Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

had finally come forth, tempered in themselves the grace of God, by the lessons of experience, and “ dangerous to curious and and guarded from fatalistic and carnal persons.

Lastly, it asAntinomian extravagance. The serts the generality of God's whole treatment strikes the key- promises, and declines to spenote of true personal Christianculate on any Will of God exity, by ascribing the source of all cept that which is revealed to salvation to the Love of God in

us. Christ, and yet, by the very requirement of faith, implying the

Art. xviii., Of obtaining Eterco-operation of man, and making

nal Salvation only by the Name this still clearer by recognising Corollary to this; refusing to

of Christ, may be considered a the true function of works.

hold the sufficiency of “ Natural (0) Art. XV:--xviii. deal with Religion," and declaring, that the chief subjects which had such call and election to life is been forcedon Christian thought made only in the Name of the by the resolute logical dogmatism Lord Jesus Christ. of Calvin.

It will be clear to all who Art. XV., Of Christ alone with know what the positions of Calout Sin, and Art. xvi., Of Sin

vinism on these mysterious subafter Baptism, repudiate in the

jects really are, that in these clearest terms the idea, derived

Articles the Church of England from a consideration of the Om. absolutely declines adhesion to nipotence of God's grace, of them, so far as they go beyond

indefectibility of grace or the express declarations of " of faith;" which leads to the Holy Scripture, in their desire two opposite conclusions-a be

of an impossible logical comprelief in the attainment by the

hensiveness. That this declaelect of a state from which they ration was unsatisfactory to the cannot fall, and a despairing Calvinistic party (as might inhopelessness in those who fall deed have been reasonably exfrom grace (as sinning, against pected) the history, of the the Holy Ghost), and who, by so Lambeth Articles shows

unfalling, are held to show that mistakeably. they were never really elect.

It may be remarked of the These lead on to Art. xvii., whole of this group that it bears On Predestination and Election, more plainly than any other the which grapples directly with the impress of the theology of the primary question. To this there age. It has now ceased to be of is nothing to correspond either the same theological and pole. in the Augsburg or Wurtemburg mical importance. But in relaConfessions. What were the

tion to spiritual self-knowledge tenets of the Calvinistic School

and dealing with individual thereon may be seen in the Lam.

souls, the truths referred to beth Articles. Now on this sub- must be as important as ever. ject it is to be noted that, in the description of the doctrine, the Article, avoiding the technical

(D) ARTICLES ON THE CHURCH

AND THE SACRAMENTS. language of the Schools, follows accurately the words of Holy These Articles (Art. xix. Scripture, and therefore speaks Xxxvi.) go on to dwell, not on of Predestination to life, and personal, but on what may bo not to death, and closely con- called Corporate Christiannects this with God's call con- ity"-setting forth the nature, sciously received and man's authority, and discipline of co-operation, without attempt. the Church, and the true docing to solve the insoluble mystery trine of the Sacraments, which of the reconcilement of God's are ministered by the Church to sovereignty and man's freedom. the individual. The ReformaNext it disclaims the doctrine tion in England turned in great as the keystone of teaching and measure on Sacramental docsystem, declaring it fit only for trine, especially as exemplified the meditation of those who feel in the Second Great Sacrament; This group

and moreover, since almost all against the dogma of Purgatory, acts done in it were done the abuse of Indulgences, the collectively, it naturally drew Veneration of Images and Respecial attention to the true lics, and the Invocation of corporate constitution of the Saints, seems to break the Church, and of the various natural order, and is probably Branches of it.

inserted here only because, in of Articles, therefore, though fact, the errors denounced were having evident reference to used as means of usurping exForeign Confessions, bears a cessive authority over individuals strong Anglican impress, and and of enforcing rites forbidden is illustrated at every point by the Word of God. both by the language of the Prayer Book and by the history

In all these Articles, in dis. of the time. In it also, from the

tinct accordance with the actual nature of the case, are found

course of the Reformation in the strongest protests against England, the Church, taking up the usurpations of Rome.

