Extracts from the Declaration of His Majesty King Charles I
...the Articles of the Church of England... do contain the true doctrine
of the Church of England agreeable to God's Word... 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 the meaning of the Article, but shall take it in the
literal and grammatical sense.
Canon A2 of the Church of England
The Thirty-Nine Articles are agreeable to the Word of God and may be assented
unto with a good conscience by all members of the Church of England.
Canon A5 of the Church of England
The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the holy Scriptures,
and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church
as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is
to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common
Prayer, and the Ordinal.
The Articles of Religion are set out below in their traditional form followed
by a modern English equivalent or commentary. The latter is provided solely
for the purpose of making the Articles more easily understood. The standing
or authority of the Articles as set out in the Book of Common Prayer is in
no way to be interpreted as diminished or undermined.
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 unity of this Godhead
there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
1 Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is only one living and true God, who is eternal and without body, indivisible
and invulnerable. He is of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the
maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible. Within the
unity of the Godhead there are three persons who are of one substance,
power and eternity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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 all actual sins of men.
2 The Word, or Son of God, who became truly man
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, was begotten from eternity of the
Father, and is the true and eternal God, of one substance with the Father.
He took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary, of her substance,
in such a way that two whole and perfect natures, the Godhead and manhood,
were joined together in one person, never to be divided. Of these two natures
is the one Christ, true God and true man. He truly suffered, was crucified,
died, and was buried, to reconcile the Father to us and to be a sacrifice,
not only for original guilt but also for all 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.
3 The descent of Christ into the realm of the dead
Just as Christ died for us and was buried, so also it is to be believed that
he descended into the realm of the dead.
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.
4 The resurrection of Christ
Christ truly rose again from death and took again his body, with flesh, bones
and all that belongs to the completeness of man's nature. In this body
he ascended into heaven, where he is now seated until the last day, when
he will return to judge all men.
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.
5 The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is of one substance,
majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, true 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 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.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
||The First Book of Chronicles
||The Second Book of Chronicles
||The First Book of Esdras
|| The Second Book of Esdras
||The Book of Esther
||The Book of Job
|The First Book of Samuel
||Ecclesiastes or Preacher
|The Second Book of Samuel
||Cantica, or Songs of Solomon
|The First Book of Kings
||Four Prophets the greater
|The Second Book of Kings
||Twelve Prophets the less
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example
of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth not apply them to establish
any doctrine; such are these following:
|The Third Book of Esdras
||Baruch the Prophet
|The Fourth Book of Esdras
||The Song of the Three Children
|The Book of Tobias
||The Story of Susanna
|The Book of Judith
||Of Bel and the Dragon
|The rest of the Book of Esther
||The Prayer of Manasses
|The Book of Wisdom
||The First Book of Maccabees
|Jesus the Son of Sirach
||The Second Book of Maccabees
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do
receive, and account them Canonical.
6 The sufficiency of Holy Scripture for salvation
Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation. Consequently
whatever is not read in Scripture nor can be proved from Scripture cannot
be demanded from any person to believe it as an article of the faith. Nor
is any such thing to be thought necessary or required for salvation. By
holy Scripture is meant those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments
whose authority has never been doubted within the church.
The canonical books of the Old Testament are:
||Song of Songs
The canonical books of the New Testament are:
The books of the Apocrypha, as Jerome says, are read by the church for examples
of life and instruction in behaviour, but the church does not use them to
establish any doctrine. They are:
||Song of the three children
||Bel and the Dragon
|Additions to Esther
||Prayr of Manasses
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 notwithstanding, no
Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments
which are called Moral.
7 The Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New, for in both the Old and New
Testaments eternal life is offered to mankind through Christ. Hence he,
being both God and man, is the only mediator between God and man. Those
who pretend that the Patriarchs only looked for transitory promises must
not be listened to. Although the law given by God through Moses is not
binding on Christians as far as its forms of worship and ritual are concerned
and the civil regulations are not binding on any nation state, nevertheless
no Christian is free to disobey those commandments which may be classified
VIII Of the Three Creeds
The Three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius's 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.
