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

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What is the subject of the fourth division of the Articles?

The Church and her ordinances.

How many Articles does it comprise?

Eighteen, from the 19th to the 36th, inclusive.

Article XIX.

What is the subject of the nineteenth Article?

"The Church."

Why is the phrase "visible Church" introduced?

To show that we are not speaking of those who are departed to their rest, nor of those whom God sees to be the only true members of His Church, but whom man cannot distinguish from the multitude of those who are only outwardly such.

What description is here given of the visible Church?

It is "a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."

How is this expressed in the Latin?

"Cœtus Fidelium," the Body of the Faithful.

Do we mean by "the visible Church" here the whole Church of Christ, or that part of it which is visible in any particular place?

The definition will apply to either one or the other.

What seems to be the object of this description of the Church?

To correct those accounts of the Church which make things necessary to its subsistence which are not really so,—such as communion with the see of Rome, &c.

How does this appear to be the intention of the Article?

Because similar statements are made in the Homily for Whitsunday, and the object is stated to be to show that the Church of Rome has no exclusive claim to obedience.

What is the meaning of the term "Congregation?"

A gathering together out of the world at large.

What is meant by "faithful men?"

It means the same as Christians.

Is this in accordance with Scriptural usage?

Yes; see Col. i. 2, where the whole Church of Colosse are addressed as "faithful."

What is "the pure Word of God?"

The doctrine of Holy Scripture as received, and understood by the Church from the beginning. Gal. i. 8.

What things are "of necessity requisite" to the ministration of the Sacraments?

That they be ministered by those who have received authority from Christ to minister them, and that they be ministered according to the form which He ordained.

What is "requisite" to the form of baptism?

That it be administered with water, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

What is "requisite" to the form of the Lord's Supper?

That the elements of bread and wine be consecrated in the appointed manner, to become spiritually the body and blood of the Lord, and be delivered to each communicant as such body and blood.

Who are the proper ministers of the Sacraments?

Those persons in each Church who have been appointed to administer them by authority derived from Christ through His Apostles.

In what respect has "the Church of Jerusalem erred?"

In the person of Maximus, its bishop, who admitted Arius to communion, after he had been excommunicated by the council of Nice, without renouncing his heresy.

What was his heresy?

He taught that God the Son is not equal in nature to the Father.

In what respect has "the Church of Alexandria erred?"

In the person of Dioscorus, its bishop, who countenanced the heresy of Eutyches.

What was that heresy?

That in Jesus Christ the human nature is swallowed up in the divine nature.

In what respect has "the Church of Antioch erred?"

In the person of Paul of Samosata, its bishop, who taught that Jesus Christ was a mere man.

In what respect has "the Church of Rome erred" in "faith?"

Not to mention any points in which she differs from the Church of England or the Church in the United States, her bishop Eleutherius countenanced Montanus, Liberius countenanced Arius, Zosimus" favoured Pelagius, and Honorius was condemned by the sixth general council as a Monothelite.

What was the heresy of Montanus?

He professed that God had intrusted to him and to his associates a new dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

What was the heresy of Pelagius 1

See the ninth Article.

What is a Monothelite?

One who teaches that Jesus Christ had no distinct will as man, His human will being swallowed up in the divine.

Article XX.

What is the subject of the twentieth Article?

"The Authority of the Church." What Church is here spoken of?

The whole visible Church and every branch of it.

In what two matters has the Church authority?

In rites and ceremonies, and in controversies of faith.

What is its authority in the first case?

It has power to decree them.

Show that this power is recognised in Holy Scripture.

1 Cor. xiv. 40. St. Paul recognised in the Church of Corinth the power to provide that "all things be done decently and in order;" which implies power to decree rites and ceremonies.

What limit is there to this power?

The Church "must not ordain any thing contrary to God's Word."

What is the power of the Church in controversies of faith?

To decide them, and "to enforce" the doctrines she decides upon "to be believed for necessity of Salvation."

On what other functions of the Church is this authority founded?

On her being "the witness and keeper of Holy Writ."

What do you mean by her being "a witness of Holy Writ?"

That she testifies what is to be received as Holy Writ and what not. How does this affect the decision of controversies of faith?

As those controversies are chiefly decided by appeals to Holy Writ, the Church has authority by this means to determine the standard of appeal.

How is the Church "a keeper of Holy Writ?"

Inasmuch as she watches over the copies of it, to preserve them from corruption, and possesses authority to dispense the doctrine it contains to the people.

How does this affect her authority in controversies of faith?

She decides them by declaring the correct reading and true meaning of Holy Writ.

What cautions is she bound to observe in so doing?

Not to ordain or decree any thing to be believed which is contrary to Scripture, not to expound one place of Scripture so as to make it repugnant to another, and not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation, in addition to that which may be gathered from the Word of God.

