Project Canterbury

The XXXIX Articles Vindicated from the Aspersions of High Church Assailants.

By Henry Robert Percival

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ONE of the most curious and inexplicable facts in the history of modern times is that a book which makes Christ say, that “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” “this is My Body,” and “whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;” and affirms that the Church “is the pillar and ground of the truth,” should have been and is still scattered broadcast as the infallible word of God by those who deny the necessity of Baptism, the Real Presence, priestly absolution and all authority of the Church to teach! That this is an extraordinary fact has been for some time recognized among well-instructed people, and even the more consistent of those sharing these negative beliefs are now openly attacking the inspiration and authenticity of this very book. but hardly less extraordinary than this fact is another, and that in regard to the XXXIX Articles of Religion. By some extraordinary process of reasoning, these have been adopted as their own by a class of Churchmen who have insisted upon considering them, some as Lutheran; some as Calvinistic; some even as Zwinglian (mirabile dictu!) and have been flaunting them before the eyes of the public as “the bulwark of our Protestant Religion;” so powerful indeed as constant iteration of that which is false, that the Articles have grown distasteful to good Churchmen, and some even have used with regard to them depreciative expressions, styling them “the forty stripes save one inflicted upon our poor Church’s back,” and the like.”

The object of this essay is to prove the utter untenability not to say absurdity of such an estimate of the Articles, and to show that on many points, and those often the most important, the XXXIX Articles are our safety and protection against the Protestantizing and Latitudinarianizing schools of to-day. Before, however, proceeding to what I hope may prove a demonstration of the truth of this position, I must lay down some principles of interpretation. It will be remembered that [1/2] the same meeting of Convocation, which in 1571 enforced subscription to the Articles, also adopted the following: "The clergy will be careful to teach nothing in their sermons to be religiously held and believed by the people except what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, and what the Catholic Fathers, and ancient bishops have collected out of that same doctrine. And since these Articles of the Christian Religion, which have received the assent of the Bishops in this lawful and holy synod, without doubt are collected from the books of the Old and New Testament and in all points agree with the heavenly doctrine in them contained &c." (Cardwell's Synodalia, I. 126.)

This then being the case, it is evident that the intention of those who first enforced the Articles leas not to abandon the faith of them Church of old, far less to invent a new faith, but to continue on teaching that faith which was once delivered to the saints and which had been accepted semper, ubique et ab omnibus. If then in any given point, the wording of the Article seems open to two meanings that one must be the genuine sense which follows the teaching of the ancient Church. And even should the wording of the Article be hard in some few cases to reconcile with such Catholic teaching; we will remember that similar difficulties are encountered in the written word of God, as for example, when our Blessed Lord says that "'On that day and of that hour knoweth no man, no, not the Son, but the Father," and again when he says "My Father is greater than I.” In these, and many other instances, the plain and evident meaning of the words must be abandoned, and what would seem a far-fetched and unnatural sense must be attached to them because of our a priori knowledge that the evident and literal sense is not and can not be true. Those who have followed the literal grammatical sense of these two passages have found that "the letter killeth" and have been landed in Arianism. Similarly disastrous results would follow from an attempt to treat the Articles in the same manner.

This is most conspicuously the case in Article XI., where we are told "that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine," whereas the Holy Scripture says no such thing but exactly, the reverse, viz.: "By works a man is justified and not by faith only" (S. James ii. 24). But Article XX. tells us that although the Church is the Keeper of Holy Writ, "it ought not to decree anything against the same." The contradiction seems most evident, and the only method of reconciling the matter is by remembering that the words of Holy Scripture and of the Articles, must be explained by the known meaning they must be intended to convey, as being in accordance with the teaching of the Church of God. So in this case we know that, strictly theologically speaking, neither the Article nor S. James is accurate, the instrumental cause of our justification being neither "faith only," nor yet "works," but the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, as we are told correctly in Article XXVII. Another principle is, that the Articles were primarily intended to deal with errors then prevalent, and that their censures therefore are primarily directed upon things of that period of history. A [2/3] third principle, and a most important one, is this. The Articles left many questions purposely open, just as the Council of Trent did, treating of the same subjects a few years later. That such was the case at Trent we know, not only from Father Paul of Venice's somewhat one-sided History, but also from Pallavicini, who was somewhat the other-sided. From this principle there follows a corollary of great importance, that while the Articles cannot be looked upon as a full statement of all that may or should be believed, they are a full statement of all the Convocation was willing to condemn.

On the question of the authority of the Articles in America, and as to how far, if at all, the clergy subscribe to them, I do not propose entering at this time; but it will be useful to point out that in England, where they are subscribed to by every clergyman, in accordance with Canon XXXVI. of 1604, the obligation is not so far-reaching as is commonly supposed. The form is as follows" I. N. N. do willingly and ex animo subscribe to these three Articles above mentioned, and to all things that are contained in them," i. e. in the "three Articles" not in the Thirty-nine. Now the three Articles are, 1st. Denying the Papal Supremacy; 2d. Affirming the goodness of and promising conformity to the Book of Common Prayer, and 3d. "That he alloweth the Book of Articles of Religion," ... "and that he acknowledgeth all and every the Articles [not all that is contained in them by way of obiter dicta, or supposed logical outcomes] therein contained, being in number nine and thirty besides the ratification to be agreeable to the word of God." From this it is evident that no assent is given to the historical statements, nor to the supposed logical deductions, but only to the doctrines set forth in the Articles; hence all clauses preceded by the words "for," "wherefore," and the like, are no part of the Article subscribed to. And such is always the law of interpretation of doctrinal statements, made by Councils or Synods. Veron in his "Rule of the Catholic Faith," says (chap. i. § 4, 5),." Of the doctrines contained in the chapters, those and those only, are of faith which are expressly defined, to use the language of the Canonists, only the dispositivum arresti, that is, only the doctrine which is the prime object of the Chapter or Canon, and not the proof of that doctrine, is of faith. The reason is obvious:—the doctrine alone is proposed to our belief, and is all that is, strictly speaking, defined. There is no intention whatever of affixing a similar authority on the motives or proofs adduced. Accordingly, there are many things, even in General Councils, which are not Articles of Faith. Thus, for instance, we are not bound to believe what is merely mentioned incidentally, much less, the various observations made by the Prelates assembled .... and still less what happened to fall from the theologians." If this is true of the Articles concerning Religion set forth by a General Council, it must be a fortiori the case with respect to those set forth by Convocation or General Convention. But this principle, which is a true one, I shall not employ in the following pages.