8 The three Creeds
The three creeds, the Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and that known as the Apostles' Creed, ought to be wholeheartedly accepted and believed. This
is because their contents may be proved by definite statements of Holy
IX 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 ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man
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 the Greek, Φρονεμα 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
9 Original or Birth-sin
Original sin is not found merely in the following of Adam's example (as the
Pelagians foolishly say). It is rather to be seen in the fault and corruption
which is found in the nature of every person who is naturally descended
from Adam. The consequence of this is that man is far gone from his original
state of righteousness. In his own nature he is predisposed to evil, the
sinful nature in man always desiring to behave in a manner contrary to
the Spirit. In every person born into this world there is found this predisposition
which rightly deserves God's anger and condemnation. This infection within
man's nature persists even within those who are regenerate. This desire
of the sinful nature, which in Greek is called phronema sarkos and is variously
translated the wisdom or sensuality or affection or desire of the sinful
nature, is not under the control of God's law. Although there is no condemnation
for those that believe and are baptized, nevertheless the apostle states
that any such desire is sinful.
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
10 Free Will
The condition of man since the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and
prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works for faith and
for calling upon the name of the Lord. Hence we have no power to do good
works which are pleasing and acceptable to God, unless the grace of God
through Christ goes before us so that we may have a good will, and continues
to work with us after we are given 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
11 The justification of man
We are accounted righteous before God solely on account of the merit of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through faith and not on account of our own
good works or of what we deserve. Consequently the teaching that we are
justified by faith alone is a most wholesome and comforting doctrine. This
is taught more fully in the homily on 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 Judgement; 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.
12 Good works
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow on after justification,
can never atone for our sins or face the strict justice of God's judgment,
they are nevertheless pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ and necessarily
spring from a true and living faith. Thus a living faith is as plainly
known by its good works as a tree is known by its fruit.
XIII Of Works before Justification
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of his 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 willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have
the nature of sin.
13 Works before justification
Works done before receiving the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his
Spirit are not pleasing to God. This is because they do not spring out
of faith in Jesus Christ. Nor do they make people fit to receive grace
or (as the schoolmen say) to deserve grace of congruity. On the contrary,
because they are not done as God has willed and commanded that they should
be done, it is undoubtedly the case that 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 do, 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.
14 Works of supererogation
The concept of voluntary works besides, over and above God's commandments,
which are sometimes called works of supererogation, cannot be taught without
arrogance and impiety. By them men declare not only that they render to
God their proper duty but that they actually do more than their duty. But
Christ says: 'So you also, when you have done everything you were
told to do, should say, "We are unworthy 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.
15 Christ alone is without sin
Christ, who truly took our human nature, was made like us in every respect
except that of sin. From this he was clearly free in both body and spirit.
He came to be the Lamb without blemish who, by the sacrifice of himself
once made, should take away the sins of the world. Sin, as St John says,
was not in him. But all the rest of us, even though baptized and born again in Christ, still offend in
many ways. 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.
16 Sin after baptism
Not every sin knowingly committed after baptism is sin against the Holy Spirit
and unforgivable. Therefore the gift of repentance is not to be declared
impossible for those who fall into sin after baptism. After we have received
the Holy Spirit we may depart from the grace given to us and fall into
sin, and we may also by the grace of God return and amend our lives. Therefore
those who say that they are incapable of sinning any more in this life
are to be condemned, as are those who deny the opportunity of forgiveness
to those who truly repent.
Of Predestination and Election
Predestination 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 everlasting
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
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ,
is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and
such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying
the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind
to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and
confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as
because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious
and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before
their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall,
whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness
of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally
set forth to us in holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is
to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.
17 Predestination and election
Predestination to life is the eternal purpose of God, whereby (before the
foundations of the world were laid) he has consistently decreed by his
counsel which is hidden from us to deliver from curse and damnation those
whom he has chosen in Christ out of mankind and to bring them through Christ
to eternal salvation as vessels made for honour. Hence those granted such
an excellent benefit by God are called according to God's purpose by his
Spirit working at the appropriate time. By grace they obey the calling;
they are freely justified, and made sons of God by adoption, are made like
the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk faithfully in
good works and at the last by God's mercy attain eternal happiness.
