AN INSTRUCTION TO BE LEARNED
BY EVERY PERSON
BEFORE HE BE BROUGHT
TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE BISHOP
The Pastor of every Parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and Holy-days, or at such other times as he shall think convenient, instruct and examine the children of his Parish in this Catechism; and it is desirable that this should be done openly in the Church, from time to time, after the Second Lesson at Morning or Evening Prayer.
THE BAPTISMAL COVENANT
The Catechist shall say:
What is your Name?
Answer. The person shall give his Christian Name or Names.
Catechist. Who gave you this Name?
Answer. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptism; wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.
Catechist. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers then do for you?
Answer. They did promise and vow three things in my name. First, that I should renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, and all the sinful desires of the flesh. Secondly, that I should believe and confess the Christian Faith. And thirdly, that I should keep God’s holy Will and Commandments and walk in the same all the days of my life.
Catechist. Do you not think you are bound to believe and do as they promised for you?
Answer. Yes, I do; and by God’s help so I will. And I heartily thank our heavenly Father, that he has called me into this state of salvation, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. And I pray unto God to give me his grace, that I may continue in the same unto my life’s end. Amen.
THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
Recite the Apostles’ Creed, the Articles of your Belief.
I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.
Note that the words in the Creed He descended into hell are considered as words of the same meaning as He went into the place of departed spirits.
Catechist. What do you chiefly learn in these Articles of your Belief?
Answer. I learn to have faith in the one true God: in God the Father, who made me and all the world; in God the Son, who redeemed me and all mankind; and in God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies me and all the people of God.
Catechist. What do you mean by ‘the people of God’?
Answer. I mean Christ’s holy Catholic Church into which I have been baptized.
Then may all say:
GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
You said that your Godfathers and Godmothers promised for you that you would keep God’s holy Will and Commandments. To whom were these Commandments given?
Answer. To his ancient people Israel, by the hand of his servant Moses.
Catechist. What are these Commandments?
Answer. The same which God spake in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, saying, I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
I. Thou shalt have none other gods but me.
II. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them.
For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and show mercy unto thousands in them that love me and keep my commandments.
III. Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his Name in vain.
IV. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God.
In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, thy cattle, and the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt do no murder.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his servant, nor his maid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
Note that the word Sabbath is a Hebrew word meaning Rest.
In the case of the Second and Fourth Commandments it shall be sufficient to memorize the first paragraph.
Catechist. How does the Christian Church receive and teach these Commandments?
Answer. According to their spirit and purpose, as our Lord teaches us in the Gospel.
Catechist. What do you chiefly learn from these Commandments?
Answer. I learn two things: my duty towards God, and my duty towards my Neighbour.
Catechist. What is your duty towards God?
Answer. My duty towards God is,
To believe in him, to fear him, and to love him, with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength:
To worship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to pray to him:
To honour his holy Name and his Word:
And to serve him truly all the days of my life.
Catechist. Why does the Church observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day?
Answer. Because it was on the first day of the week that our Lord rose from the dead.
Catechist. What is your duty as a Christian on the Lord’s Day?
Answer. To abstain from unnecessary work, and to go to church for the worship of God with his people.
Catechist. What is your duty towards your Neighbour?
Answer. My duty towards my Neighbour is to love him as myself, and to do to all as I would they should do unto me:
To love, honour, and help my father and mother; to honour and obey the Queen, and all who are in authority under her; to show respect to teachers and pastors; and to be courteous to all:
To hurt nobody by word or deed; to be true and just in all my dealing; to bear no malice or hatred in my heart; to keep my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering:
To keep my body in temperance, soberness, and and chastity:
Not to covet or desire other men’s goods; but to learn and labour truly to get my own living, and to do my duty in the vocation to which it shall please God to call me.
Catechist. What new Commandment did our Lord give to his disciples?
Answer. A new Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
My dear children, know well that you are not able to do these things of yourself, nor to walk in the Commandments of God, and to serve him, without his grace and help; which you must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer. Let me hear, therefore, if you can say the Lord’s Prayer.
OUR Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Catechist. What do you desire of God in this prayer?
Answer. I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all goodness,
To send his grace unto me, and to all people:
That we may worship him, and serve him, obey him as we ought to do:
And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that are needful both for our souls and bodies:
That he will be merciful unto us, and forgive us our sins, and help us to forgive others:
And that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers both of soul and body; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from everlasting death.
And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore I say, Amen, So be it.
The Desire may be said by all, kneeling; and the Catechist may add a Collect and the Grace at his discretion.
How many Sacraments has Christ ordained in his Church?
Answer. Christ has ordained two Sacraments, as generally necessary to salvation; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord, which is the Holy Communion.
Catechist. What do you mean by this word Sacrament?
Answer. I mean an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given to us by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive this grace, and a pledge to assure us thereof.
Catechist. How many parts are there in a Sacrament?
Answer. Two; the outward visible sign, and the inward spiritual grace.
Catechist. What is the outward visible sign in Baptism?