How does the Church enforce her authority?

By excluding from office or privilege those who refuse to comply with her rites and ceremonies, or who deny her doctrines.

How are we to be informed of the decisions or decrees of the Church?

By universal custom, by universal agreement in doctrine, or by a formal decree of some general council, generally received in the Church. How must the private Christian ascertain these things?

Partly by his own observation, partly by the testimony of others, and in the first place that of the bishops and clergy of his own Church.

But if it should appear to him that his own Church ordains things repugnant to Holy Writ, or expounds Scripture so as to make one passage contradict another, or requires things not revealed in Scripture to be believed as Articles of faith, how must he act?

He must obtain better instruction, so far as God may place it in his power, to enable him to judge whether he is mistaken or not; and, if not mistaken, whether any other Church has better claims on his allegiance.

Article XXI.

[What is the subject of the twenty-first Article?[1]

"The Authority of General Councils."

What do you understand by general councils?

Councils composed of bishops assembled from all parts of the Church, and intended to act as representative bodies for the whole.

Have all general councils (so called) been strictly of this character? No; some have been composed of bishops representing only portions of the Church. But the Article means all which were at that time commonly considered general.

How is the subject of general councils connected with the previous Article?

Because, until the Church was separated into East and West, she exercised her power in ordaining rites and ceremonies and her authority in controversies of faith, by means of general councils.

What difficulty is there in procuring the assembling of general councils?

They "may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes."

Why not?

Because the bishops are the subjects of princes, and may not place themselves under the influence and power of foreign princes and foreign churches, without the consent of their own prince.

Have general councils been usually summoned by the commandment and will of princes?

All councils having any title to be considered representative bodies for the universal Church have been so assembled.

What difficulty is there as to the authority of general councils in deciding controversies of faith?

That "they may err and sometimes have erred in things pertaining to God."

What reason is assigned for this in the Article? That "they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed by the Spirit and Word of God."

Give some examples of general councils, as they were considered, which have erred in things pertaining to God.

The second council of Ephesus approved the heresy of Eutyches; the second council of Nicæa authorized the worship of images; the council of Constance forbade priests to administer the Holy Communion to the laity in both kinds.

What conclusion does the Article draw from the fact of those errors of general councils?

That "things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they are taken out of Holy Scripture."

What things does the Article declare have neither strength nor authority, when ordained by general councils, unless taken out of Holy Scripture?

Things ordained by them as necessary to salvation.

Upon what principle does that decision rest?

Upon that asserted in the sixth Article, that "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation."

In what sense are we to understand the words "unless it may be declared that they are taken out of Holy Scripture?

Unless it is "read therein, or may be proved thereby." See Article VI.

What then is the use of the decisions of general councils in controversies of faith?

They assist us in understanding the judgment of the Church.

Does the decision in this Article interfere with the authority of general councils in matters not of faith?

No: but it is restricted by Article XXXIV.

Does the Church of England reject the decision of all general councils in matters of faith?

No: she recognises the first six general councils as "received and allowed of all men." See Homily on Idolatry.]

Article XXII.

What is the title of the twenty-second Article?

"Of Purgatory."

Is this the whole subject of the Article?

No: it treats of "the Romish Doctrine" on this and other subjects.

What is meant by "Romish Doctrine?"

The doctrine commonly taught in the Church of Rome.

On what particular subjects does the Article assert their doctrine to be wrong?

"Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints."

What does the Article say concerning their doctrine on these subjects?

That "it is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God."

What is meant by "a fond thing?"

A foolish thing.

What is meant by saying that "it is grounded upon no warranty of Holy Scripture?"

That there is no part of Scripture which really supports it.

What is the Romish doctrine concerning purgatory?

That it is a place distinct from heaven and hell, where the spirits of persons go who are not hopelessly lost, but have not been fully purged from their sins here, and where their sins are purged away by sufferings.

Show that this opinion is "repugnant to the Word of God."

Rev. xiv. 13. "Those who die in the Lord rest from their labours." And in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, there are only two places for the dead, one of happiness, the other of hopeless torment. Moreover, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John i. 7.

What is the Romish doctrine concerning pardons?

That the Pope has the power of remitting a portion of the pains of purgatory, and that such remission may be purchased with money.

Prove that this is contrary to the Word of God.

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, none can pass from the place in which men are tormented to paradise. Moreover, remission of sins is "the gift of God," which "cannot be purchased with money." Acts viii. 20.

What is the Romish doctrine concerning the worshipping and adoration of images?

That we ought to pay the same honours to the image of Christ or of any of his saints as to the original, and that we may pray towards the image.

Prove this contrary to Scripture.