The reverent consideration of this subject of predestination and of our election
in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and inexpressible comfort to the godly
and to those who feel within themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ,
putting to death the deeds of the sinful and earthly nature and lifting their
minds up to high and heavenly things. This consideration establishes and confirms their
belief in the eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ and kindles
a fervent love towards God. But for inquisitive and unspiritual persons who
lack the Spirit of Christ to have the sentence of God's predestination continually
before their eyes is a dangerous snare which the Devil uses to drive them
either into desperation or into recklessly immoral living (a state no less
perilous than desperation).
Furthermore we need to receive God's promises in the manner in which they
are generally set out to us in holy Scripture, and in our actions we need
to follow that will of God which is clearly declared to us in the Word of
XVIII Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ
They 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.
18 Obtaining salvation only by the name of Christ
Those who presume to say that every person shall be saved by the rule of
life, religion or sect that he professes, provided he makes diligent efforts
to live by that rule and the light of nature, must be regarded as accursed.
For holy Scripture declares to us that it is only in the name of Jesus
Christ that men must be saved.
XIX Of the Church
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the 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.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch,
have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living
and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.
19 The church
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of believers in which the
pure Word of God is preached and in which the sacraments are rightly administered
according to Christ's command in all those matters that are necessary for
As the churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria
have erred, so also the church of Rome has erred, not only in their practice
and forms of worship but also in matters of faith.
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 any thing 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 it not to enforce
any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.
20 The authority of the church
The church has authority to decree forms of worship and ceremonies and to
decide in controversies concerning the faith. However, it is not lawful
for the church to order anything contrary to God's written Word. Nor may
it expound one passage of Scripture so that it contradicts another passage.
So, although the church is a witness and guardian to holy Scripture, it
must not decree anything contrary to Scripture, nor is it to enforce belief
in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation.
XXI Of the Authority of General Councils
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and
will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they
be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word
of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining
unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have
neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be
taken out of holy Scripture.
21 The authority of general councils
General councils may not be gathered together without the command and will
of rulers. And when they are gathered together (since they are an assembly
of men, among whom not all are ruled by the Holy Spirit and the Word of
God), they may err. Indeed they sometimes have erred, even in things elating
to God. Therefore anything commanded by them as necessary to salvation
has no power or authority unless it can be shown to be taught by Scripture.
XXII Of Purgatory
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration,
as well of Images as of Reliques, 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.
The Roman doctrine concerning purgatory, pardons, worshipping and adoration
(both of images and of relics) and the invocation of saints is a futile
thing foolishly conceived and grounded on no evidence of Scripture. On
the contrary this teaching is 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 publick 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
publick authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send
Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.
23 Ministering in the congregation
It is not right for an man to take upon himself the office of public preaching
or of administering the sacraments in the congregation before he has been
lawfully called and sent to perform these tasks. The lawfully called and
sent are those who have been chosen and called to this work by men who
have had public authority given to them in the congregation to call and
send such 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 publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister
the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.
24 Speaking in the congregation in a language that people understand
It is plainly repugnant to the Word of God and to the custom of the early
church for public prayer or the administration of the sacraments to be
conducted in a language not understood by the people.
XXV Of the Sacraments
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
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that
is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance,
Orders, Matrimony, and extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments
of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of
the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet
have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for
that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried
about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive
the same they have a wholesome effect or operation: but they that receive
them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.
25 The sacraments
The sacraments instituted by Christ are not only badges or tokens of the
profession of Christians but are also sure witnesses and effectual signs
of God's grace and good will towards us. Through them he works invisibly
within us, both bringing to life and also strengthening and confirming
our faith in him.
There are two sacraments instituted by Christ our Lord in the Gospel - baptism
and the Lord's Supper.
The five that are commonly called sacraments (confirmation, penance, ordination,
marriage and extreme unction) are not to be regarded as Gospel sacraments.
