A Catechism on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England/Introduction

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For what purpose were the Articles of Religion drawn up?

"For the avoiding of diversities of opinion, and for establishing of consent touching true religion."

Express this in other words.

They were made in order to avoid, or do away with, differences of opinion in religion, and to cause persons to agree in holding the truth.

How is this done in these Articles?

Partly by laying down the truth we are to hold fast, and partly by pointing out the errors we are to avoid.

By whom were these Articles first agreed upon?

By the archbishops and bishops of both provinces in England, and by the whole clergy.

What do you mean by "both provinces?"

England is divided, for purposes connected with the Church, into two provinces, that of Canterbury and that of York; of which the archbishops of Canterbury and York are the governors.

What is an archbishop?

A bishop who is placed over other bishops.

Where and when did the archbishops, bishops, and clergy agree to these Articles?

"In the convocation holden at London in the year 1562."

What is a convocation?

A synod or meeting of the bishops and clergy of the provinces.

How could the whole clergy meet together to agree to these Articles?

The clergy of each diocese met together beforehand, and sent deputies to speak for them at the convocation.

What do you mean by a diocese?

A portion of country under the government of one bishop.

Were the articles originally published only by the authority of the bishops and clergy?

No: they were also assented to by Elizabeth, the queen of England at the time, and published by her authority.

What further authority have they since received as regards the Church of England?

An act of parliament requires the clergy of that Church to subscribe them.

By what authority were the Articles, as contained in the Prayer-Book, set forth in America?

They were "established by the bishops, clergy, and laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in convention."

When was this done?

On the twelfth day of September, in the year of our Lord 1801.

Are the laity required to subscribe to the thirty-nine Articles?

The Church does not make any such demand upon her lay members.

How many Articles are there?


Into what parts may you conveniently divide them?

Into five parts.

Give the subjects of the five parts.

1. On the doctrine concerning God.

2. On the rule of faith.

3. On the spiritual condition of man.

4. On the Church and its ordinances.

5. On the civil duties of members of the Church.