Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

vey. Not only were they designed to remove diversities of opinion, but a royal declaration was issued by Charles I. in 1628, enjoining that no man hereafter shall either print or

preach, to draw the article aside any way, but shall submit 'to it 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.' To act otherwise, is palpably dishonest and Jesuitical, and repugnant to the feelings of every candid and well-constituted mind.

5. Can the 39 Articles be fairly interpreted in a Calvinistic sense; and what means were taken by Archbishop Whitgift to set them aside ?

cer

So far is the true interpretation of the 39 Articles from being Calvinistic, that in order to set aside their authority,

tain other Articles were drawn up at Lambeth in 1595. asserting the most offensive of the Calvinistic positions. The Lambeth Articles however have no authority, beyond what may be considered due to the private opinions of Archbishop Whitgift, and those by whom he was assisted in their compilation.

6. What are the direct means of ascertaining the legitimate sense of the Articles; and what are the best sources of their illustration ?

In order to ascertain the legitimate sense of the Articles of any Church, it is obvious to compare them with the formularies of the Church itself, and the writings of those who were engaged in their composition. Subordinate therefore to the Liturgy and Homilies of the Church of England, the works of those divines, who were personally concerned in the production of the 39 Articles, must ever be considered as the best sources of their illustration. Among these, Nowell's Catechism and Jewel's Apology have always been ranked in the first class ; as these authors took a prominent part in the Convocation, by which the Articles were put forth. Much light is also thrown upon the opinions which the Reformers entertained respecting the doctrines and discipline of the Church, in the Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum :-a body of Institutes, collected, at the suggestion of Cranmer, by a Committee of divines and lawyers; which, though possessing no authority, is a valuable record of the prevailing sentiments of the time.

7. From which of the Confessions of the foreign reformed Churches may light be sometimes thrown upon the true import of our Articles ?

Since our Articles were taken in part from the Confession of Augsburgh, presented by Luther and Melancthon to the emperor Charles V. in 1530, their primitive sense may sometimes be established by a reference to that Confession, and the writings of those reformers.

8. What is the general character of the Confession of Augsburgh?

It is divided into 28 chapters, of which the greater portion are devoted to a clear and Scriptural developement of the Protestant opinions, and the last 7 to a confutation of the principal errors of the Church of Rome. It is still maintained as the Theological standard of the Lutheran Communion; and, though its rule of faith and some of its tenets are not in accordance with our own, it may be regarded as the least objectionable of the systems drawn up by the foreign reformers.

9. Under what general heads may the Articles be convenienly arranged ?

According to Archbishop Bramhall's classification of the Articles, some are the very same that are contained in the Creed ; some are practical truths rather than articles of beliet; and, lastly, some are pious opinions, proposed not so much as points of faith essential to Salvation, but rather as inferior truths which ought not to be gainsayed. The compilers themselves, however, seem to have had a more methodical arrangement in view, which divides them into four general heads :—The five first embrace the great fundamental doctrine of the Trinity in Unity ; the sixth, seventh, and eighth, establish the Rule of Faith ; the ten next lay down the duties of Christians, as individuals; and the remaining twenty-one relate to their obligations, as members of a religious society.

ARTICLE I.

Of Faith in the Holy | De fide in Sacrosanctam Trinity.

Trinitatem, THERE is but one living UNUS est vivus et verus and true God, everlasting, Deus, æternus, incorporeus, without body, parts, or pas- impartibilis, impassibilis; sions; of infinite power, wis- | immensæ potentiæ, sapientiæ, dom,' and goodness; the ac bonitatis ; Creator et ConMaker and Preserver of all servator omnium, tum visithings both visible and in bilium, tum invisibilium. Et visible. And in unity of this in unitate hujus divinæ naGodhead there be three Per- turæ, tres sunt Persona, sons, of one substance, power, ejusdem essentiæ, potentiæ, and eternity; the Father, ac æternitatis ; Pater, Filius, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I et Spiritus Sanctus.

1. What is asserted in the First Article ?

This Article asserts the existence of a God; his essential unity, attributes, and perfections, and the mysterious combination of three persons in the unity of the Godhead.

2. What proofs does Natural Religion offer of the existence of a God, and the unity of the Godhead?

The being of a God is manifest from the consciousness of our own existence in common with that of innumerable beings, material and spiritual, which cannot be conceived to have produced themselves, and whose production must therefore be referred to some first, independent, and selfexisting cause. Hence the notion of a Supreme Being has universally prevailed among civilized nations, and divine worship, in some form or other, has been constantly paid to the Deity, whose power, wisdom, and goodness are clearly displayed in his works. The unity of the Godhead is deduced from the incompatibility of a plurality of Gods with the unity of design in the works of creation and providence, and from the obvious want of any necessity for more Gods than one.