[4] Before proceeding to my subject, I wish distinctly to declare that the arguments I shall urge and the points I shall make, are not to be considered as a full statement of all that can be said for the view advanced; the object of this essay is to supplement the work done by Sancta Clara, Newman, and Forbes, and I have carefully abstained from restating their arguments, except when it could not be avoided. I must also acknowledge my obligations to a couple of leaders in the London Church Times, of November, 1878. With these words of introduction I begin my task.

[After writing these pages, my attention was drawn to an article which appeared some years ago in the American Church Review, by the present Bishop of Connecticut, which I feel I must refer to here as the most crushing refutation of the charge against the Articles that they are Calvinistic, I have ever seen. It is greatly to be lamented that this is not on sale in book form.]

The Articles expressly condemn no less than thirty-one heresies, taught by the following seas Unitarians; (2) Nestorians; (3) Eutychians; (4.) the followers of Photius; (5) Judaizers, Iconoclasts and Sabbatarians; (6) Pelagians; (7) Lutherans; (8) Calvinists; (9) Congregationalists; (10) Erastians; (11) Baptists; (12) Certain sects of Methodists; (13) Novatians; (14) Zwinglians; (15) Quakers; (16) Communists; (17) Rationalists and Latitudinarians; (18) Millennarians.

(I) The Unitarian, or Arian heresy, together with all cognate heresies such as Socinianism, is clearly denied by Article I., which affirms that in unity of the Godhead there are "three Persons, of one Substance, power, and eternity."

(2) The Nestorian heresy is clearly denied in Article II., which affirms that "the Son, ... the very and eternal God ... took man's nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin," thereby declaring that the Child of Mary was not deified after His birth, and that, therefore, Mary is truly Theotokos, Deipara.

(3) The Eutychian, or Monophysite heresy, is denied by the same Article II., which declares that "two whole and perfect natures ... were joined together in One Person, whereof is One Christ."

(4) The heresy of Photius (so largely followed in the last centuries by the Eastern Church), is expressly condemned by Article V., which declares that the Holy Ghost proceeds "from the Father and the Son."

(5) The Judaizing tendency which culminated in Sabbatarianism and in the Iconoclastic heresy, is condemned in Article VII., which declares that the laws touching "Ceremonies and Rites" of the Mosaic dispensation, do not bind Christians but only the "moral" commandments.

(6) The Pelagian heresy is condemned by name in Article IX., and clearly referred to in Articles X., XI., XII. and XIII.

(7) One of the heresies of Luther, who affirmed that all our righteousness was filthy rags, and that good works are really sins, is denied in Article XII., which affirms that we can do "good works," and that they are "pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ."

[5] (8) Four Calvinistic heresies are denied.

(a) The heresy which affirms that grace once received cannot be lost, is denied in Article XVI., which affirms that "we may depart from grace given and fall into sin."

(b) That the promises of Holy Scripture are only for the elect, is denied in Article XVII., which affirms that they are to be received "generally," i. e. for all.

(c) That the Sacraments are effectual because of the faith of the recipient, is denied in Article XXVI., which affirms that it is "because of Christ's institution and promise."

(d) That Christ's satisfaction was only for the sins of the Elect, is denied in Article XXXI., which affirms that it was "for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual."

(9) The Congregationalists are contradicted in two of their dogmas.

(a) That an inward call to the ministry is sufficient, is denied by Article XXIII.

(b) That the clergy minister by the commission and authority of the congregation, and not jure divino, is denied in Article XXVI., which declares that they do minister by Christ's "commission and authority."

(10) The Erastian heresy, which affirms that the civil authority and the law of the land must always be obeyed, even in spiritual matters, though it be opposed to the law of the Church, is most clearly condemned in Article XXXVII., which affirms that the civil magistrate "hath no authority in things purely spiritual."

(11) The Baptist heresy is condemned in Article XXVII., which affirms Infant Baptism to be "most agreeable with the institution of Christ."

(12) A very prevalent error among certain sects of Methodists, which affirms that the condition of the converted is perfection, so that they do not sin either in thought, word or deed, is plainly denied by Article XV., which asserts that those who so think deceive themselves—for that "all we, the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things."

Another common heresy among Methodists and other Protestants is, that the Soul of Christ went to Heaven at His Death upon the Cross. This is denied by Article III., the whole Article being devoted to this one point.

(13) The heresy of the Novatians which teaches that when the converted fall into sin they can not be restored, and the cognate heresy taught by many Protestant sees that the truly converted cannot sin, are condemned most explicitly in Article XVI., which says, "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."

(14) The great Zwinglian heresy on the subject of the Sacraments is condemned in three separate particulars.

(a) "That the Sacraments are only badges, or tokens, of Christian men's profession," is denied in, Article XXV. totidem verbis.

[6] (b) That Baptism is only a token and not "an instrument" of justification, is denied in Article XXVII.

(c) That Holy Communion is only a sign of Christian fellowship, is denied in Article XXVIII.

(15) The Quaker heresy, besides being plainly condemned in its other characteristic tenets, is expressly condemned in this, that it teaches that it is always sinful to take an oath. Against this heresy Article XXXIX. is directed.

(16) The heresy of the Communists, who at that time were called Ana-Baptists, is condemned in Article XXXVIII., which affirms the individual's right and title to the possession of goods and riches.

(17) The innumerable heresies of the Rationalists and Latitudinarians, are many of them already mentioned as condemned, many of them had no actual existence at the time of the framing of the Articles, seven of them are expressly condemned, viz.:

(a) That the Fathers of the Old Testament did not believe the immortality of the soul, is denied by Article VII., which declares that "they are not to be heard which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises."

(b) That man can of himself do any good work, is denied by Article X.

(c) That acts of Philanthropy done by men, not Christians, are good is denied by Article XIII., which even declares that such works "have the nature of sin."

(d) That the Church on earth is invisible, is denied in Articles XIX and XXVI., both of which expressly affirm that it is visible.

(e) That each person has a right to determine for himself, on contraverted points of doctrine, is denied by Article XX., which declares that the Church hath "authority in controversies of faith."

(f) That an unbaptized person is a Christian, is denied in Article XXVII., which affirms that "Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened."

(g) That the conscientious living up to one's religion whatever it may be will save a man, is denied by Article XVIII., which declares that those who teach this heresy "are to be had accursed."

(18) The Millenarian heresy which teaches that Christ will come to reign on earth for a thousand years before the Judgment, is denied by Article IV., which affirms that Christ will remain in heaven "until he returns to judge all men at the last day."

To recapitulate.—Here we find eighteen different kinds of heretics, and no fewer than thirty-one different erroneous opinions clearly condemned. These then may well be termed the XXXI Propositiones damnatae of the Church, and we pause to ask the interesting question;—Are these condemned opinions entertained or tolerated High or Low Churchmen to-day; and if the Articles were to be revised which would desire these condemnations softened or removed? Should the answer to this question be such as we think it must be, with what honesty can these same people hold up the Articles of Religion as if they were perfect in their sight! We [6/7] ex animo condemn all and every of these propositions; when those who differ from us can say as much, it will be time enough for them to talk of their devotion to the Articles.


