III. Theology, Liturgy, Clergy, Government

1. Theology

The doctrinal standards of the Anglican Church are the Thirty-Nine Articles (q.v.) and the Book of Common Prayer (see Common Prayer, Book of To these may be added the Catechism and the two Books of Homilies (see Homiliarium) issued in the reign of Edward VI. and sanctioned by the Thirty-nine Articles. Within the pale of the Church the most divergent views have prevailed concerning its doctrinal status. On the one hand, it has been represented as strongly Calvinistic, both in respect to the sacraments and to the decrees; on the other hand, theologians such as Newman (before his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith), Bishop Fortes of Brechin, and Pussy hold that nothing is taught in the Thirtynine Articles which can not be harmonized with the Tridentine decrees. An unprejudiced study of the wording of the Articles, without any inferences from what is left unsaid, shows that they teach a moderate Calvinism, and are in all essentials in sympathy with the Protestant Reformation of the Continent. The sole and supreme authority of the Scriptures is emphasized (Art. vi.), as is the doctrine of justification by faith, Art. xi. reading: " Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a moat wholesome Doctrine," etc. Original sin is the corruption by nature of every descendant of Adam (Art. ix.); and predestination is the everlasting purpose of God to redeem " those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind " (Art. xvii.). The doctrines of purgatory, celibacy, etc., are specifically denounced (Arts. xxii., xxxii.). The teaching concerning the Eucharist is plainly against transubstantiation, which, in Art, xxviii., is declared to be " repugnant to the plain words of Scripture," the " Body of Christ " being " given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner." While Art. xxvii. can scarcely be said unreservedly to set forth the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, the case is different in the Office for Baptism in the Prayer-Book. After the child has been baptized, the priest says: " Seeing now . . . that this Child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ's Church "; and again after repeating the Lord's Prayer, he gives thanks to God.for regenerating the infant, etc. These words, naturally interpreted, teach baptismal regeneration, although by Low-churchmen they are frequently explained as being used in a hypothetical sense.

2. Liturgy

The worship of the Church of England is liturgical and is regulated by the Book of Common Prayer. Its beautiful forms of service, and its solemn and venerable prayers, are not only among the choicest specimens of English, but exert on the ear and heart of those who hear them an influence which nothing else can replace. The rubrics (so called from having originally been written or printed in red ink) give directions for the minutest details of the service. Provision is made for daily morning and evening prayer, these services consisting of prayers, anthems (Te Deum, Benedicite, Magnifical, Nunc Dimittia, etc.), one lesson from the Old and one from the New Testament, the Creed, and the sermon. After morning prayer on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, a Litany of great beauty and comprehensiveness should be recited; and the Eucharist, for which a separate liturgy is provided, is celebrated at varying intervals, as often as once daily in many High churches. The original purpose was obviously to have a celebration at least once each week. Twentynine feasts are observed, while Lent and Advent, with certain other days, are fasts. The forms for baptism, confirmation, marriage, burial, and ordination are prescribed. The creeds are the Apostles,' Nicene, and Athanasian, the last-named assailed by a strong faction. Any departure, even in the smallest detail, from the Book of Common Prayer is illegal.


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