|The Book of Common Prayer|
Articles of Religion
established by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Protestant
Episcopal Church in the
ARTICLES OF RELIGION.
I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
THERE is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.
III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.
As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed, that he went down into Hell.
IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.
V. Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.
VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
the Names and Number of the Canonical Books
The 1789 and 1892 Books add "ART." to every article title.
The 1789 and 1892 Books also generally italicize personal and place names.
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.
VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwith-standing, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
VIII. Of the Creeds.
Nicene Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed,
ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by
most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.
|Numeri, Deuteronomium, Joshue, Hester until 1845.|
Of Original or Birth Sin.
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, φρονημα σαρκος, (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. 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.
X. Of Free Will.
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
XI. Of the Justification of Man.
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
XII. Of Good Works.
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
XIII. Of Works before Justification.
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.
XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, We are unprofitable servants.
XV. Of Christ alone without Sin.
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things,
sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and
in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice
of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin
(as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized,
and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore 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.
XVII. Of Predestination and Election
to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations
of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret
to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in
Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to ever-lasting salvation,
as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent
a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working
in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified
freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image
of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works,
and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.
also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall
be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent
to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For
Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby
men must be saved.
visible Church of Christ 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.
XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.
[The Twenty-first of the former Articles is omitted; because it is partly of a local and civil nature, and is provided for, as to the remaining parts of it, in other Articles.]
XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.
XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be 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.
XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.
XXV. Of the Sacraments.
ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s
profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs
of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the which he doth work
invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm
our Faith in him.
XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.
in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes
the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments,
yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's,
and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry,
both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither
is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor
the grace of God’s gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly,
do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because
of Christ’s institution and promise, although they be ministered
by evil men.
XXVII. Of Baptism.
is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian
men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a
sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they
that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises
of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by
the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and
Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.
XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought
to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament
of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that 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.
XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.
XXX. Of both Kinds.
Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts
of the Lord’s Sacrament, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment,
ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.
This note for Art. 21 appears as a footnote in the 1789 and 1892 Books.
|XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon
The Offering of Christ once made in that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices* of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.
XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore 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.
XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath the authority thereunto.
XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies
be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been
divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times,
and men’s manners, so that nothing be ordained against God’s
Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely,
doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be
not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common
authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the
like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and
hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences
of the weak brethren.
XXXV. Of the Homilies.
The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of the Homilies
[This Article is received in this Church, so far as it declares the Book of Homilies to be an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals. But all references to the constitution and laws of England are considered as inapplicable to the circum-stances of this Church; which also suspends the order for the reading of said Homilies in churches, until a revision of them may be conveniently made, for the clearing of them, as well from obsolete words and phrases, as from the local references.]
XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this Church in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly. And, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said Form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.
The Power of the Civil Magistrate extendeth to all men, as well Clergy as Laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men who are professors of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the Civil Authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.
XXXVIII. Of Christian Men’s Goods, which are not common.
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.
XXXIX. Of a Christian Man’s Oath.
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden
Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge,
that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when
the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done
according to the Prophet’s teaching in justice, judgment, and truth.
* sacrifice until 1845.
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