It will be said in reply to what has been urged—that but half of the case has been stated; that it must be granted that the Articles do condemn some of the doctrines clear to most Protestants, but that their main drift is in condemnation of the tenets of the Church of Rome, and that this constitutes their chief value as an "Evangelical Confession." It would seem that Articles which expressly condemn some of the teachings of Luther, and are silent upon "imputed righteousness," the great central doctrine of his system, cannot be styled Lutheran. No more can they be deemed Calvinistic since the crucial dogmas of Calvin are either expressly denied, such as "once in grace, always in grace" and the like, or else conspicuous by their absence, e. g. the predestination of the non-elect to damnation. And as they are neither Lutheran nor Calvinistic, condemning or ignoring as they do the teaching of both "Reformers," so no more can they be styled Zwinglian, since they expressly reject the very doctrine which he said that he had received at the lips of an angel. This much we may consider as clear and generally admitted now, but yet it is certain that there is a general impression, even among the learned, that while they may not be satisfactory as statements of Protestant dogma, the Articles are very strongly anti-Roman. This is the point to which we now direct the reader's attention, and considering the circumstances of aggravation under which they were adopted, and the mass of superstition which is supposed to have then existed, we would expect to find a long list of charges and one containing the most clear indictment of idolatry. What then is our astonishment when we come to an examination of these "Anti-Roman" Articles to find that they contain but twelve condemnations, and these for the most part couched in the most gentle language. I here tabulate the condemnations, and quote the exact language used in them.

I. Works done before the grace of Christ do not deserve grace of congruity.—Article XIII.

2. "Voluntary works which they. call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety."--Article XIV.

3. It is declared, as an historical fact, that four of the five Patriarchates, viz., Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, and Rome, have at some past time in their history "erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of faith."--Article XIX.

4. That certain corruptions concerning "Purgatory, Pardons, &c.," which are styled "Romish (Romanensium)," are ‘fond things, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.'—Article XXII.

5. A doctrine of transubstantiation which overthrew the nature of a Sacrament, is declared to be “repugnant to the plain words of Scripture," and to have "given occasion to many superstitions."—Article XXVIII.

[8] 6. It is declared that "both parts of the Lord's Sacrament by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike."—Article XXX.

7. "That a commonly accepted error, with respect to the Sacrifice of the Mass, which taught that the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was not "a perfect satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world," was ‘a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.'—Article XXXI.

8. It is denied that, the celibacy of the clergy is "commanded by God's law."—Article XXXII.

9. It is asserted, that in the administration of some of the Sacraments there was a "corrupt following of the Apostles."—Article XXV.

10. It is declared that "the Sacraments were not ordained to be gazed upon or to be carried about."—Article XXV.

11. To have Public Prayer, or to minister the Sacraments in a "tongue not understanded of the people," is declared to be "plainly repugnant to the Word of God and the custom of the Primitive Church."—Article XXIV.

12. It is affirmed that the reservation, elevation, circumgestation and external cultus of the Blessed Sacrament, are not "by Christ's ordinance."—Article XXVIII.

And this is all! But even of this little several have no force to-day. It is no part of the defined dogma of the Roman Church that "works done before the Grace of Christ" merit de congruo. Nor is this lack of definition the result of a mere accident, but is quite deliberate. The whole matter was discussed at the Council of Trent, and if we may trust Sarpi, with great warmth, the Franciscans urging the Scotist view, and the Dominicans the opposite view, as may be read in his History of the Council—Book II. § lxxvi. One thing, at least, is certain, that the Council made no decree directly upon the subject, and that therefore the doctrine condemned by the Article is not that taught by the Church of Rome; indeed, the following would seem pretty clear proof of the contrary, "In adults the beginning of the said Justification is to be taken from the preventing grace of God through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation by which, without the existence of any merit on their part, they are called, that so they may through His quickening and assisting Grace, be disposed to turn themselves unto their own justification by freely assenting to and cooperating with that grace: so that, while God toucheth the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man utterly inactive while he receives that inspiration, inasmuch as he is able to reject it; yet is he not able without the Grace of God by his own free will to move himself unto justice in his sight" (Cl. of Trent, Sess. vi. Chap. v.). After this quotation, it does not seem necessary to add anything but the words of Stapleton: "Merit de congruo is now almost excluded from Catholic schools" (Stapleton de Justif. lib viii. c. 16, cit. Forbes). No: t. clearly then may be dropped from the list as not being Roman Catholic teaching.

[9] We pass now to the reprobated "doctrine” concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping, and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints," which in passing it may be noticed is not condemned as "idolatrous," or even as "superstitions," but only as silly and unproved by Scripture, but if anything "rather repugnant" thereto; language not likely to be used even of the true "doctrine concerning" Image worship and the Invocation of Saints, by those to-day who esteem the XXXIX. Articles so highly! That the Article does condemn some doctrine concerning Purgatory is evident, but what that doctrine is, the Article does not state. Let the wording first be carefully noted. It is not the doctrine that there is a Purgatory which is faulted, but a particular doctrine "concerning Purgatory." Should Article I. read the "Arian doctrine concerning the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection of Christ is a fond thing," &c., no one would for a moment contend that it was intended to deny that there was a sound doctrine concerning the Incarnation, &c. So, too, in this case, the wording of the Article presupposes a sound doctrine concerning each of these things, which had been corrupted by certain persons whom it styles "Romanenses." We come then to enquire what this false doctrine "concerning Purgatory and Pardons" was, and we find it clearly set forth in one of the Ten Articles of Henry VIII.'s reign, "Of Purgatory," ordering that "such abuses be clearly put away which under the name of Purgatory hath been advanced as to make men believe that through the Bishop of Rome's Pardons, souls might clearly be delivered out of Purgatory and all the pains of it; or that Masses said at Scala coeli, or elsewhere in any place or 'before any image, might likewise deliver them from all their pains and send them straight to heaven, and other like abuses." This then, is the doctrine concerning Purgatory" and "Pardons," which is a "fond thing," &c., and condemned by the Church; and these abuses, so gently spoken of by our Article; are thus severely denounced by the so-called Oecumenical Council of the Church of Rome at Trent:

(I) Of Purgatory—"The holy Synod enjoins ... that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory be believed, held, taught, and everywhere proclaimed by the faithful of Christ...” Such things as are uncertain, or which labour under an appearance of error, let them not allow to be made public and treated Of But those things which tend to a certain kind of curiosity or superstition, or which savour of filthy lucre, let them prohibit as scandals and stumbling-blocks of the faithful" (Sess. xxv. Decretum de Purg.)

