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Given by the King our Sovereign Lord his most excellent Majesty, to all Schoolmasters and teachers of youth, within all his Grace's realm and dominions, for authorising and establishing the Use of this Catechism.
EDWARD the SIXTH, by the grace of God, king of England, France, and Ireland; Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England, and also of Ireland, in earth the supreme head; to all Schoolmasters and Teachers of youth.
When there was presented unto us, to be perused, a short and plain order of catechism, written by a certain godly and learned man, we committed the
debating and diligent examination thereof to certain bishops, and other learned men, whose judgment we have in great estimation. And because it seemed agreeable with the Scriptures, and the ordinances of our realm, we thought it good, not only for that agreement to put it forth in print, but also for the plainness and shortness, to appoint it out for all schoolmasters to teach; that the yet unskilful and young age, having the foundations laid both of religion and good letters, may learn godliness together with wisdom; and have a rule for the rest of their life, what judgment they ought to have of God, to whom all our life is applied; and how they may please God, wherein we ought, with all the doings and duties of our life, to travail.
We will, therefore, and command, both all and each of you, as ye tender our favour, and as ye mind to avoid the just punishment of transgressing our authority, that ye truly and diligently teach this Catechism in your schools, immediately after the other brief Catechism, which we have already set forth: that young age, yet tender and wavering, being by authority of good lessons and instructions of true. religion established, may have a great furtherance to the right worshipping of God, and good helps to live in all points according to duty. Wherewith being furnished by better using due godliness toward God, the author of all things; obedience toward their king, the shepherd of the people; loving affection to the commonwealth, and general mother of all; they may seem not born for themselves; but be profitable and dutiful toward God, their king, and their country. Given at Greenwich the twentieth of May, the
seventh year of our reign.
Ir is the duty of them all, whom Christ hath redeemed by his death that they not only be servants to obey, but also children to inherit; and so to know, which is the true trade of life, and that God liketh
*It was of this Catechism that Bishop Ridley wrote in two instances during his imprisonment previous to his martyrdom.
The first is in a letter to the brethren which constantly cleave unto Christ, in suffering affliction with him, and for his sake. Finally, I hear say that the Catechism which was lately set forth in the English tongue, is now (viz. after the restoration of popery by Queen Mary) in every pulpit condemned. O devilish malice, and most spitefully injurious to the salvation of mankind, purchased by Jesus Christ. Indeed Satan could not long suffer that so great light should be spread abroad in the world. He saw well enough that nothing was able to overthrow his kingdom so much as if children, being godly instructed in religion, should learn to know Christ, whilst they are yet young; whereby not only children, but the elder sort also and aged folks, that before were not taught to know Christ in their childhood, should even now with children and babes be forced to learn to know him. Now therefore he roareth, now he rageth.'-Fox iii 446.
The other is taken from his last farewell to his friends. say, know ye, that that even here in the cause of my death, it is with the Church of England-I mean the congregation of the true chosen children of God in this realm of England, which I acknowledge not only to be my neighbours, but rather the congregation of my spiritual brethren and sisters in Christ: yea members of one body, wherein by God's grace I am and have been grafted in Christ. This Church of England had of late, of the infinite goodness and abundant grace of Almighty God, great substance; great riches of heavenly treasure; great plenty of God's true sincere word; the true and wholesome administration of Christ's holy sacraments, the whole profession of Christ's religion truly and plainly set forth in baptism; the plain declaration and understanding of the same, taught in the holy Catechism, to have been learned of all true Christians,'-Fox iii, 505.
that they may be able to answer to every demand of religion, and to render account of their faith and
And this is the plainest way of teaching, which not only in philosophy, Socrates, but also in our religion Apolinarius hath used; that both by certain questions, as it were by pointing, the ignorant might be instructed, and the skilful put in remembrance, that they forget not what they have learned. We therefore, (having regard to the profit which we ought to seek in teaching of youth, and also to shortness, that in our whole schooling there should be nothing either overflowing or wanting,) have conveyed the whole sum into a dialogue, that the matter itself might be plainer to perceive, and we the less stray in other matters beside the purpose. Thus then beginneth the master to oppose his scholar.
Master. Since I know, dear son, that it is a great part of my duty not only to see that thou be instructed in letters, but also earnestly and diligently to examine what sort of religion thou followest in this thy tender age, I thought it best to oppose thee by certain questions, to the intent I may perfectly know whether thou hast well or ill travailed therein. Now therefore tell me, my son, what religion that is which thou professest.
Scholar. That, good Master, do I profess which is the religion of the Lord Christ: which in the eleventh of the Acts is called the Christian religion.
Master. Dost thou then confess thyself to be a follower of Christian godliness and religion, and a scholar of our Lord Christ?
Scholar. That, forsooth, do I confess, and plainly
and boldly profess; yea, therein I account the whole sum of all my glory, as in the thing which is both of more honour than that the slenderness of my wit may attain unto it; and also more approaching to God's Majesty, than that I, by any feat of utterance, may easily express it.
Master. Tell me then, dear son, as exactly as thou canst, in what points thou thinkest that the sum of Christian religion standeth.
Scholar. In two points, that is to say, true faith in God, and assured persuasion, conceived of all those things, which are contained in the holy Scriptures; and in charity, which belongeth both to God and to our neighbour.
Master. That faith, which is conceived by hearing and reading of the word, what doth it teach thee concerning God?
Scholar. This doth it principally teach; that there is one certain nature, one substance, one ghost, and heavenly mind, or rather an everlasting spirit, without beginning or ending, which we call God; whom all the people of the world ought to worship with sovereign honour, and the highest kind of reverence. Moreover, out of the holy words of God, which by the prophets and the beloved of Almighty God, are in the holy books published, to the eternal glory of his name, I learn the law and the threatnings thereof: then the promises and the Gospel of God. These things, first written by Moses and other men of God, have heen preserved whole and uncorrupted, even to our age and since that, the chief articles of our faith have been gathered into a short abridgment, which is commonly called the Creed, or Symbol of the Apostles.