I should not have thought of drawing up, much less of publishing this little Catechism, with its Appendix, if I had not been solicited to it, by some of my friends, whose judgments and advice I have a great deal of reason to put a value upon.
The children into whose hands it is designed to be put, are supposed to have learned the creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the ten commandments; those first forms of sound words; and then perhaps some time spent in this, may prepare them afterwards to improve by fullness and accuracy of the Assemblies’ Catechism, with which this does very little interfere, and which therefore I hope, it will not be suspected of a design to supersede.
Whether such a catechism as this be so needful, as some have said they think it is, I know not: however, I hope it may be useful to some; and therefore I am willing to let it go abroad; and the blessing of heaven go along with it.
It is God’s promise, that all shall know him from the least, even to the greatest. That that promise may be fulfilled, and all pious endeavours, for the propagating of Christian knowledge, crowned with success, is my heart’s desire and prayer.
July 7, 1703.
Q. 1. What must you do in the days of your youth?
A. I must remember my Creator.
Q. 2. Who is your Creator?
A. The great God who made the world.
Q. 3. Who is your preserver?
A. The same God, who made me, preserves and maintains me; and in him I live, and move, and have my being.
Q. 4. What are you made and maintained for?
A. To glorify God.
Q. 5. What do you believe concerning this God?
A. I believe that he is an infinite and eternal spirit, most wise, and powerful, holy, just, and good.
Q. 6. How many Gods are there?
A. There is but one God.
Q. 7. How many persons are there in the godhead?
A. Three: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and these three are one.
Q. 8. What is your duty to this God as your Creator?
A. It is my duty to fear and honour him, to worship and obey him, and in all my ways to trust in him, and to please him.
Q. 9. What is the rule of your faith and obedience?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which we call the Bible.
Q. 10. What is the excellency of that book?
A. It is the word of God.
Q. 11. What use will it be of to you?
A. It is able to make me wise to salvation.
Q. 12. Who were your first parents?
A. Adam and Eve, from whom we are all descended.
Q. 13. What condition did God create them in?
A. Holy and happy.
Q. 14. How did they lose their holiness and happiness?
A. By their disobedience to the command of God, in eating the forbidden fruit.
Q. 15. What condition are we all born in?
A. Sinful and miserable.
Q. 16. How do you perceive your condition to be by nature sinful?
A. Because I find I am naturally prone to that which is evil, and backward to that which is good; and foolishness is bound up in my heart.
Q. 17. How do you perceive your condition to be by nature miserable?
A. Because I find myself liable to many troubles in this life; and the Scripture tells me, I am by nature a child of wrath.
Q. 18. What would become of you then without a Saviour?
A. I should be certainly lost and undone for ever.
Q. 19. Who is it that saves us out of this sad condition?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and Man.
Q. 20. Who was Jesus Christ?
A. The eternal Son of God.
Q. 21. What did he do to redeem and save us?
A. He took our nature upon him, and became man.
Q. 22. What life did he live in that nature?
A. A life of perfect holiness, leaving us an example.
Q. 23. What doctrine did he preach?
A. A true and excellent doctrine concerning God and himself, and another world.
Q. 24. What miracles did he work to confirm his doctrine?
A. He healed the sick with a word; raised the dead, cast out devils, and many other the like.
Q. 25. What death did he die?
A. The cursed death of the cross, to satisfy for our sins, and to reconcile us to God.
Q. 26. What became of him after he was dead?
A. He arose again from the dead on the third day, and ascended up into heaven.
Q. 27. Where is he now?
A. He is at the right hand of God, where he ever lives, making intercession for us, and has all power both in heaven and earth.
Q. 28. When will he come again?
A. He will come again in glory, at the last day, to judge the world.
Q. 29. What relation do you stand in to the Lord Jesus?
A. I am one of his disciples; for I am a baptized Christian.
Q. 30. Into whose name were you baptized?
A. Into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Q. 31. What was the meaning of your being so baptized?
A. I was thereby given up in a covenant-way, to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Q. 32. What was the covenant which was signified and sealed in your baptism?
A. The covenant of grace made with us in Jesus Christ.
Q. 33. What is the sum of that covenant?
A. That God will be in Christ to us a God, and we must be to him a people.
Q. 34. How then must you take the Lord for your God?
A. I must take God the Father for my chief good, and highest end; God the Son, for my Prince and Saviour; and God the Holy Ghost, for my sanctifier, teacher, guide, and comforter.