(2) Of Pardons (de Indulgentiis)—"The Sacred and holy Synod ordains generally by this decree that all evil gains for the obtaining thereof [i. e. pardons] whence a most abundant cause of abuses amongst Christian people has been derived, be entirely abolished. But as regards the other [abuses] which have proceeded from superstition, ignorance, irreverence, or from what other source soever, since by reason of the manifold corruptions in the places and provinces where the said abuses are committed they cannot conveniently [9/10] be specially prohibited; it commands all Bishops that they each in his own Church diligently collect all abuses of this nature and report them in the first Provincial Synod," &c. (Sess. xxv. Dec. de Indulg.).

We come now to the second set, viz., "the Romish doctrine concerning . . worshipping and adoration as well of images as of relics," and we ask what is the corrupt doctrine here rejected? Turning to the same Ten Articles we find it set forth at large "Of Images"—"To the intent the rude people should not from henceforth take such superstition, as in time past it is thought the same hath used to do, we will according to this doctrine reform these abuses, or else there might fortune idolatry to ensue, which God forbid! . . . The people ought to be diligently taught that they in no, ways do it [viz.: "censing of them, and kneeling and offering unto them with all other like worshippings"], nor that it is meet to be done to the same images, but only to be done to God, and in His honour, although it be done before the image." We proceed now to quote from the condemnation of the Church of Rome of the same abuses: "Moreover, the images ... are to be had and retained ... not that any divinity or virtue is believed to be in them on account of which they are to be worshipped; or that anything is to be asked of them; or that confidence is to be reposed in images." "If any abuses have crept in amongst these holy and salutary observances, the holy Synod earnestly desires that they be utterly abolished; in such wise that no images conducive to false doctrine and furnishing occasion of dangerous error to the uneducated, be set up ... (Sess. xxv.).

We pass now to the third point referred to, "the Romish doctrine concerning Invocation of Saints." It will be noticed in passing, that the invocation of angels is altogether omitted. The error here condemned is likewise plainly set forth in the Ten Articles. "Of praying to Saints." "In this way we may pray to our blessed Lady ... so that it is done without any vain superstition as to think that any Saint is more merciful, or will hear us sooner than Christ, or that any Saint doth serve for one thing more than another, or is patron of the same." Like England, Rome acknowledges that superstitions had arisen with regard to the Invocation of Saints and orders them removed, the Council of Trent decreeing as follows: "Moreover in the Invocation of Saints, the veneration of relics, and the sacred use of images every superstition shall be removed, all filthy lucre be abolished, finally all lasciviousness be avoided (Sess. XXV Dec: de Purg ad fin.).

From these quotations it is clarius luce, that the Roman Church unites with us in condemning the "doctrina Romanensium" on these points, and that in such condemnation, she uses much stronger language than do our Articles. Therefore we may drop out No. 4, and pass to the consideration of No. 5.

Here we find a doctrine of transubstantiation condemned because among other things, it "overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament." Now the nature of a Sacrament is to have two parts, the outward [10/11] and visible part, and the inward and spiritual part, this doctrine of transubstantaition must then be one which denies the existence of the outward and visible part. And this, indeed, was the prevailing doctrine at the time, as is evident from the case of Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, who was sentenced Dec. to, A. D., 1413, and eventually burned, because he would not give his assent to the following statement of the doctrine of the Holy Sacrament, a statement no theologian would make to-day “The material bread that was before is turned into Christ's very Body, and the material wine that was before, is turned into Christ's very Blood, and so there remaineth on the altar no material bread, nor material wine, the which were there before the saying of the Sacramental words." (Quoted in Lay Folk's Mass Book, p. 120). From this it is evident that "the nature of a sacrament" was overthrown, as there was no outward and visible part, but this doctrine, repugnant alike to Scripture and sound Theology, is thus expressly denied by the Church of Rome:

"This indeed is common to the most Holy Eucharist with the rest of the Sacraments, that it is a symbol of a sacred thing and is a visible form of an invisible grace." (Sess. xiii. Chap. iii.) This being the case No. 5 must be omitted, as the doctrine condemned is not that taught by the Church of Rome to-day, although she has still retained the name transubstantiation which however no longer denotes a material change.

We come now to consider Article XXXI., and we preface our remarks by fully recognizing that this was intended to be a stern rebuke and denunciation of an abuse which was rife at the time and which roused the deepest indignation in the minds of its framers. To describe anything as a blasphemous fable by synodal action is as stern a condemnation of an error as can well be conceived. But while it is evident that something is very severely condemned, exactly what, is not so clearly discovered. One thing at least is evident, that the abuse was one in doctrine concerning the Holy Eucharist, and that in some way this doctrine contradicted the statement made in the former portion of the Article that the oblation which Christ made upon the Cross was sufficient "for all, the sins of the whole world both original and actual." One other thing is evident, that this error condemned was a popular, not scholastic error; the Article does not say—in the which the school authors teach the priest etc., but "in the which it was commonly said that the Priest." It is then a mere popular error attaching to certain special masses, and what this error was we would be wholly at a loss to divine, were it not that it is set forth in full in the corresponding Article of the Augsburg Confession, viz. "There was added an opinion which increased private masses infinitely, to wit, that Christ by his Passion did satisfy for original sin, and appointed the mass, wherein an oblation should be made for daily sins, both mortal and venial. Hereupon a common opinion was received that the mass is a work that taketh away the sins of the quick and the dead and that for the doing of the work" (Article III.)

[12] This doctrine (so clearly the one referred to by the Article) is well described as a blasphemous fable and a dangerous deceit, teaching as it does that the insufficiency of the sacrifice of the Cross is supplied by the sacrifice of the altar, and is clearly condemned by the decree of the Council of Trent treating of this subject which, as we read it, most strongly reminds us of our own Article and Prayer of Consecration. "He, therefore, although about to offer Himself once for all (semel) on the altar of the Cross unto God the Father, . . there to make an eternal redemption, nevertheless, . . in the night in which He was betrayed, that He might leave to the Church a visible sacrifice, . . . whereby that bloody sacrifice once for all to be finished upon the cross, might be represented and the memory thereof remain, &c., &c." (Sess. XXII., Chap. I.)