The first is directly contrary to the second commandment, and the second is contrary to the spirit of it.

What is the Romish doctrine concerning the worshipping and adoration of relics?

That they are to be venerated, and that prayer may be made towards them.

How is this contrary to the Word of God?

God hid the body of Moses to prevent the Israelites from paying homage to it.

What is the Romish doctrine concerning the invocation of saints?

That prayer may be addressed to those saints who are supposed to have gone to heaven immediately after death.

Prove it contrary to the Word of God.

It prevents multitudes from having habitual recourse to the intercession of Jesus Christ, which we are taught in Scripture was one great end of His incarnation. See Heb. iv. 15, 16.

In what other respect is it contrary to the Word of God?

It supposes that the saints departed know the hearts of men, which is the attribute of God only. 1 Kings viii. 39.

Article XXIII.

What is the subject of the twenty-third Article?

"Ministering in the Congregation."

What do you understand by ministering?

"Public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments."

What do you understand by the congregation?

Not any particular assembly, but the Church of Christ generally.

What do you understand by "ministering the Sacraments?"

Giving or dispensing them to the people.

What is required before it is lawful for a person to "take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments?"

He must "be lawfully called and sent to execute" that office.

Why is that necessary?

Because in so doing he is acting as the steward or ambassador of Christ; and it cannot be right to undertake to act as such without a lawful commission.

How do you prove that this is the character he assumes?

Titus i. 7; 2 Cor. v. 20.

Give a further reason.

Because St. Paul has laid down rules for choosing those who were to minister in the congregation, which would have been superfluous if men might take the office upon them without lawful authority. See 1 Tim. iii. 2-4; iv. 14; Tit. i. 5-9.

What persons "ought we to judge lawfully called and sent" to execute the office of ministers?

"Those who are chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation, to call and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard."

What is meant by "the Lord's vineyard?"

"The Congregation," that is, the Church at large.

Who are the "men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation to send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard?"

The bishops of the Church.

How do we know that this is the meaning of the Article?

Because the service for the Ordination of ministers declares that no man shall be accounted for a lawful minister, unless he be called and admitted thereto according to that service, or has been already ordained by a bishop.

How does that prove that the bishops are the men who have public authority given them to ordain?

Because the service does not allow any to be ordained except by a bishop.

Why is the office confined to the bishops?

Because they are the only ministers who have ever received authority to ordain; and a person can never possess authority to ordain others to be stewards and ambassadors of Christ, unless he has received it from Christ and His Apostles.

How do we know that the bishops have received this authority?

Because in the Church of England and in many other Churches, we can tell from the records, who ordained almost every bishop one after another, up to the very Apostles themselves.

And how is it, where you cannot trace them up in this way?

It has always been the known rule that no bishop could be made, except in public, nor without being ordained by those who were bishops before him.

In what manner does a bishop call and send men to execute the office of ministers?

He lays his hand on their heads and prays to God for them, and then in the Name of God gives them the power of "forgiving and retaining sins" together with authority to preach God's holy Word and to administer the Sacraments.

Have all ministers equal authority to administer the Sacraments?

No: there are two orders, priests and deacons, under bishops; and the deacon can only administer Baptism in the absence of the priest, and assist the priest in administering the Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, but not solemnize it himself.

Article XXIV.

What is the subject of the twenty-fourth Article?

"Speaking in the Congregation."

What kind of speaking is meant?

"Public prayer or ministering the Sacraments."

What does the Article say upon this subject?

That it is requisite to speak "in such a tongue as the people understandeth."

For what reason?

Because "it is plainly repugnant to the Word of God and the custom of the Primitive Church" to do otherwise.

Prove that it is repugnant to the Word of God.

1 Cor. xiv. 9, 16, 19. St. Paul condemns the practice of praying in a language unknown to the congregation.

Show that it is repugnant to the practice of the Primitive Church.

Even those who do the contrary acknowledge this to be the fact.

What necessity was there for making any statement on this subject?

Because before the Reformation it was the custom of the Church in England to celebrate divine service in Latin.

How came that to be the case?

Because at one time Latin was the only written language in the west of Europe.

Article XXV.

What is the subject of the twenty-fifth Article?

"The Sacraments."

What two kinds of Sacraments are treated of in this Article?

"Sacraments ordained of Christ," and "those five, commonly called Sacraments."

What is the nature of the "Sacraments ordained of Christ in the Gospel?"

They are "not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God's good will towards us."

What Sacraments answer to this description?

"Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord."

What then does the Article assert respecting Baptism and the Lord's Supper?

1. That they are badges or tokens of our Christian profession;

2. That they are sure witnesses and effectual signs of God's grace and good will towards us.

In what manner are these signs of God's good will effectual?

