of the Book of Common Prayer, in which any alteration was made by public authority.

         I shall conclude this brief account of the origin and gradual improvement of our Liturgy with the following just commendation of it by Dr. Comber, in the Preface to his “Companion to the Temple”: – “Though all churches in the world have, and ever had, forms of prayer, yet none was ever blessed with so comprehensive, so exact, and so inoffensive a composure as ours, which is so judiciously contrived, that the wisest may exercise at once their knowledge and devotion, and yet so plain that the most ignorant may pray with understanding; so full that nothing is omitted, which is fit to be asked in public, and so particular that it compriseth most things which we would ask in private, and yet so short as not to tire any that hath true devotion.  Its doctrine is pure and primitive; its ceremonies so few and innocent, that most of the Christian world agree in them; its method is exact and natural; its language significant and perspicuous, most of the words and phrases being taken out of the Holy Scriptures, and the rest are the expressions of the first and purest ages, so that whoever takes exception at these must quarrel with the language of the Holy Ghost, and fall out with the church in her greatest innocence; and in the opinion of the most impartial and excellent Grotius (who was no member of, nor had any obligation to, this church) the English Liturgy comes so near to the primitive pattern, that none of the reformed churches can compare with it.  Whoever desires to worship God with zeal and knowledge, spirit and truth, purity and sincerity, may do it by these devout forms, and to this end may the God of Peace give us all meek hearts, quiet spirits, and devout affections; and free us from all sloth and prejudice, that we may have full churches, frequent prayers, and fervent charity; that, uniting in our prayers here, we may all join in his praises hereafter, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”


Chapter 3.

Introduction to the Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.

         We learn from the New Testament, that those who first embraced the Gospel declared their faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah, in simple and general [But if general not vague.  In the instance referred to, there was more than a general acknowledgment that Jesus was the Messiah: he was confessed to be the Son of God. – Editor.] terms [Acts 8:37.]; and there is no ground for supposing that the Apostles required this declaration to be made in any one particular form of words.  No such formulary is transmitted to us; and had any ever existed, it would probably have been cited or alluded to in the New Testament, or in the early apologies for Christianity.  Every bishop was authorized to prescribe a formulary for the use of his own church; and there are still extant in writers, who lived near to the apostolic age, several abstracts of Christian faith, which, though they agree in substance, vary in expression.  But when heresies gained ground, and destroyed uniformity of belief among Christians, it became necessary to have a public standard of faith; and to this case we are to attribute the origin of creeds.  The design of these creeds was to establish the genuine doctrines of the Gospel in opposition to the errors which then prevailed, and to exclude from communion with the orthodox church of Christ all who held heretical opinions.  New dissensions and controversies continually arose; and we have to lament that, in process of time, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” became corrupted in the highest degree; and that those very councils, which were convened, according to the practice of the apostolic age, for the purpose of declaring “the truth, as it is in Jesus,” gave their sanction and authority to the grossest absurdities and most palpable errors.  These corruptions, supported by secular power, and favoured by the darkness and ignorance of the times, were almost universally received through a succession of many ages, till at last the glorious light of the Reformation dispelled the clouds which had so long obscured the Christian World.

         At that interesting period, the several churches which had separated themselves from the Roman communion, found it expedient to publish confessions of their faith: and in conformity to this practice, Edward the Sixth, [Henry the Eighth, in the year 1536, published Articles of Religion, in which some of the popish doctrines are disclaimed, but others are retained.  Vide Burnet’s Reformation, book iii.] the first Protestant king of England, caused to be published, by his royal authority, forty-two “Articles agreed upon by the bishops, and other learned and good men, in the Convocation held at London in the year 1552, to root out the discord of opinions, and establish the agreement of true Religion.”  These articles were repealed by Queen Mary, soon after her accession to the throne.  But Queen Elizabeth, in the beginning of her reign, gave her royal assent to “Thirty-nine Articles agreed upon by the archbishops and bishops of both provinces, and the whole clergy, in the Convocation holden at London in the year 1562, for avoiding diversities of opinion, and for the establishing of consent touching true Religion.”  These articles were revised, and some small alterations made in them, in the year 1571, since which time they have continued to be the criterion of the faith of the members of the Church of England.  The articles of 1562 were drawn up in Latin only; but in 1571 they were subscribed by the members of the two houses of convocation both in Latin and English, and therefore the Latin and English copies are to be considered as equally authentic.  The original manuscripts, subscribed by the houses of convocation, were burnt in the fire of London; but Dr. Bennet has collated the oldest copies now extant, and it appears that there are no variations of any importance.

         It is generally believed that Cranmer and Ridley [They followed principally the Augsburg confession, which was drawn up by Melancthon.] were chiefly concerned in framing the forty-two articles, upon which our thirty-nine are founded; but Burnet says, that “questions relating to them were given about to many bishops and divines, who gave in their several answers, that were collated and examined very maturely: all sides had a free and fair hearing before conclusions were made.”  Indeed, caution and moderation are no less conspicuous in them than a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and of the early opinions and practice of Christians.

         Bishop Burnet, in his History of the Reformation, [Collections, No. 55. vol. ii.] has preserved the forty-two articles published by King Edward the Sixth, and has pointed out in what respect they differ from the thirty-nine articles which are now in force. [Whoever wishes to see a full account of everything which passed relative to these articles may consult Dr. Bennet’s “Essay on the Thirty-nine Articles.”]

         These thirty-nine articles are arranged with great judgment and perspicuity, and may be considered under four general divisions; the first five contain the Christian doctrines concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; in the sixth, seventh, and eighth, the rule of Faith is established; the next ten relate to Christians as individuals; and the remaining twenty-one relate to them as they are members of a religious society.  But as all confessions of faith have had a reference to existing heresies, we shall here find not only the positive doctrines of the Gospel asserted, but also the principal errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and most of the extravagancies into which certain Protestant sects fell at the time of the Reformation, rejected and condemned.  The articles in English will appear in the course of the Exposition; the following is the Latin text: –


ARTICULI de quibus convenit inter Archiepiscopos et Episcopos utriusque Provinciae, et Clerum Unisum in Synodo, Londini, Anno 1562, secundum computationem Ecclesiae Anglicanae, ad tollendam opinionum dissentionem, et consensum in vera Religione firmandum.  Editi Authoritate serenissimae Reginae.  Londni, apud Johannem Day, 1571.


1.  De fide in sacro-sanctam Trinitatem.

         Unus est vivus, et verus Deus, aeternus, incorporeus, impartibilis, impassibilis, immensae potentiae, sapientiae ac bonitatis, creator et conservator omnium, tum visibilium, tum invisibilium.  Et in unitate hujus divinae naturae, tres sunt personae, ejusdem essentiae, potentiae ac aeternitatis, Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.


2.  De Verbo, sive Filio Dei, qui verus homo factus est.

         Filius, qui est verbum patris, ab aeterno a patre genitus, verus et aeternus Deus, ac patri consubstantialis, in utero beatae Virginis, ex illius substantia naturam humanam assumpsit: ita ut duae naturae, divina et humana, integre atque perfecte in unitate personae fuerint inseparabiliter conjunctae, ex quibus est unus Christus, verus Deus et verus homo, qui vere passus est, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, ut patrem nobis reconciliaret, essetque hostia, non tantum pro culpa originis, verum etiam pro omnibus actualibus hominum peccatis.


3.  De Descensu Christi ad Inferos.

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


4.  De Resurrectione Christi.

         Christus were a mortuia resurrexit, suumque corpus cum came, ossibus, omnibusque ad integritatem humanae naturae pertinentibus, recepit: cum quibus in ccelum ascendit, ibique residet, quoad extremo die ad judicandos homines reversurus sit.


5.  De Spiritu Sancto.

         Spiritus Sanctus, a Patre et Filio procedens, ejusdem est cum Patre, et Filio essentiae, majestatis, et gloriae, verus ac aeternus Deus.


6.  De divinis Scripturis, quad sufficiant ad Salutem.

         Scriptura sacra continet omnia, quae ad salutem sunt necessaria, ita, ut quicquid in ea nec legitur, neque inde probari potest, non sit a quonam exigendum, ut tanquam articulus fidei credatur, aut ad salutis necessitatem requiri putetur.

         Sacrae Scripturae nomine, eos canonicos libros veteris, et novi Testamenti intelligimus, de quorum authoritate, in Ecclesia nunquam dubitatum est.


De Nominibus et Numero Librorum sacrae Canonicae Scripturae veteris Testamenti.

Genesis.  Exodus.  Leviticus.  Numeri.  Deuteron.  Josuae.  Judicum.  Ruth.  Prior liber Samuelis.  Secundus liber Samuelis.  Prior liber Regum.  Secundus liber Regum.  Prior liber Paralipom.  Secundus liber Paralipom.  Primus liber Esdrae.  Secundus liber Esdrae.  Liber Hester.  Liber Job.  Psalmi.  Proverbia.  Ecelesiastes vel Concionator.  Cantica Solomonis.  IV Prophetae Majores.  XII Propbetae Minores.

Alios autem libros (ut ait Hieronymus) legit quidem Ecclesia, ad exempla vitae, et formandos mores: illos tamen ad dogmata confirmanda non adhibet, ut sunt,

Tertius liber Esdrae.   Quartus fiber Esdrae.  Liber Tobiae.  Liber Judith.  Reliquum libri Hester.  Liber Sapientae.  Liber Jesu filii Sirach.  Baruch propheta.  Canticum trium puerorum.  Historia Susannae.  De Bel et Dracone.  Oratio Manassis.  Prior liber Machabeorum.  Secundus liber Machabeorum.


         Novi Testamenti omnes libros (ut vulgo recepti sunt) recipimus, et habemus pro canonicis.

7.  De veteri Testamento.

         Testamentum vetus, novo contrarium non est, quandoquidem tam in veteri, quam in novo, per Christum, qui unicus est Mediator Dei, et hominum, Deus et homo, aeterna vita humano generi est proposita.  Quare mala sentiunt, qui veteres tantum in promissiones temporarias sperasse confingunt.  Quanquam lex a Deo data per Mosen (quoad caeremonias et ritus) Christianos non astringat, neque civilia ejus praecepta in aliqua republica necessario recipi debeant, nihilominus tamen ab obedientia mandatorum (quae moralia vocantur) nullus (quantumvis Christianus) est solutus.


8.  De tribus Symbolis.

         Symbola tria, Nicaeum, Athanasii, et quod vulgo Apostolorum appellatur, omnino recipienda sunt, et credenda, nam firmissimis Scripturarum testimoniis probari possunt.


9.  De Peccato ornginali.

         Peccatum originis non est (ut fabulantur Pelagiani) in imitatione Adami situm, sed est vitium, et depravatio naturae, cujuslibet hominis ex Adamo naturaliter propagati: qua fit, ut ab originali justitia quam longissime distet, ad malum sua natura propendeat, et caro semper adversus spiritum concupiscat, unde in unoquoque nascentium, iram Dei atque damnationem meretur.  Manet etiam in renatis haec naturae depravatio.  Qua fit, ut affectus carnis, Graece Φρόνημα σαρκος (quod alii sapientiam, alii sensum, alii affectum, alii studium carnis interpretantur) legi Dei non subjiciatur.  Et quanquam renatis et credentibus, nulla propter Christum est condemnatio, peccati tamen in sese rationem habere concupiscentiam, fatetur Apostolus.


10.  De libero Arbitrio.

         Ea est hominis post lapsum Adae conditio, ut sese naturalibus suis viribus, et bonis operibus, ad fidem, et invocationem Dei convertere, ac praeparare non possit.  Quare absque gratia Dei (quae per Christum est) nos praeveniente, ut velimus, et cooperante, dum volumus, ad pietatis opera facienda, quae Deo grata sunt, et accepta, nihil valemus.


11.  De Hominis Justificatione.

         Tantum propter meritum Domini, ac Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per fidem, non propter opera, et merita nostra, justi coram Deo reputamur.  Quare sola fide nos justificari doctrina est saluberrima ac consolationis plenissima, ut in homilia de justificatione hominis, fusius explicatur.


12.  De bonis Operibus.

         Bona opera, guae sunt fructus fidei, et justificatos sequuntur, quanquam peccata nostra expiare, et divini judicii severitatem ferre non possunt; Deo tamen grata sunt, et accepta in Christo, atque ex vera et viva fide necessario profluunt, ut plane ex illis, aeque fides viva cognosci possit, atque arbor ex fructu judicari.


13.  De Operibus ante Justificationem.

         Opera quae fiunt, ante gratiam Christi, et Spiritus ejus afflatum, cum ex fide Jesu Christi non prodeant, minime Deo grata sunt, neque gratiam (ut multi vocant) de congruo merentur.  Immo cum non sunt facta, ut Deus illa fieri voluit et praecepit, peccati rationem habere non dubitamus.


14.  De Operibus Supererogationis.

         Opera quae supererogationis appellant, non possunt sine arrogantia et impietate praedicari.  Nam illis declarant homines, non tantum se Deo reddere, quae tenentur, sed plus in ejus gratiam facere, quam deberent, cum aperte Christus dicat; Cum feceritis omnia quaecunque praecepta sunt vobis, dicite, servi inutiles sumus.


15.  De Christo, qui solus est sine Peccato.

         Christus in nostrae naturae veritate, per omnia similis factus est nobis, excepto peccato, a quo prorsus erat immunis, tum in carne, tum in spiritu.  Venit ut agnus, absque macula, qui mundi peccata per immolationem sui semel factam, tolleret, et peccatum (ut inquit Johannes) in eo non erat: sed nos reliqui etiam baptizati, et in Christo regenerati, in multis tamen offendimus omnes.  Et si dixerimus, quod peccatum non habemus, nos ipsos seducimus, et veritas in nobis non est.


16.  De Peccato post Baptismum.

         Non omne peccatum mortale post Baptismum: voluntarie perpetratum, est peccatum in Spiritum Sanctum, et irremissibile.  Proinde lapsis a Baptismo in peccata, locus poenitentiae non est negandus.  Post acceptum Spiritum Sanctum possumus a gratia data recedere, atque peccare, denuoque per gratiam Dei resurgere, ac resipiscere; ideoque illi damnandi sunt, qui se quamdiu hic vivant, amplius non posse peccare affirmant, aut vere resipiscentibus veniae locum denegant.


17.  De Praedestinatione et Electione.

         Praedestinatio ad vitam, est aeternum Dei propositum, quo ante jacta mundi fundamenta, suo consilio, nobis quidem occulto, constanter decrevit, eos quos in Christo elegit ex hominum genere, a maledicto et exitio liberare, atque (ut vasa in honorem efficta) per Christum, ad aeternam salutem adducere.  Unde qui tam praeclaro Dei beneficio sunt donati, illi spiritu ejus, opportuno tempore operante, secundum propositum ejus, vocantur, vocationi per gratiam parent, justificantur gratis, adoptantur in filios Del, unigeniti ejus Jesu Christi imagini efficiuntur conformes, in bons operibus sancte ambulant, et demum ex Dei misericordia pertingunt ad sempiternam felicitatem.

         Quemadmodum praedestinationis et electionis nostrae in Christo pia consideratio, dulcis, suavis, et ineffabilis consolationis plena est, vere piis, et his qui sentiunt in se vim Spiritus Christi, facta carnis, et membra, quae adhuc sunt super terram, mortificantem, animumque ad coelestia et superna rapientem; tum quia fidem nostram de aeterna salute consequenda per Christum plurimum stabilit atque confirmat, tum quia amorem nostrum in Deum vehementer accendit: Ita hominibus curiosis, carnalibus, et Spiritu Christi destitutis, ob oculos perpetuo versari praedestinationis Dei sententiam, perniciosissimum est praecipitium, unde illos diabolus protrudit, vel in desperationem, vel in aeque perniciosam impurissimae vitae securitatem.  Deinde promissiones divinas sic amplecti oportet, ut nobis in sacris literis generaliter propositae sunt, et Dei voluntas in nostris actionibus ea sequenda est, quam in verbo Dei habemus, diserte revelatam.


18.  De speranda aeterna Salute tantum in Nomine Christi.

         Sunt et illi anathematizandi, qui dicere audent unumquemque in lege aut secta quam profitetur esse servandum, modo juxta illam, et lumen naturae accurate vixerit, cum sacrae literae tantum Jesu Christi nomen praedicent, in quo salvos fieri homines oporteat.


19.  De Ecclesia.

         Ecclesia Christi visibilis est coetus fidelium, in quo verbum Dei purum praedicatur, et sacramenta quoad ea quae necessario exigantur, juxta Christi institutum recte administrantur.  Sicut erravit Ecclesia Hierosolymitana, Alexandrina, et Antiochena; ita et erravit Ecclesia Romana, non solum quoad agenda, et caeremoniarum ritus, verum in his etiam quae credenda sunt.


20.  De Ecclesiae Authoritate.

         Habet Ecclesia ritus sive caeremonias statuendi jus, et in fidei controversiis authoritatem; quamvis Ecclesiae non licet quicquam instituere, quod verbo Dei Scripto adversetur, nec unum scripturae locum sic exponere potest, ut alteri contradicat.  Quare licet Ecclesia sit divinorum librorum testis, et conservatrix, attamen ut adversus eos nihil decernere, ita praeter illos, nihil credendum de necessitate salutis debet obtrudere.


21.  De Authoritate Conciliorum generalium.

         Generalia Concilia, sine jussu, et voluntate Principum congregari non possunt; et ubi convenerint, quia ex hominibus constant, qui non omnes spiritu, et verbo Dei, reguntur, et errare possunt, et interdum errarunt etiam in his quae ad Deum pertinent: ideoque quae ab illis constituunitur, ut ad salutem necessaria, neque robur habent, neque authoritatem, nisi ostendi possint e sacris literis esse desumpta.


22.  De Purgatorio.

         Doctrina Romanensium de purgatorio, de indulgentiis, de veneratione, et adoratione, tum imaginum, tum reliquiarum, nec non de invocatione sanctorum, res est futilis, inaniter conficta, et nullis Scripturarum testimoniis innititur immo verbo Dei contradicit.


23.  De ministrando in Ecclesia.

         Non licet cuiquam sumere sibi munus publice praedicandi, aut administrandi Sacramenta in Ecclesia, nisi prius fuerit ad haec obeunda legitime vocatus et missus.  Atque illos legitime vocatos et missos existimare debemus, qui per homines, quibus potestas vocandi ministros, atque mittendi in vineam Domini, publice concessa est in Ecclesia, cooptati fuerint et adsciti in hoc opus.


24.  De loquendo in Ecclesia Lingua quam Populus intelligit.

         Lingua populo non intellecta, publicas in Ecclesia preces peragere, aut Sacramenta administrare, verbo Dei, et primitivae Ecclesiae consuetudine plane repugnat.


25.  De Sacramentis.

         Sacramenta a Christo instituta, non tantum sunt notae professionis Christianorum, sed certa quaedam potius testimonia et efficacia signa gratiae atque bonae in nos voluntatis Dei, per quae invisibiliter ipse in nos operatur, nostramque fidem in se non solum excitat, verum etiam confirmat.

         Duo a Christo Domino nostro in Evangelio instituta sunt Sacramenta: scilicet, Baptismus, et Coena Domini.

         Quinque illa vulgo nominata Sacramenta, scilicet, confirmatio, poenitentia, ordo, matrimonium, et extrema unctio, pro Sacramentis Evangelicis habenda non sunt, ut quae partim a prava Apostolormn imitatione profluxerunt, partim vitae status sunt in Scripturis quidem probati; sed sacramentorum eandem cum Baptismo et Coena Domini rationem non habentes, ut quae signum aliquod visibile, seu caeremoniam, a Deo institutam, non habeant.

         Sacramenta non in hoc instituta sunt a Christo ut spectarentur, aut circumferrentur, sed ut rite illis uteremur, et in his duntaxat qui digne percipiunt salutarem habent effectum.  Qui vero indigne percipiunt, damnationem (ut inquit Paulus) sibi ipsis acquirunt.


26.  De Vi Institutionum divinarum, quod eam non tollat Malitia Ministrorum.

         Quamvis in Ecclesia visibili, bonis mali semper sint admixti, atque interdum ministerio verbi, et Sacramentorum administrationi praesint, tamen cum non suo, sed Christi nomine agant, ejusque mandato, et authoritate ministrent, illorum ministerio uti licet, cum in verbo Dei audiendo, tum in Sacramentis percipiendis.  Neque per illorum malitiam, effectus institutorum Christi tollitur, aut gratia donorum Dei minuitur, quoad eos qui fide, et rite sibi oblata percipiunt, quae propter institutionem Christi, et promissionem efficacia sunt, licet per malos administrentur.

         Ad Ecclesiae tamen disciplinam pertinet, ut in malos ministros inquiratur, accusenturque ab his, qui eorum flagitia noverint, atque tandem justo convicti judicio deponantur.


27.  De Baptismo.

         Baptismus non est tantum professionis signum, ac discriminis nota, qua Christiani a non Christianis discernantur, sed etiam est signum regenerationis, per quod,·tanquam per instrumentum recte baptismum suscipientes, Ecclesiae inseruntur, promissiones de remissione peccatorum, atque adoptione nostra in filios Dei per Spiritum Sanctum visibiliter obsignantur, fides confirmatur, et vi divinae invocationis gratia augetur.

         Baptismus parvulorum omnino in Ecclesia retinendus est, ut qui cum Christi institutione optime congruat.


28.  De Coena Domini.

         Coena Domini non est tantum signum mutuae benevolentiae Christianorum inter sese, verum potius est Sacramentum nostrae per mortem Christi redemptionis.

         Atque adeo, rite, digne, et cum fide sumentibus, panis quem frangimus est communicatio corporis Christi: similiter poculum benedictionis est commimicatio sanguinis Christi.

         Panis et vini transubstantiatio in Eucharistia ex sacris literis probari non potest.  Sed apertis Scripturae verbis adversatur, Sacramenti naturam evertit, et multarum superstitionum dedit occasionem.

         Corpus Christi datur, accipitur, et manducatur in Coena, tantum coelesti et spirituali ratione.  Medium autem quo, corpus Christi accipitur, et manducatur in Coena, fides est.

         Sacramentum Eucharistiae, ex institutione Christi non servabatur, circumiferebatur, elevabatur, nec adorabatur.


29.  De Manducatione Corporis Christi, et impios illud non manducare.

         Impii, et fide viva destituti, licet carnaliter, et visibiliter (ut Augustinus loquitur), corporis et sanguinis Christi Sacramentum, dentibus premant, nullo tamen modo Christi participes efficiuntur.  Sed potius tantae rei Sacramentum, seu Symbolum, ad judicium sibi manducant, et bibunt.


30.  De utraque Specie.

         Calix Domini laicis non est denegandus, utraque enim pars Dominici Sacramenti, ex Christi institutione, et praecepto, omnibus Christianis ex aequo administrari debet.


31.  De unica Christi Oblatione in Cruce perfecta.

         Oblatio Christi semel facta perfecta est redemptio, propitiatio, et satisfactio pro omnibus peccatis totius mundi, tam originalibus, quam actualibus.  Neque praeter illam unicam, est ulla alia pro peccatis expiatio, unde missarum sacrificia, quibus, vulgo dicebatur, sacerdotem offerre Christum in remissionem poenae, aut culpae, pro vivis et defunctis, blasphema figmenta sunt, et perniciosae imposturae.


32.  De Conjugio Sacerdotum.

         Episcopis, presbyteris, et diaconis nullo mandato divino praeceptum est, ut aut coelibatum voveant, aut a matrimonio abstineant.  Licet igitur etiam illis, ut caeteris omnibus Christianis, ubi hoc ad pietatem magis facere judicaverint, pro suo arbitratu matrimonium contrahere.


33.  De excommunicatis vitandis.

         Qui per publicam Ecclesiae denunciationem rite ab unitate Ecclesiae praecisus est, et excommunicatus, is ab universa fidelium multitudine (donec per poenitentiam publice reconciliatus fuerit arbitrio Judicis competentis) habendus est tanquam ethnicus et publicanus.


34.  De Traditionibus Ecclesiasticis.

         Traditiones atque caeremonias easdem, non omnino necessarium est esse ubique, aut prorsus consimiles.  Nam ut variae semper fuerunt, et mutari possunt, pro regionum, temporum, et morum diversitate, modo nihil contra verbum Dei instituatur.

         Traditiones, et caeremonias ecclesiasticas, quae cum verbo Dei non pugnant, et sunt authoritate publica institutae, atque probatae, quisquis privato consilio volens, et data opera, publice violaverit, is ut qui peccat in publicum ordinem Ecclesiae, quique laedit authoritatem Magistratus, et qui infirmorum fratrum conscientias vulnerat, publice, ut caeteri timeant, arguendus est.

         Quaelibet Ecclesia particularis, sive nationalis, authoritatem habet instituendi, mutandi, aut abrogandi caeremonias, aut ritus ecclesiasticos, humana tantum authoritate institutos, modo omnia ad aedificationem fiant.


35.  De Homiliis.

         Torus secundus Homilarum, quarum singulos titulos huic articulo subjunximus, continet piam et salutarem doctrinam, et his temporibus necessariam, non minus quam prior Tomus Homiliarum, quae editae sunt tempore Edwardi Sexti: Itaque eas in Ecclesiis per ministros diligenter, et clare, ut a populo intelligi possint recitandas esse judicavimus.


De Nominbus Homiliarum.

Of the right Use of the Church.

Against Peril of Idolatry.

Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.

Of good Works.

First, Of Fasting.

Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.

Against Excess in Apparel.

Of Prayer.

Of the Place and Time of Prayer.

That common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known Tongue.

Of the reverent Estimation of God’s Word.

Of Alms-doing.

Of the Nativity of Christ.

Of the Passion of Christ.

Of the Resurrection of Christ.

Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

For the Rogation Days.

Of the State of Matrimony.

Of Repentance.

Against Idleness.

Against Rebellion.


36.  De Episcoporum et Ministrorum Consecratione.

         Libellus de consecratione Archiepiscoporum, et Episcoporum, et de ordinatione Presbyterorum et Diaconorum, editus nuper temporibus Edwardi VI et authoritate Parliamenti illis ipsis temporibus confirmatus, omnia ad ejusmodi consecrationem, et ordinationem necessaria continet, et nibil habet, quod ex se sit, aut superstitiosmn aut impium itaque quicunque juxta ritus illius libri consecrati, aut ordinati sunt, ab anno secundo praedicti regis Edwardi, usque ad hoc tempus, aut in posterum juxta eosdem ritus consecrabuntur, aut ordinabuntur, rite atque ordine, atque legitime statuimus esse, et fore consecratos et ordinatos.


37.  De civilibus Magistratibus.

         Regia Majestas in hoc Angliae regno, ac caeteris ejus dominiis summam habet potestatem, ad quam omnium statuum hujus regni, sive illi eccliesiastici sint, sive civiles, in omnibus causis, suprema gubernatio pertinet, et nulli externae jurisdictioni est subjecta, nec esse debet.

         Cum Regis Majestati summam gubernationem tribuimus, quibus titulis intelligimus animos quorundam calumniatorum offendi, non damus Regibus nostris, aut verbi Dei, aut Sacramentorum administrationem, quod etiam Injunctiones ab Elizabetha Regina nostra, nuper editae, apertissime testantur; sed eam tantum praerogativam, quam in sacris Scripturis a Deo ipso, omnibus piis Principibus, videmus semper fuisse attributam: hoc est, ut omnes status, atque ordines fidei suae a Deo commissos, sive illi ecclesiastici sint, sive civiles, in officio contineant, et contumaces ac delinquentes gladio civili coerceant.

         Romanus pontifex nullam habet jurisdictionem in hoc regno Angliae.

         Leges regni possunt Christianos propter capitalia, et gravia crimina, morte punire.

         Christianis licet, ex mandato Magistratus, arma portare et justa bella administrare.


38.  De illicita Bonorum Communicatione.

         Facultates et bona Christianorum non sunt communia, quoad jus et possessionem (ut quidam Anabaptistae falso jactant); debet tamen quisque de his quae possidet, pro facultatum ratione, pauperibus eleemosynas benigne distribuere.


39.  De jurejurando.

         Quemadmodum juramentum vanum et temerarium a Domino nostro Jesu Christo, et Apostolo ejus Jacobo, Christianis hominibus interdictum esse fatemur: Ita Christianorum Religionem minime prohibere censemus, quin jubente magistratu in causa fidei et charitatis jurare liceat, modo id fiat juxta Prophetae doctrinam, in justitia, in judicio, et veritate.


Confirmatio Articulorum.

         Hic liber antedictorum Articulorum jam denuo approbatus est, per assensum, et consensum Serenissimae Reginae Elizabethae Dominae nostrae, Dei gratia Angliae, Franciae, et Hiberniae, Reginae, defensoris fidei, etc. retinendus, et per totum regnum Angliae exequendus.  Qui Articuli, et lecti sunt, et denuo confirmati, subscriptione D. Archiepiscopi et Episcoporum, superioris domus, et totius Cleri inferioris domus, in Convocatione Anno Domini, 1571.


Article 1.

Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.

         There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without Body, Parts, or Passions, of infinite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all Things both visible and invisible; and in the Unity of this Godhead there are three Persons of one Substance, Power, and Eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.


         This first article asserts the Being and Attributes of God, which are the foundation of all religion; and it farther declares, that the Godhead consists of three persons, which, though it appears to have made a part of the original revelation to mankind, was so far forgotten or obscured, that it may be considered as one of the characteristic doctrines of the Gospel.

         The universal consent of mankind has ever been admitted as a strong argument in favour of the existence of a God.  We learn from the history of former times, and from the observation of modern travelers, that in every country, and at every period, some idea of a Superior Being, and some species of divine worship, have prevailed.  “This,” says Dr. Nicholls, “is very good evidence of the reality of a Supreme Being; and whether we ground it upon tradition or universal principles of reasoning, it is a better foundation to rest upon than the fanciful speculations of some particular private persons, who are more liable to be mistaken than the most learned and wise men of all nations and all ages of the world, and who probably could not have all fallen into the uniform opinion of a divine Creator and Governor of the world, unless he had been pleased, some time or other, in the early ages of the world, to have revealed it to them, which they readily at first embraced, and afterwards tenaciously adhered to, finding it so highly agreeable to their reason.  It avails little to say, that there may be a stupid clan or two of barbarous people, who have very little of these notices; for the observation of such people’s practices and opinions may not have been exactly enough made by those traders who have made these reports, for want of their lingua, and by reason of their short and imperfect conversation with them; or, however, were the observation true, the contrary opinion of a few stupid people, who are almost degenerated into beasts, is but a sorry pretense to set up against the judgment of so many civilized nations, in so many successive ages of the world, confirmed by the reason of so many wise and learned men, who have been educated in them.”[ Nicholls’s Commentary upon Art.] – “Those nations, of which these reports are given out, are so extremely sunk from all that is wise and regular, great and good, in human nature, so rude and intractable, and so incapable of arts and discipline, that if the reports concerning them are to be believed, and if that weakens the argument from the common consent of mankind on the one hand, it strengthens it on another; while it appears that human nature, when it wants this impression, wants with it all that is great and orderly in it, and shows a brutality almost as low and base as is that of beasts.” [Burnet on the Articles.]  But though all civilized nations have concurred in the belief of one or more Gods, there has been an infinite diversity in the modes of divine Worship; and the errors and absurdities, with which all religions, except those of Moses and of Christ, have abounded, fully evince the weakness of the human intellect when unassisted by revelation.  Some few individuals, in the different ages of the world, have indeed rejected all belief in the existence of a God; but we may generally trace the rejection of a Deity to the source of pride or of profligacy; and even the late public avowal of atheism, by those who have usurped the government in a neighbouring country, originating from a philosophy falsely so called, and accompanied by crimes unparalleled in the annals of mankind, cannot be considered as in any degree affecting the argument arising from general consent, especially when it is remembered that this apostacy from religion is clearly foretold in the holy Scriptures. [Vide Mr. Kett’s “History the Interpreter of Prophecy”; a very interesting work, written with great elegance and judgment, and which I recommend to all who are desirous of becoming acquainted with the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, especially those which relate to the present times.]

         But a more direct proof of the being of a God may be derived from the universe itself; we are not only conscious of our own existence, but we also know that there exists a great variety of other things, both material and spiritual.  It is equally inconceivable that these things should have existed from all eternity in their present state, or that they should have fallen into this state by chance; and consequently, as there was a time when they did not exist, and as it was impossible for them to produce themselves, it follows, that there was some exterior agent or creator to whom the world owed its beginning and form; that agent or creator we call God.  “We read,” says Bishop Pearson, “the Great Artificer of the world in the work of his own bands, and by the existence of anything we demonstrate the first cause of all things.” [Pearson on the Creed, Art. 1.]  And since it is absurd to suppose that there are two prime causes of all things, two supreme governors of the world, or two self-existent and independent Beings of infinite perfections, we are obliged to conclude that God is One.  The Supreme Being, however, has not left this important truth to the deduction of human reason only, but has confirmed and established it by Revelation.  The unity of God is expressly declared in many passages of Scripture: “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” [Deut. 6:4.] – “Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God, there is none else beside him.” [Deut. 4:35.] – “He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else.” [Deut. 4:39.] – “I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.” [Isa. 44:6.] – “We know that there is none other God but one.” [1 Cor. 8:4.] – “There is one God.” [1 Tim. 2:5.] – We, therefore, cannot but agree to the first assertion in this article, in opposition to the sinful presumption of atheists, and to the false polytheism of the heathen, that THERE IS ONE, AND BUT ONE, LIVING AND TRUE GOD.  St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians applies the epithet “living and true” to God; “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” [1 Thess. 1:9.]  And the prophet Jeremiah says, “The Lord is the true God, he is the living God.” [Jer. 10:10.]  He is the living God, that is, “he hath life in himself” [John 5:26.]; he is self- existent, deriving his being from no exterior cause; “In him we live.” [Acts 17:28.] – “He giveth life to all things.” [Acts 17:25.] – He is the fountain and origin of life to all the animated part of the creation; he is the true God, as distinguished from the vain gods of the Gentiles – “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God.” [John 17:3.]

         The article next states, that God is EVERLASTING; that is, that he has existed from all past eternity, and will continue to exist to all future eternity. [Aeternum proprie dicitur, quod neque initium ut esset habuit, neque cessare unquam potest esse.  Origen. Or. Periarch. cap. 3.]  The Supreme Creator of all things must necessarily have existed from all eternity, since he could not have caused his own existence; and he must continue to exist to all eternity, since a being cannot cease to be, when there is no superior by whom his annihilation, or any alteration in him, can be produced, and when there is nothing in his own essence which is subject to change or decay.  We may rely upon the truth and certainty of these conclusions, but at the same time we must acknowledge that our capacities can by no means comprehend how a being exists necessarily, independently, and eternally.”*  God is in several passages of Scripture styled eternal and everlasting: “The eternal God is thy refuge.” [Deut. 33:27.] – “Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary?” [Isa. 40:28.] – “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, forever and ever.” [1 Tim. 1:17.]  “According to the commandment of the everlasting God.” [Rom. 16:26.]  And in the Revelation of St. John, the eternity of God is thus described: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” [Rev. 1:8.]

         *[“It is to be observed,” says Dr. Clarke, “that the Scripture, as it does not much insist upon proving to us the being of God, but rather always supposes that to be already known by the light of nature; so also, when it mentions any of the natural attributes of the divine essence, it does not usually enlarge upon the proof or explication of them, but generally makes mention of them occasionally only, and as presupposing them beforehand well known by men’s reason.”  Vol. i. Serm. 5.  To which may be added, the tradition of the revelations to Adam and the early patriarchs, and the evidence from prophecies and miracles continually before the people to whom the Old Testament was immediately addressed.]

         To suppose that God is circumscribed by body, consists of material parts, or is liable to passions, would be so utterly inconsistent with our ideas of infinite perfection, with our notion of a Being who is equally present everywhere, and who is free from every possible defect, that we must without hesitation pronounce that God is WITHOUT BODY, PARTS, OR PASSIONS; “God is a spirit” [John 4:24.] and “a spirit hath not flesh and bones.” [Luke 24:39.]  “God is not a man that he should lie, neither the Son of man that he should repent.” [Numb. 23:19.]  When, therefore, the Scriptures speak of the face, eyes, ears, and hands of God, or of his grief, jealousy, anger, and other mental emotions, we are to consider that such language is only accommodated to the understandings of men; and that those properties and qualities do in fact by no means belong to the Supreme Being.  We can form no conception of the agency of a pure spiritual substance, and therefore, in speaking of God, we are under the necessity of using terms derived from ourselves, and which we cannot but know to be in reality inapplicable to him.

         God having created all things out of nothing, and given to them their various and respective powers, and being able to change, annihilate, and dispose of everything in the universe, in any manner which he pleases; and no substance either animate or inanimate, material or immaterial, being capable of resisting or impeding his will; it follows that the POWER of God is INFINITE.  “In thy hand, O God, is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” [2 Chr. 20:6.] – “The Lord of Hosts hath purposed it, and who shall disannul it? his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” [Isa. 14:27.] – “He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” [Eph. 1:11.] – “With God all things are possible.” [Matt. 19:26.] – “With God nothing shall be impossible.” [Luke 1:37.] – “He doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou?” [Dan. 4:35.] – “The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God.” [Gen. 17:1.] – “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” [Rev. 19:6.] – But though with the holy patriarch we confess that “God can do everything,” [Job 42:2.] we must remember that Omnipotence itself does not extend to contradictions or impossibilities; “God cannot lie,” [Heb. 6:18.  Impossibile est ei mentiri; et impossibile istud non infirmitatis est, sed virtutis et majestatis, quia veritas non recipit mendacium, nec Dei virtus levitatis errorem.  Ambrose.] inasmuch as that would be contrary to his perfect nature; nor can he recall past events, which is manifestly impossible. [Μονου γαρ αυτου και Θεος στεριζεται, / Αγενητα ποιειν οσσ’ αν η πεπραγμενα.  Agatho apud Aristot.]  When, therefore, we say that the power of God is infinite, we mean that God is able to perform all things, which do not imply in themselves contradiction or impossibility.

         The wisdom of God is inferred from the general construction and government of the world, in which an attentive observer cannot but see evident marks of design, and in which all things are admirably adapted to their respective ends and purposes: “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.” [Psa. 104:24.]  We cannot form an idea of wisdom superior to that which is thus displayed; nor can we conceive how the wisdom, or any other attribute of the Deity, should be circumscribed by any boundary or limit; and therefore we conclude with the royal Psalmist, that “the wisdom of God is infinite.” [Psa. 147:5.]

         The infinite wisdom of God may also be considered, as including the knowledge of all events, past, present, and future, and of the thoughts, motives, and intentions of all his creatures.  This knowledge, without restriction or exception, seems necessarily to belong to the Creator of the Universe, from whom every power, property, and relation is derived: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” [Acts 15:15.]  “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? he that teacheth men knowledge, shall not he know?” [Psa. 114:9–10.] – “Neither is there creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Heb. 4:13.] – “The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.” [1 Chr. 28:9.] – “The Lord is a God of knowledge.” [1 Sam. 2:3.] – “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” [Rom. 11:33.]

         By infinite goodness is meant a disposition to communicate every possible degree of happiness to all created beings, of which their nature is capable.  That this attribute belongs to God is evident from his general government of the world, and particularly from his dealings with mankind.  It has pleased God to place men in a state of probation, and to endue them with free agency, which is essential to responsibility; he has furnished them with the means of attaining every degree of happiness consistent with the character of free and accountable beings; he has given them laws as rules of their conduct; he has proposed the most powerful and animating motives to obedience; and he has promised his assistance to those who sincerely endeavour to perform his will.  Since then everything which God has made is good; since he has provided for the preservation of all things, for their proper continuance and wellbeing; since he has bestowed many noble endowments, and a great variety of comforts and blessings, upon his rational creatures in this world; and since he has voluntarily, and upon easy conditions, offered them everlasting happiness in a future life, to which no human merit could have the remotest claim; surely we may pronounce that the goodness of God is infinite, “boundless as his universal works, and endless as the ages of eternity.” [Clarke, vol. i. Sermon 14.] – “The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.” [Psa. 145:9.] – “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.” [Psa. 136:1.]

         Upon these grounds we believe that God is OF INFINITE POWER, WISDOM, AND GOODNESS.

         As the world could not have existed from eternity, or have caused its own existence, it must have derived its being from God; and that God was the MAKER OF ALL THINGS BOTH VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, is repeatedly asserted in Scripture: “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth.” [Ex. 31:17.] – “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.” [Ex. 20:11.] – Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” [Rev. 4:11.] – “By him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible.” [Col. 1:16.]  God, having created all things, continues to preserve them in a state suitable to the purposes for which they were designed; and by his superintending providence constantly governs the universe he created.  Nothing can happen without the direction or permission of that Being who is the source of all power; he appointed and supports the general course of nature; and he interrupts it by his particular interposition, whenever it seems good to his infinite wisdom: “God giveth to all, life, and breath, and all things.” [Acts 17:26.] – “He is before all things, and by him all things consist.” [Col. 1:17.] – “How could any thing have endured, if it had not been thy will; or been preserved, if not called by thee?” [Wisdom 11:23.] – “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou halt made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host; the earth, and all things that are therein; the seas, and all that is therein; and thou preservest them all.” [Neh. 9:6.] – “Where,” says Bishop Pearson, “the continued conservation of the creatures is in equal latitude attributed unto God with their first production; because there is an absolute necessity of preserving us from returning unto nothing by annihilation, as there was for first bestowing an existence on us by creation.  God doth sustain, uphold, and constantly preserve all things in their being which they have.” [Pearson, Art. i.] – Thus God is not only THE MAKER, but also THE PRESERVER OF ALL THINGS BOTH VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.

         We now come to the latter part of this article, in which the Gospel doctrine of the Trinity, or of three persons* in the Divine Essence, is asserted.

         *[Tertullian, the oldest Latin father extant, uses the word Persona as applied to the Trinity.  The word used by the Greek fathers there is υποστασις and προσωπον[Quid est ergo, Deus meus?  Quid rogo, nisi Dominus Deus?  Quis enim Dominus praeter Dominum?  Aut quis Deus praeter Deum nostrum?  Summe, optime, potentissime, omnipotentissime, misericordissime et justissime, secretissime et prasentissime, pulcherrime et fortissime, stabilis et incomprehensibilis, immutabilis, mutans omnia, nunquam novus, nunquam vetus, innovans omnis, et in vetustatem perducens superbos, et nesciunt; semper agens, semper quietus, colligens et non egens, portans et implens et protegens, creans, et nutriens et perficienns, quaerens cum nihil desit tibi!  Amas, nec aestuas; zelas, et securus es; poenitet te, et non doles; irasceris, et tranquillus es; opera mutas, nec mutas consilium; recipis quod invenis, et nunquam amisisti; nunquam inops, et gaudes lucris; nunquam avarus, et usuras exigis; supererogatur tibi, ut debeas: et quis habet quidquam non tuum?  Reddis debita nulli debens; donas debita nihil perdens.  August. Confes. lib. i. c. 4. – Editor.]]

         That nearly all the pagan nations of antiquity, in their various theological systems, acknowledged a kind of Trinity in the divine nature, has been fully evinced by those learned men who have made the heathen mythology the subject of their elaborate inquiries.  The almost universal prevalence of this doctrine in the Gentile kingdoms must be considered as a strong argument in favour of its truth.  The doctrine itself bears such striking internal marks of a divine original, and is so very unlikely to have been the invention of mere human reason that there is no way of accounting for the general adoption of so singular a belief, but by supposing that it was revealed by God to the early patriarchs, and that it was transmitted by them to their posterity.  In its progress indeed to remote countries, and to distant generations, this belief became depraved and corrupted in the highest degree; and he alone “who brought life and immortality to light” could restore it to its original simplicity and purity.  The discovery of the existence of this doctrine in the early ages, among the nations whose records have been the best preserved, has been of great service to the cause of Christianity, and completely refutes the assertion of infidels and sceptics, that the sublime and mysterious doctrine of the Trinity owes its origin to the philosophers of Greece.  “If we extend,” says Mr. Maurice, “our eye through the remote region of antiquity, we shall find this very doctrine, which the primitive Christians are said to have borrowed from the Platonic school, universally and immemorially flourishing in all those countries where history and tradition have united to fix those virtuous ancestors of the human race, who, for their distinguished attainments in piety, were admitted to a familiar intercourse with Jehovah and the Angels, the divine heralds of his commands.”

         The same learned author justly considers the two first verses of the Old Testament as containing very strong, if not decisive, evidence in support of the truth of this doctrine: “Elohim, a noun substantive of the plural number, by which the Creator is expressed, appears as evidently to point towards a plurality of persons in the divine nature, as the verb in the singular, with which it is joined, does to the unity of that nature: In principio creavit Deus; with strict attention to grammatical propriety, the passage should be rendered, In principio creavit Dii; but our belief in the unity of God forbids us thus to translate the word Elohim.  Since, therefore, Elohim is plural, and no plural can consist of less than two in number, and since creation can alone be the work of Deity, we are to understand by this term so particularly used in this place, God the Father, md the eternal Logos, or Word of God; that Logos, whom St John, supplying us with an excellent comment upon this passage, says, was in the beginning with God, and who also was God.  As the Father and the Son are expressly pointed out in the first verse of this chapter, so is the third person in the blessed Trinity not less decisively revealed to us in the second; ‘And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ Calasio renders this passage, Spiritus Dei motabat; but as Dr. Patrick rightly observed, this is not the exact meaning of the text, for the original verb translated moved should be rendered brooded upon the water, incubavit, as a hen broods over her eggs.  Thus we see the Spirit exerted upon this occasion an active effectual energy, by that energy agitating the vast abyss, and infusing into it a powerful vital principle.”

         “Elohim* seems to be the general appellation by which the triune Godhead is collectively distinguished in Scripture; and in the concise history of the creation only, the expression Bara Elohim, the Gods created, is used above thirty times.  The combining this plural noun with a verb in the singular would not appear so remarkable, if Moses had uniformly adhered to that mode of expression; for then it would be evident that he adopted the mode used by the Gentiles, in speaking of their false gods in the plural number; but by joining with it a singular verb or adjective, rectified a phrase that might appear to give a direct sanction to the error of polytheism.  But in reality the reverse is the fact; for in Deuteronomy 32:15, 17, and other places, he uses the singular number of this very noun to express the Deity, though not employed in the august work of creation; Dereliquit Eloah; sacrificaverunt daemoniis, non Eloah.  But farther, Moses himself uses this very word Elohim with verbs and adjectives in the plural.  Of this usage Dr. Allix enumerates two among many other glaring instances that might be brought from the Pentateuch, the former in Genesis 20:13.  Quando errare fecerunt me Deus; the latter in Genesis 35:7.  Quia ibi revelati sunt ad eum Deus; and other inspired writers use it in the same manner in various parts of the Old Testament. [Job 35:10.  Josh. 24:19.  Psa. 109:1.  Eccl. 12:3.  2 Sam. 7:23.]  It must, therefore, to every reader of reflection, appear exceedingly singular, that when Moses was endeavouring to establish a theological system, of which the unity of the Godhead was the leading principle, and in which it differed from all other systems, he should make use of terms directly implicative of a plurality in it; yet so deeply was the awful truth under consideration impressed upon the mind of the Hebrew legislator, that this is constantly done by him; and indeed, as Allix has observed, there is scarcely any method of speaking from which a plurality in Deity may be inferred, that is not used either by himself in the Pentateuch, or by the other inspired writers in various parts of the Old Testament.  A plural is joined with a verb singular, as in the passage cited before from Genesis 1:1.  A plural is joined with a verb plural, as in Genesis 35:7.  ‘And Jacob called the name of the place El-beth-el, because the Gods there appeared to him.’  A plural is joined with an adjective plural, Josh. 35:19.  ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for he is the holy Gods.’  To these passages, if we add that remarkable one from Ecclesiastes, ‘Remember thy Creators in the days of thy youth,’ and the predominant use of the words, Jehovah Elohim, or, the ‘Lord thy Gods,’ which occur a hundred times in the law (the word Jehovah implying the unity of the essence, and Elohim a plurality in that unity), we must allow that nothing can be mere plainly marked than this doctrine in the ancient Scriptures.”

         *[“It is not a little remarkable that such a circumstance should exist in the sacred books of a people who were separated from all other nations, for this express object, that they should bear a public and continual protest against polytheism; a people whose whole system of religious, political, and domestic usages was calculated with consummate prudence and wisdom to be a perpetual preservative from polytheistic notions; a people who were charged by the Eternal God to destroy every statue, structure, and grove that might recall the memory of idolatrous rites, and to extirpate everything that could be extirpated, which had been associated with idolatry, or might be converted into an instrument of its revival or of its slightest palliation; who were enjoined to abolish every name, of city, village, or other place, which was compounded with the name of a heathen deity, and to substitute new appellations; who were not even to pronounce those abhorred names, unless necessity compelled; it is not, we may well say, a little remarkable that, in the sacred books of such a people, books whose very words, in many cases at least, were selected and dictated by the inspiration of Jehovah, the ordinary name and style of the only living and true God should be in a plural form.  Did some strange and insuperable necessity lie in the way?  Was the language so poor that it could furnish no other term?  Or if so, could not the wisdom of inspiration have suggested a new appellative, and have forever abolished the hazardous word?  None of these reasons existed.  The language was rich and copious.  The names of the Deity in general and constant use were more numerous than in either of the beautiful languages of classical antiquity, or in the most cultivated tongues of modern Europe.  Besides that glorious and fearful name, Jehovah, the appropriated and unique style of the true God, and besides other unexceptionable names, there was (as we have before said) the singular form Eloah of the very word in question.  There was no shadow of necessity, difficulty, or even inducement, for the adoption of a phraseology which, on Unitarian principles, every candid mind must confess, can with difficulty, if at all, be defended from the charge of pernicious example, and very dangerous tendency.

            But it is said, “the connection between words and ideas is perfectly arbitrary”; the Hebrew was originally the language of polytheists, to whose opinions the word Elohim was perfectly conformable; and when the Deity was pleased to make that language the vehicle of his revealed will, it was not worthwhile to innovate on its established forms; it was sufficient that true ideas were conveyed, though under the old terms.”  If we admit the premises assumed in this argument, precarious as they are, the conclusion by no means follows.  It is strongly opposed by the facts above adverted to in the constitutions of the Israelitish nation, which indicate so extreme a sensibility, such an all-pervading vigilance for the abolition of every action and every word that might imply or lead to a favourable association with the polytheism and idolatry which either then prevailed or had in prior times existed.

            If it be proposed to remove the difficulty by referring to the rule of the Hebrew idiom before mentioned, these objections will lie against the admission of this as an adequate solution: –

            1.  The existence of such a rule we have shown to be at least questionable.

            2.  If it be received, there seems no reason for the attachment of this note of dignity and majesty to Eloah and Adon, while it is not given to other names of the Deity, which, being appellatives, stand in at least equal need of some mark of distinction and eminence.

            3.  Admitting, however, that there existed some reason, to us undiscoverable, for thus signalizing these particular words, the Hebrew language possesses the more direct method of making the distinction, by appropriate epithets; a method constantly in use by the writers of the Old Testament, and liable to no misinterpretation; whereas there were the most cogent reasons, as we have seen, for avoiding the particular mode under consideration, even were it much more indubitably an idiom of the language than can be pretended.  It is further observable that the rabbinical writers, even while supporting their alleged rule, recognize a designed plurality in the name Elohim, and say that it is expressive of the manifold faculties or operations of the Deity.  “Elohim: its explanation is, possessor of all powers; and for this reason he (Moses) does not say El, nor Eloah, but Elohim, in the plural number.  So also, He is the Holy God (Eloliim kedoshim, Josh. 24:19.), because he perfectly comprises all holinesses.”  Smith’s Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, vol. i. p. 474. – Editor.]

         “Though the august name of Jehovah in a more peculiar maimer belongs to God the Father, yet is that name, in various parts of Scripture, applied to each person in the Holy Trinity. The Hebrews considered that name in such a sacred light, that they never pronounced it, and used the word Adonai instead of it. It was indeed a name that ranked first among their profoundest Cabala; a mystery, sublime, ine’abNe, incommunicable. It was called Tetragrammaton, or the name of four letters, and these letters are Jod, He, Vau, He, the proper pronunciation of which, from long disuse, is said to be no longer known to the Jews themselves. This awful name was first revealed by God to Moses from the centre of the burning bush; and Josephus, who, as well as Scripture, relates this circumstance, evinces his veneration for it, by calling it the name which his religion did not permit him to mention. [Ant. Jud. lib. ii. cap. 5.]  From this word the pagan title of Iao and Jove is, with the greatest probability, supposed to have been originally formed; and in the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, there is an oath still extant to this purpose, ‘By him who has the four letters.’  As the name Jehovah, however, in some instances applied to the Son and the Holy Spirit, was the proper name of God the Father, so is Logos in as peculiar a manner the appropriated name of God the Son.  The Chaldee Paraphrasts translate the original Hebrew text by Mimra da Jehovah, literally, the Word of Jehovah; a term totally different, as Bishop Kidder has incontestably proved, in its signification, and in its general application among the Jews, from the Hebrew Dabar, which simply means a discourse or decree, and is properly rendered by Pithgam. [Demonstration of the Messiah, part iii. pp. 108, 109.]  In the Septuagint translation of the Bible, a work supposed by the Jews to have been undertaken by men immediately inspired from above, the former term is universally rendered Λόγος, and it is so rendered and so understood by Philo and all the more ancient Rabbins.  The name of the third person in the ever-blessed Trinity has descended unaltered from the days of Moses to our own time; for, as well in the sacred writings as by the Targumists, and by the modern doctors of the Jewish church, he is styled Ruach Hakhodesh, the Holy Spirit.  He is sometimes, however, in the Rabbinical books, denominated by Shechinah, or Glory of Jehovah; in some places he is called Sephirah, or Wisdom; and in others the Binah, or Understanding. [Dr. Allix’s Judgment, p. 168.]  From the enumeration of these circumstances, it must be sufficiently evident to the mind which unites piety and reflection, that so far from being silent upon the subject, the ancient Scriptures commence with an avowal of this doctrine, and that, in fact, the creation was the result of the joint operations of the Trinity.”

         “If the argument above offered should still appear inconclusive, the 26th verse of this chapter (Gen. 1) contains so pointed an attestation to the truth of it, that in my opinion, when duly considered, it must stagger the most hardened sceptic; for in that text not only the plurality is unequivocally expressed, but the act which I have before observed is the peculiar prerogative of Deity, is mentioned together with that plurality, the one circumstance illustrating the other, and both being highly elucidatory of this doctrine; ‘And God (Elohim) said, Let us [The ancient Christians looked upon this as a plain intimation of a plurality of persons in the Godhead: Epiphanius says, “This is the language of God to his Word and only begotten, as all the faithful believe.”  Haeres. 23. n.2. and vide Haeres. 44. n. 4. and Haeres. 46. n. 3, where he says, “Adam was πεπλασμενος εν χειρι Πατρος και υιου και αγιου πνευματος, formed by the hand of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”  Vide Patrick in loc.] make man in our image, after our likeness.’  Why the Deity should speak of himself in the plural number, unless that Deity consisted of more than one person, it is difficult to conceive; for the answer given by the modern Jews, that this is only a figurative mode of expression, implying the high dignity of the speaker; and that it is usual for earthly sovereigns to use this language by way of distinction, is futile, for two reasons.  In the first place, it is highly degrading to the Supreme Majesty to suppose he would take his model of speaking and thinking from man, though it is highly consistent with the vanity of man to arrogate to himself (as doubtless was the case in the licentiousness of succeeding ages) the style and imagined conceptions of Deity; and it will be remembered, that these solemn words were spoken before the creation of that being, whose false notions of greatness and sublimity the Almighty is thus impiously supposed to adopt. In truth, there does not seem to be any real dignity in an expression, which, when used by a human sovereign in relation to himself, approaches very near to absurdity.  The genuine fact, however, appears to be this.  When the tyrants of the East first began to assume divine honours, they assumed likewise the majestic language, appropriated to, and highly becoming, the Deity, but totally inapplicable to man.  The error was propagated from age to age through a long succession of despots, and at length Judaic apostacy arrived at such a pitch of profane absurdity, as to affirm that very phraseology to be borrowed from man, [It may be observed, that the language of Pharaoh king of Egypt, as recorded by Moses in the book of Genesis, is always in the singular number, “I am Pharaoh”; and, “See, I have set thee over the land of Egypt,” Gen. 41:41, 44; and Ezra records, that the king of Persia wrote in the same style long afterwards, “I Darius make a decree.”  Ezra 6:8.] which was the original and peculiar language of the Divinity.  It was, indeed, remarkably pertinent when applied to Deity, for, in a succeeding chapter, we have more decisive authority for what is thus asserted, where the Lord God himself says, ‘Behold the man is become as one of us’; a very singular expression, which some Jewish commentators, with equal effrontery, contend was spoken by the Deity to the council of angels, that, according to their assertions, attended him at the creation.  From the name of the Lord God being used in so emphatical a manner, it evidently appears to be addressed to those sacred persons to whom it was before said, ‘Let us make man;’ for would indeed the omnipotent Jehovah, presiding in a less dignified council, use words that have such an evident tendency to place the Deity on a level with created beings?”

         Mr. Maurice also proves that the word Elohim was understood exactly in the above sense by Moses himself and the ancient Hebrews, however their modern descendants may deny the allusion; that their own paraphrasts apply the term Logos, in the very same manner we do, to the second, as well as that of Holy Spirit, to the third person in the blessed Trinity; and that, in fact, they had the fullest belief in that Trinity, [Gelatine has produced two expositions of the following passage in Isaiah, 6:3: “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts,” which are remarkable proofs of the truths of this assertion; the one is taken from the illustrious Rabbi Simeon, who thus comments upon the word Holy being repeated three times: “Holy, this is the Father; Holy, this is the Son; Holy, this is the Holy Spirit”; the other is from the Chaldee paraphrase of Jonathan the son of Uzziel, “Holy, Father; Holy, Son; Holy, Holy Ghost.”] expressed in the most emphatic language, and explained by the most significant symbols.  It is impossible, upon the present occasion, to follow this ingenious and eloquent writer through these profound disquisitions; but I desire to take this opportunity, as I shall not, perhaps, have occasion to mention him again in this work, of recommending, in the most earnest manner, both his Dissertations and his History to the attention of all those who are desirous of seeing strong additional light thrown upon some of the most important doctrines of the Holy Scriptures.  Every friend to revealed religion will consider himself as indebted to the laborious researches of Mr. Maurice, while every admirer of an animated and elegant style will read his works with peculiar satisfaction.

         The first passage I shall adduce from the New Testament in proof of this important doctrine of the Trinity is, the charge and commission which our Saviour gave to his apostles, to “go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [Matt. 28:19.]  The Gospel is everywhere in Scripture repreented as a Covenant or conditional offer of eternal salvation from God to man, and Baptism was the appointed ordinance by which men were to be admitted into that Covenant, by which that offer was made and accepted.  This Covenant being to be made with God himself, the ordinance must of course be performed in his name; but Christ directed that it should be performed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and therefore we conclude that God is the same as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Since Baptism is to be performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, they must be all three persons; and since no superiority or difference whatever is mentioned in this solemn form of Baptism, we conclude that these three persons are all of one substance, power, and eternity. [ Ει δε κτισην ουκ ειχε φυσιν ο υιος η το παναγιον πνευμα, ουκ αν συνηριθμησαν τω κεκτικοτι Θεω.  Theod. 5. contr. Haer.  Ποια γαρ κοινωνια τω κτισματι προς κτισην; δια τι το πεποιημενον συναριθμειται τω ποιησαντι εις την των παντων τελειωσιν;  Athan. O. 3. contr. Ar..]  Are we to be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and is it possible that the Father should be self-existent, eternal, the Lord God Omnipotent; and that the Son, in whose name we are equally baptized, should be a mere man, born of a woman, and subject to all the frailties and imperfections of human nature? or, is it possible that the Holy Ghost, in whose name also we are equally baptized, should be a bare energy or operation, a quality or power, without even personal existence?  Our feelings, as well as our reason, revolt from the idea of such disparity.

         This argument will derive great strength from the practice of the early ages, and from the observations which we meet with in several of the ancient fathers relative to it.  We learn from Ambrose, that persons at the time of their Baptism declared their belief in the three persons of the Holy Trinity, and that they were dipped in the Water three times in his Treatise upon the Sacraments he says, “Thou wast asked at thy Baptism, Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty? and thou didst reply, I believe, and thou wast dipped; a second time thou wast asked, Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ the Lord? thou didst answer again, I believe, and thou wast dipped; a third time the question was repeated, Dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost? and the answer was, I believe, then thou wast dipped a third time.” [De Sac. lib. iii. cap. 7.]  It is to be noticed, that the belief, here expressed separately in the three persons of the Trinity, is precisely the same in all.  Tertullian, Basil, and Jerome, all mention this practice of trine immersion, as being derived from apostolical tradition; and Jerome expressly says, “We are thrice dipped in the water, that the mystery of the Trinity may appear to be but one.  We are not baptized in the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but in one name, which is God’s; and therefore, though we be thrice put under water to represent the mystery of the Trinity, yet it is reputed but one Baptism.” [Hieron. cont. Luc. cap. iv. lib. 2. in Ephes. 14.] – “Who,” says Didymus, “will not hence conclude the equality of the sacred Trinity, seeing there is but one Faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as Baptism is ministered in the name of all three?” [De Sp. Sanct. lib. ii. inter. Op. Hier.]  Cyprian, after reciting the form of Baptism prescribed by our Saviour, says, “He intimates a Trinity, by the sacrament of which the nations should be baptized”; and again, “Christ himself orders the nations to be baptized in the full and united Trinity.” [Cyp. ad Jub.]  “If,” says Athanasius, “the Holy Ghost be not of the substance of the Father and the Son, why then did the Son of God join him together with them in the symbol of sanctification, when he said to his disciples, Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? [Athanas. Disp. cont. Ar.]  The heretics, who denied the divinity of Christ, or of the Holy Ghost, introduced alterations into the form of Baptism to suit their own particular tenets; these alterations are reprobated by many of the orthodox fathers, and the council of Nice decreed, “If they do not answer to this doctrine of the Trinity, let them not be baptized.”

         Thus the mysterious union of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as one God, was, in the opinion of the purest ages of the Christian church, clearly expressed in this form of Baptism.  By it the primitive Christians understood the Father’s gracious acceptance of the atonement offered by the Messiah; the peculiar protection of the Son, our great high priest and intercessor; and the readiness of the Holy Ghost to sanctify, to assist, and to comfort all the obedient followers of Christ, confirmed by the visible gift of tongues, of prophecy, and divers other gifts to the first disciples.  And as their great Master’s instructions evidently distinguished these persons from each other, without any difference in their authority or power, all standing forth as equally dispensing the benefits of Christianity, as equally the objects of the faith required in converts upon admission into the church, they clearly understood that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, were likewise equally the objects of their grateful worship: this fully appears from their prayers, doxologies, hymns, and creeds, which are still extant.