3. Explain, by reference to the Latin Article, the assertion that God is without body, parts, or

passions ; and shew that the several attributes, which the Article assigns to him, are essential to the Deity.

In the Latin Article, the expressions are incorporeus, impartibilis, et impassibilis; that is, incorporeal or immaterial, indivisible, and incapable of suffering. These attributes, with the others here mentioned, will at once be admitted. God must be everlasting, inasmuch as the great first cause can never have been produced by any other cause; and being self-existent, must ever have existed: He must be incorporeal, and therefore indivisible, since, being every where present, he would otherwise not only be visible, but occupy space to the exclusion of other objects: He must be impassible, as being superior to all and every thing which induces suffering : He is all-powerful, for nothing can resist his might, and he is the only source of power in others : and His wisdom and goodness are manifest in the perfect order, the excellent design, and the merciful economy of his works. As the world must clearly have been created, so its preservation is dependent upon laws which cannot regulate themselves ; and no other Maker and Preserver of all things is conceivable, except God.

4. Prove from the Scriptures the Being, the Unity, and the Attributes of God.

From the Scriptures it appears that there is a God (Exod. xx. 1. Acts. xvii. 23.); that there is but one God (Deut. vi. 4. 1 Cor. viii. 6.); that He is the living and true God (Jerem. x. 10. 1 Thess. i. 9.) ; that before the earth

and the world were made he was God from everlasting to ' everlasting(Psal. xc. 2. Rom. xvi. 26. 1 Tim. i. 17.); that * God is a Spirit,' and therefore hath not flesh and bones,' neither is he a man that he should lie or repent' (Numb. xxiii. 19. Luke xxiv. 39. John iv. 24.); that with . God all things are possible, that 'bis understanding is 'infinite,' and the riches of his wisdom unsearchable, that the earth is full of his goodness, and that every good gift

and every perfect gift cometh down from him' xxxiii. 5. cxlvii. 5. Matt. xix. 26. Rom. xi. 33. James i. 17.); that 'in the beginning he created the heaven and the earth,' and all things that are in heaven and on earth, visible and “invisible,' that He preserveth them all,' and that by Him ‘all things consist' (Gen. i. 1. Nehem. ix. 6. Col. i. 16, 17.).

5. Since God is impassible, how is it that the

F

Scripture speaks of Him as actuated by feelings analagous to those of human nature; and what is the technical term by which this mode of speaking is designated ?

When the Scriptures speak of God as possessed of human parts and passions, as hands and mouth, or anger, love, repentance, and the like, they accommodate their language to the weakness of man's capacity, which is unable to comprehend the perfections of the divine nature. This mode of speaking is denominated άνθρωποπάθεια.

6. Shew that the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity is abundantly proved in the New Testament.

The doctrine of the Trinity in Unity is not perhaps distinctly proposed in the New Testament as an article of

but it is so clearly implied throughout the entire history, and such distinct views are taken of God's threefold manifestation of himself, that it is scarcely possible for an honest man to evade the inference. At the same time that distinct personal acts are assigned to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, those attributes are appropriated to each and all of these divine persons which belong only to God, and in such a manner as to indicate their equality. Thus the Son is not only declared to be God (John i. 1.), but to be invested with all the fulness of the Godhead' (Col. ii. 9.): when Ananias lied unto the Holy Ghost, St. Peter reproved him as lying 'not unto men, but unto God' (Aets v. 4.): and the three persons are mentioned in conjunction by our Lord himself (Matt. xxviii. 19.), by St Paul (2 Cor. xiii. 14.), by St. John (Rev. i. 4.), and each time in a different order, so that they are manifestly co-equal together, as well as co-eternal.

7. Is not this doctrine distinctly recognized in the Old Testament?

A plurality of persons is recognized in many passages of the Old Testament; as, for instance, when God said, let "Us make man in our own image' (Gen. i. 26.). Still the numerical unity of the Godhead is equally enforced; and although without controversy great is the mystery of God• liness' (1 Tim. iii. 16.), enough is revealed to establish the truth thereof 'unto us and our children for ever' (Deut. xxix. 29.)

« PoprzedniaDalej »