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A declaration of certain principal articles of religion, set out
by order of both archbishops, metropolitans, and the rest of the bishops, for the unity of doctrine to be taught and holden of all parsons, vicars, and curates : as well in testification of their common consent in the said doctrine, to the stopping of the mouths of them that go about to slander the ministers of the church for diversity of judgment, and as necessary for the instruction of their people, to be read by the said parsons, vicars, and curates, at their possession taking, or first entry into their cures ; and also, after that yearly, at two several times ; that is to say, the Sunday next following Easter-day, and St. Michael the Archangel, or on some other Sunday within one month after those feasts, immediately
after the Gospel. FORASmuch as it appertaineth to all Christian men, but especially to the ministers and pastors of the church, being teachers and instructors of others, to be ready to give a reason of their faith when they shall be thereunto required ; I, for my part, now appointed your parson, vicar, or curate, having before mine eyes the fear of God, and the testimony of my conscience, do acknowledge for myself, and require you to assent to the same;
1. “That there is but one living and true God, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things; and that in unity of this Godhead, there be three persons of one substance, of equal power and eternity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
2. “1 believe also whatsoever is contained in the holy canonical Scriptures, in the which Scriptures are contained all things necessary to salvation; by the which, also, all errors and heresies may sufficiently be reproved and convicted; and all doctrines and articles necessary to salvation are es
tablished. I do also most firmly believe and confess all the articles contained in the three creeds; the Nicene creed, Athanasius's creed, and our common creed, called the Apostles' creed; for these do briefly contain the principal articles of our faith, which are at large set forth in the Holy Scriptures.
3. “I do acknowledge also that church to be the spouse of Christ, wherein the word of God is truly taught, the sacraments orderly ministered according to Christ's institution, and the authority of the keys duly used : and that every such particular church hath authority to institute, to change, and clean to put away, ceremonies, and other ecclesiastical rites, as they be superfluous or abused; and to constitute others, making more to seemliness, to order, or edification.
4. “Moreover I confess, that it is not lawful for any man to take upon him any office or ministry, either ecclesiastical or secular, but such only as are lawfully thereunto called by the high authorities, according to the ordinances of the realm.
5. “Furthermore, I do acknowledge the queen's majesty's prerogative, and superiority of government of all estates, and in all causes, as well ecclesiastical as temporal, within this realm and other her dominions and countries, to be agreeable to God's word, and of right to appertain to her highness, in such sort as in the late act of parliament expressed, and since then by her majesty's injunctions declared and expounded.
6, “ Moreover, touching the bishop of Rome, I do acknowledge and confess, that by the Scriptures and word of God, he hath no more authority than other bishops have in their provinces and diocesses, and therefore the power which he now challengeth, that is, to be the supreme head of the universal church of Christ, and so to be above all emperors, kings, and princes, is a usurped power, contrary to the Scriptures and word of God, and contrary to the example. of the primitive church; and therefore is for most just causes taken away and abolished in this realm.
7. “ Furthermore, I do grant and confess that the book of common prayer and administration of the holy sacraments, set forth by the authority of parliament, is agreeable to the Scriptures; and that it is catholic and apostolic, and most for the advancing of God's glory, and the edifying of God's people ; both for that it is in a tongue that may be understood of the people, and also for the doctrine and form of administration contained in the same.
8. “And although in the administration of baptism there is neither exorcism, oil, salt, spittle, or hallowing of the water, now used ; and for that they were of late years abused and esteemed necessary, whereas they pertain not to the substance and necessity of the sacrament, and therefore be reasonably abolished; yet is the sacrament full and perfectly ministered, to all intents and purposes, agreeable to the institution of our Saviour Christ.
9. “Moreover, I do not only acknowledge, that private masses were never used amongst the fathers of the primitive church, I mean, public ministration and receiving of the sacrament by the priest alone, without a just number of communicants, according to Christ's saying, 'Take ye, and eat ye,' &c. but also that the doctrine that maintaineth the mass to be a propitiatory sacrifice for the quick and the dead, and a mean to deliver souls out of purgatory, is neither agreeable to Christ's ordinance, nor grounded upon doctrine apostolic, but contrariwise most ungodly, and most injurious to the precious redemption of our Saviour Christ, and his only sufficient sacrifice, offered once for ever upon the altar of the cross.