"He works invisibly by them in us, and not only quickens our faith in Him, but also strengthens and confirms it."

What is meant by quickening our faith?

Bringing it to life; or, infusing new life. See 1 Pet. iii. 18; Eph. ii. 1, 5.

Which are the "five commonly called Sacraments?"

"Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction."

Are these five now commonly called Sacraments?

Not in the Church in England or the United States.

When were they commonly so called?

At the time when the Articles were first drawn up, that is, at the Reformation; and before that period.

In what respect do "those five" differ from "the Sacraments of the Gospel?"

Some of them "have grown of the corrupt following of the Apostles," and others "are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."

Which of them "have grown of the corrupt following of the Apostles?"

Confirmation, Penance, Extreme Unction.

In what sense can Confirmation be said to have grown out of the corrupt following of the Apostles?

In the manner in which it was administered in the Church of England before the Reformation.

What was there corrupt about it?

The original sign or ceremony of laying on of hands was discontinued, and anointing with ointment used in the place of it.

In what sense did Penance "grow out of a corrupt following of the Apostles?"

Because it was used in a manner they never intended.

What was the nature of the Penance they ordained?

Exclusion from the communion of the Church, on account of very great sins, until restored by competent authority, after having given sufficient evidence of repentance.

What corruption had been made in it?

Confession of sins to a priest and submission to such penalties as he imposed were made essential to communion, even when persons had not fallen into any great sin.

How has the Church of England acted in regard to confirmation and penance?

She has restored them more nearly to the custom of the Primitive Church.

Does it therefore follow that they are raised to the rank of Sacraments?

No: they are excluded by the definition contained in the Catechism, because they are not "generally necessary to salvation."

In what respect did Extreme Unction "grow out of a corrupt following of the Apostles?"

It was applied to a totally different purpose from the anointing appointed by the Apostles.

How so?

The anointing practised under the sanction of the Apostles was for the restoration of sick persons to health, and for the forgiveness of their sins; but Extreme Unction is for persons at the point of death, and only for their spiritual benefit. See St. James v. 14, 15.

What is meant by "orders?"

The condition or state of a minister of the Church, whether bishop, priest, or deacon.

What is meant by calling it and matrimony "states of life allowed in the Scriptures?"

That the Scriptures authorize persons to marry and to be admitted to Holy Orders.

In what respect are orders and matrimony inferior to Baptism and the Lord's Supper?

They "have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God."

For what uses were "the Sacraments" not ordained?[2]

"To be gazed upon and carried about."

Why is this mentioned?

Because at the time of the Reformation, instead of "taking and eating," many persons thought it enough to be spectators at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in church, or on the processions that were observed in honour of it.

In what persons have "the Sacraments" "a wholesome effect or operation?"

"In such as worthily receive them."

"What Is their effect upon those who "receive them unworthily?"

"They purchase to themselves damnation," i. e., they remain under God's condemnation until they repent.

Article XXVI.

What is the subject of the twenty-sixth Article?

"The Unworthiness of Ministers."

What is meant by their unworthiness?

Their not living in such a way as God expects His ministers to live in.

How does it come that there are unworthy ministers?

Because "in the visible Church the evil are always mingled with the good, and therefore sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments."

Ought we not to refuse the ministry of unworthy ministers?

No: "we may use their ministry, both in hearing the Word of God and in receiving the Sacraments."

On what ground are we justified in so doing?

Because they do these things "not in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by His commission and authority."

Give an instance of Christ Himself appointing one to the ministry, knowing that he would prove unworthy.

Judas the traitor.

But shall we derive any benefit from the ministry of wicked men?

Yes; if we ourselves be desirous of God's grace: for "the effect of Christ's ordinances is not taken away by their wickedness;" nor is "the grace of God's gifts diminished," if we "receive the Sacraments rightly and with faith."

How is this explained?

Because the Sacraments are "effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise."

But ought unworthy ministers to remain in the exercise of the work of their ministry?

By no means; it belongs to the discipline of the Church that inquiry should be made concerning evil ministers, and that they should be accused by those that have knowledge of their offenses. What order does the Church of England take for such inquiry?

It is the office and practice of the bishops to make such inquiry at their visitations.

In what manner can they be informed of their offences?

The churchwardens are bound to make report on such subjects at the bishop's visitation.[3]

And if the ministers be found to be evil men, what ought to be the consequence?

"Being found guilty," the discipline of the Church requires that they should "be deposed."

What are we to understand by being deposed?

That they should be degraded from the office of the ministry, either for a time or altogether.

By whom may this be done?

By the authority of the bishop in accordance with the laws of the Church.

Article XXVII.

What is the subject of the twenty-seventh Article?


