THE THIRTY-NINE ARTICLES – PART 4
By Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), Bishop of Liverpool , England
Let us mark, in the last place, as we read the Articles, the unvarying reverence with which they always speak of Holy Scripture. The inspiration of the Bible, no doubt, is never distinctly asserted. It is evidently taken for granted as a first principle, which need not be proved. But if constant references to Scripture, and constant appeals to the authority of Scripture, as God's Word, are allowed to prove anything, in no document does the Bible receive more honour than in the Articles.
The Sixth Article declares that “Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation, and 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 and necessary to salvation.”
The Twentieth Article says, “It is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another.”
Such are the leading features, in my judgment, of the Thirty-nine Articles. I commend them to the attention of my readers, and ask that they may be carefully weighed. No doubt men may say that the Articles admit of more than one interpretation, and that my interpretation is not the correct one. My reply to all this is short and simple. I ask in what sense the Reformers who drew up the Articles meant them to be interpreted? Let men answer that. It is an acknowledged axiom in interpreting all public documents, such as treaties, covenants, wills, articles of faith, and religious formularies, that in any case of doubt or dispute the true sense is the sense of those who drew them up and imposed them. Waterland & Sanderson have abundantly shown that. Upon this principle I take my stand.
I only want the Thirty-nine Articles to be interpreted in the sense in which the Reformers first imposed them, and I believe it impossible to avoid the conclusion you arrive at. That conclusion is, that the Thirty-nine Articles are in general tone, temper, spirit, intention, and meaning, eminently Protestant and eminently Evangelical.
And now I draw my subject to a conclusion. I have shown the reader, to the best of my ability, what the Articles are, what is the position and authority, which they hold in the Church of England, and what are the leading features of their contents. It only remains for me to point out a few practical conclusions, which I venture to think are peculiarly suited to the times.
In the first place, I ask every Churchman who reads this paper to read the Thirty-nine Articles regularly at least once every year, and to make himself thoroughly familiar with their contents.
In the second place, I ask all who read this paper to teach the Thirty-nine Articles to the young people who are yet of an age to be taught. It is a burning shame that the Articles are not made an essential part of the system of every school connected with the Church of England, whether for high or low, for rich or poor.
In the third place, I advise all who read this paper to test all Churchmanship by the test of the Articles. Be not carried away by those who talk of “nice Church views,” “Catholic ceremonies,” “holy, earnest, parish priests,” and the like. Try all that is preached and taught by one simple measure, does it or does it not agree with the Articles? You have an undoubted right to do this, and no English clergyman has any right to object to your doing it. Say to him, if he does object, “You publicly read and subscribed to the Articles when you accepted your cure of souls. Do you or do you not abide by your subscription?”
Finally, let me advise every Churchman who values his soul never to be ashamed of the great leading doctrines, which are so nobly set forth in the Articles.
Never mind if people call you extreme, party-spirited, going too far, Puritanical, ultra-Methodist, and the like. Ask them if they have ever read the first nineteen Articles of their own Church. Tell them, so long as you are a Churchman, you will never be ashamed of holding Church doctrine, and that you know what Church doctrine is, if they do not.
Remember, above all, that nothing but clear, distinct views of doctrine, such views as you will find in the Articles, will ever give you peace while you live, and comfort when you die.
“Earnestness” is a fine, vague, high-sounding term, and is very beautiful to look at and talk about, when we are well, and happy, and prosperous. But when the stern realities of life break in upon us, and we are in trouble, when the valley of death looms in sight, and the cold river must be crossed, in seasons like those, we want something better than mere “earnestness” to support our souls. Oh, no! It is cold comfort then, as our feet touch the chill waters, to be told, “Never mind! Be in earnest. Take comfort! Only be in earnest!' It will never, never do! We want then to know if God is our God, if Christ is our Christ, if we have the Spirit within us, if our sins are pardoned, if our souls are justified, if our hearts are changed, if our faith is genuine and real. “Earnestness” will not be enough then. It will prove a mere fine-weather religion. Nothing, in short, will do in that solemn hour but clear, distinct doctrine, embraced by our inward man, and made our own. “Earnestness” then proves nothing but a dream. Doctrines such as those set forth in the Articles are the only doctrines, which are life, and health, and strength, and peace. Let us never be ashamed of laying hold of them, maintaining them, and making them our own. Those doctrines are the religion of the Bible and of the Church of England!
Pictures from “God Bless America !” July 1, 2012 Concert to support LOVE INC of Tinley Park:
Children Singers: Will Garrison, Lexie Tjoelker, Renee Hassert, Caleb Arrigoni, Stella & Sophie Levi, Audrey Garrison, Gia Cizmar & Joseph Tjoelker.
Youth Singers: Bethany Tjoelker, Maddie Levi, Nina & Caterina Maiolo, Nathan Arrigoni, Soloist, & Mikayla Nowicki.
Other Youth helping: Luke Arrigoni, actor Johnny & carrying US Flag; Towala Balogun, Christian Flag; Raymond Nowicki
Microphones & Trumpet; Jacob Tjoelker, cross & trumpet.
Adult Singers: Bob Eizenga, Barb Paul, Tammy Tjoelker, Soloist, Elizabeth Falodun, Carol Fercula, Shirley Drobnak, and Patty Levi, Soloist.
Drums, William Garrison,
Pianists: Bonnie Mootry and Sunny Stiklius + organ with Mike Acke, Cameraman.
ST. ANDREW'S PRESCHOOL
Classes resume Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012
Memorial Service at St. Andrew's
John Arthur McNeill, 49, passed away July 19, 2012 in Florida . He is survived by his parents, John & Joan; brothers, Jay and Jim; and sister, Julie. John grew up at St. Andrew's. A special Memorial Service will be held here Saturday, September 8, 2012, at 10 a.m..
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Sunday School resumes, and there will be a picnic after church.
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
5th SUNDAY POT LUCK
Sunday, Sept 30, 2012
October 14, 2012 Carry-In Dinner
Bishop Royal U. Grote will be with us on Homecoming Sunday, Oct. 14. All Saints' Anglican Church will join with us on that Sunday for worship and fellowship.
MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH
Be praying for Missionary Judy King as she is getting settled in her retirement home at 127 13th Street , Rapids City , IL 61278.
Franklin H. Sellers, Jr.