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on 3 April 2011
The purpose of Hardwick's opus is to trace the theological development of the Articles in their historical context, rather than provide an abstract theological exposition of the Articles - theological expostiions of the Articles abound today and were abundant enough in Hardwick's time as well. Hardwick states, "no regular attempt was made in any of those treatises, to illustrate the framing of the Formulary itself, by placing it distinctly in connection with the kindred publications of an earlier and later date, and by expounding it as the peculiar product and reflection of the Reformation-movement." And so the book's chapters are: 1) The Reformation, 2) The Augsburg Confession, 3) The English Articles of 1536, 4) The 13 Articles & Conferences with the Lutherans, 5) The 42 Articles of 1553, 6) The Elizabethan Articles, 7) The Lambeth Articles, 8) The Irish Articles of 1615, 9) The Synod of Dort & the Royal Proclamation, 10) Objections to the Articles at different periods, and 11) Historic Notices of subscription to the Articles.

These 11 chapters are followed by 6 appendices: 1) The Articles of 1536, 1) Thirteen Articles of 1538, 3) Articles of Edward VI and Elizabeth (1552 - 1571), 4) Eleven Articles of 1559, and 5) Lambeth Articles of 1595.

Appendix 3 is probably the most interesting as Hardwick places the Articles of 1553 in English and Latin alongside the Articles of 1563 and the Articles of 1571 in Latin so you can see the slight alteration in wording and what was omitted and what was added during this crucial period of the formation of the Articles.

Hardwick concludes the book with "Notes and Illustrations" where he provides or suggests what were the original sources for each of the Thirty-Nine Articles and the reasons for their emendations. Article XI "Of Justification," for instance, is based on the Augsburg Confession and the less well known Wurtemburg Confession that was submitted to the Council of Trent by a party of Lutherans. Article XVII, "Of Predestination and Election" is thought by some to resemble Luther's wording in his Preface to his Commentary on Romans and the concluding paragraph of the article emphasizing God's promises are "general" or "universal" can be traced back to Melanchthon. The object of this article in its final form was to "allay the angry disputations then prevalent on the subject of Predestination. It commends, in general terms, one view of predestination, while denouncing all approach to fatalistic notions." Concerning the murky wording and sometimes contested meaning of Article XXVII, "Of Baptism," Hardwick notes the wording harks back to Article II of 1536, Article VI of 1538, and Article XXVIII of 1553. This article in its final 1571 version states, "Baptism ... is also a sign of regeneration or new birth, whereby as by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly, are grafted into the Church. ..." Hardwick notes the strengthening of the language of this article regarding the baptism of infants so as to avoid "Anabaptiste" exclusivity, and that the phrase "whereby, as by an instrument" is found in the writings of earlier theologians such as Martin Bucer where Bucer acknowledges the sacraments are instruments, organs and channels of grace ("Bucerus agnoscit sacramenta recte dici instrumenta, organa et canales gratiae") and Sir Thomas More who referred to sacraments as "not bare signs, but as an instrument with which and by which it pleases Him to work. ..."

This is a very clean copy of Hardwick's revised version of his "History of the Articles of Religion" that came out in 1859. The quality of this digitized copy is very high with only a slight ink smudge on page 131.

Still the finest source on the Articles in their historical context.
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