         The second passage to be produced in support of the doctrine now under consideration, is, the doxology at the conclusion of St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you.”  The manner in which Christ and the Holy Ghost are here mentioned, implies that they are persons, for none but persons can confer grace or fellowship; and these three great blessings of grace, love, and fellowship, being respectively prayed for by the inspired apostle from Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost, without any intimation of disparity, we conclude that these three persons are equal and divine.  This solemn benediction may therefore be considered as another proof of the Trinity, since it acknowledges the divinity of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Ghost.

         The third and last passage which I shall quote upon this subject, is the following salutation or benediction in the beginning of the Revelation of St. John: “Grace and peace from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the Seven Spirits which are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ.”  Here the Father is described by a periphrasis taken from his attribute of eternity, and the seven spirits is a mystical expression for the Holy Ghost, used upon this occasion either because the salutation is addressed to seven churches, every one of which had partaken of the spirit, or because seven was a sacred number among the Jews, denoting both variety and perfection, and in this case alluding to the various gifts, administrations, and operations of the Holy Ghost.  Since grace and peace are prayed for from these three persons jointly and without discrimination, we infer an equality in their power to dispense those blessings; and we further conclude that these three persons together constitute the Supreme Being, who is alone the object of prayer, and is alone the giver of every good and of every perfect gift.

         It might be right to remark that the seven spirits cannot mean angels, since prayers are never in Scripture addressed to angels, nor are blessings ever pronounced in their name. [I purposely omit the contested passage in the First Epistle of St. John, “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.”  In any case it would be improper to produce a doubtful text in support of so important a doctrine as that of the Trinity; but I must own that after an attentive consideration of the controversy relative to that passage, I am convinced that it is spurious.  [A passage, says Bishop Marsh, which no ancient Greek manuscript contains, and which no ancient Greek father ever saw.  Criticism of the Bible, sect. iv. p.167. – Editor.]]

         It is unnecessary to quote any of the numerous passages in which the Father is singly called God, as some of them must be recollected by everyone, and the divinity of the Father is not called in question by any sect of Christians; and those passages which prove the divinity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost separately, will be more properly considered under the second and fifth articles.  In the mean time we may observe, that if it shall appear, as I trust it will, from Scripture, that Christ is God, and the Holy Ghost is God, it will follow, since we are assured that there is but one God, that the three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by a mysterious union, constitute the one God, or as this article expresses it, that THERE IS A TRINITY IN UNITY; AND IN THE UNITY OF THIS GODHEAD THERE BE THREE PERSONS OF ONE SUBSTANCE, POWER, AND ETERNITY, THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GHOST.

         The word Trinity does not occur in Scripture, nor do we find it in any of the early confessions of faith; but this is no argument against the doctrine itself; since we learn from the fathers of the first three centuries, that the divinity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost was, from the days of the apostles, acknowledged by the catholic church, and that those who maintained a contrary opinion were considered as heretics [Vide Letters between Dr. Horsley and Dr. Priestley, Dr. Knowles’s Primitive Christianity, and Wilson’s Illustration of the Method of explaining the New Testament by the early Opinions of Jews and Christians concerning Christ.]; and as everyone knows that neither the divinity of the Father, nor the unity of the Godhead, was ever called in question at any period, it follows that the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity has been in substance, in all its constituent parts, always known among Christians.  In the fourth century it became the subject of eager and general controversy; and it was not till then that this doctrine was particularly discussed.  While there was no denial or dispute, proof and defense were unnecessary: “Nunquid enim perfecte de Trinitate tractatum est, antequam oblatrarent Ariani?” [Augustine.]  But this doctrine is positively mentioned as being admitted among catholic Christians, by writers who lived long before that age of controversy.  Justin Martyr, in refuting the charge of atheism urged against Christians, because they did not believe in the gods of the heathen, expressly says, “We worship and adore the Father, and the Son, who came from him and taught us these things, and the prophetic Spirit” [Just. Mart. ed. Par. 1636, p. 56.]; and soon after, in the same Apology, he undertakes to show the reasonableness of the honour paid by Christians to the Father in the first place, to the Son in the second, and to the Holy Ghost in the third, and says, that their assigning the second place to a crucified man, was, by unbelievers, denominated madness, because they were ignorant of the mystery, which he then proceeds to explain. [P. 60.]  Athenagoras, in replying to the same charge of atheism urged against Christians, because they refused to worship the false gods of the heathen, says, “Who would not wonder, when he knows that we, who call upon God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, showing their power in the unity, and their distinction in order, should be called Atheists?” [Athenag. ad Colum. Just. Mart. p. 11. edit. Par. 1615.]  Clement of Alexandria not only mentions three divine persons, but invokes them as one only God.  Praxeas, Sabellius, [“Praxeas and Sabellius taught an unity of persons as well as of substance, supposing that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, were only different terms for the same person, which led to the heresy of the Patripassians, who affirmed that the Father was incarnate, and suffered upon the cross.  It is curious to observe the contrast which the ancient Ebionites and the modern Socinians form to these opinions.  Praxeas lived in the second, and Sabellius in the third century.] and other Unitarians, accused the orthodox Christians of tritheism, which is of itself a clear proof that the orthodox worshipped the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and though in reality they considered these three persons as constituting the one true God, it is obvious that their enemies might easily represent that worship as an acknowledgment of three Gods.  Tertullian, in writing against Praxeas, maintains, that “A Trinity rationally conceived, is consistent with truth; and that unity irrationally conceived, forms heresy.”  He had before said, in speaking of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, “that there are three of one substance, and of one condition, and of one power, because there is one God”: and he afterwards adds, “The connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Comforter, makes three united together, the one with the other; which three are one thing, not one person; as it is said, I and the Father are one thing, with regard to the unity of substance, not to the singularity of number”: and he also expressly says, “The Father is God, and the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God”; and again, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, believed to be three, constitute one God.”  And in another part of his works he says, “There is a Trinity of one Divinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”  And Tertullian not only maintains these doctrines, but asserts that they were prior to any heresy, and had indeed been the faith of Christians from the first promulgation of the Gospel.*  To these writers of the second century we may add Origen and Cyprian in the third; the former of whom mentions Baptism (alluding to its appointed form) as the “source and fountain of graces to him who dedicates himself to the divinity of the adorable Trinity.” [Orig. tom. vi. in Rom.]  And the latter, after reciting the same form of Baptism, says that “by it Christ delivered the doctrine of the Trinity, unto which mystery or sacrament the nations were to be baptized.”

         *[These passages, from this most ancient of the Latin fathers, appear to me so important that I am tempted to transcribe the words of the original: Duos et tres (deos) jam jactitant a nobis praedicari; se vero unius Dei cultores praesumuut: quasi non et Unitas, irrationaliter collecta, haeresim faciat; et Trinitas, rationaliter expensa, veritatem constituat.  Adv. Prax. cap. 2. – Tres unius substantiae, et unius status et unius potentiae, quia unus Deus. cap. 2. – Connexus Patris in Filio, et Filii in Paracleto, tres afficit cohaerentes, alterum ex altero: qui tres unum sunt, non unus; quomodo dictum est, Ego et Pater unum sumus, ad substantiae unitatem, non ad numeri singularitatem. cap. 16. – Pater est Deus omnipotens.  Filius est suo jure Deus omnipotens. cap. 12. – Spiritus Deus est. cap. 16. – Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus, tres crediti, unum Deum sistunt. cap. 21. – Trinitas est unius Divinitatis, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.  De Pud. cap. 20. – Hanc regulam ab initio Evangelii decucurrisse, etiam ante priores quosque haereticos, nedum ante Praxean hesternurn, probabit tam ipsa posteritas omnium haereticorum, quam ipsa novellitas Praxeae hesterni.  Adv. Prax.]

         It would be easy to multiply quotations upon this subject; but these are amply sufficient to show the opinions of the early fathers, and to refute the assertion that the doctrine of the Trinity was an invention of the fourth century.

         To these positive testimonies I will subjoin a negative argument: those who acknowledged the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, are never called heretics by any writer of the first three centuries; and this circumstance is surely a strong proof that the doctrine of the Trinity was the doctrine of the primitive church; more especially, since the names of those, who first denied the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, are transmitted to us as of persons who dissented from the common faith of Christians.

         But while we contend that the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity is founded in Scripture, and supported by the authority of the early Christians, we must acknowledge that it is not given to man to understand in what manner the three persons are united, or how, separately and jointly, they are God.  It would, perhaps, have been well, if divines, in treating this awful and mysterious subject, had confined themselves to the expressions of Scripture; for the moment we begin to explain it beyond the written Word of God, we plunge ourselves into inextricable difficulties.  And how can it be otherwise?  Is it to be expected that our finite understandings should be competent to the full comprehension of the nature and properties of an infinite Being?  “Can we find out the Almighty to perfection,” [Job 11:7.] or penetrate into the essence of the Most High? – God is a Spirit,” [John 4:24.] and our gross conceptions are but ill adapted to the contemplation of a pure and spiritual Being.  We know not the essence of our own mind, nor the precise distinction of its several faculties; and why then should we hope to comprehend the personal characters which exist in the Godhead?  If I tell you earthly things, and you understand them not, how shall ye understand if I tell you heavenly things?  When we attempt to investigate the nature of the Deity, whose existence is commensurate with eternity, by whose power the universe was created, and by whose wisdom it is governed; whose presence fills all space, and whose knowledge extends to the thoughts of every man in every age, and to the events of all places, past, present, and to come, the mind is quickly lost in the vastness of these ideas, and unable to find any sure guide to direct its progress; it becomes, at every step, more bewildered and entangled in the endless mazes of metaphysical abstraction.  – “God is a God that hideth himself.” [Job 23:9.] – “We cannot by searching find out God.” [Job 11:7.] – “Behold, God is great, and we know him not.” [Job 36:26.] – “Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for us: it is high; we cannot attain unto it.” [Psalm 139:6.]


Article 2.

Of the Word, or Son of God, Which Was Made Very Man.

         The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, 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 second person in the Holy Trinity is distinguished by the name of THE SON, that is, “the Son of God”.  It is sometimes said that the phrase “Son of God” admits of various significations, and is used metaphorically in Scripture; but this observation cannot affect the argument which may be derived from it concerning our Saviour, as it cannot be denied that the Jews, in his time, affixed to this expression a determinate and particular meaning applicable only to the Divine nature, and in this sense we shall find it was claimed by Christ, and understood to be so both by his disciples and by his enemies: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his (proper) Father, making himself equal with God.” [John 5:18.  Οτι ου μονον ελυε το σαββατον, αλλα και πατερα ιδιον ελεγε τον Θεον.]  Upon our Lord’s declaring to the Jews, “I and my Father are one,” they took up stones to stone him, saying, “For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God”; and our Lord’s answer proves this to be only an equivalent expression with the assertion that he was the Son of God, “Say ye, thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God?” [John 10:30, 33, 36.]  But the condemnation of our Lord, immediately upon his answer to the direct question of the high priest, may alone be considered as conclusive: “And the high priest said to Jesus, I adjure thee, by the living God (the judicial form of administering an oath according to the Jewish law), that thou tell me whether thou be the Christ the Son of God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy, what further need have we of witnesses?  Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy, what think ye?  They answered and said, He is guilty of death.*  St. Luke’s account of this examination places the argument in a still stronger point of view: he mentions two distinct questions as having been put to Jesus in the council, first, “Art thou the Christ?” and upon our Saviour’s answering, “If I tell you, ye will not believe,” and solemnly declaring, “Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God”; they further ask, secondly, “Art thou then the Son of God?”  And when he said unto them, “Ye say that I am,” [This, as well as the expression “Thou hast said,” in the parallel passage just now quoted from St. Matthew, was an eastern mode of answering in the affirmative.  Vide Mark, 14:62.] they said, “What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.” [Luke 22:67, 69–71.]  And when Pilate would have released Jesus, declaring, “he found no fault in him,” the Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” [John 19:6–7.]  Thus it appears that our Lord suffered death, according to the Jewish law, as a blasphemer, because avowing himself to be the Son of God, he was clearly understood to represent himself as equal with God. [It should be observed, that the Jews never thought of punishing with death those impostors who pretended to be the Christ.  This claim did not include the crime of blasphemy, according to their idea of the Messiah, any more than the pretensions to be a prophet did.]  This circumstance must, I think, be allowed as alone sufficient to prove that the Jews understood the title of “Son of God,” in the sense of absolute divinity; but it does not prove that they expected the Messiah to be the Son of God.  This was the opinion of but those few, who, like Simeon and Anna, waited for the promises of God, and adhered to the true and original sense of the Scriptures, unadulterated by the comments and glosses of the scribes, which had produced the general expectation of a temporal kingdom under a temporal prince; and we find our Lord and his Apostles constantly appealing to the Scriptures, as testifying to the truth of their assertions respecting his office and dignity, and combating the common opinion concerning the Christ on many occasions: “How say the scribes, that Christ is the Son of David? for David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool; David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son?” [Mark 12:35–37.] – And when the Jews asked him, “Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead; and the prophets, which are dead; whom makest thou thyself?  He answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was I am.  Then took they up stones to cast at him,” [John 8:53, 58–59.] for they clearly understood this expression as agreeing with the sense in which he had called God his Father.

         *[Matt. 26:63–66.  [The most important record by far, in respect of the point now before us, is the account of our Lord’s trial and condemnation before the Jewish council.  In order to have a clear view of this portion of the history, it is necessary to keep in mind that when he was tried before the Roman governor, it was not for the same crime he was charged with before the council of the Jews, but for seditious and treasonable designs against the Roman emperor.  “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a king.  Whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.”  Now I need hardly remark that this was no crime under the law of Moses; and would, in fact, have been a merit in the sight of most of the Jews.  But what he was charged with before them was blasphemy, according to the law of Moses; and of this they pronounced him guilty, and sentenced him to death; but not having power to inflict capital punishment, they prevailed on Pilate, who had acquitted him of the charge of treason, to inflict their sentence: “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”  In order to understand clearly the trial and condemnation of our Lord before the Jewish council (which is in many respects a most important part of sacred history), we should study the accounts given of it by all four of the Evangelists.  Each relates such circumstances as most struck his own mind; where one is abridged, another is more diffuse: each omits some things that are noticed by another; but no one can be supposed to have recorded anything that did not occur.  All the four, therefore, should be compared together, in order to obtain a clear view of the transaction.  It seems to have been divinely appointed that Jesus should be convicted on no testimony but his own; perhaps in order to fulfill the more emphatically his declaration, “No man taketh away my life, but I lay it down of myself.”  For the witnesses brought forward to misrepresent and distort his saying, “Destroy this temple,” not “I will destroy,” could not make their evidence agree.  The high priest then endeavoured, by examining Jesus himself, to draw from him an acknowledgment of his supposed guilt.  He and the others appear to have asked him two questions, which, in the more abridged narrative of Matthew and Mark, are compressed into one sentence; but which Luke has given distinctly as two.  After having asked him, “Art thou the Christ?” they proceeded to ask further, “Art thou then the Son of God?” and as soon as he had answered this last question in the affirmative, (according to the Hebrew idiom, “Ye say,” “Thou hast said,”) immediately “the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; ye have heard the blasphemy; what need we any further witnesses? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.” ... Jesus did, therefore, acknowledge the fact alleged against him, viz, that of claiming to be the Son of God in such a sense as to incur the penalty (supposing that claim unwarranted) of death for blaspheming, according to the law respecting those who should entice Israel to worship any other than the one true God.  The whole question, therefore, of his being rightfully or wrongfully condemned turns on the justness of that claim – on his actually having, or not having, that divine character which the Jews understood him to assume.  For if he were not such, and yet called himself the Son of God, knowing in what sense they understood the title, I really am at a loss to see on what ground we can find fault with the sentence they pronounced.  Abp. Whately: The Kingdom of Christ, pp. 17–23. – Editor.]]

         And we find the converts to the religion of Christ expressly declaring their faith in terms, which not only directly acknowledged their belief, that Jesus “was the Christ,” but that he was also “the Son of God”.  Nathaniel, that true Israelite, confessed Jesus to be the Messiah in these words: “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.” [John 1:49.] – And Martha said, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” [John 11:27.] – “Then they who were in the ship,” who had seen him walk upon the water and calm the storm, “came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” [Matt. 14:33.] – “Jesus asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” [Matt. 16:13–18.] – John the Baptist “bare record that this is the Son of God,” having received this knowledge by a special revelation. [John 1:34.] – And God himself bore witness to the truth of Christ’s pretensions by a voice from heaven, at the time of his baptism in the river, and when he was transfigured upon the mount in the presence of three of his apostles, saying, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” [Matt. 3:17.  Luke 9:35.]  To these quotations from the Gospels I shall add one from the Acts: When Philip found the Ethiopian eunuch studying the prophecies of Isaiah, anxious but unable to understand them, “he began at the same Scripture, (chap. 53) and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? and Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” [Acts 8:35, etc.]  He does not merely profess his faith in Jesus (of whom he probably had never before heard) as a teacher sent from God, or as the Christ expected by the Jews; but he declares his belief that Jesus Christ, the circumstances of whose life and resurrection Philip had related, is the Son of God, the Messiah of whom the prophets wrote, and whom Isaiah in particular had described in terms appropriate to God alone.  And when we reflect further, that this eunuch was a Jewish proselyte, “going to worship at Jerusalem,” we cannot but conclude that this confession of faith contained an acknowledgment of the divinity of Christ, since it has been proved that the Jews actually condemned our Lord to death for assuming the title of Son of God, which they imagined to be blasphemy.

         Now, if it be considered that many of the first converts to the Gospel were Jews, who, when their minds were opened, by either natural or supernatural means, to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, would understand from the ancient Scriptures that the Messiah was to be the Son of God, the belief of the early Christians in the divinity of Christ can hardly be questioned.  It resulted immediately from the agreement of his claims (claims for which he was crucified by their blinded nation) and of the circumstances of his life, with the prophecies concerning him; and accordingly we find little dispute in the first century concerning the divinity of Christ; it was his humanity that was chiefly denied. [After the destruction of Jerusalem we hear of some Jewish Christians, who retaining their dependence upon the efficacy of the law for justification, retained also their ancient prejudices respecting the person of the Messiah, but their number was too inconsiderable to attract much attention till the second century.  Alike condemned by Jews and Christians, they formed themselves into a sect, and were called Ebionites.  Ebion signifies a beggar, or poor, and whether that name was given them for trusting “to the beggarly elements of the law,” or from a person of that name, is not certainly known.  These men, “who called themselves Christians,” says Origen, “denied the divinity of Christ, and the doctrine of the atonement.”  According to Epiphanius they rejected the authority of all Scripture, except the Pentateuch, and received only a spurious Hebrew Gospel, altered from St. Matthew’s to suit their opinions.  In the first century the Gnostic heresies were the most prevalent; but both those who maintained the simple divinity, and those who maintained the simple humanity of Christ, denied the doctrine of the atonement, which was evidently considered by the Apostles as the fundamental principle of the Christian religion.  St. John, therefore, in many passages of his writings, lays great stress upon the humanity of Christ, from zeal to prove the reality of his sufferings and the certainty of the atonement; but at the same time we find that he cautiously guards against the consequences to which these passages might have led, by asserting the divinity of Christ in more express terms than are to be found in any of the preceding Gospels.]

         It may further be observed that the relation of Father and Son, the names by which the first and second persons in the Holy Trinity are distinguished, is not only consistent with, but seems to imply, sameness of nature, “ut praescripsit ipsa natura hominem credendum esse qui ex homine fit, ita eadem natura praescribit et Deum credendum esse, qui ex Deo fit.” [Novat. cap. 11.]

         The angel addressed the Virgin Mary in these words: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also, that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” [Luke 1:35.]  “And the reason,” says Bishop Pearson, “is clear, because that the Holy Ghost is God; for, were he any creature, and not God himself, by whom our Saviour was thus born of a virgin, he must have been the son of a creature, not of God.” [Art. 2.]

         Christ is also emphatically called “the Son” only, in many passages of Scripture: “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father.” [Matt. 11:27.] – “He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life.” [John 3:36.] – He is likewise called “the only begotten Son of God,” – “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.]

         St. John, in the beginning of his Gospel, speaks of Christ under the name of “the Word.”* – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made, that was made.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  The expression, “In the beginning was the Word,” must mean that the Word existed from all eternity, that is, THE WORD OF THE FATHER WAS BEGOTTEN FROM EVERLASTING OF THE FATHER, since St. John is referring to times not only prior to the birth of Christ, but also to the creation of the world.” [Εν αρχη ην, ουδεν ετερον εστιν αλλ’ η το ειναι αει δηλωτικον, και απειρως ειναι.  Chrys. Hom. 2. in Joan.] – “And the Word was with God,” that is, the Word was united with the Father, or was OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE FATHER. – “I and my Father are one,” [John 10:30.] was a declaration of Christ himself recorded by this same Evangelist: “And the Word was God,” or, THE VERY AND ETERNAL GOD. – “The same was in the beginning with God,” that is, the Word was united with the Father from all eternity. – “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” [The creation is also attributed to the word of God in the following passage, 2 Peter 3:5.] – This proves that by the Word St. John means Christ, [St. John also calls Christ the Word of God, Rev. 19:13.] since the creation of the world is in Scripture repeatedly attributed to Christ, [Heb. 1:2, 10.  1 Cor. 8:6.  Col. 1:16.  Eph. 3:9.] and consequently the Word being made flesh was Jesus Christ.  It is also a further proof of the divinity of Christ, since none but God can create: “He that built all things is God.” [Heb. 3:4.] – We have before seen that the creation of the world is attributed to God the Father, which is an additional proof of an incomprehensible identity or unity of substance between the Father and the Son.

         *[This title is not taken, as some have imagined, either from Plato or from Philo (with whose writings there is no sufficient reason to think that the Evangelists were acquainted), but from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and from the subsequent style of the ancient Jews in conformity thereto.  Vide Parkhurst’s Lexicon, under the word Λογος.  The divine person, who has accomplished the salvation of mankind, is called the Word, and the Word of God, not only because God at first created, and still governs, all things by him; but because as men discover their sentiments and designs to one another by the intervention of words, speech, or discourse, so God by his Son discovers his gracious designs in the fullest and clearest manner to men.  All the various manifestations which he makes of himself; whether in the works of creation, providence, or redemption, all the revelations he has been pleased to give of his will, are conveyed to us through him, and therefore he is by way of eminence fitly styled the Word of God.  Vide Macknight in loc.]

         What has been already stated concerning the sense in which we are to understand the title of the Son of God, and the assertion of St. John in the beginning of his Gospel, concerning the Word, may be considered as a sufficient illustration and proof of the former part of this article; “THE SON, WHICH IS THE WORD OF THE FATHER, BEGOTTEN FROM EVERLASTING OF THE FATHER, THE VERY AND ETERNAL GOD, OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE FATHER.”  But as the divinity of our Saviour is the main point upon which this article rests, and as it is the principal cause of separation to many who dissent from our established religion, it may be right to adduce some other passages of Scripture in support of this doctrine, and also to state some testimonies of the early opinions of Christians upon this subject.

         St. Paul exhorts the Philippians to the practice of humility, from the example of Christ Jesus, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Phil. 2:6–11.]  In this text the divinity of Christ, both before his incarnation and after his ascension, is clearly pointed out: “Being in the form of God,” signifies being really God, just as “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men,” signifies that he was really a man in a low and mean condition: and the following words, “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” expressly declare Christ’s equality with God.  Indeed this passage, taken in this its obvious sense, so decisively proves the divinity of Christ, that those who deny that doctrine give a different meaning to one part of it, and assert that another part is wrongly translated; they say, that “being in the form of God,” refers to his bearing the resemblance of God, by his performance of miracles and delivery of a law in the name of God; but this description would apply to Moses, who is never said to have been “in the form of God”.  And they further say, that the words, “he thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” should be rendered, “he did not catch at, or vehemently desire to be equal with God,” or, “he did not think that he ought to make an ostentatious display of his resemblance to God.”*  Even if it be allowed that the words themselves would bear these significations, which I very much doubt, it would be found that the context will not admit of any such interpretation; for, in the first place, the verse thus understood would be made to refer to our Saviour when he was upon earth, whereas, whoever reads the whole passage attentively, will perceive that this verse refers to Christ before he appeared in the likeness of men, since he could not make himself of no reputation, unless he had preexisted in a state of superior dignity and glory.  In the next place, according to this interpretation, the Apostle exhorts to humility from the example of Christ, who, while he performed miracles, and preached a religion in the name of God, did not aim at or affect equality with God, or make a display of his resemblance to him; that is, St. Paul calls upon the Philippians to have the same mind which was in Christ Jesus, who, being a mere man, did not make himself equal with God, or boast of his resemblance to him; the bare mention of such a sense of the text is sufficient to expose and refute it.  But the reasoning, according to the common interpretation, is clear and strong; for the Apostle exhorts the Philippians to imitate the example of Christ’s humility, who, though a divine person, voluntarily condescended to assume the lowest condition of human nature, and to submit to a cruel and ignominious death.  The latter part of the passage states, that in consequence, and as a reward, of his humiliation, “God highly exalted him, and gave him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  This exaltation of Christ, after his ascension into heaven, seems to indicate the glorified state of his human nature, just as his appearance and sufferings upon earth were the humiliation of his divine nature.

         *[Cyprian quotes this passage in exact agreement with our translation.  Non rapinam arbitratus est esse se aequalem Deo.  [So also the common Latin version.  St. Augustine, quoting the passage, says, “Non rapuit, quia naturaliter habuit.  Omnipotentia itaque Patris in Filio, omnipotentia in Filii Patre quia neque aliquando Pater sine Filio; neque aliquando Filius sine Patre.  Divinam illam nativitatem qua Filius processit ex Patre, qua natus est Deus de Deo, sine initio, sine tempore, sine matre, sine aliqua fragilitate, sine ulla sui diminutione, non possumus explicare, nativitatem autem ejus, ait Propheta, quis enarrabit?  Sicut ergo Deus de Deo natus est, et lux de lumine, et dies ex die; ita et Omnipotens ex omnipotente.  In ista enim mortali nostra generatione qui est pater, aliquando non fuit pater; et qui est filius, non semper est filius: quia et ipse filius cum accessu temporis patrem amiserit, conjugem acceperit, prolemque susceperit, non erit filius, sed ipse vocabitur pater; et quilibet pater ante quam suscipiat filium, non vocabitur pater.  Accedit ergo aliquid tempore, quod praecedat tempore.  Non ergo aestimemus hoc in illa divinitatis esse substantia, in illa generatione sempiterna.  Non enim illic deficiendo moritur Pater, ut Filius crescendo perveniat ad Patris dignitatem; aut sunt ibi tempora, quia per ipsum facta sunt tempora.  In quo autem tu, Haeretice, audes dicere Filium minorem, quem nos confitemur aequalem?  In aetate?  Non ibi sunt tempora.  Indivinitate?  Deus est Pater; Deus est et Filius.  In opere?  Omnia per Filium facta sunt.  Sermo ad Catechumenos, Op. t. vi. p. 558.  – Editor.]]

         In the Old Testament the prophets constantly declared that they had received from God the prophecies which they delivered; and it is acknowledged that none but God can enable men to predict future events.  St. Peter, in his First Epistle, represents Christ as enabling the prophets to foretell his own coming, with his sufferings, and the glory which was to succeed them: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” [1 Peter 1:10–11.]: this passage, therefore, proves both the preexistence and divinity of Christ.  The same Apostle, in his other Epistle, attributes these prophecies to the influence of the Holy Ghost: “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” [2 Peter 1:21.]  And thus the power of prophesying is ascribed indifferently to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which denotes the incomprehensible union of the three persons of the Godhead, asserted in the former article.

         The beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews will furnish another strong argument in favour of the divinity of Christ.  We shall there find that Christ is not only preferred to the angels, but is described as a Being of a totally different order.  “Who being the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? or, Sit on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?  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 forever and ever.  And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands.”  It may be observed that St. Paul, in thus contrasting the nature of Christ with the nature of angels, calls Christ the Son of God, which, as we have already seen, was making him equal with God, according to the interpretation of the Jews, to whom this Epistle was addressed.  He also attributes to him the creation and preservation of the world, which is a clear assertion of his divinity; and indeed he represents God the Father addressing Christ as the creator of the universe, and, moreover, as expressly calling him God.  This opposition is carried on through the whole second chapter, one passage of which plainly declares Christ’s existence previous to his incarnation, and that he was not of the order of angels: “He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”  Lest, however, this assertion of Christ’s being of the seed of Abraham should lead the Hebrews to think him a mere man, the Apostle immediately proceeds to point out, in the third chapter, the marked difference between him and Moses the legislator of the Jews, who was always considered by them as the greatest of their prophets; he says, that Moses was faithful as a servant, Christ as a Son; and that Christ was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as “he who has builded the house hath more honour than the house”; that is, the difference between Christ and Moses is that, which is between him who creates, and the thing created; and then having before ascribed the creation of the world to Christ, he adds, “he that built all things is God.”

         “Without controversy,” says St. Paul, “great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” [1 Tim. 3:16.]  All these six propositions, of which God is the subject, are true of Christ, and of no other person: he was “manifest in the flesh”; Christ appeared upon earth in a human form, with the flesh and all other properties of a man, sin only excepted: – “Justified in the Spirit”; the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon Christ at the time of his baptism; the extraordinary powers which he then received and afterwards exercised; and the performance of his promise by sending the Holy Ghost to his apostles, and enabling them to work miracles, proved him to be the true Messiah, and justified those high pretensions which he asserted during his ministry: – “Seen of angels”; angels worshipped Christ at his first appearance upon earth, announced his birth to the shepherds, ministered to him in the desert, and strengthened him in his last agony in the garden: – “Preached unto the Gentiles”; the doctrines taught by Christ to the Jews only, were by his command afterwards preached by his apostles to the Gentiles also, who were invited to embrace the Gospel, thus declared to be the universal religion of all mankind: – “Believed on in the world”; that many believed Jesus to be the true Messiah is a fact admitted by all, and indeed the rapid propagation of the Gospel is always urged by Christians as one of the many evidences by which its divine origin is established: “Received up into glory”; Christ having completed his ministry, and continued upon earth forty days after his resurrection, was received up into glory by visibly ascending into heaven in the presence of his apostles.  Since then these six propositions are applicable to Christ, and to Christ alone, and since St. Paul affirms them to be true of God, it follows that Christ is God.  “All these propositions,” says Bishop Pearson, “cannot be understood of any other, which either is, or is called, God; for though we grant the divine perfections and attributes to be the same with the divine essence, yet are they never in the Scriptures called God, nor can any of them, with the least show of probability, be pretended as the subject of these propositions, or afford any tolerable interpretation.  When they tell us that God, that is, the Will of God, was manifested in the flesh, that is, was revealed by frail and mortal men, and received up into glory, that is, was received gloriously on earth, they teach us a language which the Scriptures know not, and the Holy Ghost never used; and as no attribute, so no person but the Son can be here understood under the name of God; not the Holy Ghost, for he is distinguished from him, as being justified in the Spirit; not the Father, who was not manifested in the flesh, nor received up into glory.  It remaineth, therefore, that whereas the Son is the only person to whom all these clearly and undoubtedly belong, which are here jointly attributed unto God, as sure as the name of God is universally* expressed in the copies of the original language, so thus absolutely and subjectively taken must it be understood of Christ.”

         *[It cannot be strictly said that the word Θεος is found in all the MSS.  Dr. Whitby says, that there are only two which want it; and even Wetstein, whose Socinian principles made him very anxious to controvert this reading, acknowledges that the authority of MSS. is greatly in favour of the word Θεος: after mentioning a very few MSS. which have ος or ο, instead of Θεος, he says, Reliqui codices nostri (quibus J. Berriman addit ultra quinquaginta alios) magno consensu habent Θεος.  With this preponderance of testimony, admitted by a professed enemy so well versed in MSS. I cannot consider this as a doubtful text: and whoever will take the trouble of reading Wetstein’s long and laboured note upon this verse, will, I think, be convinced both of its purity, as it now stands in our Greek Testaments, and of its force in proving the divinity of our Saviour.  Vide Mill and Whitby in loc. and Pearson, Art. 2.]

         Our Saviour did not censure Thomas, when, upon being convinced of his resurrection, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” [John 20:28.]; and therefore by allowing himself to be called God, he admitted that the name was justly applied to him; and it may be observed, that the answer of our Saviour seems to annex a blessing to this belief of his divinity: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  It cannot, I think, be said that this declaration of our Lord referred only to the belief in his resurrection, when we consider the words of Thomas, and the circumstances which passed after Christ’s resurrection.  The incredulity of Thomas could not proceed from doubting the possibility of restoration to life, because he had seen the dead raised by the power of Jesus; but he had been expressly told, that “as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given the Son to have life in himself,” [John 5:26.] and he might have considered this and similar declarations to be so inconsistent with the death of Christ, as to doubt whether he and the other disciples had not been deceived in their confidence in him.  Certain it is that they were not prepared for the event of his crucifixion, although our Lord had repeatedly foretold it.  When he was taken before Pilate, “they all forsook him and fled”; and after his death we hear them expressing their firm belief that “Jesus of Nazareth was a mighty prophet in deed and word before God and all the people”; but adding, with evident marks of the disappointment occasioned by his death, “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” [Luke 24:19. 21.]  Thomas, therefore, who seems to have determined, [John 20:25.] after having received so severe a disappointment, as he thought, of the expectations he had formed concerning the Son of God, not to yield his faith again but to the most positive evidence, is no sooner convinced of the actual existence of his master Jesus Christ, than all his former confidence in his assertions instantly returns, and he exclaims, “My Lord and my God.”  Our Lord does not reply, as when St. Peter made an acknowledgment of his belief in his divinity, before his crucifixion, “charging him to tell no man.” [Matt. 16:20.]  The time of necessary concealment was past; and having since his resurrection reproved his disciples for the doubts they entertained, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” [Luke 24:25, etc.] and having “expounded unto them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself,” according to his promise to speak unto them plainly upon a subject about which they had expressed so much eager curiosity, he soon after directs them to publish the truths he had declared, by “teaching all nations,” [Matt. 28:19.] and admitting them into his church by a form of baptism expressive of his divinity, and ascends into heaven as a demonstrative proof of what he had asserted.

         God frequently describes his own Being in the Old Testament by the appellation of the “First and the Last,” as a title denoting eternity, and exclusively belonging to himself: “I am the First, and I am the Last, and beside me there is no God.” [Isa. 44:6.]  In the Revelation, Christ describes himself by the same title: he says to St. John, “Fear not; I am the First and the Last” [Rev. 1:17.]: – “These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive” [Rev. 2:8.]: – “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” [Rev. 22:13.]; and, “therefore,” says Bishop Pearson, “since Christ has so immediately, and with so great solemnity and frequency, taken the same style upon him, by which the Father did express his Godhead, it follows that he has declared himself to be the Supreme, Almighty, and Eternal God.” [Art. 2. of the Creed.]

         And indeed “all the names, the operations, and even the attributes of God, are in full and plain words given to Christ; he is called God; [Rom. 9:5.] his blood is said to be the blood of God [Acts 20:28.]; God is said to have laid down his life for us [1 John 3:16.]; Christ is called the true God [1 John 5:20.]; the Great God [Titus 2:13.]; the Lord of Glory [James 2:1.]; the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords [Rev. 19:16.]; and more particularly the name Jehovah is ascribed to him in the same word in which the seventy interpreters had translated it throughout the whole Old Testament, so that the constant uniformity of style between the Greek of the New, and that translation of the Old Testament, which was then received, and was of great authority among the Jews, and was yet of more authority among the first Christians, is an argument that carries such a weight with it, that this alone may serve to determine the matter.  The creating, the preserving, and the governing of all things, is also ascribed to Christ in a variety of places, but most remarkably when it is said, that 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 [Col. 1:16–17.]; he is said to have known what was in man [John 2:25.]; to have known men’s secret thoughts, and to have known all things; that as the Father was known of none but of the Son, so none knew the Son, but the Father [Matt. 11:27.]; he pardons sin, [Matt. 9:6.] sends the Spirit, [John 15:26.] gives grace and eternal life, and he shall raise the dead at the last day. [John 24:23, 5:25–26, 6:39–40.]  When all these things are laid together, in that variety of expressions in which they lie scattered in the New Testament, it is not possible to retain any reverence for those books, if we imagine that they are written in a style so full of approaches to the deifying of a mere man, that, without a very critical studying of languages and phrases, it is not possible to understand them otherwise. Idolatry, and a plurality of gods, seem to be the main things that the Scriptures warn us against; and yet here is a pursued thread of passages and discourses that do naturally lead a man to think that Christ is the true God, who yet, according to these men, only acted in his name, and has now a high honour conferred on him by God.” [Burnet.]

         It will be acknowledged by all who believe in revealed religion that the one true God is the only proper object of adoration; and therefore, if we can show that the New Testament authorizes the worship of Christ, it will be a sufficient proof of his divinity.  A woman, whose daughter was grievously vexed with a devil, came and worshipped Christ [Matt. 15:25.]; and when the eleven Apostles first saw him after his resurrection, “they worshipped him.” [Matt. 28:16–17.]  Upon these, and several other occasions, Christ permitted himself to be worshipped; but when the same worship was offered to Peter by Cornelius, he forbade it, and assigned as a reason, that “he was a man” [Acts 10:25–26.]; and if Christ had been a mere man he would have refused the worship offered him upon the same principle.  There is also a passage in the Revelation, which shows that the worship spoken of in the New Testament was not barely the prostration common eastern countries towards superiors, but a species of adoration which was due to God alone: “And I fell at his (that is, the angel’s) feet to worship him: and he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; worship God.” [Rev. 19:10.]  And our Saviour himself said to Satan, when he was tempted in the wilderness, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Matt. 14:10.]  And it is further to be observed, that the Apostles worshipped Christ when he was no longer present with them: “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven; and they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” [Luke 24:51–52.]  The worship therefore of Christ is justified by the example of the apostles themselves, who thus worshipped him after his ascension. St. Paul declares that, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” [Phil. 2:10.]; and St. John, in the account of his vision says, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.” [Rev. 5:13.] – “Here the two persons in the Godhead, the Father and the Son, are distinguished from each other, as they have distinct parts in the economy of our salvation; but the very same degree of religious worship, the same honour and glory, are in the same words ascribed, ‘unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,’ the partner of his throne and dignity, to signify that their essence is the same, and that they worshipped and glorified one and the same God, for ever and ever equally divine and equally eternal.” [Knowles’s Primitive Christianity.]

         Our blessed Saviour when expiring upon the cross, cried out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” [Luke 23:46.]; and he had just before prayed for his murderers in these words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34.]  In like manner the first martyr, St. Stephen, at the moment of his being stoned to death, prayed to Christ, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”; and for his murderers he added, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” [Acts 7:59–60.]  These prayers of Christ, addressed to his Father, and of St. Stephen, addressed to Christ, are in substance the same, and are recorded by the same evangelist, St. Luke.  “It seems very evident,” says Bishop Burnet, “that if Christ was not the true God, and equal to the Father, then this proto-martyr died in two acts that seem not only idolatrous but also blasphemous, since he worshipped Christ in the same acts in which Christ had worshipped his Father.”  But to remove all doubt concerning the lawfulness of St. Stephen’s worship of Christ, and to give decisive authority to his example, St. Luke tells us, that “Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 7:55.]

         Paul “besought the Lord,” [2 Cor. 12:8.] that is, prayed to Christ to remove a heavy affliction under which he laboured; and that it was the general practice of the primitive Christians to pray to Christ, appears from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which is addressed “to all that call upon the name of Christ”; upon which passage Origen observes, that “by these words the Apostle declares Christ to be God” [Orig. in Rom. x. b. 8.]; and in the Acts it is said, that Paul had authority from the chief priests to bind all “that called upon the name of Christ” [Acts 9:14.]; to call upon the name of Christ was therefore the common description of the disciples of Christ in the apostolic age; and this not only proves that the primitive Christians believed in the divinity of our Saviour, but it all accounts for the charge of blasphemy so frequently urged against them by the Jews in their early persecutions.  The worship of Christ would naturally appear in that light to those who did not allow him to be the Messiah, and who were zealous for the worship of the one true God; and we learn from the early apologists for Christianity, that the Heathen objected to the Christians, that they worshipped a crucified man, to which Minutius Felix answers, “that they were mistaken”; for that he whom they worshipped was God, and not a mere mortal man [Minut. Dial. p. 88.]; and Tertullian, arguing against the same charge, says, “They worshipped Christ, because they knew him to be the true natural Son of God by spiritual generation, and therefore called God; and the Son of God, because he was of one and the same essence or substance; he was begotten of God in such a manner, as to be God, and the Son of God, and they were both one. [Tert. Apol. cap. 21.]  We learn from Origen that Celsus, in his book written against the Christians, ridiculed the idea of the wise men worshipping the infant Christ as God, and represented his flight into Egypt, and other circumstances of his life, as inconsistent with his being a God.  “He objects against us,” says Origen, “I know not how often, respecting Jesus, that we consider him as God, with a mortal body.” [Lib. iii. p. 135.]  Indeed the principal objection urged by Celsus against Christianity seems to have been the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ.  In the parts of his work preserved by Origen, he repeatedly speaks of Christ as the God of Christians, alludes to the account of his miraculous conception, observes that he is called the Word, says the place is shown where Christ, “who is worshipped by Christians,” was born, ridicules their inconsistency in blaming the worshippers of Jupiter, whose tomb was shown in Crete, while they worship as God a man who was buried in Palestine.  “If these men,” says he, “worshipped but one God, they might perhaps have reason to inveigh against others: but now they act superstitiously towards him who lately appeared, and yet they think that God is not neglected, if his servant also be worshipped.”  He also represents the Christians as censuring the Jews for not admitting that Christ was God; and he everywhere speaks of the divinity of Christ as the common doctrine of Christians, and the worship of him as their established practice [Orig. contra Cels. passim.]; and surely such a testimony, coming from a professed enemy of the Gospel in the second century, and allowed to be a true statement by a Christian writer in the beginning of the third, must be considered as very valuable.  Lucian, who was contemporary with Celsus, mentions also the worship of Christ, and in a manner which shows that it was a thing not recently adopted.  “The Christians still worship that great man who was crucified in Palestine” [Luc. de Morte Peregrine.]; and we learn from Socrates, the ecclesiastical historian, that “the orator Libanius praised Porphyry and Julian for confuting the folly of a sect which styled a dead man of Palestine God, and the Son of God.” [Sec. Hist. Eccl.]  Arnobius, in the year 303, represents the Heathen as saying to the Christians, “The gods are not angry with you because you worship the Almighty God, but because you contend that he was God who was born a man, and, which is infamous even for vile persons, was crucified; and because you believe that he is still living, and worship him with daily prayers”; and again he says, “That the Christians do really worship Christ, but that it is from their indubitable knowledge that he is the true God; and they are bound to worship him as the head of their body.  And should a Gentile ask, Is Christ God? we answer, He is God, and God of the interior powers, that is, the searcher of hearts, which is the sole prerogative of God.” [Arnob. cont. Gent. lib. i.]  The objection urged against Christianity from the worship of Christ is frequently noticed by the writers of the first four centuries; and the defense uniformly made, is, that they worshipped Christ as God; and at the same time they constantly assert the unity of God.  There cannot be a more decisive proof that the early Christians believed in the divinity of our Saviour. [Vide Dr. Knowles’s Primitive Christianity, in which it is shown, in the clearest and most satisfactory manner, by a great variety of quotations from the writers of the first four centuries, that Jesus Christ was worshipped as God from the beginning of the Christian church.  Vide also Bingham’s Ant. b. xiii. c. 2.]

         As the opinion of the primitive church is deservedly considered as carrying great weight with it in this question, I shall add a few other authorities from ancient fathers.  There is an Epistle extant which most learned men ascribe to Barnabas, [This Epistle in the original Greek, and also an ancient Latin version of it, which seems to have been made from a purer text than that of our present copy, are both published in the first volume of the Patres Apostolici, by Cotelerius.] the companion of St. Paul, and all agree that it was written in the apostolic age.  In this Epistle we have the following passages, which plainly imply a belief in the divinity of Christ: “The Lord submitted to suffer for our soul, although he be the Lord of the whole earth, to whom he said before the formation of the world, Let us make man after our image and likeness.” – “For if he had not come in the flesh, how could we men have been saved?” – “If then the Son of God, who is Lord, and hereafter to judge the quick and dead, suffered that he might make us alive, let us believe that the Son of God could not have suffered but through us.” – “You are informed concerning the majesty of Christ, how all things were made for him and through him.” – Ignatius, another apostolic father, calls Christ “of the race of David according to the flesh, the Son of God according to divinity and power, truly born of a virgin – our God Jesus Christ – the Son of man, and the Son of God.” [Ignat, in Theod. Dial. Immutab.  Vide Pearson, Vindic. Part i, c. 1. p. 10.]  These passages are all, quoted by Theodoret, A. D. 449, which was nearly a century before any interpolation is suspected to have been made in the Epistles of Ignatius.  “We are not senseless,” says Tatian, “nor trifle with you, O Greeks, when we declare that God was born in the form of man.” [Page 159. ed. Paris, 1615.]  Irenaeus declares, that “every knee should bow to Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, our Saviour and King, by the will of the invisible Father.” [Lib. i. cap. 2.]  Eusebius says, that the divinity of Christ was asserted in the writings of Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, Irenaeus, and Melito, all of whom lived in the second century, and by many others; he also says that it was expressly declared in psalms and hymns of the earliest date; and that in fact Theodotus, a tanner, in the second century, was the first person who asserted that Christ was a mere man, for which he was excommunicated by Victor. [Eugeb. H. E. lib. v. cap. 28.]

         I shall conclude this subject with a quotation from Novatian, a writer of the third century: “Whereas it is the property of none but God to know the secrets of the heart, and yet Christ knows what is in man; whereas it is in the power of none but God to forgive sins, yet Christ does forgive sins; whereas it is of no man to come down from heaven, and yet he descended from thence; whereas no man could utter that saying, I and my Father are one, and Christ alone, from a consciousness of his divinity, said it; and whereas, finally, the apostle Thomas, furnished as he was with every proof of Christ’s divinity, said in answer to him, My Lord and my God; whereas the apostle St. Paul writes in his Epistle, Whose are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for evermore; whereas the same apostle declares, that he was made such, not by men, or through man, but through Jesus Christ; whereas he contends that he learned the gospel not of men, but by Jesus Christ: upon all these accounts we must conclude that Christ is God.” [Novat. Lib. de Trin. cap. 13.]

         The importance of the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ has induced me to be thus full in the explanation and proof of it.  I now proceed with the Article, which in the next place states, that Christ TOOK MAN’S NATURE IN THE WOMB OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN, OF HER SUBSTANCE.  Isaiah foretold that the Messiah should be born of a virgin: “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” [Isa. 7:14.]; and St. Matthew informs us, “that when Mary was espoused unto Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost”; – “and that Joseph knew not Mary until she had brought forth her firstborn son, and he called his name Jesus.” [Matt. 1:18, 25.  Luke 1:27–35.] – When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” [Gal. 4:4.]  The miraculous conception of Christ is asserted in the passage just now quoted from Ignatius, and it is also mentioned by the following writers, Justin Martyr, [Dial. pars ii. p. 354.] Irenaeus, [Lib. iii. cap. 29. p. 258.] Origen, [In Matt. v. 1. p. 426. and contr. (do. p. 25.)] Cyril of Jerusalem, [Cat. xii. pp. 155. 164.] Ambrose, [Vol. ii. p. 59.] Lactantius, [Inst. lib. iv. cap. 12.] Hilary, [De Trin. lib. xvi.] Basil, [Hom. xxv. vol. i. p. 507.] Augustine, [Vol. iv. p. 536.] and many others.

         It appears from the history of Christ’s life and ministry, contained in the Gospels, that except his miraculous conception and his freedom from sin, he was in all things like unto man; he was born and grew up like other infants; he increased in wisdom as he increased in stature; he was supported by the usual modes of nutrition, so that his enemies observed he came eating and drinking; he slept; he was subject to fatigue, hunger, and thirst; he was in all things tempted like men; he wept; his soul was exceeding sorrowful; he suffered severe agony of mind, and at length expired upon the cross; and even after his resurrection he convinced his doubting disciples, that he had flesh and bones.  “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” [Heb. 2:14.] – “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” [Heb. 2:17.] – “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” [1 Tim. 2:5.]  The complete nature of man being thus assumed by the Eternal Word of God, it follows that by this incarnation TWO WHOLE AND PERFECT NATURES, THAT IS, THE GODHEAD AND MANHOOD, WERE JOINED TOGETHER IN ONE PERSON. – “What a person is,” says Bishop Burnet, “that results from a close conjunction of two natures, we can only judge of it by considering man, in whom there is a material and spiritual nature joined together [This mode of explanation, adopted by Bishop Burnet, was also used by ancient writers.  Sicut in homine aliud caro, aliud anima; sed unus idemque homo anima et caro.  Ita in uno eodemque Christo duae substantiae sunt, sed una divina, altera humana.  Vinc.]; they are two natures as different as any we can apprehend among all created beings, yet these make but one man.  The matter of which the body is composed does not subsist by itself, is not under all those laws of motion to which it would be subject, if it were unanimated matter; but by the indwelling and actuation of the soul, it has another spring within it, and has another course of operations; according to this then, to subsist by another, is, when a being is acting according to its natural properties, but yet in a constant dependence upon another being, so our bodies subsist by the subsistence of our souls; this may help us to apprehend how, that as the body is still a body, and operates as a body, though it subsist by the indwelling and actuation of the soul; so in the person of Jesus Christ the human nature was entire, and still acted according to its own character, yet there was such an union and inhabitation of the Eternal Word in it, that there did arise out of that a communication of names and characters, as we find in the Scriptures.  A man is called tall, fair, and healthy, from the state of his body, and learned, wise, and good, from the qualities of his mind; so Christ is called holy, harmless, and undefiled, is said to have died, risen, and ascended up into heaven with relation to his human nature; he is also said to be in the form of God, to have created all things, to be the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, with relation to his divine nature.  The ideas that we have of what is material, and what is spiritual, lead us to distinguish in a man those descriptions that belong to his body from those that belong to his mind; so the different apprehensions that we have, of what is created and uncreated, must be our thread to guide us into the resolution of those various expressions that occur in the Scriptures concerning Christ.”

         This consideration, indeed, of the union of the two natures, divine and human, in Christ, can alone enable us to reconcile many passages in the New Testament, which are apparently contradictory.  Christ is said to have existed before Abraham, and yet to have been of the seed of Abraham; he is called the Lord of David, and also his son or descendant; he is said to know all things, and yet not know when the day of judgment will be; Christ says, My Father is greater than I; and again, My Father and I are one; at one time he is said to have been compassed with infirmity; and at another he himself declares, All power is given me in heaven and in earth.  Upon one occasion he is said to have been made a little lower than the angels; and upon another, that all the angels of God worship him: these and many other passages of a similar kind become perfectly consistent and intelligible, by referring them respectively to the divine and human natures of Christ.  The essential properties of one nature were not communicated to the other nature: Christ was at once Son of God, and Son of man; he was at the same time both mortal and eternal; mortal as the Son of man, in respect of his humanity; eternal as the Son of God, in respect of his divinity: each kept his respective properties distinct, without the least confusion in their most intimate union.  One person was formed by these two natures, as the council of Chalcedon [The council of Chalcedon which was assembled in the year 451 decided against the errors introduced by Eutyches, and whence arose the long continued disputes respecting the existence of one or two natures in Christ. – Editor.] expresses it, ασυγχυτως, ατρεπτως, αδιαιρετως, αχωριστως, without confusion, immutably, inseparably, indivisibly.

         Christ has ascended up into heaven, and is there to remain “until the times of restitution of all things”[ Acts 3:21.]; – “he ever liveth to make intercession for us” [Heb. 7:25.]: – and is “ordained of God to judge the quick and dead” [Acts 10:42.] at the last day: he is represented as “highly exalted,” [Phil. 2:9.] and as “crowned with glory and honour for the sufferings of death” [Heb. 2:9.] and there is no ground to suppose he will ever be deprived of these rewards, but on the contrary, “blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, are to be given to the Lamb for ever and ever.” [Rev. 5:13.]  And indeed is it reasonable that the personal glory of Christ should cease, when the happiness which he purchased for fallen man by his incarnation and passion is to be eternal?  Upon these grounds the Article asserts that THE TWO NATURES, THE GODHEAD AND MANHOOD, WHEREOF IS ONE CHRIST, ARE NEVER TO BE DIVIDED.  The Godhead and manhood of Christ having been both proved, it follows that he was VERY GOD AND VERY MAN.

         That the Messiah was to suffer was foretold in a variety of passages in the Old Testament: “It was written of the Son of man, that be must suffer many things” [Mark 9:12.]; and “the Spirit of God, which was in the prophets, testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ” [1 Peter 1:11.]; he was to be “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; oppressed and afflicted; wounded and bruised; brought to the slaughter, and cut off out of the land of the living.” [Isa. 53.]  The suffering of Christ was also typified in the sacrifices of the law, and particularly in the passover.  Our Saviour himself forewarned his disciples of his passion, and St. Paul preached to the Thessalonians, that “Christ must needs have suffered.” [Acts 17:3.] – “If hunger and thirst, if revilings and contempt, if sorrows and agonies, if stripes and bufferings, if condemnation and crucifixion, be sufferings, Jesus suffered; if the infirmities of our nature, if the weight of our sins, if the malice of man, if the machinations of Satan, if the hand of God, could make him suffer, our Saviour suffered; if the annals of times, if the writings of his apostles, if the death of his martyrs, if the confession of the Gentiles, if the scoffs of the Jews be testimonies, Jesus suffered” [Pearson, Art. 4.]; – “and therefore those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath fulfilled.” [Acts 3:18.]

         And as Christ TRULY SUFFERED, so likewise he was CRUCIFIED and DEAD.  The particular mode of Christ’s death was predicted by Zechariah, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced,” [Zech. 12:10.] and again by David, “they pierced my hands and my feet” [Psalm 22:16.]; alluding to the practice of nailing to the cross the hands and the feet of the person crucified.  Christ himself also intimated by what death he should die, and at the same time referred to a type of it in the Old Testament: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” [John 3:14.]  The crucifixion of Jesus is related by all the Evangelists; and the incredulity of Thomas, recorded by St. John, afforded an Opportunity of showing that the prophecies of Zechariah and David were literally fulfilled. [John 20:27.]  That Jesus really expired upon the cross was evident both to his faithful friends, who out of regard to their Lord and Master were present at his crucifixion, and also to his implacable enemies, who fancied that they thus saw the accomplishment of their wicked purpose.  And even the Roman soldiers, who probably felt little either of affection or of malice, seeing him already dead, forbore to break his legs; but “one of these soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout blood and water,” [John 19:34.] which is a known sign of actual death in human bodies.

         The mention of the grave of the Messiah in the following passage of Isaiah may be considered as a prediction that he was to be buried: “He was cut off out of the land of the living; and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.” [Isa. 53:8–9.]  And not only the burial of the Messiah, but the time he was to remain interred, was typified in the person of Jonas, “for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” [Matt. 12:40.]  It was the custom of the Romans, by whose authority our Saviour was put to death, not to allow the bodies of those who were crucified to be taken from the cross and buried; they were left to putrefy, or to be devoured by the fowls of the air.  But it was in the power of the magistrate to dispense with this custom; and accordingly we find that “when the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.  Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed” [Matt. 27:57–60.]: and thus it appears that Christ was BURIED.

         The Article concludes with stating, that the object of Christ’s passion was to RECONCILE THE FATHER TO US, AND TO BE A SACRIFICE NOT ONLY FOR ORIGINAL GUILT, BUT ALSO FOR ACTUAL SINS OF MEN.  By original guilt is meant that guilt which was incurred by the disobedience of Adam, and trans mitted to all his posterity; and by actual sins of men are meant, those sins which individuals actually commit, “for there is no man that sinneth not.” [1 Kings 8:46.]  I shall transcribe Bishop Burnet’s excellent explanation and proof of this part of the Article, to which it will be unnecessary to make any addition: “The notion of an expiatory sacrifice which was then, when the New Testament was written, well understood all the world over, both by Jew and Gentile, was this, that the sin of one person was transferred on a man or beast, who was upon that devoted, and offered up to God, and suffered in the room of the offending person; and by this oblation the punishment of the sin being laid on the sacrifice, an expiation was made for sin, and the surer was believed to be reconciled to God.  This, as appears through the whole book of Leviticus, was the design and effect of the sin and trespass offerings among the Jews, and more particularly of the goat that was offered up for the sins of the whole people on the day of atonement.  This was a piece of religion well known both to Jew and Gentile, that had a great many phrases belonging to it, such as the sacrifices being offered for, or instead of sin, and in the name, or on the account, of the surer; its bearing of sin, and becoming sin, or the sin offering; its being the reconciliation, the atonement, and the redemption of the sinner, by which the sin was no more imputed, but forgiven, and for which the surer was accepted.  When, therefore, this whole set of phrases in its utmost extent, is very often, and in a great variety, applied to the death of Christ, it is not possible for us to preserve any reverence for the New Testament, or the writers of it, so far as to think them even honest men, not to say inspired men, if we can imagine that in so sacred and important a matter they could exceed so much as to represent that to be our sacrifice which is not truly so: this is a point which will not bear figures and amplifications: it must be treated of strictly and with a just exactness of expression. Christ is called ‘the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world’ [John 1:29.]; he is said to have ‘borne our sins in his own body’ [1 Peter 2:24.]; to have been ‘made sin for us’ [2 Cor. 5:21.]; it is said that ‘he gave his life a ransom for many’ [Matt. 20:28.]; that ‘he was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world’ [1 John 2:2.]; and that, ‘we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins’ [Col. 1:14.]; it is said, that ‘he has reconciled us to his Father in his cross, and in the body of his flesh through death’ [Col. 1:20, 22.]; that ‘he, by his own blood, entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us’ [Heb. 9:12.]; that ‘once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself’ [Heb. 9:26.]; that ‘he was once offered to bear the sins of many’ [Heb. 9:28.]; that ‘we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Christ, once for all’ [Heb. 10:10.]; and that ‘after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, he sat down for ever on the right hand of God.’ [Heb. 10:12.]  It is said, that ‘we enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,’ that is, the blood of the new covenant, by which we are sanctified [Heb. 10:19.]; that ‘he hath sanctified the people with his own blood’ [Heb. 13:12.]; and was ‘the great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant [Heb. 13:20.]; that ‘we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ [1 Peter 1:19.]; and this ‘Christ suffered once for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.’ [1 Peter 3:18.]  In these, and in a great many more passages that lie spread in all the parts of the New Testament, it is as plain as words can make anything, that the death of Christ is proposed to us as our sacrifice and reconciliation, our atonement and redemption.  So it is not possible for any man, who considers all this, to imagine that Christ’s death was only a confirmation of his Gospel, a pattern of a holy and patient suffering of death, and a necessary preparation to his resurrection, by which he gave us a clear proof of a resurrection, and by consequence of eternal life, as by his doctrine he had showed us the way to it.  By this all the high commendations of his death amount only to this, that he by dying has given a vast credit and authority to his Gospel, which was the most powerful mean possible to redeem us from sin, and to reconcile us to God: but this is so contrary to the whole design of the New Testament, and to the true import of that great variety of phrases in which this matter is set out, that at this rate of expounding Scripture we can never know what we may build, upon, especially when the great importance of this thing, and of our having right notions concerning it, is well considered.  St. Paul does, in his Epistle to the Romans, state an opposition between the death of Christ and the sin of Adam, the ill effects of the one being removed by the other; but he plainly carries the death of Christ much farther, than that it had only healed the wound that was given by Adam’s sin; for as, the judgment was by one to condemnation, the free gift is of many offences unto justification.’ [Rom. 5:16.]  But in the other places of the New Testament Christ’s death is set forth so fully as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, that it is a very false way of arguing to infer that because in one place that is set in opposition to Adam’s sin, that therefore the virtue of it was to go no farther than to take away that sin; it has, indeed, removed that, but it has done a great deal more besides.

         “Thus it is plain that Christ’s death was our sacrifice; the meaning of which is this, that God intending to reconcile the world to himself, and to encourage sinners to repent and turn to him, thought fit to offer the pardon of sin, together with the other blessings of his Gospel, in such a way as should demonstrate both the guilt of sin and his hatred of it; and yet with that, his love of sinners, and his compassion towards them.  A free pardon, without a sacrifice, had not been so agreeable either to the majesty of the Great Governor of the world, nor the authority of his laws, nor so proper a method to oblige men to that strictness and holiness of life that he designed to bring them to; and therefore he thought fit to offer his pardon, and those other blessings, through a Mediator, who was to deliver to the world this new and holy rule of life, and to confirm it by his own unblemished life: and in conclusion, when the rage of wicked men, who hated him for the holiness both of his life and of his doctrine, did work them up into such a fury as to pursue him to a most violent and ignominious death, he, in compliance with the secret design of his Father, did not only go through the dismal series of sufferings, with the most entire resignation to his Father’s will, and with the highest charity possible towards those who were his most unjust and malicious murderers; but he at the same time underwent great agonies in his mind, which struck him with such an amazement and sorrow even to the death, that upon it he did sweat great drops of blood, and on the cross he felt a withdrawing of those comforts that till then had ever supported him, when he cried out, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?  It is not easy for us to apprehend in what that agony consisted, for we understand only the agonies of pain or of conscience, which last arise out of the horrors of guilt, or the apprehension of the wrath of God.  It is, indeed, certain, that he who had no sin could have no such horror in him; and yet it is as certain that he could not be put into such an agony only through the apprehension and fear of that violent death which he was to suffer next day; therefore we ought to conclude that there was an inward suffering in his mind, as well as an outward visible one in his body.  We cannot distinctly apprehend what that was, since he was sure of his own spotless innocence and of his Father’s unchangeable love to him; we can only imagine a vast sense of the heinousness of sin, and a deep indignation at the dishonour done to God by it; a melting apprehension at the corruption and miseries of mankind by reason of sin, together with a never before felt withdrawing of those consolations that had always filled his soul; but what might be further in his agony and in his last dereliction, we cannot distinctly apprehend; only this we perceive, that our minds are capable of great pain as well as our bodies are: deep horror, with an inconsolable sharpness of thought, is a very intolerable thing.  Notwithstanding the bodily or substantial indwelling of the fullness of the Godhead in him, yet he was capable of feeling vast pain in his body; so that he might become a complete sacrifice, and that we might have from his sufferings a very full and amazing apprehension of the guilt of sin; all those emanations of joy with which the indwelling of the Eternal Word had ever till then filled his soul, might then, when he needed them most, be quite withdrawn, and he be left merely to the firmness of his faith, to the patient resignation to the will of his heavenly Father, and to his willing readiness of drinking up that cup which his Father had put in his hand to drink.

         “There remains but one thing to be remembered here, though it will come to be more specially explained when other Articles are to be opened; which is, that this reconciliation, which is made by the death of Christ between God and man, is not absolute and without conditions.  He has established the covenant, and has performed all that was incumbent on him, as both the priest and the sacrifice, to do and to suffer; and he offers this to the world, that it may be closed with by them on the terms on which it is proposed; and if they do not accept of it upon these conditions, and perform what is enjoined them, they can have no share in it.” [Burnet.]