This is because they are either a corruption of apostolic practice or states
of life as allowed in the Scriptures. They are not of the same nature as
the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper since they do not have any
visible sign or ceremony instituted by God.
The sacraments were not instituted by Christ to be gazed at or carried about
but to be used properly. It is only in those who receive them worthily that
they have a beneficial effect or operation. As Paul the apostle says, those
who receive them in an unworthy manner bring condemnation upon themselves.
XXVI Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect
of the Sacrament
Although 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 the receiving of
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.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry
be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge
of their offences; and finally being found guilty, by just judgement be deposed.
26 The sacraments are not rendered ineffectual by the unworthiness of the
Although in the visible church the evil are always mingled with the good
and sometimes evil people possess the highest rank in the ministry of the
Word and sacraments, nevertheless since they do not do these things in their
own name but in Christ's and minister by his commission and authority, we
may use their ministry both in hearing God's Word and in receiving the sacraments.
The effect of Christ's institution is not taken away by the wickedness of
these people, nor is the grace of God's gifts diminished, so long as the
sacraments are received by faith and rightly. The sacraments are effectual
because of Christ's institution and promise, even though they may be administered
by evil men.
Nevertheless, it belongs to the discipline of the church that investigation
be made into evil ministers. Those who are accused by witnesses having knowledge
of their offences and who in the end are justly found guilty, should be deposed.
XXVII Of Baptism
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. The Baptism of young Children
is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the
institution of Christ.
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and a mark of difference by which
Christians are distinguished from those who are not baptized. It is also
a sign of regeneration or new birth, through which, as through an instrument,
those who receive baptism in the right manner are grafted into the church,
the promises of the forgiveness of sin and of our adoption as sons of God
by the Holy Spirit are visibly signed and sealed, faith is confirmed, and
grace is increased by virtue of prayer to God. The baptism of young children
is undoubtedly to be retained in the church as that which agrees best with
XXVIII Of the Lord's Supper
The 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.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in
the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by holy Writ; but is repugnant to
the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and
hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after
an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ
is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved,
carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
28 The Lord's Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the mutual love that Christians
ought to have among themselves. Rather, it is a sacrament of our redemption
through Christ's death. To those who rightly, worthily and with faith receive
it, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and
similarly the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (the change of the substance of the bread and wine) in
the Supper of the Lord cannot be proved from holy Scripture, but is repugnant
to the plain teaching of Scripture. It overthrows the nature of a sacrament
and has given rise to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper only in a heavenly
and spiritual manner. The means by which the body of Christ is received and
eaten in the Supper is faith.
The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not instituted by Christ to be reserved,
carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.
XXIX Of the Wicked which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's
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.
29 The wicked who partake of the Lord's supper do not eat the body of Christ
The wicked and those who lack a living faith, although they physically and
visibly 'press with their teeth' (as St Augustine says) the sacrament of
the body and blood of Christ, nevertheless are in no way partakers of Christ.
Rather, by eating and drinking the sign or sacrament of so great a thing,
they bring condemnation upon themselves.
XXX Of both kinds
The 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.
30 Reception in both kinds
The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the laity. For by Christ's institution
and commandment both parts of the Lord's sacrament ought to be administered
to all Christian people alike.
XXXI Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross
The Offering of Christ once made is 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.
31 The one oblation of Christ finished upon the cross
The offering of Christ made once is the perfect redemption, propitiation,
and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and
actual. There is no other satisfaction for sin but this alone. Consequently,
the sacrifices of masses, in which it was commonly said that the priest
offered Christ for the living and dead so as to gain 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 also 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.
32 The marriage of priests
It is not commanded by any decree of God that bishops, presbyters or deacons
take a vow of celibacy or abstain from marriage. So it is lawful for them,
as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion when they
judge that this will promote 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
33 The excommunicated: how they are to be avoided
Any person who has openly been denounced by the church and justly cut off
from its fellowship and excommunicated is to be regarded by the whole body
of the faithful as a 'pagan and swindler' until he is openly
reconciled by repentance and received back into the church by a judge who
has the necessary authority in such matters.
