Prefatory Letter of Patriarch Nectarius of Jerusalem.
Nectarius, By the mercy of God, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and of all Palestine,
to all Orthodox readers, by beloved brethren, and children in the Lord, grace, peace and mercy from God.
If thou desirest, dear Reader, to be instructed in the right faith and to be enlightened with the brightness of the immaterial light; now, whilst thou livest in this thy material body which is to live above all visible beings, and to ascend on the wings of the mind, to God; it behoveth thee to read, with the closest attention, this little book, which containeth a very compendious, yet plain and clear, comprehension of true doctrine: as appears, I think fully, from the title of it; being called, the Orthodox Confession of the Greeks, which is as much as to say: the Pure and Peculiar; inasmuch as it hath no Admixture of Novelty from other Religions. It was originally composed in the Russian Church, which, for a long series of Time, hath conformed herself to the orthodox canon of the Eastern Church on the following occasion.
Peter Mogila, who lately departed piously, and holily, unto God, being chosen, and ordained, an orthodox Metropolitan, by the most holy, and eminent, the Lord Theophanes, Patriarch of Jerusalem; when he took upon him the Government of the Church of Kiev that was committed to his charge he found his flock confused and infected, with certain novel opinions of sectaries entirely contrary to the genuine and ancient doctrine of their forefathers. Wherefore, as became a good shepherd and zealous defender of the faith, he entered immediately on a resolution, the most pious and pleasing to God, of restoring and conducting the Russian Church into that purify of the holy doctrine, in which it had flourished from its first beginning; and of utterly rooting out again those novel opinions, which then began to spring up in those parts; and also of filling his spiritual garner with a joyful harvest of good and wholesome fruits.
Having thus wisely and duly determined with himself, he entered upon the work without any delay; and convened, in his metropolitical city, a number of the learned and eminent persons of his province. Having first of all gathered together his three bishops who were ordained at the same time together with him by the same most praiseworthy Patriarch of Jerusalem. Here after many disquisitions, it was, with one consent and one voice, agreed by all, that they should consign this exposition of the faith to writing, point by point, and lay it before the Church of Constantinople, and her holy synod, for a more mature examination, and judgment of the matter (for at that time they followed the authority of that Church, and unto her, as to a head did all the Orthodox Greeks submit themselves; and on her fixed their attention, as on a most sure guide) to the end that whatsoever articles she confirmed by her approbation, the same they should firmly retain; and reject as spurious and false, whatsoever she condemned. Having in this manner finished the book which they called The Exposition of the Russian Faith; they solicited that some Synodical Curators, and Patriarchal Exarchs, might be sent into Moldavia, and promised, that they should send thither also certain delegates from themselves; by whom these heads of their faith should first be accurately examined, namely, whether they agreed or not, with the sound and right doctrines of the Eastern Church, after which they should be publicly and solemnly communicated to the Church of Constantinople. There were therefore sent for this purpose, from the holy synod, the most holy Metropolitan of Nice, Porphyrius; and Meletius Syrigus, Doctor of the Church, a man who from his childhood, having been nourished and brought up in true, and holy doctrines, was most eminent for sanctity of life and exquisite learning; and was deservedly esteemed to be, and really was, the Preacher, Interpreter, and very Rule itself, of the most genuine and true Doctrines of the Faith. Representing therefore the very Person of the Patriarch; and vested with the most full and plenary power of the whole sacred Synod; he went into Moldavia, as we have said, together with Porphyrius; whither also, sent from the Russians, came Isaias Trophinus, and Conovicius, and Xenovicius; men truly excellent, adorned with all kind of learning and liberal knowledge. These three taking God only for their guide and master, who is the giver of all knowledge, and of all true holiness and understanding, brought the book to this excellent conclusion; having by much mutual disquisition and disputation thoroughly purged it from all foreign doctrines and defilements of novelty, and then forthwith he sent it to the most holy four orthodox patriarchs, the successors in the seats of the Apostles, to be reviewed and considered of. They also confirmed it with their approbation, as containing the true and genuine doctrines, and in nothing departing from the sincere and catholic faith of the Greeks, and declared it to be pure and uncorrupt; by the universal judgement, determination and consent of all, and furthermore by their own proper subscription, and of their clergy as appears hereunto annexed, they decreed and confirmed it; and entitled it, not only of the Russians, but by a more universal Appellation, The orthodox Confession of all the Greeks. Yet however, this book as it was but lately to be had in print among the Russians, so among the Greeks it was only to be had in manuscripts, and that but very rarely. Whereupon, the Lord Panagiota, Interpreter to his imperial Majesty of the East and West, a person of wisdom and piety, and entirely devoted to true religion; as he is most regardful and affectionate of our Greek nation, and zealous contender for the orthodox faith; among his many other magnificent works and public employments, wherein he is daily and hourly engaged, he willingly undertook the care and patronage of this also; and caused this book to be printed at his own expense in our and the latin languages, that every one, who was desirous to increase in piety, might without any expense (for he caused the copies to be distributed to all gratis) be provided with a book, from when as from a source of pure and living water, and out of the genuine fountain of salvation draw the sacred doctrine of our Church, unpolluted with the muddy and foreign opinions of sectaries. And now, let no one marvel, that this book is expressed in a plain style, and unadorned with eloquence; seeing that thereby, it is not only fitted for the learned, but the unlearned multitude also. For the wise and prudent reader ought not to regard the unfinished manner of expression, but the truth of the words and thoughts. But rather we are bound to the highest and most perpetual thanks unto him who hath bestowed so great a benefit upon us, and implore God, with ceaseless prayers, that he would be pleased abundantly to reward him; and in the world to come, crown him with an everlasting retribution.