Answer. Water; in which the person is baptized In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Catechist. What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?
Answer. A death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born into man’s sinful state, we are hereby made the children of grace by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Catechist. What is required of persons to be baptized?
Answer. Repentance; whereby they forsake sin, which separates them from God: and faith; whereby they stedfastly believe the promises of God made to them in that Sacrament.
Catechist. Why then are infants baptized?
Answer. Infants are baptized so that, being received into Christ’s Church, they may grow in grace and be trained in the household of faith.
Catechist. How can infants promise repentance and faith?
Answer. Their Godfathers and Godmothers make the promise for them.
Catechist. When do they take this promise upon themselves?
Answer. When they are confirmed by the Bishop and, through prayer and the laying on of hands, are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Catechist. Why was the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ordained?
Answer. For the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby.
Catechist. What is the outward part or sign of the Lord’s Supper?
Answer. Bread and Wine, which the Lord has commanded to be received.
Catechist. What is the inward part, or thing signified?
Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper.
Catechist. What benefits do we receive thereby?
Answer. The strengthening and refreshing of our souls and bodies unto eternal life by the Body and Blood of Christ.
Catechist. What is required of those who come to the Lord’s Supper?
Answer. To examine themselves, whether they truly repent of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead the new life; have a living faith in God’s mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death; and be in charity with all men.
The Catechist may conclude with a Collect and the following:
1 St Peter 5. 10, 11.
THE God of all grace, who has called us into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
So soon as children are come to a competent age, and can say the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Commandments; and also have been further instructed in the Church Catechism as it is given above; they shall be brought to the Bishop to be confirmed.
And whenever the Bishop shall give notice for persons to be brought to him for their Confirmation, the Pastor of every Parish shall either bring or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his Parish, as he shall think fit to be presented to the Bishop to be confirmed. And, if the Bishop approve of them, he shall confirm them.
A SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTION
Questions and Answers which may be studied with the Church Catechism in the preparation of candidates for Confirmation or at other times.
Question. What is the Church?
Answer. The family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Question. What do we say about the Church in the Nicene Creed?
Answer. I believe One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Question. Why is it called One?
Answer. Because it has one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.
Question. Why is it called Holy?
Answer. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, sanctifying all its members and endowing them with gifts of grace.
Question. Why is it called Catholic?
Answer. Because it is universal, and holds for all time, in all countries, and for all people, the whole truth as it is in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
Question. Why is it called Apostolic?
Answer. Because it received its divine mission from Christ through his Apostles, and continues in their doctrine and fellowship.
Question. What is the work of the Church in the world?
Answer. The work of the Church in the world is to offer to God on behalf of all men the worship which is his due; to make known to all men the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and to unite all men to God in one family.
Question. How did our Lord provide for the life and work of the Church?
Answer. Our Lord sent his Holy Spirit upon the Church and upon his Apostles.
Question. What authority did Christ give to his Apostles in the Church?
Answer. He gave them authority to preach the Word, to minister the Sacraments, to rule and care for his household the Church until his coming again.
Question. What Orders of Ministers have been in the Church from the Apostles’ time?
Answer. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
Question. What is the work of a Bishop in the Church of God?
Answer. To be a chief pastor of the flock, to preach the Gospel, to guard well the Faith, to bless, to confirm, and to ordain, following the example of the blessed Apostles.
Question. What is the work of a Presbyter or Priest?
Answer. To minister to the people committed to his care by the Bishop; to lead them in the worship of God and to preach his Word; to baptize; to celebrate the holy Communion; and to pronounce Absolution and Blessing in God’s name.
Question. What is the work of a Deacon?
Answer. To assist the Bishop or Priest in the Divine Service, and in other ministrations to the people of God.
Question. What is your work as a lay member of the Church of God?
Answer. To take my part in its worship, labours, and councils, according to the gifts of grace that God has given me, and to pray, work, and give for the spread of his kingdom.
Question. Why ought you to read God’s holy Word, the Bible?
Answer. Because it tells how God has made himself known to man; and how we may come to know him, and find salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ in the fellowship of his Church.
Question. What does the Church teach about the Bible?
Answer. The Bible records the Word of God as it was given to Israel, and to his Church, at sundry times and in divers manners; and nothing may be taught in the Church as necessary to man’s salvation unless it be concluded or proved therefrom.
Question. Where then is the Word of God to be found in all its fulness?
Answer. In Jesus Christ, his only Son, who was made man for us and for our salvation.
Question. What is the vocation of a Christian in this world?
Answer. To follow Christ and bear witness to him; to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life.
Every Christian man or woman should from time to time frame for himself a RULE OF LIFE in accordance with the precepts of the Gospel and the faith and order of the Church; wherein he may consider the following:
The regularity of his attendance at public worship and especially at the holy Communion.
The practice of private prayer, Bible-reading, and self-discipline.
Bringing the teaching and example of Christ into his everyday life.
The boldness of his spoken witness to his faith in Christ.
His personal service to the Church and the community.
The offering of money according to his means for the support of the work of the Church at home and overseas.