The Synod further provides that in connexion with the Mass “the Ordinary bishops of places shall take diligent care and be bound to prohibit and abolish all those things which either covetousness which is a serving of idols, or irreverence which can scarcely, be separated from impiety, or superstition, the False imitator of true piety, have introduced." From all this it is clear that No. 7 must be omitted as condemning an error not held by Rome. And since the Roman Church has never taught or held that the sacraments were ‘ordained to be gazed upon or to be carried about, or that elevation and the other ritual acts were of "Christ's ordinance" or that Clerical celibacy was of Divine obligation, but only that they were good and useful practices, Nos. 8, to and 12 must likewise be omitted. When we remember how accustomed the people were to all these things, it is no wonder that they should have looked upon them as necessary parts of the Christian Religion, and hence when they were more or less being discontinued, it was highly necessary to affirm that they were not by Christ's ordinance and therefore might be laid aside without impiety. One expression, however, may need a word of explanation—"gazed upon"—A curious conversation of the Princess Mary with her French tutor gives us an insight into the erroneous idea intended to be condemned.

Lady Mary said "I have good memory, . . . how you said one day that we ought not to pray at Mass but rather only to hear and hearken and did prove it because that one says commonly, ‘I go to hear Mass.' . . . I cannot see what we shall do at the Mass if we pray not." The tutor answered, "You shall think of the mystery of the Mass and shall hearken to the words that the Priest says." Lady Mary, "Yes; and what shall they do which understand it not?" The tutor: "They shall behold, and shall hear and think, and by that they shall understand." (Giles du Guez, quoted in Lay Folk's Mass Book, p. i58.)

With regard to the doctrinal and other errors of the Eastern Patriarchates, Rome is as clear as ourselves, and even with regard to the Roman Patriarchate she will not deny that Pope Honorius was condemned by a General Council for holding a doctrine undoubtedly false, and that Pope John XXII. taught a false doctrine [12/13] concerning the Beatific Vision until he was forced to retract. It will of course be noticed that the Article has no necessary reference to the time at which it was adopted, but to times, previously, the statement being that "the Church of Rome hath erred," not "doth err." This then may also be omitted from the list, for while indeed the Roman Church affirms that the Roman Pontiff has never erred when speaking ex cathedra as Doctor universalis, yet she is ready to admit his many errors as a private door. What then remains? Only these four. That works of supererogation "cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety:" That the Cup, "by Christ's ordinance and commandment," ought to be ministered to the people: That it is "repugnant to the Word of God and to the custom of the Primitive Church," to have the Services in "a tongue not understanded of the people:" and that there was something corrupt in the following of the Apostles in one or more of the Sacraments. Four items in which the XXXIX. Articles dissent from the authoritative practices of the Church of Rome to-day, and it will be noted that not one of those, is on a point of doctrine! It is the "teaching," not the believing in or performing of works of supererogation which is declared against, and even were this not the case; it still could not be a condemnation of her doctrine, as the Church of Rome has not defined the point, the matter still being one discussed in the schools; and the withdrawal of the Cup from the laity, and the disuse of the vernacular in public service, are mere matters of discipline, for in some of the Eastern bodies in visible communion with the Roman See, the Service is said in the vernacular, and the Blessed Sacrament is administered to the people in both kinds. We have then nothing left under this head to consider but the statement with regard to a "corrupt following of the Apostles" in connexion with one or more of the Sacraments, a method of expression which must refer to practice, not to doctrine. This paragraph of Afticle XXV. was first added in 1563, at the same time that the declaration that there were but two Sacraments was omitted. From this, one thing is abundantly evident, the statement does not mean to deny that there are seven Sacraments but only to condemn something corrupt (prava in the Latin), which had crept into the manner of the administration of one or more of them; and that this was the general understanding of the Articles is evident from the fait that the Westminster Confession changed it as follows: "There be only two Sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel" (xxvii. 4). When we come to classify the Sacraments mentioned, according to the two categories, we find great difficulties, for while Matrimony and Orders may be "states of life allowed in Scripture," this cannot be true of Penance, Unction, or Confirmation, which would seem therefore to fall into the other list, “corrupt following of the Apostles." But surely the Article does not mean thus to describe Confirmation as administered among ourselves, and perhaps. the corruption referred to is only in connexion with the deferring of Extreme Unction until there is no hope of recovery. At all events the Article presented the same obscurity [13/14] forty years after it was adopted, as it does to-day, and at the Hampton Court Conference the Bishops were twitted with it by the Puritans, no one even then knowing what it meant. The difficulty was well stated by Reinolds, as follows: "Thirdly, in the XXVth Article these words touching Confirmation, ‘grown partly of the corrupt following the Apostles' being opposite to those in the Collect of Confirmation in the Communion Book, ‘upon whom after the example of the Apostles,' argue a contrariety each to the other; the first, confessing Confirmation to be a depraved imitation of the Apostles; the second, grounding it upon their example, Acts 8 and 9, as if the Bishop in confirming of children did by his imposing of hands, as the Apostles in those places, give the visible grace of the Holy Ghost; and therefore he desired that both the construction might be considered and this ground of Confirmation examined" (Cardwell's Conf. p. 179). To this Bancroft could make but a sorry answer. The difficulty has been felt by all commentators, and we have not such an opinion of ourselves as to suppose that we can clear it up, nor does it seem important that we should. At all events some corruptions (probably now for three hundred years unknown) in practice, not in doctrine, are what is condemned, and what these corruptions were we probably shall never discover.

This vaunted "bulwark of the Protestant Faith" does not, therefore, condemn one single doctrine of the Church of Rome, and only faults four practices, while on the other hand it condemns no less than thirty-one doctrines, more or less prevalent among Protestants, and that in no, gentle way, but even in two instances declaring that they who entertain such opinions "are to be held accursed." [Article XVIII., which by the word "also," refers back to heretics condemned at the end of Article XVI. It is true that the "et" is omitted in one Latin copy of 1563, but it is found in the Latin of 1553, and its translation in all the English copies.]


We have shewn that the Articles are a tower of strength against the non-Catholic foes by whom we are surrounded, of whose tenets no less than thirty-one are expressly rejected. Vie have also shewn that in them only four practices of the Church of Rome are condemned, and not one single doctrine, from which it would seem to follow that the Articles were not Protestant nor strongly anti-Roman. Our argument, however, would be incomplete were we to leave it here. The Articles are quite as strong by their silence as by their speech, and teach quite as clearly by their omissions as by their enumerations. Before proceeding, however, to the examination of this point in detail, we must pause to remind the reader of some interesting particulars in the history of the Articles. It must be remembered that the Articles as we now have them, are even somewhat different from those of the Church of England to-day. We in America have in reality but thirty-seven, since Article XXI. is entirely omitted, and Article XXXV. made inoperative, and, of these thirty-seven, Article XXXVII. "On the power of the Civil Magistrate" has been entirely re-cast. The present English XXXIX. [14/15] Articles are not even a first draft, but are a modification made in Queen Elizabeth's reign, of the Forty-two Articles adopted in King Edward VI.'s reign, which too, in turn, were the successors of the Ten Articles of Henry VIII. From the successive alterations to which the Articles have been subjected, therefore, we can draw a clear argument of the true principle of their interpretation. The Ten Articles of 1536 are in tone exceedingly conciliatory, they are entitled in the Cotton MS. "Articles about Religion set out by the Convocation and published by the King's authority," and while clear in condemning error were too scholastic in their expression to please the innovators in 1553. The Forty-two Articles were, therefore, presented, and made as offensive to Catholics as they could be, so as to pass even that subservient Convocation. The reign of Queen Mary immediately follows, with its fires of Smithfield, and its exiled clergy. Yet when Queen Bess ascends the throne and the clergy return, with the recollection of their sufferings still fresh in mind, Convocation is not willing to pass even the condemnations which were adopted in 1553, but in 1563 makes the following most noteworthy changes: [I have taken no notice of Parker's Eleven Articles, as they never had any Synodical authority.]