What is the first thing asserted in the Article concerning Baptism?

That it is a "sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened."

What is meant by being christened?

Being made Christians.

Why is Baptism the mark of difference between Christians and those who are not so?

1. Baptism is the outward sign by which we profess ourselves Christians; and,

2. A man cannot be a Christian except through the favour of God; which is signified by Baptism.

What is meant by saying that it is "not only a sign of profession," &c.?

That it is something more.

Why was it necessary to state this?

Because there were some who denied that it was any thing more.

What then is it in addition?

It is "an effectual sign of Regeneration or New-Birth."

Why do we all need regeneration?

Because we are all born in sin, and are consequently under God's displeasure. See Article IX.

In what way is Baptism a sign of regeneration?

"They that receive Baptism rightly are by it, as by an instrument, grafted into the Church;" and "the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed."

Why are we to conclude that these benefits are actually conveyed to those who are rightly baptized?

1. Because it is the effect of an instrument, signed and sealed, to convey the benefits engaged by it; and,

2. Because Sacraments are in their nature "sure witnesses and effectual signs, by which God doth work invisibly in us."

What further benefit may be expected in Baptism?

"Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God."

What does the Article declare in regard to "the Baptism of young Children?"

That it "is in any wise to be retained in the Church."

What facts does this declaration imply?

That the baptism of infants was the established custom of the Church, and that some persons were desirous that it should not be retained.

Who were those persons?

The Anabaptists.

What is the meaning and origin of their name?

It signifies that they repeated baptism; that is, they baptized again at adult age those who had been baptized in infancy.

Why should Infant Baptism be retained in the Church?

Because it is "most agreeable with the institution of Christ."

How are we assured of this?

1. Because the Church practised it from the very beginning, which she would not have done, if it had not been agreeable to Christ's institution.

2. Because the benefits of it are such as infants need and are capable of.

Why do infants need to be ingrafted into the Church?

Because out of it there is no promise of salvation.

Why do they need remission of sins?

Because they are born in original sin.

Why do they need the gift of the Holy Ghost?

In order that from the very first their flesh may be controlled by the Spirit.

How do we know that infants are capable of being grafted into the Church and receiving remission of sins?

Because they had both in circumcision.

How do we know that they are capable of receiving the Holy Ghost?

Because John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb.

Article XXVIII.

What is the subject of the twenty-eighth Article?

"The Lord's Supper," or the Holy Eucharist.

What is the first thing the Article declares concerning it? That it "is a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another."

How is it so?

Because they all partake together of the same food.

Show that this intended to be the meaning of it.

1 Cor. x. 19, compared with xii. 26. St. Paul teaches those who communicate herein that, inasmuch as they are "all partakers in that one bread," they are "one body;" and that in a body "if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or if one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."

How does this answer to the account of Sacraments in Article XXV. that they are "tokens of Christian men's profession?"

Christians profess to be parts of the same body, and children of the same Father.

But what is this Sacrament besides and beyond this?

It is "a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death."

In what sense is the word Sacrament here used?

To signify "an effectual sign" of divine appointment. See Article XXV. It is therefore a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ's death, effectual to our redemption. Compare 1 Cor. xi. 26; Gal. iii. 1.

What then is the effect of the Sacrament on those who rightly partake in it? "To such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ."

Prove from Holy Writ that it is so.

1 Cor. x. 16.

How then is this Sacrament effectual to our redemption?

Because receiving Christ we receive all the benefits of His passion.

Is Christ then received in the Holy Sacrament?

He is verily and indeed "given, taken, and received by the faithful."

What kind of receiving do you call this?

A real, spiritual, not a carnal receiving.

Would it be more real if it were carnal instead of spiritual?

No: spiritual things are more real than things which we see.

What is " transubstantiation?"

The supposed change of the substance of the bread in the sacrament into the substance of the Flesh of our Lord, and the change of the substance of the wine into the substance of His Blood, although the appearance and other outward qualities of the bread and wine still remain.

Why was it necessary to make any statement on this subject?

Because at the Reformation it was commonly sumposed that transubstantiation really took place in the Lord's Supper.

What does the Article assert with regard to this opinion?

1. It "cannot be proved by Holy Writ;"

2. It "is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture;"

3. It "overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament;"

4. It "hath given occasion to many superstitions."

How can the opinion of transubstantiation be said to be repugnant to the plain words of Scripture?

Matt. xxvi. 29 ; 1 Cor. xi. 26-29. Our Lord calls the wine "the fruit of the vine" in speaking of the Apostles' drinking it; and St. Paul, in speaking of the Holy Sacrament, repeatedly calls it "eating bread and drinking of the cup."

How can it be said to overthrow the nature of a Sacrament?

