The Book of Articles, 1536;
devised by Henry VIII.
Extracted from Foxes Monuments. Ed Rev Geo. Townsend (1846) vol 5 p 163-4..
[ Note: It will be seen that some `Romish` practices were allowed, certainly during the transition, but became subject of criticism by the Calvinist Puritans in later years.]
In the contents of this book, first he set forth the articles of our christian creed, which are necessarily and expressly to be believed by all men. Then, with the king’s preface going before, followeth the declaration of three sacraments; to wit, of baptism, of penance, and of the sacrament of’ the altar; is the tractation whereof, he altereth nothing from the old trade received heretofore from the church of Rome.
Further then, proceeding to the order and cause of our justification, he declareth, that the only mercy and grace of the Father, promised freely unto us for his Son’s sake Jesus Christ, and the merits of his passion and blood, be the only sufficient and worthy causes of our justification; yet good works, with inward contrition, hope, and charity, and all other spiritual graces and motions, be necessarily required, and must needs concur also in remission of our sins; that is, our justification: and afterwards, we, being justified, must also have good works of charity, and obedience towards God, in the observing and fulfilling outwardly of his law, and commandments, &c.
As touching images, he willeth all bishops and preachers to teach the people in such sort as they may know how they may use them safely in churches, and not abuse them to idolatry, as thus: that they be representers of virtue and good example, and also, by occasion, may be stirrers of men’s minds, and make them to remember themselves, and to lament their sins; and so far he permitteth them to stand in churches. But otherwise, for avoiding of idolatry, he chargeth all bishops and preachers diligently to instruct the people, that they commit no idolatry unto them, in censing of them, in kneeling and offering to them, with other like worshippings, which ought not to be done, but only to God.
And likewise for honouring of saints, the bishops and preachers be commanded to inform the people, how saints, hence departed, ought to be reverenced and honoured, and how not: that is, that they are to be praised and honoured as the elect servants of Christ, or rather Christ to be praised in them for their excellent virtues planted in them, and for their good example left us, teaching us to live in virtue and in goodness, and not to fear to die for Christ, as they did. And also as advancers of our prayers in that they may; but yet no confidence, nor any such honour to be given unto them, which is only due to God; and so forth: charging the said spiritual persons to teach their flock, that all grace, and remission of sins, and salvation, can no otherwise be obtained but of God only, by the mediation of our Saviour Christ, who only is a sufficient mediator for our sins: that all grace and remission of sin must proceed only by the mediation of Christ and no other.
From that he cometh further to of rites and ceremonies in Chnst`s church; as in having vestments used in God’s service, sprinkling of holy water, giving of holy bread, bearing of candies on Candlemass day, taking of ashes, bearing of palms, creeping to the cross, setting up the sepulchre, hallowing of the font, with other like customs, rites, and ceremonies; all which old rites and customs the aforesaid book doth not by and by repeal, but so far admitteth them for good and laudable, as they put men in remembrance of spiritual things: but so that the people withal must be instructed, how the said ceremonies contain in them no such power to remit sin, but that to be referred unto God only, by whom only our sins he forgiven us.
And so, concluding with purgatory, be rnaketh an end of those articles, thus saying thereof, that because the book of Maccabees alloweth praying for souls departed, he therefore disproveth not that so laudable a custom, so long continued in the church. But because there is no certain place named, nor kind of pains expressed in Scripture, he therefore thinketh necessary such abuses clearly to be put away, which under the name of purgatory have been advanced; as to make men believe, that by the bishop of Rorne’s pardons, or by masses said at ‘Scala Coeli,’ or othewhere, In any place, or before any image, souls might clearly be delivered out of purgatory, and from the pains thereof, to be sent straight to heaven; and such other like abuses, &c.