Henry VIII's Ten Articles of 1536
Declaration of Henry's Faith
In the year 1536 convocation under Henry VIII gave sanction to the “Ten Articles,” entitled “Articles devised by the King’s Higness’ Majesty to stablish Christian quietness and unity among us.” These were probably compiled by Archbishop Cranmer, though ostensibly emanating from the crown. Five of the articles related to doctrines and five to ceremonies. Henry’s Preface to the Articles included:
“Where, after long and mature deliberation, and disputations had of and upon the premises, finally they have concluded and agreed upon the most special points and articles, as well such as be commanded of God, and are necessary to our salvation, as also divers other matters touching the honest ceremonies and good and politic orders, as is aforesaid, which their determination, debatement, and agreement, for so much as we think to have proceeded of a good, right, and true judgment, and to be agreeable to the laws and ordinances of God, and much profitable for the establishment of that charitable concord and unity in our Church of England, which we most desire, we have caused the same to be published, willing, requiring, and commanding you, to accept, repute, and take them accordingly. “
Articles Regarding Doctrine
- That Holy Scriptures and the three Creeds are the basis and summary of a true Christian faith.
“We will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people by us committed to their spiritual charge, that they ought and must most constantly believe and defend all those things to lie true which be comprehended in the whole body and canon of the Bible; and also in the three creeds or symbols, whereof one was made by the apostles, and is the common Creed which every man useth: the second was made ‘by the council of Nice, and is said daily in the mass: and the third was made by Athanasius, and is comprehended in the Psalm, Quicunque vult. “
- That baptism conveys remission of sins and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit and is absolutely necessary as well for children as adults.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that they ought, and must of necessity believe certainly all those things which have been always by the whole consent of the church approved, received, and used in the sacrament of baptism; that is to say, that the sacrament of baptism was instituted and ordained in the New Testament by our Saviour Jesus Christ, as a thing necessary for the attaining of everlasting life, according to the saying of Christ.No man can enter into the kingdom of heaven, except he be born again of water and the Holy Ghost.”
- That penance consists of contrition, Confession, and Reformation, and is necessary to salvation.
“..we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that they ought and must constantly believe, that that sacrament was institute of Christ in the New Testament as a thing so necessary for man’s salvation, that no man, which after his baptism is fallen again, and hath committed deadly sin, can without the same be saved, or attain everlasting life.”.
- That the body and blood of Christ are really present in the elements of the eucharist.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that they ought and must constantly believe, that under the form and figure of bread and wine, which we there presently do see and perceive by outward senses, is verily, substantially, and really contained and comprehended the very selfsame body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the cross for our redemption. And that under the same form and figure of bread and wine, the very selfsame body and blood of Christ is corporally, really, and in the very substance exhibited, distributed, and received unto and of all them which receive the said sacrament.”
- That justification is remission of sin and reconciliation to God by the merits of Christ; but good works are necessary.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us to their spiritual charge, that this word justification signifieth remission of our sins, and our acceptation or reconciliation into the grace and favour of God, that is to say, our perfect renovation in Christ.”
Articles Regarding Ceremonies
- That images are useful as remembrancers, but are not objects of worship.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us to their spiritual charge, how they ought and may use them. And first, that there be attributed unto them, that they be representers of virtue and good example…We will, that our bishops and preachers diligently shall teach them, and according to this doctrine reform their abuses: for else there might fortune idolatry to ensue, which God forbid. And as for censing of them, and kneeling and offering unto them, with other like worshippings, although the same hath entered by devotion, and fallen to custom, yet the people ought to be diligently taught, that they in nowise do it, nor think it meet to be done to the same images; but only to be done to God and in his honour, although it be done before the images, whether it be of Christ, of the cross,’of our Lady, or of any other saint beside.”
- That saints are to be honored as examples of life, and as furthering our prayers.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual mcharges, that saints, now being with Christ in heaven, be to be honoured of Christian people in earth, but not with that confidence and honour which are only due unto God, trusting to attain at their hands that which must be had only of God.”
- That saints may be invoked as intercessors, and their holydays observed.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that albeit grace, remission of sin, and salvation, cannot be obtained but of God only, by the mediation of our Saviour Christ, which is only sufficient mediator for our sins; yet it is very laudable to pray to saints in heaven everlastingly living, whose charity is ever permanent to be intercessors, and to pray for us and with us unto Almighty God…”
- That ceremonies are to be observed for the sake of their mystical signification, and as conducive to devotion.
“…setting up the sepulture of Christ, whose body after his death was buried: the hallowing of the font, and other like exorcisms and benedictions by the ministers of Christ’s church, and all other like laudable customs, rites and ceremonies, be not to be contemned and cast away, but to be used and continued, as things good and laudable, to put us in remembrance of those spiritual things that they do signify, not suffering them to be forgotten, or to be put in oblivion, but renewing them in our memories from time to time; but none of these ceremonies have power to remit sin, but only to stir and lift up our minds unto God, by whom only our sins be forgiven.”
- That prayers for the dead are good and useful, but the efficacy of papal pardon, and of soul-masses offered at certain localities, is negatived.
“…we will, that all bishops and preachers shall instruct and teach our people committed by us unto their spiritual charge, that no man ought to be grieved with the continuance of the same; and, that it standeth with the very due order of charity, a Christian man to pray for souls departed, and to commit them in our prayers to God’s mercy, and also to cause other to pray for them in masses and exequies, and to give alms to other to pray for them, whereby they may be relieved and holpen of some part of their pain. But, forasmuch as the place where they be, the name thereof, and kind of pains there also, be to us uncertain by scripture, therefore this, with all other things, we remit to Almighty God, unto whose mercy it is meet and convenient for us to commend them; trusting that God accepteth our prayers for them, referring the rest wholly to God, to whom is known their estate and condition. Wherefore it is much necessary that such abuses be clearly put away which under the name of purgatory hath been advanced, as, to make men believe that through the bishop of Rome’s pardons souls might clearly be delivered out of purgatory and all the pains of it; or, that masses said at. scala call, or otherwise in any place, or before any image, might likewise deliver them from all their pain, and send them straight to heaven. And other like abuses.”