1. The number of the Sacraments was no longer declared as in 1553 to be two only, and the names of all seven were restored; a distinction, however, being introduced between two which were said to be "of the Gospel," and the other five which are described as "followings of the Apostles" and "States of life allowed in Scripture."

2. The school authors are no longer charged with the condemned corruptions in Article XXII.

3. All the argument in Article XXIX., which was capable of a bad meaning as directed against the Real Presence, was removed, to the great disgust of the Protestant sympathizers, who wrote to their friends on the Continent, lamenting that the pure truth set forth in 1553 had been withdrawn, and describing the present Article as "mutilated and imperfect."—Zurich Letters, I. 165.

4. The authority of the Church in Controversies of Faith was asserted.

So much then for the history of the Articles. We next ask the question whether the Articles in the present form are satisfactory to those who profess to admire them so much. Of the fact that they are not satisfactory we have the mast ample proof. The Low Church school reigned supreme in Ireland, and in 1615 the Convocation of Dublin set forth a series of Articles modeled upon the XXXIX but supplying what they consider their omissions and correcting what they deemed their errors. Later still the same theological school in England set forth the Westminster Confession, in 1647 further improvements being introduced. And last, the new Reformed Episcopal Church set forth in 1875, Articles of Religion, also correcting the errors and supplying the omissions of the XXXIX Articles. We propose then to take up some of the Articles thus [15/16] changed and consider why the change was made. To make the matter clearer to the general reader, the subject is considered under doctrinal headings.

1. The descent into hell. Article III. There can be no better proof of the dislike which those of the Protestant School have to this Article than the fact that it is omitted from the Westminster Confession and from the Articles of the Reformed and Methodist Episcopal churches.

2. That Holy Scripture is the Rule of faith. Everyone knows that "the Bible and the Bible only is the Religion of Protestants," and that the one great central doctrine of the Protestant Religion is that all doctrine must be taken from Holy Writ. Now Article VI is one of those most disliked by our adversaries, for while it affirms the Catholic proposition that all necessary truth is read in Holy Scripture and may be proved thereby, it does not say that Holy Scripture is the origin of the faith nor that it is the "Rule of Faith," which is the Protestant doctrine as we have pointed out. The Catholic position, which is that of the Article is well stated by S. Cyril of Jerusalem: "We ought not to deliver even the most casual remark without the Holy Scripture. ... For this salvation which is of our faith, is not by ingenious reasonings, but by proofs from the Holy Scriptures," (Cat. Lectures, IV117, Ox. Trans).

S. Thomas Aquinas also says the same thing. "He proved to them his resurrection by the authority of Holy Scripture, which is the foundation of the faith. (fidei fundamentum)." (Summa P. III., Q. L V, Art. 5.)

We may add the testimony of Cardinal Wiseman. "We believe that there is no other groundwork whatever for faith except the written word of God." (Lecture III., cit. by Bp. Forbes.)

In fact Cardinal Bellarmine goes still farther than our Article and uses language which would seem; hardly justifiable. "Wherefore since Holy Scripture is the most certain and most safe rule of belief, (regula credendi) he would not be of sound mind, who leaving it would trust to the judgment of his own often erring and always uncertain opinion." (C. I., L. I., cap. 2.)

Let us see now what our adversaries would like Article VI. to say. With great consistency, they argued that as they held their religion to be derived from the Holy Scriptures, the Article with regard to them should be first not sixth. Accordingly, in the Irish Articles, and in the Westminster Confession, it occupies this position. This, however, was not enough. The Irish Article reads as follows: "The ground of our religion and the rule of faith, and all saving truth, is the Word of God contained in the Holy Scriptures." So, too, the Westminster Confession affirms of the books which it recognizes as canonical, "All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life."

Most other Protestant Confessions read in like language, e.g. The formula of Concord (1576); The French Evangelical Confession of Faith (1559); The Belgic Confession (1561), &c., &c. But this is exactly what is not said by any Catholic authority, and its [16/17] omission is a serious blot upon the XXXIX. Articles as a Protestant Confession.

3. The right of private judgment is nowhere affirmed in the Articles, nor is it anywhere stated that these necessary doctrines to salvation are so plainly contained in the written word that they can be found by any person not already knowing them by the teaching of the Church. This radical defect from an Evangelical standpoint is corrected by the Irish Articles, which declare that "all things necessary to be known unto everlasting salvation, are clearly delivered therein; and nothing of that kind is spoken under dark mysteries in one place which is not in other places spoken more familiarly and plainly, to the capacity both of learned and unlearned," (Irish Arts. 4); the same is affirmed by the Westminster Confession VII. On this point too, therefore, the Article is unsatisfactory, from an Evangelical standpoint, and worse than unsatisfactory when taken in connexion with Article XX., which declares that the Church and not the individual, hath "authority in controversies of faith," a statement repudiated by all Protestant Confessions.

4. The Holy Scripture by Protestant theology does not depend for its authority on its reception by the Church, but whatever authority the Church may have is derived from it. The statement therefore of Article VI. (that the Canonicity of the books rests upon the fact that of their "Authority there never was any doubt in the Church," and that we receive the Books of the New Testament "as they are commonly received,") which is the doctrine of the Catholic Church, is carefully omitted from the Irish Articles and from those of the "Reformed Episcopal Church," while it is denounced by the Westminster Confession, as follows: "The authority of the Holy Scripture for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God the author thereof." (iv) "Our full, persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts." (v) Here too, there is another sad failing in the Protestant character of the Articles.

5. The books called by Protestants "Apocryphal" are rejected by them as uninspired and uncanonical. Article VI., therefore, is most unevangelical in this particular. For waiving the point that to any ordinary observer it is evident that these books are called "Canonical" being placed under the large print heading, and the expression "the other books" only capable of meaning on the principles of grammar, "the other Canonical books of the Old Testament "—waiving this point, the Article undoubtedly does not deny their inspiration, and this is the very thing which is done by all Protestant Confessions.