Given at our Court at Constantinople Monastery the 20th Day of November, 1662.
Prefatory Letter of Patriarch Parthenius of Constantinople.
Parthenius, by the mercy of God, archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and universal patriarch.
Our Mediocrity, together with the sacred congregation of archbishops, and clergy, here present, have carefully perused a book transmitted unto us from our own sister, the Church of Little Russia, entitled, The Orthodox Confession of Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ; wherein those things are treated of under a threefold division, of faith, and charity, and hope; faith is set forth in the twelve articles of faith, or the holy Nicene Creed; charity in the Ten Commandments, and in the holy and divinely inspired Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, showing what is necessary to be believed; hope in the Lord’s Prayer, and the nine sacred evangelical Beatitudes. We find the said book to be set in the footsteps of the Church of Christ and to be agreeable to the holy canons, from which it differs not in any part. But not having read the Latin translation thereof, which is in the opposite pages, we do only confirm that what is written in our language. We do therefore with a unanimous and synodical sentence decree and ordain that every pious and orthodox Christian, who is a member of the Eastern and Apostolical Church, do attentively, and sedulously, read and receive the said book.
In perpetual faith and assurance whereof we have confirmed these presents with our subscriptions this 11th day of March in the year 1643.
Subscribed by the hand of the most holy patriarch thus:
Parthenius, by the mercy of God, archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and universal patriarch.
Joannicius, by the mercy of God, papas and patriarch of the great city of Alexandria, and judge of the universe.
Macarius, by the mercy of God, patriarch of the great city of Antioch.
Paisius, by the mercy of God, patriarch of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Laurence, of Ancyra.
Gregory, of Lissa.
Pachomius, of Chalcedon.
Parthenius, of Adrianople.
Joannicius, of Berrhoea.
Meletius, of Rhodes.
Cornelius, of Methymna.
Gabriel, of Lacedaemon.
Lascaris, Great Logothetes of the Great Church.
Christodulus, Great Oeconomus of the Great Church.
Michael, Great Rhetor of the Great Church.
Theologus, Priest, Great Chaplain of the Great Church.
George, Lesser Chaplain of the Great Church.
The Great Chartophylax, of the Great Church.
Thomas Blastus, Protecdik of the Great Church.
Philip, Protonotary of the Great Church.
Constantine, Protapostolary of the Great Church.
Nicolaus, Logothetes of the Great Church.
Constantine, Comentariensis of the Great Church.
Michael, Dicoeophylax of the Great Church.
Chrysosculus, Logothetes of the public treasury of the Great Church.
These copies are to be given, and presented gratis, to all pious Christians, for the benefit of the soul of the most illustrious and eloquent lord, the Lord Panagiota.
Part One – Of Faith.
1. What does it behoove a catholic and orthodox Christian to believe and do, that he may have eternal life?
Right faith and good works; for whoever holds these two, the same is a good Christian, and has certain hope of eternal salvation, as the Scripture says (James 2.24): “You see then how that by good works a man is justified, and not by faith only”; and a little after (v. 6), “For as the body without the Spirit is dead; so faith without works is dead also.” Saint Paul affirms the same (1 Tim. 1.19): “Holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck.” And again (1 Tim. 3.9): “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”
2. Why does it behoove a Christian first to believe, and then to do good works?
Because without faith none can please God, as St Paul says (Heb. 11.6): “Without faith it is impossible to please him: For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is; and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him.” That a Christian therefore be acceptable to God, and his works pleasing before him, it is necessary that, first, he have faith in God; and secondly, that he guide his life by that faith.