Because in a Sacrament a sign is requisite; but if the bread and wine be actually changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of the Lord, the sign no longer exists to be partaken of.

But are the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper nothing but common bread and wine?

They are much more than this; for in and by them the Body and Blood of Christ are "given" by the priest to each communicant, and "taken and eaten" by him.

How can they be so given, taken and eaten?

"After a heavenly and spiritual manner."

By what means can we receive and eat the Body of our Lord in this heavenly and spiritual manner?

By faith.

Show that this is the doctrine of the Scripture.

St. John vi. 47, 54. Our Lord promises eternal life equally to those who believe in Him, and to those who eat His Flesh and drink His Blood.

Why is faith the means of this spiritual eating?

Because it is the soul which feeds on the Body and Blood of our Lord, whilst the body feeds on the outward signs.

What is the last assertion in the Article?

"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

Does any one deny this?

No: the ancient customs of the Church prove it.

What does the Church wish us to derive from this assertion?

That as it is wrong to worship the Sacrament, so it was better to give up the custom of reserving and carrying it about, which had led to such a "superstitious" use.

Article XXIX.

What is the subject of the twenty-ninth Article?

"The Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper."

Why was it necessary to make this denial?

Because those who believed in transubstantiation believed that the wicked were partakers.

Why cannot they be?

Because they are " void of a lively faith," and consequently have not the means of being " partakers of Christ."

What is the whole extent to which wicked people partake of Christ in the Sacrament?

St. Augustine saith, " that they carnally and visibly press with their teeth the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ."

What effect has this partaking upon them?

They "eat and drink the sign of so great a thing to their condemnation."

Show that this is the doctrine of Holy Scripture.

1 Cor. xi. 29.

Article XXX.

What is the title of the thirtieth Article?

"Of both Kinds."

What is meant by this?

"Both parts" of the Holy Sacrament.

What does the Article say upon this subject?

That "the Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people."

Who are the lay-people? Why was it necessary to say that the cup of the Lord is not to be denied to them?

Because when the Reformation began they were not allowed to partake of it.

How did this happen?

It arose from superstitious veneration for the sacred elements, as supposing some portion of the consecrated wine might be spilled from the chalice, in administering it to them?

Why should not the cup be denied to lay-people?

Because "by Christ's ordinance and commandment, both parts of the Sacrament ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike."

How does that appear?

Because our Lord appointed the cup to be partaken of in the same manner as the bread; and St. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, makes no difference between the two, although writing to the whole Church.

Give a further reason.

Because our Lord appointed each of the elements by consecration to communicate a particular blessing, and therefore those who deny the cup to lay-people deprive them, so far as lies in their power, of a portion of the benefit of the Sacrament.

Article XXXI.

What is the subject of the thirty-first Article?

"The one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross." What is the meaning of oblation?


What does the Article teach upon this subject?

That "the Offering which Christ once made upon the Cross is the perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual;" and that "there is no other satisfaction for sin, but that alone."

What must we understand by saying that the offering of Christ is a redemption?

That His life was paid as a price to redeem mankind from everlasting death.

What is meant by saying that it is a propitiation?

That it is the means of reconciling man to God.

And by speaking of it as a satisfaction?

That it makes amends for all the sin of all men.

What occasion was there for the protestation made in these words of the Article?

Because there was a prevalent opinion that every time the priest celebrated the Eucharist, he " offered Christ again in sacrifice for the quick and the dead, so that they hereby have remission of pain and guilt."

Prove that the sacrifice of Christ cannot be repeated.

Hebrews x. 11-14, 18. St. Paul expressly teaches that the sacrifice of Christ differed from those of the Jewish priesthood in this respect, that "by His one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified,"and that there is therefore now" no more offering for sin."

What then are the "sacrifices of Masses" spoken of in the Article?

"Mass" means the Holy Eucharist; and it was supposed that the priest was able to make it available for the sins of any particular person he chose; and consequently many thought they could be for given their sins by merely " hearing mass and being blessed with the chalic;" and persons paid priests for celebrating the mass for the remission of the pain and guilt of their departed friends.

Why are these practices called " fables?" Because they rest upon no solid foundation.

Why "blasphemous?"

Because they have a tendency to lessen in men's minds the value of the atonement which Christ made.

Why are they called "dangerous deceits?"

Because there was found to be danger of their deceiving men, by leading them to suppose that they could be delivered from punishment by the sacrifice of the mass, without any repentance.

Why then is Christ called our great High Priest now?

Because He pleads the merits of the one Sacrifice of the Cross before His Father in heaven. Hebrews vii. 24, 25.

When does He do this especially?

When we celebrate the Sacrament of our redemption.

Article XXXII.

What is the subject of the thirty-second Article?

"The Marriage of Priests."