Q. 35. How must you give up yourself to him to be one of his people?
A. I must deny all ungodliness, and worldly, fleshly lusts, and must resolve to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, looking for the blessed hope.
Q. 36. What are the three great blessings promised in this covenant?
A. The pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life.
Q. 37. What are the two conditions of this covenant?
A. Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
Q. 38. What is it to repent of your sins?
A. It is to be sorry that I have offended God, in what I have done amiss, and to do so no more.
Q. 39. What is it to believe in Jesus Christ?
A. It is to receive him, and rely upon him as my Prophet, Priest, and King, and to give up myself to be ruled, and taught, and saved by him.
Q. 40. How must you evidence the sincerity of your faith and repentance?
A. By a diligent and conscientious obedience to all God’s commandments.
Q. 41. What is the first and great commandment?
A. To love God with all my heart.
Q. 42. What is the second, which is like unto it?
A. To love my neighbour as myself, and to shew it, by doing as I would be done by.
Q. 43. What is the honour you owe to God’s name?
A. I must never take his name in vain; but must always make mention of it with reverence and seriousness.
Q. 44. What is the honour you owe to God’s word?
A. I must read it, and hear it with diligence and attention: I must meditate upon it, believe, and frame my life according to it.
Q. 45. What is the honour you owe to God in his providence?
A. I must receive all his mercies with thankfulness, and I must bear all afflictions with patience, and submission to his holy will.
Q. 46. What is the honour you owe to the Lord’s Day?
A. I must keep the sabbath holy to God, by a diligent performance of the religious duties of the day, both public and private, not speaking my own words, nor doing my own works on that day.
Q. 47. How must you honour God in prayer?
A. I must every day, by solemn prayer, seek the favour of God, and give unto him the glory due unto his name.
Q. 48. In whose name must you pray?
A. In the name of Jesus Christ only.
Q. 49. What must you pray for?
A. For mercy to pardon, and grace to help in the time of need.
Q. 50. What else must you do in your prayers?
A. I must confess my sins, and give God praise for his goodness to me.
Q. 51. What must be your daily care concerning your own soul?
A. I must take care that my heart be not lifted up with pride, nor disturbed with anger, or any sinful passion.
Q. 52. What must be your care concerning your body?
A. I must take care that it be not defiled by intemperance, uncleanness, or any fleshly lusts.
Q. 53. What must be your care concerning your words?
A. I must never tell a lie, nor mock at any body, nor call nicknames, nor speak any filthy words.
Q. 54. What is your duty to your parents and governors?
A. I must reverence and obey them in the Lord: I must thankfully receive their instructions, and submit to their rebukes, and labour in every thing to be a comfort to them.
Q. 55. What is your duty to the poor?
A. I must pity, help and relieve them, according to my ability.
Q. 56. What is your duty to all men?
A. I must render to all their dues; I must be honest and just in all my dealings; I must be respectful to my friends, and forgive my enemies, and speak evil of no man.
Q. 57. How are you able to perform this duty?
A. Not in any strength of my own, but in the strength of the graces of Jesus Christ, which I must ask of God for his sake.
Q. 58. What must you do when you find you come short of this duty?
A. I must renew my repentance, and pray to God for pardon in the blood of Christ, and be careful to do my duty better for the time to come.
Q. 59. What encouragement have you thus to live in the fear of God?
A. If I do so, I shall certainly be happy both in this world, and in that to come.
Q. 60. What will become of you shortly?
A. I must shortly die, and leave this world.
Q. 61. What becomes of the body at death?
A. It returns to the earth, to be raised to life again at the day of judgment.
Q. 62. What becomes of the soul then?
A. It returns to God who gave it, to be determined to an unchangeable state, according to what was done in the body.
Q. 63. What shall be the portion of the wicked and ungodly in the other world?
A. They shall all go to hell.
Q. 64. What is hell?
A. It is a state of everlasting misery and torment, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.
Q. 65. What shall be the portion of the godly in the other world?
A. They shall all go to heaven.
Q. 66. What is heaven?
A. It is a state of everlasting rest and joy with God and Jesus Christ.
Q. 67. What life then will you resolve to live in this world?
A. God’s grace enabling me, I will live a holy godly life, and make it my great care and business to serve God, and save my soul.