its position on Scripture as interpreted by Church

History (a) In this group we have, and Tradition, eschews the easy first, Articles dealing with the path of sweeping generalities, fundamental nature, authority, and attempts the more difficult and Ministry of the Church. task of harmonizing unity with Thus Art. xix., Of the Church, individuality and authority with defines the Church by its tokens freedom. -profession of faith

in Christ, preaching of God's Word, and (6) The next section of this right ministry of the Sacra- group contains the doctrine of ments; Art. xx., Of the Authority the Sacraments; first as geneof the Church, lays down the rally considered, and next in reality and the limitation of separate relation to Baptism that authority, both to decree and Holy Communion. In acRites and Ceremonies, and to cordance with the critical im. intervene in controversies of portance in the history of the faith; and Art. xxi., Of General Reformation of the controverCouncils, applies these principles sies on the latter of the two to the General Councils freely great Sacraments, it devotes but chosen, to which the Church of one Article to Baptism, and no England always appealed as the less than four to the Holy highest and fullest expression of Communion; and it is moreover Church authority.

evident that, even in the geneEach of these positive state

ral treatment, there is more ments carries with it a negative particular reference to the latter. protest against Rome; in Art.

Thus Art. xxv., of the Sacra. xix. against the claim of Infalli

ments, first defines Sacraments, bility, in Art. xx. against her

in language suggested by the addition of Tradition to the

Augsburg Confession, but so Scriptural basis, and in Art. xxi. modified as

to

express even against the Pope's claim to sum

more strongly their reality as mon and preside over General

supreme means of grace ordain. Councils.

ed by Christ Himself ; next, From these we pass naturally limits the application of this to Art.xxiii., Of Ministering in the name to Baptism and the SupCongregation, asserting the nee per the Lord,” refusing to of a regular Order of Ministers class with them “the five comin the Church, ordained by monly called Sacraments," of authority; and to Art. xxiv., of which the Church treats each on Speaking in the Congregation in its own merits; and lastly (in such a tongue as the People under- evident reference to the Second standeth, claiming for all mem- Sacrament), declares that they bers of the Church the right of were ordained “not to be gazed Worship in their own tongue. upon or carried about, but reArt. xxii., Of Purgatory, &c., ceived.” To this is added Art. which is one of simple protest xxyi., On the Unworthiness of

Ministers, which denies that distinctly the true harmony bethis can interfere with the tween the

“ objective and blessing to be derived from “ subjective" elements of SalvaChrist's own ordinance faith. tion-the absolute reality of the fully used.

grace of Christ in the SacraNext, Art. xxvii., Of Baptism,

ments, and the impossibility of applies the principles of the pre

receiving it without spiritual ceding Article, strongly empha- preparation of faith. sizes the regenerating grace of (c) To this succeeds a miscelBaptism, and defends Infant

laneous series of Articles on Baptism as “ agreeable with the

various points of the constiinstitution of Christ,” that is, as tution and discipline of the arising naturally out of the very Church. idea of Baptism.

Art. xxxii., Of the Marriage of Lastly, four Articles are de- Priests, repudiates the compul. voted to the Holy Communion. sory Celibacy, which is known not Art. xxviii., Of the Lord's Supper, to have existed in the Primitive emphatically disclaims the two Church, but to have been imopposite errors, which had di.

posed in after ages. Art. xxxiii., verged from the primitive truth Of Excommunicate Persons, as-Zwinglianism and Transub

serts strongly the rights of the stantiation and sets forth the

Church to exercise Discipline, true doctrine of the Holy Com. even to Excommunication, and munion in the language of Holy the duty of all her members in Scripture itself; and then, as