3. In what do these two consist?
In these three theological virtues, faith, hope and charity; into which three parts it is our intent to divide this confession; namely, in the first part we shall treat concerning faith; in the second, of hope and the Lord’s Prayer, and the evangelical Beatitudes; and, lastly, in the third part of the divine law, in which the love of God and of our neighbour is contained.
4. What is faith?
“Faith (according to the blessed Paul, Heb. 11.1) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; for by it the elders have obtained a good report”; or, the orthodox catholic and apostolic faith is to believe with the heart and confess with the mouth, one God in three persons. As the same apostle teaches us (Rom. 10.10), “With the heart is believed unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Further, every orthodox Christian ought firmly and without doubting, to believe all the articles of faith that the catholic and orthodox Church believes; which were delivered unto the Church from our Lord Jesus Christ by the apostles, and which have been expounded and approved by the ecumenical councils (Synod 6, Canon 82). These also is he to believe with a real and sincere faith; as the apostle commands (2 Thess. 2.15): “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.” And again elsewhere (1 Cor. 11.2): “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them unto you.” From hence it is manifest that the articles of faith have received their authority and approbation partly from the Holy Scriptures, partly from ecclesiastical tradition, and the doctrines of councils, and of the holy fathers; which matter St Dionysius thus explains (Hierarch. Eccl., 1.4): “The oracles delivered of God are the essence and foundation of this our hierarchy. Of these we chiefly reverence whatever our divine teachers the apostles have delivered unto us in the sacred and theological books; and next those things in which those most holy men instituted and initiated our instructors and leaders by a kind of immaterial initiation, and, as it were, from the very transcript of the heavenly hierarchy; as it were, by a mental communication; by the means indeed of corporeal speech, but not the materiality of writing.” That is, the precepts of the Church are of two kinds, the one committed to writing, which are contained in the divine books of Sacred Scripture, and the other delivered from the apostles by word of mouth. These are the same which the councils and holy fathers did afterwards more at large declare. On this twofold foundation stands built our faith, which it is our duty not only to keep shut up in the privacy of our own breast, but undauntedly, and without doubting, to preach and profess openly with our mouths, according to the holy psalmist and St Paul (Ps. cxvi.10), “I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we believe, and therefore speak.”
5. What are the articles of the catholic and orthodox faith?
The articles of the orthodox and catholic faith are twelve in number, according to the creed of the first council held at Nicaea, and the second held at Constantinople, in which councils every thing belonging to our faith is laid down so accurately, and at large, that neither are we to believe more nor ought we to believe less, than is therein expressed; nor may we understand or construe it in any other sense, than did those fathers.
6. What is the first article of faith?
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.”
7. What are the doctrines contained in this article of faith?
This article includes two doctrines; first, that we should believe and confess, that God is one (Deut. 6.4), to be adored in most Holy Trinity; and that in this divinity the Father is the origin and root of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Secondly, that this Triune God created all things out of nothing, both visible and invisible; as the holy prophet testifies (Ps. 33.9), “He spoke, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.”
8. How ought I to think of God?
You ought to believe that God is one in most Holy Trinity, according to these words of Scripture (Eph. 4.6): “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all,” who, out of his infinite goodness, created this world from nothing, that other beings in glorifying him might partake of his felicity; not that he wanted any thing; being in himself most completely glorious and perfect. You cannot any created beings, whether visible or invisible, not even the angels themselves, thoroughly comprehend the nature of God, forasmuch as there can be no proportion or comparison between the Creator and the creature, it is sufficient for us (as St Cyril of Jerusalem says, Catech. 6.7: “If we rightly profess to have one eternal and unchangeable God, beside him there is no other God.” As the Lord himself has declared by his prophet (Isa. xliv.6), “I am God, the First and the Last; beside me there is no other God.” After the same manner, also, Moses exhorts the children of Israel (Deut. 6.4), “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”
