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AETICLES OF RELIGION OF THE REFORMED EPISCOPAL CHURCH LN AMERICA. A.D. 1875.
[These Articles were adopted by the third General Council of the Reformed Episoofai. Cncicn in America, held in Chicago, May 18,1876. They are based on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, from which the Reformed Episcopal Chnrch has epmng under the lead of Bishop Ccvhihs (d. Jnne, 18T6). See Vol. L, pp. MS sqq. They resemble Wesley's abridgment of the English Articles, bat retain more of the original. The text Is taken from tbe Minutes o] the Third General Council. It is also published in pamphlet form.]
Of the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, who is a spirit, everlasting; 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.
Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very man.
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, 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 satisfy Divine justice, and to reconcile us to his Father, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original sin, but also for actual sins of men.
Of the Resurrection of Christ, and his Second Coming.
Christ did truly rise 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, our High-Priest and Advocate, at the right hand of the Father, whence he will return to judge the world in righteousness. This Second Coming is the blessed hope of the Church. The heavens have received him, till the times of the restitution of all things. To those who look for him he shall appear a Becond time without sin unto salvation. Then shall he change the body of our humiliation that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. He will take to himself his great power, and shall reign till he have put all enemies under his feet.
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.
It is the work of the Holy Ghost to reprove and convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; to take of the things of Christ and show them to men; to regenerate—making men willing, leading them to faith in Christ, and forming Christ in them the hope of glory; to strengthen them with might in their inner man, that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith; and to secure in them that walking in the ways of God which is called the Fruit of the Spirit. The true Church is thus called out of the world, and is builded together for an habitation of God, through the Spirit.
Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost: Holy Scripture is therefore the Word of God; not only does it contain the oracles of God, but it is itself the very oracles of God. And hence it 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 as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, viz.:
Of the Old Testament:
Gene fit, Deuteronomy, The 1st Book of Samuel,
Exodus, Joshua, The 2d Book of Samuel,
Leviticus, Judges, The 1 st Book of Kings,
Numbers, Ruth, The 2d Book of Kings,
The 1st Book of Chronicles,
Acts of the Apostles,
Song of Solomon,
Lamentations of Jeremiah,
Of the New Testament
The Book1 commonly called "The Apocrypha" is not a portion of God's Word, and is not therefore to be read in churches, nor to be used in establishing any doctrine.
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; and although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Kites, does not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth, yet notwithstanding, as a rule of right living, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
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 engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is wholly 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 condemnation. Men are, as the Apostle speaks,1 bj nature the children of wrath.' And this infection of nature doth remain—yea, in them that are regenerated. And although there is no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence or lust in such hath of itself the nature of sin.
Of Maris Condition by Nature.
The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he can not 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 first inclining us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.
Of Works before Justification.
Works commonly called good before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit, have not the nature of obedience to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to deserve or to receive grace.
Of Regeneration or the New Birth.
Kegeneration is the creative act of the Holy Ghost, whereby he imparts to the soul a new spiritual life.
And whosoever believeth in Christ is born again, for, saith the Scripture,' ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.'
The faith which brings justification is simply the reliance or dependence on Christ which accepts him as the sacrifice for our sins, and as our righteousness.
We may thus rely on Christ, either tremblingly or confidingly; but in either case it is saving faith. If, though tremblingly, we rely on him in his obedience for us unto death, instantly we come into union with him, and are justified. If, however, we confidingly rely on him, then have we the comfort of our justification. Simply by faith in Christ are we justified and saved.
Of the Justification of Man.
We are pardoned and 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. He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He bare our sins in his own body. It pleased our heavenly Father, of his infinite mercy, without any our desert or deserving, to provide for us the most precious sacrifice of Christ, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied. So that Christ is himself the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. He for them paid their ransom, by his death. He for them fulfilled the law, in his life. So that now in him, and by him, every true Christian man may be called a fulfiller of the law. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.
Article xm. Of Repentance.
The repentance required by Scripture is a change of mind toward God, and is the effect of the conviction of sin, wrought by the Holy Ghost.
The unconverted man may have a sense of remorse, or of shame and self-reproach, and yet he may have neither a change of mind toward God nor any true sorrow; but when he accepts Christ as his Saviour, therein he manifests a change of mind, and is in possession of repentance unto life. The sinner comes to Christ' through no labored process of repenting and sorrowing; but he comes to Christ and repentance both at once, by means of simply believing. And ever afterwards his repentance is deep and genuine in proportion as his faith is simple and childlike.