by the Rev J.W.Hayes.
The Church Book Room 1924
Foreword by the Bishop of Barking
The writer of this book held an important parish in the Diocese of Chelmsford for many years, and it was in the course of his work there that I became acquainted with him.
From time to time he has helped young men in their preparation for Holy Orders, and he feels that a brief exposition of some salient features of the teaching of the Church of England may be useful to a wider circle than those who come under his personal influence.
To some extent controversies have shifted their ground in recent years, but the errors which the Church of England discarded at the Reformation are still taught by the Church of Rome and appeal to many minds. There are many, therefore, who need grounding in the real teaching of the Church, and they will find here the kind of information that will help them.
At certain points I cannot quite go with Mr. Hayes in his presentation of the case, but I wish his work a wide circulation and much blessing in helping Churchmen to find and to give a reason for the hope that is in them.
“How many among us, at this very hour;
Do forge a life-long trouble for ourselves
By taking true for false or false for true?”
(Geraint and Enid.)
It is in order to build up young men and young women in the Faith, and to prevent them from falling into the error spoken of by the above poet, that this little Synopsis of Evangelical teaching was compiled. The desire of the compiler is, that it may help students to retain the leading facts connected with the Reformation in their memories; hence so many verbatim extracts from works difficult to secure in a neat form.
The Church of England, as at constituted, is the English branch of the Catholic Church (“Reformed,” i.e. cleared of the erroneous accretions of many centuries). Its tenets are moulded on Holy Scripture alone, and the basis of all its teaching is Justification byFaith in Christ, or the salvation of the soul through the merits of the Redeemer, by the free grace of God, without any pleading of Man's “so called” merits. It is the outcome of the Atonement. (1. Pet. 2, 24.)
The truth of this will be shown in the following pages by the contrast between the Church of England teaching, and that of erring churches (such as the Roman, Greek and others of to-day), and as all the extracts are taken from authentic sources, and the sources given, there can be no question of any misrepresentation of doctrine.
In the case of the Church of England, her teaching is to be found most clearly stated in the (a) Creeds; (b) Articles; (c) Prayer Book offices; (d) Homilies; and (e) the established writings of the Reformers of the 16th Century. As the Creeds were not so much the bone of contention in Reformation days, as the Articles of Religion, we will confine our attention more particularly to the latter, and discover why it became necessary to formulate those articles, and find out the causes that gave immediate rise to them.
It is pretty well known that our Articles were not quite original in every clause. They seem to be built upon previous declarations of a similar kind, such as the (a) Articles of Torgau; and (b) the Confession of Augsburg. Let us first see how these originated. Throughout the dark centuries from 500 A.D. to 1600 A.D., Papal claims, tyranny and aggression, had so humiliated Southern Europe, that men began to cry out for reforms in doctrine and morals, as well as for freedom in civil matters.
The Emperor Charles V., being highly exasperated with Pope Clement VII. (in 1526), for meddling with the affairs of the Empire, made war on the Pope, and blocked him up in the Castle of St. Angelo (1527). Afterwards, from motives of political policy, the two were reconciled, and by suggestion of the Pope, the 2nd Diet of Spires was called together to stop controversy, and so check, if possible, the alarming growth of the reforming doctrines. To understand what results issued from this Diet, we must bear in mind that the “Electors” (as they were designated) of Saxony and Brandenburg; the two Dukes of Lunenburg; the Prince of Anhalt and the Langrave of Hesse (being the Lutheran princes of Germany) together with the heads of fourteen Imperial cities, entered a Solemn Protest against the decisions of this 2nd Diet of Spires, which, unexpectedly, went dead against the Reformers and the cause of freedom.
From that time those who protested and opposed the false accretions of Rome, were called or called themselves Protestants. Not Con-testants or Anti-testants but Pro-testants. In 1690 the Elector of Saxony asked Luther to draw up the Articles of Belief held by the Protestants as being truly Scriptural and Catholic. Luther accordingly drew up the seventeen articles which are known as “The Seventeen Articles of Torgau,” because they were presented and certified at Torgau.
