« PreviousContinue »
thority, 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 These Articles were repealed by Queen Mary, soon after her accession to the throne.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 MSS. 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 that there are no variations of any
It is generally believed that Cranmer and Ridley were chiefly concerned in framing the Forty-two Articles, upon which our Thirty-nine are founded. But Bishop Burnet says, that " questions relating to them were given about to many Bishops and Divines, who gave in their several answers, which 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, has preserved the Forty-two Articles published by King Edward the Sixth, and has pointed out in what respects they differ from the Thirty-nine Articles which are now in force.
These Thirty-nine Articles are arranged with great judgment and perspicuity: 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 ten next 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 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.
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 of Diversities of Opinions, and for the establishing of Consent touching true Religion.
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 invi
a Mark xii. 32. There is one God, and there is none other but He.Jer. x. 10. The Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King.
b John iv. 24. God is a spirit.
c 1 Tim. i. 17. The King eternal, immortal, invisible. d Mal. iii. 6. I am the LORD, I change not.-Jam. i. 17. e Matt. xix. 26. With God all things are possib'e. f Ps. cxlvii. 5. His understanding is infinite.
g Ps. lii. 1. The goodness of God endureth continually. h Is. xliv. 24. 1 am the Lord that maketh all things. iNch. ix. 6. Thou preservest them all.
sible; and in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
k Deut. vi. 4. Hear, O Israel; The LORD our God is one LORD.-Is. vi. 8. Also, I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us 21 John v. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.-2 Cor. xiii. 14.
This Article may be divided into two parts. The first asserts the unity of the Godhead, and gives the several attributes belonging to it; the second declares that the Godhead consists of three Persons. That there is a God might have been discovered by reason: first, from the order of causes, which leads us back to one original cause existing necessarily and of itself. 2. From the very idea or notion of a God, which implies in it a necessary existence. 3. From the creation of the world, and the order and usefulness of its several parts. 4. From the consent of all civilized nations, very few, if any, having been so brutish as to deny it. It may likewise be argued by us Christians from the force of conscience, which
This text of St. John is a disputed one, and therefore has of late not been made use of in support of the doctrine of the Trinity; there being many others, that render it unnecessary. See Commentary.