Article 3.

Of the Going Down of Christ Into Hell.

         Christ died for us, and was buried, so also is it to be believed that he went down into Hell.

         That Christ descended into Hell is not expressly asserted by any of the Evangelists; but they all relate that he expired upon the cross, and that after three days he again appeared alive; and therefore it may be inferred that in the intermediate time his soul went into the common receptacle for departed souls. [There is no single word in our language which has this signification; but we are told that this was formerly the sense of the Saxon word Hell, though it now always means the place of the punishment of the wicked, after the general judgment, as opposed to heaven, the place of the reward of the righteous.]  But a more direct proof of this proposition may be found in St. Peter’s Sermon, after the effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, [Acts 2:27.] in which he applies to the resurrection of our Saviour the passage in the Psalms: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” [Psalm 16:10.]  Christ’s soul must have been in hell, since God is here represented as not finally leaving it here, but as reuniting it to the body of Christ, after a certain interval; and, therefore, AS CHRIST DIED FOR US AND WAS BURIED, SO ALSO IS IT TO BE BELIEVED THAT HE WENT DOWN INTO HELL.  It is to be observed that the word rendered “Hell” in the above passage, both in the Septuagint translation of the Psalms, and in the Acts, is Αδης, Hades.  Dr. Campbell has shown that this word, which occurs eleven times in the New Testament, and is very frequently used in the Septuagint translation of the Old, never signifies in Scripture the place of torment, to which the wicked are to be consigned after the day of judgment, but always the place appropriated for the common reception of departed souls in the intermediate time between death and the general resurrection.  [Homer, Hesiod, P1ato and other ancient Greek writers, distinguish Αδης from Ταρταρος, which was the place of punishment for the wicked.  Vide Dr. Nicholls’s exposition of this Article.  [St. Paul’s expression is: Εις τα κατωτερα μερη της γης, which St. Chrysostom says, means death, according to men’s notion: Homil. in Ephes. 4:9; and the learned Witsius conjectures that this may be understood as comprehending the whole state of Christ’s humiliation, beginning in his nativity, and ending in his death.  The same author shows that the burial of our Lord, and his descent into hades, were long regarded as synonymous; and he quotes Vossius, who says, that the churches of the East originally understood by Christ’s descent into hell what the churches of the West denominated his burial.  At what time, he continues, these synonymous expressions began to be joined, as if they differed in meaning, cannot be exactly ascertained.  Erasmus is of opinion, that this was done by Thomas Aquinas about 1365.  Witsius, however, shows that the descent of the soul of Christ ought to be regarded as distinct from the burial of the body, but ends by describing it as metaphorical rather than proper and real.  Witsius on the Creed. – Editor.]]

         Though there is this unquestionable authority for the doctrine of this Article, Christ’s descent into Hell, or Hades, is not mentioned in the abstracts of Christian faith which the early fathers have left us; nor is it in any of those numerous creeds which were composed by the councils of the fourth century, except that which was agreed to at Arimini in the year 359.  The word there used is Καταχθονια, and it is plain from the context that this word cannot mean, as some have supposed, merely that Christ was buried, εις τα καταχθονια κατελθοντα, και τα εκεισε οικονομησαντα οι πυλωροι Αδου ιδοντες εφριξαν.  In the beginning of the fifth century the church at Aquileia, as we learn from Ruffin, used the corresponding expression, descendit ad inferna; but at the same time he informs us, that there was no similar article in the creeds then used, either at Rome, or in the eastern churches. [In ecclesiae Romanae symbolo non habetur additum, Descendit ad inferna: sed neque in orientis ecclesia habetur hic sermo.  Ruff. Exp. Symb.]  In the sixth century this article was admitted into many creeds, and it was confirmed by the fourth council of Toledo, A.D. 633.  The word Αδης was first used in the Athanasian creed, which, as will hereafter appear, was not composed till many years after the death of Athanasius.

         It seems probable that this doctrine of Christ’s descent into Hell was first introduced into creeds for the purpose of declaring the actual separation of Christ’s soul and body, in opposition to those heretics who asserted, that the crucifixion produced only a trance or deliquium, and that Christ did not really suffer death.  [This supposition ought to be received with some doubt.  The article in question was not introduced into the creed till late in the fourth century; whereas it was in the very early period of the Gospel that the controversy respecting the actual sufferings of Christ chiefly engaged attention. – Editor.]


Article 4.

Of the Resurrection of Christ.

         Christ did truly rise again from Death, and took again his Body, with Flesh, Bones, and all Things appertaining to the Perfection of Man’s Nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last Day.


         We have the authority of St. Peter for asserting that the resurrection of Christ was foretold by the royal Psalmist: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day: therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne: he seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” [Acts 2:29–31.]  And our Saviour himself repeatedly foretold his resurrection: “The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men; and they shall kill him; and the third day he shall be raised again.” [Matt. 17:22–23.]  “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again.” [Matt. 20:18, etc.]  And to the Jews he speaks of his resurrection as a clear demonstration which would be afforded of his divine mission.  When they put this question to him, “What sign showest thou unto us,” that is, what decisive proof dost thou give us that thou art the promised Messiah? he answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” [John 2:18–19, 21.]; speaking of the temple of the body.

         It is reasonable to expect, that the evidence of the truth of this great event, the importance of which was thus solemnly announced, should be proportionably strong and unequivocal, and upon inquiry we shall find that the resurrection of Christ is supported by the clearest and most satisfactory proofs.

         In the explanation of the second Article, we have seen that the body of Jesus, after it was taken down from the cross, was buried after the customary manner of the Jews.  The chief priests caused the sepulcher to be sealed, and to be guarded by Roman soldiers.  The object of this caution was, that, by securing and exhibiting the dead body of Christ, they might, as they thought, be able to disprove any report which the disciples might spread concerning his restoration to life: whereas this very caution tended to confirm the truth of his resurrection, by rendering it impossible that his body should have been removed by any human means.  Thus does God produce good out of evil, and make even wicked men the instruments of executing the great designs of his providence.  It is related by all the Evangelists, that Jesus Christ, early on the third day after he was crucified and buried, arose from the dead, and afterwards appeared alive.  We learn from the Acts, that the resurrection of Christ was constantly asserted, and urged with peculiar earnestness, by the first preachers of the Gospel; and in the Epistles it is repeatedly mentioned as a well-known and acknowledged fact.  The resurrection of Christ was not expected by his apostles, which circumstance must be considered as giving additional weight to their testimony: when they heard from the devout women, who carried spices to the sepulcher, that their crucified Lord was risen from the dead, “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not [Luke 24:11.]: and when our Saviour first appeared to them, “they were affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” [Luke 24:37.]  He soon convinced them that he was a really existing body; and by opening the Scriptures he explained to them, that all these wonderful events had happened according to the eternal purpose of God, declared by the mouth of his holy prophets, since the be- ginning of the world. [Eph. 3:9, etc.  Luke 24:44, etc.]  The certainty of Christ’s resurrection did not rest upon a transient glance, or a single interview with his Apostles; he conversed with them for forty days, which precluded every sort of illusion or mistake; nor did it depend upon the sole testimony of these chosen ministers of the Gospel, for he was seen by various other persons, and particularly by 500 disciples at once; he ate and drank with many to whom he was known before his crucifixion; and he made Thomas feel the print of the nails by which he had been fastened to the cross, and of the spear with which his side had been pierced, to convince him that he was the same Jesus who had been crucified, that he had flesh and bones, and was not a spirit. [John 20:26.]  He also said to all the eleven Apostles, when assembled together immediately before his ascension, “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.” [Luke 24.]  And thus the identity of his person was incontrovertibly ascertained, and all suspicion of his being a spirit was entirely removed. These numerous witnesses of a plain matter of fact, of which everyone was a competent judge, constitute a species of proof which might well be denominated “infallible”. [Acts 1:3.]

         As the enemies of Christ had been peculiarly careful to guard against any fraud or deception, and as they were fully sensible, that the resurrection, if real and generally believed, would have great influence upon the minds of men, it is impossible not to suppose that they examined into it with the most anxious diligence and most jealous minuteness; and as they did not dare to contradict it themselves, or even venture to produce the soldiers whom they had suborned for the purpose of asserting that the body of Jesus was stolen out of the grave by night, we must conclude, that they found it attested by a weight of evidence, which no authority could suppress, nor any art invalidate.  Upon these grounds we believe that CHRIST DID TRULY RISE AGAIN FROM DEATH, AND TOOK AGAIN HIS BODY, WITH FLESH, BONES, AND ALL THINGS APPERTAINING TO THE PERFECTION OF MANES NATURE.

         WHEREWITH HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN. – As the resurrection of Christ was foretold by David, so also was his ascension: “Thou hast ascended up on high; thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men”;* which passage refers to the ascension of our Saviour into heaven, to his triumph over sin and death, and to his sending the glorious gifts of the Spirit unto the sons of men. Christ himself also predicted his ascension: “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father.” [John 20:17.]

         *[Psalm 68:18.  Eph. 4:9.  [Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra; adscensio Domini, glorificatio nostra. ... Glorificatio Domini nostri Jesu Christi resurgendo et adscendendo completa est. ... Ideo enim resurrexit, ut nobis exemplum resurrectionis ostenderet: et ideo adscendit ut nos desuper protegeret.  Habemus ergo Dominum et Salvatorem nostrum Jesum Christum prius pendentem in ligno, nunc sedentem in coelo.  Pretium nostrum dedit, cum penderet in ligno: colligit quod emit, cum sedet in coelo.  Cum enim omnes colligeret, quos utique per tempora colliget, in fine temporis veniet, et quomodo scriptum est, Deus manifestus veniet: non quemadmodum primitus venit occultus, sed sicut dictum est, manifestus.  Occultum enim oportebat eum venire, ut judicaretur; manifestus autem veniet, ut judicet.  Si enim prius manifestus venisset, judicare manifestum quis auderet?  Quandoquidem dicet apostolus Paulus, si enim cognovissent, nunquam Dominum gloriae crucifixissent.  Sed si ille non occideretur, mors non moreretur.  Trophaeo suo diabolus victus est.  Exsultavit enim diabolus, quando primum hominem seducendo dejicit in mortem.  Seducendo primum hominem, occidit: occidendo novissimum, primum de laqueis perdidit.  Facta est ergo victoria Domini nostri Jesu Christi, cum resurrexit et adscendit in coelum; et impletum est quod audistis, cum Apocalypsis legeretur, vicit leo de tribu Juda.  Ipse leo dictus est, qui agnus occisus est.  Leo propter fortitudinem: agnus propter innocentiam: leo quia invictus; agnus quia mansuetus. ... Jam vero quanta gloria est quod adscendit in coelum! quod sedet ad dexteram Patris?  Sed hoc oculis non videmus, quia nec pendentem in ligno vidimus.  Totum hoc fide tenemus; oculis cordis intuemur.  Augustin. Semi, in die Adscen. Op. t. v. pp. 1065. 1071. – Editor.]]

         That Christ really ascended into heaven with the same body with which he lived and died, and rose again, is declared by St. Mark, and by St. Luke, both in his Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles; but it will be sufficient to transcribe the account from St. Luke’s Gospel: “And he led out his Apostles as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up. his hands, and blessed them: and it came to pass, while he blessed them he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” [Luke 24:50, etc.] – “Thus was Christ’s ascension visibly performed in the presence and sight of the Apostles, for the confirmation of the reality and certainty thereof.  They did not see him when he rose, but they saw him when he ascended; because an eyewitness was not necessary unto the act of his resurrection, but it was necessary unto the act of his ascension.  It was sufficient that Christ showed himself to the Apostles alive after his passion; for since they knew him before to be dead, and now saw him alive, they were thereby assured that he rose again; for whatsoever was a proof of his life after death, was a demonstration of his resurrection.  But since the Apostles were not to see our Saviour in heaven; since his sitting there at the right hand of God was not to be visible to them on earth, therefore it was necessary they should be eyewitnesses of the act, who were not with the same eyes to behold the effect.  Besides the eyewitness of the Apostles, there was added the testimony of the angels; those blessed spirits which ministered before, and saw the face of God in heaven, and came down from thence, did know that Christ ascended up from hence unto that place from whence they came; and because the eyes of the Apostles could not follow him so far, the inhabitants of that place did come to testify of his reception: ‘For behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven’ [Acts 1:10–11.]: we must, therefore, acknowledge and confess, against all the wild heresies of old, that the eternal Son of God, who died and rose again, did, with the same body with which he died and rose, ascend up to heaven.  Should it be asked, what reason can be given why our Saviour did not ascend in the sight of the Jews, for their conviction?  I answer, that it was only absolutely necessary that they who were to preach the Gospel should have the utmost evidence of those matters of fact they attested.  God’s design was to bring the world to salvation by the exercise of faith, which is an act of assent upon the testimony of another, with which sight is inconsistent; and it is to be doubted, whether they, who ascribed our Saviour’s miracles to the power of the devil, and suborned the soldiers to say, upon his resurrection, that his disciples stole him away, would not have called his ascension, if they had seen it, a phantasm and vain apparition.” [Veneer’s Exp. of this Art.]  The ascension of Christ is frequently alluded to in the Epistles. [Eph. 4:10.  Heb. 9:12.]

         AND THERE SITTETH: – The sitting of Christ at the right hand of God is foretold in the Old Testament, and asserted in the New: – “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” [Psalm 110:1.]  Christ applied this passage to himself, [Matt. 22:44.] and it is quoted by St. Paul, as describing the superiority of Christ to all created beings: “To which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool?” [Heb. 1:13.]  Christ himself expressly foretold his sitting at the right hand of God: “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit at the right hand of the power of God.” [Luke 22:69.]  There are several passages in the Epistles, declaring that Christ sitteth at the right hand of God: “When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” [Heb. 1:3.] – “We have a high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” [Heb. 8:1.]  By the metaphorical expression of sitting at the right hand of God, which is applied in Scripture to none but Christ, we are to understand the honour and dignity to which he was exalted after his ascension into heaven: “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him.” [1 Peter 3:22.] – “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” [Dan. 7:14.]

         UNTIL HE RETURN TO JUDGE ALL MEN, AT THE LAST DAY: – The second advent of Christ, and the purpose for which he is to come, are clearly foretold in Scripture: “I go to prepare a place for you; I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” [John 14:3, 28.] – “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11.]  “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” [1 Thess. 4:16.] – “Whom the heavens must receive, until the times of restitution of all things.” [Acts 3:21.] – “For God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” [Acts 17:31.] – “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit down upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” [Matt. 25:31–32.]  Then we shall “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” [2 Cor. 5:10.] – “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” [John 5:22–23.]  “The day of the Lord will come, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” [2 Peter 3:10.] – “In short, no doctrine is more clear and express, and fundamental in the word of God, than that of an eternal judgment at the end of the world, when the state of our trial and probation shall be finished, which will be a proper season for the distribution of public justice, for rewarding all those with eternal life, ‘who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honour, and immortality,’ and for rendering ‘to them that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.’ [Rom. 2:7, etc.]  I shall therefore conclude my observations upon this Article with that most excellent inference of St. Peter’s: ‘Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for, and hastening unto, the coming of the day of God.’” [2 Peter 3:11–12.  Veneer.]


Article 5.

Of the Holy Ghost.

         The Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one Substance, Majesty, and Glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.


         The third person in the Holy Trinity is called the Holy Ghost [Ghost is a Saxon word, signifying Spirit.] or Holy Spirit, and often the Spirit only: “In the meantime he poured forth the Holy Ghost, a gift which he had received from the Father, the third person in the Godhead, and the third name of Majesty.” [Tert. adv. Prax.]  Frequent mention is made in the Old Testament of the Spirit of God, as at the creation of the world the Spirit of God is said to have “moved upon the face of the waters.” [Gen. 1:2.]  And when the prophets received any supernatural power or knowledge, or any impression was made upon their minds for a particular purpose, it is generally ascribed to the Spirit of God.

         St. John has recorded, that Christ, not long before his crucifixion, said to his disciples, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth.” [John 14:16–17.]  And in the following passage our Saviour speaks of the office of the Holy Spirit, as having a close and necessary connection with his own personal ministry, and as being of the highest importance to the complete execution and accomplishment of the great scheme of human redemption: “I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you, and he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 16:7, 14:26.]  Agreeably to this promise and declaration, on the day of Pentecost, and a few days after the ascension of our Saviour into heaven, the Holy Ghost descended visibly upon the Apostles, and instantaneously communicated to them the power of speaking a great variety of languages, enabled them to work miracles in confirmation of the doctrines which they were to preach, and furnished them with zeal and resolution, and with every other qualification necessary to the effectual discharge of their ministry.  The Holy Ghost also “abode with them,” as our Saviour promised, for we find them constantly acting under his immediate and directing influence.  “The Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” [Acts 8:29.]  And St. Peter, in giving an account of the conversion of Cornelius, says, “The Spirit bade me go with him, nothing doubting.” [Acts 11:12.]  When Paul and Barnabas “had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they essayed to go to into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not.” [Acts 16:6–7.]  And the success which attended the first preaching of the Gospel is always ascribed to “the power of the Spirit of God.” [Rom. 15:19.]

         But besides these great gifts communicated to the Apostles and others, and these particular interpositions for important purposes at the first promulgation of Christianity, and which are, for the sake of distinction, called by modern divines the extraordinary operations of the Spirit, there are other communications of a more general nature, which are called the ordinary [Care should be taken not to attach to the word ordinary or common, as here employed, a notion of inferior worth or value.  The extraordinary gifts of working miracles, or speaking with tongues, were never so noble or valuable as the gift of charity, a gift proper, common or ordinary, in respect to all true Christians. – Editor.] operations of the Spirit.  These consist in causing a change and renewal of men’s minds, and in affording them inward and secret assistance to become good and virtuous. Christ said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God [John 3:5.]; and upon another occasion he declared, “that his heavenly Father would give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” [Luke 11:13.] – “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” [Gal. 5:22–23.]  St. Peter, in his Sermon upon the day of Pentecost, said, “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.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” [Acts 2:38–39.]  It is evident that the influence of the Spirit, spoken of in these passages, must be common to all Christians, and cannot mean the extraordinary and miraculous communications, which were the portion of very few, and continued but for a short time; and hence we derive this comfortable and important assurance, that the Spirit of God cooperates with our sincere endeavours after righteousness, and assists us in all our virtuous exertions.

         In this Article the Holy Ghost is spoken of as PROCEEDING FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON.  That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father we learn from the express authority of St. John, whose words are, “The Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father” [John 15:26.]: and as Christ in the same verse says, “I will send the Spirit”; and St. Paul tells the Galatians that “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts” [Gal. 4:6.]; we infer that the Spirit proceeds from the Son also and indeed the union between the Father and the Son is such, that we cannot conceive how the Spirit can proceed from the one without at the same time proceeding from the other.  But we must acknowledge that the procession of the Holy Ghost, although to be believed as being asserted in Scripture, is far beyond our comprehension; and in subjects of this kind we cannot be too cautious and diffident in what we say and think.

         That the procession of the Holy Ghost, both from the Father and the Son, was the doctrine of the holy primitive church, is very clearly established by Bishop Pearson. [Exp. of Creed, Art. 8.]  He admits that the Greek fathers have not directly asserted that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son, but he shows that the expressions which they have used have that meaning.  And Dr. Nicholls [Exp. of Art.] has proved the same thing by many quotations both from the Latin and Greek ecclesiastical writers, and also by reference to the acts of several councils; and in particular it may be observed, that at the councils of Alexandria and Ephesus, which were held as early as the years 430 and 431, it was declared that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Son as well as from the Father.  This doctrine was afterwards the subject of a warm and long controversy, [This controversy would probably never have arisen but for the supposed surreptitious mode in which the clause Filioque was introduced into the creed by some of the Western churches.  It was not so much against the doctrine as against the unsanctioned assertion of it that the opposition seems to have arisen.  The distinction is of importance; for it is difficult to understand how the doctrine itself should have excited such fierce contention among orthodox believers. – Editor.] and became the cause of a great schism between the Eastern and Western churches, the former maintaining that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only, and the latter that he proceeds from the Father and the Son.  This still continues to be one of the points of difference between the Greek Church and that of Rome.

         In the explanation of the latter part of the first Article, which relates to the doctrine of the Trinity, it was proved, from several texts of Scripture, that the Holy Ghost is both a person and God.  The following passages prove separately the divinity of the Holy Ghost, as asserted in this Article, and are also proofs of his personality: St. Peter, in punishing Ananias and Sapphira, uses the expressions, “lying to the Holy Ghost,” and “lying to God,” [Acts 5:3–4.] as equivalent: the Holy Ghost is said to be eternal [Heb. 9:14.]; to teach all things [John 14:26.]; to guide into all truth [John 16:13.]; show things to come [John 16:13.]; to search all things, even the deep things of God [1 Cor. 2:10.]; to make intercession for the saints [Rom. 8:27.]; to change us into the same image with Christ [2 Cor. 3:18.]; to bring all things to remembrance [John 14:26.]; to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment [John 16:8.]; and to have raised Christ from the dead. [1 Peter 3:18.]  Christ himself calls the Holy Ghost “another Comforter,” [John 14:16.] to be sent in his stead, or to supply his absence; and St. Paul attributes to the Holy Ghost the communication of a great variety of qualities and powers: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” [1 Cor. 12:4, 8, etc.]  In all these passages the Holy Ghost is plainly spoken of, not merely as a quality or operation, but as a person; and the powers attributed to him are such that they can belong only to a divine person; if therefore the Holy Ghost be God, as well as the Father and the Son, and there be but one God, it follows that the Holy Ghost IS OF ONE SUBSTANCE, MAJESTY, AND GLORY WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON, VERY AND ETERNAL GOD.

         “Those who deny the personality of the Holy Ghost contend that it is ordinary in the Scriptures to find the like expressions, which are proper unto persons, given unto those things which are no persons; as, when the Apostle saith, ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up; doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own; is not easily provoked; thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things; endureth all things.’ [1 Cor. 13:4, etc.]  All which personal actions are attributed to charity, which is no person, as in other cases it is usual, but belong to that person which is charitable; because that person which is so qualified doth perform these actions according to, and by virtue of, that charity which is in him.  In the same manner, say they, personal actions are attributed to the Holy Ghost, which is no person, but the virtue, power, and efficacy of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; because that God the Father is a person, and doth perform those personal actions, attributed to the Holy Ghost, by that virtue, power, and efficacy in himself, which is the Holy Ghost: as when we read, ‘The Spirit said unto Peter, Behold, three men seek thee; arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing, for I have sent them’; we must understand that God the Father was the person which spake these words, who had called Barnabas and Saul, and to whom they were to be separated.  But because God did all this by that power within him, which is his Spirit, therefore those words and actions are attributed to the Holy Ghost.  This is the sum of their answer, and more than this, I conceive, cannot be said in answer to that argument which we urge from those personal expressions attributed to the Spirit of God, and, as we believe, as to a person.  But this answer is most apparently insufficient, as giving no satisfaction to the argument; for if all the personal actions attributed in the Scriptures to the Spirit, might proceed from the person of God the Father, according to the power which is in him, then might this answer seem satisfactory: but if these actions be personal, as they are acknowledged, and cannot be denied; if the same cannot be attributed to the person of God the Father, whose Spirit it is; if he cannot be said to do that by the power within him, which is said to be done by the Holy Ghost, then is that defense not to be defended; then must the Holy Ghost be acknowledged a person: but I shall clearly prove that there are several personal attributes given in the sacred Scriptures expressly to the Holy Ghost, which cannot be ascribed to God the Father; which God the Father, by that power which is in him, cannot be said to do; and consequently there cannot be any ground why those attributes should be given to the Spirit, if it be not a person.  To make intercession is a personal action, and this action is attributed to the Spirit of God, because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God; but to make intercession is not an act which can be attributed to God the Father, neither can he be said to intercede for us according to that power which is in him and therefore this can be no prosopopoeia, or feigning of a person: the Holy Ghost cannot be said to exercise the personal action of intercession for that reason, because it is the spirit of the person which intercedeth for us.  To come unto men, as being sent unto them, is, as I have said before, a personal action; but to come unto men, as being sent, cannot be ascribed to God the Father, who sendeth, but is never sent, especially in this particular, in which he is said expressly to send, and that in the name of the Son; for our Saviour’s words are, ‘whom the Father will send in my name.’  When therefore the Holy Ghost cometh to the sons of men, as sent by the Father in the name of the Son, and sent by the Son himself, this personal action cannot be attributed to the Father, as working by the power within him, and consequently cannot ground a prosopopoeia, by which the virtue or power of God the Father shall be said to do it.  To speak and hear are personal actions, and both together attributed to the Spirit in such a manner, as they cannot be ascribed to God the Father: ‘When he,’ saith Christ, ‘the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.’ [John 16:13.]  Now to speak, and not of himself, cannot be attributed to God the Father, who doth all things of himself; to speak what he heareth, and that of the Son, to deliver what he receiveth from another, and to glorify him from whom he receiveth, by receiving from him as Christ speaketh of the Holy Ghost, ‘He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you,’ [John 16:14.] is by no means applicable to the Father, and consequently it cannot be true that the Holy Ghost is therefore said to do these personal actions, because that person, whose Spirit the Holy Ghost is, doth these actions by, and according to, his own power, which is the Holy Ghost. [The same power, says St. Chrysostom, which St. Paul attributes to the Father, that also he allows to the Holy Spirit.  And as of the Father he says, it is God which worketh all in all; so of the Holy Spirit, all these worketh one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  Seest thou not the perfect power? for of those, without doubt, whose nature is one, the power is one.  Ων γαρ η ουσία μία, δηλον ότι και η αυθεντία μία·  και ων ισότιμος η αξία, τούτων και η δυναμις και η εξουσία μία.  Through him we have obtained remission of sins: through him we have washed away our defilements: through the gift of him we have been changed from men into angels; running, that is, to his grace, and not changed in nature, but, which is by far the more wonderful, remaining in a human nature, and exhibiting the conversation of angels.  Such is the virtue of the Holy Spirit; and as that fire which the senses perceive acting upon soft clay renders it hard as a rock, so the fire of the Holy Spirit acting upon a well-thinking mind, if it finds it softer than clay, makes it firmer than iron; and so also it renders him who but a little time before was defiled with sins, brighter than the sun itself.  De Sancta Petecost. Homil. ii. t. ii. p. 469. – Editor.]

         It remaineth, therefore, that the answer given by the adversaries of this truth is apparently insufficient; and, consequently, that our argument, drawn from the personal actions attributed in the Scriptures to the Spirit, is sound and valid.  I thought this discourse had fully destroyed the Socinian prosopopoeia; and, indeed, as they ordinarily propound their answer, it is abundantly refuted; but I find the subtilty of Socinus prepared another explication of the prosopopoeia, to supply the room when he foresaw the other would not serve; which double figure he grounded upon this distinction; the Spirit, that is, the power of God, says he, may be considered either as a propriety and power in God, or as the things on which it worketh are affected with it; if it be considered in the first notion, then if any personal attribute be given to the Spirit, the Spirit is there taken for God, and by the Spirit, God is signified.  If it be considered in the second notion, then, if any personal attribute be given to the Spirit, the Spirit is there taken for that man in which it worketh; and that man affected with it, is called the Spirit of God.  So that now we must not only show that such things as are attributed to the Holy Ghost cannot be spoken of the Father, but we must also prove that they cannot be attributed unto man, in whom the Spirit worketh from the Father.  And this also will be very easily and evidently proved.  The Holy Ghost is said to come unto the Apostles, as sent by the Father and the Son; and to come as so sent, is a personal action, which we have already showed cannot be the action of the Father, who sent the Spirit; and it is as certain that it cannot be the action of the Apostle who was affected with the Spirit which was sent, except we can say that the Father and the Son did come unto St. Peter; and St. Peter, being sent by the Father and the Son, did come unto St. Peter.  Again, our Saviour, speaking of the Holy Ghost, saith, ‘He shall receive of mine,’ therefore the Holy Ghost in that place is not taken for the Father; ‘and show it unto you,’ therefore he is not taken for an apostle: in that he ‘receiveth,’ the first Socinian prosopopoeia is improper; in that he ‘showeth’ to the Apostle, the second is absurd.  The Holy Ghost then is described as a person distinct from the person of the Father, whose power he is; and distinct from the person of the Apostle, in whom he worketh; and consequently neither of the Socinian figures can evacuate or enervate the doctrine of his proper and peculiar personality.  Secondly, for those attributes or expressions used of the Holy Ghost in the sacred Scriptures, and pretended to be repugnant to the nature of a person; either they are not so repugnant, or if they be, they belong unto the Spirit, as it signifieth not the person, but the gifts or effects of the Spirit.  They tell us that the Spirit is given, and that sometimes in measure, sometimes without measure; that the Spirit is poured out, and that men drink of it, and are filled with it; that it is doubled and distributed, and something is taken from it, and that sometimes it is extinguished; and from hence they gather, that the Holy Ghost is not a person, because these expressions are inconsistent with personality.  But a satisfactory answer is easily returned to this objection.  It is true that God is said to have given the Holy Ghost to them ‘that obey him’ [Acts 5:32.]; but it is as true that a person may be given.  So we read, ‘unto us a Son is given’ [Isa. 9:6.]; and we are assured that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’ [John 3:16.]; and certainly the Son of God is a person.  And if all the rest of the expressions be such as they pretend, that is, not proper to a person, yet do they no way prejudice the truth of our assertion, because we acknowledge the effects and operations of the Spirit, to have in the Scriptures the name of the Spirit who is the cause of those operations.  And since to that Spirit, as the cause, we have already shown those attributes to be given, which can agree to nothing but a person, we therefore conclude, against the Socinians and the Jews, that the Holy Ghost is not an energy, operation, quality or power, but a person, a spiritual and intellectual subsistence.” [Veneer, Exp. of this Art.  [Ergo dicant si salus est his, qui credunt in Patrem, et Filium, et non credunt in Spiritum Sanctum: sed absit: neque enim in Deum credunt, qui non credunt in Spiritum Sanctum, adeo ut Paulus inventis quisbusdam discipulis et interrogatis, si Spiritum Sanctum accepissent credentes, illisque respondentibus, nec si esset Spiritus Sanctus audisse, dixit; In quo ergo baptizati estis? probans, qui non sunt baptizati in nomine Spiritus Sancti, nec in Patris, et Filii nomine esse baptizatos.  Ita plane et Creatorem Spiritum Sanctum agnoscimus.  Alioquin si Creator non esset, et sine ipso ab initio creati sumus, quomodo in regeneratione sine eo non regeneramur?  Aut si forsitan ad illam antiquitatem, quae fuerat ante praevaricationem Adae, restituit nos regenerationis lavacrum, vel minoris facturae Adae regeneratio nostra: quoniam ante quidem dicitis, sine Spiritu Sancto creati sumus, quomodo vero hie assumtus est sine causa in regenerationem nostram?  Verum hoc dicere irreligiosum est.  Anne major et cautior tanquam sine eo creatus sit homo, et exciderit, ideo assumtus Spiritus in regenerationem nostra ad tutelam certiorem?  Sed et ipsum valde impium vel in sensum alicujus subire.  Dicant igitur, quomodo Spiritus assumtus est ad regenerationem nostram, qui non creavit nos ab initio: siquidem non creavit; dicetis forte, ut sanctificet accedentes ad lavacrum regenerationis.  Est enim Spiritus Sanctus, sanctificans sanctos, non tamen Creator.  Omnia enim ex Deo per Filium creata sunt secundum Paulum dicentem; Nobis vero, etc. 1 Cor. 8:6.  Hic enim nihil de Spiritu Sancto dixit.  Quibus dicimus: Sancta per Filium creata est creatura, aut non sancta: et quidem non sanctam dici a Domino creatam, illicitum est; si vero sanctam creavit Filius nunc sanctificans eam in Spiritu, superflua esset datur ei per Spiriturn sanctificatio et valde infirma atque inanis: veluti, cum sole medio cursu diei illuminante orbem qui sub coelo est, superfluus et infirmus, inanisque lucernae sit splendor.  Sed quoniam non merebatur, inquiunt, creatura per Filium sanctificari, ideo ministerium Spiritus induxit Deus, ut per illum sanctificaretur.  Ergo creari quidem per Filium meruit, sanctificari vero non meruit; quid enim majus est, creari, an sanctificari?  Pensate itaque in statera mentis vestrae, conspicientes, ut vel sic considerare possitis, quod etiam ipsi vos inviti confitemini Spiritus dignitatem.  Ergo creari quidem creatura per Filium merebatur, sanctificari vero per Spiritum, quia minime indigna sua sanctificatione creaverit Filius.  Sed oportebat, inquiunt, per Spiritum sanctificari eam prius, ut sic mereretur accipere Filii et Patris sanctificationem.  Quibus dicimus: Ergo non sancta creasse Filium dicitis?  Absit: Neque enim sine Filio Spiritus sanctificat, nec Filius sine Spiritu vel Patre, sicuti et vos dixistis, et est verum quod Paulus ait: Ipse autem Deus, etc. 1 Thes. 5:23: ad Corinth.: Sed abluti estis, etc. 1 Cor. 6:11.  Videtisne unitatem sanctificationis, quomodo Pater et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus sanctificat creaturam?  Si igitur sancta creatio creata est, sine Spiritu autem Sancto non est sanctificata, et Spiritum Sanctum Creatorem esse necesse est omnes confiteri.  De Trinitate et Spiritu Sancto, S. Athanasii Op. t. ii. p. 972. – Editor.]]

         It may indeed be observed, in answer to the objection founded on the text, “for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” [John 3:34.]; that this passage is evidently designed to prove the superiority of Christ to the ancient prophets, who spake by the Spirit of God – the Spirit of Christ – the Holy Ghost – and can in no wise be brought as an argument against the personality of the Holy Spirit.  It is an allusion to the fact, which John the Baptist had before declared, that he saw the Spirit of God descend and remain upon Jesus to distinguish him as the Messiah – the Son of God [John 3:32, etc.] – from the prophets, who were only occasionally favoured by his influence.  But when we consider the mysterious union of the three persons in one God, which certainly implies unity of will and power, it appears to me we may safely grant that expressions of this sort are sometimes used to signify an attribute, an energy, operation, quality, or power of God, without injury to the doctrine we maintain, which is clearly established by so many passages in Scripture.

         The earliest controversy upon the subject of this article was that occasioned by Macedonius, [Macedonius was deposed by the synod of Constantinople in the year 360, and his doctrines were formally condemned in the second general council held in 381.  It was after his deposition that he formed the party known by his name.  Socratis Hist. lib.ii. c. 38, 42, 45. – Editor.] bishop of Constantinople, in the middle of the fourth century, who denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost, and was on that account deposed from his bishopric.


Article 6.

Of the Sufficiency of Holy Scripture For Salvation.

         Holy Scripture containeth all Things necessary to Salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any Man, that it should be believed as an Article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to Salvation.  In the Name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose Authority was never any doubt in the Church.


Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.

Genesis.  Exodus.  Leviticus.  Numbers.  Deuteronomy.  Joshua.  Judges.  Ruth.  The First Book of Samuel.  The Second Book of Samuel.  The First Book of Kings.  The Second Book of Kings.  The First Book of Chronicles.  The Second Book of Chronicles.  The First Book of Esdras.  The Second Book of Esdras.  The Book of Esther.  The Book op Job.  The Psalms.  The Proverbs.  Ecclesiastes, Or Preacher.  Cantica, or Song of Solomon.  Four Prophets the Greater.  Twelve Prophets the Less.

         And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet it doth not apply them to establish any doctrine.  Such are these following: –

The Third Book of Esdras.  The Fourth Book of Esdras.  The Book of Tobias.  The Book of Judith.  The Rest of the Book of Esther.  The Book of Wisdom.  Jesus the Son of Sirach.  Baruch the Prophet.  The Song of the Three Children.  The History of Susannah.  Of Bel and the Dragon.  The Prayer of Manasses.  The First Book of Maccabees.  The Second Book of Maccabees.

         All the books of the New Testament as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them canonical.


         We have seen that the first five Articles relate to the foundation of all religion, the existence of a God, and to the characteristic doctrines of the Christian religion, concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  The next point to be settled is the rule of our faith and practice; this is a subject upon which there is a material difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England, and to that difference this Article is directed.

         The divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and consequently their truth and obligation, is allowed both by papists and by the members of our church: but the papists assert that the books of the New Testament do not contain the whole rule of a Christian’s faith and practice; they believe that the Apostles orally delivered many doctrines and precepts of the highest importance to our eternal happiness, which are not contained in the New Testament; and they further believe, that these doctrines and precepts have been faithfully transmitted to the present time; and that there is an infallible authority, vested by Christ in his church, to judge of their correctness, and to distinguish those which are true from those which are false. [It does not appear that there is any collection of these traditions, which is considered as authentic by papists.  The Jewish traditions were collected into a book, and comments written upon them, as has been before observed, Part I. chap. iv.]  On the contrary, we of the Church of England affirm, that the Scriptures contain a complete rule of faith and practice, and we reject every doctrine and precept as essential to salvation, or to be obeyed as divine, which is not supported by their authority.

         In proof of the former part of this Article we may first observe that oral tradition, on account of the prodigious length to which human life was at first extended, had greater advantages in the early ages of the world than it could have in any subsequent period.  Methuselah lived about 300 years while Adam was alive, and Shem lived almost 100 years with Methuselah, and above 100 years with Abraham; but though it thus appears that two intermediate persons, namely, Methuselah and Shem, were sufficient to convey any tradition from Adam to Abraham, yet the simplicity and purity of the primeval religion were so grossly corrupted in the days of Abraham, that all knowledge of the one true God would have been utterly extinguished, and idolatry would have prevailed universally, if it had not pleased the Almighty to reveal himself in an especial manner to Abraham and his posterity, and to separate them from the rest of mankind.  If to this experience of former times, we add the observation which must have occurred to every one concerning the inaccuracy of reports upon the plainest matter of fact, we may conclude that oral tradition is altogether incompetent to transmit to us, from the time of the Apostles, any doctrines or precepts in which our eternal salvation is concerned.  Surely, therefore, it ought not to be believed, that points of such importance would be trusted to so doubtful a conveyance.  It is certain that the Evangelists and Apostles have delivered to us in writing some articles of faith and some rules of practice, as essential to salvation; but if some, why not all?  Is it probable that we should receive part of our religion in writing, and part by oral tradition?  Is there any mention in the New Testament of authentic tradition, which was to be added to the written word of God? of any defects in the Gospels, which the church was to supply by her unwritten precepts and doctrines?

         But let us consider the case of the Mosaic dispensation, which was introductory to the Gospel, and was derived from the same divine origin.  The law of Moses was delivered on Mount Sinai under the most striking and impressive circumstances, and it contained rites and feasts calculated to preserve the memory of it; it was temporary, and confined to a single people, who were kept united, and were not permitted to mix with other nations; it consisted chiefly of ordinances, which were to be performed, without any great interval of time, at one place: and yet the whole of this religion, thus suited, if any could be, to oral tradition, was, by the express command of God, committed to writing.  On the other hand, the Christian religion is designed for the whole world, for men of all countries, languages, and times, and every part of the worship enjoined by it may be performed in any part of the earth.  Surely then we may conclude that the whole of the Christian religion was committed to writing that God would make the same provision for the preservation of the universal religion of mankind, which he did for the partial religion of the Jews.  St. John, indeed, seems to declare that a belief of what he alone had written was sufficient to insure eternal life: “These things,” says he, at the end of his Gospel, “are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through his name” [John 20:31.]; and St. Luke tells Theophilus, that he wrote his Gospel that he “might know the certainty of those things in which he had been instructed.” [Luke 1:4.]

         Though the whole Jewish religion was in fact contained in the books of Moses, yet the Jews in the time of our Saviour had a great number of traditions, which they observed with the utmost strictness.  Christ and his Apostles frequently appealed to Moses and the prophets, and encouraged and commanded the searching of the Scriptures; but in no one instance did they acknowledge the authority of the traditions, which were then held in such high esteem; on the contrary, Christ told the Jews, that “they had made the commandments of God of none effect by their traditions” [Matt. 15:6.]; and that “they worshipped God in vain, when they taught for doc- trines the commandments of men.” [Mark 7:7.]

         Since then oral tradition is, from the very nature of man, incompetent to convey any doctrine to us from the times of the Apostles; since it is improbable in the highest degree that part of our religion should be delivered in writing, and part by oral tradition; since the New Testament contains not the slightest intimation concerning any rules or precepts to be transmitted to Christians by oral tradition; and since the traditions of the Jews were severely condemned by our Saviour himself, and no authentic tradition is referred to, either by him or his Apostles, we consider ourselves fully justified in rejecting all oral tradition as of divine authority, and in believing that HOLY SCRIPTURE CONTAINETH ALL THINGS NECESSARY TO SALVATION.

         The ancient fathers always speak of the Scriptures as containing a complete rule of faith and practice, and appeal to them, and them only, in support of the doctrines which they advance. “The Scriptures,” says Irenaeus, “are indeed perfect, inasmuch as they are dictated by the Word of God and his Spirit.” [Lib. ii. 47.]  Tertullian, arguing against a certain tenet of Hermogenes, says, “If it be not written, let him fear the curse denounced against those who add to, or diminish from, the written word of God. [Adv. Hermog. cap. xii.]  “Whence,” says Cyprian, “is that tradition?  Is it derived from the authority of our Lord and the Gospels, or does it come from the commands of the Apostles and the Epistles?  For God himself witnesses that these things are to be done which are written.” [Cyp. ad Pomp. Ep.]  Chrysostom declares, that “he who does not make use of the Holy Scriptures, but goes aside into another road, leaving the common way, is a thief” [In Joan. 10.]; and Basil maintains, that “everything which is done or said, ought to be confirmed by the testimony of Holy Scripture.”*

         *[Esth. Des. 26.  [Bellarmine has given the fullest and most intelligible account of the doctrine of tradition: Nomen traditionis generale est, et significat omnem doctrinam, sive scriptam, sive non scriptam, quae ab imo communicatur alteri.  Exod. 17:14.  Acts 6:14.  Lex Mosis scripta vocatur traditio: Audivimus cum dicentem, quoniam Jesus ... destruet locum istum, et mutabit traditiones, quas tradidit nobis Moyses.  At 1 Cor. 11:23.  Ego enim accepi a Domino, quod et tradidi vobis.  Traditio vocatur doctrina viva voce exposita et 2 Thes. 2:15.

            This learned author then proceeds to describe the different kinds of tradition, and of the not-written doctrine: Vocatur autem doctrina non scripta, non ea quae nusquam scripta est, sed quae non est scripta a primo auctore; exemplo sit baptismus parvulorum.  Parvulos baptizandos, vocatur traditio Apostolica non scripta, quia non invenitur hoc scriptum in ullo Apostolico libro, tametsi scriptum est in libris fere omnium veterum patrum.

            The division of traditions is twofold, the former according to the authors of the traditions, the latter according to the matter.  The former is divided into divine, apostolic, and ecclesiastic.  Thus those are called divine which came from Christ himself while teaching the Apostles, but are found nowhere in the Scriptures; such, it is said, are those which relate to the form and matter of the sacraments.  Apostolic traditions are those instituted by the Apostles, not, indeed, without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, but not set down in any of their Epistles.  It is added, that divine traditions are sometimes called apostolic, and apostolic divine; the reason of which is suggested by the Apostle’s words, 1 Cor. 7:10, 12.  Ecclesiastic traditions are certain ancient customs, originating either with prelates or with the people, but obtaining by the silent consent of multitudes the force of law.

            Et quidem traditiones divinae eandem vim habent, quam divina praecepta, sive divina doctrina scripta in Evangeliis.  Et similiter Apostolicae traditiones non scripta eandem vim habent, quam Apostolicae traditiones scriptae, ut in Consilio Trident, seas. 4. asseritur; et ratio est manifesta: nam verbum Dei, non est tale, nec habet ullam auctoritatem, quia scriptum est in membranis, sed quia a Deo profectum est vel immediate, ut sunt sermones Domini, vel mediantibus Apostolis, ut est decretum Apostolorum, Acts, 15:28.

            Ecclesiasticae autem traditiones eandem vim habent, quam decreta et constitutiones Ecclesiae scriptae: nam etiam in republica civili eadem vis et consuetudinum approbatarum, et legum scriptarum, ut patet distin. 1. canon. consuetudo, et 1. diuturna, ff. de legibus.

            The other division of traditions is according to their matter.  Hence there are traditions concerning faith, and traditions concerning customs.  Thus, Traditio de fide est, quod B. Maria semper fuerit virgo; quod quatuor tantum Evangelia, etc.  Traditio ad mores pertinens est, quod signum crucia fronte pingendum sit; quod certis diebus jejunia aut festa celebranda.

            Traditio is also spoken of as perpetual, temporal, universal, necessary, or free.  De Verbo Dei non scripto, C. ii. sect. 2-11.  Op. t. i. p. 100. – Editor.]]


         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.  As I have already treated of the canon both of the Old and New Testament, it is unnecessary for me to say anything upon that subject in this place, except that in the enumeration of the books of the Old Testament contained in this Article, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are called the first and second books of Esdras, Esdras being the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew word Ezra.  Ezra and Nehemiah, as was observed in the beginning of this work, were formerly joined in one book, and when they were separated, the book of Nehemiah being considered as a continuation of the book of Ezra, was called by his name.

         There is no authority, internal or external, for admitting the books, commonly called apocryphal,* into the sacred canon; they contain no prophecy or other authentic mark of inspiration; they were all written subsequent to the cessation of the prophetic spirit, but before the promulgation of the Gospel: they were not included in the Jewish canon, and therefore received no sanction from our Saviour; they are not cited or alluded to in any part of the New Testament; nor are they mentioned as inspired writings by any ecclesiastical writer of the first three centuries; and they are expressly rejected by Athanasius and Jerome in the fourth century.  Though these two fathers, and several subsequent authors, speak of these books with respect, yet the same authority was never ascribed to them as to the Old and New Testament till the council of Trent, at its fourth session, admitted them all, except the prayer of Manasseh, and the third and fourth books of Esdras, [These three books are not mentioned in the acts of the council.] into their canon; and this still continues one of the many points of difference between the church of Rome and that of England.  There is therefore no ground for applying the books of Apocrypha to establish any doctrine, but they are highly valuable as ancient writings, which throw considerable light upon the phraseology of Scripture, and upon the history and manners of the East; and as they contain many noble sentiments and useful precepts, our church, in in imitation of the primitive church of Christ, DOTH READ THEM FOR EXAMPLE OF LIFE AND INSTRUCTION OF MANNERS: “Sicut ergo Judith, et Tobiae, et Maccabaeorum libros legit quidem ecclesia, sed eos inter canonicas Scripturas non recipit, sic et haec duo volumina [Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom.] legat ad aedificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confimandam.” [Jerome, Pref. to the Transl. of the Books of Solomon.]  Our church does not read all the books of the Apocrypha; it reads no part of either books of Esdras, or of the Maccabees, or of the book of Esther; nor does it read the Song of the Three Children, nor the Prayer of Manasseh.

         *[“Apocrypha from αποκρυπτω to hide.  The word seems to have been first applied only to books of doubtful authority, or, as it is used by Origen, to imply works out of the canon; it was afterwards employed to characterize spurious and pernicious books.  It has been thought that books of doubtful character were first termed apocryphal by the Jews, because they were removed απο της κρυπτης, from the ark of the covenant, where the canonical books were placed.  Eus. Lib. de Pond. et Mensur. p. 534; or because shut up from the generality of readers, and concealed, as some assert, in a chest of the temple.  In the primitive church some of these books, especially those of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, were imparted to catechumens, and all of them were allowed to be read under certain restrictions.  Vid. Canon. Apost. Athan. Synops.” – Gray.]


Article 7.

Of the Old Testament.

         The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament, everlasting Life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man: wherefore they are not to be heard which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory Promises.

         Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian Men, nor the civil Precepts thereof ought of Necessity to be received in any Commonwealth, yet notwithstanding no Christian Man whatsoever is free from the Obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.


         This Article was directed against the opinion of certain persons, who thought that the Old Testament, after the promulgation of the New, was no longer of any use; and also against the Anabaptists and other enthusiasts, who, mistaking some expressions in the Epistles concerning justification by Christ without the works of the law, maintained that Christians were under no obligation to obey the moral precepts of the Mosaic dispensation.

         It has been noticed in a former part of this work, that the promise of the Redemption of mankind from the fatal effects of sin, is recorded in the beginning of the book of Genesis; and we have also seen this promise confirmed by so many persons, and in so many ways, throughout the writings of the Old Testament, that we cannot but feel the force of our Lord’s appeal, “Search the Scriptures, for they testify of me.” [John 5:39.]  But in order to prove the former part of this article, I shall repeat and explain some of those prophecies and types, which refer to the offer or promise of everlasting life to mankind by Christ.

         Immediately after the fall of our first parents from their state of innocence and happiness, God said to the serpent, “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” [Gen. 3:15.]; in which words is intimated the future Saviour of the world, who was to be born of a woman, and through whom mankind would bruise the head of the serpent, that is, gain the victory over sin and death, which the serpent was the means of introducing into the world.  God next declares to Abraham his gracious design of redeeming the world in these words: “I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” [Gen. 17:7, 22:18.]  This promise signifies that the Redeemer was to be a descendant of Abraham; and it is to be observed, that the blessing here promised was to extend to all the nations of the earth, that is, to all mankind.  We have St. Paul’s authority for this interpretation; “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” [Gal. 3:8.]  And it is farther to be observed that this promise was made to Abraham immediately after he had shown himself ready to sacrifice his only son at the command of God, which whole transaction is to be considered as typical of the sacrifice of Christ. [It should be remarked, however, that this typical application of the occurrence depends upon the traditional interpretation of the church, and not on scriptural authority. – Editor.] – The same promise was repeated to Isaac [Gen. 26:3.] and to Jacob. [Gen. 28:13.]  In Jeremiah, God says, “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. [Jer. 31:33–34.]  In the above passage the nature of the Gospel covenant is explained, as designed to produce inward purity, and to procure pardon for sin; and in Isaiah the benefits of this covenant are declared to extend to the Gentiles also: “It is a light thing, saith the Lord, that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. [Isa. 49:6.]  The atonement also is clearly asserted in Isaiah: “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 everyone to his own ways, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all; for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people he was stricken.  Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin; for he shall bear their iniquities. [Isa. 53:5, etc.]  And the following passage in Hosea plainly states God’s gracious intention of bestowing upon mankind everlasting life: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.” [Hosea 13:14.]

         To these positive declarations, relative to the redemption by Christ, we may add that the call of the Jews out of Egypt, where they suffered a severe bondage, into Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, was a type of the call of mankind from the oppression and misery of sin to “the glorious liberty with which Christ hath made us free”; that the law was preparatory to the Gospel; that Moses, as a deliverer and lawgiver, was a type of Christ; that the temporal blessings of the law were typical of the eternal blessings of the Gospel; that the paschal lamb was typical of the sacrifice of Christ; the scapegoat, of the atonement and the lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, of the crucifixion of our Saviour.  Many other promises, predictions, and types, might be produced out of the Old Testament concerning the redemption through Christ, but these axe amply sufficient to convince us that 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.  Indeed there is not only the most perfect harmony and consistency, but the closest connection and mutual dependence between the Old and New Testament; they are parts of the same system; they explain and confirm each other.  The great plan of universal redemption, announced and typified in the one, is perfected and completed in the other; it was declared to Adam; it was promised to the patriarchs; it was typified by the Law; it was predicted by the prophets; it was fulfilled in Christ.  It was the eternal decree of God; it was gradually carried on through a long succession of ages, according to the dictates of his unerring wisdom, and was finally executed in his own good time: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning.” [Acts 15:18.] – “With him a thousand years are as one day.” [2 Peter 3:8.] – In him there is no variableness or shadow of turning.” [James 1:17.] – “What,” says Justin Martyr, “is the Law? the Gospel predicted.  What is the Gospel? the Law fulfilled.” [Quaest. et Resp. 101.] – “I have often asserted,” says Chrysostom, “that two covenants, two handmaids, and two sisters, attend upon one Lord.  Christ is announced by the prophets; Christ is preached in the New Testament.  The Old Testament declared beforehand the New, and the New interpreted the Old.” [Hom. 111.]

         Among the many references in the New Testament to the Old, which might be enumerated, I shall only mention the following declarations of our Saviour, sufficient indeed of themselves to prove the truth of this part of the Article: “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] – “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.” [John 5:46.] – Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” [Matt. 5:17.]

         The Article proceeds to state that CHRIST IS THE ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, BEING BOTH GOD AND MAN.  It has been already proved that Christ partook both of the divine and human nature; and St. Paul expressly says, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” [1 Tim. 2:5.]  Christ is represented, both in the Old and New Testament, as the only Redeemer of mankind, as the only sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  His merits will extend to all who lived before and after the promulgation of the Gospel: “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1 Cor. 15:22.]  “He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” [Rev. 13:8.]

         WHEREFORE THEY ARE NOT TO BE HEARD, WHICH FEIGN THAT THE OLD FATHERS DID LOOK ONLY FOR TRANSITORY PROMISES.  Though we now perceive the completion and application of all the prophecies, allusions, and types in the Old Testament, concerning the benefits to be derived from the incarnation and sufferings of Christ, yet we should remember that the exact meaning of these passages was by no means fully understood before the promulgation of the Gospel.  The belief, however, of the patriarchs in the promise of a Redeemer, and their expectation of a future life, appear evident from their history in the Old Testament, and from the testimony to their faith given by the Apostle in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.  And it is certain that those who lived under the law, collected from their Scriptures general ideas of God’s design to bestow upon mankind some signal blessings through the means of the Messiah, and therefore they were naturally led to extend their hopes and expectations beyond the transitory promises of the Mosaic dispensation.  Even Bishop Warburton acknowledges that the doctrine of a future state became a national doctrine among the Jews about 150 years before Christ; and it is well known that the opposite opinion was the distinguishing tenet of the sect of the Sadducees in the time of our Saviour.  David Levi, the learned Jew of the present time, contends, that the Jews were certainly well acquainted with the doctrine of the resurrection in the days of Isaiah, who lived about 800 years before the birth of Christ; “nay,” says he, “I am confident that the resurrection was taught by Moses himself”; and for this opinion we seem to have the authority of our Lord himself, when he attributes their want of faith in him to their not believing or not understanding the writings of their lawgiver: “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me; but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my word?” [John 5:46–47.]  Our Saviour’s answer also to the insidious question of the Sadducees concerning the seven brethren who had married one wife, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures,” [Matt. 22:29.] plainly implies that the doctrine which they denied, namely, the resurrection of the dead, was contained in the Scriptures.  Not to mention what might be adduced in support of the supposition, that Adam and his immediate descendants received positive information concerning the nature of the benefit to be procured by the promised “Deliverer,” the translation of the righteous Enoch must surely have been considered as very striking evidence of another and happier state of existence.  It is expressly said of Abraham, that “he accounted God was able to raise up Isaac, even from the dead” [Heb. 11:19.]; and of Moses, that “he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of (or rather for) Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” [Heb. 11:25–26.]  And after enumerating various examples of faith, the Apostle adds in the same chapter, “others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” [Heb. 11:35.]  Job comforts himself with the following reflection, from which it is evident that he believed there would be another life, in which he should be rewarded for all his sufferings: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” [Job. 19:25–27.]  David says of himself, though the words, agreeably to the double sense of prophecy, were afterwards applied to Christ, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.  Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” [Psalm 16:10–11.]; from which it appears that David hoped to be restored to life after death, and to enjoy happiness in the presence of God.  To the same purpose he says in another Psalm, “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for be shall receive me” [Psalm 49:15.]; and in the following passage he contrasts the success of the wicked in this world with the comforts which he himself should enjoy in the next; he prays to be delivered from the wicked, “who have their portion in this life; whose bellies, thou, O Lord, finest with thy hid treasure: they have children at their desire, and leave the rest of their substance for their babes.  But as for me, I will behold thy presence in righteousness, and when I awake up after thy likeness I shall be satisfied with it.” [Psalm 17:14.]  The raising of the Shunamite woman’s son to life, [2 Kings, 4:12, etc.] and the ascension of Elijah into heaven, [2 Kings, 2:1, etc.] must also be allowed as proofs vouchsafed to the Jews of the resurrection, and of a state of happiness in heaven.  The following passages in Ecclesiastes refer to the future judgment: “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment” [Eccl. 11:9.]; – “for God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” [Eccl. 12:14.]  In Isaiah we read, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” [Isa. 26:19.]  Daniel says, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt.” [Dan. 12:2.]  It has appeared from various authorities, that the Jews in general believed in a future state in the time of our Saviour; and if they believed that they were to exist in another life, they would of course consider themselves capable of happiness or misery in that existence, and would place their hopes and confidence in the Supreme Disposer of all events, whose interposition and mercy they had so often experienced, and who had given them such strong and repeated intimations of still greater favours and blessings.  And though the Jews in general, at the time of our Saviour’s appearance upon earth, had very erroneous notions of the kingdom which the Messiah was to establish, yet we have no reason to think that those notions always prevailed, or that even then they looked for worldly grandeur and temporal benefits only; on the contrary, it appears from an expression of our Saviour just now quoted, that they had some expectation of happiness in another world: “Search the Scriptures,” said he to the unbelieving Jews, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” [John 5:39.]  “But,” says Bishop Burnet, “though the old Fathers had a conveyance of the hope of eternal life made to them, with a resurrection of their bodies, and a confidence in the mercy of God for pardoning the most heinous sins, yet it cannot be denied, that it was as a light that shined in a dark place, till the daystar did arise, and that ‘Christ brought life and immortality to light,’ [2 Tim. 1:10.] by his Gospel, giving us fuller and clearer discoveries of it, both with relation to our souls and bodies; and that by him also God has declared his righteousness for the remission of sins through the forbearance of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and through faith in his blood.” [Rom. 3:24–25.]

         ALTHOUGH THE LAW GIVEN FROM GOD TO 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.  The Mosaic dispensation [The portion of the Article now considered does not refer to the dispensation itself, but to the ceremonies and rites which accompanied it.  The intention of these might be to separate the Jews from other nations; but the main object of the dispensation itself was to convince of sin; to continue the typical sacrifice of atonement; and preserve the connection between God’s people and the ministers of the sanctuary. – Editor.] was preparatory to the Christian, and its principal objects were to separate the Jews from other nations, and to preserve in the world a knowledge of the one true God, which would otherwise have been utterly lost before the coming of the Messiah.  It consisted of three parts, the worship of God, the civil polity of the Jews, and precepts for the regulation of their moral conduct.  The religious ceremonies and political regulations were blended together, and were calculated to keep the Jews united among themselves, and to prevent all intercourse with the rest of the world.  The coming of the Messiah, by completing the use of these institutions, put an end to their obligation.  “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.” [Jer. 31:31–32.]  Agreeably to which St. Paul says, “The law was our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith: but after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” [Gal. 3:24–25.]  “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before.” [Heb. 7:18.]  “There are also many hints in the Old Testament, which show that the precepts in the Mosaic law were to be altered; many plain intimations are given of a time and state, in which the knowledge of God was to be spread over all the earth, and that God was everywhere to be worshipped.  Now this was impossible to be done without a change in their law and rituals, it being impossible that all the world should go up thrice a year to worship at Jerusalem, or could be served by priests of the Aaronic family.  Circumcision was a distinction of one particular race, which needed not to be continued after all were brought under one denomination, and within the same common privileges.” [Burnet.]  The Apostles decreed that the ceremonial law was not binding upon those Gentiles who embraced the Gospel; and that doctrine is fully explained and enforced in the Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews; but the Apostles and other Jewish Christians, although it was by no means required by the Gospel, seem to have continued in the observance of several injunctions of the Mosaic ritual, till the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed: since that time, the Jews, although very numerous in different parts of the world, have nowhere existed as a nation; and the performance of their religious worship, as directed by the law of Moses, has been absolutely impossible.  The form of civil government established among the Jews was adapted to their peculiar destination; but it was temporary even to them, and was obviously never intended for any other country or people.  On the other hand, the moral precepts resting upon fixed and immutable principles, being founded in the essential difference between right and wrong, and being equally applicable to all persons at all times, will be binding upon every man, to all eternity.  And this, which appears from the whole tenor of the New Testament, is expressly asserted by Christ himself, in his Sermon upon the Mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or 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” [Matt. 5:17–18.]; in which declaration our Saviour evidently refers to the moral law; and all the moral precepts contained in the Old Testament are not only separately confirmed and enforced in the New, but many of them are extended to a greater degree of strictness and purity.” [Vide Sermon upon the Mount, Matt. 5, etc.]


Article 8.

Of the Creeds.

         The three Creeds, Nice 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.


         By the word Creed is meant the substance of a Christian’s belief.  The Greek word used in this sense is Συμβολον, and the Latin Symbolum.  Some have imagined that each of the Apostles contributed an article to that which is called the Apostles’ Creed, and that therefore a Creed in general was called Συμβολον: Symbolum dici potest collatio, hoc est, quod plures in unum conferunt; id enim fecerunt apostoli in his sermonibus, in unum conferendo quod unusquisque sensit [Ruffinus, Exp. Symb. sect. 2.]; but it seems more reasonable to suppose that Creeds were thus called because Συμβολον and Symbolum signify a watchword or sign, the object of Creeds having been to distinguish true Christians from heretics and infidels: Symbolum tessera est et signaculum quo inter fideles perfidosque secernitur. [Maximus Taurinensis de Trad. Symb.]

         I shall treat of the three Creeds in the order in which they are mentioned in this Article.  The Nice, or Nicene, Creed is so denominated, because the greater part of it, namely, as far as the words “Holy Ghost,” was drawn up and agreed to at the council at Nice, or Nicaea in Bithynia, A.D. 325; the rest of this Creed was added at the council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, except the words “and the Son,” which follow the words “who proceedeth from the Father,” and they were inserted A.D. 447.  The addition made at Constantinople was caused by the denial of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost by Macedonius and his followers, and the Creed, thus enlarged, was immediately received by all orthodox Christians.  The insertion of the words “and the Son,” was made by the Spanish bishops, and they were soon after adopted by the Christians in France.  The bishops of Rome for some time refused to admit these words into the Creed; but at last, in the year 883, when Nicholas the First was pope, they were allowed, and from that time they have stood in the Nicene creed, in all the Western churches; but the Greek church has never received them.  This point of difference was noticed under the fifth Article.

         That which is called the Creed of Athanasius was certainly not written by that Father; it is not found in his works; nor is it probable that he should himself compose a Creed, as he and all the orthodox divines of those times constantly refer to the Nicene Creed as the standard of their faith.  Besides, the Athanasian Creed condemns the Macedonian, Nestorian, and Eutychian heresies [The Macedonians denied the personality of the Holy Ghost; the Nestorians maintained that there were two persons in Christ, the one divine, and the other human; and the Eutychians contended that there was only one nature in Christ, namely the divine.]; but as this Creed is never mentioned in any of those controversies, we conclude that it did not then exist; indeed it was never heard of till the sixth century, above a hundred years after the death of Athanasius [Athanasius died A.D. 373.]; it was then published under the name of that distinguished Father, probably for the purpose of giving weight to it; and at most it is to be considered as containing his doctrines.  It cannot now be ascertained who was its real author, but it is generally believed that it was written in Latin: it had. never the sanction of any council, and it is doubtful whether it was ever admitted into the Eastern church.