this respect to support her au. serting that in it the Body of thority. Art. xxxiv., of the TraChrist can only be received spiri- ditions of the Church, has a twotually through faith, repeats the fold purpose. As against Roman former protest against the Sa- despotism, it asserts the freedom crament "being carried about, of National Churches under cer. lifted up, or worshipped.” From tain restrictions to enact and this Art. xxix., Of the wicked abolish traditions and ceremowhich eat not the Body of Christ, nies; as against the excessive is a corollary, asserting in a individualism of the Puritan strong negative form the neces- party, it maintains the duty of sity of faith for reception. Art. individual obedience to such xxx., Of both kinds, maintains exercise of authority. Art. XXXV., the right of the Laity to the Of the Homilies, directs the read. Cup of the Lord; and Art. xxxi., ing of the two books of Homiof the One Oblation of Christ

lies, the one drawn up in 1552, finished upon the Cross, disclaims the latter in 1559, with a view the idea of a propitiatory Sacri- to avoidance of controversy and fice in the Mass as “a blas- supply of sound vernacular and phemous fable and dangerous popular instruction. Art. xxxvi., deceit"-in terms the vehemence

Of Consecration of Bishops and of which can only be understood Ministers, defends the Ordinal by reference to the crucial im- from attack on the Roman side portance of this point in the

as insufficient, on the Ultra-Prowhole of the religious movement testant side as superstitious and of the age.

ungodly; and decrees that all These Articles on the Sacra- ordained according to it are ments, perhaps more than any rightly ordained. other, illustrate the true nature The whole of this group is of of the Via Media of the Church great historic interest, illusof England; shewing that it is trating at every point the actual determined, not by balance be- course of the English Reformatween opposite extremes, but by tion; and, as most of the relirefusing technical theories, and gious questions of our own time going back to the simple truth bear especially on the Constias declared in Holy Scripture, tution and Authority of the from which historically extreme Church, they assume a very proerrors have diverged on either minent importance at the prehand. They also preserve very sent moment.

(E) ARTICLES ON THE CIVIL Next, it still further explains POWER.

the true idea of the Royal SupreThese Articles deal with the macy by repudiating all Suprerelation, first of the Church, and macy of the Bishop of Rome then of the individual Christian,

over the Church of England. to the Civil Power.

The latter part of Art. xxxvii. Art. xxxvii., Of the Civil Ma

and the succeeding Articles deal gistrate, is one peculiarly Angli. with certain points of individual can and of great importance. duty, and privilege in the State, First, it asserts and limits the

which had been called in question Royal Supremacy over the on religious grounds. Thus Art. Church, which was at that time xxxvii. asserts the right of the regarded as co-extensive with

State over life, both to inflict the State-all Englishmen, as

capital punishment, and to com. they were born into the latter, mand its subjects to serve in being baptized into the former. war. Art. xxxviii., Of Christian It asserts the Supremacy as over

men's Goods, maintains the right all persons and over all causes,

of property, while at the same Ecclesiastical as well as Civil

time it dwells on the moral duty the Sovereign being the repre

of charity which attaches to it. sentative of the whole Church

Art. xxxix., Of a Christian man's and acting, of course, under

Oath, distinguishes between the Ecclesiastical law. It limits the vain swearing which is forbidden Supremacy by denying it all

in the Gospel, and the solemn power to confer or take away the

use of an Oath before God. Ministry of the Word and sa- These last Articles are evi. craments, which derives its au- dently subsidiary, and of inferior thority from Christ Himself. importance to the rest.

CONCLUSION.-The study of the Articles will go far to show how it is, that, although drawn up only for

the immediate needs of the 18th century, and probably under the expectation of future Revision, they have, as a matter of fact, remained unchanged as a standard of doctrine down to the present time. Even as looked at in them. selves, and still more as viewed in relation to the Theology of the time, they show themselves extraordinarily fit to serve the purpose for which they were designed.

They are comprehensive, because (in the true sense of the word) they are “moderate"-that is, they refrain from pronouncing on points, on which it is impossible or unnecessary to pronounce. They are thus moderate, because they almost invariably eschew technical theological systems, and go back to the simple language of Holy Scripture. It would be unreasonable to suppose that they could not be amended, in the light of the experience and advance of knowledge gained in the last three hundred years. But substantially they embody the true fundamental principles of Christian faith and Ecclesiastical constitution, which still meet our needs.