The Irish Articles, correcting this awful error, say (3) "The other books commonly called Apocryphal did not proceed from such inspiration." [And have changed the title in our list the "rest of the Book of Esther" to "Additions to the Book of Esther!"] The Westminster Confession goes still farther and gives [17/18] the full Protestant doctrine upon the subject. "The books commonly called Apocrypha not being of divine inspiration are no part of the Canon of the Scriptures, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, &c." (III). The Reformed Episcopal Article is equally strong. (Article V). "The Book commonly called "The Apocrypha" is not a portion of God's word, and is therefore not to be ' Churches, &c.," and this is the general Protestant doctrine and practice, but is neither the doctrine nor practice of the Church Catholic nor of this Anglican part thereof. Article VI., therefore, on Holy Scripture, and its authority, treating of one of the great central tenets of Protestantism, omits every distinctly Protestant doctrine upon the subject! In the face of this how can it be affirmed that the Articles are, a good and clear Evangelical Confession?

[It may be well to note that these books are never called by the Church "Apocrypha," but quite the contrary always "Holy Scriptures," e. g. "Table of lessons of Holy Scripture" and in these tables occur Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom and the other Deutero Canonical Books; the same wording is used repeatedly in the Book of Homilies. It will be also well to note that the Theologians of the Roman Church do not claim a parity of inspiration for all the Books of Holy Scripture and that these are always recognized as in the second class. Moreover all Latin Bibles are printed with the prefaces of S. Jerome from which our Article quotes.]

6. Protestant doctrine expressly declares that the lusts of the flesh (fomes peccati) are properly sin, while on the other hand the Catholic religion has always affirmed that they only have the "nature of sin." The Catholic doctrine is well expressed by the Council of Trent;—"This concupiscence which the Apostle sometimes calls ‘sin,' the holy synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood to be called sin as being truly and properly sin in those born again but because it is of sin and inclines to sin." (Sess..V.) And in accordance with this, Article IX. says that "the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin (peccati rationem)." Nothing then, from a Protestant standpoint could be more unsatisfactory than the wording of the Article, and that those so-thinking have considered it so is evident from the radical fashion in which they have altered it. To make this quite clear, we place the two passages in parallel columns.

Article IX.

This infection of nature ——— doth remain yea in them that are regenerated. 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.


This corruption of nature during this life doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin.

It must be remembered that this point which is apparently not of great importance is in fait one of the most fundamental of the whole Protestant system, as to a large degree the whole question of good works depends upon it. Here then is at least the omission, if not the denial (as we interpret it) of one fundamental doctrine of the Evangelical faith.

[19] 7. We come now to the great question which in the understanding of Luther is the proof of a standing or falling Church; The dogma that a man is justified by faith alone through the imputation of the merits of Christ. If then the Articles are to be considered in any true sense an Evangelical Confession, this doctrine must be clearly set forth. We look to the Articles and find not one single reference to the doctrine of imputed righteousness! The grand central touchstone by which all Protestantism is to be tested is as completely ignored as if it were some curious doctrine entertained by an obscure sect of Buddhists or Mahometans! But it will be said the Articles declare that we are "justified by faith only" and this is sufficient to establish their orthodoxy. We deny that the Articles make any such bald statement. We affirm that they say a doctrine of justification by faith only, set forth in the Homilies, (not the one commonly called by that name) is the "wholesome doctrine." If then we would know what the Church and the Articles teach on this head we must turn to the homily referred to, and there we shall find the Catholic Doctrine expressly set forth, and the Protestant doctrine expressly denied. This is of such importance that a long quotation will be excused, the homily is so good throughout that it might well be reprinted at large. "And therefore S. Paul declareth here nothing upon the behalf of man concerning his justification but only a true and lively faith. ... And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God to be joined with faith in every man that is justified, but it shutteth them out from the office of justifying. Nor the faith also doth not shut out the justice of our good works, ... but it excludeth them so that we may not do them to this intent to be made good by doing them.  For all the good works that we can do be imperfect and therefore not able to deserve our justification, but our justification doth come freely by the mere mercy of God..." With this it will be well to compare the decree of Trent upon the same subject, when the identity of faith will be most striking:

"We be said to be justified by faith because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and the root of all justification without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of his sons; but we are, said to be justified freely because none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace itself of justification." (Sess. VI., chapter VIII). [Several of the fathers have used the expression that we are justified "by faith only," and a catena is given by Bishop Beveridge in loc. some of them quite clearly to the point, especially SS. Jerome, Ambrose, Basil and Bernard.]

What, we ask, could be more noteworthy than this agreement with Rome and this departure from Protestant Theology! We, who affirm the Catholicity of the Articles need have little fear when we find them so clearly unprotestant on the whole question of justification, the abomination of the whited sepulchre theory of imputed righteousness being wholly ignored, and the solifidian [19/20] heresy, that a man is justified because he believes he is justified, clearly denied. [The Assembly of Divines, in 1643, thus corrected and amended this Article—"We are justified, that is we are accounted righteous before God and have remission of sins, not for, nor by our own works or deservings, but freely by his grace only for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's sake, his whole obedience and satisfaction being by God imputed unto us and Christ with his righteousness being apprehended and rested on by faith only." (Appendix VII., Neale's History of the Puritans.) All reference to the homily is omitted.]

8. The insufficiency of Article XVII. to set forth the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination to damnation is admitted on all sides. The Article contents itself with declaring the Catholic doctrine on the subject, the general application of the promises of the gospel. This most radical defect is clearly and fully supplied by all Protestant confessions of the Calvinistic class. Thus the Irish Articles declare "by the same eternal counsel God hath predestined some unto life and reprobated some unto death." (12) So too the Westminster confession says: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting, death," and with consistency omits the declaration, strangely retained by the Irish Articles, that the promises of God are to be received "as they be generally set forth to us." Here then it is plain that the Articles on this crucial point of Calvinistic Theology are silent at least if not hostile.

It does not seem necessary to prolong this investigation which might be done almost indefinitely, as not one single distinctive doctrine of Protestantism is set forth in the Articles. It may be well, however, to pause and take up one more point.

9. The invalidity of Lay Baptism. Strange as it may seem, this is an opinion of that religion which has swept away the "Sacerdotal Caste!" This being the case we are not surprised to find that the Westminster Divines are not satisfied with Article XVI. but supply its deficiency as follows:

"The outward element to be used in this Sacrament is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized ‘In the Name, &c.' by a minister of the Gospel lawfully called thereto." (XXVIII. § ii.)