         Great objection has been made to the clauses of this Creed, which denounce eternal damnation against those who do not believe the Catholic faith, as here stated; and it certainly is to be lamented that assertions of so peremptory a nature, unexplained and unqualified, should have been used in any human composition.  The principle upon which these clauses are founded is this – that a belief of certain doctrines is essential to salvation; and this principle seems to rest upon the general tenor and express declarations of the New Testament.  We find our Saviour and his Apostles equally anxious to establish a right faith and a correct conduct.  Faith and good works are inculcated as equally necessary: “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” [Heb. 11:6.] – “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,” [Mark 16:16.] that is, condemned.  It is indeed impossible for anyone to admit the divine authority of the New Testament, and doubt the necessity of faith in general; and surely the faith thus required must include the leading and characteristic doctrines of the Christian religion; and though the Gospel has not expressly enumerated these particular doctrines, none seem to have a stronger claim to be so considered than those which relate to the three persons, in whose name we are commanded to be baptized, to the incarnation of Christ, and to a future judgment.  These are the doctrines of the Athanasian Creed;* and therefore it would follow, that a belief in the doctrines of the Athanasian Creed is essential to salvation.  Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, was a favourite maxim of the early ecclesiastical writers; that is, according to their judgment, no man could be saved who did not believe the doctrines of the Catholic church.  This principle is maintained by Athanasius, Hilary, Lactantius, and many other of the most eminent Fathers; and thence it appears that this Creed only spoke the language of those times.  It was also a custom among the early Christians, after a confession of the orthodox faith, to pass an anathema on all who denied it; and indeed, in almost every ancient creed transmitted to us we find an anathema constantly denounced against those who dissented from it, because each creed was thought to contain the essential articles of Christianity.

         *[“It does not pretend to explain how there are three persons, each of whom is God, and yet but one God; but only asserts the thing, that thus it is, and thus it must be, if we believe a Trinity in Unity; for the Athanasian Creed, as far as it relates to this matter, is only a more particular explication of the Homoousion, adopted by the Nicene fathers; or in what sense the Son is of the same nature with the Father, and one God with him.”  Sherlock’s Vindication. – The Hypostatic Union, which is not distinctly asserted either in the Apostles, or the Nicene Creed, is explicitly maintained in the Athanasian Creed, with an evident design to preserve the purity of the Catholic Faith amidst the contentions of prevailing heresies.  [This was the case with the Nicene Creed as originally confirmed by the august assembly in which it was drawn up.  Referring to those who spoke of the Son in terms contradictory of the Creed, it is said, Such the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes. – Editor.]]

         We know that different persons have deduced different and even opposite doctrines from the words of Scripture, and consequently there must be many errors among Christians; but since the Gospel nowhere informs us what degree of error will exclude from eternal happiness, I am ready to acknowledge that, in my judgment, notwithstanding the authority of former times, our Church would have acted more wisely and more consistently with its general principles of mildness and toleration, if it had not adopted the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed.  Though I firmly believe that the doctrines themselves of this Creed are all founded in Scripture, I cannot but conceive it to be both unnecessary and presumptuous to say, that “except every one do keep them whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

         As different practical duties are required of different persons, according to their circumstances and situations in life, so different degrees and different sorts of faith, if I may so express myself, may be required of different persons, according to their understandings, attainments, and opportunities of improvement; and God only knows what allowance is to be made for the influence of education and habit, and for that infinite variety of tempers, dispositions, and capacities, which we observe in mankind; but in any case let it be remembered, that these clauses cannot be considered as applicable to any persons, except those who shall have had full means of instruction in the doctrines to which they relate, and who shall have finally rejected them.  It is utterly repugnant to the attributes of God, nor can it be reconciled to our ideas of common justice, that a person should be consigned to eternal punishment because he did not believe certain articles of faith, which were never proposed to him, or of the truth of which he was not qualified to judge.  We may be convinced that the belief of some doctrines, as well as the practice of some virtues, is essential to salvation; but we are to suppose that the door of repentance is equally open in both cases: a man may be sorry for, and correct an error in opinion, as well as he may be sorry for, and abandon any vice; in the one case he may conquer a prejudice, and in the other subdue a passion.  We are not justified in saying that any man is so sunk in error, or so depraved by sin, that he cannot repent and be saved; but, as we may say, that if any man perseveres in the deliberate commission of known sin he has no right to expect salvation, so we may say, that if a man, through obstinacy and prejudice, from a willful misapplication or neglect of the talents with which he is endowed, finally rejects the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, when they are, fairly and fully proposed to him, he likewise has no right to expect salvation: in either case he must be left to the uncovenanted mercy of God.  We are commanded to “search the Scriptures,” [John 15:39.] that we may form a right faith, and be able to give “a reason of the hope that is in us.” [1 Peter 3:15.]  We are also to “contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” [Jude 3.]: that is, we are to maintain with zeal and firmness, what, after mature deliberation and impartial inquiry, we believe to be revealed truth; but in our exertions to establish the unity of faith, we are not to violate the bond of peace; we are not to consider all who differ from us as unworthy of, or excluded from, the favour of God.*

         *[“This incomparable Creed,” says Bishop Beveridge, “some think Anastasius, others Eusebius Vercellensis, others some learned Frenchman, made; but the most, and the ancients, ascribe it to Athanasius.  And truly, though we cannot produce any certain argument from whence to prove it, yet this we know, that there is nothing in it (especially in the Greek copies) but what is consonant to his other works; and that it hath been received in the church under his name for above this four hundred, six hundred, yea, for above this eight hundred years together.  For Hincmarus, that lived A.D. 850, commands his presbyters, ‘that everyone would commit to his memory the words of Athanasius, concerning faith, the beginning whereof is, “Whosoever will be saved,” and understand the sense of it, and so be able to pronounce it in common words.’” – Works, vol. ix. p. 279.  See also the Bishop of London’s weighty observations in his Sermon on this creed.

            “In this age of what is called freedom of opinion how many Christians are there, who, when they have once departed from the primitive rule of faith preserved in the formularies of our church, shift continually from one set of opinions to another, and are carried about by every wind of doctrine; till some make shipwreck of their faith upon the quicksands of deism, while others lose themselves in the gulf of Antinomian wickedness.  This is not an age in which we can hastily consent to relinquish or remove any of those standards and boundary marks of the faith, by which the scriptural character of our church is defined and ascertained; and which, when carefully and candidly examined, are found not to be inconsistent with the moderation and charity by which an evangelical church will always be distinguished.” – Sermons, p. 392. – Editor.]

         Some learned men have contended that the CREED, WHICH IS COMMONLY CALLED THE APOSTLES’ CREED, was composed by the Apostles themselves, but there is no authority for that opinion in Scripture, or in any writer of the first three centuries [Vide Vossius and Bishop Bull.]; and much less is there any ground for the fanciful notion mentioned in the beginning of this Article, which several persons have maintained, that each of the Apostles contributed a clause to this creed.  Indeed, neither this nor any other formal declaration of the whole faith of a Christian is found in any author before Irenaeus, although it is certain that the catechumens, from the earliest times, made a public profession of their faith previous to their baptism.  The numerous creeds which are extant in the writings of the Fathers who flourished from the latter part of the second to the end of the third century perfectly agree in substance, but there is a diversity of expression in them, and even the same author does not always use precisely the same creed in different parts of his works.  This diversity, as has already been observed, shows only that the Apostles did not prescribe any creed; for if they had, it would of course have been adopted by all ecclesiastical writers without any the slightest variation.  The primitive Fathers often speak of an apostolic creed; but by that name they do not mean a determinate form of words drawn up by the Apostles, but a creed containing the doctrines which they preached; and this is what we are to understand by the creed, COMMONLY CALLED THE APOSTLES’ CREED.

         It is not known by whom, or at what precise time, this creed was written.  The earliest author, who mentions it, is Ruffin, [It is also in Ambrose’s works, who was contemporary with Ruffin.] at the end of the fourth century, and he considers it as an ancient composition transmitted from the days of the Apostles.  But though we cannot trace it in the form in which it now stands in our liturgy to those times, it is certainly very old; and we find almost all its articles mentioned separately and incidentally in the earliest Fathers, and particularly in Ignatius, who was contemporary with the Apostles.

         Great respect is due to all these creeds, on account of their antiquity and general reception among Christians; but as they do not come immediately from Christ or his Apostles, they have no other clam to our assent than as they agree with the New Testament; and upon this ground our Church declares that they OUGHT THOROUGHLY TO BE RECEIVED AND BELIEVED, FOR THEY MAY BE PROVED BY MOST CERTAIN WARRANTS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE.  The principal parts of these creeds have been already proved, and therefore it is unnecessary to enter into that subject in this place.

         I shall here subjoin the two earliest confessions of faith now extant, the one from Irenaeus, [Irenaeus is supposed to have been a Greek by birth, though he was bishop of Lyons in Gaul.  His work against heresies was written in Greek, but we have now only a Latin translation of it, and some fragments of the original Greek.] a Greek father, and the other from Tertullian, a Latin father, both of whom lived in the second century, that the reader may see how exactly they agree in substance with the creeds received by our Church: and it deserves to be particularly remarked, that in both these creeds the Divinity of Christ is asserted.


An Exposition of the Catholic Faith, taken from Irenaeus

adv. Haer. lib. i. cap. 2.

         “The Church, which was planted all over the world unto the ends of the earth, received, both from the Apostles and their disciples, that faith which teaches us to believe in one God, the Father Almighty, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are therein; and in one Jesus Christ the Son of God, who was incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Ghost, who foretold by the prophets what God had ordained, and the coming of his dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; his being born of the Virgin Mary; his passion and resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven in the flesh; and his coming again from heaven, in the glory of the Father, to take cognizance of all things that are past, and to raise the whole race of mankind from the dead; that to Christ Jesus, who is our Lord and our God, our Saviour and our King, according to the will of the invisible Father, 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 the workers of wickedness, both the angels that sinned and became apostates, and impious, unjust, unrighteous, and blasphemous men, may be sent away by him into everlasting life; but that all just and righteous men, and such as observe and keep his laws, and persevere in loving him, some from the beginning, and some from the time of their repentance, may receive from his hands life and perfection, and be surrounded with such honour and excellency as will not fade away.”


The Rule of Faith, from Tertullian de Praescript.

adv. Haer. cap. 13.

         “The rule of faith is that which teaches us to believe that there is no other God but one, and no other besides him, who made the world, and produced all things by his Word, which he begot before all things; that that Word of his, which is called his Son, appeared in the style and title of God in various manners to the patriarchs, and is always mentioned as such in the writings of the prophets; and, at last, by the Spirit and power of God, was conceived by the Virgin Mary, was incarnate in her womb, and was born of her a man, in order to be Jesus Christ; that after that time he preached a new law, attended with a new promise of the kingdom of heaven; wrought miracles; was nailed to a 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 that believe in him; that he shall come again with pomp and splendour to receive the saints into the enjoyment of eternal life and the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, having before for that purpose raised both parties from the dead, and restored to them their flesh or bodies.”


Article 9.

Of Original or Birth Sin.

         Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but it is the Fault and Corruption of the Nature of every Man that naturally is engendered of the Offspring of Adam; whereby Man is very far gone from original Righteousness, and is of his own Nature inclined to Evil, so that the Flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every Person born into this World it deserveth God’s Wrath and Damnation.  And this Infection of Nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated, whereby the Lust of the Flesh, called in Greek φρονημα σαρκος, which some do expound the Wisdom, some the Sensuality, some the Affection, and some the Desire of the Flesh, is not subject to the Law of God.  And although there is no Condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that Concupiscence and Lust hath of itself the Nature of Sin.


         The rule of Christian faith being established in the last three Articles, our Church has thought it right in the next place to proceed to those points which relate to Christians as individuals, and it begins with “Original or Birth Sin”.

         The philosophers of old in vain endeavoured to account for the depravity of human nature, and the origin of evil [The morbid state of man both in his moral and intellectual capacity, and the misery consequent to it, were fully admitted by many of the Heathen poets, historians, and philosophers.  This doctrine entered into their mythology, and the soundest sects of their philosophy.  Philosophy is defined “a recovery of happiness from which man had fallen.”  Cicero says of the mind, Id ipsum quod judicat, aegrptat; and Hesiod says, – Ανθρωπον ο ουκ εστιν οιζυρωτερον αλλο / Ζωων, οσσανα γαιαν επιπνειειτε και ερπει.]; and even those who have had the assistance of Revelation, have held very different opinions upon these subjects, both in ancient and modern times.  I shall attempt to show that the doctrines asserted in this Article are founded in Scripture.

         When God placed Adam in the garden of Eden, he said to him, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” [Gen. 2:16–17.]  These words, “Thou shalt surely die,” must mean, that from that time Adam should become subject to death, since it is certain that he did not actually die on the day on which he ate the forbidden fruit.  Hence we conclude that if Adam had not eaten the forbidden fruit he would not have died; and therefore Adam became subject to death in consequence of his disobedience.  And the Scriptures further teach us, that the sin of Adam not only made him liable to death, but that it also changed the upright nature in which he was originally formed into one that was prone to wickedness; and that his liability to death, and propensity to sin, were entailed from him upon the whole race of mankind: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” [Rom. 5:12.] – “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” [Rom. 5:18.] – “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” [Rom. 5:19.] – “Through the offence of one many are dead.” [Rom. 5:15.] – “By one man’s offence death reigned by one.” [Rom. 5:17.] – “By man came death.” [1 Cor. 15:21.] – “In Adam all die.” [1 Cor. 15:22.] – “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” [Gen. 8:21.] – “There is no man that sinneth not.” [1 Kings 8:46.] – “God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.” [Eccl. 7:29.] – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [1 John 1:8.] – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” [Jer. 17:9.] – “The flesh is weak.” [Matt. 26:41.] – “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.” [Gal. 5:17.] – “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” [Rom. 7:23.]  From these texts of Scripture it appears that Adam, who was at first “made upright and in the image of God,” [Gen. 1:26.  Eccl. 7:29.] fell, by his transgression of the command of God, from a state of innocence, purity, and happiness; became subject to death, sin, and misery; and transmitted his nature thus corrupted to all his posterity.  Upon this universal depravity of mankind, and consequent liability to punishment, is founded the necessity of a Redeemer, whose merits and mediation might atone for those sins which are common, in a greater or less degree, to every descendant of Adam.  And all those expressions of the New Testament, which assert that everyone, before he can be entitled to the benefits of the Gospel dispensation, must be “born again,” must become “a new creature,” and “put on the new man,” imply a corruption of his present nature, and plainly prove that a great change must have taken place since God “created man in his own image, and saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.”

         Notwithstanding the plain and obvious sense of the above passages, the Pelagians [Pelagius lived in the former part of the 5th century: he was a native of Wales, and his real name was Morgan, which in the Welsh language signifies the same as Pelagius in Greek.  He travelled into Italy, Africa, and Palestine.  He denied original sin, and the necessity of grace, and asserted that men might arrive at a state of impeccability in this life.  These errors caused so much alarm and disturbance in the Christian world, that no less than thirty councils are said to have been held concerning them between the years 412 and 430.  His principal opponent was Augustin, and occasionally Jerome, Fulgentius, Prosper, and many others.] formerly maintained, and the Socinians still contend, that Adam’s mortality belonged to his original nature: that his sin was merely personal, and confined to himself, and did not in any respect affect his posterity.  But upon the authorities which have been just stated, we of the Church of England hold, that ORIGINAL SIN STANDETH NOT IN THE FOLLOWING OF ADAM [By the “following of Adam” is meant the imitation of Adam; thus Pelagius himself; as quoted by Augustin, In Adamo peccasse omnes non propter peccatum nascendi origine contractum, sed propter imitationem dictum est.  Aug. de Nat. et Grat. cap. 9.] (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, [By original righteousness is meant that rectitude of nature in which our first parents were created, and which, if they had not sinned, would have been transmitted to all their descendants.] AND IS OF HIS OWN NATURE INCLINED TO EVIL, SO THAT THE FLESH LUSTETH ALWAYS CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT.

         The general corruption of human nature, in consequence of Adam’s disobedience, was acknowledged by the ancient Fathers of the Christian Church, as appears from the following quotations: Ignatius, speaking of Christ, says, “Giving himself a ransom for us, that by his blood he might cleanse us from the old transgression,” [Ep. ad Trail.] meaning the transgression of Adam. – Justin Martyr says, that “Christ was born and crucified for mankind, who through Adam had fallen under death and the deception of the serpent, besides the particular sins of which each person is guilty. [Dial. cur Tryph.] – Tatian, speaking of the effect of Adam’s sin, says, “Man who was made according to the image of God, being divested of his more powerful Spirit, became mortal.” [Orat. contra Gent.] – Irenaeus says, “Men are by no other means saved from the ancient wound of the serpent, but by believing in him, who, by being crucified after the similitude of the sin of the flesh, both draws all things after him, and quicken the dead.” [Adv. Haer. lib. iv. cap. 5.] – Origen says, “The curse of Adam is common to all men” [Cont. Cels. lib. iv.]; and he infers that everyone is born in original sin from the words of David, “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me”; and also from the practice of infant baptism; “for,” says he, “if there were nothing in children which required remission, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous.” [Hom. 8. in Lev.] – Tertullian says, “I am speaking of Satan, by whom man was at first seduced to violate the command of God, and was therefore made subject to death, from thence he caused his whole race, being infected by his seed, to be liable to his condemnation.” [De An.] – Cyprian, speaking of baptism, says, “An infant ought not to be refused baptism, who, being newly born, has been guilty of no sin, except that being carnally born according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of the old death at his first birth; who is admitted to the remission of sins more readily, because not his own sins, but those of another are remitted.” [Epist. ad Fid.] – Athanasius says, “As the sin of Adam, who transgressed, passed into all men, so the like power of the Lord, who was powerful, shall pass unto us” [Orat. 2.]; and in another place he speaks of “the ancient sin, which through Adam came upon all men.” [Syn. Sac. Sen.] – Gregory Nazianzen says, “It was necessary that I should be entirely saved, because I had entirely fallen, and was condemned for the disobedience of our first parents.” [Orat. 3.] – It should be remembered, that all these writers were prior to the time of Pelagius; and as they lived before original sin was denied, the subject is only mentioned incidentally as a thing universally admitted.  The term Original Sin was first used by Augustin, and before his time it was called, as we have seen, the Old Guilt, the Ancient Wound, the Common Curse, the Old Sin, etc., all which expressions denote the corruption or depravation of human nature derived from the fall of Adam.

         The Article proceeds to state, AND THEREFORE IN EVERY PERSON BORN INTO THE WORLD IT DESERVETH GOD’S WRATH AND DAMNATION.  These words imply that every person who is born into the world, exclusive of the sins which he himself commits, or even if he does not live to commit sin, is, on account of the disobedience and guilt of Adam, subject to the wrath and punishment of God: and we have seen the same thing intimated in the second Article, where it is said, that Christ suffered “as a sacrifice not only for original guilt, but also for the actual sins of men”: this is the doctrine of Augustin [Peccatum eos ex Adamo dicimus originaliter trahere, id est, reatu eos complicatos, et ob hoc poenae obnoxios detineri.  Aug. Retr. lib. i. cap. 15.] and his followers, whose opinions upon this subject are thus stated and supported by Bishop Burnet: – “They believe that a covenant was made with all mankind in Adam as their first parent; that he was a person constituted by God to represent them all; and that the covenant was made with him, so that, if he had obeyed, all his posterity should have been happy through his obedience; but by his disobedience they were all to be esteemed to have slimed in him, his act being imputed and transferred to them all.  This opinion,” continues the learned prelate, “seems to have great foundation in that large discourse of St. Paul’s, where, in the fifth of the Romans, he compares the blessings that we receive by the death of Christ with the guilt and misery that was brought upon us by the sin of Adam.  Now it is confessed, that by Christ we have both an imputation or communication of the merits of his death, and likewise a purity and holiness of nature conveyed to us by his doctrine and spirit.  In opposition then to this, if the comparison is closely to be pursued, there must be an imputation of sin as well as a corruption of nature transferred to us from Adam.  This is the more considerable as to the point of imputation, because the chief design of St. Paul’s discourse seems to be levelled at that, since it is begun upon the head of reconciliation and atonement; upon which it follows, that ‘as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and death passed upon all men, for that (or as others render it, in whom) all have sinned.’ [Rom. 5:12.]  Now they think it is all one to their point, whether it be rendered ‘for that,’ or, ‘in whom’; for though the latter word seems to deliver their opinion more precisely, yet it being affirmed that, according to the other rendering, all who die have sinned, and it being certain that many infants die who have never actually sinned, these must have sinned in Adam; they could sin no other way.  It is afterwards said by St. Paul, that by the offence of one many were dead; that the judgment was by one to condemnation; that by one man’s offence death reigned by one; that by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; and that by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.  As these words are positive, and of great importance in themselves, so all this is much the stronger by the opposition in which every one of them is put to the effects and benefits of Christ’s death, particularly to our justification through him, in which there is an imputation of the merits and effects of his death, that are thereby transferred to us; so that the whole effect of this discourse is taken away, if the imputation of Adam’s sin is denied.  And this explication does certainly quadrate more entirely to the words of the Article, as it is known that this was the tenet of those who prepared the Articles, it having been the generally received opinion from St. Austin’s days downwards.”*

         *[De hac lege peccati, quae alio modo etiam peccatum vocatur, quae repugnat legi menus, de qua multa beatus dixit Ambrosius, adtestantur etiam sancti, Cyprianus, Hilarius, Greorius, aliique quam plurimi.  Qui ergo generatur in Adam, regenerandus in Christo; mortuus in Adam, vivificandus in Christo; ideo peccato est obstrictus originis, quia de malo nascitur, quo caro concupiscit adversus spiritum; non de bono, quo spiritus concupiscit adversus carnem.  Quid ergo mirum est, si renasci debet homo ex illo malo natus, contra quod pugnat homo renatus, quo reus et ipse teneretur, nisi renascendo liberaretur?  Non est hoc malum materies Dei creantis, sed vulnus Diaboli eandem materiem vitiantis.  Non est hoc malum nuptiarum, sed primorum hominum peccatum, in posteros propagatione trajectum.  Etiam hujus mali reatus, baptismatis sanctificatione remittiter.  Deus autem justus, si tanta parvulis mala, quanta nunc dicere non sufficio, nihil peccati trahentibus irrogaret, magis appareret injustus.  Justitiae vero perfecta capacitas hominis non negater, quia nec vitiorum omnium plenissima sanitas sub omnipotenti medico desperatur.  Propter quam catholicam veritatem sancti ac beati et in divinorum eloquiorum pertractatione clarissimi sacerdotes, Irenaeus, Cyprianus, Reticius, Olympius, Hilarius, Ambrosius, Gregorius, Innocentius, Johannes, Basilius, quibus addo presbyterum, veils nolis, Hieronymum, ut omittam eos qui nondum dormierunt, adversus vos proferurit de omnium hominum peccato originali obnoxia successione sententiam; unde nemo eruit, nisi quem sine lege peccati repugnante legi mentis virgo concepit.  Contra Julian. Pelag. lib. ii. 33.  Augustin. Op. t. x. p. 547.

            Also: Quid tergiversantur Pelagiani?  Si omnibus necessaria est reconciliatio per Christum, per omnes transiit peccatum, quo inimici fuimus, ut opus reconciliari haberemus.  Haec reconciliatio est in lavacro regenerationis et Christi carne et sanguine, sine quo nec parvuli possunt habere vitam in semet ipsis.  Sicut enim fuit unus ad mortem propter peccatum, sic est unus ad vitam propter justitiam.  Quia sicut in Adam, etc. 1 Cor. 15:22.  Rom. 5:18.  Quis adversus haec apostolica verba tanta duritia nefandae impietatis obsurduit, ut his auditis mortem sine peccato in nos per Adam transisse contendat, nisi oppugnatores gratiae Dei, inimici crucis Christi?  Augustin. Op. t. x. p. 473. – Editor.]

         But many persons, although they reject the Pelagian system, do not accede to this opinion of Augustin, concerning original guilt; as thinking it incompatible with the justice and goodness of God to make the whole race of men liable to punishment for the sin of Adam, in which they had no concern; and the case which appears the most repugnant to the divine attributes is that of infants and idiots, who, being incapable of sinning, ought not to be subject to punishment.  These men admit that a mortal and corrupt nature is derived from Adam to all his descendants; and that this corruption is so strong, that no man ever lived to the age of maturity without sin; and consequently that every such person is liable to divine punishment for the sins which he has himself actually committed, but not for Adam’s sin.  They therefore think that infants and idiots die because of Adam’s sin, but that no further punishment awaits them.  Our being thus adjudged to death, and to all the miseries that accompany mortality, they think may be well called God’s wrath and damnation, as temporary judgments are often so denominated in Scripture: in this sense they understand the words of the Article; and Bishop Burnet seems to think it possible that the framers of it, although their own opinion coincided with that of Augustin, from a spirit of moderation, designedly used such expressions as would admit of another interpretation.

         It must be acknowledged that original guilt, considered in this point of view, is a difficult and abstruse subject; and as the Scriptures do not inform us what were the full and precise effects of Adam’s disobedience upon his posterity, it is perhaps scarcely to be expected that there should be an uniformity of opinion among divines upon that point; we may however observe, that the difference between those who confine original guilt to a mere liability to death and sin, and those who extend it to a liability to punishment also, is not very material, since both sides admit that Christ died as a propitiation for all the sins of the whole world, whatever were the nature and character of those sins.  In either case the effects of Christ’s obedience are commensurate with those of Adam’s disobedience; and upon either principle, if we believe the Gospel, and act conformably to its precepts, all our sins, whether original in Adam, or actual in ourselves, will be forgiven, and we shall be eternally happy: “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”*

         *[Rom. 5:18.  [Calvin enters largely into the subject of original sin.  Atque ne hac de re incerta, et incognita dicta fuerint, peccatum originale definiamus.  Neque vero singulas, quae a scriptoribus positae sunt, definitiones excutere mihi propositum est: sed unam proferam duntaxat, quae veritati mihi videtur optime consentanea.  Videtur ergo peccatum originale haereditaria naturae nostrae pravitas et corruptio, in omnes animae partes diffusa: quae primum facit reos irae Dei, tum etiam opera in nobis profert, quae scriptura vocat opera carnis.  Gal. 5:19.  Atque id est proprie quod a Paulo saepius peccatum nominatur. … Haec itaque duo distincte observanda: nempe quod sic omnibus naturae nostrae partibus vitiati perversique, jam ob talem duntaxat corruptionem damnati merito convictique coram Deo tenemur, cui nihil est acceptum nisi justitia, innocentia, puritas.  Neque ista est alieni delicti obligatio: quod enim dicitur, reos per Adae peccatum obnoxios esse factos Dei judicio: non ita est accipiendum ac si insontes ipsi et immerentes, culpam delicti ejus sustineremus: sed quia per ejus traasgreasionem maledictione induti sumus omnes, dicitur ille nos obstrinxisse.  Ab illo tamen non sola in nos poena grassata est, sed instillata ab ipso lues in nobis residet, cui jure poena debetur.  Quare Augustinus, utcunque alienum peccatum saepe vocet (quo clarius ostendat propagine in non derivari) simul tamen et proprium unicuique asserit.  Et Apostolus ipse disertissime testatur.  Rom. 5:12.  Ideo mortem in omnes pervagatam, quod omnes peccarint, id est, involuti sint originali peccato et ejus maculis inquinati.  Atque ideo infantes quoue ipsi, dum suam secum damnationem a matris utero afferunt, non alieno, sed suo ipsorum vitio sunt obstricti.  Nam tametsi suae iniquitates fructus nondum protulerint, habent tamen in se inclusum semen: imo tota eorum natura, quoddam est peccati semen: ideo non odiosa et abominabilis Deo esse non potest.  Unde sequitur, proprie coram Deo censeri peccatum: quia non esset reatus absque culpa.  Alterum deinde accedit, quod haec perversitas nunquam in nobis cessat, sed novos assidue fructus parit: ea scilicet, quae ante descripsimus, opera carnis: non secus atque incensa fornax flammam et scintillas affiat, ant scaturigo aquam sine fine egerit.  Quare qui peccatum originale definierunt carentiam justitiae originalis, quam inesse nobis oportebat, quanquam id totum complectuntur quod in re est, non tamen satis significanter vim atque energiam ipsius expresserunt.  Non enim natura nostra boni tantum inops et vacua est: sed malornm omnium adeo fertilis et ferax, ut otiosa esse non possit.  Qui dixerunt esse concupiscentiam, non nimis alieno verbo usi sunt, si modo adderetur (quod minime conceditur a plerisque) quicquid in homine est, ab intellectu ad voluntatem, ab anima ad carnem usque, hac concupiscentia inquinatum repertumque esse: aut, ut brevius absolvatur, totum hominem non aliud ex se ipso esse quam concupiscentiam.  Instit. lib. ii. c. i. sect. 8. – Editor.]]

         They who consider the sin of Adam as imputed to all his descendants believe that that sin will be remitted for the sake, and through the mediation, of Christ; and they contend that it is as consonant to perfect justice to impute the sin of Adam, as to impute the merits of Christ to all mankind; and that the divine goodness is fully vindicated by the assurance, that God had preordained the redemption of man by Christ Jesus, when he punished the disobedience of Adam upon his posterity.  There are indeed many passages in Scripture, which from the context appear to refer solely to the redemption of mankind from the guilt and penalty of sin, which Adam entailed upon the human race.  In this sense, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” was “the Redeemer of the whole world,” – delivered all mankind, without any exception, from the power of sin and death, to which they are by nature subject, and rendered them capable of eternal happiness, but at the same time at liberty, as responsible beings, to forfeit or secure that title to immortality, which he purchased by his blood.  Thus the case of infants and idiots, who are incapable of actual sin, of individual guilt, is clearly consistent with the justice and goodness of God, though considered as by nature liable to punishment.  Thus “the Gentiles who are without the law” of Moses or of Christ, and cannot be saved by faith, (“for how shall they believe if they have not heard?”) partake of “the salvation which is by Christ”; and thus the world collectively is “made free from sin” – free from the punishment of original or birth sin – “being justified freely by grace,” while individually “all men are sinners,” remain in a corrupted state of nature, and subject to disease and death, and the miseries of this world, and liable to future condemnation; for, “there is no man liveth that sinneth not,” doth not commit actual sins.

         AND THIS INFECTION OF NATURE DOTH REMAIN, YEA, IN THEM THAT ARE REGENERATED, WHEREBY THE LUST OF THE FLESH, CALLED IN GREEK ΦΡΟΝΗΜΑ ΣΑΡΚΟΣ, WHICH SOME DO EXPOUND THE WISDOM, [The Vulgate renders it Sapientia Carnis.] SOME SENSUALITY, SOME THE AFFECTION, SOME THE DESIRE OF THE FLESH, IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD.  That the corruption of nature does always continue, everyone must know from his own experience; and that it is not subject to the law of God, is expressly asserted by St. Paul: “The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” [Rom. 8:7.]  The members of the church of Rome maintain that original sin is entirely taken away by baptism; but there is no authority for this opinion in Scripture; on the contrary, St. Paul says to the Galatian converts, “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” [Gal. 5:17.]: and St. Peter admonishes the Christians to whom he writes, “to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” [1 Peter 2:11.]: and St. James says, “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” [James 1:14.]  These Epistles were all written to persons who had been baptized, and the Apostles evidently consider them as still liable to the “infection of nature,” contracted by the fall of man.  “There is no reason,” says Bishop Burnet, “to think that baptism takes away all the branches and effects of original sin; it is enough if we are by it delivered from the wrath of God, and brought into a state of favour and acceptation: we are freed from the curse of death by our being entitled to a blessed resurrection; and if we are so far freed from the corruption of our nature, as to have a federal right to such assistance as will enable us to resist and repress it, though it is not quite extinct in us so long as we live in these frail and mortal bodies, here are very great effects of our admission to Christianity by baptism, though this should not go so far as to root all inclinations to evil out of our nature.”

         THAT THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THEM THAT BELIEVE AND ARE BAPTIZED, we learn from St. Paul: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which axe in Christ Jesus.” [Rom. 8.]  Faith in Christ, joined with repentance, and a sincere endeavour to obey his commands, will, through the merits of his death, avert the punishment due to our sins, and procure us admission into the kingdom of heaven.

         YET THE APOSTLE DOTH CONFESS THAT CONCUPISCENCE AND LUST HATH OF ITSELF THE NATURE OF SIN.  The passage here alluded to is generally understood to be the following: “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.” [Rom. 7:7.] – “It is observable here,” says Dr. Nicholls, “that the compilers of our Articles do not say, that concupiscence had only then the nature of sin when it is ripened into outward act, or has the will consenting to it, but that it has the nature of sin of itself, antecedently to the compliance of the will, and before it is reduced into act.  And moreover it is observable that they do not say that concupiscence is a sin properly so called, as when men voluntarily comply with a temptation, or do any unlawful action; but only that it hath the nature of sin. – Now a thing may have the nature of sin, or be deemed a sin in a large and figurative sense, to which no act of the will is consenting.  Now the nature of sin doth partly consist in a deflection from the rectitude of the divine rule, which must make it for that reason disagreeable to the divine wisdom and goodness, and consequently render the persons who are the subject of this deflection or depravation out of favour with God.  For no one can say that the lust and passions of our animal nature, and those tendencies to vice which we all of us feel within ourselves, are as pleasing to God as if all our appetites were perfectly calm and quiet, and were continually in that exact obedience, and conformity to our reason, and the rules which God has prescribed, as they would have been if man had continued in his unlapsed state.  And this doctrine was maintained by Augustin himself in the midst of his most vigorous opposition to the Pelagian tenets; for he does not look upon it as a sin, properly so called, unless the consent of the will go along with it; for explaining those words of St. James, ‘every one is tempted when he is drawn aside by his own lusts,’ he speaks thus: ‘The mother is concupiscence, the child sin; but concupiscence does not bring forth, unless it conceive; and it does not conceive, unless it draw aside, that is, has gained the consent of the will to an evil action. [Cont. Jul. Jib. vi. cap. 3.  [Quantum enim ad nos adtinet, sine peccato semper essemus, donec sanaretur hoc malum, si ei nunquam consentiremus ad malum; sed in quibus ab illo rebellante, etsi non lethaliter, sed venialiter, tamen vincimur, in his contrahimus, unde quotidie dicamus, dimitte nobis debita nostra.  Augustin. Op. t. x. p. 547. – Editor.]]


Article 10.

Of Free Will.

         The Condition of Man after the Fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural Strength and good Works to Faith and calling upon God.  Wherefore we have no Power to do good Works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the Grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good Will, and working with us when we have that good Will.


         Everyone must be conscious that he possesses Free will, and that he is a free agent, that is, that he is capable of considering and reflecting upon the objects which are presented to his mind, and of acting, in such cases as are possible, according to the determination of his will.  And indeed, without this free agency, actions cannot be morally good or bad; nor can the agents be responsible for their conduct.  But the corruption introduced into our nature by the fall of Adam has so weakened our mental powers, has given such force to our passions, and such perverseness to our wills, that a man CANNOT TURN AND PREPARE HIMSELF BY HIS OWN NATURAL STRENGTH AND GOOD WORKS TO FAITH AND CALLING UPON GOD.  [Quod liberum arbitrium si non dedisset Deus, judicium puniendi nullum justum esse posset, nec meritum recte faciendi; nec preceptum divinum ut ageretur poenitentia de peccatis; nec ipsa indulgentia peccatorum, quam nobis Deus per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum donavit.  Quia qui non voluntate peccat, non peccat.  Hoc arbitror omnibus apertum esse, atque perspicuum.  Contra Fortun. Dis. ii. Augustin. Op. t. viii. p.101. also De Libero Arbitris. lib. ii. t. i. p. 585. – Editor.]

         The most pious of those who lived under the Mosaic dispensation often acknowledge the necessity of extraordinary assistance from God: David prays to God “to open his eyes, to guide and direct him” [Psalm 119:18, 33, 35.]; “to create in him a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within him. [Psalm 2:10.]  And Solomon says, that “God directeth men’s paths, and giveth grace to the lowly.” [Prov. 3:6.]  Even we, whose minds are enlightened by the pure precepts of the Gospel, and influenced by the motives which it suggests, must still be convinced of our weakness and depravity, and confess that WE HAVE NO POWER TO DO GOOD WORKS PLEASANT AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD PREVENTING US, THAT WE MAY HAVE A GOOD WILL, AND WORKING WITH US WHEN WE HAVE THAT GOOD WILL.  The necessity of divine grace to strengthen and regulate our wills, and to cooperate with our endeavours after righteousness, is clearly asserted in the New Testament: “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.” [Rom. 8:8.] – “Abide in me,” says our Saviour, “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, and 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.” [John 6:4–5.] – “No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” [John 6:44.] – “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” [1 Cor. 12:3.] – “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philip. 2:13.] – “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.” [2 Cor. 3:5.] – “We know not what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities.” [Rom. 8:26.] – We are said to be “led by the Spirit,” [Rom. 8:14.] and “to walk in the Spirit.” [Gal. 5:16, 25.] – These texts sufficiently prove that we stand in need both of a preventing and of a cooperating grace; or, in the words of the Article, that 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 doctrine of this Article we find asserted in many of the ancient Fathers, and particularly in Ambrose, who, in speaking of the effects of the fall, uses these words: “Thence was derived mortality, and no less a multitude of miseries than of crimes.  Faith being lost, hope being abandoned, the understanding blinded, and the will made captive, no one found in himself the means of repairing these things.  Without the worship of the true God, even that which seems to be virtue is sin; nor can anyone please God without God.  But whom does he please who does not please God, except himself and Satan?  The nature, therefore, which was good, is made bad by habit: man would not return, unless God turned him.” [Amb. de Voc. Gent. lib. 1. cap. 3.] – And Cyprian says, “We pray day and night that the sanctification and enlivening, which springs from the grace of God, may be preserved by his protection.” – Dr. Nicholls, after quoting many authorities to show that the doctrine of divine grace always prevailed in the Catholic church, adds, “I have spent, perhaps, more time in these testimonies than was absolutely necessary; but whatever I have done is to show that the doctrine of divine grace is so essential a doctrine of Christianity, that not only the Holy Scriptures and the primitive Fathers assert it, but likewise that the Christians could not in any age maintain their religion without it, it being necessary, not only for the discharge of Christian duties, but for the performance of our ordinary devotions.”  And this seems to have been the opinion of the compilers of our most excellent Liturgy, in many parts [Particularly in the second collect for the Evening Service; in the fourth collect at the end of the Communion Service; in the collect for Easter day; in the collect for the fifth Sunday after Easter; in the collects for the third, ninth, seventeenth, nineteenth, and twenty-fifth, Sundays after Trinity.] of which both a preventing and a cooperating grace is unequivocally acknowledged.

         This assistance of divine grace is not inconsistent with the free agency of men; it does not place them under an irresistible restraint, or compel them to act contrary to their will.  Though human nature is greatly depraved, yet every good disposition is not totally extinguished, nor is all power of right action entirely annihilated.  Men may, therefore, make some spontaneous, though feeble, attempt to act conformably to their duty, which will be promoted and rendered effectual by the cooperation of God’s grace; or the grace of God may so far prevent our actual endeavours, as to awaken and dispose us to our duty; but yet, not in such a degree that we cannot withstand its influence.  In either case our own exertions are necessary to enable us to work out our own salvation, but our sufficiency for that purpose is from God.  It is, however, impossible to ascertain the precise boundary between our natural efforts and the divine assistance, whether that assistance be considered as a cooperating or a preventing grace.  Without destroying our character as free and accountable beings, God may be mercifully pleased to counteract the depravity of our hearts by the suggestions of his Spirit, but still it remains with us to choose whether we will listen to those suggestions, or obey the lusts of the flesh.  It becomes us to speak with humility and diffidence concerning the extent of divine grace: we only know, in general, that God will not subject us to greater temptations and trials than we are able to bear.  If we cherish our good dispositions, and feel a sincere desire to be virtuous, we may rest assured that he will, by the communication of his grace, help our infirmities, invigorate our resolutions, and supply our defects.  The promises that “if we draw nigh to God, God will draw nigh to us, and pour out his Spirit upon us” [James 4:8.  Acts 2:17.]; and that “he will give his Holy Spirit to everyone that asketh him” [Luke 11:13.]; imply that God is ever ready to forward our progress and continuance in well-doing through the powerful, though invisible, operation of his Spirit: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8.]  The joint agency of God and man, in the work of human salvation, is pointed out in the following passage: “Let us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure” [Phil. 2:12–13.]; and therefore we may assure ourselves that free will and grace are not incompatible, though the mode and degree of their cooperation be utterly inexplicable.

         The doctrine of this Article has been the subject of much dispute among Christians; some sects contend for the irresistible impulses of grace, and others reject the idea of any influence of the divine Spirit upon the human mind.  The former opinion seems irreconcilable with the free agency of man, and the latter contradicts the authority of Scripture; “And therefore, let us neither ascribe nothing to free will, nor too much; let us not with the defenders of irresistible grace, deny free will, or make it of no effect, not only before, but even under, grace; nor let us suffer the efficacy of saving grace, on the other hand, to be swallowed up in the strength and freedom of our wills; but allowing the government or superiority to the grace of God, let the will of man be admitted to be its handmaid, but such an one as is free, and freely obeys; by which, when it is freely excited by the admonitions of preventing grace, when it is prepared as to its affections, strengthened and assisted as to its powers and faculties, a man freely and willingly cooperates with God, that the grace of God be not received in vain.” [Veneer.  [Haec est libertas nostra, cum isti subdimur veritati: et ipse est Deus noster, qui nos liberat a morte, id est, a conditione peccati.  Augus. t. i. p. 601.  Sed quoniam non sicut homo sponte cecidit, ita etiam sponte surgere potest, porrectam nobis desuper dexteram Dei, id est, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum fide firma teneamus, et expectemus certa spe, et caritate desideremus.  Ib. p. 609. – Editor.]] – “All men are also to be admonished, and chiefly preachers, that in this high matter, they, looking on both sides, so temper and moderate themselves, that they neither so preach the grace of God that they take away thereby free will, nor on the other side so extol free will, that injury be done to the grace of God.” [Necessary Doctrine; supposed to be written by Archbishop Cranmer.] – “Thus do the doctrine of divine grace, and the doctrine of free will or human liberty, unite and conspire, in a friendly manner, to our everlasting good.  The first is adapted to excite in us gratitude, faith, and humility; the second to awaken our caution and quicken our diligence.” [Jortin.]


Article 11.

Of the Justification of Man.

         We are accounted righteous before God only for the Merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by Faith, and not for our own Works or Deservings, wherefore that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of Comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.


         Justification, in the language of Scripture, signifies the being accounted just or righteous in the sight of God; or the being placed in a state of salvation.  “When God justifies a man,” says Mr. Veneer, “it is by forgiving him his trespasses, and accepting, esteeming, and rewarding him as a righteous person, although he is not really and strictly such.  To justify, in the common spiritual notion of it, is to absolve from guilt, to discharge from punishment.”

         The word justification, or justify, when applied to Christians in the New Testament, always refers to the present life, as in this passage, “Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” [Rom. 5:9.]; here Justification is spoken of as having already taken place, but salvation is mentioned as being future; that is, Justification is in this world, Salvation in the next.  Justification is the remission of sins here on earth; Salvation is the attainment of happiness in heaven.  In this Article it is said, “We are accounted righteous,” and “We are justified,” which are synonymous expressions, both in the present tense, and referring to the present life.  And the following Article speaks of “works which follow after Justification,” which still more clearly shows that justification refers to the present life.*

         *[Bishop Marsh thus clearly and forcibly states the doctrine of justification by faith: “But since the church of Rome, while it denies justification by faith only, does not assert justification by works only, and our eleventh article is frequently so explained, as to make it include works; the Romanists have hence taken occasion to represent our doctrine of justification as virtually agreeing with their own.  Now, since justification by faith is considered as a distinguishing feature of Protestantism, it is worth our while to consider, how far that representation is correct.  And, as no advantage is gained by evading the force of an argument, I will first state it in all its force, and then – confute it.

            “Says the Romanist to the Protestant, ‘When you contend, that we are at variance on the doctrine of justification, either your distinctions are merely nominal, or you are Solifidians and Antinomians.’  ‘No,’ says the Protestant, ‘we are neither Solifidians nor Antinomians; for when we say that men are justified by faith, we do not mean a dead faith, or a faith unproductive of good works.  No! the faith which justifies is a lively faith; and a lively faith is known by its works, as a tree is known by its fruits.’  ‘Well, then,’ says the Romanist, ‘if your justifying faith is known by its works, and consequently without works is not a justifying faith, then works, by your own account, have a necessary connection with justifying faith, and therefore with justification itself.  Further,’ says the Romanist, ‘though we maintain the necessity of good works for justification, yet we as positively maintain the necessity of faith.  Since then,’ proceeds the Romanist, ‘we assert, that works are not justifying works, unless they are done on a principle of faith, while you assert that faith is not a justifying faith unless that faith is productive of works, does not justification, in either case, result from the joint operation of faith and works?  Where, then,’ concludes the Romanist, ‘is the mighty difference between us, even in this Article, which you are accustomed to regard as a distinguishing feature of the Protestant cause?’  Now this argument can be confuted by no other means than by denying what was conceded about justifying faith.  For, as soon as we admit that justifying faith is a lively faith, the inference above deduced cannot possibly be evaded; good works are the natural fruits of faith, and therefore its necessary fruits, when faith is become a lively or productive faith.  In this state, we have the same union of faith and works which the Romanist requires for justification.  But it is a mistake, that, according to the tenets of our church, justifying faith is a lively faith.  According to the tenets of our church it neither is nor can be such; and it is the want of distinction between justifying faith and lively faith to which we may entirely describe the numerous inconsistencies and contradictions, in which the doctrine of justification has within these few years been involved.  When our twelfth Article asserts, that ‘a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree is discerned by the fruit,’ the Article alludes to works, which, as there stated, follow after justification,’ and consequently had no share in the causes of Justification.  Indeed, the thirteenth Article denies even the possibility of flood works before justification.  The faith, therefore, which had previously justified, cannot have been a lively or productive faith: for then it would have been a faith, accompanied with good works, which before justification cannot even exist.  The doctrine of justification, therefore, as maintained by the church of England, is decidedly at variance with the doctrine of the church of Rome.

            “If it be objected, that this vindication of the church of England from the charge of similarity with the church of Rome exposes the former to the charge of Antinomianism, I answer, that although justification in the sense of our articles (the same also of St. Paul) does not require for its attainment the performance of good works, they are indispensably necessary for the attainment of final and everlasting salvation.  The distinction between justification and final or everlasting salvation is declared in the very exordium of our first homily, where it is said, that Holy Scripture contains all necessary instruction ‘for our justification and everlasting salvation.’  Indeed our final and everlasting salvation is our happiness in a future state, in that state where our Saviour himself has declared that he will ‘reward every man according to his works.’  But our justification takes place in the present life: it takes place at our admission to the Christian covenant, for which nothing more is required than repentance, whereby we forsake sin, and faith, whereby we steadfastly believe the promises of God.  On forsaking sin, therefore, we are justified by faith, even before it is a lively faith, or before it has produced works positively good.  But though the faith which is sufficient to justify is not a lively faith, we must take care that it becomes so when we are justified, or our justification will be of no avail, and we must guard against the fatal error, that justifying faith leads of necessity to good works; good works are indeed its natural fruits; but they are not its necessary fruits, till faith is become a lively or productive faith.  And as a tree may wither before it has produced its fruits, so faith may wither before it has produced good works.  But if it does wither, and good works are not produced, the faith which had admitted us to the Christian covenant will fail of its intended purpose; and we shall lose everlasting salvation.  In this manner is the church of England vindicated on the one hand, from the charge of Antinomianism, while it is shown on the other hand to differ from the church of Rome.” Comparative View of the Churches of England and Rome, c. iii. pp. 55–59. – Editor.]

         This Article was directed against the popish doctrine of Human Merit, which our Reformers, with reason, considered as inconsistent with the whole scheme of Redemption through Christ alone, and in particular as striking at the very root of the Christian duty of humility.  Let us attend to the words in the Latin, which is much clearer than the English; Tantum propter meritum Domini ac Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per Fidem, non propter opera et merita nostra, justi coram Deo reputamur.  Observe, that Faith is not opposed to Works, but the merit of Christ is opposed to the merit of our Works – propter meritum Christi – non propter opera et merita nostra – and it is per Fidem, not propter Fidem. [Wherever the justification or salvation of man by faith is mentioned in Scripture, the expression is πιστει, εκ πιστεως, δια πιστεως or δια της πιστεως, but never δια πιστιν or δια την πιστιν.  Vide Rom. 1:17, 3:22, 28, 30.  Gal. 3:5.  Eph. 2:8.  It is well known that δια when it governs a genitive case signifies per, and when it governs an accusative case it signifies propter; that is, in the former case it indicates the mean, in the latter the cause.]  It is here asserted that WE ARE ACCOUNTED RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD, ONLY FOR THE MERIT, that is, on account of the merit, OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, BY FAITH, that is, through our faith, AND NOT FOR, that is, not on account of, OUR OWN WORKS OR DESERVINGS.  Our works never can have any merit towards procuring pardon of our sins, from their own intrinsic worth; they cannot justify, or tend to justify us.  Nor has our faith any merit of this kind; we are not said to be justified propter meritum Fidei, or propter Fidem, but per Fidem.  The blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the meritorious cause of our justification; but it operates through our faith, faith being the mean or condition upon which it has pleased our Almighty Father to offer to his sinful creatures forgiveness of their past offences.  And this is the express declaration of Scripture: “The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his Grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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 who believeth in Jesus.” [Rom. 3:22–26.]  By the faith, which in this passage, and also in our Article, is said to justify, we are to understand that lively “faith, which worketh by love,” [Gal. 5:6.] which purifieth the heart, which keepeth the commandments of God.  The doctrine of justification by faith was maintained by the early Christians: Clement of Rome, after speaking of the Jews, says, “And we also, being called by the same will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, or knowledge, or piety, or by works which we have done in the holiness of our hearts, but by that faith by which God Almighty has justified all men from the beginning.” [Ep. 1.]  Upon these grounds our Church declares that the merit of OUR OWN WORKS has no share in our justification, in opposition to the papists, who assert, that man’s inherent righteousness is the meritorious cause of his justification, and that good works “ad vitam aeternam consequendam vere promereri.” [Conc. Trid. de Bon. Op. cap. 11.]

         It may be proper, upon this occasion, to explain some passages in the Epistles of St. Paul and St. James, relative to Justification, which at first sight appear to be inconsistent with each other.  St. Paul says, that “A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” [Rom. 3:28.]  And again, that “A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.” [Gal. 2:16.]  St. James says, “A man is justified by works, and not by faith only. [Gal. 2:24.]  St. Paul and St. James both allude to the case of adult converts to the Gospel: and in order to reconcile these seemingly contradictory assertions, we must consider the particular object which each had in view, and also distinguish between the first entrance into a state of justification, and the continuance in that state.  St. Paul, when he makes the above declarations, is arguing, as clearly appears from the context, against those Judaizing Christians, who contended that circumcision, and an observance of the whole ritual of the Mosaic institution, were required in Gentiles who embraced the Gospel, as essential to their justification; and therefore the justification which he means is the first entrance into a state of justification, and the works and deeds of the law, which he excludes and rejects, are the numerous outward ordinances prescribed by the Law of Moses, and abolished by the Gospel of Christ.  But this obvious sense of these passages was soon perverted, and they were made to signify, that faith in Christ, without works or deeds of any kind, that is, without the practice of moral virtue, was of itself sufficient to procure salvation.  This most unwarrantable interpretation St. James reprobates and refutes, [Several ancient authors mention that St. James wrote this Epistle to correct some errors which had arisen from a misapprehension of St. Paul’s writings.  St. Peter observes, that in St. Paul’s Epistles, there “are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” – 2 Peter 3:16.] by proving that a man is justified by his works, and not by faith only.  He does not say by the works of the law, but by works, that is, by a man’s own works or actions.  When therefore he says, that a man is not justified by faith only, he means that a man is not preserved in a state of justification by a bare belief in the religion of Christ.  “Faith,” says he repeatedly in the same chapter, “without works is dead” [James 2:17, 20, 26.]; that is, although a man believes in the divine mission of Christ, and in consequence of that belief has been admitted into the Gospel covenant, yet if he does not afterward obey its precepts, his faith is ineffectual; he will not continue justified; and if he perseveres in his disobedience he will not inherit eternal life.  The Apostles, therefore, are speaking of different things: St. Paul is showing what it is which places a man in a state of justification; St. James is showing what it is which is necessary to continue a person in a state of justification: and they were respectively led to discuss these subjects by errors which prevailed among those whom they addressed.  St. Paul asserts that if a man be convinced of the truth of the Gospel, and sincerely intend to obey its precepts, he becomes justified without the observance of the Mosaic ceremonies.  St. James asserts that a man, who has thus been once justified, does not continue in a state of justification unless he actually obeys the moral precepts of the Gospel.  Faith will place a man in a state of justification; but faith and works are both necessary to preserve a man in a state of justification.  These two doctrines* are perfectly consistent with each other.  In proof that when St. Paul says, a man is justified by faith, without mentioning any other requisite, he means the first entrance into a state of justification, and that by the works of the law which he rejects, he does not mean the duties of morality, we may observe, that every one of his Epistles, and particularly those in which he treats of justification, abounds with the most earnest exhortations, and strict injunctions to the practice of moral virtue as essentially necessary in persons after they have embraced the Gospel, and as absolutely indispensable to final salvation.  And that St. James, when he says that a man is justified by works, is speaking of the continuance in a state of justification, and that by works he means the moral duties, is equally evident from his reasoning and the examples which he adduces in the second chapter of his Epistle.  St. Paul puts faith for faith in Christ, in contradistinction to the Law of Moses; and the works which he declares to be unnecessary for justification are the rites and ceremonies of that law.  On the other hand, by faith St. James means a bare assent to the truth of the Gospel, without conformity to its precepts; and the works, which he pronounces to be necessary for justification, are the moral duties. enjoined by the Gospel, and which are produced by a true and lively faith.

         *[“We have already showed, that there be two kinds of Christian righteousness; the one without us, which we have by imputation; the other in us, which consisteth of faith, hope, and charity, and other Christian virtues; and St. James doth prove that Abraham had not only the one, because the thing believed was imputed unto him for righteousness; but also the other, because he offered up his son.  God giveth us both the one justice and the other the one by accept jug us for righteous in Christ; the other by working Christian righteousness in us.  The proper and most immediate efficient cause in us of this latter, is the Spirit of adoption we have received into our hearts.  That whereof it consisteth, whereof it is really and formally made, are those infused virtues proper and peculiar unto saints; which the Spirit, in the very moment when first it is given of God, bringeth with it; the effects whereof are such actions as the apostle doth call the fruits of works, the operations of the Spirit; the difference of the which operation from the root whereof they spring, maketh it needful to put two kinds likewise of sanctifying righteousness, habitual and actual.  Habitual, that holiness wherewith our souls are inwardly endued, the same instance when first we begin to be temples of the Holy Ghost; actual, that holiness which afterward beautifieth all the parts and actions of our life, the holiness for which Enoch, Job, Zachary, Elizabeth, and other saints, are in the Scriptures so highly commended.  If here it be demanded, which of these we do first receive?  I answer, that the spirit, the virtue of the spirit, the habitual justice, which is engrafted, the external justice of Jesus Christ, which is imputed, these we receive all at one and the same time; whensoever we have any of these, we have all; they go together: yet since no man is justified except he believe, and no man believeth except he has faith, and no man except he hath received the spirit of adoption, hath faith, forasmuch as they do necessarily infer justification, and justification doth of necessity presuppose them; we must needs hold that imputed righteousness, in dignity being the chief, is notwithstanding in order to the last of all these, but actual righteousness, which is the righteousness of good works, succeedeth all, followeth after all, both in order and time.  Which being attentively marked, showeth plainly how the faith of true believers cannot be divorced from hope and love; how faith is part of sanctification, and yet unto justification necessary; how faith is perfected by good works, and not works of ours without faith: finally, how our faith might hold, that we are justified by faith alone, and yet hold truly that without works we are not justified.” – Hooker’s Discourse on Justification, sect. 2l. – Editor.]

         We now return to the Article, which proceeds in this manner; WHEREFORE THAT WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH ONLY IS A MOST WHOLESOME DOCTRINE, AND VERY FULL OF COMFORT; the word only is here added for the purpose of again disclaiming the popish doctrine of Human Merit.  Justification by faith cannot but be a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort, as it places our hope of justification in this world, and of everlasting happiness in that which is to come, upon the infallible promises of God, and the all-sufficient merits of Christ.*

         *[“The doctrine of our Church,” says the Bishop of London in his most important and valuable charge, “as to the Christian’s spiritual life, has always appeared to me to be this: Justification begins in baptism, when the children of wrath are regenerated by water and the Holy Ghost, and are made children of God.  Remission of sins is expressly declared to be then given: and remission of sins implies justification, in the proper sense of the term.  Grace is also then given, and by virtue of that grace the person receiving it, and thenceforth using and improving it, continues to believe in the atonement made by Jesus Christ, and to seek for and realize the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and to be renewed day by day in the inner man.  As long as he does this, he continues in a state of justification; his sins, which cleave even to the regenerate, are forgiven, as they axe repented of and forsaken; and the work of sanctification goes on.  Righteousness, in a qualified sense, is imparted by the same grace which justifies: but this inherent righteousness does not constitute justification either wholly or in part.  Our Article says, not that we are made righteous, but that we are counted righteous before God.  If, indeed, we are made righteous, we must of course be accounted righteous; but it does not follow, conversely, that if we are accounted righteous, we must be made so.  The notion that God accounts us righteous, by reason, and for the sake of any actual righteousness, wrought in us by infused and inherent grace, seems to be irreconcilable with the language of our Article, ‘only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not for our own works and deservings’: ‘by faith only,’ or, as the homily expresses it, ‘by only faith,’ that is, freely and gratuitously, without works, according to St. Paul’s statement.  Not that we can be saved without works; but they are not the meritorious cause, nor a meritorious cause of our justification.  ‘Faith alone saves us,’ as Chillingworth says, ‘but not that faith which is alone.’” – Charge: Oct. 1842. p. 25. – Editor.]

         As is MORE LARGELY EXPRESSED in THE HOMILY OF JUSTIFICATION.  It is remarkable that there is no homily with this title.  The homily entitled “Of the Salvation of all Mankind,” is generally supposed to be here meant, though some learned men have thought that the four homilies upon “human misery, salvation, faith, and good works,” were all referred to.  The former opinion seems to be the better founded, as the word in the Article is Homily, and not Homilies; and that homily relates more particularly to the subject of this Article.  We find it in the following passages: “This saying, that we be justified by faith only, freely, and without works, is spoken for to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being unable to deserve our justification at God’s hands, and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man, and the goodness of God; the great infirmity of ourselves, and the might and power of God: the imperfection of our own works, and the most abundant grace of our Saviour Christ; and therefore wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only and his most precious blood-shedding.” – “Our office is not to pass the time of this present life unfruitfully and idly, after that we are baptized or justified, not caring how few good works we do to the glory of God, and the profit of our neighbours.”  From the expression “baptized or justified,” and also from the Forms of Baptism in our Liturgy, it is manifest that our Church considers justification as taking place at the time of Baptism, both in the case of infants and also of adults. [I desire to refer to the third chapter of my Refutation of Calvinism, for a more comprehensive view of the doctrines of Justification, Faith, and Works, than the designed brevity of this work will admit; but I have thought it my duty to insert in this edition some passages from that chapter, which appear to be particularly connected with this Article.]


Article 12.

Of Good Works.

         Albeit that good Works, which are the Fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our Sins and endure the Severity of God’s Judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith, insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known, as a Tree discerned by the Fruit.


         This Article was not among those of 1552; it was added, in 1562, in opposition to the opinions of certain sects called Antinomians, Solifidians, and Gospellers, who denied the necessity of good works.  There might also have been a general wish in the compilers of these Articles to obviate any mistake which might arise from the expression in the preceding Article, in which it is said, that “we are justified by faith only.”

         By GOOD WORKS, WHICH ARE THE FRUIT OF FAITH, AND FOLLOW AFTER JUSTIFICATION, are meant those actions which proceed from the principle of a true faith in Christ, and are performed after we are placed in a state of justification, by being admitted to partake of the privileges and promises of the Gospel.

         That GOOD WORKS ARE PLEASING AND ACCEPTABLE TO GOD IN CHRIST is evident from the earnest exhortations in almost every page of the New Testament, to the practice of the moral and social duties, and from the frequent and positive declarations of Scripture, that they are indispensably necessary to salvation.  It is also expressly said, that “we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works” [Eph. 2:10.]; and that “Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:14.]  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.” [Matt. 5:16.] – “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.” [Col. 1:10.] – “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they do good, that they be rich in good works.” [1 Tim. 6:17–18.] – “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Tim. 3:17.] – “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.” [Titus 2:7.] – “Put them in mind to be ready to every good work.” [Titus 3:1.] – “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” [Titus 3:8.] – “And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works.” [Heb. 10:24.] – “To do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” [Heb. 13:16.] – “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.” [Heb. 13:20–21.]

         But though it appears from the whole tenor of the New Testament, and from these texts in particular, that good works are pleasing in the sight of God, yet they are not so meritorious as To PUT AWAY OUR SINS, nor so perfect as to ENDURE THE SEVERITY OF GOD’S JUDGMENT.  “If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” [Psalm 130:3.] – “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” [Psalm 143:2.]  The corruption of human nature causes even the best of our actions to be in some respects defective, and consequently they will not bear the scrutiny of infinite justice; much less will they expiate those sins, of which every one, in a greater or less degree, is guilty.  The imperfection of good works is acknowledged by the ancient fathers: Cyril says, “That which seems to be done well by us, cannot escape reprehension and blame, if it be narrowly searched into by God” [De Ador. lib. iv.]; and Chrysostom says, “We do nothing right; but by the will of God we find our salvation.” [In 1 Cor. 1:1.]

         GOOD WORKS DO SPRING OUT NECESSARILY OF A TRUE AND LIVELY FAITH; for if a man sincerely believes the divine authority of Christ’s religion, and is firmly convinced that his eternal happiness depends upon his obedience to its precepts, such a faith will naturally produce the practice of those virtues which are enjoined by the Gospel; INSOMUCH THAT BY THEM A LIVELY FAITH MAY BE AS EVIDENTLY KNOWN AS A TREE DISCERNED BY THE FRUIT.  The performance of these good works is indeed the test and criterion of genuine faith, just as “every tree is known by its own fruit” [Luke 6:44.]; – “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead.” [James 2:17.]