The study of the New Testament revealed, more and more, the errors of Rome, and as the reforming tendency spread, Charles V. considered it wise to convene another Diet, called in History, the Diet of Augsburg, and there the Reformers put forward a Confession of Faith, comprised of 28 chapters, which really was simply a further elaboration of the Articles of Torgau. This was afterwards known as the Confession of Augsburg (1580 A.D.), and it throws much light on the origin of our own 39 Articles, for, in many cases the phraseology is identical. It was this revolt against the loose life and false teaching of Rome which compelled, at a later date, the assembling of The Council of Trent with which we will presently deal. It must be clearly understood that Henry VIII. was not “the cause of the Reformation” and “did not start the Protestant Religion.” Although the King broke with the Church of Rome he had no sympathy with the New Learning or with Luther in his antagonism to the Church of Rome. To the close of his life he fully accepted Roman doctrine as distinct from Roman jurisdiction. His divorce case was the occasion of the Nation throwing off the authority and jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, but the Reformation of doctrine and morals was due to (a) the translation of the Bible into English; (b) the recovery of the primitive and apostolic faith by the appeal to Holy Scripture; and (c) the knowledge that had been obtained of the Continental Reformation. The changed outlook in religion that was due to these influences is called the English Reformation, and the historic Church of England remains to-day the Catholic and Apostolic Church purified of its medieval accretions and abuses.
But, was there really such a great need for the reform of morals, as well as of doctrine? Cardinal Baronius, in his denunciation (“An. 900 P. 7. Tom. X. Antwerp, 1680), Platina (in “Lives of the Popes.” P. 242. London), Labbe and Cossart (Vol. IX., Col. 615), Genebrard (in “Chronicles” b. IV. A.D. 1079. Paris, 1585), Du Pin (in his Tom. VIII. C. 11. P. 21. Utrecht, 1781), as well as other Jesuit historians, give us such an awful picture of the depravity of pre-reformation times, that I need say no more than refer to the lives of Sergius III., John X., John XII., John XXII., Alex. VI., and Paul III. (1584), as told by them. Pope Paul III. (a man who urged on others the necessity of reform), who succeeded Clement in 1534, and who himself died in 1549, was very little better. (“Council of Trent,” P. 13 R. T. S.). This was in 1534, only eleven years before the Council of Trent, and yet these men, “Successors to the Apostles,” must be regarded as “infallible.”
Again, the sword was taken up by the-unreformed Church, with the object of exterminating heretics and all opposition to Papal Decrees. For instance, in 1546, the Emperor of Germany arranged with the Pope to reduce, or else exterminate, all heretics by force, and the Pope himself agreed to send 12,000 soldiers, supported at his own expense for six months, and likewise money, in order to have this iniquity perpetrated on unoffending subjects.
Nor were we strangers to a similar state of things in England. Dr. H. M. Luckock (in “Studies” P. 10), speaks of an Act passed in 1539, concerning Masses, Celibacy, Auricular Confession, etc., viz., “ The Statute of Six Articles,” and writes: “So long as the Statute book imposed death by burning as the penalty for denying the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and hanging as acommon felon for disapproval of communion in one kind,” we can easily understand the difficulties of those who desired reformation both of morals and doctrine in the 16th Century.
Ecclesiastical historians record no less than 1,583 councils, since 162 A.D., but we must confine ourselves to the one summoned to meet at Trent in 1545, and which did not conclude its labours until 1563. It held 25 Sessions and finally passed a vast number of decrees supported by numerous canons and statements winding up thus, viz., Cardinal: “Accursed be all heretics.” (i.e., Protestants). Fathers: “Accursed, Accursed.” Of such a voluminous number of decrees we can only find space, of course, for a few extracts, but these will be sufficient to prove the great gulf between the fundamentals of the Faith (as grounded on Holy Scripture and held by Evangelicals), and the doctrines enunciated at Trent, which latter must, every one, be believed by Roman Catholics, under the most fearful curses and anathemas if disregarded.
The fundamentals here dealt with are five in number, viz. : (1) Justification ; (2) Sanctification ; (3) Regeneration ; (4) The True Conception of Holy Communion ; and (5) The all-sufficiency of Christ as Mediator. Space forbids us to deal with the various erroneous teachings, all developed more or less from, or issuing out of, the doctrine of the Mass, now alas! being introduced by some once more into our beloved Church of England.