10. “I am of that mind also, that the holy communion or sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, for the due obedience to Christ's institution, and to express the virtue of the same, ought to be ministered unto the people under both kinds: and that it is avouched by certain fathers of the church to be a plain sacrilege, to rob them of the mystical
for whom Christ has shed his most precious blood, seeing he himself hath said, Drink ye all of this;' considering also, that in the time of the ancient doctors of the church, as Cyprian, Jerome, Augustine, Gelasius, and others, six hundred years after Christ, and more, both the parts of the sacrament were ministered to the people.
Last of all, “As I do utterly disallow the extolling of images, relics, and feigned miracles; and also all kind of expressing God invisible, in the form of an old man, or the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove ; and all other vain worshipping of God, devised by men's fantasy, besides or con
trary to the Scriptures; as wandering on pilgrimages, setting up of candles, praying upon beads, and such-like superstition; which kind of works have no promise of reward in Scripture; but contrariwise threatenings and maledictions : so I do exhort all men to the obedience of God's law, and to the works of faith, as charity, mercy, piety, alms, devout and fervent prayer, with the affection of the heart, and not with the mouth only; godly abstinence and fasting, chastity, obedience to the rulers and superior powers, with such-like works, and godliness of life commanded by God in his word; which, as St. Paul saith, 'hath the promise both of this life, and of the life to come ;' and are works acceptable only in God's sight.
“ These things above rehearsed, though they be appointed by common order, yet do I, without all compulsion, with freedom of mind and conscience, from the bottom of my heart, and upon most sure persuasion, acknowledge to to be true, and agreeable to God's word. And therefore I exhort you all to whom I have care, heartily and obediently to embrace and receive the same ; that we all joining together in unity of spirit, faith, and charity, may also at length be joined together in the kingdom of God, and that through the merits and death of our Saviour Jesus Christ; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and empire, now and for ever. Amen.”
A copy of the letter sent to the bishops and pastors of Eng
land, who have renounced the Roman antichrist, and profess the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. The superintendent ministers, and commissioners of char
ges within the realm of Scotland, to their brethren the bishops and pastors of England, who have renounced the Roman antichrist, and do profess with them the Lord Jesus in sincerity, desire the perpetual increase of
the Holy Spirit. By word and writ, it is come to our knowledge, reverend pastors, that divers of our dearest brethren, among whom
are some of the best learned within that realm, are deprived from ecclesiastical function, and forbidden to preach, and so by you, that they are straight to promote the kingdom of Jesus Christ, because their consciences will not suffer to take upon them (at the commandment of authority) such garments as idolaters, in time of blindness, have used in their idolatry, which bruit cannot be but most dolorous to our hearts, mindful of that sentence of the Apostle, saying, • If ye bite and devour one apother, take beed, lest ye be consumed one of another.” We purpose not at this present to enter into the ground of that question which we hear of, either part to be agitate with greater vehemency than well liketh us; to wit, whether that such apparel is to be accounted amongst things thạt are simply indifferent or not; but in the bowels of the Lord Jesus we crave that Christian charity may so prevail in you, we say, the pastors and leaders of the flock within that realm,
That ye do not to others that which ye would not others should do to you. Ye cannot be ignorant how tender a thing the conscience of man is. All that have knowledge are not alike persuaded; your consciences reclaim not at wearing of such garments, but many thousands, both godly and learned, are otherwise persuaded, whose consciences are continually stricken with these sentences : “What hath Christ Jesus to do with Belial ?" " What fellowship is there betwixt darkness and light?" If surplice, corner cap, and tippet, have been badges of idolaters in the very act of their idolatry, what have the preachers of Christian liberty, and the open rebukers of all superstition, to do with the dregs of the Romish beast ? Our brethren, that of conscience refuse that unprofitable apparel, do neither damn yours, or molest you that use such vain trifles: if ye shall do the like to them, we doubt not but therein ye shall please God, and comfort the hearts of many which are wounded with extremity, which is used against those godly, and our beloved brethren. Colour of rhetoric, or manly persuasion, will we use none, but charitably we desire you to call that sentence of pity to mind:—“Feed the flock of God which is committed to your charge, caring for them, not by constraint, but willingly; not as though ye were lords over God's heritage, but that ye may be examples to the flock.” And farther also, we desire you to meditate that sentence of the