9. But, if God is one, it seems, of necessity, that he should also be one only in person.
It is not necessarily so; for although God, in his nature and essence, is indeed but one; yet in person is he three. As our Saviour himself teaches, saying to his apostles (Matt. 28.19), “Go, teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” From whence it is manifest that in one and the same Godhead there be three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit – the Father, of whose proper essence the Son was begotten, and the Holy Spirit proceeded before all ages; the Son, begotten before all worlds by the Father and consubstantial with him; the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father from all eternity, and coessential with the Father and the Son, as the divine Damascene explains in these words (Book 1, ch. 11): “The Son and the Holy Spirit are from the same cause, namely, the Father”; [John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith 1.8] and elsewhere (ch. 12), “The Son is of the Father as being begotten. The Holy Spirit is also of the Father, not as being begotten, but as proceeding.” [John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 1.12] Furthermore, Gregory the Theologian (De Spiritu Sancto) on these words of the apostle to the Romans (11.36): “Of him and through him, and to him are all things”, speaks thus: “The first (i.e., of him) we apply to the Father, the second to the Son, and the third (that is, to him) to the Holy Spirit”; [Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 31.20] from whence it is manifest that, in the Godhead, there is a Trinity. Wherefore, without any difference or distinction, we are baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; for what the Father is in his nature, the same is the Son and the Holy Spirit. Now the Father is, in his nature, true and eternal God, the Creator of all things both visible and invisible. Such therefore is the Son, entirely without any difference, and the Holy Spirit; and all these are consubstantial with each other. Accordingly the evangelist teaches (1 John 5.7), “There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.” In which words this only is to be expected, that, as to the divine essence, the Father is the cause of the Son and the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as both these persons have their origin from him, and he from none. Thus we are taught by our Saviour Jesus, who is eternal truth itself. Thus have we received from the holy apostles. Thus, and thus only, have both ecumenical and particular councils, and the doctors of the Church, taught, declared, and decreed. And thus our orthodox and catholic Church professes and teaches. For this faith the holy martyrs poured out their blood, and laid down their lives. And this faith we must, with our whole hearts, steadfastly believe and keep firm and unshaken, laying down our lives for it, if requisite, through the hope of eternal salvation; which, if good works accompany our faith, we shall be crowned with everlastingly in heaven.
10. I would have this mystery of the Holy Trinity more fully explained to me.
No comparison can be made, which would fully explain this mystery; so as that we should clearly comprehend, how Go, who is in essence but one, should be three in persons. No likeness, nor example, can sufficiently express him; as God, whose name is Jehovah, does himself testify; saying (Isa. xlvi.5), “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?” For the mind of man, or angel, is unable to conceive, or to express this wondrous truth: wherefore we should widely say, with the apostle (2 Cor. 10.5), “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” We believe, with a firm faith, that God the Father, self-existing from eternity to eternity, depending on none, begot the Son, and produced the Holy Spirit, as St Athanasius, in his creed, does more fully, and at large, declare. And being contented with this simplicity of faith, let us search no farther. For the inquisitive searcher into the hidden things of God is forbidden in Holy Scripture (Sirach 3.21), “Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee; neither search the things that are above thy strength; but what is commanded thee, think thereupon with reverence; for it is not needful for thee to see with thine eyes the things that are in secret.” Let it therefore suffice thus, that those same Scriptures of the old law, at the same time that they declare unto us one God, do also teach us three persons (Gen. 1.26): “God said, ‘Let us make man after our image and in our likeness.’” And (ch. 3.22), “Behold the man is become as one of us”; and (ch. 9.7) “Go to, let us go down and there confound their language.” And the prophets expressly declare this saying (Isa. 6.3), “And one (angel) cried unto another, and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord Sabaoth, the whole earth is full of his glory.’” In like manner the holy psalmist (Ps. 33.6), “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the Spirit of his mouth.” To this same purpose the Blessed Scriptures and the doctors of the church are full.
11. What are the attributes of God?
As God himself is incomprehensible, so also are his attributes. Yet so much as we can learn concerning them from the Scriptures, and the doctors of the Church, we may think and declare of them. We may therefore consider the divine attributes as personal or essential.
12. What are the personal attributes of God?
The personal attributes of the Godhead are those by which the persons in the most Holy Trinity are distinguished from each other. As, what appertaining to the one, cannot appertain to the other: Thus the person of the Father is not the person of the Son, for the Father is begotten of none, but the Son was essentially begotten of the Father before all ages; as the Scriptures say (Ps. cx.3), “The dew of thy birth is of the womb of the morning.” Thus Father, Son, Holy Spirit, unbegotten, begotten, proceeding; as peculiar to each person: This is what distinguishes or divides the divine persons but not their essence, which in itself is undividable, only separated from created beings. Now the Unbegotten and the Begotten cannot be the person, so we are to consider the Holy Spirit, who proceeded from the essence and nature of the Father, without any beginning of time, that is, from all eternity, and is consubstantial with the Father and the Son; yet distinct from him in his personal attribute, as proceeding from him. And in like manner as the Son, as being from the same Father, not by generation, like the Son, but by procession, and therein coessential with the Son, as being from the same nature of the Father, with whom they are both consubstantial, as being of the same nature with him. On which Gregory the Theologian discourses this way (Orat. xxiii, εἰς Ἤρωνα): “This is common to the Son and the Holy Spirit, that both persons are from the Father. But this is peculiar to the Father, that he is unbegotten, as it is to the Son, that he is begotten, and to the Holy Spirit, that he proceeds.” [Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 31.8–9] And farther the whole dispensation of the incarnation, is a personal attribute of the Son, forasmuch as neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit were incarnate. Thus does the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church teach us to believe and confess: God; one in nature and three in persons: concerning which, read the first Council of Nicaea, and the second ecumenical council, of Constantinople.