What does it teach in regard to their marriage?

That "it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness."

Why was it necessary to make this declaration?

Because for several centuries the Church had forbidden persons in holy orders to marry, and required them to " vow the estate of single life" before she would admit them to holy orders.

Upon what ground does the Article declare it lawful for the clergy to marry?

Because "they are not commanded by God's Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage."

Is there any one who denies this?


Upon what ground then does the Church of Rome now require celibacy from the clergy?

Because she thinks celibacy a holier state than marriage, and chooses to require that state from her clergy.

May not a law of the Church make it a duty to abstain from that which would otherwise be lawful? Undoubtedly, except some great evil is likely to follow from the prohibition.

How docs it appear that it is dangerous to forbid the clergy from marrying?

Because our Lord speaks of the power of living in celibacy as a special divine gift to individuals, (St. Matt. xix. 12, 13,) but what could scarcely be expected in an entire class of men.

Does the Article give the clergy an unlimited authority to marry at their discretion?

No: it authorizes marriage only " as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness."

What is the custom in the Greek Church?

The ordinary parochial clergy are allowed to marry, but Bishops and confessors are taken from the unmarried clergy.

Article XXXIII.

What is the subject of the thirty-third Article?

"Excommunicate Persons."

What do you mean by an excommunicate person?

"That person which, by open denunciation of the Church, is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church."

What do you understand by "open denunciation of the Church?"

An open publication made from the altar by the priest, upon the authority of the bishop, that he has passed upon any particular person the sentence of excommunication.

Who has authority to pass the sentence of excommunication?

The bishop of the diocese, or a judge deputed by him.

Why is this publication called the denunciation of the Church?

Because it is done by those whose authority so to do the Church has always recognised.

What do you mean by "rightly cut off?"

Cut off for some great sin, and after proper trial by the bishop or those appointed for the purpose.

What is meant by being "cut off from the unity of the Church?"

Being separated from the communion and society of the Church, so as no longer to be reckoned to belong to it.

What does the Article say of such a person?

That he is " to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as a Heathen and Publican."

What is meant by "the whole multitude of the faithful?"

The whole body of Christians.

In what manner is he to be treated?

He is "to be avoided."

How long is he to be so treated?

"Until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto." What do you understand by "penance?"

Such outward exercise of penitence as may satisfy the Church.

What do you understand by being " reconciled by penance?"

Reconciled to the Church by the discharge of the penalties imposed.

What is the effect of being so reconciled? That the persons are received back into the Church.

By whom are they so received?

"By a Judge that hath authority" to receive them back again.

From whence must he receive his authority?

From the bishop of the diocese.

What is the chief mark of their being received again into the Church?

They are allowed to partake of the Holy Communion.

Article XXXIV.

What is the subject of the thirty-fourth Article?

"The Traditions of the Church."

What is here meant by the traditions of the Church?

Its customs of a ceremonial nature.

What does the Article declare respecting them?

That "it is not necessary that they should he in all places one, or utterly alike." what occasion was there for making this declaration?

Because the Court of Rome endeavoured to bring all Churches to use the same customs and ceremonies.

What ground is stated for this declaration?

"At all times they have been diverse;" and consequently they" may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times, and men's manners."

What caution must be observed in changing such traditions?

"That nothing be ordained against God's Word."

Since traditions may be changed, is it lawful for any individual to depart from them at his discretion?

No: provided they be "ordained and approved by common authority," and "not repugnant to the Word of God."

What is meant by "common authority?"

The general authority of the Church, expressed in an authorized manner.

What is that authorized manner in the Church of England?

The convocation of the bishops and clergy, with the sanction of the sovereign.

What is that authorized manner in the Church in the United States?

The General Convention of the Church, in which the Bishops and Delegates of the clergy and laity are duly assembled.

What is said in the Article respecting those, who, "through their own private judgment, willingly and purposely, do openly break" such traditions?

That they "ought to be rebuked openly."

On what grounds?

Because they offend " against the common order of the Church, and hurt the authority of the Magistrate, and wound the consciences of weaker brethren."

Do all these reasons apply in all Churches?

No: the second does not apply in countries where the civil rulers do not uphold the laws of the Church.

How are the consciences of weaker brethren wounded by such conduct?

They learn to break the laws of the Church, by seeing others do it.

If individuals may not break the traditions of the Church, who may change them?

"Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies and Rites of the Church."

May such Churches abolish any ceremonies they think proper?

The Article merely asserts that they may change or abolish such as are "ordained only by man's authority."

In so doing what caution must be observed?

"That all things be done to edifying."

Who is to be judge of this?

Those who are in authority in the Church.

Article XXXV.

What is the subject of the thirty-fifth Article?

"The Homilies."

