The Subscription (Thirty-Nine Articles)
13 Elizabeth, Cap. 12
Gee, Henry, and William John Hardy, ed.,
Documents Illustrative of English Church History
(New York: Macmillan, 1896), 477-80.
Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Heather Haralson, May 1998.
Posted by Raluca Preotu, July 1999.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.
THIS Act was introduced and passed by Parliament in 1571, in spite of the queen's well-known objection to such legislation. An historical notice of subscription to the Articles will be found in Hardwick on the Articles, chap. xi.
[Transcr. Statutes of the Realm, iv. pt. i. p. 546.)
That the churches of the queen's majesty's dominions may be served with pastors of sound religion, be it enacted [Page 478] by the authority of this present Parliament, that every person under the degree of a bishop, which does or shall pretend to be a priest or minister of God's holy word and sacraments, by reason of any other form of institution, consecration, or ordering, than the form set forth by Parliament in the time of the late king of most worthy memory, King Edward VI, or now used in the reign of our most gracious sovereign lady, before the feast of the Nativity of Christ next following, shall in the presence of the bishop or guardian of the spiritualities of some one diocese where he has or shall have ecclesiastical living, declare his assent, and subscribe to all the articles of religion, which only concern the confession of the true Christian faith and the doctrine of the sacraments, comprised in a book imprinted, intituled: Articles, whereupon it was agreed by the archbishops and bishops of both provinces, and the whole clergy in the Convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord God one thousand five hundred sixty and two, according to the computation of the Church of England, for the avoiding of the diversities of opinions, and for the establishing of consent touching true religion put forth by the queen's authority; and shall bring from such bishop or guardian of spiritualities, in writing, under his seal authentic, a testimonial of such assent and subscription; and openly, on some Sunday, in the time of the public service afore noon, in every church where by reason of any ecclesiastical living he ought to attend, read both the said testimonial and the said Articles; upon pain that every such person which shall not before the said feast do as is above appointed, shall be ipso facto deprived, and all his ecclesiastical promotions shall be void, as if he then were naturally dead.
And that if any person ecclesiastical, or which shall have ecclesiastical living, shall advisedly maintain or affirm any doctrine directly contrary or repugnant to any of the said Articles, and being convented before the bishop of the [Page 479] diocese or the ordinary, or before the queen's highness's commissioners in causes ecclesiastical, shall persist therein, or not revoke his error, or after such revocation eftsoon affirm such untrue doctrine, such maintaining or affirming and persisting, or such eftsoon affirming, shall be just cause to deprive such person of his ecclesiastical promotions; and it shall be lawful to the bishop of the diocese or the ordinary, or the said commissioners, to deprive such person so persisting, or lawfully convicted of such eftsoons affirming, and upon such sentence of deprivation pronounced he shall be indeed deprived.
And that no person shall hereafter be admitted to any benefice with cure, except he then be of the age of three and twenty years at the least and a deacon, and shall first have subscribed the said Articles in presence of the ordinary, and publicly read the same in the parish church of that benefice, with declaration of his unfeigned assent to the same: and that every person after the end of this session of Parliament, to be admitted to a benefice with cure, except that within two months after his induction he do publicly read the said Articles in the same church whereof he shall have cure, in the time of common prayer there, with declaration of his unfeigned assent thereunto, and be admitted to minister the sacraments within one year after his induction, if he be not so admitted before, shall be upon every such default, ipso facto, immediately deprived.
And that no person now permitted, by any dispensation or otherwise, shall retain any benefice with cure, being under the age of one and twenty years, or not being deacon at the least, or which shall not be admitted as is aforesaid, within one year next after the making of this Act, or within six months after he shall accomplish the age of four and twenty years, on pain that such his dispensation shall be merely void.
And that none shall be made minister, or admitted to [Page 480] preach or administer the sacraments, being under the age of four and twenty years; nor unless he first bring to the bishop of that diocese, from men known to the bishop to be of sound religion, a testimonial both of his honest life and of his professing the doctrine expressed in the said Articles; nor unless he be able to answer and render to the ordinary an account of his faith, in Latin according to the said Articles, or have special gift and ability to be a preacher; nor shall be admitted to the order of deacon or ministry, unless he shall first subscribe to the said Articles.
And that none hereafter shall be admitted to any benefice with cure, of or above the value of thirty pounds yearly in the queen's books, unless he shall then be a bachelor of divinity, or a preacher lawfully allowed by some bishop within this realm, or by one of the universities of Cambridge or Oxford.
And that all admissions to benefices, institutions, and inductions, to be made of any person contrary to the form or any provision of this Act, and all tolerations, dispensations, qualifications, and licences whatsoever to be made to the contrary hereof, shall be merely void in law, as if they never were.
Provided always, that no title to confer or present by lapse, shall accrue upon any deprivation ipso facto, but after six months after notice of such deprivation given by the ordinary to the patron.
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