XXXIV Of the Traditions of the Church
It is not necessary that 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 diversities of countries, times, and men's manners, so
that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever through his private
judgement, 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.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and
abolish, ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority,
so that all things be done to edifying.
34 The customs of the church
It is not necessary that customs and forms of worship be exactly the same
everywhere. Throughout history they have differed. They may be altered
according to the differing nations, times, and habits of people provided
that nothing is commanded contrary to God's Word. Whoever by his own private
judgment openly, willingly, and deliberately breaks those customs and forms
of worship of the church which do not contradict the Word of God and are
approved by common authority, is to be openly rebuked. This is so that
others will be afraid to act similarly, and in so doing offend against
the common order of the church, to undermine the authority of the state's
representative and to wound the consciences of weak Christians.
Every particular or national church has authority to command, change or abolish
the ceremonies or forms of worship of the church which are appointed only
by man's authority provided that everything is done for the building up of
XXXV Of 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.
||Of the right use of the Church.
||Of the Nativity of Christ.
||Against peril of Idolatry.
||Of the Passion of Christ.
|| Of repairing and keeping clean of churches.
||Of the Resurrection of Christ.
||Of good Works: first of Fasting.
||Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
||Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
||Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
||Against Excess of Apparel.
||For the Rogation-days.
||Of the State of Matrimony.
||Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
||That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known
||Of the reverend estimation of God’s Word.
35 The Homilies
The second Book of Homilies contains godly and wholesome teaching which is
necessary for these times, as does the first book of Homilies published
during the reign of Edward VI. We therefore judge that they ought be read
diligently and distinctly in the churches by the ministers so that they
may be understood by the people.
XXXVI Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers
The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests
and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed
at the same time by authority of Parliament, 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 and
ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the
forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated
or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly,
orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered.
36 The consecration of bishops and ministers
The book for the consecration of archbishops and bishops and for ordaining
presbyters and deacons, published in the time of Edward VI and confirmed
at the same time by authority of Parliament, contains all things necessary
to such consecration and ordination. Nor does it contain anything which
of itself is superstitious and ungodly. Therefore whoever is consecrated
or ordained according to the services of that book, since the second year
of Edward VI to the present time, and whoever will be consecrated and ordained
according to those services in the future, we declare to be rightly, duly,
and lawfully consecrated and ordained.
XXXVII Of the Civil Magistrates
The King's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other
his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm,
whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain,
and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.
Where we attribute to the King's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles
we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give
not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments,
the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen
do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have
been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself;
that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their
charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with
the civil sword the stubborn and evildoers.
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and
It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to
wear weapons, and serve in the wars.
37 The state and its civil representatives
The sovereign has the chief power in the realm of England and his other possessions.
The supreme government of all in this realm, whatever their station, whether
ecclesiastical or civil, and in all matters, belongs to him and is not,
nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.
When we attribute
to the sovereign the chief government (a title which seems to have offended
some slanderous persons) we do not grant our rulers the ministry of either
God's Word or of the sacraments. This is also made clear in the Injunctions
published by Queen Elizabeth I. By this title we acknowledge only the prerogative
which we see in holy Scripture God has given to all godly rulers. They
should rule all people committed to their charge by God, whatever their
station or rank, whether ecclesiastical or secular, and restrain with the
civil power those who are stubborn or practise evil.
The bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this realm of England.
The laws of the realm may punish Christian people with death for heinous
and grave offences.
It is lawful for Christian men at the command of the state to carry weapons
and serve in wars.
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.
38 The possessions of Christians are not common to all
Contrary to what some Anabaptists claim, the wealth and possessions of Christians
are not common, as far as the right, title and possession of them is concerned.
Nevertheless, everyone ought to give freely to the poor from what he possesses,
according to his means.
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, judgement, and truth.
39 A Christian's oath
We believe that the vain and rash swearing of oaths is forbidden to Christians
by our Lord Jesus Christ and St James. However, we judge that the Christian
faith does not prohibit the swearing of an oath when the state requires
it, if in a cause where faithfulness and love justify it, and according
to the prophet Jeremiah's teaching, in justice, judgement, and truth.