What do you understand by the Homilies?

Two books of discourses or sermons, published in England, in the reigns of King Edward the Sixth and Queen Elizabeth, by public authority, and appointed to be " read in Churches by the Ministers."

What was the occasion of their publication?

The clergy for the most part were very ignorant, and unfit to teach the people themselves, and therefore books of instruction were provided for them.

What is said respecting these Homilies?

That they " contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times."

For what times?

For the times in which they were drawn up.

Why were they particularly suited for those times?

Because they opposed the prevalent errors.

Does this declaration pledge the Church to every statement contained in the Homilies?

No: only to the general course of doctrine.

Give the names of the Homilies in the first book.

1. A fruitful exhortation to the reading of Holy Scripture.

2. Of the Misery of all Mankind.

3. Of the Salvation of all Mankind. 4. Of the true and lively Faith.

5. Of good Works.

6. Of Christian Love and Charity.

7. Against Swearing and Perjury.

8. Of the declining from God.

9. An Exhortation against the Fear of Death.

10. An Exhortation to Obedience.

11. Against Whoredom and Adultery.

12. Against Strife and Contention. Give the names of the Homilies in the second book.

1. Of the right Use of the Church.

2. Against Peril of Idolatry.

3. Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.

4. Of good Works: first of Fasting.

5. Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.

6. Against Excess of Apparel.

7. Of Prayer.

8. Of the Plan and Time of prayer.

9. That Common Prayer and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue; or, as it is in the Book of Homilies, of Common Prayer and Sacraments.

10. Of the reverend Estimation of God's Word; or, An Information of them which take offence at certain places of Holy Scripture.

11. Of Alms-doing ; or, of alms-deeds.

12. Of the Nativity of Christ.

13. Of the Passion of Christ ; (the book adds) for Good Friday. 14. Of the Resurrection of Christ; (the book adds) for Easter Day.

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

16. Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost; or, an Homily concerning the coming down of the Holy Ghost, for Whitsunday.

17. For the Rogation-days ; or, an Homily for Rogation week.

18. Of the State of Matrimony.

19. Against Idleness.

20. Of Repentance, (the book adds) and true Reconciliation to God.

21. Against Rebellion; or, an Homily against Disobedience and wilful Rebellion.

Why cannot the Church be supposed to be pledged to every statement in the Homilies?

1. Because they are not drawn up with the carefulness of doctrinal treatises;

2. Because they are occasionally at variance with the Articles;

3. Because they are occasionally inconsistent with each other.

What particular Homily has special authority in matter of doctrine?

That on "the Salvation of all Mankind.

Why so?

Because it is specially referred to in the eleventh Article. On what grounds does the Church in the United States receive this Article?

Because it considers the Book of Homilies " to be an explication of Christian doctrine and instruction in piety and morals."

What parts of the Homilies are considered as inapplicable to the circumstances of the Church in America?

All those which have " references to the constitution and laws of England."

What is said of the order for reading the Homilies in Churches?

It is suspended.

Until when?

"Until a revision of them may be conveniently made."

Why is a revision necessary?

In order to clear them from obsolete words and phrases and from local references.

Article XXXVI.

What is the subject of the thirty-sixth Article?

"The Consecration of Bishops and Ministers."

Whom do you understand under the name of bishops?

Archbishops likewise.

And whom under the name of ministers? Priests and deacons. What is the consecration of priests and deacons called?

"Ordering" or ordaining.

How has the Church in the United States provided for the consecration and ordination of her bishops and ministers?

By the book " set forth by the General Convention of this Church in 1792."

What does the Article declare concerning those who have been or shall be consecrated or ordered according to the rites of that book?

That "they be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered."

On what ground is this asserted?

1. Because that book " doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering;"

2. Because it contains nothing " that is of itself superstitious and ungodly."

What things are necessary to the consecration of a bishop in the United States?

That he be consecrated by at least three bishops, one orderly presiding, and the other bishops present joining with him in laying on of hands.

What things are necessary to the ordination of a priest?

That it be done by a bishop, other priests laying on their hands likewise.

What is necessary to the ordering of a deacon? That it be done.by the laying on of the hands of a bishop.

How does it appear that this is all that is necessary?

Because such was the practice of the Primitive Church.

  1. The twenty-flrst Article "is omitted" from the Articles of the Church in the United States, "because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining part of it, in other Articles."—Note to the Title, in the Articles of the P. E. Church. It is thought best to retain the explanation, as it treats of matters of some importance.
  2. "The Sacraments" here means the elements of the Eucharist only. See Britton's Sacramental Articles, pp. 94-101.
  3. The Church of the United States provides in her canons respecting the "offences for which the ministers shall be tried and punished," and the way in which this shall be done.