         Thus our Church considers good works as essential to the character of a true Christian, and as the necessary consequences of sincere faith in Christ; but it does not allow the popish doctrine already mentioned: “Bona opera ad vitam aeternam consequendam vere promereri.” [Conc. Trid. de Bon. Op. cap. 11.]  The true Scripture doctrine is, that good works are indispensable, but not sufficient, for the attainment of eternal life.  When we have done all those things which are commanded us, we still say, that “we are unprofitable servants,” and humbly rely upon the merits and mediation of Christ for our salvation.*

         *[Bellarmine says: “Opera quae proprie dicuntur vitae, sunt opera justitiae bona, ac vitae aeternae meritoria.” – De Sacramento Poenit. lib. ii. sect. 14. T. iii. p. 568.

            “Huc adferri possunt omnia illa Scripturae loca, quae docent, opera hominum justorum meritoria esse vitae aeternae.  Nam si opera justorum eam vim habent, ut vitam aeternam vere et proprie mereantur, nullo modo negari potest, quin etiam effiacia esse possint ad satisfaciendum pro reatu poenae temporalis; siquidem longe majus eat gloria aeterna, quam poenae temporalis remissio.” p. 625.

            “Remissionem peccatorum, quod attinet ad reconciliationem amicitiae, et poenam mortis aeternae, gratuitam esse, libenter admittimus: tum quia Scripturae divinae id passim testantur: tum quia certum est, non posse hominem sine Dei gratia boni aliquid agere: remissionem autem peccati quoad poenam temporalem, ita fatemur esse gratuitam, ut etiam per satisfactionem acquiri posse non dubitemus.  Gratuitam esse dicimus, quia sine gratia Dei satisfacere non possemus, acquiri nihilominus per satisfactionem asserimus, quia ipsa opera bona, et poenalia, per Spiritum Christi facta, ex condigno reatum poenae temporalis expurgunt.” – De Sacrament. Poeniten. lib. iv. c. xiii. 12. T. iii. p. 636.]

         Bishop Burnet, in speaking of the pretended merit of good works, expresses himself in a manner which must be admired by every pious and humble Christian: “The word merit has a sound that is so daring, so little suitable to the humility of a creature, to be used towards a Being of infinite majesty, and with relation to endless rewards, that on many accounts this word ought not to be made use of.  There is somewhat in the nature of man apt to swell and to raise itself out of measure; and to that no indulgence ought to be given in words that may flatter, for we ought to subdue this temper by all means possible, both in ourselves and others.  On the other hand, though we confess that there is a disorder and weakness that hangs heavy upon us, and that sticks close to us, yet this ought not to make us indulge ourselves in our sins, as if they were the effects of an infirmity that is inseparable from us.  To consent to any sin, if it were ever so small in itself, is a very great sin; we ought to go on, still cleansing ourselves more and more from all filthiness, both of the flesh and of the spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  Our readiness to sin should awaken both our diligence to watch against it, and our humility under it: for though we grow not up to a pitch of being above all sin, and of absolute perfection, yet there are many degrees both of purity and perfection to which we may arrive, and to which we must constantly aspire; so that we must keep a just temper in this matter, neither to ascribe so much to our own works as to be lifted up by reason of them, or to forget our daily need of a Saviour, both for pardon and intercession; nor on the other hand so far to neglect them, as to take no care about them.  The due temper is to make our calling and election sure, and to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; but to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, ever trusting to him, and giving thanks to God by him.”

         The following extract from a form of baptism, used in the church of Rome before its corruption, will show how much that church, in its doctrine of the merit of good works, has departed from its ancient principles: “Credis non propriis meritis, sed passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi virtute et merito, ad gloriam pervenire?  Credo. – Credis quod Dominus noster Jesus Christus pro salute nostra mortuus sit? et quod ex propriis meritis vel alio modo nullus possit salvari, nisi in merito passionis ejus?  Credo.”  This form of baptism was forbidden by the Indices Expurgatorii, which were drawn up by order of the council of Trent.  We also find the following passage in the works of Gregory the Great, who lived at the end of the sixth century, and was one of the most learned among the popes: “Quinetiam si habuero quippiam justum, non respondebo, sed meum judicem deprecabor; ut enim saepe diximus, omnis humana justitia injustitia esse convincitur si districte judicetur.  Prece ergo post justitiam indiget; ut, quae succumbere discussa poterat, ex sola judicis potestate coalescat.” [Moral, etc. cap. 2.]


Article 13.

Of Works Before Justification.

         Works done before the Grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of Faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make Men meet to receive Grace, or (as the School Authors say) deserve Grace of Congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the Nature of Sin.


         Every action which men perform by their own unassisted powers must necessarily partake of the general imperfection and corruption of their nature; and therefore their WORKS DONE BEFORE they are strengthened by THE GRACE OF CHRIST, and guided by THE INSPIRATION OF HIS SPIRIT, cannot be PLEASANT TO GOD, FORASMUCH AS THEY SPRING NOT OF FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, the only principle which can render them acceptable in the sight of God.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” [Heb. 11:6.]  “They that are in the flesh (that is, who are not purified by the spiritual religion of Christ) cannot please God.” [Rom. 8:8.  [Recte docet Concilium Arausicanum: debetur merces bonis operibus, si fiant; sed gratia, quae non debetur, praecedit, ut fiant. – Bellarmine, De Sac. Poeniten. p. 636. – Editor.]]

         Bishop Burnet makes a distinction, which sets the doctrine of this Article in a clear point of view: “A great difference is here to be made between an external action, as it is considered in itself, and the same action as it was done by such a man. An action is called good from the morality and nature of the action itself: so actions of justice and charity are in themselves good, whatsoever the doer of them may be; but actions are considered by God with relation to him that does them in another light; his principles, ends, and motives, with all the other circumstances of the action, come into this account; for unless all these be good, let the action in its own abstracted nature be ever so good, it cannot render the doer acceptable or meritorious in the sight of God.”

         Nor can these works possess such degree of merit, as of themselves to MAKE MEN MEET, or worthy, TO RECEIVE GRACE, OR (AS THE SCHOOL AUTHORS SAY) GRACE OF CONGRUITY.  All grace is the free gift of our heavenly Father, for “the love of God our Saviour towards man appeared, 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.” [Titus 3:4–5.]  The school divines, or schoolmen, as they are called, speak of two sorts of merit, the merit of condignity and the merit of congruity; the former they ascribe to works which men do by the assistance of grace, and to which they assert that a reward is in justice due; the latter they ascribe, to such works as men do by mere strength of free will, and which are to be rewarded only out of liberality. [Mereri ex condigno, est mereri sic, ut secundum justitiam sibi debeatur, ita quod injustum esset non reddi mercedem merito ex condigno.  Opus cui ex justitia non debetur merces, sed tantum ex congruitate quadam, vel ex sola acceptantis liberalitate. – Caieian.]  We find no such distinction in the Scriptures; they teach us in general to consider man as incapable of doing anything which shall be entitled to reward, except through the mercy of God, and for the sake of Christ.

         Indeed, so great and universal a depravity is introduced into the dispositions of men in consequence of the fall of Adam, that they can in no instance of themselves act as their Creator originally commanded; and therefore, as in all their works performed without divine assistance, there is a departure from the will of God, WE DOUBT NOT BUT THEY HAVE THE NATURE OF SIN.

         It is the will of God that we should act upon the motives which Christianity proposes to our actions, and no others; and every resistance to his will and command hath surely “the nature of sin”.  It is a principle of morals and legislation universally admitted, that actions are as their motives, and upon this principle the article now under consideration chiefly turns.  Besides, it is not likely that if our motives be wrong, our actions should continue right, though they may incidentally be so.  Actions are of a transitory, motives of a permanent, nature.

         It is evident that this Article, which is founded upon the general doctrine of original sin, explained in the ninth Article, applies also to all persons who have not lived under the Gospel dispensation.  But though their works, as being DONE BEFORE THE GRACE OF CHRIST, AND THE INSPIRATION OF HIS SPIRIT, could not have been perfectly pleasing to God, and could not have risen to the standard of merit, yet as men, even in their natural condition, may, in some measure, resist the lusts of the flesh, withstand temptations to evil, and do things good and laudable when compared with their powers and faculties, we may rest assured that such conduct will be favourably accepted by a just and merciful God, who will judge mankind according to the degrees of instruction, and opportunities of improvement, which have been respectively afforded them; “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that a man hath not.” [2 Cor. 8:12.]  And, therefore, though all the actions of all persons, who have not been brought to the knowledge of Christ, are here pronounced to have the nature of sin, it by no means follows that these actions will, in all cases, exclude men from pardon and salvation.  Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and not solely for that small portion of it, which has been favoured with the light of his religion.  Millions who never heard the name of Jesus, but who have been “a law unto themselves,” [Rom. 2:14.] will be redeemed and blessed forever through the merits of his death, while those who have professed themselves his disciples, but “have held the truth in unrighteousness,” [Rom. 1:18.] will, suffer “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, denounced against every soul of man that doeth evil,” [Rom. 2:8–9.] whether he be Jew, Gentile, or Christian; and all this is consistent with the opinion, that the true Church of Christ will hereafter be rewarded with appropriate blessings.  But we must ever bear in mind, that to whom much is given, of him much will be required: a more exalted virtue, and a greater purity of heart, will be expected from Christians, in proportion to the advantages which they have enjoyed.  We are to be “a peculiar people, zealous of good works”; we are to “sanctify ourselves as the temples of God”; we are to “depart from all iniquity”; and to aim at being “perfect even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  And this degree of superiority, which requires incessant watchfulness and constant energy, will be rewarded by “the prize of our high calling in Christ.”


Article 14.

Of Works of Supererogation.

         Voluntary Works, besides over and above God’s Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without Arrogance and Impiety; for by them Men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his Sake than of bounden Duty is required whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable Servants.


         The precepts contained in the Gospel for the regulation of our lives are so full and comprehensive, that they include every good work which men are capable of performing.  It is impossible to imagine any action acceptable to God, which does not fall within the precepts, “to love God with all our hearts” [Matt. 13:37.]; – “to love our neighbour as ourselves” [Matt. 22:39.]; – and to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness both of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” [2 Cor. 7:1.]  And besides these general precepts, there are particular ones directed to persons in every condition and relation of life, and extending to every point and circumstance which can possibly promote the honour of God, contribute to the happiness of our fellow creatures, or tend to purify our own minds: and all these things are enjoined as duties of perfect and universal obligation; as indispensably necessary wherever they are practicable.  Since, therefore, God requires of us the entire exertion of all our powers, and not a single good action can be specified which is not commanded in the New Testament, it follows, that no room is left for VOLUNTARY WORKS, BESIDES, OVER AND ABOVE GOD’S COMMANDMENTS, WHICH THEY CALL WORKS OF SUPEREROGATION; nor can such works BE TAUGHT WITHOUT ARROGANCE AND IMPIETY, since they imply a degree of merit, which man, in his present imperfect and corrupt state, is incapable of attaining, and are directly opposite to the plain and infallible word of God; or, as the Article expresses it, 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 YOU, SAY, WE ARE UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS.” [Luke 17:10.]  These words, which are recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel, are so clear and decisive, that it is unnecessary to explain or enforce them.

         It is however well known that works of supererogation are admitted by the members of the Romish persuasion; and it cannot but be matter of surprise that such a doctrine should have prevailed in any church which calls itself Christian.*  This doctrine was first known about the twelfth or thirteenth century; and it seems to have been founded upon what the Papists call “Counsels of perfection,” that is, rules which do not bind under the penalty of sin, but are only useful in carrying men to a greater degree of perfection than is necessary to salvation.  There is not the slightest authority in Scripture for these Counsels of perfection: all the rules there prescribed for our conduct are given in the form of positive commands, as absolutely necessary, where- ever they are applicable, to the attainment of eternal life; and the violation of every one of these commands is declared to be sin.  We are ordered to be “perfect, even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect” [Matt. 5:48.]; – and so far from being able to exceed what is required for our salvation, the Gospel assures us, that after our utmost care and best endeavours we shall still fall short of our whole duty; and that our deficiencies must be supplied by the abundant merits of our blessed Redeemer.  We are directed to trust to the mercy of God, and to the mediation of Christ: and to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling,” [Philip. 2:12.] that is, with anxiety lest we should not fulfill the conditions upon which it is offered.

         *[Chemnitius dicit, ex sententia Catholicorum, thesaurum Ecclesiae constare ex operibus bonis sanctorum, quae ipsis ad promerendam, et consequendam salutem necessaria non erant, quae vocantur opera supererogationis: item ex passionibus eorundem, quae ipsis ad propria delicta purganda opus non fuerunt.  Sed ut postremum de passionibus est verum; ita illud de operibus supererogationis est falsum: neque enim ullus Theologorum est, qui scripserit, thesauro Ecclesiae contineri opera meritoria supererogationis.  Illa enim opera, quamvis supererogationis fuerint; tamen suo praemio non caruerunt, atque ideo nulla ratio sinit, ut aliis applicari possint.  Vocant quidem aliqui opera supererogationis passiones sanctorum, ut satisfactorias, ipsis minime necessarias: sed nos de re ipsa, non de nomine litigamus.  Cap. ix. sect. 6.

            Falsum est, nihil in Scripturis tradi de operibus supererogationis, quamvis, ut supra diximus, non pertineant haec opera ad indulgentias: quid enim est, quod ait Dominus Luc. 10:35.  Si quid supererogaveris, ego cum rediero reddam tibi?  Et nonne B. Paulus, 1 Cor. 9:18, testater se potuisse victum quaerere ab his, quibus evangelizabat, ut apostoli caeteri quaerebant, et tamen maluisse propriis manibus laborare, quao fuit opus supererogationis, interpretum omnium testimonio.  Bellarmini De Indulgen.  Lib. ii. c. x. sect. 2. T. iii. p.686. – Editor.]

         Upon these grounds we may pronounce that WORKS OF SUPEREROGATION are inconsistent with the nature of man, irreconcilable with the whole tenor and general principles of our religion, and contrary to the express declarations of Scripture.


Article 15.

Of Christ Alone Without Sin.

         Christ, in the Truth of our Nature, was made like unto us in all Things, Sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his Flesh, and in his Spirit.  He came to be the Lamb without Spot, who, by Sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the Sins of the World; and Sin, as 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.


         This Article consists of two parts; in the former, Christ’s freedom from sin is asserted, and in the latter it is declared that all men are guilty of sin.

         That CHRIST, IN THE TRUTH OF OUR NATURE, WAS MADE LIKE UNTO US IN ALL THINGS, that is, that Christ partook of the ordinary nature of men, was shown under the second Article.

         SIN ONLY EXCEPT, FROM WHICH HE WAS CLEARLY VOID, BOTH IN HIS FLESH AND IN HIS SPIRIT.  That Christ was free from sin of every species and denomination appears from the whole course of his life, as recorded in the Gospels; and it is expressly asserted in the following passages in the Epistles: “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” [1 Peter 2:22.] – “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Heb. 4:15.] – Christ is also called, “Holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” [Heb. 17:26.] – The Socinians hold that Christ was peccable, which seems to be a consequence of their considering him as a mere man, and of their denial of the doctrine of the atonement.

         HE CAME TO BE A 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.  The Jews were commanded, when they celebrated the Passover in commemoration of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, to choose out of their flocks a lamb without spot or blemish, and to offer it as a sacrifice to God.  This was a type of Christ, who, being without spot or sin, offered himself to God as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; and thence he is called the true Paschal Lamb: “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” [1 Cor. 5:7.]  “Behold,” said John the Baptist, “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” [John 1:29.]  “Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” [Heb. 9:26.] – “Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” [1 John 3:5.]

         BUT ALL WE THE REST (ALTHOUGH BAPTIZED AND BORN AGAIN IN CHRIST) YET OFFEND IN MANY THINGS.  That all men are liable to sin, and actually commit it, has been noticed in the explanation of former Articles: and, therefore, IF WE SAY WE HAVE NO SIN, WE DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US. [1 John 1:8.]  This latter part of the Article was directed against the Pelagians and others, who asserted that men after baptism might live without sin.  But in the ancient fathers of the church we find a very opposite doctrine: “Let no one,” says Cyprian, “flatter himself with the idea of being innocent, since nobody is innocent; and by extolling himself, a person would only aggravate his punishment.  He is instructed and taught that he is guilty of sin every day, since he is commanded to pray every day.” [De Orat. Dom.]  Some modern enthusiasts consider themselves as entirely free from sin; and the Moravian Anabaptists are said to omit this part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us”; because being regenerated, they are no longer guilty of sin. [Hey’s Lectures, vol. iii. p.422.]

         While we condemn the presumption of those who think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, we must be careful not to suffer the infirmity of human nature to be abused into an encouragement to sin, or perverted into a cause of gloomy despondence; it should rather stimulate us to vigilance and exertion, than drive us to negligence or despair.  Though we cannot arrive at sinless purity, it is still our duty to aim at an uniform obedience to all God’s commands; and to indulge any apprehensions which tend to weaken the energy of our minds, is doubly sinful, because we thus voluntarily increase the difficulty of obedience to the will of God, and in reality doubt his assurance, that our sincere endeavours to persevere in the paths of virtue and religion will be forwarded by the assistance of divine grace.


Article 16.

Of Sin After Baptism.

         Not every deadly Sin, willingly committed after Baptism, is Sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable, wherefore the Grant of Repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into Sin after Baptism.  After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from Grace given and fall into Sin; and by the Grace of God we may rise 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.


         This Article is directed against the Montanists, Novatians, Anabaptists, and others, who denied the efficacy of repentance in certain cases; and also against those who contended that men could not possibly be guilty of sin after they had once received the Holy Ghost, or divine grace.  In the preceding Article we noticed a sect of Christians who maintain the peccability of Christ, and in this Article we have to argue against those who contend for the impeccability of man.  But before we proceed to explain the propositions contained in this Article, it may be right to inquire into what is meant by the Sin against the Holy Ghost, which occurs in the former part of it.  Divines are by no means agreed concerning this sin.  I shall state what appears to me to be intended by it, and refer those, who wish to see the different opinions which have been entertained upon this difficult and disputed point, to Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Pearson, and Dr. Whitby.

         The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is mentioned in the three first Gospels.  We learn from St. Matthew and St. Mark, that the Jews, who bad seen Christ cure many demoniacs, being unable to deny the reality of these miracles, asserted that he derived his power of casting out devils from Beelzebub the prince of the devils.  Our Saviour, after pointing out the absurdity of such an imputation, added, according to St. Matthew, “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.” [Matt. 12:31–32.]  St. Mark’s words are, “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies where with soever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” [Mark 3:28–29.]  Upon another occasion, when no imputation of the above kind seems to have been alleged against our Saviour, St. Luke tells us that Christ declared, that “Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven him; but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” [Luke 12:10.]  It thus appears that all the three Evangelists agree in representing the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as a crime which would not be forgiven; but no one of them affirms that those, who had ascribed Christ’s power of casting out devils to Beelzebub, had been guilty of that sin; and in St. Luke it is not mentioned that any such charge had been made.  Our Saviour, according to the account in St. Matthew and St. Mark, endeavoured to convince the Jews of their error; but so far from accusing them of having committed an unpardonable sin in what they had said concerning him, he declares, that “Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man it shall be forgiven him”; that is, whatever reproaches men may utter against the Son of Man during his ministry, however they may calumniate the authority upon which he acts, it is still possible that hereafter they may repent and believe, and all their sins may be forgiven them; but the reviling of the Holy Ghost is described as an offence of a far more heinous nature; “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” – “He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness.” – “Unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.” – It is plain that this sin against the Holy Ghost could not be committed while our Saviour was upon earth, since he always speaks of the Holy Ghost as not being to come till after his ascension into heaven. [John 7:39, 16:7.]  A few days after that great event the descent of the Holy Ghost enabled the Apostles to work miracles, and communicated to them a variety of other supernatural gifts.  If men should ascribe these powers to Beelzebub, or in any respect reject their authority, they would blaspheme the Holy Ghost from whom they were derived; and that sin would be unpardonable, because this was the completion of the evidence of the divine authority of Christ and his religion; and they who rejected these last means of conviction, could have no other opportunity of being brought to faith in Christ, the only appointed condition of pardon and forgiveness.  The greater heinousness of the sin of these men would consist in their rejecting a greater body of testimony; for they are supposed to be acquainted with the resurrection of our Saviour from the dead; with his ascension into heaven; with the miraculous descent of the Holy Ghost, and with the supernatural powers which it communicated; circumstances, all of which were enforced by the Apostles when they preached the Gospel; but none of which could be known to those who refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah during his actual ministry.  Though this was a great sin, it was not an unpardonable one; it might be atoned for by subsequent belief, by yielding to subsequent testimony.  But, on the other hand, they who finally rejected the accumulated and complete evidence of Jesus being the Messiah, as exhibited by the inspired Apostles, precluded themselves from the possibility of conviction, because no further testimony would be afforded them; and consequently, there being no means of repentance, they would be incapable of forgiveness and redemption.

         Thus it appears that the sin against the Holy Ghost consisted in finally rejecting the Gospel as preached by the Apostles, who confirmed the truth of the doctrine which they taught “by signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost.” [Heb. 2:4.]  And it was unpardonable, because this was the consummation of the proofs afforded to the men of that generation of the divine mission of Christ.  This sin was manifestly distinct from all other sins; it indicated an invincible obstinacy of mind, an impious and unalterable determination to refuse the offered mercy of God.

         As a further illustration of this subject, I will transcribe Dr. Doddridge’s paraphrase of the above passages in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark: “I therefore give you the most solemn and compassionate warning of your danger, for you are on the brink of the most dreadful precipice.  That malignity of heart which leads you to ascribe these works of mine to a confederacy with Satan, may incline you to pass the same impious sentence on the greatest and fullest confirmation which is to be given to my Gospel, by the effusion of the Spirit on my followers; and therefore to prevent, if possible, such guilt and ruin, verily I say unto you, that all other sins shall be forgiven to the children of men, and even all the other blasphemies with which they shall blaspheme, but the blasphemy against the Spirit of God, in this most glorious dispensation of it, shall not be forgiven to those impious and incorrigible men, who shall dare to impute to diabolical operation those glorious works of divine power and goodness.  And I add, that whosoever speaks a contemptuous and impious word, even against the Son of Man himself; while here on earth, in this obscure form, he may possibly be brought to repentance for it, and so it shall be forgiven him; and consequently even your case, bad as it is, is not entirely hopeless; but whosoever shall maliciously speak anything of this nature against the Holy Spirit, when the grand dispensation of it shall open in those miraculous gifts and operations that will be attended with the most evident demonstrations of his mighty power, it shall never be forgiven him at all, either in this world or in that which is to come; but he is obnoxious to eternal damnation, and must irrecoverably sink into it; nor will all the grace of the Gospel, in its fullest display, afford a remedy for so aggravated a crime, or furnish him with means for his conviction and recovery.”

         We now proceed to explain the Article itself.

         St. Paul tells us, that “the wages of sin is death” [Rom. 6:23.]: and therefore, though all skis are by no means equal, every sin may be considered as deadly in its nature.  In this Article a more heinous sort of sin seems to be understood, implying a known and deliberate transgression of the laws of God, and not merely a sin of ignorance or infirmity.  But even in that sense, NOT EVERY DEADLY SIN WILLINGLY COMMITTED AFTER BAPTISM IS SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST, as fully appears from what has been just now said concerning that particular sin; and there seems to be no ground in Scripture for considering any degree or species of sin as at this time necessarily unpardonable, or beyond the efficacy of sincere repentance.  When St. John says, “that there is a sin unto death”, [1 John 5:16.  [There appears to be some confusion here, resulting from the use of the word sin in two different senses, while it is reasoned upon as having but one.  Sin, considered in itself, is always the same: its nature undergoes no alteration from times or circumstances; but sins taken in the sense of offences may have different degrees of enormity; and viewed m respect to divine judgments, there may be a sin unto death, and a sin not unto death.  St. Paul was speaking of sin in the abstract, and not of this or that sort of sin. – Editor.]] it is supposed that he means the sin against the Holy Ghost, which, if our interpretation be right, was confined to the time of the Apostles, and which is the only sin to which forgiveness is denied in the New Testament.  “The doors,” says Clement of Alexandria, “are open to everyone, who in truth, and with his whole heart, returns to God; and the Father most willingly receives a son, who truly repents.”  This is the general tenor of Scripture, in which all men are invited to repentance without any discrimination or exception.  And we are told, even under the Mosaic dispensation, that “though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” [Isa. 1:18.]  And the exhortations to amendment and reformation contained in the Epistles are all addressed to persons who had been already baptized, and who had been guilty of faults or sins subsequent to their baptism.

         WHEREFORE THE GRANT OF REPENTANCE IS NOT TO BE DENIED TO SUCH AS FALL INTO SIN AFTER BAPTISM.  It was observed in the beginning of this Article, that there have been at different periods of the Christian Church several sects which denied the efficacy of repentance; but I am not aware that there is now any sect, at least in this country, which maintains that doctrine.

         Although the Holy Ghost purifies our minds, and assists and cooperates with us in the performance of our duty, yet he does not entirely take away the corruption and infirmity of our nature, nor does he destroy our free agency; and consequently, AFTER WE HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST, WE MAY DEPART FROM GRACE GIVEN [The Puritans, in the beginning of the reign of King James the First, were sensible that this doctrine of the defectibility of grace was inconsistent with their opinion of absolute predestination, and therefore they desired that these words, “though not finally,” might be added to the words of the Article, “we may depart from grace given”; but the king and bishops would not allow any such addition.  (See the Hampton Court Conference.)], AND FALL INTO SIN.  But as we may relapse from virtue into wickedness, so we MAY RISE AGAIN AND AMEND OUR LIVES; we may return to a sense of our duty, and again yield obedience to the influence of God’s Holy Spirit: and THEREFORE THEY ARE TO BE CONDEMNED WHO SAY THEY CAN NO MORE SIN AS LONG AS THEY LIVE HERE, OR DENY THE PLACE OF FORGIVENESS TO SUCH AS TRULY REPENT.  “As those,” says Bishop Pearson, “who are received into the church by the sacrament of baptism, receive the remission of their sins, of which they were guilty before they were baptized; so after they are thus made members of the church, they receive remission of their future sins by their repentance.  Christ, who hath left us a pattern of prayer, hath thereby taught us forever to implore and beg the forgiveness of our sins; that as we, through the frailty of our nature, are always subject unto sin, so we should always exercise the acts of repentance, and forever seek the favour of God.  This then is the comfort of the Gospel, that as it discovereth sin within us, so it propoundeth a remedy unto us.  While we are in this life encompassed with flesh, while the allurements of the world, while the stratagems of Satan, while the infirmities and corruptions of our nature betray us to the transgression of the law of God, we are always subject to offend: whence, whosoever saith that he has no sin, is a liar, [1 John 1:10, 2:4.] contradicting himself and contracting iniquity by pretending innocence: and so long as we can offend, so long we may apply ourselves unto God by repentance, and be renewed by his grace and pardoned by his mercy.” [Pearson on the Creed, Art. v. 10.]


Article 17.

Of Predestination and Election.

         Predestination to Life is the everlasting Purpose of God, whereby (before the Foundations of the World were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his Counsel, secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honour.  Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a Benefit of God, be called according to God’s Purpose by his Spirit, working in due Season; they through Grace obey the Calling: they be justified freely: they be made Sons of God by Adoption: they be made like the Image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good Works; and at length by God’s Mercy they attain to everlasting Felicity.

         As the godly Consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable Comfort to godly Persons, and such as feel in themselves the Working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the Works of the Flesh, and their earthly Members, and drawing up their Mind to high and heavenly Things; as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their Faith of eternal Salvation, to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their Love towards God: so for curious and carnal Persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their Eyes the Sentence of God’s Predestination, is a most dangerous Downfall, whereby, the Devil doth thrust them either into Desperation, or into Wretchlessness of most unclean Living, no less perilous than Desperation.

         Furthermore, we must receive God’s Promises in such wise as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and in our Doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.


         Predestination is with reason considered as one of the most abstruse doctrines of Theology; and it has in different ages of the Christian Church been the fruitful source of a great variety of controversies.  These disputes have been chiefly upon points far beyond the capacity of men, and have tended but little to promote the true interests of Christianity.  This Article is drawn up with great caution and judgment; in the former part of it, which relates to the meaning of the terms Predestination and Election, the words of Scripture are chiefly used, and the latter part is obviously designed to guard against the evils and mischiefs which might arise from mistaken ideas upon these intricate subjects.  I shall state, with as much perspicuity as I am able, the doctrines of our Church concerning these points, subjoining the authorities upon which they rest.

         God is represented in Scripture as having preordained the redemption of mankind, through Christ, before the foundation of the world, and when the fulness of the time was come, he sent forth his Son, made of a woman.” [Gal. 4:4.] to execute his gracious purpose.  But it has pleased our Almighty Father, in the inscrutable counsels of his wisdom, to confine the knowledge of his merciful dispensation, even to this day, to a portion of the human race; and by his prescience he foresaw, to whom these glad tidings would be communicated.  Those who are blessed with the glorious light of the Gospel, according to this scheme of Divine Providence, may be said to be predestinated to life, because they enjoy the appointed means of salvation: and therefore, 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.  “Those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind,” are that part of mankind, to whom God decreed to make known the Gospel; and it is to be observed, that this expression does not distinguish one set of Christians from another, but Christians in general from the rest of mankind; and consequently “to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation,” does not mean actually saving them, but granting them the means of salvation through Christ.  This beginning of the Article is taken from the following passage in St. Paul’s second Epistle to Timothy, “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” [2 Tim. 1:9.]; here the word “us” evidently means Christians, and the words “hath saved us” do not mean that the salvation of Christians had actually taken place, but that they were enabled to obtain salvation. [Similar expressions with the same meaning occur in several parts of the New Testament: Eph. 2:8.  Titus 3:5.  1 Peter 3:21.  Rom. 8:24.  1 Corinthians 1:18.]  Salvation will not take place till the day of judgment; and it can scarcely be supposed, that all, whom God “hath called with his holy calling,” will then be saved, although every Christian has it in his power to obtain salvation, by complying with the terms upon which it is promised.

         Those to whom the Gospel was made known, according to the foreseen purpose of God, are said in the New Testament to be predestinated and elect, “Who are the called according to his purpose: for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.” [Rom. 8:28–29.] – “Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God” [1 Peter 1:2.]: Predestination and Election are therefore founded in the foreknowledge of God.  In the latter of the above passages St. Peter speaks of all the Christians of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, and St. Paul speaks of all the Colossian Christians, [Col. 3:12.] as being “elect”; and both Apostles represent the salvation of these elect persons as depending upon their obedience to the precepts of the Gospel; and consequently by the word elect they could not mean Christians who were certain of being saved by an absolute decree of God; and surely no one would contend that all the Christians of those five extensive countries, or of the city of Colossae, who were then addressed, will hereafter be saved.  The words elect and chosen constantly denote collective bodies of men who were converted to the Gospel, without any restriction to those who will obtain salvation; and an infallible certainty of eternal happiness in consequence of a divine decree, is not attributed to any number of Christians, or to any single Christian, throughout the New Testament.  Salvation is uniformly mentioned as contingent and conditional.  St. Peter calls upon Christians by their own “diligence to make their calling and election sure,” [2 Peter 1:10.] and consequently the calling and election of Christians imply only the means of salvation, which may or may not be effectual; to require human diligence to make a divine infallible decree sure, could never be the injunction of an Apostle. St. Paul himself admitted the possibility of his being “a castaway”; that is, rejected at the great day of final retribution, if he did not “keep under his body, and bring it into subjection,” that is, resist the evil propensities of his nature, and practice that Gospel which he “had preached to others.”[ 1 Cor. 1:27.]

         Thus were our Reformers fully authorized by Scripture to declare, as they have done in this Article, that predestination to life is not an irrespective decree of eternal happiness to certain individual Christians exclusively, but the gracious purpose of God, before the creation of man, to make an indiscriminate offer of salvation in his own good time, to all who shall embrace and obey the Gospel, through the merits of his blessed Son.  This indeed appears to be the only sense in which predestination is reconcilable with the attributes of God and the free agency of man: for we cannot conceive that a Being of infinite justice and mercy would arbitrarily select out of his rational creatures a determinate number, on whom he would bestow the blessing of eternal happiness, while he consigned all the rest to eternal punishment, [This is the doctrine of absolute election and reprobation, and was maintained by those who are called Supralapsarians. It is to be observed, that reprobation is not mentioned in this Article. It cannot be said that our Church favours absolute predestination, as in the last Article it is asserted that we may fall from grace given: for if we be not absolutely predestinated to persevere in grace, we cannot be absolutely predestinated to salvation; and in the Catechism of our Church it is said, that God the Son redeemed all mankind, which is not consistent with the doctrine of absolute election mid reprobation; and in the Communion Service it is said, that Christ, by the one oblation of himself once offered, made there a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.] or passed them over as unworthy of his regard and attention. [This was the doctrine of those who were called Sublapsarians.]  Such an idea of election ought surely to be rejected.  We are not required to believe that God, from all eternity, absolutely decreed that certain persons only should be saved, or that he gives an irresistible grace to some men which he denies to others: such a mode of proceeding would be as destructive of human freedom, as it would be repugnant to the perfections of the divine nature.  If we believe that God is infinitely just and merciful, we must believe that he has equally enabled every man born into the world to work out his salvation, though we know so little of the divine government, that in many cases we cannot discern how that impartiality is maintained.  This ignorance should lead us to be very cautious in what we pronounce concerning the decrees and counsels of God; it should make us reluctant to speculate upon these awful and mysterious subjects, and solicitous to avoid the pernicious error of aiming at being wise “above that which is written”. [1 Cor. 4:6.]  The prescience of God, as extending to every instance of human conduct, from the creation of man to the final consummation of all things, is a fit object of our belief; but we are utterly incapable of comprehending how this prescience consists with the other attributes of the Deity and with the free agency of man; nor can we conceive how those future contingencies, which depend upon the determination of the human will, should be certain and infallible: and yet, that they are so, is fully proved by the accurate accomplishment of prophecies.  Rather than bewilder ourselves in the inextricable difficulties of such contemplations, to which our limited faculties are by no means competent, we should exclaim with the pious and humble Psalmist, “Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for us; we cannot attain unto it.”*

         *[Psalm 139:6.  [The following is St. Augustine’s account of Predestination: – Haec est Praedestinatio Sanctorum, nihil aliud; praescieutia scilicet et praeparatio beneficiorum Dei, quibus certissime liberantur, quicumque liberantur.  Ceteri autem ubi nisi in massa perditionis justo divino judicio relinquuntur?  Ubi Tyrii relicti sunt, et Sidonii, qui etiam credere potuerunt, si mira illa Christi signa vidissent.  Sed quoniam ut crederent, non erat eis datum, etiam unde crederent est negatum.  Ex quo apparet habere quosdam in ipso ingenio divinum naturaliter munus intelligentiae, quo moveantur ad fidem, si congrua suis mentibus, vel audiant verba, vel signa conspiciant: et tamen si  Dci altiore judicio, a perditionis massa non sunt gratia praedestinatione discreti, nec ipsa eis adhibentur vel dicta divina vel facta, per quae possent credere, si audirent, utique talia vel viderent.  In eadem perditionis massa relicti sunt etiam Judaei qui non potuerunt credere factis in conspecto suo tam magnis clarisque viriutibus.  Cur enim non poterant credere, non tacuit Evangelium, dicens, “Cum autem tanta signa,” etc. (Johan. 12:37.)  Non erant ergo sic excaecati oculi, nec sic induratum cor Tyriorum et Sidoniorum: quoniam credidissent, si qualia viderunt isti signa vidissent.  Sed nec illis profuit quod poterant credere, quia praedestinati non erant ab eo, cujus inscrutabilia sunt judicia, et investigabiles viae: nec istis obfuisset quod non poterant credere, si ita praedestinati essent, ut eos caecos Deus illumunaret, et induratis cor lapideum vellet auferre. …

            Nec praedestinationis igitur praedicatione impedienda est praedicatio fidei perseverantis et proficientis, ut quod oportet audiant, quibus datum est ut obediant.  Quomodo calm audient sine praedicante?  Nec rursus praedicatione fidei proficientis, et usque ad ultimum permanentis, impedienda est praedicatio praedestinationis, ut qui fideliter et obedienter vivit, non de ipsa obedientia tanquam de suo non accepto bono extollatur; sed qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur. – De Dono Pers. Op. t. x. p. 839.

            Quicunque electi, sine dubio etiam vocati; non autem quicunque vocati, consequenter electi.  Illi ergo electi, ut saepe dictum est, qui secundum propositum vocati, qui etiam praedestinati atque praesciti.  Horum si quisquam perit, fallitur Deus; sed nero eorum perit, quia non fallitur Deus.  Horum si quisquam perit, vitio humano vincitur Deus; sed nemo eorum perit, quia nulla re vincitur Deus.  Electi autem sunt ad regnandum cum Christo; non quomodo electus est Judas ad opus cui congruebat.  Ab jib quippe electus est, qui novit bene uti etiam malis, ut per ejus opus damnabile, illud propter quod ipse venerat, opus venerabile compleretur.  Cum itaque audimus, Nonne ego vos duodecim elegi, et unus ex vobis diabolus est? illos debemus intelligere electos per miserecordiam, illum per judicium; illos ad obtinendum regnum suum, illum ad fundendum sanguinem suum. – Liber de Correp. et Gratia, Op. t. x. p. 757.

            Fides igitur et inchoata, et perfecta, donum Dei est; et hoc donum quibusdam dari, quibusdam non dari, omnino non dubitet, qui non vult manifestissimis sacris litteris repugnare.  Cur autem non omnibus detur, fidelem movere non debet, qui credit ex uno omnes isse in condemnationem, sine dubitatione justissimam: ita ut nulla Dei esset justa reprehensio, etiam si nullus inde liberaretur.  Unde constat magnam esse gratiam, quod plurimi liberantur, et quid sibi deberetur, in eis qui non liberantur agnoscunt: ut qui gloriatur, non in suis meritis, quae paria videt esse damnatis, sed in Domino gloriatur.  Cur autem istum potius quam illum liberet, inscrutabilia sunt judicia ejus et investigabiles viae ejus.  Melius enim et hic audimus aut dicimus, O homo, tu quis es qui respoiideas Deo? quam dicere audemus, quasi noverimus, quod occultum esse voluit, qui tamen aliquid injusturn velle non potuit. – De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, Op. t. x. p. 801.

            Est etiam praeclarissimum lumen praedestinationis et gratiae, ipse Salvator, ipse Mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus; qui ut hoc esset, quibus tandem suis vel operum vel fidei praecedentibus meritis natura humana quae in illo est comparavit?  Respondeatur quaeso: ille homo, ut a Verbo Patri coaeterno in unitatem personae assumtus, Filius Dei unigenitus esset, unde hoc meruit?  Quod ejus bonum qualecumque praecessit?  Quid egit ante, quid credidit, quid petivit, ut ad hanc ineffabilem excellentiam perveniret?  Nonne faciente ac suscipiente Verbo, ipse homo, ex quo esse coepit, Filius Dei unicus esse coepit?  Nonne Filium Dei unicum femina illa gratia plena concepit?  Nonne de Spiritu Sancto et Virgine Maria Dei Filius unicus natus est, non carnis cupidine, sed singulari Dei munere?  Numquid metuendum fuit, ne accedente aetate homo ille libero peccaret arbitrio?  Aut ideo in illo non libera voluntas erat, ac non tanto magis erat, quanto magis peccato servire non poterat?  Nempe ista omnia singulariter admiranda, et alia si qua ejus propria verissime dici possunt, singulariter in illo accepit humana, hoc est, nostra natura, nullis suis praecedentibus meritis.  Respondeat hic homo Deo, si audet, et dicat, Cur non et ego?  Et si audierit, O homo, tu quis es qui respondeas Deo? nec sic cohibeat, sed augeat impudentiam, et dicat, Quomodo audio, Tu quis es, O homo?  Cum sim quod audio, id est, homo, quod est et ille de quo ago, cur non sim quod et ille?  At enim gratia ille talis ac tantus est.  Cur diversa est gratia, ubi natura communis est?  Certe non est acceptio personarum apud Deum.  Quis, non dico Christianus, sed insanus haec dicat?  Appareat itaque nobis in nostro capite ipse fons gratiae unde secundum uniuscujusque mensuram se per cuncta ejus membra diffundit.  Ea gratia fit ab initio fidei suae homo quicumque Christianus, qua gratia homo ille ab initio suo factus est Christus: de ipso Spiritu et hic renatus, de quo est ille natus; eodem Spiritu fit in nobis remissio peccatorum, quo Spiritu factum est ut nullum haberet ille peccatum.  Haec se Deus esse facturum profecto praescivit.  Ipsa est igitur Praedestinatio Sanctorum, quae in Sancto Sanctorum maxima claruit: quam negare quis potest recte intelligentium eloquia veritatis?  Nam et ipsum Dominum gloriae, in quantum homo factus est Dei Filius, praedestinatum esse didicimus. – De Praedes. Sanct. Op. t. x. p. 809. – Editor.]]

         WHEREFORE THEY WHICH ARE 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; that is, they who conform to the conditions of the Gospel dispensation are made partakers of its benefits, according to the gracious purpose of God, who planned this scheme of redemption: they are assisted by the influence of his Spirit; and are accepted through his free and voluntary offer of pardon and justification.

         And such are the glorious privileges and effects of this state of acceptance, that we are assured in Scripture, that by it men 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.  “That we might receive the adoption of sons.” [Gal. 4:5.] – “To be conformed to the image of his Son.” [Rom. 8:29.] – “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” [Eph. 2:10.] – “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.” [1 Peter 1:3, etc.] – “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.” [Eph. 1:4–5.]

         “The errors and vain disputes,” says Mr. Pyle, “that have arisen in the latter ages of Christianity concerning faith and works, justification and sanctification, election and reprobation, that have distracted the minds of many Christians, have proceeded from applying particular phrases or passages in the Epistles to particular persons, which originally referred to the state and condition not of particular persons, but of whole churches in their collective capacity.  Thus the body of heathens, while in their heathen state, are called aliens, strangers, enemies to God, etc.; but such of them as were converted (the churches to whom the Apostles wrote) are styled no longer strangers, but of the household of God, a chosen or elected generation, a royal priesthood, justified, sanctified, saints, etc.  So the major part of the Jewish nation, who obstinately rejected the Gospel of Christ, instead of being any longer the holy nation, the people of God, are called the vessels of wrath, fitted (by their own obstinacy) for destruction, reprobate; while the believing Jews became vessels of mercy, foreordained, predestinated, to be called into the kingdom or covenant of the Gospel, chosen to eternal life; which expressions mean no more than their having been offered the means and opportunities of attaining to the future happiness of heaven, by their knowledge and practice of Christ’s religion.  Their actual enjoyment of future happiness depended entirely on their virtuous obedience to the Gospel; on their diligence to make their calling and election sure, that is, effectual to their salvation.  No private persons are ever mentioned in these writings as elected to eternal life, by any absolute decree of God.  Paul was a chosen vessel; but he was chosen as a proper minister of Christ’s Gospel, to bear his name to the Gentiles; his being chosen to the crown of life hereafter was the fruit of his earnest endeavours to keep the faith (his fidelity), to finish his course, and of his labouring abundantly.  To take these expressions otherwise is to pervert the design of these writings.  It is this mistake that has diverted the minds of many good men from attending to the more excellent parts of these writings, the moral and weighty exhortations given to Christians; and by puzzling them about former controversies that do very little, if at all, concern us now, have turned off their thoughts from the great matters of the Christian law, which are most easy to be understood, and requisite to be put in practice.” [Preface to the Epistle to the Romans.]

         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 MINDS 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 FREQUENTLY 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, [The Latin word is praecipitium, a precipice, which seems better to describe the dangerous situation in which such persons are placed.] a WHEREBY THE DEVIL DOTH THRUST THEM EITHER INTO DESPERATION, OR INTO WRETCHLESSNESS [Wretchlessness signifies carelessness.  Duce diabolo, vel in desperationem praesentem objiciuntur praecipites, vel in solutam quandam et mollem vitae securitatem, sine aut poenitentia, aut scelerum conscientia, dilabuntur. – Reformat. Legum.   ] OF MOST UNCLEAN LIVING, NO LESS PERILOUS THAN DESPERATION; that is, as a due consideration of the divine decree to save all who shall believe and obey the Gospel, is a source of inexpressible consolation to virtuous and godly persons; encourages them to rely upon the promised assistance of the Holy Spirt; fortifies them against the temptations to fleshly lusts; teaches them to set their affections on things above; strengthens their faith; and animates their love towards God: so the unwarranted idea of God’s absolute and unconditional predestination is apt to drive the presumptuous and the wicked, who resist the influence of the Spirit of Christ, either into a state of gloomy despondency on the one hand, or into a course of unbridled licentiousness on the other.  “If a man thinks that he is under an inevitable decree, as he will have little remorse for all the evil he does, while he imputes it to that inevitable force that constrains him, so he will naturally conclude that it is to no purpose for him to struggle with impossibilities; and men being inclined both to throw all blame off from themselves, and to indulge themselves in laziness and sloth, these practices are too natural to mankind to be encouraged by opinions that favour them.  All virtue and religion, all discipline and industry, must arise from this, as their first principle, that there is a power in us to govern our own thoughts and actions, and to raise and improve our faculties.  If this is denied, all endeavours, all education, all pains, either on ourselves or others, are vain and fruitless things.  Nor is it possible to make a man believe other than this: for he does so plainly perceive that he is a free agent; he feels himself balance matters in his thoughts, and deliberate about them so evidently, that he certainly knows he is a free being.  Though he feels himself often hurried on so impetuously, that he may seem to have lost his freedom in some turns, and upon some occasions, yet he feels that he might have restrained that heat in its first beginning; he feels he can divert his thoughts, and master himself in most things, when he sets himself to it; he finds that knowledge and reflection, that good company and good exercises, do tame and soften him, and that bad ones make him wild, loose, and irregular.  From all this they conclude that man is free, and not under inevitable fate, or irresistible motions either to good or evil.  All this they confirm from the whole current of the Scripture, which is full of persuasions, exhortations, reproofs, expostulations, encouragements, and terrors, which axe all vain and theatrical things, if there are no free powers in us to which they are addressed: to what purpose is it to speak to dead men, to persuade the blind to see, or the lame to run?  If we are under an impotence till the irresistible grace comes, and if; when it comes, nothing can withstand, it, then what occasion is there for all those solemn discourses if they can have no effect on us?  They cannot render us inexcusable, unless it were in our power to be bettered by them; and to imagine that God gives light and blessings to those whom he before intended to damn, only to make them inexcusable, when they could do them no good, and they will serve only to aggravate their condemnation, gives so strange an idea of that infinite goodness, that it is not fit to express it by those terms which do naturally arise upon it.” [Burnet.]

         FURTHERMORE, WE MUST RECEIVE GOD’S PROMISES, IN SUCH WISE AS THEY BE GENERALLY SET FORTH IN HOLY SCRIPTURE: the promises of God are general and conditional.  The Gospel dispensation is described as a covenant between God and man; and the salvation of every individual is made to depend upon his observance of the proposed conditions.  Men, as free agents, have it in their power to perform or not to perform these conditions; and God foresaw from all eternity who would and who would not perform them, that is, who will and who will not be saved at the day of judgment.  This prescience of voluntary conduct and consequent happiness or misery, is very different from an irreversible decree, directing in what manner each individual shall act in this world, and whether he shall be happy or miserable in that which is to come.  “God’s promises generally set forth in Holy Scripture,” seem here to be opposed to the “counsel of God secret to us,” spoken of in the former part of this Article; and it is declared that, whatever promises are made to us in Scripture, we are to receive them implicitly, and not pervert their obvious sense by abstruse inquiries into the hidden mysteries of the divine dispensations.  The promises that, “Whosoever believeth in the only begotten Son of God shall not perish, but have everlasting life,” [John 3:16.] that the death of Christ will be accepted as “a propitiation for the sins of the whole world,” [John 2:2.] so plain that we cannot well mistake their meaning as far as they respect ourselves; and they are also so important, that, if we value our own comfort, we shall not suffer our faith in them to be shaken by any difficulties, which speculative men may raise concerning Election and Predestination, as they relate to mankind at large.

         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 will of God can be collected from Scripture only; as it there stands revealed, it is to be obeyed, without any exception or reserve: no rules of action are to be allowed which are not authorized by the declarations of Scripture; no conduct is to be justified or excused which is contradictory to the written word of God.

         This last branch of the Article seems to have been directed against a set of profligate enthusiasts, who at the time of the Reformation urged the will of God as an excuse for their vices: “In voluntatem Dei criminum suorum culpam conferunt.” [Reform. Leg.]  The impiety and the mischief of such a principle (which is a most unjustifiable perversion of the doctrine of predestination) are equally obvious.  The will of God, as was just now observed, can only be known from the Scriptures, and his will so revealed ought to be the rule of everyone’s conduct.

         It is sufficiently evident from the above review and exposition of this Article, that the doctrines maintained in it are by no means conformable to the principles of Calvin, who contended for absolute unconditional decrees of God, and irresistible grace, and asserted that God, in predestinating from all eternity one part of mankind to everlasting happiness, and another to endless misery, was led to make this distinction solely by his own good pleasure and free will [Arminius opposed these doctrines, but not till after our Articles were compiled.  Calvin nearly followed the opinions of Austin and the Latin Church, and Arminius those of Chrysostom and the Greek Church.  For an account of this controversy, see Mosheim; and for a general account of the opinions which have been entertained concerning Predestination, and the arguments by which they have been supported, see Burnet upon this Article. “It is agreed by everybody that his collection of the arguments made use of by both parties contains a brief, full, and fair representation of what is found in their respective writings upon this subject.” – Veneer.]: “Predestinationem vocamus aeternum Dei decretum, quo apud se constitutum habuit, quid de unoquoque homine fieri vellet.  Non enim pari conditione creantur omnes; sed aliis vita aeterna, aliis damnatio aeterna praeordinatur.” – “Quod ergo Scriptura clare ostendit dicimus, aeterna et immutabili consilio Deum semel constituisse, quos olim semel assumere vellet in salutem, quos rursum exitio devovere.  Hoc consilium quoad electos in gratuita, ejus misericordia, fundatum esse asserimus, nullo humanae dignitatis respectu: quos vero damnationi addicit, his justo quidem et irreprehensibili, sed incomprehensibili ipsius judicio vitae aditum praecludi.” [Calv. Instit. lib. iii. cap. 21.] – “The Article of Predestination,” says Dr. Waterland, “has been vainly enough urged in favour of the Calvinistic tenets; for, not to mention the saving clause in the conclusion, or its saying nothing at all of reprobation, and nothing in favour of absolute predestination to life, there seems to be a plain distinction (as Plaifere has well observed) in the Article itself; of two kinds of Predestination, one of which is recommended to us, the other condemned. Predestination, rightly and piously considered, that is, considered not irrespectively, not absolutely, but with respect to faith in Christ, faith working by love, and persevering; such a predestination is a sweet and comfortable doctrine; but the sentence of God’s predestination (it is not here said in Christ as before), that sentence simply or absolutely considered (as curious and carnal persons are apt to consider it), is a most dangerous downfall, leading either to security or desperation, as having no respect to foreseen faith and a good life, nor depending upon it, but antecedent in order to it.  The Article then seems to speak of two subjects; first of predestination, soberly understood with respect to faith in Christ, which is wholesome doctrine; secondly, of predestination simply considered, which is a dangerous doctrine.  And the latter part seems to be intended against those Gospellers, whereof Bishop Burnet speaks.  Nor is it imaginable that any true and sound doctrine of the Gospel should of itself have any aptness to become a downfall even to carnal persons; but carnal persons are apt to corrupt a sound doctrine, and suit it to their own lusts and passions, thereby falsifying the truth.  This doctrine, so depraved and mistaken, our Church condemns; that is, she condemns absolute, irrespective predestination, not the other.”

         As Archbishop Cranmer was not only the principal compiler of these Articles, but by his writings and influence contributed more than any other person to the Reformation in England, it may be right to state the sentiments of that eminent prelate upon the subject of this Article; and as the publication [Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man.] from which the following quotations are taken was confirmed by act of parliament, they may be considered as containing also the sentiments of our early Reformers in general: “God is naturally good, and willeth all men to be saved, and careth for them, and provideth all things by which they may be saved, except by their own malice they will do evil, and so by righteous judgment of God perish and be lost; for truly men be to themselves the authors of sin and damnation.  God is neither author of sin, nor the cause of damnation; and yet doth he most righteously damn those men that do with vices corrupt their nature, which he made good, and do abuse the same to evil desires against his most holy will: wherefore men be to be warned, that they do not impute to God their vice, or their damnation, but to themselves, which by free will have abused the grace and benefit of God.” – “It is to be considered, that although our Saviour Christ hath offered himself upon the cross, a sufficient redemption and satisfaction for the sins of all the world, and hath made himself an open way and entry unto God the Father for all mankind, only by his worthy merit and deserving, and willing all men to be saved, calleth upon all the world, without respect of persons, to come and be partakers of the righteousness, peace, and glory, which is in him; yet for all this benignity and grace, showed universally to the whole world, none shall have the effect of the benefit of our Saviour Christ, and enjoy everlasting salvation by him, but they that take such ways to attain the same as he hath taught and appointed by his holy word.” – “And here all fantastic imagination, curious reasoning, and vain trust of predestination, is to be laid apart.  And according to the plain manner of speaking and teaching of Scripture in innumerable places, we ought evermore to be in dread of our own frailty, and natural pronity to fall to sin, and not to assure ourselves that we be elected any otherwise than by feeling of spiritual motions in our heart, and by the tokens of good and virtuous living, in following the grace of God, and persevering in the same to the end.”

         It is very clearly proved in “A Dissertation on the Seventeenth Article,” [Written by Dr. Winchester.] printed at Oxford in 1773, that the sentiments of Ridley, Latimer, and Hooper, coincided with those of Cranmer concerning grace and predestination; and Dean Tucker has shown, in his Letters to Dr. Kippis, that “at the time just preceding the Reformation, the church of Rome, in respect to predestination, grace, free will, and perseverance, was truly Calvinistic.”

         “In England, at the time of the Synod of Dort, we were much divided in our opinion concerning the controverted Articles; but our Divines having taken the liberty to think and judge for themselves, and the civil government not interposing, it has come to pass, that from that time to this, almost all persons here, of any note for learning and abi- lities, have bid adieu to Calvinism, [Whitby published some tracts on Election, Reprobation, and Original Sin, and in these treatises he confuted Calvinism almost to a demonstration.  Jortin.] have sided with the Remonstrants, and have left the Fatalists to follow their own opinions, and to rejoice (since they can rejoice) in a religious system consisting of human creatures without liberty, doctrines without sense, faith without reason, and a God without mercy.” [Jortin, Dissert. ii. p. 3.  [But a slight acquaintance with the history of the controversy respecting Predestination is sufficient to create a strong feeling of regret that this sentence should have been quoted by so respectable a writer as Bishop Tomline.  Jortin was vain of his little measure of knowledge; and could venture to speak presumptuously in an age when theology and religious feeling were at a low ebb among those whom he addressed.  Supposing, even, that it be quite decided that no respect was had to the views of Augustin in the present Article, it can never be disputed that the most learned of Armenian theologians found their best abilities necessary to resist the mighty band of scholars against whom they ranged themselves.  The student of divinity cannot be too earnestly warned against learning to speak, reason, or feel in imitation of such men as Jortin.  Nothing was ever written on the subject more useful or admirable than Bishop Copleston’s Enquiry into the Doctrines of Necessity and Predestination. – Editor]]


Article 18.

Of Obtaining Eternal Salvation Only By the Name of Christ.

         They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every Man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth; so that he be diligent to frame his Life according to that Law, and the Light of Nature.  For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby Man must be saved.


         This Article is to be considered as directed against those who maintained, that it was a matter of indifference whether men embraced the Gospel, or not; that all religions were equally acceptable to God; and that all men would obtain salvation, although they rejected the Gospel; provided they observed the rules of the religion which they pro- fessed, and acted in conformity to the dictates of reason.

         THEY ALSO ARE TO BE HAD ACCURSED [It was formerly the custom to condemn errors in this form: – If any one holds such an error, anathema sit, which we translate, let him be accursed.  Many instances of this kind may be found, not only in the acts of councils, but also in the controversial writings of the ancient fathers; and the practice seems to have been derived from some expressions of Scripture, Rom. 9:3.  1 Cor. 16:22.  Gal. 1:8.  The persons against whom an anathema was pronounced were excluded from communion with the church of Christ.] (that is they are to be looked upon as subject to the wrath of God, and unworthy of communion with the Church,) 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.  It is important to observe the exact words here used, “that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth,” that is, by virtue of his religion, whatever it may be, without the merits of Christ.  Let it not, therefore, be understood, that this Article confines salvation to one sect of Christianity, or that it excludes from the benefits of Christ’s incarnation all to whom the Gospel has not been made known.  It has no reference whatever to the unhappy divisions which have always subsisted, and still do subsist, among Christians; it only condemns those who confound all religions, who make revelation useless, and the grace of God of none effect, by denying the necessity of believing the Gospel when it is proposed, and by asserting that everlasting happiness would have been equally attainable if Christ had not been born into the world.

         Such principles as these are refuted by the plainest declarations of Scripture; FOR HOLY SCRIPTURE DOTH SET OUT UNTO US ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, WHEREBY MEN MUST BE SAVED.  “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6.]  “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12.] – And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” [1 John 5:11.]

         All to whom the Gospel is revealed are under an indispensable obligation to believe and obey it; and upon those conditions, and those only, salvation is promised.  If God has declared his will, it is impossible that we should be at liberty whether we will obey it or not; if he has commanded a religion, it can never be a matter of indifference whether men embrace it, or continue to worship false gods.  Were not even the Jews, who worshipped the true God, condemned and punished, because they refused to acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah?  The severest threats are denounced against all, without any discrimination or exception, who obstinately reject the Gospel: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:16.]

         On the other hand we are told, “that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” [Acts 10:34–35.]  But such declarations must be considered as belonging to those only who were never made acquainted with the Gospel, and still their acceptance will be for the sake of Christ Jesus, who died as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.  The merits of his death are not limited to those who call upon his name, for, “how shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Rom. 10:14.]  St. Paul, by thus showing that it has been absolutely impossible for a great part of mankind to believe in the Gospel, intimates that their unbelief will not be imputed to them as a fault.  He also says, that “the Gentiles are a law unto themselves” [Rom. 2:14.]; therefore Gentiles, Jews, and Christians, have all had their respective rules of conduct, equally derived from God, by which they will be judged at the last day; and the salvation of the Jew and Gentile will be no less owing to the merits of Christ than that of the Christian, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. [Acts 4:12.]

         But though Christ is the Redeemer of the whole race of mankind from the guilt and corruption produced by the sin of Adam; though all are cleansed by his blood, and restored to a possibility of happiness; yet a federal certainty of salvation, secured to the true believers of the Gospel exclusively, must be esteemed a high and invaluable privilege.  None but Christians can enjoy the blessed hope of everlasting life upon the sure ground of promise; they alone look forward for “the prize of their high calling, an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for them in heaven.” [Phil. 3:14.  1 Peter 1:4.]  Nor does it follow, that the benefits which the virtuous heathen will derive from the incarnation of Christ will be equal to those of the sincere Christian.  Christ tells us, that in his Father’s house there are many mansions; and it seems contradictory neither to reason nor Scripture to suppose that different persons will hereafter enjoy different degrees of happiness, although they may be all eternal, and certainly all purchased by the precious blood of our blessed Redeemer.


Article 19.

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 Hierusalem, 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.


         We now enter upon the fourth and last division of the Articles, namely, those which relate to Christians as members of a religious society; and the first point to be settled upon this subject is, the meaning of the word Church.

         The expression of “the visible Church of Christ,” with which this Article begins, seems to be used in contradistinction to the mystical or invisible Church of Christ.  The mystical Church consists of those persons who have truly believed and obeyed the Gospel, and who are conceived, although they have lived at different periods, to be united into one body, [Thus in the Creed we profess our belief in the holy Catholic Church, that is, that Christ has formed all faithful Christians into one society.] which is called mystical or invisible, not only because they are not now all upon earth, but because the qualities and properties, which gave them a claim to be members of this blessed society were never the objects of sense, and could not be judged of by men from merely external circumstances.  The visible Church, in its most extensive sense, may include all persons who are or have been, by outward profession, Christians, whether they have or have not believed all the doctrines, or obeyed all the precepts, of the Gospel.  This may be called the visible catholic Church; and our Saviour himself alludes to the mixture of real and nominal Christians in his visible Church, when he compares the kingdom of heaven, or the Christian religion, to a net which was cast into the sea, and was filled both with good and bad fishes [Matt. 13:47.]; and also when he compares it to a held, in which the master sowed only good seed, but his enemy sowed tares, and there sprang up both wheat and tares. [Matt. 13:24, etc.]  But in this Article the “VISIBLE CHURCH” is used in a more limited sense, and comprehends only the Christians of one country or city, or of one persuasion; thus it mentions the church of Hierusalem, of Alexandria, of Antioch, and of Rome; and in like manner we often speak of the Church of England, of Holland, of Geneva, and of the Lutheran Church; and all these different churches are parts of the visible catholic Church.  It is well known that the church of Rome considers itself as the only Christian Church; but on the other hand, we extend the name to any 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.  The adherence to the fundamental principles of the Gospel is therefore sufficient to constitute a visible Church, although every doctrine it maintains may not be founded in truth, or all the parts of its public worship agreeable to Scripture.  We consider all men as Christians, or as members of the visible Church of Christ, who have been baptized, and profess their belief in the divine mission of Christ, even if their faith be in some respects erroneous, and their lives unworthy of their holy vocation.  To make a discrimination, to draw a line of distinction upon these points, would be to deny salvation to those whom we exclude from the Church of Christ, which would be unbecoming and presumptuous in the highest degree; and upon the same principle we forbear to inquire what precise additions or defects in the administration of the sacraments ordained by Christ annul their efficacy.  We contend that we follow Scripture in the performance of the public offices of our religion, without passing judgment upon those who appear to us to depart from it.  But though we admit, that to call upon the name of Christ entitles a person to be denominated a Christian, yet we are aware that “not everyone that saith unto him, Lord, Lord,” will partake of the benefits of his death.  Though the Church of Christ here on earth be thus numerous, and consist of persons of such various characters and dispositions, we cannot but remember the solemn assurance that Christ will hereafter “separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” [Matt. 15:32.]; and that a different sentence will be pronounced upon the real and nominal members of the Church at the great day of final retribution.

