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That We are Supreme Governor of the Church of Eng. land: 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 so 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 shall 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 vii
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.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
THE XXXIX ARTICLES.
TITLE AND DECLARATION. 1. GIVE a concise history of the XXXIX Articles; and shew that both the English and Latin copies are of equal authority.
Answer. In consequence of the licence in which both the enemies and friends of the Reformation indulged after the death of Henry VIII., the young King, Edward VI., found it necessary, to lay a prohibition on all preaching, and to limit instruction from the pulpit to the use of the first book of Homilies set forth by authority,' until 'one ‘uniform order throughout the realm should put an end to
all controversies in religion. Accordingly in 1552, Fortytwo Articles of religion were published by Royal proclamation. In the compilation of these articles, Cranmer and Ridley were principally concerned ; but questions relating to them were submitted to many bishops and divines, and all points of disagreement had a full and free discussion, in order that there might be as near an approach to unanimity as possible, in an affair of so great importance. As a matter of course, these Articles were set aside by Queen Mary ; but, after a careful revison in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, they were reduced in number to 38, and again put forth by royal authority in 1562. They were again revised, and
assumed their present form and number in 1571; and subscription by the Clergy was required by Act of Parliament. At this time they were drawn up in Latin as well as English; and as both the Latin and English copies were subscribed by the members of the two houses of Convocation, they are to be considered as equally authentic.
2. Do the Articles contain a complete exposition of the religious system of the Church of England ?
Although the 39 Articles are the standard of opinion in the Church of England, with respect to those points of doctrine and practice of which they treat; still they are by no means to be regarded as exhibiting a complete view of her Theological system. On many matters of the highest importance, such as the effects of the Fall, the obligation of the Sabbath, the laws of marriage and divorce, the rite of Confirmation, and many questions of Church discipline, they are altogether silent. They were drawn up with immediate reference to a particular purpose, beyond which they do not extend.
3. Whence does it appear that they were compiled for a particular purpose ; and what was that purpose ?
Both from internal evidence, and from the history of the times in which they were compiled, it is manifest that they are directed against the principal errors and corruptions of the Romish Church, and against the heretical tenets of the Anabaptist and some other sectarians, which were industriously disseminated at the period of the Reformation. Hence it is expressly stated in the Title, that they were agreed "upon for avoiding diversities of opinions, and for the estab'lishing of consent touching true religion.'
4. Where they designed merely as Articles of peace; and in what sense are they to be interpreted and subscribed ?
It is absurd to suppose that the Articles were drawn up merely as Articles of peace, which those who subscribe them are not obliged to maintain, so long as they do not openly reject them; or which may be subscribed in a sense altogether different from that which they were intended to con