To sum up then. We have found that the XXXIX Articles do not teach the following Evangelical doctrines: That Holy Scripture is the Rule of Faith, that the private individual however unlearned, can clearly read therein all necessary faith; that the authority of the Bible rests upon the internal witness of the Spirit; that the books styled by Protestants "Apocrypha" are uninspired and not canonical; that the uprising of the flesh is properly sin; that the faith which justifies is a faith without hope and charity, but which believes that one is justified; that Christ's merits are imputed to those having this faith; that God has foreordained some to everlasting damnation; and that Lay-baptism is invalid. Whatever, then, may be thought of them, their omission of these, the very root dogmas of Evangelicalism, deprives them of all claim to be "the bulwark of Protestantism" or even so much as to be an Evangelical Confession of faith.

[21] This side of the matter being satisfactorily disposed of, we pass to the omissions of another class which are equally instructive. Not only are the Articles eloquent in failing to teach Protestantism, but they are equally eloquent in failing to condemn Catholicism.

We now direct the reader's attention to this point.

I. If there is one question upon which all Protestants are united it is that the Church of Rome is idolatrous, is in apostasy, and that the Pope is the Anti-christ, the Man of sin. Strangely, then, are the Articles defective in declaring none of these things, but only that the "Church of Rome hath erred" in times past, in ceremonies, morals, and faith, without one word of denunciation of her then or present ceremonies, morals, or doctrines. This defect is most radical, and was so keenly felt by the Irish Revisors that they supplied it as follows:—"The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme head of the Universal Church of Christ that his works and doctrine do plainly discover him to be ‘that man of sin' foretold in the Holy Scripture, ‘whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and abolish with the brightness of His coming." So, too, the Westminster Confession, "The Pope of Rome ... is that Anti-christ, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ and all that is called. God" (xxv. 9). The contrast is surely somewhat striking, and not calculated to please those who desire to find in the Articles an Anti-Roman declaration.

2. That the worship of the Host' is idolatry, is one of the most certain doctrines of the Protestant Religion. But there is no such statement in the Articles, and even the Caphernaite doctrine condemned is only said to have given rise to "many superstitions." This defect is well supplied by the Irish Articles, which read "hath given occasion to most gross idolatry and manifold superstitions." (93.) This is sound Protestant doctrine—and the Westminster Confession uses similar wording. The Reformed Episcopal Articles are still more sweeping and more truly Evangelical. "Transubstantiation ... hath given occasion to many and idolatrous superstitions. Consubstantiation ... is productive equally with transubstantiation of idolatrous errors and practices" (Art. xxvii.).

An Article that needs such serious alterations hardly can be looked upon as satisfactory. We might in like manner single out many doctrines, but we have done sufficient to make our point clear. A few references, however, may not be undesirable.

The Irish Articles condemned the following:—"Pilgrimages, setting up of candles, stations, and jubilees, Pharisaical seas and feigned religions [by this is meant Religious Orders], praying upon beads" (52): "all manner of expressing God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in an outward form, all other images devised or made by man to the use of religion" (53): "the Popish doctrine of Equivocation and Mental Reservation" (67): Auricular Confession (74): that the Pope is "supreme head of the Universal Church" (79): "Exorcism, oil, salt, spittle and superstitious hallowing of the water" in baptism (91): "Private Mass" (too): "Limbus patrum, [21/22] Limbus Puerorum, Purgatory, Prayer for the dead, pardons, adoration of images and relics, and also Invocation of Saints" (102). This is what we expect to find and what we ought to find in a good Protestant Confession and this is what we do not find in the XXXIX Articles! To this list the Reformed Episcopal Church has made some additions—e. g. "Apostolic Succession" (Art. xxiv.): "Ex opere operato" (xxv.): "Priestly absolution" (xxxii.).

To conclude, then, this portion of our argument, we append a list of Catholic doctrines and practices rife at the time of the adoption of the Articles, and yet not condemned.

The setting up of crosses, crucifixes and images: the use of incense, vestments, wafer bread, mixed chalice, lights and lamps: the sign of the Cross: the blessing of Holy water, Holy oils, ashes, palms, grave yards, churches, bells, altars, chalices, corner stones, &c., &c.: hearing mass: auricular confession: religious orders and vows: the utility of pilgrimages, processions, flagellations, fasting and other corporal austerities: objects of piety such as Rosaries, Scapulars, Agnus Deis, &c.: the doctrines of Intention, Ex opere operato, of condign merit; of concomitance, Limbus patrum and Limbus infantum, prayers and alms for the dead, distinction of sins into mortal and venial, the Roman Primacy, the Assumption, the finding of the True Cross, the Invocation of Angels, and a host of others. Not one of these is condemned, and we ask any true Protestant whether these are not many of them the worst corruptions, superstitions and idolatries of the Church of Rome! We do not argue that the Articles, by their silence, give their approval to all these doctrines, practices, and utensils, but we do affirm that a confession which does not condemn these can lay no claim to being considered a Protestant Confession.

We think, then, that we have made it clear

1st. That the Articles condemn 31 doctrines very prevalent among Protestants.

2d. That they condemn but four practices and not one doctrine of the Church of Rome.

3d. That they are silent in teaching the distinctive doctrines of Protestantism, and also silent in condemning the distinguishing doctrines and ceremonies of Catholicity.

And in view of these facts we affirm that we have made good our proposition that the XXXIX Articles are our safety and protection against the Protestantizing and Latitudinarianizing schools of to-day, and that as such they should be highly prized by all sound Churchmen.

In conclusion, the writer would, on the whole subject, make his own the words of one who though long dead yet speaketh—William White, First Bishop of Pennsylvania. "He professed himself an advocate for Articles, the abolishing of which would, he thought, only leave with every pastor of a congregation the right of judging of orthodoxy, according to his discretion or his prejudices, while the Articles determine that matter by a rule issuing from the public authority of the Church. When the question has [22/23] been put whether the XXXIX Articles are the best rule that can be devised, he has answered that he thought them better than any other likely to be obtained under the present circumstances . . . But he did not wish to have the Articles signed, as in England, according to the tenour of the Thirty-sixth Canon of that Church; he preferred the resting of the obligation of them on the promise made at ordination, as required by the second Article of the Constitution, considered as sufficient by the English Bishops, which would render them Articles of peace, as they are sometimes said to be in the Church of England; but not with such evident propriety as they would then be in the American Church. As the Author approves of the tenour of the XXXIX Articles, he trusted that however he might have supposed, in his private judgment, the possibility of omitting some of them, and of altering others to advantage, yet not perceiving a probability either that such a change, if made, would have been for the better; or, that if so, it would have found such general acceptance as to prove a sufficient bond of union, he thought he acted consistently in endeavouring to obtain them on the terms stated.” (White’s Memoirs of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 2d Ed. p. 165.)


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