         We find the word Church used in the New Testament in a more or less extended sense: our Saviour said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matt. 16:18.]  Here the Church means the whole body or society of faithful Christians throughout the world; and in this sense it is promised that the Church of Christ shall be perpetual, that is, that there shall be always those who will “continue steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” [Acts 2:42.]  The word church was, from the first preaching of the Apostles, used to signify believers in the Gospel generally;* thus in the beginning of the Acts it is said, that “the Lord added to the church daily.” [Acts 2:47.]  And St. Paul, in the same chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians, calls Christ “the head of the church,” says that “the church is subject to Christ”; and that “Christ loved the church” [Eph. 5:23–25.]; in which passages the Apostle means Christians in general, who, however dispersed, form one church, having, “one hope of their calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” [Eph. 4:4–5.]  But in a more limited sense, St. Paul, in addressing the Corinthian Christians, calls them “the church of God which is at Corinth.” [1 Cor. 1:2.]  St. John writes, “To the seven churches which are in Asia” [Rev. 1:4.]; and St. Luke says, “that St. Paul went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches.” [Acts 15:41.]  In these passages the word church is applied to the Christians of particular cities.  And even the believers of a single family are by St. Paul called the church, in the cases of Priscilla and Aquila, Nymphas and Philemon: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila; likewise greet the church that is in their house.” [Rom. 16:3, 5.] – “Salute Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” [Col. 4:15.]  “Paul unto Philemon, and to the church in thy house.” [Phil. 1–2.] – And thus Tertullian says, “Ubi tres, ecclesia est, licet laici.” [Exhort. ad Cast.]  And upon another occasion, “In uno et altero est ecclesia.”**

         *[Εκκλησια γαρ συστηματος και συνοδου εστιν ονομα. St. Chrysos. in Ps. 149.  And St. Cyprian: – Quisquis ille est, et qualiscumque est, Christianus non est, qui in Christi ecclesia non est. ... Et cum sit a Christo una ecclesia per totum mundum in multa membra divisa, item episcopatus unus, episcoporum multorum concordi numerositate diffusus. – Cyprirani Epist. lii. Op. p. 73.

            Ecclesia quoque una est, quae in multitudinem latius incremento foecunditatis extenditur: quomodo solis multi radii sed lumen unum: et rami arboris multi, sed robur unum tenaci radice fundatum; et cum de fonte uno rivi plurimi defluunt, numerositas licet diffusa videatur ex undantis copiae largitate, unitas tamen servatur in origine.  Avelle radium solis a corpore, divisionem lucis unitas non capit: ab arbore frange ramum, fractus germinare non poterit: a fonte praecide rivum, praecisus arescet.  Sic et ecclesia Domini luce perfusa per orbem totum radios suos porrigit, unum tamen lumen est, quod ubique diffunditur, nec unitas corporis separatur: ramos suos in universam terram copia ubertatis extendit, profluentes largiter rivos latius expandit; unum tamen caput est, et origo una, et una mater, foecunditatis successibus copiosa.  Illius foetu nascimur, illius lacte nutrimur, spiritu ejus animamur. ... Quisquis ab ecclesia segregatus adulterae jungitur, a promissis ecclesiae separatur.  Nec perveniet ad Christi praemia, qui relinquit ecclesiam Christi.  Alienus est, profanus est, hostis est.  Habere jam non potest Deum patrem, qui ecclesiam non habet matrem.  Si potuit evadere quisquam qui extra arcam Noe fuit, et qui extra ecclesiam foris fuerit, evadit.  De Unitate Eccles. Op. p. 180. – Editor.]

         **[“From the view,” says the Bishop of London in his Sermons on the Church, “which we have now taken of the subject, the following conclusions may seem to be established: First, that the church is a spiritual society, the foundations of which were laid by Jesus Christ himself, its divine and perpetual Head; its frame and constitution being afterwards constructed and settled by his apostles, acting with his authority, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that its office is to bring sinners to Christ, by furnishing to those who are incorporated into it the means of knowledge and holiness; and that it is therefore not merely instrumental as a teacher, but sacramental as a medium of the believer’s personal union with his Saviour, conveying and dispensing grace.  Thirdly, that it consists of all those who, having been admitted into it by baptism, hold the faith as it is in Jesus, and who use, or do not obstinately refuse, their spiritual privileges; and that all local churches, which can trace their apostolical descent, and teach the pure Word, and duly administer the ordinances of Christ, are branches, more or less flourishing, more or less profitable, of the one Holy Universal Church.”  Sermons on the Church, p. 16. – Ed.]

         The latter part of this Article relates to the pretended claim of Infallibility in the church of Rome; and the compilers of our Articles have very wisely taken the first opportunity, which the plan of their arrangement allowed, to deny this claim, since, if it were admitted, all the other doctrines of Popery would be at once established; an infallible church could not maintain an untrue doctrine.

         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 MATTERS OF FAITH.  The churches of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, are here mentioned, because they were the most distinguished of the churches founded by the Apostles; and that those churches, in process of time, fell into considerable errors is universally agreed.  That the church of Rome has erred in their manner of living is sufficiently evident from history.  Bishop Burnet says, that “for above 800 years the papacy, as it is represented by their own writers, is perhaps the worst succession of men that is to be found in history”: and that the church of Rome has erred in its ceremonies, and in matters of faith, will fully appear from the following Articles.

         The church of Rome existed many centuries before any mention was made of Infallibility, although it had, as everyone knows, frequent disputes with other churches from a very early period.  This doctrine was afterwards asserted and received; and its long and general prevalence is perhaps the strongest instance which can be produced from the annals of the world, of the presumption and artifice of one set of men, and of the blindness and credulity of another.  But since Infallibility has been an established tenet of the church of Rome, there has been a difference of opinion among Papists, whether it be vested in the popes themselves, when they pronounce their decrees, ex cathedra, or in General Councils.*  This very doubt is an argument against the thing itself, since wherever so important and distinguished a privilege as Infallibility resided, it could not but be manifest and apparent; and we may conclude, that if it had pleased God to place such a power in any part of his church, he would have distinctly pointed out the persons in whom it was to be found.  General councils will be considered hereafter.  In the mean time we may observe, that many popes, in their bulls and other public instruments, have themselves laid claim to their own personal infallibility in the most arrogant and blasphemous manner.  This monstrous doctrine is now so universally reprobated, as being repugnant to the nature of man, as unfounded in Scripture, as inconsistent with God’s general government of the world, as unsupported by miracles, or any other authentic sign, and as clearly refuted by the opposite and contrary decisions of different popes, that it is unnecessary to add anything further upon the subject.

         *[Bellarmine enters with great particularity into this subject.  He observes that the pope is to be considered in four different respects: that is, first, as he is an individual, or an individual doctor; secondly, as pontiff but alone; thirdly, as pontiff, but attended by his usual band of counsellors; fourthly, as pontiff, but with a general council.  In two things, he adds, both Catholics and heretics are agreed: First, namely, that the pontiff as pontiff and with his own advisers, or even a general council, may err in particular controversies of fact, and such as chiefly depend upon the information or testimony of men; secondly, that the pontiff as an individual doctor, may err even in universal questions both of law and faith, as well as of customs, and that from ignorance, as it may happen to other doctors.

            But in these two other things Catholics only are agreed: First, that the pontiff, with a general council, cannot err in establishing decrees of faith, or general precepts concerning customs; secondly, that the pontiff alone, or with his own particular council, determining anything in a doubtful matter, whether he be able to err or not, ought to be heard obediently by all the faithful.  De Summo Pontifice, lib. iv. c. ii. sect. 1–4., Op. t. i. p. 446. – Editor.]


Article 20.

Of the Authority of the Church.

         The Church hath Power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and Authority in Controversies of Faith [    ]: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain 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 first clause of this Article was not in the Articles of 1552, but it was in the Latin Articles published in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.  It does not appear either in the Latin or English Articles, dated 1571, preserved in a manuscript volume of Miscellaneous Papers bequeathed by Archbishop Parker, with his Library, to Ben’et College, Cambridge; but this manuscript being found among the private papers of the archbishop, is not to be considered as an authorized transcript of the Articles.  The original manuscript of the Articles was deposited in the Register Court of the province of Canterbury, where it was examined by order of Archbishop Laud in the following century, as he declared in his speech in the Star Chamber; and not many years afterwards it was destroyed in the lire of London, as has been already noticed.  This clause does not appear in the Latin Articles printed by John Day in 1571; but it does appear in some copies of the English Articles printed by Jugge and Cawood in the same year, and not in others.  From an accurate collation of different books, it is evident that there are several distinct editions of the English Articles, bearing the date of 1571, all of which were probably published in that year, or very soon after it In these editions, some of which contain this clause, and some do not, there are several minute variations in the mode of printing; but they all have the same wooden cuts for the title, and for the device at the end; and also the words Cum Privilegio Regiae Majestatis after the year 1571.  In 1579 the English Articles were published by Barker, containing this clause, and it has been inserted in all subsequent editions.]


         The meaning of the word Church having been settled in the preceding Article, the next thing to be determined is, What authority belongs to every particular Church; and this inquiry naturally divides itself into two parts, namely, external forms and matters of faith, both of which are treated of in this Article.

         It begins with asserting, that THE CHURCH HATH POWER TO DECREE RITES AND CEREMONIES.  The Church being a society of men united for the most important purposes, it is necessary that its affairs, like those of every other society, should be conducted by certain rules: Nulla religio, says Augustin, neque vera, neque falsa, sine caeremoniis potest consistere. [Cont. Faust. cap. 11.]  If it be our duty to “assemble ourselves together,” [Heb. 10:25.] our assemblies must be regulated by established forms, as the only means of preventing disorder and confusion.  Since then rites and ceremonies are essential to the very existence of a church, the first question which occurs is, whether it has pleased the divine Author of our religion, either by himself, or by his Apostles, to give any particular directions upon this subject?  Upon examining the New Testament we do not find that it contains any such directions, although it appears that the primitive Christians observed fixed rules, as they necessarily must have done, in their public worship of God.  We only meet with some very general precepts in the Epistles, which may be considered as applicable to this subject, such as “Give none offence” [1 Cor. 10:32.]; – “Let all things be done decently and in order” [1 Cor. 14:40.]; – “Let all things be done unto edifying” [1 Cor. 14:26.]; – and “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Cor. 10:31.]  Every church therefore is left at liberty to prescribe rites and ceremonies to its own members, provided they be consistent with these general precepts, which are so plain and so reasonable, that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon them.

         A great variety of rites and ceremonies was prescribed by the Jewish dispensation; and yet in the time of our Saviour the Jews had many institutions which were not commanded by Moses, particularly the service of their synagogues, the feast of dedication, [John 10:22–23.] and that of Purim, [Esther 9.] and likewise several unauthorized practices in the celebration of the Passover.  Not one of these things were censured by Christ; but, on the contrary, he appears to have himself observed all the traditional customs of the Jews which did not tend to encourage superstition, or produce a neglect of “the weightier matters of the law”.  And if such liberty were allowed under so limited a religion as that of Moses, we conclude that it is lawful for a society of Christians, whose religion is designed for all ages and all countries, to make any regulations which may tend to promote the great objects for which they have formed themselves into one body.  The subject of external ceremonies will occur again in the 34th Article, to which they more particularly belong; and therefore, at present, I shall only observe, that many points of this sort, very unimportant in themselves, were warmly disputed at the time of the Reformation, and were the cause of much disunion among Protestants. [The following clear and admirable observations on this subject ought to be borne in mind by every member of our Church: – “In resisting an exaggerated spiritualism, we must be careful not to incur the charge of materializing religion; and, above all, we must beware of arbitrarily connecting the gifts of God with ordinances of merely human appointment, and of teaching our people to piece the ceremonies which the Church has ordained, however significant and laudable, on the same footing as the sacraments which have been ordained by the Lord Jesus himself.  It is very well no speak of them as precious fragments of an ancient, or, perhaps, a primitive ritual, but we deny that they are to be cherished as anything more than decent and venerable usages; or that we have the slightest evidence of their being divinely authorized portions of the Church’s perpetual spiritual sacrifice.  “Ordinances and ceremonies, which cannot be shown to have been instituted by the Apostles, with a direction for their continuance, are not of perpetual obligation upon the whole Church: as, for example, the appointment of an order of deaconesses, or widows; the anointing of the sick with oil; and some other in- stances; although, if we can prove them to have been used by the Apostles, or make it appear highly probable that they were so, they may not be lightly laid aside, nor changed, even by churches, and not at all by individual members of a church.  This is the doctrine of our own Church, in the Preface to her Book of Common Prayer; and in this respect every one, at least every clergyman, is bound by the laws of his own Church.  What they enjoin, he is to practice: what they forbid, he is to abstain from what they purposely omit, he is not to introduce.”  Bishop of London’s Charge, 1842, pp. 49–51. – Editor.]

         The Article proceeds to state that the Church has also AUTHORITY IN CONTROVERSIES OF FAITH.  When a dispute arose a few years after the ascension of our Saviour, concerning the necessity of circumcising Gentile converts, the Apostles and Elders met at Jerusalem, and made a decree upon the subject, which they communicated to the churches then established in different parts of Asia, and required their obedience to it: it cannot be denied that this was an instance of authority exercised by the Church, under the direction of the inspired Apostles, in a controversy of faith. – St. Paul says to Timothy, “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” [1 Tim. 1:3.] – And to Titus he says, “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.” [Titus 3:10.]  It is evident from these two passages, that Timothy and Titus had authority given them to regulate the faith of the churches over which they were appointed to preside; and Titus is expressly directed to exclude from communion with the Church any person who persevered in maintaining heretical opinions; and therefore there must have been, at that very early period, some fixed test, by which the faith of professed Christians was to be judged: the consequence of not conforming to that test was, by apostolical authority, Excommunication.  And we learn from ecclesiastical history, that this practice of the apostolic times has been usual in every period of the Christian Church.

         It appears from the preceding Article, that it is not here intended to ascribe to the Church an infallible authority.  The words of this Article are, CONTROVERSIES OF FAITH, and this expression, perhaps, alludes to disputes which may arise between the members of any church; and it may be designed to assert that the governing part [There can be no doubt but that profound attention ought to be paid by individuals to what is here termed the governing part of the Church; but certainly the governing part of the Church is not intended by the Article as synonymous with the Church, to which alone, as consisting of many parts and members conjoined in a most perfect unity, the authority spoken of is attributed. – Editor.] of the Church has authority to take cognizance of such disputes, and to deliver their judgment concerning the points in controversy.  Great weight and deference would be due to such decisions; and “every man that finds his own thoughts differ from them ought to examine the matter over again with much attention and care, freeing himself all he can from prejudice and obstinacy, with a just distrust of his own understanding, and an humble respect to the judgment of his superiors.  This is due to the consideration of peace and union, and to that authority which the Church has to maintain it; but if, after all possible methods of inquiry, a man cannot master his thoughts, or make them agree with the public decisions, his conscience is not under bonds, since this authority is not absolute, nor grounded upon a promise of infallibility.” [Burnet.]  But this, however, we may observe, that, without any pretension to infallibility, and without any infringement of the right of private judgment, the Church has power to declare Articles of faith, provided they be authorized by Scripture, as guides to truth, and as conditions upon which it receives persons into its communion.  This is the principle of all creeds, and indeed the only principle upon which the unity of “the faith once delivered unto the saints” [Jude 3.] can be preserved.  Every Church, therefore, must possess a right to compose new, or to alter existing, Articles, according as the circumstances of the times shall make it necessary to defend the purity of Christian doctrine against prevailing heresies, and to point out to the unlearned part of the community the snares which may be laid in their paths.

         AND YET IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR THE CHURCH TO ORDAIN ANY THING THAT IS CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD WRITTEN. [Rom. 3:2.]  The written word of God is the rule of our faith and practice, and no consideration whatever can justify a departure from it.

         NEITHER MAY IT SO EXPOUND ONE PLACE OF SCRIPTURE, THAT IT BE REPUGNANT TO ANOTHER.  All Scripture being given by inspiration of God, there must be a perfect consistency and agreement in all its parts, and consequently no Church can have a right to interpret one passage of Scripture in such a manner as to make it contradictory 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.  To the Church are “committed the oracles of God,” [These restrictions evidently spring from the acknowledged fact that particular churches may err, and fall from the faith, as stated in the preceding Article. – Editor.] and by directing the Scriptures to be publicly read, from the earliest times, in the congregations of Christians, it has been the means of preserving them free from all material errors and corruptions; from them it is to derive all its doctrines; upon them, all its decrees, relative to faith, are to be founded; it is not to add to them, by requiring anything as necessary to salvation which is not contained in Holy Scripture, as was explained in the sixth Article.  [Upon the subject of this Article, Hooker’s Ecclesiastical Polity, and particularly the 3d and 8th books, and also Warburton’s Alliance of Church and State, may be consulted.  [“Upon the whole, then, we may safely infer that there is no foundation whatever for the alleged existence of those divine and apostolical traditions, which are made to constitute an unwritten word, or tradition, as a rule of faith.  The Church of England, therefore, acted wisely in rejecting that rule.  And when we further consider the consequences of that rejection, when we consider the load of superstition from which we were freed by the means of that rejection, we may well assert, that the rejection of tradition as a rule of faith was the vital principle of the Reformation.”  Bishop Marsh’s Comparative View of the Churches of England and Rome, c. iv. p.83. – Editor.]


Article 21.

Of the Authority of General Councils.

         General Councils may not be gathered together without the Commandment and Will of Princes; and when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an Assembly of Men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God), they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in Things pertaining unto God.  Wherefore Things ordained by them, as necessary to Salvation, have neither Strength nor Authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture.


         In the last Article, the power of an individual church was considered; this relates to the authority of General Councils, which are the aggregate of all particular churches, that is, of persons lawfully appointed to represent them.

         It may be reasonably supposed that as Christianity spread, circumstances would arise which would make consultation necessary among those who had embraced the Gospel, or at least among those who were employed in its propagation.  A memorable instance of this kind, which we noticed in the preceding Article, occurred not long after the ascension of our Saviour.  In consequence of a dispute which had arisen at Antioch concerning the necessity of circumcising Gentile converts, it was determined that “Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this question.” – “And the Apostles and Elders came together for to consider of this matter.” [Acts 15:6.] – After a consultation, they decided the point in question; and they sent their decree, which they declared to be made under the direction of the Holy Ghost, to all the churches, and commanded that it should be the rule of their conduct.  This is generally considered as the first Council; but it differed from all others in this circumstance, that its members were under the especial guidance of the Spirit of God.  The Gospel was soon after conveyed into many parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa; but it does not appear that there was any public meeting of Christians for the purpose of discussing any contested point till the middle of the second century.  From that time councils became frequent; but as they consisted only of those who belonged to particular districts or countries, they were called Provincial or National councils. The first General Council was that of Nice, convened by the Emperor Constantine, A.D. 825; the second General Council was held at Constantinople, in the year 381, by order of Theodosius the Great; the third, at Ephesus, by order of Theodosius junior, A.D. 431; and the fourth, at Chalcedon, by order of the Emperor Mercian, A.D. 451.  These, as they were the first four General Councils, so they were by far the most eminent.  They were caused respectively by the Arian, Apollinarian, Nestorian, and Eutychian controversies, [The Arians denied the Divinity of Christ.  The Apollinarians asserted that there was no intelligent soul in Christ, and that the Divine Nature supplied the place of a soul; they denied the Humanity of Christ, and contended that his birth, sufferings, and resurrection, were only in appearance.  The Nestorian and Eutychian heresies have been already explained.] and their decrees are in high esteem both among Papists and orthodox Protestants; but the deliberations of most councils were disgraced by violence, disorder, and intrigue, and their decisions were usually made under the influence of some ruling party.  Authors are not agreed about the number of General Councils; Papists usually reckon eighteen, but Protestant writers will not allow that nearly so many had a right to that name.  The last General Council was that held at Trent, for the purpose of checking the progress of the Reformation.  It first met by the command of Pope Paul the Third, A.D. 1545; it was suspended during the latter part of the pontificate of his successor Julius the Third, and the whole of the pontificates of Marcellus the Second and Paul the Fourth, that is, from 1552 to 1562, in which year it met again by the authority of Pope Pius the Fourth, and it ended, while he was pope, in the year 1563.  Provincial Councils were very numerous; Baxter enumerates 481, and Dufresnoy many more. [There is a History of Councils, published at Paris in 1644, in 87 vols. folio.  Cave gives a concise account of all the considerable Councils both general and particular, in his Historia Literaria; and Broughton, in his Dictionary, under the word Synod, states very briefly what passed at the principal General Councils.]

         GENERAL COUNCILS MAY NOT BE GATHERED TOGETHER WITHOUT THE COMMANDMENT AND WILL OF PRINCES.  As the clergy must be always subject to the civil power, [This will appear from the thirty-seventh Article.] it cannot be lawful for them to assemble in General Councils without the consent of the government of the countries to which they respectively belong.  If the clergy were in this respect bound to obey the command of any foreign bishop or potentate, it would be an infringement of the right and privileges which belong to every independent state, and must be productive of many inconveniences.  It has been already observed that the first four General Councils were summoned by the emperors of the East, whose dominions included the whole, or nearly the whole, of Christendom; and they continued to exercise the same power for several centuries afterwards; but at length the popes of Rome, among other usurpations, assumed to themselves the right of summoning General Councils, and the first which met by their authority was the first Lateran council in the year 1132.

         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.  A General Council being composed of men, every one of whom is fallible, they must also be liable to error when collected together; and that they actually have erred is sufficiently evident from hence, that different General Councils have made decrees directly opposite to each other, particularly in the Arian and Eutychian controversies, which were upon subjects immediately “pertaining unto God”.  Indeed, neither the first General Councils themselves, nor those who defended their decisions, ever pretended to Infallibility; this was a claim of a much more recent date, suited to the dark ages in which it was asserted and maintained, but now considered equally groundless and absurd, in the case of General Councils as in that of Popes.  The observation which we made upon the pretended claim of Infallibility in the Roman Pontiffs may be extended to General Councils.  If God had been pleased to exempt them from a possibility of error, he would have announced that important privilege in his written word; but no such promise or assurance is mentioned in the New Testament.  If Infallibility belonged to the whole Church collectively, or to any individual part of it, it must be so prominent and conspicuous that no mistake or doubt could exist upon the subject; and, above all, it must have prevented those dissensions, contests, heresies, and schisms, which have abounded among Christians from the days of the Apostles to the present times; and of which that very church, which is the assertor and patron of this doctrine, has had its full share.

         The Scriptures, as has been often mentioned, being the only source from which we can learn the terms of salvation, it follows that THINGS ORDAINED BY GENERAL COUNCILS, AS NECESSARY TO SALVATION, HAVE NEITHER STRENGTH NOR AUTHORITY, UNLESS IT MAY BE DECLARED THAT THEY BE TAKEN OUT OF HOLY SCRIPTURE.  It is upon this ground we receive the decisions of the first four General Councils, in which we find the truths [At Nice it was declared, that the Son is truly God, of the same substance with the Father; at Constantinople, that the Holy Ghost is also truly God; at Ephesus, that the divine nature was truly united to the human in Christ, in one person; at Chalcedon, that both natures remained distinct, and that the human nature was not lost or absorbed in the divine.] revealed in the Scriptures, and therefore we believe them.  We reverence the Councils for the sake of the doctrines which they declared and maintained, but we do not believe the doctrines upon the authority of the Councils.


Article 22.

Of Purgatory.

         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.


         This Article is entitled “Of Purgatory,” but it relates to four other doctrines, as well as Purgatory, all of which were maintained by the church of Rome, and were rejected by our church, and indeed by all Protestants, at the time of the Reformation.

         THE ROMISH DOCTRINE CONCERNING PURGATORY, as asserted in the councils of Florence and Trent, is this: –

         That every man is subject both to temporal and eternal punishment for his sins: that God does indeed pardon sin, as to its eternal punishment, for the sake of the death and merits of Christ, but that the sinner is still liable to temporal punishment; that this temporal punishment must be expiated by voluntary acts of penance and sorrow, and by such afflictions as he may here endure by the appointment of God; that this expiation does not fully take place in this life, but that there is an intermediate state, in which departed souls suffer the remaining part of their punishment, and as this state is supposed to purge them from all effects of their sins, and to qualify them for the joys of heaven, it is called Purgatory; and the church of Rome further maintains, that the pains and sufferings of Purgatory may be alleviated and shortened by the prayers of men here on earth, by the intercession of the saints in heaven, and, above all, by the sacrifice of the mass offered by the priests in the name of sinners; and that as soon as souls are released from Purgatory they are immediately ad- mitted to eternal happiness.*

         *[Ea vero quae ad curiositatem quamdam, aut superstitionem sectant, vel turpe lucrum sapiunt, tanquam scandala et fidelium offendicula, prohibeant.  Curent autem Episcopi ut fidelium vivorum suffragia, missarum scilicet sacrificia, orationes, eleemosynae, aliaque pietatis opera, quae a fidelibus pro allis fidelibus defunctis fieri consueverunt, secundum Ecclesiae instituta pie et devote fiant, et quae pro illis ex testatorum fundationibus, vel alia ratione debentur, non perfunctorie, sed a sacerdotibus, et Ecclesiae ministris, et aliis, qui hoc praestare tenentur, diligenter et accurate persolvantur.  Canon. et Decret. Ses. xxv.

            Bellarmine says a threefold purgation of sins is spoken of in Scripture: the first effected by Christ himself (John 1:29, Heb. 1:3); but this is not insisted upon, since Christ is nowhere called Pergatorium: the second kind consists of the tribulations of life (Malachi 3:2, John 15:2).  This is also passed over in respect to controversy: quod non semper tribulatio hujus vitae sit purgatoria.  But, thirdly, purgatory is a certain place in which, as in a prison, those souls are purged, after this life, which, in this, were not entirely cleansed, in order that being so purged they may be able to enter heaven, into which nothing impure is admitted.  Both the Old and New Testaments are then alleged as furnishing proofs of the doctrine of Purgatory; but the second book of Maccabees, c. xii., is quoted in the first instance, and that of Tobias in the second.  These quotations are followed by a reference to 1 Sam. 31:13, 2 Sam. 3:35, Psa. 38:1, Psa. 66:12, Isa. 4:4, Micah 7:8, Zech. 9:11, Malachi 3:3.  The passages from the New Testament are Matt. 12:32, whence it is said the holy fathers collect that certain sins are remitted in the other world, through the prayers and suffrages of the church, – 1 Cor. 3:15, 1 Cor. 15:29, Matt. 5:25, Luke 12:58, Matt. 5:22, Luke 16:9, Luke 23:42, Acts 2:24, Philip. 2:10.  Op. t. ii. p. 324. – Editor.]]

         The practice of praying for the dead began in the third century; but it was not till long afterwards that Purgatory was even mentioned among Christians. It was at first doubtfully received, and was not fully established till the papacy of Gregory the Great, in the beginning of the seventh century. The belief, that the saying of masses would redeem the souls of the dead from the punishment of Purgatory, was the source of great gain to the clergy of the Western churches: the endowments, indeed, for that purpose became so large and frequent in this country, that it was necessary to restrain them by statutes of mortmain. The doctrine of Purgatory was never admitted into the Greek church; but something of this kind seems to have been believed by Pagans, Jews, and Mahomedans. [Vide Broughton’s Dictionary, under the word Purgatory; and Maurice’s History of Hindostan.]

         Not only Purgatory itself is not mentioned in Scripture, but there is not the slightest authority for that distinction between temporal and eternal punishment which is the foundation of this doctrine; nor are we directed to offer prayers or masses for the souls of the dead.  It is nowhere said that there is any species of guilt or punishment from which the merits of Christ will not deliver us; on the contrary, we are told that “the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse us from all sin” [1 John 1:7.]; and that “now there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” [Rom. 8:1.]  Full and complete forgiveness of sins in the world to come, without any reserve or exception, is promised to repentant sinners; and we have the most positive assurances that they will be eternally happy, without any intimation of suffering, preparatory to their entrance into those joys which are at God’s right hand for evermore.  And, therefore, the doctrine of an intermediate state of pain and torment from which the merits of our Redeemer cannot deliver us, is not only GROUNDED UPON NO WARRANTY OF SCRIPTURE, but is so far positively REPUGNANT TO THE WORD OF GOD, as it is contrary to the absolute and unreserved offers of mercy, peace, and happiness contained in the Gospel, and as it derogates from the fullness and perfection of the one expiatory sacrifice made by the death of Christ for all the sins of all mankind.  It seems also absurd to suppose that considerable sufferings should await, in a future life, those who are to be finally saved, and that there should be effectual methods of avoiding or shortening those sufferings, without any mention of the evil, or its remedy, in any part of the New Testament.  To this argument, from the silence of Scripture, we may add, that the Gospel represents Lazarus as at once conveyed to a state of comfort and joy; that our Saviour promised the thief upon the cross that he should on that day be with him in Paradise; that St. Paul exults in the prospect of “a crown of righteousness” after death [2 Tim. 4:5.]; – that he represents “to depart and to be with Christ” [Phil. 1:23.]; “to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” [2 Cor. 5:8.] as states which were immediately to follow each other; and St. John says, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours” [Rev. 14:13.]; but how do they rest from their labours if they have still the pains of Purgatory to endure?

         With respect to temporal punishments, it is evident that God sometimes interposes in visible judgments upon the wicked as well as in blessings upon the good; but, on the other hand, the wicked often appear to prosper, while the good are suffering under adversity.  And, indeed, the Gospel warns all men without any discrimination, to expect crosses and afflictions in this probationary life, and requires faith and patience under the heaviest pressure of the most unprovoked calamities.  These are parts of the divine government of this world, which are ordained for the wisest and most salutary purposes, and have no concern whatever with a state of punishment in another life previous to a state of happiness.

         The second doctrine condemned in this Article is that of PARDONS, which took its rise in the following manner: In the primitive church very severe penalties were inflicted upon those who had been guilty of any sins, whether public or private; and in particular, they were forbidden to partake, for a certain time, of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or to hold communion with the church.  General rules were made upon these subjects; but as it was often found expedient to make a discrimination in the degrees of punishment, according to the different circumstances of offenders, and especially when they showed marks of contrition and repentance, power was given to bishops, by the Council of Nice, to relax or remit those punishments as they should see reason: every favour of this kind was called a Pardon or Indulgence: such a power was unobjectionable in itself; and it is obvious that if it had been wisely exercised, it might have been productive of great benefit to the cause of religion.  After the bishops had enjoyed this privilege for some centuries, and had begun to abuse it, the popes discovered that in their own hands it might be made a powerful instrument both to promote their ambition and to gratify their avarice.  They could not but see, that if they could persuade men they had the power of granting pardon for sin, it would give them a complete influence over their consciences; and if they could at the same time prevail upon them to purchase these pardons for money, it must add greatly to the wealth of the Roman see; and therefore, in the eleventh century, when the dominion of the popes was rising to its zenith, and their power was almost irresistible, they took to themselves the exclusive prerogative of dispensing Pardons, and carried it to a most unwarrantable length.  Instead of confining them, according to their original institution, to the ordinary purposes of ecclesiastical discipline, they extended them to the punishment of the wicked in the world to come; instead of shortening the duration of earthly penance, they pretended that they could deliver men from the pains of Purgatory; instead of allowing them, gratuitously, and upon just grounds, to the penitent offender, they sold them in the most open and corrupt manner to the profligate and abandoned, who still continued in their vices.  They did not scruple to call these Indulgences a plenary remission of all sins, past, present, and future, and to offer them as a certain and immediate passport from the troubles of this world to the eternal joys of heaven; and to give some sort of colour and support to this infamous traffic, they confidently asserted that the superabundant merits of Christ, and of his faithful servants, formed a fund, of which the pope was the sole manager; and that he could, at his own discretion, dispense these merits, as the sure means of procuring pardon from God, in any proportion, for any species of wickedness, and to any person he pleased.

         The bare statement of this doctrine is a sufficient refutation of it, and it is scarcely necessary to add, that it has no foundation whatever in Scripture.  It is an arrogant and impious usurpation of a power which belongs to God alone; and it has an obvious tendency to promote licentiousness and sin of every description, by holding out an easy and certain method of absolution: “Securitas delicti etiam libido est ejus.” [Tert. de Pud.]  The popes derived very large sums from the sale of these Indulgences; and it is well known that the gross abuses practiced in granting them were among the immediate an principal causes of bringing about the Reformation.  They continued to the last to be sold at Rome, and were to be purchased by any who were weak enough to buy them, whether Protestants or Papists. [See the form of a “Solemn Plenary Indulgence,” granted in 1809 by a bull of Pope Pius VII., given at Cork, in Ireland, Nov. 2, 1813, by Dr. Francis Moylan, titular bishop of the diocese.]

         The third thing condemned in this Article is the WORSHIPPING AND ADORATION OF IMAGES.  Nothing can be more clear, full, and distinct, than the expressions of Scripture prohibiting the making and worshipping of images: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything 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.” [Exod. 20:4–5.  The Papists upon the Continent, in writing the Ten Commandments, leave out the second, and, to keep u the number ten, divide the tenth into two.  Vide Burnet, Ref. iii. 264.  This is also done in “Butler’s General Catechism for the Kingdom,” published by the authority of the “four R. C. Archbishops of Ireland,” and printed at Dublin in 1811 (the eighth edition), by H. Fitzpatrick, printer and bookseller to the Roman Catholic College, Maynooth.]  “Neither shalt thou set up any image, which the Lord thy God hateth.” [Deut. 16:22.]  And there is no sin so strongly and repeatedly condemned in the Old Testament as that of idolatry: the Jews, in the early part of their history, were much addicted to it, and were constantly punished.  In the Gospels no mention is made of idolatry, because the Jews, to whom all our Saviour’s instructions were addressed, were not once guilty of it after their return from the Babylonian captivity: but in the Acts, St. Paul is represented as greatly affected, when he saw that the city of Athens, the renowned seat of learning, and the liberal arts, was “wholly given to idolatry” [Acts 17:16.]; and he told the Athenians, that they ought not “to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” [Acts 17:29.]  In his Epistle to the Romans he condemns those who “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things” [Rom. 1:23.]; and he praises the Thessalonians, who “had turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God.” [1 Thess. 1:9.]  St. John says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” [1 John 5:21.]

         That the first Christians had no images, is evident from this circumstance, that they were reproached by the heathen because they did not use them; and we find almost every ecclesiastical writer of the first four centuries arguing against the Gentile practice of image worship, from the plain declarations of Scripture, and from the pure and spiritual nature of God.  In the beginning of the fourth century the Council of Illyberis decreed that pictures ought not to be placed in churches, “lest that which is worshipped should be painted upon the walls.” [Can. 36.]  Images seem to have been introduced into churches in the fifth century; and it was probably first done to preserve the remembrance, and do honour to the memory, of departed saints, though some have imagined it originated in a wish to comply with the prejudices of the heathen, and to make them better disposed to embrace the Gospel.  It was impossible to look at these interesting representations, standing in places consecrated to the service of God, without feeling some degree of respect, that respect was gradually heightened into reverence, and at last ended in absolute worship: so that Christians, who in the first ages were reproached by the heathen for not having images, were in the seventh century accused by the Jews, and even by Mahomedans, of the grossest idolatry. In the following century began the famous controversy about breaking of images, which was carried on for more than a hundred years with the greatest eagerness and animosity, both in the East and in the West.  Different popes and different councils, notwithstanding their pretensions to infallibility, espoused different sides of the question: but at length, after much uncertainty and fluctuation of opposite interests, those who contended for the lawfulness of worshipping images prevailed, and from that time image worship has been an established doctrine of the church of Rome.  It was decreed by the Council of Trent, the last general council, that “due worship should be given to images,” and several regulations were added upon the subject.  Among other corruptions of the church of Rome, that of the use of images was rejected by our Reformers, as being contrary to the practice of the primitive church, and plainly REPUGNANT TO THE WORD OF GOD.

         The Papists sometimes pretend that they do not worship the images, but God through the medium of images; or, that the worship which they pay to images is inferior to that which they pay to the Deity himself.  These distinctions would be scarcely understood by the common people, and formerly an enlightened heathen or Jew would probably have urged the same thing: but idolatry, in general, is condemned in Scripture; and all use of images in the worship of God, the making or the bowing to any likeness, is absolutely forbidden.  Celsus, Porphyry, Maximus Tyrius, and Julian, in defending the worship of images, expressly acknowledge that they do not consider them as representations of the Godhead, but that they place them before their eyes to assist their imagination, and to enable them to fix their thoughts more strongly upon the real object of their adoration; but the Christian fathers by no means allow this reasoning, and uniformly reprobate the use of images as a part of divine worship, under whatever pretense it is urged, and however explained.

         The fourth doctrine condemned in this Article is the WORSHIPPING AND ADORATION OF RELIQUES.  In the early ages of the Gospel, when its professors were exposed to every species of danger and persecution, it was natural for Christians to show every mark of respect, both to the bodies, and to the memory, of those who had suffered death in its cause.  They collected their remains, and buried them, not only with decency, but with all the solemnity and honour which circumstances would allow.  A remarkable fact of this kind is recorded by Eusebius, which is of itself sufficient to prove the practice of the second century: he tells us that the Christians of Smyrna were very careful to seek for and bury the bones and ashes of their illustrious bishop and martyr, the aged Polycarp, who had been put to death, and his body burnt, by his implacable enemies.  It was also the custom for Christians to hold their religious meetings at the places where their martyrs were buried, by which they seemed, as it were, united with them; and to display their attachment to their departed brethren by such rites as were dictated by the fervour of their devout affection, and were consistent with the principles of their religion.  It does not appear that this boundary was ever transgressed in the first three centuries; but in the fourth century, when the pure and simple worship of the Gospel began to be debased by superstitious practices, we find strong proofs of an excessive love for everything which had belonged to those who had distinguished themselves by their exertions or their sufferings for the truth of Christianity, and especially for any part of their garments, hair, or bones.  Augustin in Africa, and Vigilantius in Spain, complained loudly of this culpable fondness for reliques, which they speak of as a new corruption, then first appearing in the Christian world; but the warm disposition of Jerome led him to stand forward in their defense, with more zeal than discretion.  However, this learned father, even while he leans to the opinion that miracles were sometimes wrought by reliques, explicitly disclaims all idea of offering them worship; but when superstition has once made its way into the minds of men, it gradually gains ground, and it is difficult to set limits to it, particularly when there is a set of persons respected for their piety, who are studious to encourage it.  Monks carried about reliques; and with great ease, and no small advantage to themselves, persuaded that ignorant age of their value and importance.  Under their recommendation and patronage, they were soon considered as the best preservative against every possible evil of soul and body; and when the worshipping of images came to be established, the enshrining of reliques was a natural consequence of that doctrine.  This led the way to absolute worship, which was now preached by the Romish clergy as a Christian duty.  Everyone thought it necessary to possess a relique of some saint or martyr, as the effectual means of securing his care and protection; and fraud and imposition did not fail to furnish a supply proportionable to the demand.  The discovery of the catacombs at Rome was an inexhaustible source of reliques; and thus the popes themselves became directly interested in maintaining this superstitious worship.  The Council of Trent authorized the adoration of reliques, and they continue in high esteem among the Papists of the present day.  What has been already said is amply sufficient to point out the absurdity of worshipping reliques.  It is a doctrine manifestly GROUNDED UPON NO WARRANTY OF SCRIPTURE; it is A FOND THING, that is, foolish and trifling, in the extreme, directly contrary to the practice of the primitive Christians, and utterly irreconcilable with common sense.

         THE INVOCATION OF SAINTS is the fifth and last thing condemned by this Article.  There is a passage in the epistle already mentioned, written by the church of Smyrna immediately after the martyrdom of Polycarp, which clearly proves that the Christians of that age had no idea of invoking or worshipping saints: it refers to the Jews, at whose suggestion Polycarp’s body had been burnt, lest, as they pretended, it should be taken by the Christians and worshipped: “These men,” say they, “know not that we can neither forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of all that are saved, the innocent for the guilty, nor worship any other: him truly being the Son of God we adore: but the martyrs, and disciples, and followers of the Lord, we justly love, for that extraordinary good mind which they have expressed toward their King and Master, of whose happiness God grant that we partake, and that we may learn by their examples.” [Eus. Ep. lib. iv. cap. 15.]  It is indeed certain that the practice of invoking saints was not known in the first three centuries, or in the middle of the fourth century; for the invocation of Christ is urged by Athanasius, Cyril, Basil, and other fathers of that time, as an argument for his divinity, because they did not pray to angels or other creatures; and Augustin, who died at the age of seventy-six, in the year 430, says, “Let not the worship of dead men be any part of our religion; they ought to be so honoured that we may imitate them, but not worshipped.” [Aug. de Ver. Rel. cap. 55.]  This passage seems to refer to the invocation of martyrs, which probably began at the end of the fourth century.  The primitive Christians commemorated the deaths of the first martyrs every year on the day on which they suffered [These days were called Natalitia, because the martyrs were then supposed to be born into heaven, or to enter into the joys of heaven.]; and the invocation of saints probably originated from the orations pronounced upon those occasions, the earliest of which now extant are those of Gregory Nazianzen, who lived towards the end of the fourth century.  In these orations, which were written with all the latitude of declamatory eloquence, there was frequently a sort of rhetorical address to the dead person, who was considered as enjoying happiness in heaven, and a kind of petition to intercede with God in favour of those who were paying that honour to his memory.  This was at first ventured upon doubtfully, and always with some such qualification as this, “If there be any sense or knowledge of what we do below.”  These qualifications were gradually omitted: the orators addressed the dead directly, and solicited their assistance without any reserve.  In the fifth century, they prayed to God to listen to the intercessions of his saints and martyrs: not long afterwards litanies were appropriated to them; and at length, by an easy transition, prayers were offered to them in the same manner as to God and Christ.  Thus the invocation of saints became an established practice of the Christian church; it was continued through the dark ages; and the Council of Trent decreed, that “all men are to be condemned who do not own that the saints reigning with Christ offer their prayers to God for men; and that it is useful to invoke them to procure their assistance in asking God for blessings through Christ.”*

         *[The following is the formal statement of the Roman Catholic Church on these subjects: – “Mandat Sancta Synodus omnibus Epscopis, et caeteris docendi munus curamque sustinentibus, ut juxta Catholicae, et Apostolicae, Ecclesiae, usum, a primaevis Christianae Religionis temporibus receptum, sanctorumque patrum consensionem, et sacrorum conciliorum decreta, in primis de Sanctorum intercessione, invocatione, reliquiarum honore, et legitimo imaginum usu, fideles diligenter instruant, docentes eos, Sanctos una cum Christo regnantes, orationes suas pro hominibus Deo offerre, bonum atque utile esse suppliciter eos invocare: et ob beneficia impetranda a Deo per Filium ejus Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum, qui solus noster Redemptor et Salvator est, ad eorum orationes, opem auxiliumque confugere: illos vero qui negant, Sanctos aeterna felicitate in coelo fruentes, invocandos esse; aut qui asserunt, vel illos pro hominibus non orare; vel eorum, ut pro nobis etiam singulis orent, invocationem esse idoiolatriam; vel pugnare cum verbo Dei, adversarique honori Unius Mediatoris Dei et hominum, Jesu Christi; vel stultum esse, in coelo regnantibus voce vel mente supplicare; impie sentire.  Sanctorum quoque Martyrum, et aliorum cum Christo viventium sancta corpora, quae viva membra fuerunt Christi, et templum Spiritus Sancti, ab ipso ad aeternam vitam suscitanda et glorificanda, a fidelibus veneranda esse; per quae multa beneficia a Deo homimbus praestantur: ita ut affirmantes, Sanctorum reliquiis venerationem atque honorem non deberi; vel eas, aliaque sacra monumenta a fidelibus inutiliter honorari; atque eorum opis impetrandae causa Sanctorum memorias frustra frequentari; omnino damnandos esse, prout jam pridem eos damnavit, et nunc etiam damnat Ecclesia.  Imagines porro Christi, Deiparae Virgrnis, et aliorum Sauctorum, in templis praesertim habendas et retinendas, eisque debitum honorem et venerationem impertiendam; non quod credatur inesse aliqua in iis divinitas, vel virtus, propter quam sint colendae; vel quod ab eis sint aliquid petendum; vel quod fiducia in imaginibus sit figenda, veluti olim fiebat a gentibus, quae in idolis spem suam collocabant; sed quoniam honos, qui eis exhibetur, refertur ad prototypa, quae illae repraesentant: ita ut per imagines, quas osculamur, et coram quibus caput aperimus et procumbimus, Christum adoremus; et Sanctos, quorum illae similitudinem gerunt, veneremur.  Id quod conciliorum, praesertim vero secundae Nicaenae Synodi, decretis contra imaginum oppugnatores est sancitum.

            Illud vero diligenter doceant Episcopi, per historias mysteriorum nostrae redemptionis, picturis vel aliis similitudinibus expressas, erudiri et confimari populum in articulis fidel commemorandis, et assidue recolendis; tum vero ex omnibus sacris imaginibus maximum fructum percipi: non solum quia admonetur populus beneficiorum et munerurn quae Christo sibi colata sunt; sed etiam quia Dei per Sanctos miracula et salutaria exempla oculis fidelium subjiciuntur, ut pro iis Deo, gratias agant, ad Sanctorumque imitationem vitam moresque suos componant; excitenturque ad adorandum ac diligendum Deum, et ad pietatem colendam.  Si quis autem his decretis contraria docuerit, aut senserit, anathema sit.  In has autem sanctas et salutares observationes si qul abusus irrepserint, eos prorsus aboleri Sancta Synodus vehementer cupit; ita ut muir falsi dogmatis imaigines, et rudibus periculosi erroris occasionem praebentes, statuantur.  Quod si aliquando historias et narrationes sacrae Scripturae, cum id indoctae plebi expediet, exprimi et figurari contigerit, doceatur populus, non propterea divinitatem figurari, quasi corporeis oculis conspici, vel coloribus aut figuris exprimi possit.  Omnis porro superstitio in Sanctorum invocatione, reliquiarum veneratione, et imaginum sacro usu tollatur: omnis turpis quaestus eliminetur, omnis denique lascivia vitetur; ita ut procaci venustate imagines non pingantur nec ornentur: et Sanctorum celebratione, ac reliquiarum visitatione homines ad comessationes atque ebrietates non abutantur; quasi festi dies in honorem Sanctorum per luxum ac lasciviam agantur.  Postremo, tanta circa haec diligentia et cura ab Episcopis adhibeatur, ut nihil inordinatim, aut praepostere et tumultuarie accommodatum, nihil profanum, nihilque inhonestum appareat; cum domum Dei deceat sanctitudo.  Haec ut fidelius observenter, statuit Sancta Synodus, nemini licere ullo in loco, vel Ecclesia, etiam quomodolibet exempta, ullam insolitam ponere, vel ponendam curare imaginem, nisi ab Episcopo approbata fuerit: nulla etiam admittenda esse nova miracula, nec novas reliquias recipiendas; nisi eodem recognoscente et approbante Episcopo.  Qui simul atque de iis aliquid compertum habuerit, adhibitis in consilium theologis, et aliis piis viris, ea faciat, quae veritati et pietati consentanea judicaverit.  Quod si aliquis dubius aut difficilis abusus sit extirpandus; vel omnino aliqua de iis rebus gravior quaestio incidat; Episcopus, antequam controversiam dirimat, Metropolitani et comprovincialium Episcoporum in concilio provinciali sententiam expectet: ita tamen, ut nihil inconsulto sanctissimo Romano Pontifice, novum, aut in Ecclesia hactenus inusitatum decernatur.  Canon. et Decret. Con. Trident. Sess. xxv. – Editor.]

         A very little inquiry will convince us that there is no foundation whatever for this doctrine in Scripture.  We are commanded to offer our prayers to God through Christ alone.  “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” [1 Tim. 2:5.] – “Through him we have access to the Father.” [Eph. 2:18.] – No other person is mentioned by whom we can approach the Father, and the silence of Scripture is decisive upon this subject; for we may rest assured, that every necessary direction is given to us relative to the important duty of prayer.  The worshipping of angels is forbidden by St. Paul: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels” [Col. 2:18.]; it must therefore be unlawful to worship men, who were “made lower than the angels.” [Heb. 2:7.]  Several of the Apostles and first Christians, particularly St. James the Great, and St. Stephen, had suffered martyrdom when the Epistles were written, but no mention is made of offering prayers to them, or through them.

         I have thus endeavoured to trace the origin and progress of the five doctrines condemned in this Article, between which there is a close connection, and their history has in general carried with it their complete refutation.  All of them had specious beginnings; and the mischief, in almost every case, proceeded from their being allowed to transgress the bounds of propriety, [“Superstition that riseth voluntarily, and by degrees which are hardly discerned, mingling itself with the rites even of very divine service done to the only true God, must be considered of a creeping and encroaching evil; an evil, the first beginnings whereof are commonly harmless, so that it proveth only then to be an evil when some further accident doth grow unto it, or itself come unto further growth.” – Hooker’s Eccl. Pol. book v.] without correction or remonstrance from those whose duty it was to watch over and preserve the purity of Christian worship.  The increasing darkness of the times soon caused them to degenerate still farther; but they had then made such an impression upon the minds of men, and so many of the clergy found it their interest to support them, that all resistance from the sound and orthodox part of the church became ineffectual.  The desire of complying with the prejudices of the heathen might also have some weight in the introduction of practices, which by degrees led to some of these corruptions; but the great source of all these evils seems to have been, that spirit of “will-worship,” which was gradually admitted into the Church, notwithstanding the solemn caution which had been given against it.  Our Reformers, therefore, were fully justified in rejecting these doctrines, which had thus arisen from indiscretion and avarice on the one side, and from. ignorance and superstition on the other, and to pronounce them GROUNDED ON NO WARRANTY OF SCRIPTURE, BUT RATHER REPUGNANT TO THE WORD OF GOD.


Article 23.

Of Ministering in the Congregation.

         It is not lawful for any Man to take upon him the Office of Public Preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called and sent to execute the same: and those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this Work by Men who have Public Authority given unto them in the Congregation to call and send Ministers into the Lord’s Vineyard.


         This Article consists of two parts; the former asserts the unlawfulness of exercising the public offices of religion without a regular appointment, and the latter relates to the authority by which ministers are to be appointed.

         It seems to be a general principle extending to all religions, both of ancient and modem times, that certain persons should be appointed exclusively to perform the offices belonging to their respective forms of worship.  This has been invariably the case in the different systems of Paganism; and the same distinction has always prevailed in the worship of the one true God.  In the patriarchal ages the heads of families, and afterwards kings, acted as priests [Melchisedec was king of Salem, and likewise priest of the Most High God, Gen. 14:18.  In imitation of which ancient usage, Virgil makes Anius both king and priest: – Rex Anius, rex idem hominum Phobique sacerdos.  And Aristotle, speaking of the heroic ages, says, Στρατηγος ην και δικαστης ο βασιλευς, και των προς τους Θεους κυριος.]; and under the Mosaic dispensation a particular tribe was set apart for the service of the temple, by the express command of God himself, and the Jews were directed to use certain ceremonies in appointing the priests to their sacred office. [Exod. 28:41, 29:1, 4; Lev. 8:6.]  Our Saviour selected from his followers the twelve Apostles, and afterwards the seventy disciples, whom he sent during his ministry to preach in Judaea; and after his resurrection he gave this commission and assurance to the Apostles: “Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world.” [Matt. 28:19–20.]  Immediately after the ascension of our Saviour, St. Peter stated, upon the authority of prophecy, the necessity of appointing an Apostle in the room of Judas Iscariot; and the disciples, after praying to their Lord and Master for his assistance and direction, elected Matthias by lot [Acts 1.]; and their conduct in this proceeding was justified by the sanction of the Holy Ghost, who descended upon all the twelve Apostles, and enabled them to enter upon the great work of establishing the religion of Jesus.

         In tracing the rise and progress of the ministerial office, we may observe that the twelve Apostles, who, except Matthias, had received their commission from Christ himself, were at first the only preachers of the Gospel, and that their preaching was for some short time confined to the city of Jerusalem.  Their success in making converts caused the concerns of the Church so to increase, that they found it necessary to take from the disciples seven persons, to whom they gave the name of deacons, [Acts 6:1, etc.] and assigned certain specific duties; and this was done by a regular choice and subsequent ordination from the Apostles themselves by the imposition of hands.  About ten years after, we are told incidentally, that there were elders or presbyters in the church at Jerusalem; but the time or occasion of their being appointed is not recorded, nor have we in the Acts any account of the peculiar duties of their office.  It was not a new name; Elders are frequently mentioned, both in the Old and in the New Testament, as belonging to the Jewish economy; and the elders, of whom we read in the Gospels, were probably members of the Sanhedrim or great council of the Jews the Apostles, therefore, adopted this tern, and applied it to those whom they appointed public preachers of the Gospel, and who were to form a sort of council for the management of the affairs of the Christian church.  Both priests and deacons were of course subject to the Apostles while they remained at Jerusalem; and when the other Apostles left it, James the Less continued there for the purpose of superintending the general concerns of the ‘Christians.  He appears to have been the only one of the twelve Apostles who was stationary at any place; and it is evident that the constant residence of an Apostle at Jerusalem might be useful in many respects.

         The Acts give no account of the travels of the eleven Apostles; but they inform us that Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church [Acts 14:23.]; which implies a regular and formal appointment; and in the case of Timothy, before Paul took him to be his companion and assistant in propagating the Gospel, not only he himself; but the presbytery also, laid their hands upon him. [1 Tim. 4:14.  2 Tim. 1:6.]  When Christianity had made further progress, different persons were appointed to preside over different churches, as Timothy over that at Ephesus, and Titus over those in Crete; and St. Paul gives both Timothy and Titus particular directions concerning the ordination of Bishops and Elders within their respective jurisdictions.  He commands Timothy to “lay hands suddenly on no man,” [1 Tim. 5:22.] that is, not to ordain any person till he was fully convinced of his fitness for the ministerial office; and he gives him this further precept, which proves it was intended there should be a succession of ministers in the church; “The things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” [2 Tim. 2:2.]  And as authority and obedience must ever be reciprocal, we find the strictest injunctions in Scripture to Christians to obey their spiritual guides: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” [Heb. 13:7.] – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” [Heb. 13:17.] – It is evident that these passages relate to the ministers of religion, and not to civil magistrates.

         If from Scripture we go to the writings of the apostolical fathers, we shall find the clearest proof of the continuance of the office and authority of ministers in their times.  Polycarp mentions the dismissal of Valens from the presbytery: Clement of Rome speaks of the distinction between laity and clergy; and both he and Ignatius, in their Epistles, give frequent advice to the ministers on the one hand, to be diligent and discreet in the discharge of their sacred office, and to the congregations on the other, to be attentive and obedient to their pastors.  There was, therefore, an order of clergy, in the days immediately after the Apostles; and of its existence in following ages no doubt has ever been entertained: it is fully proved, not only by Christian writers themselves, but by a variety of imperial laws made at different periods concerning the clergy.  And thus we trace a regular and continued establishment of persons, to whom were committed the oracles of God, who were invested with authority to instruct the congregations entrusted to their care, to enforce obedience to their laws, and to maintain the unity of faith in the bond of peace: “Hereupon we hold that God’s clergy area state, which hath been, and will be, as long as there is a church upon earth, necessarily by the plain word of God himself, a state whereunto the rest of God’s people must be subject as touching things that appertain to their souls’ health.” [Hooker’s Eccl. Pol.]

         Such is the corruption of human nature, that the experience of all ages teaches us, even without referring to the written word of God, that religion cannot subsist in the world without public rites, public worship, and public teaching; nor can these offices be performed with any degree of propriety or effect, but by persons duly appointed and set apart for that purpose.  “If any man may assume authority to preach and perform holy functions, it is certain religion must fall into disorder, and under contempt.  Hotheaded men, of warm fancies and voluble tongues, with very little knowledge and discretion, would be apt to thrust themselves on to the teaching and governing others, if they themselves were under no government.  This would soon make the public service of God to be loathed, and break and dissolve the whole body.” [Burnet upon this Article.] – “If ministers be self-ordained, modest merit will never be called forth; presumptuous vanity will be ever ready to obtrude itself; noisy ignorance will overpower diffident wisdom: and what will hinder vicious men from rising into power, especially if any considerable emoluments are annexed to the ministry?  Nay, what can hinder doctrines opposite to each other from being taught, to the utter extirpation of all religious principle?  What can hinder different men from officiating in such different ways as to produce disturbance and confusion, and put to sight all religious affection? and how can it be brought about, that certain appearances, modes of dress and behaviour, shall be so associated with piety and virtue, as instantly to produce good feelings in the mind?  Besides, the learning requisite to make a man a good minister of religion requires that the ministry should be made a separate profession.” [Hey upon this Article.]

         Since then we learn from the New Testament that Christ appointed the twelve Apostles, and the seventy Disciples, to preach his Religion; that the Apostles appointed Deacons, and afterwards Elders in the church at Jerusalem; that St. Paul appointed Elders in all the churches he founded, and directed Timothy and Titus to do the same within their respective jurisdictions; since ecclesiastical history informs us that there has been an uninterrupted succession of ministers regularly ordained to their sacred office from the days of the Apostles to the present times; and, lastly, since reason teaches us that uniformity of faith cannot be preserved, the dignity of the clerical character maintained, or the public duties of religion performed with due solemnity and effect, but by persons set apart by proper authority for that purpose; we conclude that IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR ANY MAN TO TAKE UPON HIM THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC TEACHING, OR MINISTERING THE SACRAMENTS IN THE CONGREGATION, BEFORE HE BE LAWFULLY CALLED, AND SENT TO EXECUTE THE SAME.

         An established ministry resting upon such incontrovertible grounds, we are next to inquire from whom the ministers are to derive their appointment.  Bishop Burnet thinks that the framers of this Article had in view the state of some of the reformed churches upon the Continent, and therefore “they left this matter open and at large for such accidents as have happened, and such as might still happen.”  The words of the Article are, AND THOSE WE OUGHT TO JUDGE LAWFULLY CALLED AND SENT WHICH BE CHOSEN AND CALLED TO THIS WORK BY MEN WHO HAVE PUBLIC AUTHORITY GIVEN UNTO THEM IN THE CONGREGATION TO CALL AND SEND MINISTERS INTO THE LORD’S VINEYARD.  No particular mode of ordination is here declared to be a necessary object of faith, nor are any persons specified by whom ministers are to be ordained to their sacred function; it is only asserted, in general terms, that they are to receive their appointment from the authority prescribed by the church to which they belong; and as this proposition is not contrary to any precept of Scripture, which will appear more fully hereafter, its truth will be allowed by all who admit the necessity of an established ministry.

         From the passages of the New Testament which were just now quoted, it appears not only that the Apostles appointed ministers for the discharge of the public offices of religion, but that there were different orders of these ministers – bishops, priests, and deacons, are all mentioned.  That priests and deacons were distinct orders is universally agreed; and most learned men are of opinion that bishops were, from the days of the Apostles, different from priests, though some contend that bishops and priests were merely the different names of persons holding the same office.  This is a point which can be decided only by the testimony of ancient ecclesiastical writers; and by referring to them we shall find the clearest proof that bishops were instituted by the Apostles, and continued afterwards as a distinct order from that of priests.  Irenaeus, a father of the second century, says, “We are able to number up those who by the Apostles were made bishops in the several churches, and their successors to this time.”  And again he says, “Polycarp was not only instructed by the Apostles, and acquainted with many of those who saw our Lord, but was also by the Apostles made bishop of the church of Smyrna in Asia, whom I also saw when I was young.” [Lib. iii. cap. 3.]  Tertullian, a writer of the same century, argues thus against certain heretics, who pretended that their doctrine was derived from the contemporaries of the Apostles: “Let them therefore show the origin of their churches; let them exhibit the order of their bishops, so succeeding each other from the beginning, that the first bishop had for his author and predecessor some one of the Apostles, or of those apostolical men who persevered with the Apostles; for in this manner apostolical churches assert their rights: thus the church of Smyrna has Polycarp, who was placed there by John; the church of Rome has Clement, who was ordained by Peter; and other churches show other persons, who by being placed in the bishoprics by the Apostles transmitted the apostolical seed.” [De Priuse. adv. Haer.]  “Thence,” says Cyprian, “schisms and heresies have arisen, and still arise, while the bishop, who is one, and presides over the church, through the proud presumption of certain persons, is despised; and thus the man who is honoured by the sanction of God is judged unworthy by men.” [Ep. lxix. ad Flor.]  In an epistle ascribed to Ignatius, but probably spurious, though of great antiquity, it is asserted, that Evodius was consecrated a bishop by the Apostles. [Ad Antioch. sect. 7.]  And Chrysostom says, that “Ignatius conversed familiarly with the Apostles, and was perfectly acquainted with their doctrine, and had the hands of Apostles laid upon him.” [Hom. 42. in Ignat.]  If this last passage does not absolutely prove that the Apostles consecrated Ignatius a bishop, it certainly shows that a person was a bishop who was contemporary with the Apostles, was known to them, and was well versed in their doctrine.  In a fragment of an epistle of Dionysius bishop of Corinth, in the second century, preserved by Eusebius, it is said that Dionysius the Areopagite, who was converted by St. Paul, was appointed the first bishop of Athens. [H. E. lib. iv. cap. 23.]  In Eusebius and Socrates we have catalogues of the bishops of many cities from the time of the Apostles; and Epiphanius has left us a catalogue of the bishops of Jerusalem, from St. James the Apostle, to Hilarion, who was bishop in his time. [Lib. ii. Haer. 66.]  And to remove all possibility of doubt upon this question, we find bishops, priests, and deacons, mentioned together as three separate orders.  Ignatius, in his epistle to the Magnesians, mentions Damas as bishop of Magnesia, Bassus and Apollonius as presbyters, and Sotian as deacon in the same church [Sect. 2.]; and in his epistle to the Philadelphians he says, “Attend to the bishop, to the presbytery, and to the deacons” [Sect. 7.]; and in his epistle to the Trallians he says, “Be ye subject to the bishop, as to Jesus Christ; to the presbyters, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ; and to the deacons, as to ministers of the mysteries of Jesus Christ” [Sect. 2.]; he then adds, “Without these there is no elect church, no congregation of holy men.” [Sect. 3.]  These three epistles are all acknowledged to be genuine; and as Ignatius suffered martyrdom in Trajan’s reign, probably as early as the year 107, certainly not later than 112, his authority must be considered as decisive.  Clement of Alexandria, in a subsequent part of the same century, speaks of the three progressive orders of deacons, priests, and bishops [Strom. Lib. vi.]; and there are several early instances of bishops, who had been presbyters and deacons in the same church.  Irenaeus was first presbyter, then bishop of Lyons; Dionysius first presbyter, then bishop of Rome; and Eleutherius, first deacon, then bishop of Rome. [Eus. H. E. lib. iv. cap. 22.]  All these three lived in the second century.  “When your captains,” says Tertullian, “that is to say, the deacons, presbyters, and bishops, fly, who shall teach the laity that they must be constant?” [De Fuga in Pers.]  And upon another occasion, speaking of baptism, he says, “The high priest, who is the bishop, has the chief right of administering it, then the presbyters and deacons, but not without the authority of the bishop.” [De Baptism. cap. 17.]  Origen in many places, speaks of bishops as superior to presbyters and deacons; and many authors compare the bishops, [The Greek authors frequently call bishops Αρχιερεις, and the Latin fathers call them, Summi sacerdotes, and Principes sacerdotum.] presbyters, and deacons of the Christian church, to the high priest, priests, and Levites, under the Jewish dispensation; and this resemblance was the cause of presbyters afterwards obtaining the name of priests. [Qui sacerdotes in Veteri Testamento vocabantur, hi sunt qui nunc presbyteri appellantur, et qui tunc princeps sacerdotum nunc episcopus vocatur.  Raba. Maur. de Inst. Cler. lib. iii. cap.6.]  Clement, a disciple of the Apostle, says, “To the high priest are given his proper duties; to the priests their proper place is assigned; and to the Levites their proper services are appointed” [Ep. ad Cor. sect. 40.]; in which passage this ancient father, as appears from the context, is evidently speaking of the bishop, presbyters, and deacons of the Christian church; and Tertullian, in the passage just now quoted, called the bishop the high priest.  But Jerome is still more express, although he is sometimes represented as unfavourable to the cause of episcopacy:* “And that we may know,” says he, “that the apostolical traditions were taken from the Old Testament, that which Aaron and his Sons, and the Levites, were in the temple, let bishops, priests, and deacons, claim to themselves in the church of Christ [Epist. ad Evag.]; where it is to be observed, that he calls the orders of bishops, priests, and deacons, an apostolical tradition.  “To what purpose,” says Optatus, “should I mention deacons, who are in the third, or presbyters, in the second degree of priesthood, when the very heads and princes of all, even certain of the bishops themselves, were content to redeem life with the loss of heaven?” [Lib. i.]