They are enforced by authority on the clergy alone, not as an absolutely perfect and exhaustive statement, but as containing substantial Scriptural truth, and as a standard which they agree not to contradict in their public teaching. For the laity they have no coercive force, nor do they constitute conditions of Lay Communion. But they have necessarily a didactic value, as expository of Anglican doctrine on many important points. It is unfortu. nately obvious, from language popularly used about them, that they are very imperfectly known and understood; and it is certain that they would reward far more attentive study.

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 the avoiding of Diversi

ties of Opinions, and for the establishing of Consent touching true Religion: Reprinted by His Majesty's Commandment, with His Royal Declaration prefixed thereunto.

HIS MAJESTY'S DECLARATION. BEIN EING by God's Ordinance, according to Our just Title, Defender of the Faith,

and Supreme Governour of the Church, within these Our Dominions, We hold it most agreeable to this Our Kingly Office, and Our own religious Zeal, to conserve and maintain the Church committed to Our Charge, in the Unity of true Religion, and in the Bond of Peace; and not to suffer unnecessary Disputations, Altercations, or Questions to be raised, which may nourish Faction both in the Church and Commonwealth. We have therefore, upon mature Deliberation, and with the Advice of so many of Our Bishops as might conveniently be called together, thought fit to make this Declaration following:

That the Articles of the Church of England (which have been allowed and authorized heretofore, and which Our Clergy generally have subscribed unto) do contain the true Doctrine of the Church of England agreeable to God's Word : which We do therefore ratify and confirm, requiring all our loving Subjects to continue in the uniform Profession thereof, and prohibiting the least difference from the said Articles; which to that End We command to be new printed, and this Our Declaration to be published therewith.

That We are Supreme Governour of the Church of England: And that if any Difference arise about the external Policy, concerning the Injunctions, Canons, and other Constitutions whatsoever thereto belonging, the Clergy in their Convocation is to order and settle them, having first obtained leave under Our Broad Seal so to do : and We approving their said Ordinances and Constitutions ; providing that none be made contrary to the Laws and Customs of the Land.

That out of Our Princely Care that the Churchmen may do the Work which is proper unto them, the Bishops and Clergy, from time to time in Convocation, upon their humble Desire, shall have Licence under Our Broad Seal to deliberate of, and to do all such Things, as, being made plain by them, and assented unto by Us, shall concern the settled Continuance of the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England now established; from which We will not endure any varying or departing in the least Degree.

That for the present, though some differences have been ill raised, yet We take comfort in this, that all Clergymen within Our Realm have always most willingly subscribed to the Articles established; which is an argument to Us, that they all agree in the true, usual, literal meaning of the said Articles ; and that even in those curious points, in which the present differences lie, men of all sorts take the Articles of the Church of England to be for them ; which is an argument again, that none of them intend any desertion of the Articles established. That therefore in these both curious and unhappy differences, which

have for 80 many hundred years, in different times and places, exercised the Church of Christ, We will, that all further curious search be laid aside, and these Disputes shut up in God's promises, as they be generally set forth to us in the holy Scriptures, and the general meaning of the Articles of the Church of England according to them. And that no man hereafter shall either print, or preach, to draw the Article aside any way, but shall submit to it in the plain and full meaning thereof : and shall not put his own sense or comment to be the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the literal and grammatical sense.

That if any publick Reader in either of Our Universities, or any Head or Master of a College, or any other person respectively in either of them, shall affix any new_sense to any Article, or shah publickly read, determine, or hold any publick Disputation, or suffer any such to be held either way, in either the Universities or Colleges respectively; or if any Divine in the Universities shall preach or print any thing either way, other than is already established in Convocation with Our Royal Assent; he, or they the Offenders, shall be liable to Our displeasure, and the Church's censure in Our Commission Ecclesiastical, as well as any other ; And We will see there shall be due Execution upon them.

« AnteriorContinuar »