         *[The opinion of Jerome’s hostility to the higher views of episcopacy is founded on the following passages – In utraque Epistola, sive Episcopi, sive Presbyteri, quamquam apud veteres iidem Episcopi et Presbyteri fuerunt: quia illud nomen dignitatis est; hoc aetatis.  Epist. lxxxii.  Op. t. iv. p. 648.  Audio quemdam in tantam erupisse vecordiam, ut Diaconos, Presbyteris, id est, Episcopis anteferret.  Nam quum Apostolus perspicue doceat eosdem esse Presbyteros quos Episcopos, quis patiatur mensarum et viduarum minister, ut supra eos se tumidus efferat, ad quorum preces Christi corpus sanguisque conficitur?  Quaeris auctoritatem?  Audi testimonium Paul. et Timoth. (Philip. 1:1.)  Via et aliud exemplum?  In Actibus Apostolorum, ad unius Ecclesiae sacerdotes ita Paulus loquitur: “Attendite vobis,” etc.  Acts 10:28.  Ac ne quis contentiose in una Ecclesia plures Episcopos fuisse contendat, audi et aliud teatimonium, in quo manifestissime comprobatur eumdem esse Episcopum atque Presbyterum.  Propter hoc reliqui te, etc., T. i. 5, et ad 1 Tim. 1, 4:14.  Sed et Petrus in prima Epistola: 1 Pet. 5:1. … Parva tibi videntur tantorum virorum testimonia?  Clangat tuba Evangelica, filius tonitrui, quem Jesus amavit plurimum; qui de pectore Salvatoris doctrinarum fluenta potavit.  Presbyter electae Dominae, etc.: et in alia Epistola, Presbyter Caio, etc.  Quod autem postea unus electus est, qui caeteris praeponeretur, in schismatis remedium factum est: ne unusquisque ad se trahens Christi Ecclesiam rumperet.  Nam et Alexandriae a Marco Evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dionysium Episcopos, Presbyteri semper unum ex se electum, in excelsiori gradu collocatum, Episcopum nominabant: quomodo si exercitus imperatorem faciat: aut diaconi eligant de se, quem industrium noverint, et Archidiaconum vocent.  Quid enim facit excepta ordinatione Episcopus, quod presbyter non faciat?  Op. t. iv. p. 802. – Editor.]

         In the tenth canon of the Council of Sardis, which was held A.D. 347, we find the following passage: – “Every degree of holy orders requires a considerable length of time, wherein the faith of the ordained person, his morals, his firm- ness, and his moderation, may be known; for it is not proper, nor is it consistent with the necessary knowledge and good conversation, that a person should be rashly and lightly appointed a bishop, or priest, or deacon.”  To these positive authorities we may add, that episcopal power was not once called in question in the first three centuries.  At the end of the fourth century, Aerius, an Arian, upon being disappointed in his hope of being advanced to a bishopric, wrote against episcopacy, and maintained that there ought to be no order in the Church superior to that of presbyters.  We find no advocate for his opinion in the centuries immediately following, and even Aerius allowed that there had been bishops in the Christian Church from the earliest period.

         It seems, therefore, as clear as written testimony can make it, that bishops were appointed by the Apostles; that there were three distinct orders of ministers, namely, bishops, priests, and deacons, in the primitive church; and that there has been a regular succession of bishops from the apostolic age to the present time; and we may safely challenge the enemies of episcopacy to produce evidence of the existence of a single ancient independent church, which was not governed by a bishop; I mean after it was fairly established: for we are to consider not so much what the Apostles did in the beginning of their ministry, as what they did after they had preached for some time, and the Gospel had made some progress.  The want of attending to this distinction has, I suspect, been a principal cause of the difference of opinion which has prevailed upon this subject. – “The Apostles,” says Epiphanius, could not establish everything rightly at once; nothing is complete at its beginning: but in process of time things are brought to a perfect settlement.” [Haer. lxxv.]  While the Apostles themselves were alive, the churches were subject to their authority and direction; and we are not to expect the establishment of a permanent government till their ministry was drawing towards a conclusion; and this accounts for the little which is said in the Acts and the Epistles concerning the distinction and power of ministers, since they were all written, except perhaps the General Epistles of St. John, which have no connection with these points, within about thirty years after the ascension of our Saviour, and while most of the Apostles were yet alive; and the Epistles of St. Paul, which give the most information relative to ministers, are those which he wrote in the latter part of his life, after he had delegated to Timothy and Titus that power in the churches of Ephesus and Crete, which he himself had been accustomed to exercise; and this is what Cyprian means when he says, “Episcopos apostolis vicaria ordinatione successisse.” [Ep. Firm. inter Ep. Cyp. lxxv. p. 225.]

         The mode of proceeding, as far as it can be collected from ancient writers, appears to have been of this nature: The Apostles, before they left any city in which they had preached and made converts, selected a certain number of fit persons from their congregations, whom they ordained deacons and presbyters.  The forms of ordination, and the powers which they communicated, were different.  The deacons were inferior to the presbyters; and their office consisted in taking care of such things as belonged to the public service.  They also assisted the presbyters in the administration of the eucharist, [Just. Mart.  Apol. 2da ad finem.] but they were not allowed to consecrate the elements; they were permitted to baptize, and it was their peculiar duty to attend to everything which related to the poor.  To the presbyters was entrusted the performance of the different parts of public worship: they were authorized to instruct and to govern in all spiritual matters those who were already converted to the Gospel, and to be active and diligent in the conversion of others.  The presbyters were equal to each other in rank and authority; and while their office was confined within narrow limits, and the Christians were but few, no inconvenience arose from that equality; and more especially as the Apostles occasionally visited the churches which they had planted, and furnished them from time to time with such advice and instruction as circumstances required.  But when the Gospel was spread into more distant parts, and the Christians of every city became more numerous, the visits of the Apostles were necessarily less frequent, and the concerns of every church more enlarged.  The Apostles then found it expedient, for the better government of the affairs of the Christians, and to put a stop to those schisms and contentions which began to make their appearance both among the presbyters and their congregations, to place the supreme authority in one person, who from the superintending care which he was to exercise, was called Επιςκοπος, or bishop; and this word, which was perhaps at first applied indiscriminately to all who had any spiritual office in the church, was now confined to him who was its chief governor.  The bishops were at first appointed by the Apostles, and afterwards chosen by the presbyters and the congregations at large; in both cases they were generally taken from the presbyters of the respective churches, except in those instances in which they were the immediate companions of the Apostles.  The following remarkable passage from Jerome will be considered as a strong confirmation of this statement: “Till through instinct of the devil there grew in the Church factions, and among the people it began to be professed, I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, and I of Cephas, churches were governed by the common advice of presbyters; but when everyone began to reckon those whom himself had baptized his own, and not Christ’s, it was decreed in the whole world, that one chosen out of the presbyters should be placed over the rest, to whom all care of the church should belong, and so the seeds of schism be removed.” [De Eccles. Script.]  And it is certain that Jerome is here speaking of the apostolical times, for in another part of the same work he tells us that James was made bishop of Jerusalem by the Apostles; Timothy bishop of Ephesus, and Titus bishop of Crete, by St. Paul; and Polycarp bishop of Smyrna, by St. John.  St. Paul, when he was at Miletus, in the year 58, sent for the elders of the church from Ephesus, but no mention is made of the bishop; and in his address to them he calls them “bishops or overseers of the flock”: and thence I infer that the word bishop was not then the appropriate name of the person who held the first office in the church, or rather, that there was as yet no such person in the church at Ephesus.  But in the year 64, St. Paul found it necessary to place Timothy in that situation, with power to prevent the preaching of any unsound doctrine, and to ordain, and exercise authority over, presbyters, [1 Tim. 1:3, 5:1, 19, 22.] that is, with episcopal power; and in his Epistle, written to him in that year, he speaks expressly of the “office of a bishop,” [1 Tim. 3:1.] and gives a detailed account of the qualifications of a bishop.  We have also a similar account in the Epistle to Titus, which was written in the same year; and he was invested with the further power of rejecting heretics from the churches over which he presided. [Titus 3:10.]  I conclude, therefore, that in the year 64 there was such an office as that of bishop.  St. Paul addresses his Epistle to the Philippians, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons”; and as the word bishops is in the plural number, and presbyters are not mentioned, it is thought, by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Jerome, and indeed by almost all commentators, that by bishops we are here to understand presbyters, and hence we may presume, as in the case of Ephesus, that there was then no bishop, in the strict sense of the word, at Philippi.  This epistle was written at the end of St. Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome, in the year 62; and therefore, from a comparison of these different passages, I am inclined to think that Paul began to establish episcopacy immediately after his release from his first confinement at Rome.  I do not however mean that at that early period there was a bishop in every church.  The Gospel was preached in some cities later than in others, and its progress was not equally rapid in all: so likewise the progress of the ministerial office would be sometimes quicker, sometimes slower; but it appears that in all cases, after this period, a bishop was appointed whenever a considerable part of the inhabitants of a city had embraced the Gospel.

         But whatever difficulty there may be in settling these points with chronological precision, it is sufficiently clear from St. Paul’s Epistles, that he gave the ministers of the churches which he founded a certain power over their respective congregations; and as St. Paul and the twelve Apostles acted equally under the influence of the Holy Ghost, we may conclude that their conduct was uniform, and that they all invested those, whom they appointed to preach the Gospel, with a similar degree of power; and consequently Church Authority is derived from the inspired Apostles themselves.  And this power, thus originally given, was not limited to the primitive ages; it was transmitted to those “faithful men who shall be able to teach others also,” [2 Tim. 2:2.] and it is to remain in the Church, under different modifications, as essentially necessary “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” [Eph. 4:13–14.]

         The Christians were at first the inhabitants of cities only, and consequently the jurisdiction of a bishop was confined to the walls of his own city.  The Gospel afterwards made its way into towns and villages, and the concerns of the Christians of these towns and villages would naturally fall under the cognizance and direction of the bishops of the neighbouring cities.  Thus dioceses [Dioceses were originally called Παροικιαι, or parishes; and the word Διοικησις, or diocese, seems not to have been used in its present sense till the fourth century.] would be gradually formed, comprehending certain districts of country, but of different extent.

         It is reasonable to suppose that the public affairs of the Church would, in process of time, require the consultation and cooperation of different bishops; but “where many governors must of necessity concur for the ordering of the same affairs, of what nature soever they be, it is most requisite that one should have some kind of sway or stroke more than all the residue” [Hooker’s Eccl. Pol.]; and therefore, as before, one of the presbyters of a city was raised to be a bishop, and to have authority over other presbyters, so one of the bishops of a province was selected and invested with certain authority over other bishops, and he was called an archbishop; and in the appointment of archbishops, the civil importance of the city seems to have been regarded, for we find the metropolitan bishops were generally archbishops, and hence archbishops were called metropolitans.  Archbishops were first appointed in the second century; they had power to assemble the bishops within their respective provinces, to regulate the election of bishops, [The intrigues and animosities which frequently created disputes and disturbances among the presbyters appear to have made some regulation necessary in the election of bishops.] to consecrate them, to hear appeals from their decisions, and to take cognizance of their general conduct.

         And again, to four of these archbishops was given a preeminent rank over all other archbishops, namely, to the archbishops of Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, and they were called primates or patriarchs.  The exact date of the first three patriarchates is not known, but it was certainly prior to the council of Nice, and probably much earlier.  The see of Constantinople was not raised into a patriarchate till the first council of Constantinople, A.D. 381.  It was at the same time decreed, that the patriarch of Constantinople should rank immediately after the patriarch of Rome, who had precedence of the other patriarchs [This precedence was given, probably on account of the superior civil importance of the city, and the extent of the jurisdiction of the bishop; for no claim respecting the superiority derived from St. Peter was urged till a much later period.]; and this distinction was confirmed by the council of Chalcedon, and the second council of Constantinople, and by several imperial edicts; and, therefore, at the end of the fourth century, and for some time afterwards, the whole of Christendom may be considered as divided into four parts, two of which were in the East, and were subject to the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch; the South was under the patriarch of Alexandria; and the West under the patriarch of Rome.  The patriarchs had the power of assembling the archbishops and bishops within their jurisdictions, of consecrating archbishops, and of hearing appeals from them.

         And thus the Church continued to be governed till the bishop of Rome obtained a complete ascendency over the whole, by means of a civil power, in direct opposition to the words of Scripture: “Ye shall not lord it (or tyrannize) over one another – one is your Master, which is Christ, and all ye are brethren”: that is, Ye shall not attempt to give laws, as the Gentiles do, according to your own will and pleasure; ye are all equally subject to the law of the Gospel, and must pretend to no authority of your own, like temporal rulers, but only consider yourselves as chosen servants of Christ, and minister by his directions for the edification of the Church, according to the different stations in which ye are placed.

         In every considerable number of men, who are connected together, by being engaged in the same common work, and where that work requires (as indeed every work does) a distribution of its parts, a certain plan of acting, the observance of certain rules, occasional consultations, and changes of that plan, or of those rules, as fresh circumstances arise, some sort of subordination is indispensable.  It is scarcely possible that such a work should proceed with regularity and success, unless there be a distinction of ranks among those who are employed in it.  We therefore consider the difference of orders among the clergy, not only as derived from the practice of the primitive church, to which all Christians will allow that great respect and deference are undoubtedly due, but as founded in the nature of things, as absolutely necessary to the well-being of a religious society.  If the duties of the Mosaic dispensation established in the land of Canaan, which were to be performed in the temple at Jerusalem only, could not be properly arranged and executed without the three orders of High Priest, Priests, and Levites, whose designation to their sacred office was determined by their descent from Aaron and Levi, surely some distinction must be required among the Christian ministers of a populous kingdom, whose profession on the one hand does not depend upon their birth, nor, on the other, are they to be self-appointed.

         It is sometimes urged, that bishops, priests, and deacons, are now, in their office and authority, very different from what they formerly were; but this is no more than a necessary consequence of a change of times and circumstances.  It is scarcely possible that the functions of ministers should be the same when Christianity was first preached, while it was unprotected by the civil magistrate, and was embraced by only a part of the inhabitants of the distant cities of an immense empire, holding but little intercourse with each other, and afterwards, when it became the established and universally professed religion of a whole, compact, and connected kingdom.  It is not contended that the bishops, priests, and deacons of England, are at present precisely the same that bishops, presbyters, and deacons were in Asia Minor, seventeen hundred years ago.  We only maintain that there have always been bishops, priests, and deacons, in the Christian church since the days of the Apostles, with different powers and functions, it is allowed, in different countries and at different periods; but the general principles and duties which have respectively characterized these clerical orders have been essentially the same at all times, and in all places; and the variations which they have undergone, have only been such as have ever belonged to all persons in public situations, whether civil or ecclesiastical, and which are, indeed, inseparable from everything in which mankind are concerned in this transitory and fluctuating world.

         I have thought it right to take this general view of the ministerial office, and to make these observations upon the clerical orders subsisting in this kingdom, for the purpose of pointing out the foundation and principles of Church Authority, and of showing that our ecclesiastical establishment is as nearly conformable, as change of circumstances will permit, to the practice of the primitive church.  But though I fatter myself that I have proved episcopacy to be an apostolical institution, yet I readily acknowledge that there is no precept in the New Testament which commands that every church should be governed by bishops.  No church can exist without some government; but though there must be rules and orders for the proper discharge of the offices of public worship; though there must be fixed regulations concerning the appointment of ministers; and though a subordination among them is expedient in the highest degree, yet it does not follow that all these things must be precisely the same in every Christian country; they may vary with the other varying circumstances of human society, with the extent of a country, the manners of its inhabitants, the nature of its civil government, and many other peculiarities which might be specified.  As it has not pleased our Almighty Father to prescribe any particular form of civil government for the security of temporal comforts to his rational creatures, so neither has he prescribed any particular form of ecclesiastical polity as absolutely necessary to the attainment of eternal happiness.  But he has, in the most explicit terms, enjoined obedience to all governors, whether civil or ecclesiastical, and whatever may be their denomination, as essential to the character of a true Christian.  Thus the Gospel only lays down general principles, and leaves the application of them to men as free agents.  Faith and good works are the only things indispensably required for salvation; but a right faith may be more effectually promoted, and moral virtue may be better protected and encouraged, under one species of church government than under another, in the same manner as temporal blessings are not enjoyed in the same degree under every species of civil government.  We who live in this country have the satisfaction of knowing that we live under the form of ecclesiastical polity founded by apostolical authority, and under a form of civil government of unparalleled excellence; and these constitutions in church and state are admirably suited, by their congenial nature and intimate alliance, to afford mutual assistance and support to each other.  They are so blended and interwoven that they must stand or fall together; and the friends of the temporal and of the eternal interests of their fellow creatures are equally called upon to stand forward in the maintenance and defense of both.

         As the Scriptures do not prescribe any definite form of church government, so they contain no directions concerning the establishment of a power by which ministers are to be admitted to their sacred office.  The only persons, except the Apostles, mentioned in the Acts or Epistles as invested with this power are Timothy and Titus, both of whom received it from St. Paul, when they were placed by him at the head of the churches of Ephesus and Crete.  But though episcopal ordination is not actually commanded in the New Testament, yet we know that it was invariably practiced in every ancient church; and thence we infer, that it was originally instituted by the Apostles themselves.  “Our adversaries have been challenged long since to produce an ordination during the first fifteen hundred years after Christ, which was performed by presbyters, and not generally looked upon as invalid; whereas, on the other hand, they who have been ordained by mere presbyters in the primitive times have been stripped of their pretended orders, and with derision turned down to the laic form.  A famous and known instance is Ischyras, who was deposed by the Synod of Alexandria, because Colluthus, who ordained him, was supposed to be no more than a presbyter, though pretending to be a bishop.  The council of Sardica, and the council of Seville in Spain, acted in like manner on the like occasions.” [Veneer on this Article.  Vide Bingham, b. ii. c. 3.]  It appears, then, that no species of church government except the episcopal, and no mode of ordination except by bishops, have any claim to the sanction of the primitive church of Christ.  From the Apostles, episcopal ordination has been regularly conveyed to us, and the legislature of this kingdom has recognized and confined this power to bishops; they therefore are the persons among us wo HAVE PUBLIC AUTHORITY GIVEN THEM IN THE CONGREGATION TO CALL AND SEND MINISTERS INTO THE LORD’S VINEYARD; and those who ARE CALLED AND SENT BY THEM, WE JUDGE LAWFULLY CALLED AND SENT.  In every church, in which episcopacy prevails, the uninterrupted succession of bishops is considered as essential to the power of consecrating and ordaining; and upon that principle, when, a few years since, episcopacy was about to be established in the independent states of America, the persons who were to be appointed by the government of the country to be the first bishops previously came from America to receive consecration from the hands of English bishops.  And upon the same principle we should allow a popish priest, who should have renounced the errors of popery, to perform the functions of a priest in our church without a fresh ordination.  When the Reformation took place in England, the bishops and clergy were not consecrated and ordained again; they had received consecration and ordination from MEN WHO HAD PUBLIC AUTHORITY GIVEN THEM IN THE CONGREGATION for that purpose; and to whom the power of consecrating and ordaining had been transmitted from the Apostles; and that power, although it had passed through the corrupted channel of the church of Rome, was not vitiated by its erroneous doctrines or superstitious worship.  Our Saviour acknowledged Caiaphas to be high priest, and he even prophesied as such, although he was not the head of Aaron’s family, to whom the high priesthood was by divine command confined.  And the ancient catholic church admitted into its communion those who had been baptized by heretics, without rebaptizing them.

         I shall conclude this subject with the following testimony of the learned Mr. Le Clerc, a divine of the church of Ho]land, in which the presbyterian form of government prevailed, and therefore he cannot be considered as prejudiced in favour of episcopacy: – “I have always,” says he, “professed to believe, that episcopacy is of apostolical institution, and consequently very good and very lawful; that man had no manner of right to change it in any place, unless it was impossible otherwise to reform the abuses that crept into Christianity; that it was justly preserved in England, where the Reformation was practicable without altering it; that therefore the Protestants in England and other places, where there are bishops, do very ill to separate from that discipline; that they would still do much worse in attempting to destroy it, in order to set up presbytery, fanaticism, and anarchy.  Things ought not to be turned into a chaos, nor people seen everywhere without a call, and without learning, pretending to inspiration.  Nothing is more proper to prevent them than the episcopal discipline, as by law established in England, especially when those that preside in church-government are persons of penetration, sobriety, and discretion.”*

         *[Calvin is known to have acknowledged the worth of episcopacy; and it is an interesting fact that, at the close of the Synod of Dort, the most influential men there freely confessed the need of episcopacy to reserve their church from corruption and disorder. – Hist. of Church of Christ, by the Editor, vol. iii. chap. vii. pp. 445.  This subject is concisely but fully treated of in the Bishop of London’s “Three Sermons on the Church,” before quoted, and which may be recommended to the student as furnishing, on many very important points, observations as valuable as the language in which they are conveyed is forcible and lucid: – “It was by means of episcopacy, under the blessing of the great Shepherd and Bishop of the Church, that the light of the Gospel dawned upon these islands, and that their barbarous and rude inhabitants were initiated by baptism into all the privileges, and blessings, and hopes of the Christian covenant; and subjected to all the humanizing and civilizing influences of that truth and grave which are dispensed by the Church.  Whatever may be said of the abuses of that form of government, or of the temporary neglect of its essential rights and advantages, it is to episcopacy that this country owes the enjoyment not only of its religious liberties, but in a great degree also of its civil freedom and its social happiness.  But what is a far higher praise, it owes to the same channel of the divine goodness the transmission and preservation of Gospel truth, obscured for a time, and eclipsed, but never totally extinguished; and of those liturgical offices, which, while they minister grace and edification to the Church’s faithful children now on earth, connect them with the worshipers of her first and purest ages, the fathers, and martyrs, and confessors, who set forth the beauty of her holiness in their lives, and made fruitful her vineyard with their blood.  It is through this channel that the spiritual blessings we enjoy must be transmitted to our children, and, we believe, diffused throughout the world.” – Sermons on the Church, p. 45. – Editor.]


Article 24.

Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue As the People Understandeth.

         It is a Thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the Custom of the Primitive Church, to have Public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a Tongue not understanded of the People.


         The object for which Christians assemble themselves together, being to hear the word of God, to offer their united prayers and praises to their heavenly Father, and to participate in those holy ordinances which it pleased the divine Author of our religion to institute, it seems obvious to common sense, that the public service of the Church should be performed in a language understood by the congregation.  One of the general rules given by St. Paul relative to public worship, is, “Let all things be done unto edifying” [1 Cor. 14:26.]; but how can the people be edified, unless they understand the language in which their ministers read and speak?  And the same Apostle reproves certain persons who had abused the gift of tongues, by speaking in unknown tongues in the congregations at Corinth, in a manner which plainly shows that the common people ought not to be called upon to join in the public service of God, unless they comprehend what is said: – “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.  If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What is it then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray 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?” [1 Cor. 14:11, etc.]

         There is scarcely any duty more repeatedly and more earnestly enforced in Scripture than that of prayer; and surely all the various precepts and instructions, delivered to us upon this important subject, imply that our prayers are to be offered in a language which we understand.  We are to worship God in spirit and in truth; but how can the mind or heart of those be affected, who do not comprehend the meaning of the words which they hear and utter?

         The gift of tongues enabled the Apostles and first preachers of the Gospel to speak the languages of the countries into which they travelled; and it seems impossible to conceive, that after they had converted the inhabitants, by explaining to them the evidences of the Christian religion in their own language, they should admit them into that religion by the sacrament of baptism, performed in an unknown tongue; and that they should direct them to perform the duty of prayer and thanksgiving enjoined by their new religion, and to commemorate the death of their Saviour in obedience to his commands, in a language which they did not understand.  We have, indeed, the positive testimony of the ancient fathers, that when Christianity was spread into different countries, not only the Scriptures were translated, but the public service was performed in their respective languages; and in particular Origen says, “The Grecians use the Greek words in their prayers; the Romans, Latin; and every one prays to God in his own language; and he that is Lord of every language hears that which is asked for in any language.” [Orig. cont. Cel. lib. viii.] – “On the day which is called Sunday,” says Justin Martyr, “there is an assembly of all those who live either in the cities or in the country; and those things which are written of, or by, the Apostles, and the writings of the prophets, are read as long as time will permit.  When the reader has finished, he that presides in the assembly admonishes and exhorts us to put those good things which we have heard in practice.  And afterwards we rise up with one consent, and send up our prayers to God.” [Apol. ii. c. 87.  This account of Justin agrees with the public service of our Church, which consists of prayers, reading the Scriptures, and a sermon.] – It is implied, that all this was done in a language known to the congregation; and we may add, that no liturgy was ever originally composed except in the vernacular tongue of those for whose use it was designed.

         The Latin language continued to be generally understood in the countries immediately under the influence of the popes, until it became the policy of the church of Rome to keep the common people in a state of ignorance and blind dependence.  They were aware that this purpose would be greatly promoted by their continuing to use the Latin liturgies, even after they ceased to be understood.  And as the same principle has ever actuated the governing part of the Romish church, they have never made any alteration in this practice: the whole of their liturgy is still in Latin.

         It is unnecessary to enlarge upon this subject; what has been already said upon the authority of Scripture, and of early ecclesiastical writers, is amply sufficient to prove, that IT IS A THING PLAINLY REPUGNANT TO THE WORD OF GOD AND THE CUSTOM OF THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH TO HAVE PUBLIC PRAYER IN THE CHURCH, OR TO MINISTER THE SACRAMENTS, IN A TONGUE NOT UNDERSTANDED OF THE PEOPLE.  [Those who wish to see this subject more fully discussed may consult book xiii. c. 4. of Bingham’s Antiquities; and Usher’s Historia Dogmatica Controversiae inter Orthodoxos et Pontificios de Scripturis et Sacris Vernaculis.]


Article 25.

Of the Sacraments.

         Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only Badges or Tokens of Christian Men’s Profession, but rather they be certain sure Witnesses and effectual Signs of Grace, and God’s Good-will towards us; by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him.

         There are Two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.

         Those Five, commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are States of Life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like Nature of Sacraments with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for that they have not any visible Sign or Ceremony ordained of God.  The Sacraments were ordained of Christ not 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 St. Paul saith.


         We have now before us a series of Articles, seven in number, which treat of the Christian doctrine of Sacraments.  The first two relate to Sacraments in general, the third to Baptism, and the other four to the Lord’s Supper.  Under this Article we are to consider the meaning of the word Sacrament, and to distinguish the real sacraments of the Gospel from the pretended ones of the church of Rome.

         There is no word in the Old or New Testament which corresponds to the word Sacrament.  It is a Latin word; and agreeably to its derivation it was applied by the early writers of the Western church to any ceremony of our holy religion, especially if it were figurative or mystical. [Vide Bingham’s Antiquities, b. xii. c. 1. sect. 4.  The word used by the Greek Fathers for sacrament is Μυστηριον.  This word occurs frequently in the New Testament, but never in the sense of an external rite.]  But a more confined signification of this word by degrees prevailed, and in that stricter sense it has been always used by the divines of our Church.  To prevent, however, any misapprehension or doubt upon the subject, this Article very properly begins* with a definition or description of what we are to understand by sacraments.  SACRAMENTS ORDAINED BY 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.  The meaning of the word “Sacraments” being thus stated, the next thing to be considered is, whether the Divine Author of our religion instituted any such ceremonies or ordinances; and the Article asserts that THERE ARE TWO SACRAMENTS ORDAINED OF CHRIST OUR LORD IN THE GOSPEL, THAT IS TO SAY, BAPTISM AND THE SUPPER OF THE LORD.  It is our business, therefore, to show from the New Testament, under this and the following Articles, that Christ did really institute Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and that the account given of them by the inspired writers corresponds with the above explanation of the word Sacrament.

         *[In the Articles of 1552, the definition of the word Sacrament was made the last clause in this Article, and nothing was said in it concerning the five popish sacraments.  [Tertullian employs the word as descriptive of the Gospel in general: – Omnem hinc sacramenti nostri ordinem haurite. – Apolog. ad Gentes, c. 15.  Quae jura non alia ratio regit, quam ejusdem sacramenti una traditio. – De Praescript. Haeret. c. 20.  But he has also – Felix Sacramentum aquae nostrae, qua abluti delictis pristinae caecitatis, in vitam aeternam liberamur. – De Bap. c. i.  And – Ipsum fidei ejus sacramentum.

            St. Augustin says – Detrahe verbum, et quid est aqua nisi aqua?  Accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit sacramentum, etiam ipsum tanquam visibile verbum. – In Johan. Tract. lxxxii.  Op. t. p. ii. p.783.

            In Ambrose we read – Miramur mysteria Judaeorum, quae patribus nostris data sunt, primum vetustate sacramentorum, deinde sanctitate praestantia.  Illud promitto quod diviniora et priora sacramenta sunt Christianorum quam Judaeorum. – De Sacrament. lib. i. c. 4.  And – Nunc de Mysteriis dicere tempus admonet, atque ipsam sacramentorum rationem edere: quam ante baptismum si putassemus insinuandam nondum initiatis, prodidisse potius quam edidisse aestimaremur.  Deinde quod inopinantibus melius se ipsa lux mysteriorum infuderet, quam si eam sermo aliquis praecucurrisset. – De Mysteriis, c. i. sect. 3.  And – Bona pascua divina sacramenta sunt. – Serm. XIV. in Ps. cxviii. sect. 2. – Editor.]]

         That Christ during his ministry directed those who became his disciples to be baptized, is evident from a variety of passages [John 3:22, 26; 4:1.] in the Gospels; and after his resurrection he commanded his Apostles to “go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”; and he added, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matt. 28:20.]  Baptism, therefore, by the express direction of Christ himself, is the rite by which we are to be admitted into his holy religion.  Our Saviour also promises eternal salvation to faith and baptism: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” [Mark 16:16.]  And upon another occasion he makes baptism an essential condition of admission into the kingdom of God: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” [John 3:5.]  And St. Peter in his sermon upon the day of Pentecost, says, “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.” [Acts 2:38.]  Though in this and several other passages [Acts 8:16, 10:48, 19:5.] of the New Testament the name of Christ only is mentioned, we are not to imagine, that baptism was ever performed by the Apostles in the name of Christ only.  These expressions mean admission into Christianity by baptism, without any reference to the form, which was always that prescribed by Christ himself.  Some persons at Ephesus told St. Paul, that they had not heard of the Holy Ghost; upon which he asked them, “Unto what then were ye baptized?” [Acts 19:3.]  This question plainly implies, that if they had been baptized as Christians they must have heard of the Holy Ghost; that is, they must have been baptized in his name; and it appears that they had only been baptized “unto John’s baptism.” [Acts 19:3.]  And we learn from the ancient fathers, that in the primitive church baptism was always performed in the name of all the three persons of the blessed Trinity. [Bas de Spir. Sanc. cap. 12.  Recog. lib. vi. cap. 9. lib. iii. cap. 68.  Can. Apost. 49.]

         As by Baptism we enter into the Christian covenant, so by the Lord’s Supper we profess our continuance in it.  That our Saviour, the night before his crucifixion, instituted the Lord’s Supper, we have the testimony of the first three Evangelists [Matt. 26.  Mark 14.  Luke 22.]; and moreover St. Paul says, “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 show the Lord’s death till he come.” [1 Cor. 11:23, etc.]  And in the pre- ceding chapter of the same epistle he says, “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?” [1 Cor. 10:16.]

         Hence it appears that BAPTISM AND THE SUPPER OF OUR LORD WERE ORDAINED OF CHRIST OUR LORD IN THE GOSPEL: and the passages which have been already quoted sufficiently show that they are not to be considered as barely external rites: but the more particular design and nature of these two sacraments will be explained under the 27th and 28th Articles.  In the meantime we may observe that the true idea of sacraments is that they are federal acts of religion.  We on our part make certain professions and vows; and if these be made in sincerity and truth, God promises to afford us his secret assistance in performing the great work of our salvation.  It is evident that ordinances of this high importance must be instituted by the Founder himself of our religion or by his Apostles in his name.  Rites and ceremonies, for the more convenient and decent celebration of public worship, may be regulated by the Church; but federal acts, which imply a signification of the divine will, and a communication of the divine grace, must be authorized by God himself.  He only can prescribe the conditions upon which he will, bestow his blessings, and point out the channels by which he thinks fit to convey them.  This therefore is the test by which every pretended sacrament is to be tried; and if it be not found in the New Testament under the character of an outward and visible sign, accompanied with the conditional promise of an inward spiritual grace, it is to be rejected as having no claim to the title of a sacrament.

         In the primitive ages of Christianity, there was no dispute concerning the number of sacraments properly so called; and consequently we find very little upon that subject in the early ecclesiastical writers.  However, the Recognitions, which were written at the end of the second century, allow of only two sacraments [Lib. i.]; and Justin Martyr, [Apol. cap. 79. et seq.] Tertullian, [De Cor. Mil. cap. 3. lib. cont. Marc.] Cyril of Jerusalem, [De Catect.] Augustin, [De Doct. Chr. lib. iii. cap. 9.  Epist. 23. et 118.] and Chrysostom, [In Joan. 85.] all mention two sacraments, namely, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, and no more. [That is not in the sense in which the word is used in the Article: Augustin says – Multa sacramenta aliter atque aliter accipimus: quaedam sicut nostis ore accipimus: quaedam per totum corpus accipimus. – Enarratio in Ps. cxli. t. iv. p. 1583. – Editor.]  Peter Lombard, a writer of the twelfth century, is the first who reckons seven sacraments, adding to the above two these five – Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction.  Pope Eugenius IV, about the middle of the fifteenth century, pronounced, that these five, as well as the other two, ought to be considered as sacraments.  In the following century, all seven were declared to be equally sacraments by the Council of Trent; and from that time they have always been acknowledged as such by the Romish church.  On the other hand, our church asserts, that THOSE FIVE COMMONLY [That is, which were commonly called so when these Articles were drawn up.  The number of sacraments was not among the abuses first corrected by the Reformers.  A sacrament in the Treat catechism is defined to be a thing subject to sense, which, by Gods appointment, has virtue both to signify and to work holiness and righteousness.] CALLED SACRAMENTS, THAT IS TO SAY, CONFIRMATION, PENANCE, ORDERS, MATRIMONY, AND EXTREME UNCTION, ABE 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 SCRIPTURE, 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.

         We shall consider these five popish sacraments in the order in which they stand in the Article, and shall therefore begin with CONFIRMATION; in treating of which, we are to explain in what respect our church receives it as a religious ordinance, and upon what ground it refuses to acknowledge it as a sacrament.

         When the Apostles at Jerusalem heard that many of the inhabitants of Samaria had embraced the Gospel, and had been baptized, they sent thither Peter and John, who laid their hands upon these new converts, and prayed that they might receive the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost descended upon them. [Acts 8:14, etc.]  And when the men of Ephesus had been baptized, “Paul laid his hands upon them, and the Holy Ghost came on them.” [Acts 19:6.]  And St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, mentions the doctrine of the laying on of hands immediately after the doctrine of baptism. [Heb. 6:2.]  Upon these authorities was founded the practice, which prevailed in the primitive church, of persons receiving from the bishop immediately after baptism a solemn benediction, accompanied with imposition of hands, unction upon the forehead with the holy chrism, [The chrism was made of oil and balsam.] the sign of the cross, and a prayer for the descent of the Holy Ghost.  Tertullian says, “When we come out of the water we are anointed with a blessed ointment, according to that ancient rite by which men used to be anointed for the priest’s office, with oil out of a horn, ever since the time that Aaron was anointed by Moses; so that Christ himself has his name from Chrism.  Then we have the imposition of hands on us, which calls down and invites the Holy Ghost.” [Tert. de Baptism, cap. 7.]  This ceremony was called Confirmation, as it completed the admission of the person into the Christian church, and qualified him to partake of the Lord’s Supper.  It was not confined to adults, but infants also received Confirmation as soon as they were baptized, and an opportunity offered of presenting them to the bishop.  Though it was generally performed by bishops, yet, in some countries, and at some periods, it was performed by presbyters; but in that case it was necessary that the chrism should have been previously consecrated by the bishop.  Jerome tells us, that in his time Confirmation was always performed in the Latin church by bishops, as it had been in earlier times [Hieron. ad Lucif.      ]; but Hilary says, that in Egypt the presbyters confirmed in the bishop’s absence [Hil. in cap. iv. ad Ephes.]; and that was also the practice of the Greek church; but the Greek Christians did not allow Confirmation to be a sacrament.  We learn from one of the canons of the council of Illiberis, that in the time both of Cyprian and of Augustin, Confirmation was performed by bishops. [AEtate Cypriani, Ep. 79.  Praepositis ecclesiae oblati sunt baptizati, ut per eorum orationem et manus impositionem spiritum sanctum consequerentur; eundemque morem in suis praepositis annis post Cypriani martyrium 150 ecclesiam servasse scripsit Augustinus (De Trin. lib. xv. cap. 26.).  Erant secundum canonem ab episcopo consignandi quotquot diebus solemnibus sacro lavacro tingebantur.  Cone. Illib, cap. 38. et 77.]  The ancients did not think this rite of Confirmation so absolutely necessary that the want of it would exclude from the kingdom of heaven those who had already been baptized; but they attributed to it so much importance that they punished the neglect of it with marks of disgrace and public censure; and denied the privilege of ecclesiastical promotion and holy orders to such persons as had voluntarily and carelessly omitted it.

         After this example of the primitive Christians, our church requires all who have been baptized to appear publicly in the congregation, and renew their baptismal vow according to the form prescribed in our Liturgy.  This falls within the authority of the Church, and may be considered as included in the general precepts of doing all things “in order and unto edifying”; especially since the now universal practice of infant baptism makes Confirmation more necessary than it was in the primitive times, when chiefly adults were baptized.  It seems highly reasonable that they who, at the time of their baptism, were incapable of making any engagement, should, when they arrive at a proper age, ratify and confirm those promises which were made in their name.  And to give this ordinance the greater solemnity, it is performed only by the higher orders of the Church, the archbishops and bishops.  Thus far our church receives Confirmation, confining it to prayer and imposition of bands, without the chrism, or the sign of the cross, and believes it to be derived from the practice of the Apostles.  But as it is not a regular institution of Christ or his Apostles, like Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, with a written command that it should be continued in future ages, and a promise that it will be attended with inward grace, we reject it as a Sacrament.  There is, indeed, not a single precept upon the subject in the New Testament; nor is there any scriptural authority for the use of the chrism, or the sign of the cross; and Bingham thinks that the chrism made no part of Confirmation before the latter end of the second century, though other writers attribute an earlier date to it.  It must be admitted by all, that imposition of hands was not peculiar to Confirmation [Matt. 19:15.  Mark 10:16.  Luke 4:40.]; and that no separate efficacy is ascribed to it distinct from the prayers which accompanied it; and prayer and imposition of hands are not sufficient to constitute a sacrament: we, therefore, consider Confirmation as nothing more than a solemn manner of persons taking upon themselves their baptismal vow; and, as such, it is a ceremony of high importance, calculated to impress youthful minds with a just sense of the great obligations of the Christian profession, and to excite in them an earnest endeavour “faithfully to observe such things as they, by their own confession, have assented unto.” [Confirmation Service.]

         It is pretended that the popish sacrament of PENANCE, which is next to be considered, is derived from the Scripture doctrine of repentance; but it is in fact a corruption of a practice which prevailed in the primitive church.  During the severe persecutions which the Christians suffered in the early ages of the Gospel, many, through fear of tortures and death, apostatized from the faith.  It frequently happened, that these men, after the danger was past, were desirous of returning to communion with the Church; but they were not allowed, till they had made a public confession of their offence in the presence of the congregation.  In this manner confession began to be a part of ecclesiastical discipline; and being thus, in the first instance, applied to a crime of a public nature, it was afterwards extended to private sin.  Besides the shame of public confession, the offending party was compelled to submit to public reproof, to acts of penance, to exclusion from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and to a temporary suspension of all the privileges of a Christian. [Whoever wishes to see an account of the rigour of the ancient penance, may consult Bingham’s Antiquities, book xviii. c. 4.; and also Dallaeus de Confessione, and Morinus de Poenitentia.]  We learn from the canons of the numerous councils which were held in the fourth and fifth centuries, that they were chiefly occupied in regulating the nature and duration of these censures, and in settling the degree of discretionary power to be vested in bishops for the purpose of relaxing or shortening them, according to the circumstances of the case.  Public confession was soon found to be attended with many inconveniences; and, therefore, instead of it offenders were permitted to confess their sins privately, either to the bishops themselves, or to penitentiary priests, appointed by them.  When the punishment, which was still public, though the sins remained secret, was finished, the penitent was formally received into communion with the church by prayer and imposition of hands.  The office of penitentiary priests was abolished in the East in the reign of Theodosius [Socrates, lib. v. cap. 19.  Sozom. lib. vii. cap. 16.]; but it was retained much longer in the Western church.  In the fifth century public penance was submitted to with difficulty and reluctance; and it was thought expedient to allow penance, in certain cases, to be performed in monasteries, or in some private place, before a small select number of persons; this private penance was gradually extended to more and more cases; and before the end of the seventh century the practice of public penance for private sins was entirely abolished.  About the end of the eighth century penance began to be commuted; in the room of the ancient severities, prayers, masses, and alms, were substituted; and in process of time the clergy of the church of Rome gained such an ascendency over the minds of the people as to persuade them that it was their duty to confess all their sins, however private or heinous, to the priest, who had power to prescribe the conditions of absolution; and to give a greater sanction to this delusion, they called it a Sacrament, and made it to consist in confession to the priest, and in absolution from him, after or before such acts of devotion, mortification, and charity, as he should think fit to enjoin.  By a canon of the Council of Lateran, held A.D. 1215, every person was directed to confess his sins, at least once in every year, to the priest of his parish.  A ritual was drawn up for this purpose, which is still used by Papists, and in which the priest absolves without any qualification or reserve; and it was decreed by the Council of Trent that all were to be anathematized who maintained “non requiri confessionem poenitentis ut sacerdos eum absolvere possit”; or who asserted “absolutionem sacramentalem sacerdotis non esse actum judicialem sed nudum ministerium pronunciandi et declarandi remissa esse peccata.”

         It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the Penance of the church of Rome is totally different from the Gospel doctrine of repentance, which consists in an inward sorrow for past sins, and a firm resolution of future amendment.  This pretended sacrament has no foundation whatever in Scripture; we are not commanded to confess our sins to priests, nor are they empowered to dispense absolution upon their own judgment. St. James indeed says, “Confess your faults one to another” [James 5:16.]; but no mention is here made of priests; and the word “faults” seems to confine the precept to a mutual confession among Christians, of those offences by which they may have injured each other; but, certainly, the necessity of auricular confession, and the power of priestly absolution, cannot be inferred from this passage.  And though many of the early ecclesiastical writers earnestly recommend confession to the clergy, yet they never represent it as essential to the pardon of sin, or as having any connection with a sacrament; they only urge it as entitling a person to the prayers of the congregation; as useful for supporting the authority of wholesome discipline, and for maintaining the purity of the Christian church.  But Chrysostom condemns all secret confession to men [Hom. xxxi. in Heb.] as being obviously liable to great abuses; and Basil, [In Psalm 37:8.] Hilary, [In Psalm 51.] and Augustin, [Confess. lib. x. cap. 3.] all advise confession of sins to God only.  And M. Daillé has proved, in his elaborate work upon this subject, that private, auricular, sacramental confession of sins, was unknown in the primitive church. [De Aur. Conf. lib. iv. cap. 25.]

         But though there is not the slightest ground for considering Penance as a Sacrament, nor any authority for requiring auricular confession to priests, yet confession of sins to God is an indispensable duty, and confession to priests may sometimes be useful, by leading to effectual repentance, and therefore our church encourages its members to use confidential confession to their priest, or to any other minister of God’s holy word [Exhortation in Communion Service.]; but this is very different from its being an essential part of a sacrament instituted by Christ or his Apostles.  A contrite sinner may feel relief in unburdening his mind to his spiritual pastor, and may receive advice and consolation, which may soften the pangs of a wounded conscience; his scruples may be removed; his good resolutions may be confirmed; and, instead of falling a victim to religious melancholy, he may be enabled to work out his salvation by a life of active virtue, and by an humble faith in the merits of the blessed Jesus, who, as he himself assures us, came into the world “to call sinners to repentance”.

         The only absolution, which our church authorizes its clergy to pronounce, is ministerial, or declaratory of God’s pardon upon the performance of the conditions which he has been pleased to require in the Gospel; it always supposes faith and sincere repentance, of which God alone is judge.  Nor was any absolution, except declaratory and precatory, known among the early Christians, as fully appears from the ancient liturgies and rituals, and from the authors who have written upon these subjects; particularly from the treatise of Morinus de Poenitentia, in which he has proved that the indicative form of absolution, as it is called, Ego te absolvo, was introduced into the church as late as the twelfth century.  Previous to that period only some such prayer as this was used, Absolutionem et remissionem tribuat tibi omnipotens Deus.  The right of requiring confession, and of absolving sins, as exercised in the church of Rome, must necessarily be the source of an undue and dangerous influence to the clergy, and must at the same time operate as a great encouragement to vice and immorality among the people.  Our church, in imitation of the primitive church, for certain offences imposes public penance as a part of its discipline; but it by no means considers or represents divine forgiveness as a certain consequence of that outward and involuntary act.

         The third of the popish sacraments rejected in this Article is ORDERS.  We have shown, under a former Article, that there has been an uninterrupted succession of ministers since the days of the Apostles.  But though it is perfectly conformable to Scripture, and to the practice of the primitive church, that certain persons should be set apart for the public service of religion, that there should be different ranks of these persons, and that they should be regularly appointed by men who have public authority given them in the congregation for that purpose, yet there is no ground for considering ordination as a sacrament.  Neither Christ nor his Apostles prescribed any particular form of ordaining ministers, to be observed in succeeding ages; but they left this, with other things of a similar nature, to be regulated by the Church.  Prayer, and imposition of hands, have been always used upon this occasion; but these are not sufficient, as was before observed, to constitute a sacrament.  And, therefore, as ordination wants the essential properties of a sacrament, we esteem it only as a solemn mode of appointing ministers to their sacred office.  The Papists make use of many ceremonies in the ordination of their ministers, which were unknown in the Church for at least ten centuries, and during that period Orders were never mentioned by any ecclesiastical writer as a sacrament.  These new ceremonies were probably added, and the name of a sacrament given to ordination, for the purpose of raising the importance of the clerical character in the eyes of the common people, and of promoting by those means the influence and authority of the Roman pontiffs.

         MATRIMONY is the fourth of the popish sacraments rejected in this Article.  Matrimony is not only “a state of life allowed by the Scriptures,” but it is an ordinance of God, instituted at the first creation of man, and confirmed by the New Testament.  It has not, however, the slightest pretension to be considered as a sacrament, although it was pronounced to be such by Pope Eugenius, and afterwards by the Council of Trent.  It has no visible sign ordained of God, nor any promise of inward grace, which are essential to a sacrament.  St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, [Eph. 5:32.           ] calls the marriage of Christ and his church Μυστηριον, a mystery, which, in the Vulgate, is rendered Sacramentum; but that expression means, that Christ is not literally married to his church, but only metaphorically or mystically. [Metaphorically and mystically ought not to be regarded as having the same meaning.  The distinction between them is of great importance in the treatment of divine doctrine. – Editor.]  As matrimony is reckoned a sacrament by the church of Rome, Papists hold that all marriages are indissoluble, and do not allow of divorces even in cases of adultery, except upon the authority of the Pope’s dispensation.

         The fifth and last of the Popish sacraments rejected in this Article is EXTREME UNCTION, which is practiced by the priests of the church of Rome upon the sick, who are supposed to be past recovery; and it is believed to give final pardon for sin, with all necessary assistances in the last agony.  The oil, which has been previously blessed by a bishop, is applied to the five senses, with these words, Per hanc sacram unctionem, et suam piissimam misericordiam, indulgeat tibi Deus quicquid peccasti per visum, auditum, olfactum, gustum, et tactum; and as each of the words denoting the five senses is pronounced, the organ of that sense is anointed.  The following are the only two passages of the New Testament urged by the church of Rome to prove that this extreme unction ought to be considered as a Sacrament: St. Mark relates that the Apostles, to whom Christ gave a temporary commission to preach in Juda, “anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” [Mark 6:13.] – And St. James gives this direction in his General Epistle, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” [James 5:14.]  Among other miraculous gifts communicated by Christ to his Apostles during his ministry, and afterwards by the Holy Ghost to the early preachers of the Gospel, was that of curing diseases; and it is evident, that both the above passages refer to the exercise of that supernatural power, and of course the efficacy of anointing with oil would cease when that power was withdrawn from the Church.  Moreover, the unction spoken of by these two Apostles was for the purpose of restoring the sick to health, and not for the good of their souls when life was despaired of, as practiced by Papists.  Indeed the anointing with oil was nothing more than one of those symbolical actions with which miracles were wrought both under the old and new dispensations.  Moses divided the waters of the Red Sea by stretching out his hand [Exod. 14:21.]; and Elisha cleansed the leprosy of Naaman by ordering him to wash seven times in the river Jordan. [2 Kings 5.]  Our Saviour cured the deaf and dumb man by putting his fingers into his ears, and by touching his tongue; and Paul received his sight when Ananias put his hands upon him.  Oil was constantly used in the Eastern countries, and therefore the Apostles and Elders applied it to the sick whom they were employed to heal; but in neither of these instances is there the slightest intimation of any permanent institution, and therefore our church does not recommend extreme unction, and much less does• it esteem it a sacrament.

         Frequent mention is made of persons, who in the primitive ages were cured of their diseases by being anointed with oil; but this anointing was confined to the cases of miraculous healing, which probably ceased in the third century. [“That such gifts (that is, of healing diseases and expelling demons) were enjoyed by many Christians in the second and the beginning of the third century, we are assured by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, and others; after which time, or, however, after the end of the third century, they were not so common, if they did not quite cease.” – Lardner, vol. ii. p. 347.]  No general practice of this sort is noticed or alluded to in any of the numerous writers, or in the canons of any of the various councils, of the first six centuries, although they abound in minute accounts and rules concerning the sacraments and other religious offices.  Nor is extreme unction mentioned in the lives of any of the saints of the first eight or nine centuries, although their deaths are sometimes very particularly related, and their receiving of the Lord’s Supper in their last moments is often recorded.  In the beginning of the fifth century, the bishop of Eugubium consulted Pope Innocent the First, whether the sick might be anointed with the holy chrism used in Confirmation, and upon other solemn occasions; and his answer, which is now extant, plainly proves that extreme unction was not then known among Christians. [Inn. Ep. i. ad Decent.]  In the seventh century they began to anoint their sick, and there was a peculiar office made for it; but the prayers which were used show that it was intended only to promote their recovery. [Libr. Sacr. Gregor.  Monach. Notae.  Bede Hist. lib. iii. cap. 15.]  This anointing frequently failed, as the means of restoring health; and in the tenth century the clergy pretended, that though it did not benefit the bodies of the sick, it was of great service to their souls.  In those ignorant times the clergy found no great difficulty in inculcating this doctrine, and about the middle of the twelfth century it was generally believed.  The schoolmen were great supporters of the spiritual efficacy of extreme unction.  Pope Eugenius, in the Council of Florence, decreed it to be a Sacrament; the Council of Trent confirmed it; and it is still practiced as such by Papists.


         I have thus endeavoured to trace the rise and establishment of the five Popish Sacraments, and their history is itself a proof that they ARE NOT TO BE COUNTED FOR SACRAMENTS OF THE GOSPEL, in the strict and proper sense of the word; they were not instituted as such by Christ or his Apostles, nor were they known by that name in the primitive ages of the Church.  Confirmation and Orders we allow to be holy functions derived from the Apostles, though they want the essential qualities of a Sacrament. Penance, as practiced by Papists, is a corruption of a part of ancient ecclesiastical discipline, and was perverted into its present form of a sacrament, by the management and contrivance of the clergy in the times of darkness and ignorance.  Matrimony has no claim whatever to be considered as a Christian sacrament, since it was not instituted by our Saviour, nor was its original character changed by the Gospel.  It is indeed a divine institution, and a state of so much importance to the happiness of mankind, that it is very proper to be solemnized by prayer and other acts of religious worship.  And, lastly, we entirely reject Extreme Unction, as having no other foundation than that of a symbolical rite, incidentally mentioned in Scripture, as accompanying the miraculous healing of bodily diseases in the apostolic age.

         I shall only further observe upon this subject that as St. Peter commanded his hearers to be baptized for the remission of sins, so our Saviour, when he instituted the Lord’s Supper, took the cup, and gave it to the Apostles, 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”; thus remission of sins, which was the great object of Christ’s coming into the world, is pronounced to be clearly connected with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and with no other rite or ceremony whatever.  This circumstance clearly points out the importance of these two ordinances to our eternal salvation, and at the same time is an irrefragable proof, that all other ordinances, and consequently the FIVE COMMONLY CALLED SACRAMENTS, HAVE NOT LIKE NATURE OF SACRAMENTS WITH BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER.

         Though the remaining part of this Article speaks of sacraments in the plural number, yet it more particularly relates to the Lord’s Supper only.

         THE SACRAMENTS WERE NOT ORDAINED OF CHRIST TO BE GAZED UPON, OR TO BE CARRIED ABOUT.  There is no authority in Scripture, nor any precedent in the primitive church, for the Romish practice of carrying about the eucharist; such pompous processions are inconsistent with the simplicity and spiritual nature of Christian ordinances.  The institution of the eucharist was, “Take, eat,” and “Drink ye all of it”; whence it is evident that the elements were consecrated, that the persons who were present might immediately eat and drink them.

         BUT THAT WE SHOULD DULY USE THEM.  It is evidently incumbent upon every Christian to use the Sacraments according to the design of their original institution.  The Sacrament of Baptism being the admission of a person into the Christian church, is not to be repeated.  When anyone in the primitive times, on account of persecution, or from any other cause, apostatized from the Christian religion, and afterwards returned to it, he was not rebaptized; on the other hand, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper being a declaration of a person’s continuance in the Christian religion, no opportunity of receiving it ought to be omitted.  It was administered much more frequently in the primitive ages than it is in the present times; and it is deeply to be lamented that Christians are now much less constant and regular in partaking of it than they formerly were.

         AND IN SUCH ONLY AS WORTHILY RECEIVE THE SAME, THEY HAVE A WHOLESOME EFFECT OR OPERATION.  We derive no benefits from the receiving of the Sacraments, nor indeed from the performance of any part of our religious duty, unless it be done with a proper disposition, and a suitable frame of mind; “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” [John 4:24.]  This sentence of the Article is also directed against the Papists, who maintain that the partaking of the Lord’s Supper necessarily promotes our salvation; that the opus operatum, as they call it, is always attended with real benefit.

         BUT THEY THAT RECEIVE THEM UNWORTHILY PURCHASE TO THEMSELVES DAMNATION, AS ST. PAUL SAITH.  The passage here referred to is the following, and it relates to the Lord’s Supper only: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” [1 Cor. 11:29.]  It is material to observe, that the word damnation, at the time the Bible was translated, meant no more than condemnation – any sentence of punishment whatever, without a particular reference to the eternal torments to which the impenitently wicked will be consigned at the last day; and that St. Paul, in the above passage, does not refer to that dreadful punishment, appears from the following verse: “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep,” that is, are dead.  The Corinthians had been guilty of great abuses in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and the damnation which they thereby brought upon themselves was, as we here learn from St. Paul, weakness, sickness, and death, that is, temporal punishments only, and not eternal damnation.  This is also evident from the thirty-second verse: “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world”; that is, when we are punished in this manner in the present life, we are chastened and corrected by our heavenly Father, that we may be brought to a sense of our duty, and by reforming ourselves may avoid that condemnation which the impenitent world will suffer in a future state.  The word Κριμα, used in this passage by St. Paul, occurs frequently in the New Testament, but in no one instance does it exclusively signify the sentence of eternal punishment.  It is sometimes translated judgment, as, “The time is come, that judgment rust, begin at the house of God” [1 Peter 4:17.    ]; and sometimes it is rendered by the word condemnation, as when one of the malefactors, who were crucified, with our blessed Lord, rebukes the other in these words, “Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?” [Luke 23:40.]  It is evident, that in these passages eternal damnation could not be meant.  When, therefore, it is said, that by unworthily receiving the Lord’s Supper men purchase to themselves damnation,* the meaning is, that by so doing they are guilty of a great sin, and are therefore liable to punishment from God; but this, like other sins, may be repented of and forgiven, through the merits and for the sake of our blessed Redeemer.

         *[It is much to be feared, that the expression, “we eat and drink our own damnation,” in our Communion Service, deters many persons from participating of the Lord’s Supper; and therefore I recommend it to all clergymen occasionally to explain to their congregations the meaning of the original passage from which it is taken, as well as the sense of the word damnation, when our Bible was translated.  That the compilers of our Liturgy did not intend to apply the word damnation, any more than St. Paul the word Κριμα, to eternal punishment, is evident from what follows: “We kindle God’s wrath against us, we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases and sundry kinds of death.”  The word condemnation is used in the 29th Article.]


Article 26.

Of the Unworthiness of Ministers, Which Hinders Not the Effect of the Sacraments.

         Although in the visible Church the Evil be ever mingled with the Good, and sometimes the Evil have chief Authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments; yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own Name, but in Christ’s, and do minister by his Commission and Authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving 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 Inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have Knowledge of their Offences; and finally being found guilty, by just Judgment be deposed.


         The enormous and public vices of the Roman clergy, at the time of the Reformation, gave great offence, and caused the revival of the tenet of the ancient Donatists, that not only heresy and schism, but personal sins also, invalidated the sacred functions of Christian ministers.  This opinion was maintained by the Anabaptists [Luther says of the Anabaptists, Propter hominum vitia vel indignitatem damnant verum baptisma.]; but it was by no means general among Protestants; it was not adopted by Luther or Calvin; it was condemned in the Confession of Augsburg, [Damnant Donatistas, et similes njui negabant licere populo uti ministerio in ecclesia, et sentiebant ministerium malorum inutile et inefficax esse.] and in that of the Helvetic churches; and it is rejected by our church in this Article.

         Although it is peculiarly incumbent upon the ministers and dispensers of God’s holy word and sacraments to be virtuous and exemplary in their conduct, yet as they are not exempt from the infirmity of human nature, it will sometimes happen that their lives are not suitable to their holy profession; but in that case, since they are appointed by proper authority, and exercise their functions NOT IN THEIR OWN NAME, BUT IN CHRIST’S, WE MAY USE THEIR MINISTRY, BOTH IN HEARING THE WORD OF GOD, AND IN RECEIVING OF THE SACRAMENTS.  Attendance upon the public service of God is the duty of every Christian, and the personal faults of the ministers by no means justify us in absenting ourselves from it.  “The Scribes and Pharisees,” says our Saviour, “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.” [Matt. 23:2–3.]  In the same manner Christians are bound to observe whatever their ministers shall deliver out of the word of God, and to consider every holy ordinance as valid, which they shall perform agreeable to the institution of Christ, although in their characters, and in the disagreement between their lives and doctrine, they shall resemble the Scribes and Pharisees.

         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.  The Sacraments are federal acts which it pleased our Saviour to institute, and to the due receiving of which he has annexed certain benefits; but it is nowhere said in Scripture, nor is it agreeable to reason, that the efficacy of these holy ordinances should in any degree depend upon the worthiness of those who administer them.  If the faults of ministers vitiate the sacraments, no one can tell whether he has received the Lord’s Supper, or whether he was baptized or not.  [Si quis dixerit, in ministris, dum sacramenta conficiunt, et conferunt, non requiri intentionem saltem faciendi quod facit Ecclesia; anathema sit.  Ses. vii. Can. de Sacrament. 11.  But Augustin, reasoning against the Donatists, says, Si autem in Christi nomine baptizati erant, non videtis quanto errore arbitremini varietate humanorum vitiorum divina sacramenta variari, aut vitae cujusquam sordibus pollui?  Contra Litt. Petil. lib. ii. Op. t. ix. p. 251. – Editor.]

         Though the church of Rome agrees with us in the doctrine of this Article, yet it maintains that the intention of the minister is essential to a sacrament; that is, if a minister goes through all the forms of administering Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper, and does not in his own mind intend to administer it, it is in fact no sacrament.  This is expressly asserted both in the councils of Florence and Trent; but it is an opinion so manifestly absurd, that it is unnecessary to say anything in refutation of it.

         NEVERTHELESS IT APPERTAINETH TO THE DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH, THAT INQUIRY BE MADE OF EVIL MINISTERS, AND THEY BE ACCUSED OF THOSE THAT HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR OFFENCES; AND FINALLY BEING FOUND GUILTY, BY JUST JUDGMENT BE DEPOSED.  When ministers, who ought to be patterns of righteousness, become examples of sin, the Church has power to inquire into their conduct; and it is incumbent on those who are competent to it, to give testimony against them; and if the nature of their offence shall require it, the Church may depose them from the sacred office.  An authority of this kind has been from the earliest times vested in the Church, and it is absolutely necessary for its good government and well-being.  There is no one point in which the interest of religion is more deeply concerned than in the morals and conduct of its ministers.


Article 27.

Of Baptism.

         Baptism is not only a Sign of Profession and Mark of Difference, whereby Christian Men are discerned from others that be not christened; but it is also a Sign of Regeneration or New Birth, whereby, as by an Instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church: the Promises of the Forgiveness of Sin, and of our Adoption to be the Sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed; and Grace increased by virtue of Prayer unto God.  The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the Institution of Christ.


         “Baptism is derived from the Greek word Βαπτω, which signifies to wash.  Washing, as a religious rite, is not confined to Christianity; it was in use both among the Heathen and the Jews, and from the universality of the practice we may conclude that it is founded in the natural principles of the human constitution.” [Dr. Hey.]  Bodily cleanliness has ever been in esteem among civilized nations; and the ablutions and lustrations, which have prevailed in the different systems of paganism, are to be considered as emblematical of internal purity.  Tertullian says, that the heathen used baptism in the mysteries of Apollo and Ceres, “in regenerationem et impunitatem perjuriorum suorum” [De Baptismo, cap. 5.]; and Grotius, from Josephus, mentions a practice, which was very common among Gentiles, of washing their bodies after they had formed a determination to lead a virtuous life, under a persuasion that such an ablution washed away the effect of their former sins. [Josephus, ut Joannis Baptistae ablutionem a gentium ablutionibus discerneret, quae aqua marina, aut etiam vivo flumine, culpas suas elui, animosque purgari a delictorum conscientia existimabant, de quibus poeta, - O nimium faciles, qui tristia crimina caedis / Tolli fluminea posse putatis aqua, - ait, illo authore, mentibus primum justae vitae proposito purgatis, usurpatam deinde aquam, quae corpora ablueret.  Grot.]  The Jews do not baptize those who are Jews by birth, it being a maxim with them, “Filium baptizati pro baptizato habere”; but from the earliest period of their history they have constantly baptized all who have been converted to their religion. [Hammond on Matt. 3:19 and 23.  Selden de Jure Nat. et Gent. juxta Hebraeos.  Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. in Matt. 3 and John 3.]  Proud of their own distinction as the peculiar people of God, they have always believed the rest of mankind to be in an unclean state, and incapable of entering into the covenant of the children of Abraham, without a washing to denote purification from former uncleanness.  The Jews represent this baptism as derived from the law of Moses; and upon the authority of the following passage assert that the Israelites themselves were baptized in the wilderness previous to their admission into covenant with God: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto all the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow; and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” [Exod. 19:10–11.]  By the command to sanctify the people, the Jews understand that Moses was to cause all the people to be washed; and their rabbis and commentators [Vide Wall’s Introduction to Infant Baptism, and the authors quoted by him.  Wall has also proved that the ancient Christian fathers used the word sanctify for baptize, c. xi. part 1.] produce many passages in the Pentateuch where the word sacrifice has that signification; and as Moses expressly ordered, “one law and one manner shall be for you and for the stranger,” [Numbers 15:16.] they held it to be necessary to baptize proselytes.  “By three things,” says Maimonides, “did Israel enter into covenant; by circumcision, and baptism, and sacrifice: circumcision was in Egypt, as it is written, No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof; baptism was in the wilderness, just before the giving of the law, as it is written, Sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes; and sacrifice, as it is said, And he sent young men of the sons of Israel, which offered burnt offerings; and so in all ages, when a heathen is willing to be a proselyte to our religion, he must be circumcised, and be baptized, and bring a sacrifice.” [Issura. Biah. Perek. 13.  Vide also Lightfoot, Harm. in Joan. 1:25.]  When John commanded the Jews to repent, he commanded them also to be baptized, not only as a symbol of sanctification, but as a confession of their being sinners; and the Jews, accustomed to this practice upon the admission of the heathen into their society, expressed no surprise at the correction of repentance and purification; they only inquired who he was that assumed to himself such an authority. [John 1:19, etc.]  Our Saviour gave his sanction to the baptism of John, by requiring John to baptize him. [Matt. 3:13.]

         That Christ, during his ministry, directed those who declared their belief in his divine mission to be baptized, and that after his resurrection he commanded all nations to be baptized in the name of the blessed Trinity, has been already noticed. [Art. xxv.]  And we learn from the Acts, that the Apostles preached baptism as the appointed and necessary form of being admitted into the religion of Jesus, and that those who embraced the Christian faith were invariably baptized.  St. Peter, after his sermon on the day of Pentecost, which was the very first attempt to propagate the Gospel after the ascension of our Saviour, said to his hearers, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ; and they that gladly received his word were baptized.” [Acts 2:38, 41.]  When the Samaritans “believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” [Acts 8:12.]  Again, after Cornelius and his friends had received the Holy Ghost, and so were already baptized in that sense, Peter asked, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” [Acts 10:47.] and at Ephesus St. Paul baptized several persons in the name of Jesus, who had already been baptized by John the Baptist. [Acts 19:5.]  When, therefore, John says, “that he baptized with water, but Christ shall baptize with the Holy Ghost,” [Matt. 3:11.] he does not mean that Christians should not be baptized with water, but that they should have the Holy Ghost poured out upon them in consequence, and as the distinguishing privilege, of Christ’s baptism.  When St. Paul says, that Christ sent him “not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel,” [1 Cor. 1:17.] he means that preaching was the principal thing he was to do in person; he might appoint others to baptize under him, and it appears that he generally did.  In like manner St. Peter did not baptize Cornelius and his friends himself, but commanded them to be baptized by others; and we read in St. John’s Gospel, that “Jesus baptized not, but his disciples.” [John 4:2.]

         Baptism, thus instituted by Christ, and practiced by his Apostles, has been continued in every age of the Christian church.  This fact is so universally acknowledged, that it is unnecessary to produce authorities in support of its truth; but it may be useful to quote from the early ecclesiastical writers a few passages, which may serve to explain the customs formerly used in the performance of this holy ordinance: “We will relate,” says Justin Martyr, in his Apology presented to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, about forty years after the death of St. John the Evangelist, “in what manner we dedicate ourselves to our God, being renewed by Christ, lest by omitting this we should appear to act unfairly in this account.  Whoever are persuaded, and believe that those things are true which are taught and said by us, and promise to live agreeably to them, are instructed to pray and ask of God with fasting, forgiveness of their former sins; and we also pray and fast together with them.  Then are they led by us to a place where there is water, and they are regenerated in the same manner we ourselves were regenerated; for they are washed in the name of God the Father and Lord of all, of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost.  For Christ said, If ye be not regenerated, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Apol. 2.]  And Tertullian, who lived about sixty years afterwards, says, “They that come to baptism must use the devotion of frequent prayer, fastings, kneelings, and watchings, and the confession of all their past sins, that they may at least do as much as was done in John’s baptism.” [Tert. de Bap.]

         From these passages it appears that the persons to be baptized were required to undergo certain preparations, and to make certain promises; and that the whole of this important business might be conducted with the greater regularity and solemnity, it was customary to perform baptism, except in cases of necessity, only twice in the year, namely, at Easter and Whitsuntide.  The candidates gave in their names several weeks before the day appointed; they were in the meantime instructed and examined by the ministers of the church; and it was indispensably necessary that they should be able to give some account of the grounds of their faith; and besides this previous instruction, they were called upon, at the time of their baptism, by answering certain questions, to declare their belief in the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, and to promise obedience to its precepts, in a manner similar to our form of baptizing adult persons; and in case of infants, sponsors answered, as they do with us, those questions, and made those promises in their name; and thus Augustin says, “Infants do profess repentance by the words of them that bring them, when they do by them renounce the devil and this world.” [Lib. i. cap. 19. de Pec. Mor.]  Baptism was always accompanied with prayers suited to the occasion.

         The ancient mode of baptizing was by immersion, [Wall, part ii. c. 9. sect. 2.  Mersatione enim, non perfusione, agi solitum hunc ritum baptismi per apostolos, implicat et vocis proprietas, et loca ad eum ritum delecta, Joan. 3:23.  Acta 8:38, et allusiones multae, in eorum scriptis, quae ad aspersionem referri non possunt, Rom. 6:3–4.  Col. 2:12.  Serius aliquanto invaluisse videtur mos perfundendi sive aspergendi, in eorum gratiam, qui in gravi morbo cubantes nomen dari Christo expetebant quos caeteri κλινικους vocabant.  Grot.] or by dipping the whole body of the person, whatever was his age, into water; and in the primitive times they made use of any water which was nearest at hand: “It is the same thing,” says Tertullian, “whether we be washed in the sea, or in a pond, or in a fountain, or in a river, in a standing or in a running water.” [De Bap. cap. 4.]  But when churches were built, some part of the church, or a building near it, called the baptistery, was appropriated to this use; and the ministers not only dipped the persons baptized, but they also plunged their heads three times under water, – once when they pronounced the name of the Father, a second time when they pronounced the name of the Son, and a third time when they pronounced the name of the Holy Ghost.  “Our Saviour commanded,” says Tertullian, “that the Apostles should baptize unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost; not unto one person, for we are not plunged once, but three times, once at the naming of each name.” [Adv. Prax. cap. 26.  Vide also de Cor. Mil. cap. 1.]  And one of the apostolic canons [Can. 50. in Cotelerius’s edit. of Apost. Fathers.] (which are very ancient, though they have no right to be called apostolical) orders, that any bishop or presbyter who does not use the trine immersion should be deposed.  Jerome, [Epist. cont. Lucif.] Basil, [De Spir. Sanct.] and Chrysostom, [Hom. de Fide.] all mention the three immersions in baptism. [St. Athanasius also: Sicut Christus mortuus est, et tertia die resurrexit; sic et nos in baptismo morientes, resurgimus.  Nam quod infantem ter in piscinam immergimus, et ter educimus, id mortem Christi, et post triduum resurrectionem significat.  Op. t. ii. p. 327.]  Gregory the Great considers it as a matter of no importance whether a person be dipped once or thrice: “In the same faith different usages of the church do no harm; thus, whereas there is in the three persons but one substance, there could be no blame in dipping the infant either once or thrice; for that by three immersions the three persons are represented, as by one the singularity of the substance is signified.” [Epist. apud Leand. Reg. lib. i. cap. 41.]  But though trine immersion was the usual mode of baptizing, yet in cases of sickness or weakness they only sprinkled water upon the face.  Both the general practice, and the cases of exception, fully appear from the following passage of an epistle of Cyprian: “You inquire also, dear son, what I think of such as obtain the grace (that is, of baptism) in time of their sickness or infirmity; whether they are to be accounted lawful Christians, because they are not washed all over with the water of salvation, but have only some of it poured on them” [Epist. 69. edit. Oxon.]: and after reasoning at a considerable length, he concludes, that such baptism is valid; and that if persons recover, it is not necessary that they should be baptized by immersion.  However, in the early times they did not allow those who had received this clinic baptism, as it was called, to be admitted to the holy order of priesthood; and this was among the objections urged against the election of Novatian to the bishopric of Rome, that he had been baptized when sick in bed. [Eus. Hist. Ecc. lib. vi. cap. 43.]  Baptism by affusion was also used upon other extraordinary occasions, as probably when three thousand persons were baptized at the same time, [Acts 2:41.] and when the jailer and his family were baptized in the night by Paul and Silas. [Acts 14:33.]  The earliest author who mentions baptism by aspersion, as a common practice, is Gennadius of Marseilles, [De Eccl. Dogm. cap. 74.] in the fifth century, who says, that baptism was administered indiffrently, either by immersion, or by sprinkling, in his time, in the Gallic church.  In the thirteenth century Thomas Aquinas says, “that baptism may be given not only by immersion, but also by affusion of water, or sprinkling with it; but it is the safer way to baptize by immersion, because that is the more common custom.” [3 In. 65.  Art. 7.]  Erasmus tells us, that in his time, that is, in the reign of fling Henry the Eighth, it was the custom to sprinkle infants in Holland, and to dip them in England. [In Epist. 76. Cyp.]  When affusion was first substituted in the room of immersion, they poured the water three times upon the face, as appears from the council of Angiers, in the thirteenth century; and the same practice continued in Germany as late as the middle of the fifteenth century. [Vide Wall, part ii. c. 9.]  In the Common Prayer Book, printed in 1549, the second year of King Edward the Sixth’s reign, the minister is directed to dip the child in the water thrice; but in the Prayer Books published at the end of his reign the word thrice is omitted; and Watson, Bishop of Lincoln, in a sermon published 1558, the last year of Queen Mary’s reign, says, that “though the ancient tradition of the Church has been from the beginning to dip the child three times, yet that it is not of such necessity, but that if it be but once dipped in the water it is sufficient; yea, and in time of great peril and necessity, if the water be but poured on the head, it will suffice.  In the reign of Queen Elizabeth immersion came by degrees into disuse; and this alteration was in great measure owing to the principles which some of our divines had imbibed at Geneva, where they had taken refuge during the reign of Queen Mary; for Calvin, [Inst. lib. iv. cap. 15.] in his form of baptism, directs that the minister should pour water upon the infant; and this was the first public form of baptism which prescribed affusion.  Our present rubric directs that the minister, “if they shall certify him that the child may well endure it, shall dip it in the water; but if they certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it”; however, no certificate or inquiry has for a long time been made upon this subject; but for these last two hundred years it has been the general practice in this country, perhaps with some exceptions at the beginning of that period, to baptize children by sprinkling them once with water.  Immersion was left off in most of the Western churches much earlier than in England, but it still continues the universal custom among the Christians of the East.

         No particular direction being given in Scripture concerning the manner in which water is to be applied in baptism, we may allow immersion, affusion, or aspersion, and whether it be performed three times, or once, to be equally valid.  Immersion, that is, burying, as it were, the person baptized in the water, and raising him out of it again, may be considered as representing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and our being dead and buried to sin, and rising again to a life of piety and virtue.  “We are buried,” says St. Paul, “with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Rom. 6:4.]  But pouring, or sprinkling of water, may likewise sufficiently express our purification from the guilt of past sins, and our obligation to keep ourselves in future unspotted by those things which defile the inner man.  This mode of baptism, moreover, represents that “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” [Rom. 6:4.] to which we owe our salvation; and the use of it seems not only to be foretold by the prophet Isaiah, who says of our Saviour, that “he shall sprinkle many nations,” [Isa. 52:15.] that is, ninny shall receive his baptism; and by the prophet Ezekiel, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean” [Ezek. 36:25.]; but to be had in view also by the Apostle, where he speaks of our having “our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” [Heb. 10:22.]

         Another practice in baptism, common among early Christians, and adopted by our church, is signing the forehead with the sign of the cross.  Indeed the use of the cross was very frequent in the primitive times.  “At every setting out,” says Tertullian, “or entry upon business, whenever we come into, or go out from, any place, when we dress for a journey, when we go into a bath, when we go to meat, when the candles are brought in, when we lie down or sit down, and whatever business we have, we make on our foreheads the sign of the cross” [De Cor. Mil. cap. 2.]; and upon another occasion, in speaking of baptism, he says, “The flesh is signed, that the soul may be fortified.” [De Bap.]  The same practice is mentioned by many other writers as invariably used whenever a person was baptized; and it was done, as is expressed in our form of baptism, “in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end.”

         In ancient times a mixture of milk and honey was given immediately after baptism, and a white garment was put upon the persons baptized, as emblematical of the purity which they had now acquired; and from these white garments the day of Pentecost, which was one of the stated times for baptism, was called White-Sunday, or Whitsunday.

         We now proceed to explain more particularly the different parts of the Article which first declares that 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.  All men being, through the disobedience of our first parents, subject to death, the rite of baptism, by which we are admitted into the religion of Jesus, “who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light,” [2 Tim. 1:10.] is with great propriety called “a sign of regeneration.”  The original corruption of our nature is thus washed away, and we are born again to new hopes and new prospects, as is represented in the passage just now quoted from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, in which he says, that “we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Rom. 6:4.]  And to Titus he says, “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” [Titus 3:5.] – By baptism we become “dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Rom. 6:11.] – “We put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” [Col. 3:9–10.]  Thus is the inward effect of baptism constantly asserted in Scripture.  We are said to be “born again of water and the spirit,” which are frequently mentioned together, – the one applied externally, and the other operating internally.  Baptism, therefore, is not a mere external badge or token of our being Christians; it is a new birth from the death of sin, and a regeneration to a new life in Christ; it is a change and renovation of nature by the spirit and grace of God; it is an infusion of spiritual life into the soul, by which it is made capable of performing spiritual actions, and of living unto God.

         WHEREBY THEY THAT RECEIVE BAPTISM RIGHTLY ARE GRAFTED INTO THE CHURCH.  For “by one spirit we are all baptized into one body.” [1 Cor. 12:13.]  Every baptism is to be considered as a right baptism, which is administered with water, by persons duly authorized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and all they who are so baptized become members of one body in Christ, and are united in one holy catholic church.

         THE PROMISES OF THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN, AND OF OUR ADOPTION TO BE THE SONS OF GOD BY THE HOLY GHOST, ARE VISIBLY SIGNED AND SEALED.  Baptism is the sign and seal of the Christian covenant, the great characteristic doctrine of which is the promise of forgiveness of sins: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38.]: and St. Paul, in the passage already quoted from his Epistle to Titus, declares that our salvation is accomplished by baptism, and by the regenerating influence of the Holy Ghost, which is the infallible consequence of our “holding fast the profession of our faith,” [Heb. 10:23.] which we make in baptism.  But we must remember what we learn from St. Peter, that the “baptism which saveth us is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 3:21.]  The answer of a good conscience can be no otherwise secured than by a faithful adherence to those engagements which we make in baptism: this it is which really saves us through the merits of Christ, and not the bare performance of the outward ordinance. [Omnia sacramenta cum obsint indigne tractantibus, prosunt tamen per eos digne sumentibus.  Cordra Eput. Parm. August.  Op. t. ix. p. 39.  Si enim ad ipsas res visibiles quibus sacramenta tractantur, animum conferamus, quis nesciat eas esse corruptibiles?  Si autem ad id quod per illas agitur; quis non videat non posse corrumpi, quamvis homines per quos agitur, pro suis moribus vel praemia percipiant vel poenas luant?  De Bap. con. Donat. lib. iii.  Op. t. ix. p. 113. – Editor.]

         THE ADOPTION TO BE THE SONS OF GOD is another effect of baptism: “For 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.” [Gal. 3:26–27.]

         FAITH IS CONFIRMED AND GRACE INCREASED BY VIRTUE OF PRAYER UNTO GOD.  This is the natural and constant effect of sincere and devout prayer; and we may rest assured that God will not fail to hear those who call upon him at the performance of the holy rite of baptism.

         Baptism therefore is a federal admission into Christianity; it is the seal of a contract in which all the privileges and blessings of the Gospel are on God’s part conditionally promised to the persons baptized; and they on the other hand engage by a solemn profession and vow to maintain the doctrines and observe the precepts of the Christian religion.

         The spiritual effects of baptism are clearly asserted in the ancient ecclesiastical writers; and nothing can mark more strongly the high idea they entertained of the importance of this sacrament, than the names which they applied to it; they call it “a divine indulgence; an absolution from sin; birth in water; a regeneration of the soul; the layer of regeneration; the water of life; the unction; the seal of the Lord; the illumination; the salvation; the garment of immortality; the priesthood of the laity; and the signature of the faith.”*

         *[Wail and Bingham, book xi. c. 1.  [Caro nostra regenerabitur per incorruptionem, quemadmodum est anima nostra regenerata per fidem.  De Civit. Dei, lib. xx. c. 5. t. vii. p. 577.  And – Sicut ergo duae sunt regenerationes, una secundum fidem, quae nunc fit per baptismum; alia secundum carnem, quae fiet in ejus incorruptione atque immortalitate per judicium magnum atque novissimum.  Ib. p. 580.

            Sicut generatio carnis peccati per unum Adam ad condemnationem trahit omnes qui eo modo generantur, sic generatio spiritus gratiae per unum Jesum Christum ad justificationem vitae aeternae ducit omnes qui eo modo praedestinati regenerantur.  Sacramentum autem baptismi profecto sacramentum regenerationis est.  De Pecccat. Remis. lib. ii. sect. 43.  Op. t. x. p.63.

            Again, speaking of St. Ambrose: Qui neminem dixit justificari a peccato, nisi cui fuerint per baptismum dimissa omnia peccata.  Contra Julian. Pelag. lib. ii. t. x. p. 546.

            St. Chrysostom speaks of it as του μυστικου τουτου καθαρμου; and enumerates the titles given it in Scripture.  Ad Illum. Catech. i. t. ii. p. 228.  He then supposes that the question is asked, Why, if the laver remits all our sins, is it called, not the laver of the remission of sins, or the laver of purification, but the laver of regeneration?  He answers: Because it does not simply remit sins, and purge away our offences, but so as if we were born again.  And he continues by comparing the water to a furnace, in which a vessel or a golden image might be cast, not only to cleanse, but altogether to renew it.  Ib. p. 229.

            And St. Basil says, Αρχη μοι ζωης το βαπτισμα, και πρωτη ημερων εκεινη η της παλιγγενεσιας ημερα.  De Spiritu Sancto. lib. ii. c. 10.  Op. t. iii. p. 22. – Editor.]]

         The last part of this Article asserts the lawfulness of infant baptism.  The command given to Abraham, and repeated by Moses, to circumcise children on the eighth day after their birth, plainly proves that there is no impropriety in admitting infants into a religious covenant; and this command, when applied to baptism, has the greater weight, as it is generally agreed that circumcision was a type of baptism.  The practice of the Jews in baptizing proselytes has been already noticed; and it is further to be observed, that if a proselyte had infant children born to him when he was himself baptized, they were also baptized, though children born after the father had embraced the Jewish religion were not baptized.  Baptism was instituted by our Saviour in very general terms, “Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [Matt. 28:19.]  In this form of baptism there is no restriction or exception whatever.  Nations consist of persons of all ages, and therefore infants, as well as adults, must be included in this command as the objects of baptism; and this inference will be the more evident, when we reflect that the commission was given to Jews, who were accustomed to see infants baptized; and they would of course consider themselves authorized to receive converts to Christianity in the same manner as they had received converts to Judaism.  Had our Saviour intended any alteration in the Jewish practice of baptizing, or any limitation with respect to age, he would not have failed to specify it.  “If the baptism of infants,” says Dr. Lightfoot, “had been as unheard of as unseen, and as few, before the coming of John, as circumcision was till it pleased God to enjoin it to Abraham, then there is no doubt but God would have either marked his approbation of it by an example, or have enjoined it by command, as we know that circumcision was enjoined.  But since, among all the rites of the Jews, there was not a single one more public, or more known, than this very baptism of infants, which was as familiar to them as their circumcision, whether we regard the time when John appeared, or many ages prior to him, it by no means follows, that an example, or an express command, was as necessary concerning the baptizing of infants when John came, as it was concerning the circumcision of infants or others in the time of Abraham, as being a thing which had been neither heard of, nor seen in all the world, before it was instituted by God.” [Harm. in Joan. 1:25.]  There is nothing in the nature of baptism which renders it improper or unsuitable for children: it is a federal right instituted for the benefit of those who receive it; and parents, whose duty it is to provide for the eternal as well as for the temporal welfare of their children, are, by the law of nature, empowered to cause them to enter into this engagement, which they may themselves hereafter ratify and confirm; and the Jewish writers state this as the ground upon which they required the infant children of proselytes to be baptized.  If parents be commanded to “bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” [Eph. 6:4.] surely it is incumbent upon them to take care that they be mad members of that religion, in the precepts and doctrines of which they are to be instructed.  If the promise be made to us and to our children, without any limitation of age, why should they not all, since they are to partake of the promise, partake also of its sign? especially since the infants of the Jews were all admitted into the religion of Moses by that solemn sign which was figurative of baptism; and our Saviour and his Apostles called upon the Jews to relinquish the ordinances of the Mosaic dispensation for those of the Christian.  Our Saviour encouraged those who brought little children to him; he put his hands upon them, and declared that of such is the kingdom of heaven. [Mark 10:14.]  As the Apostles baptized whole families at once, [Acts 10:48, 16:15, 33.  1 Cor. 1:16.] and no mention is made in the Acts or Epistles of adults only being baptized, we conclude that among others they baptized children.  There are passages in the remaining works of Clement of Rome and Hermas, both apostolical fathers, which seem to indicate that infant baptism prevailed when they wrote.  Justin Martyr [Apol. 2da.] and Irenaeus [Adv. Haer. lib. ii. cap. 39.] in the second century, and Origen [Hom. 14. in Lucam.] in the beginning of the third, expressly mention infant baptism as the constant practice of their times; and the same thing appears from an application of Fidus, an African bishop, to Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, in which he takes for granted the custom and propriety of baptizing infants, and only desires to know whether they may be baptized before the eighth day after their birth, that being the day on which circumcision was performed by the law of Moses.  This question was considered in an African synod, held A.D. 254, at which sixty-six bishops were present, and it was unanimously decreed, that “it was not necessary to defer baptism to that day; and that the grace of God, or baptism, should be given to all, and especially to infants.”  This decision was communicated in a letter from Cyprian to Fidus. [Cyp.  Ep. 59.]  In the fourth century Ambrose says, that infants, who are baptized, are reformed from wickedness to the primitive state of their nature [Comment. in Lucam, c. 10.]; and at the end of that century the famous controversy took place between Augustin and Pelagius concerning original sin; in which the uniform practice of baptizing infants from the days of the Apostles was admitted by both parties, although they assigned different reasons for it; and Caelestius, a follower of Pelagius, when examined before the council of Carthage, A.D. 412, acknowledged that infants stand in need of baptism, and that they ought to be baptized.  Tertullian is the only ancient author [Gregory Nazianzen gave it as his opinion, that children ought not to be baptized till they were three years old; but as children of that age are certainly incapable of answering for themselves, we are scarcely to consider him as an enemy to the principles of infant baptism.] who objects to infant baptism; and his manner of opposing it shows evidently that it was the general practice in his time; but even he contends that infants ought to be baptized if their lives be in danger, which is in fact allowing the principle upon which infant baptism is founded.  His opinion was so little regarded that Augustin says, he never heard of any Christian, catholic or sectary, who taught any other doctrine than that infants are to be baptized. [De Pecc. Mor. cap. 6.]  Infant baptism is not mentioned in the canons of any council, general or provincial, nor is it inserted as an object of faith in any creed; and thence we infer that it was a point not controverted at any period of the ancient church; and we know that it was the practice in all established national churches.  Wall says, that Peter Bruis, a Frenchman, who lived about the year 1030 (whose followers were called Petrobrussians), was the first Anti-paedobaptist teacher who had a regular congregation. [Part ii. 7.]  The Anabaptists of Germany took their rise in the beginning of the fifteenth century, but it does not appear that there was any congregation of Anabaptists in England till the year 1640.

         Upon these grounds we conclude that THE BAPTISM OF YOUNG CHILDREN IS IN ANYWISE TO BE RETAINED IN THE CHURCH AS MOST AGREEABLE WITH THE INSTITUTION OF CHRIST.  It is to be observed that it is not here asserted that the baptism of young children is itself commanded in the Gospel, for there certainly is no such command; it is only declared to be MOST AGREEABLE WITH THE INSTITUTION OF CHRIST; that is, it is more conformable to the general tenor and principles of the Christian religion that infants should be baptized, than that baptism should be deferred till they arrive at an age of maturity.

         The Papists admit of the baptism of infants by midwives, or any layman, upon the unauthorized principle that no person whatever can be saved who has not been baptized.  Lay baptism [See Bingham’s “Scholastical History of Lay Baptism”; and Laurence’s “Lay Baptism Invalid,” edited by Rev. W. Scott, M.A. – Editor.] was also allowed in our Church for a few years after the Reformation; but in the year 1575, by which time the Scriptures were more examined, and the nature of sacraments was better understood, it was unanimously decreed in convocation, that baptism should be administered by none but lawful ministers.  The Papists also mix oil and balsam with the water; but water only is mentioned in the New Testament.


Article 28.

Of the Lord’s Supper:

         The Supper of the Lord is not only a Sign of the Love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather 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 a 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.


         The institution of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper by our Saviour, as has been already observed, is recorded by the first three Evangelists, and by the Apostle St. Paul, whose words differ very little from those of his companion St. Luke; and the only difference between St. Matthew and St. Mark is, that the latter omits the words “for the remission of sins.” [St. Mark omits other things also: he omits the mention of the bitterness of Peter’s weeping. – Editor.]  There is so general an agreement among them all, that it will only be necessary to recite the words of one of them, and I shall select those of St. Matthew: “Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve” (to eat the Passover which had been prepared by his direction).  “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.” [Matt. 26:20, 26–28.]  The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper being thus instituted was adopted by all early Christians, with very few exceptions: and no modem sect rejects it except the Quakers, and some Mystics, who make the whole of religion to consist of contemplative love.

         In the early times of the Gospel the celebration of the Lord’s Supper was both frequent, [In some places it was administered every day.] and numerously attended.  Voluntary absence was considered as a culpable neglect; and exclusion from it, by the sentence of the Church, as a severe punishment. [Exclusion from the communion was equivalent to exclusion from all religious services, in so far as they pertained to believers.  The eucharist was the leitourgia, the actual service of prayer and thanksgiving.  Whatever else was done derived its dignity and efficacy solely from its relation to, and dependence upon, the sacrament. – Editor.]  Everyone brought an offering proportioned to his ability; these offerings were chiefly of bread and wine, and the priests consecrated as much as was necessary for the administration of the eucharist.  The clergy had a part of what was left for their maintenance; and the rest furnished the repast called Αγαπη, or love feast, which immediately followed the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and of which all the communicants, both rich and poor, partook.  The Αγαπη is always mentioned by the fathers as an apostolic institution, and we have the following account of it in Chrysostom: – “When all the faithful met together, and had heard the sermon and prayers, and received the communion, they did not immediately return home upon the breaking up of the assembly, but the rich and wealthy brought meat and food from their own houses, and called the poor and made a common table, a common dinner, a common banquet in the church.  And so from the fellowship in eating, and from the reverence of the place, they were all strictly united in charity one with another, and much pleasure and profit arose from thence to them all; for the poor were comforted, and the rich reaped the fruits of their benevolence both from those whom they fed, and from God.” [Hom. 21.]  These feasts were at first conducted with great propriety and decorum; but they were afterwards found liable to abuses, and were discontinued.  Indeed St. Paul saw occasion, in his time, to censure some irregularities which took place at the love feasts of Corinth.

         As the Sacrament of Baptism was by no means novel in its kind to the Jews, so the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper greatly resembled the religious feasts to which they were accustomed.  At those feasts they partook of bread and wine in a serious and devout manner, after a solemn blessing or thanksgiving to God for his manifold mercies.  And this was particularly the case at the feast of the Passover, which our Saviour was celebrating with his Apostles when he instituted this holy sacrament.  At that feast they commemorated the deliverance of their own peculiar nation from the bondage of Egypt; and there could not be a more suitable opportunity for establishing an ordinance which was to commemorate the infinitely more important deliverance of all mankind from the bondage of sin.  The former deliverance was typical of the latter; and instead of keeping the Jewish Passover, which was now to be abrogated, they were to commemorate “Christ, their Passover, who was sacrificed for them”; the bread broken was to represent his body offered upon the cross, and the wine poured out was to represent his blood, which was shed for the salvation of men.  The nourishment which these elements afford to our bodies, is figurative of the salutary effects which the thing signified has upon our souls.  And as the celebration of the Passover was not only a constant memorial of the deliverance of the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, but also a symbolical action, by which they had a title to the blessings of the old covenant, so the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not only a constant memorial of the death of Christ, but also a pledge or earnest to the communicant of the benefits promised by the new covenant.  As the Passover was instituted the night before the actual deliverance of the Israelites, so the Lord’s Supper was instituted the night before the redemption of man was accomplished by the crucifixion of the blessed Jesus.  It is to be partaken of by all who look for remission of sins by the death of Christ; we are not only to cherish that hope in our minds, and express it in our devotions, but we are to give an outward proof of our reliance upon the merits of his passion as the means of our salvation, by eating that bread and drinking that wine, which are typical representations of the body and blood of Christ, “who by his one oblation of himself once offered, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” [Communion Service.]

         The Article begins with stating, that THE SUPPER OF THE LORD IS NOT ONLY A SIGN OF THE LOVE THAT CHRISTIANS OUGHT TO HAVE AMONG THEMSELVES ONE TO ANOTHER; BUT RATHER IT IS A SACRAMENT OF OUR REDEMPTION BY CHRIST’S DEATH.  The commemoration of Christ’s death, as the ground of our hope of everlasting life, cannot but suggest to our minds a lively sense of Christ’s love to mankind, and our obligation of mutual kindness to each other: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [John 15:13–14.] – “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall, all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34–35.]  We are called upon jointly to commemorate the love of Christ, as the servants of one master, and the members of one body; that while our hearts are warmed with religious gratitude and devout affection to our heavenly Benefactor, the very act of uniting in the celebration of this holy and important rite may produce in us feelings of kindness and benevolence towards those, whom we see partaking of the same covenant of grace, and rejoicing in the same hope of everlasting happiness.  But the death of Christ was not merely a proof of his love to mankind, it was also an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; and, therefore, the Lord’s Supper, which commemorates that sacrifice, may justly be denominated A SACRAMENT OF OUR REDEMPTION, and more especially, since our Saviour, in the institution of the Lord’s Supper, as recorded by St. Matthew, expressly says, that the cup is to be drunk in remembrance, that his blood was shed “for the remission of sins.” [Matt. 26:28.]

         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. “The cup of blessing,” says St. Paul, “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?” [1 Cor. 10:16.]  The expressions in the Article, PARTAKING OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, and in St. Paul’s Epistle, “The communion of the body and blood of Christ,” are synonymous, and signify that those who worthily receive the Lord’s Supper share in the benefits which were purchased for mankind by the death of Christ, such as, reconciliation to God, the assistance of his Holy Spirit, the strengthening of faith, and final remission of sins in those who continue to believe and obey the Gospel.  The Lord’s Supper, therefore, fully answers the description of “sacraments ordained by Christ,” as given in the twenty-fifth Article, that they “are 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.”

         The Article next condemns the popish doctrine of transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine into the real substance of Christ’s body and blood in the administration of the Lord’s Supper.*

         *[Principio docet sancta synodus et aperte ac simpliciter profitetur, in almo sancto eucharistiae sacramento, post panis et vini consecrationem, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christium, verum Deum atque hominem, vere, realiter, ac substantialiter, sub specie illarum rerum sensibilium contineri.  Sess. xiii.  Decretum de Eucharistia, c. i.

            Quoniam autem Christus Redemptor noster, corpus suum id, quod sub specie panis offerebat, vere esse dixit: ideo persuasum semper in Ecclesia Dei fuit, idque nunc denuo sancta haec synodus declarat, per consecrationem panis et vini conversionem fieri totius substantiae panis in substantiam corporis Christi Domini nostri, et totius substantiae vini in substantiam sanguinis ejus.  Quae conversio convenienter et proprie a Sancta Catholica Ecclesia Transubstantiatio est appellata.  Ib. c. iv.

            So St. Chrysostom: – Θυσια προσερχη φρικτη και αγια·  εσφαγμενος προκειται ο Χριστος.  De Prodit. Iudae. Homil. ii.  Op. t. p. 394.  And after observing with what reverence the angels approached and watched at the tomb of Jesus; angels, so much excelling us by the superiority of their nature; he asks, whether we can approach, without fear and trembling: αυτη τη τραπεζη τη τον αμνον εχουση, the very table itself which bears the Lamb?  De Coemeterio et Cruce, t. vi. p. 401. – Editor.]

         The idea of Christ’s bodily presence in the eucharist was first started in the beginning of the eighth century, and it owed its rise to the indiscretion of preachers, and writers of warm imaginations, who, instead of explaining judiciously the lofty figures of Scripture language upon this subject, understood and urged them in their literal sense.  Thus the true meaning of these expressions was grossly perverted; but as this conceit seemed to exalt the nature of the holy sacrament it was eagerly received in that ignorant and superstitious age; and when once introduced, it soon spread, and was by degrees carried farther and farther, by persons still less guarded in their application of these metaphorical phrases, till at length, in the twelfth century, the actual change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, by the consecration of the priest, was pronounced to be a Gospel truth, by the pretended authority of the church of Rome.  The first writer who maintained this doctrine was Paschase Radbert in the ninth century, before it was firmly established; and the first public assertion of it was at the third Lateran Council, in the year 1215, after it had been for some time openly avowed by the popes, and, in obedience to their injunctions, inculcated by the clergy.  It is said to have been brought into England about the middle of the eleventh century by Lanfranc, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; but the term transubstantiation was not known till the thirteenth century, when it was invented by Stephen, Bishop of Autun. [De Sacr. Alt. c. 13.]  This has always been a favourite doctrine of the church of Rome, as it impressed the common people with higher notions of the power of the clergy, and therefore served to increase their influence.  It met, however, with opposition upon its original introduction, particularly from Bertram and John Scott; and again at the first dawn of the Reformation both upon the Continent and in this country.  It was objected to by the Waldenses: and there are strong expressions against it in some parts of Wickliff’s works.  Luther, in contradiction to the other reformers, only changed transubstantiation into consubstantiation, which means that the substance of Christ’s body and blood is present in the holy sacrament with the substance of bread and wine; and his perseverance in this opinion was a principal cause of the division among the reformed churches.  He was opposed by Zwingli and Calvin, but the confession of Augsburg, which was drawn up by Melancthon, favours consubstantiation. [De Coena Domini docent, quod cum pane et vino vere exhibeantur corpus et sanguis Christi vescentibus in Coena Domini.  X. Art. Fidei Praecip.  Nec est inane spectaculum, sed Christus revera adest, dans per hoc ministerium suum corpus et sanguinem manducanti et bibenti.  Corpus Doc. Christ. p. 516. – Editor.]  There is, however, considerable doubt concerning the real sentiments of Melancthon upon this subject, especially in the latter part of his life.  Some of our early English reformers were Lutherans, and consequently they were at first disposed to lean towards consubstantiation; but they seem soon to have discovered their error, for in the Articles of 1552 it is expressly said, “A faithful man ought not either to believe or openly confess the real and bodily presence, as they term it, of Christ’s flesh and blood in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.”  This part of the Article was omitted in 1562, probably with a view to give less offence to those who maintained the corporal presence, and to comprehend as many as possible in the established Church.

         In arguing against this doctrine, we may first observe that it is contradicted by our senses, since we see and taste that the bread and wine after consecration, and when we actually receive them, and continue to be bread and wine without any change or alteration whatever.  And again, was it possible for Christ, when he instituted the Lord’s Supper, to take his own body and his own blood into his own hands, and deliver them to every one of his Apostles?  Or was it possible for the Apostles to understand our Saviour’s command to drink his blood literally, when they were forbidden, under the severest penalties, to taste blood by the Law of Moses, of which not only they themselves, but Christ also, had been a strict observer?  They expressed not the slightest surprise or reluctance when Christ delivered to them the bread and wine, which could not have been the case had they conceived themselves commanded to eat the real body and drink the real blood of their Lord and Master.  The bread and wine must have been considered by them as symbolic; and indeed the whole transaction was evidently figurative in all its parts; it was instituted, as was just now observed, when the Jews, by killing the paschal lamb commemorated their deliverance from Egyptian bondage by the hand of Moses, which was typical of the deliverance of all mankind from the bondage of sin by the death of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and as the occasion was typical, so likewise were the words used by our Saviour: “This is my body which is broken, and this is my blood which is shed.”  But his body was not yet broken, nor was his blood yet shed; and therefore the breaking of the bread, and the pouring out of the wine, were then figurative of what was about to happen, as they are now figurative of what has actually happened.  He also said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood” [1 Cor. 11:25.]; which words could not be meant in a literal sense; the cup could not be changed into a covenant, though it might be a representation or memorial of it.  Our Saviour called the wine, after it was consecrated, “the fruit of the vine,” [Matt. 26:29.] which implied that no change had taken place in its real nature.  Since then the words, “This is my body, and this is my blood,” upon which the Papists pretend to support this doctrine, were manifestly used in a figurative sense, and must have been so understood by the Apostles, to whom they were originally addressed, we may safely pronounce that TRANSUBSTANTIATION (OR THE CHANGE OF THE SUBSTANCE OF BREAD AND WINE) IN THE SUPPER OF THE LORD CANNOT BE PROVED BY HOLY WRIT.

         That the early Christians understood our Saviour’s words in a figurative sense, appears from the writings of more than twenty fathers, without a single authority on the opposite side; I shall quote only two of the numerous passages which might be adduced upon this subject, the one from a Greek, and the other from a Latin father. Origen says, that “the understanding our Saviour’s words, of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, according to the letter, is a letter that kills.” [Hom. 7. in Levit.]  Augustin, in laying down rules for judging of the figurative expressions of Scripture, cites these words, “Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you, which,” says he, “seems to command a crime and a horrid action, and therefore it is a figure commanding us to communicate in the passion of our Lord, and to lay up in our memory with delight and profit, that his flesh was crucified and wounded for us.” [Lib. iii. cap. 16. de Doct. Christ.]  To these authorities I will add that of Pope Gelasius, who lived at the end of the fifth century; “The sacraments of the body and blood of Christ,” says he, “are a divine thing, for which reason we become by them partakers of the divine nature: and yet the substance of bread and wine does not cease to exist, and the image and likeness of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in holy mysteries.” [Lib. de Daub. Nat. Christ.]  As a further proof of the sentiments of the early Christians upon this point, I shall observe that the fathers constantly call the consecrated elements, the figures, the signs, the symbols, the types and antitypes, the commemoration, the representation, the mysteries, and the sacraments, of the body and blood of Christ: which expressions plainly show that they did not consider the bread and wine as changed into the very substance of Christ’s body and blood.

         BUT IT IS REPUGNANT TO THE PLAIN WORDS OF SCRIPTURE; for St. Paul says, “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” [1 Cor. 11:26.]: that therefore which is eaten in the eucharist is still bread.  This text may of itself be considered as decisive against the doctrine of transubstantiation; and the expression, “Ye do show the Lord’s death till he come,” is another proof that the institution was figurative of the death of Christ.

         OVERTHROWETH THE NATURE OF A SACRAMENT: for the nature of a sacrament is to be a sign or representation, whereas the doctrine of transubstantiation supposes that the real body and blood of Christ are eaten and drunk in the eucharist.  [Quid enim sunt aliud quaeque corporalia sacramenta, nisi quaedam quasi verba visibilia, sacrosancta quidem, veruntamen mutabilia et temporalia.  August. contra Faust. lib. xix.  Op. t. viii. p. 321.  Nonne semel immolatus est Christus in se ipso, et tamen in sacramento non solum per omnes Paschae sollemnitates, sed omni die populis immolatur, nec utique mentitur qui interrogatus eum responderit immolari?  Si enim sacramenta quamdam similitudinem earum rerum, quarum sacramenta sunt, non haberent, omnino sacramenta non essent.  Ex hac autem similitudine plerumque etiam ipsarum rerum nomina accipiunt.  Sicut ergo secundum quemdam modum sacramentum corporis Christi corpus Christi est, sacramentum sanguinis Christi sanguis Christi est, ita sacramentum fidei fides est.  August. ad Ital. Epis. xcix.  Op. t. ii. p. 267. – Editor.]

         AND HATH GIVEN OCCASION TO MANY SUPERSTITIONS: this might be expected; for those who supposed that the bread and wine were by consecration changed into the body and blood of Christ, would naturally fall into superstitious practices concerning them; and accordingly we find that the Papists lift up the host with the most pompous solemnities, and “add (as Archbishop Seeker expresses it) idolatrous practice to erroneous belief, worshipping on their knees a bit of bread for the Son of God.”  It is the custom of our church to kneel at the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; but we do it not to acknowledge any corporal presence of Christ, but to worship him who is everywhere present, the invisible God.  We consider kneeling as a posture well suited to those prayers and praises which we then offer up to our heavenly Father, and as expressive of that piety and humility which are essential to the worthy receiving of this holy sacrament.  In the primitive church it was received by the communicants sometimes standing and sometimes kneeling: but there is no trace in any ancient writer of its having ever been received sitting.  The Papists also applied the consecrated wafer to the cure of diseases; put the wafers into the mouths of the communicants, lest a single crumb should fall to the ground; burnt what remained to ashes for the same reason, and were guilty of several other superstitious practices, which are enumerated in the last member of this Article.

         THE BODY OF CHRIST IS GIVEN, TAKEN, AND EATEN IN THE SUPPER ONLY IN A HEAVENLY AND SPIRITUAL MANNER; AND THE MEAN, WHEREBY THE BODY OF CHRIST IS RECEIVED AND EATEN IN THE SUPPER, IS FAITH.  This part of the Article is evidently the consequence of what has been already proved.  Since the body of Christ is not actually present in the eucharist, we can only eat it spiritually.  Those that come duly prepared to this holy sacrament, and receive it rightly and worthily, are spiritually partakers of his body and blood; “they become one with Christ, and Christ with them”; and they really and truly partake of the benefits of his passion, as living members of his body; as he is the bread of life, they are then nourished, strengthened, and supported by him; they receive him by faith; by faith they feed upon him; and the divine life, which is thus begun in their souls, is In a spiritual manner upheld and carried on in them: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day; for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” [John 6:54–55.  See Dr. Turton’s valuable work on the Eucharist.  Editor.]  Thus, instead of maintaining the groundless doctrine of the corporal presence of the body and blood, of the flesh and bones of Christ, which is contradicted by our senses, is equally irreconcilable with reason and Scripture, and was unknown in the Christian church for the first seven centuries, we own a real spiritual presence of Him, who is “the way, the truth, and the life,” [John 14:6.] and profess our belief, that while we worthily partake of the appointed emblems of his body and blood, an inward grace is communicated, which purifies our hearts, fortifies our minds against the temptations of the world,’ and animates our efforts “in pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Phil. 3:14.]

         THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER WAS NOT BY CHRIST’S ORDINANCE RESERVED, CARRIED ABOUT, LIFTED UP, AND WORSHIPPED. This last part of the Article refers also to the Papists, among whom it is the custom to reserve part of the consecrated bread, for the purpose of giving it to the sick, or rather absent persons, at some future time; they also carry about the host, when consecrated, in solemn procession, elevate it with superstitious ceremony, and worship it in the same manner as they would worship Christ himself. None of these practices are warranted by Christ’s ordinance, or any authority of Scripture; they are utterly inconsistent with the simplicity and spiritual nature of Christian sacraments; they were unknown in the primitive ages of the Gospel, and have evidently originated from the absurd doctrine of transubstantiation.


Article 29.

Of the Wicked Which Eat Not the Body of Christ in the Use of the Lord’s Supper.

         The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively Faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their Teeth (as St. Augustin 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 connected with the preceding, and follows from it; it was probably directed against the Papists who contend that the mere receiving the Lord’s Supper procures remission of sins ex opere operato, as it were mechanically, whatever may be the character and disposition of the communicant.  And indeed, if with the church of Rome we believed the actual presence of Christ’s body in the eucharist, then all persons, good and bad, who received the sacrament, would equally receive the body of Christ.  But we have shown in the preceding Article, that he is present only in a spiritual manner, and that “the mean, whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten, is faith”; consequently, they who have not faith do not receive Christ, that is, THE WICKED AND SUCH AS BE VOID OF A LIVELY FAITH, ALTHOUGH THEY DO CARNALLY AND VISIBLY PRESS WITH THEIR TEETH (AS ST. AUGUSTIN SAITH) THE SACRAMENT OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST; YET IN NO WISE ARE THEY PARTAKERS OF CHRIST.  The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a federal act, and if men neglect to perform the conditions required of them by due preparation and suitable disposition of mind, they will derive no benefit from eating and drinking the bread and wine, THEY WILL IN NO WISE BE PARTAKERS OF CHRIST, that is, they will have no share whatever in those blessings which Christ purchased by his death.

         BUT RATHER TO THEIR CONDEMNATION DO EAT AND DRINK THE SIGN OR SACRAMENT OF SO GREAT A THING.  The unworthy receiving of this holy sacrament must necessarily be a sin; it is a mark of presumption and insincerity; it dishonours God, and profanes his institution; and St. Paul assures us that it will draw down punishment upon us, as has been noticed at the end of the twenty-fifth Article; but we are not to suffer unfounded scruples upon this subject to deter us from the performance of an essential duty.

         The doctrine of this Article is clearly asserted in the ancient fathers: Origen says, “Christ is the true food: whosoever eats him shall live forever; of whom no wicked person can eat; for if it were possible that any, who continue wicked, should eat the Word that was made flesh, it had never been written, Whoso eateth this bread shall live forever.” [Comment. in Matt. 15.]  And again, “The good eat the living bread which came down from heaven; but the wicked eat dead bread, which is death.”  Jerome says, “They that are not holy in body and spirit, do neither eat the flesh of Jesus nor drink his blood; of which he said, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.” [In cap. lxvi. Issiae.]  And Augustin, in the passage alluded to in the Article, after quoting this verse in St. John’s Gospel, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,” [John 6:56.] adds, “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 these means does not dwell in Christ, and in whom Christ does 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 has presumed to come impure to the sacrament 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.” [Tractat. 26. in Joan.]


Article 30.

Of Both Kinds.

         The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people; for both the Parts of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s Ordinance and Commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian Men alike.


         It appears from the unanimous testimony of the fathers, and from all the ancient rituals and liturgies, that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was, in the early ages of the Church, administered in both kinds, as well to the laity as to the clergy.  It is therefore unnecessary to quote authorities upon a point which has never been called in question; but I will just state that Pope Gelasius, in the fifth century, whom I mentioned under the twenty-eighth Article, having heard that the Manichaeans [It was a principle of the Manicheans never to taste wine upon any occasion.] attended the assemblies of the Christians, and partook of the bread, but not of the wine, in the Lord’s Supper, decreed, that “all persons should either communicate in the sacrament entirely, or be entirely excluded from it; for that such a dividing of one and the same sacrament could not be done without a heinous sacrilege.”

         The practice of denying the cup to the laity arose out of the doctrine of transubstantiation.  The belief that the sacramental bread and wine were actually converted into the body and blood of Christ, naturally produced, in a weak and superstitious age, an anxious fear lest any part of them should be lost or wasted.  To prevent any thing of this kind in the bread, small wafers were used, which were put at once into the mouths of the communicants by the officiating ministers; but no expedient could be devised to guard against the occasional spilling of the wine in administering it to large congregations.  The bread was sopped in the wine, and the wine was conveyed by tubes into the mouth; but all in vain; accidents still happened, and. therefore it was determined that the priests should entirely withhold the cup from the laity.  It is to be supposed that a change of this sort, in so important an ordinance as that of the Lord’s Supper, could not be effected at once.  The first attempt seems to have been made in the twelfth century; it was gradually submitted to, and was at last established by the authority of the Council of Constance, A.D. 1414; but in their decree they acknowledged that “Christ did institute this sacrament in both kinds, and that the faithful, in the primitive church, did receive in both kinds; yet a practice being reasonably introduced to avoid some dangers and scandals, they appoint the custom to continue of consecrating in both kinds, and of giving to the laity only in one kind,” thus presuming to depart from the positive command of our Lord respecting the manner of administering the sign of the covenant between, himself and mankind.  From that time it has been the invariable practice of the church of Rome to confine the cup to the priests.  And it was again admitted at the Council of Trent, that the Lord’s Supper was formerly administered in both kinds to all the communicants, but it was openly contended that the Church had power to make the alteration, and that they had done it for weighty and just causes.*  These causes are not stated in the canons of the council.  The reformed churches, even the Lutheran, which maintained the doctrine of consubstantiation, restored the cup to the laity.  In a convocation held in the first year of Edward the Sixth’s reign, it was unanimously voted that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be received in both kinds by the laity as well as the clergy; and therefore it is very remarkable that there was nothing upon this subject in the Articles of 1552: both this and the preceding Article were added in 1562.

         *[1. Si quis dixerit, ex Dei praecepto, vel necessitate salutis omnes et singulos Christi fideles utramque speciem sanctissimi Eucharistiae Sacramenti sumere debere; anathema sit.  2. Si quis dixerit, Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam non justis causis et rationibus adductam fuisse, ut laicos, atque etiam clericos non conficientes, sub panis tantummodo specie communicaret; aut in eo errasse; anathema sit.  3. Si quis negaverit, totum et integrum Christum omnium gratiarum fontem et auctorem, sub una panis specie sumi, quia, ut quidam falso asserunt, non secundum ipsius Christi institutionem sub utraque specie sumatur; anathema sit.  Sess. xxi. Can. de Com, sub utraque Specie. – Editor.]

         If we look at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, as recorded by the Evangelists, we shall not only find the same express and positive command to the Apostles to partake equally of both kinds, but we may observe a difference with respect to the cup, which must be decisive upon the question in the judgment of all who allow the Scriptures to be the rule of their faith and practice, and which difference is so marked, that it seems as it were a warning to the Church against any corruption of this sort.  According to St. Matthew, when Christ delivered the bread he said, “Take, eat, this is my body”; but when he gave the cup to them, he said, “Drink ye all of it.” [Matt. 26:27.]  And St. Mark, after relating that Christ gave the cup to the Apostles, adds, “And they all drank of it” [Mark 14:23.]; but he says nothing of the same kind concerning their eating the bread, although it is implied.  Besides this application of the word all, to the wine and not to the bread, in these two instances, we may further observe, that the words used upon giving the bread are not so full as those used upon giving the wine; in the former case Christ says, “Take, eat, this is my body”; but in the latter he says, “Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” [Matt. 26:28.]  It is material to notice the reason assigned by our Saviour, why all the Apostles were to drink of the cup, “for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”: all, therefore, who stand in need of remission of sins, are to drink of the cup, that is, all mankind, laity as well as clergy.  And St. Paul writes to the Corinthians as being accustomed to receive the Lord’s Supper in both kinds: “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.  Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” [1 Cor. 11:26–28.]  And again, in the same epistle, he says, “By one spirit we are all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one spirit” [1 Cor. 12:13.]; whence it is evident that all the Corinthians had partaken of the cup.  And whenever Scripture is thus explicit, we hold ourselves bound to obey and follow it, and maintain that it cannot be superseded by any authority of man.  It is incumbent upon us to administer the sacrament as prescribed by Christ; and it is impious either to alter the institution, or question its propriety.

         It is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to mention a conceit of the Papists, who, finding it impossible to deny that the Apostles received the Lord’s Supper in both kinds, pretend that they received it as priests, and not as sinners; but this assertion is contradicted by our Saviour’s own words, just now quoted from St. Matthew’s Gospel, in which he commands them to drink the cup “for the remission of sins”; and in any case this could never justify the distinction made by the Papists between the bread and the wine.  And, besides, the Apostles did not receive their permanent commission to preach the Gospel till after the resurrection of Christ, and the Lord’s Supper was instituted the night before the crucifixion.  There is, in short, no one tenet of the church of Rome in more direct opposition to Scripture, nor has any one of its doctrines or practices given greater offence than the denial of the cup to the laity.  Even many who believed in transubstantiation contended for the necessity of giving the Lord’s Supper in both kinds to all communicants.

         In a few passages of the New Testament [Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7.] the breaking of bread is mentioned with reference to the Lord’s Supper, without any notice being taken of the wine.  This arises from the conciseness with which the writers of the New Testament are apt to express themselves: and it by no means proves that the breaking of bread was not accompanied by the drinking of wine: it rather shows that they so constantly and necessarily accompanied each other, that to mention one was thought sufficient; but it is impossible to contend that these passages authorize the practice of DENYING THE CUP OF THE LORD TO THE LAY-PEOPLE.  We may therefore conclude that BOTH PARTS OF THE LORD’S SACRAMENT, BY CHRIST’S ORDINANCE AND COMMANDMENT, OUGHT TO BE ADMINISTERED TO ALL CHRISTIAN KEN ALIKE.

         It was, for a short time, the custom for some churches to mix water with the wine in the Lord’s Supper; and in the third century some few persons thought that it was not necessary to use any wine in the administration of this sacrament; they used water only, and were thence called Aquarii; but these people were severely censured by Cyprian: “If it be not lawful,” says he, “to loose any one of the least commandments of Christ, how much more is it unlawful to break so great and so weighty an one, which so very nearly relates to the sacrament of our Lord’s passion, and of our redemption; or, by any human institution, to change it into that which is quite different from the divine institution?” [Ep. 63. ad Caec.]  And in the seventh century it was the practice to dip the bread into the wine, and so to give both kinds together; but this mode was condemned by the Council of Bascara, as being plainly repugnant to the Gospel; for Christ when he instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper gave the bread and the wine separately to his Apostles, with a separate command to eat and to drink.  In none of these variations was there any distinction made between the laity and the clergy.


Article 21.

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.


         The Papists, believing that the bread and wine are by consecration, changed into the real body and blood of Christ, consider Christ as offered up to God at every celebration of the eucharist; and maintain that this sacrifice of Christ will be the means of shortening the pains of purgatory, and of reconciling God to those who shall procure such masses to be said, whether they be living or dead.  Hence the rich are induced to give or bequeath money for this purpose, and masses are constantly said in popish churches in the name and at the request of particular persons whose salvation they are supposed to promote.  These are called solitary masses, as the priests only partake of them; and it frequently happens that several of these masses are going on at the same time at different altars in the same church.  These masses were unknown among the early Christians; and even at the Council of Mentz, at the end of Charlemagne’s reign, it was decreed that no priest should say mass alone.  Solitary masses did not come into general use till the twelfth century, soon after the doctrine of transubstantiation was established; but the belief that particular persons might be benefited by offerings made in their name at the Lord’s table was more ancient; and the custom of praying for the dead at the administration of the Lord’s Supper was as old as the time of Chrysostom.*  From these practices to that of offering private masses for the dead or living, the transition was easy, with the assistance of the newly established doctrine of transubstantiation; and more especially as these masses were made the source of great wealth to the clergy.

         *[St. Augustin, speaking of the death of his mother, says, Et inspira, Domine meus, Deus meus, inspira servis tuis, fratribus meis, filiis tuis, dominis meis, quibus et voce, et corde, et literis servio, ut quotquot haec legerint, meminerint ad altare tuum Monicae famulae tuae, cum Patricio quondam ejus conjuge, per quorum carnem introduxisti me in hanc vitam.  Confes. lib. ix. c. 13.  St. Chrysostom describes it as an essential duty of the priest to pray God to be merciful to the sins ου των ζωντων μονον, αλλα και των απελθοντων.  De Sacerd. lib. vi.  Op. t. i. p. 424.  Again: speaking of the dead, he says, If he was a sinner, he ought indeed to be wept for; but not only wept for, for this avails nothing, but that those things should be done which may afford him help, such as the offering of alms and oblations.  In Johan. Hom. lxii.  Op. t. viii. p. 374. – Editor.]

         The Article now to be explained is directed against this doctrine and practice of the church of Rome, and it begins by asserting that 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.  The truth of this proposition, which may be considered as preparatory to the main subject of the Article, appears so clearly from the most pointed declarations of Scripture, that they seem, as we observed of the former Article, to be a sort of prophetic warning against the corruption which was afterwards to prevail in the Christian Church: “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” [Heb. 10:10.] – “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” [1 John 2:2.] – “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people; for this he did once when he offered up himself.” [Heb. 7:27.] – “Christ entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us, by his own blood.” [Heb. 9:12.] – “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” [Heb. 9:28.] – “Every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin; but this man, after he had offered up one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down at the right hand of God.” [Heb. 10:11–12.] – “And now once at the end of the world, he hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” [Heb. 9:26.] – “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” [1 Peter 3:18.]  The above texts most clearly prove the fullness and sufficiency of the redemption purchased for us by the death of Christ; and we are expressly told that “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,” [Heb. 10:26.] or in the words of the Article, 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.  There is no authority, either from Scripture, or from the practice of the primitive church, for calling the eucharist a sacrifice in the strict sense of the word, that is, in the same sense in which Christ himself is said to have been a sacrifice.  It is true that any act of religious worship may, by a sort of metaphor, be denominated a sacrifice, since something is offered to God; and in that figurative sense the word is used both in the Old and New Testament: “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” [Psalm 142:2.] – “The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.” [Psalm 2:17.] – We are exhorted “to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,” [Heb. 13:15.] and to present “our bodies a living sacrifice.” [Rom. 12:1.]  In this larger sense we admit that the eucharist is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, and it is so called in the office of communion in our Liturgy; but it is a commemorative and not a propitiatory sacrifice; it is not itself a sacrifice for sin, but it is a feast upon a sacrifice, at which we renew our covenant with God; and by worthily partaking of this feast our faith is strengthened, and the grace of God is conveyed to us to enable us to work out our salvation.

         But some, in rejecting the popish doctrine of the sacrifice of masses, have run into the opposite extreme, and have considered the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as barely a commemorative ordinance: “But,” says Dr. Hey, “if you make the Lord’s Supper, as it was instituted by Christ, a mere commemoration, you make it a strange and unintelligible rite; for what can be more strange than eating the flesh and drinking the blood of one who is to be regarded only as an instructor and benefactor?  If we had been ordered in the sacrament to kill an animal, and shed its blood, or only to break bread, and pour out wine, the rite would have been intelligible as a simple memorial; it would have represented Christ’s death merely as a death; but it would have been a different rite from ours.  Now conceive it is a feast on a sacrifice, and all is easy and simple.  We indeed are not in the habit of sacrificing, but what is that?  Who could not understand, that when sacrifices were in use, part of the victim was served up at a religious feast, and all who partook [“See Potter’s Ant. vol. i. p. 145., which, though about Heathens, is worth our notice.  Heathens, deliberating about Christianity, must have had their minds full of ideas of heathen sacrifices; and these ideas must have affected both their conversion and their religion after conversion, besides making it easier to them to conceive and celebrate the Christian sacrifice.” – Hey.] of the material feast were understood to partake of the spiritual benefits of the sacrifice? Christ was our victim; on his body we do not feast literally, because it is in heaven; but he appointed bread to represent it; on that we can feast, and so partake of his body, that is, feast upon the victim.  Such bread is ‘the bread of life,’ because by his own appointment it represents his flesh.” [Hey’s Lectures, vol. iv. p. 348.]

         It is manifest that the eucharist was not considered as a sacrifice, in the strict sense of the word, in the primitive ages of Christianity, since the Christians were reproached by the Heathen for belonging to a religion which had no sacrifice; and the early apologists never defended themselves by saying that they had the sacrifice of the eucharist.  This argument, although a negative one, is very conclusive, as far as the opinion of the early Christians is concerned.  Justin Martyr indeed expressly says, that “the Christians have no other sacrifice but prayers and praises” [Apol. 2.]: and passages to the same effect are found in the works of Athenagoras, Minutius Felix, Origen, Tertullian, Clement and Cyril, both of Alexandria, and Arnobius; and in none of the ancient rituals is the eucharist considered as an. offering of Christ to God.

         The principle upon which the popish masses are founded is not authorized by Scripture, namely, that the offering of the elements in the holy eucharist by priests may be effectual to the salvation of others; or, that God will remit pain or guilt to persons whether living or dead, and in particular, that he will release the souls of the dead out of purgatory on account of masses offered in their name by priests.  The whole doctrine of purgatory has been shown to be unfounded; and the good effects of the eucharist are not only confined to the persons themselves who partake of it, but to those who partake of it worthily, that is, with proper dispositions.  And in the institution of this sacrament, everyone is commanded to eat and drink as for himself; without the least hint of any vicarious receiving, or that one person may eat and. drink in the name and for the sake of another.  We may, indeed, at this solemn at of commemorating the death of our Saviour, offer up our prayers, that the whole body of the Church, and all the world, may partake of the merits of Christ’s passion; but these prayers are distinct from the receiving of the eucharist, and their efficacy does not depend upon it.  The sacrifices of masses [Masses was the name for the Lord’s Supper in England till the middle of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.  [The word Mass is derived from the Latin Missa, a term used by the minister whose office it was to dismiss the people at the end of the service preceding the communion. – Editor.]] may, therefore, justly be called FABLES, since they have no authority in Scripture; and they are BLASPHEMOUS, inasmuch as they derogate from the sufficiency of the death and passion of Christ, as an expia