13. What are the essential attributes of God?
The essential attributes of God, are those which equally belong to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: Namely, to be God, to be Creator, to be foreknowing, to behold all things, to be present with all things, to fill all things, to be infinite and boundless, to know all things, whether hidden or manifest; and to sum up all in a few words, besides the personal attributes before-mentioned, as of the Father to be unbegotten, and the cause of the persons, of the Son to be begotten and incarnate, and of the Holy Spirit to proceed; whatever else is said of God, is properly an attribute of the divine nature, and equally appertains to the three persons, without any difference and distinction.
14. Why is only this attribute, Almighty, expressed in the first articles of the Creed?
Because this word, Almighty, most fully expresses the peculiar essence of the divine nature, since no created being can be called Almighty; and that for two reasons, namely: first, that it does not derive its nature from itself, but from its Creator; and, secondly, because no created being can produce something out of nothing, which almightiness alone can do. And God has declared his almightiness in the Revelation (1.8): “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” The archangel Gabriel says the same (Luke 1.37): “With God nothing shall be impossible.” Nevertheless, this universal power and almightiness of God, is distinct from his will and benevolence, inasmuch as that does not do all which it can, but all which this appoints: According to the holy psalmist (Ps. cxv.3), “As for our God, he is in heaven; he hath done whatsoever pleased him.” For it is certain had he pleased, he might have made six thousand worlds as easily as he made this, but he willed not. We must, furthermore, consider the divine all-powerfulness as joined with the highest and utmost perfections, most clearly void of all, even the least weakness or imperfection; as for instance God cannot be evil; he cannot sin, he cannot lie nor deny himself, for these are mere imperfections. And God cannot be almighty if he could be wicked, or defiled with sin, or deny himself, these being the marks or fruits of imperfections. But God is almighty by his will and most perfect goodness, as the prophet celebrates him (Ps. lxxvii.13, 14): “Who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doth wonders, and hast declared thy power among the people.” To conclude, God is styled Almighty, because all things are in his power and command, and because without any labour or difficulty he created the universe by merely and only willing that it should be so.
15. Why is God said to be in such or such a place, since he is boundless, and cannot be confined in any place, being present at all times in all?
Although the immaterial and incorporeal Divinity cannot be circumscribed in heaven, or Zion, or any other place, God not being in place, but being place unto himself, yet we are wont to say, God dwells there wheresoever he has been pleased more particularly: and the oftenest to manifest his goodness, and show forth his marvelous works. “As in heaven”, John of Damascus says (Orth.Fid., c. x.16), “where the angels are who perform his commands, and with never-ceasing praises glorify his majesty; on earth, for there incarnate he dwells amongst men: In the holy Church, for there, after a peculiar manner, is his grace bestowed on the faithful, and his glory declared. And in like manner is every place said to be his, where grace is in any manner revealed.” [John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 1.13]
16. Whereas you affirm that it is the property only of God to know all things, hidden and manifest: Whence does it come that angels, and among men the prophets, have also known those things?
God in himself knows the most hidden and secret things, and the most concealed thoughts of both angels and men; not only at the time when they are thought, but even before the worlds were made, according to the Scriptures (Eccles. 23.19): “The eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun, beholding all the ways of men, and considering the most secret parts.” And again (xlii.18) “The Lord knoweth all that may be known, and he beholdeth the signs of the world. He declareth the things that are past and to come, and revealeth the steps of hidden things.” And St John in the Revelation (2.23): “I am he which searcheth the reigns and hearts, and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” But when at any time angels or men have known what was to come, it has always been from divine revelation, according to the Scripture (Dan. 11.22), “He revealed the deep and secret things.” So Elisha knew what his servant Gehazi had privily received on the way from Naaman (2 Kings 5.26). And the apostle Peter knew what has been done by Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). And so in like manner all the prophets foreknew the future.
17. Are there any more attributes of God?
The divine attributes are, indeed, numberless: but those which, as necessary to salvation, we have recited, are sufficient to teach us how we ought to think of God. You should, therefore, more particularly believe, with a firm and unmovable faith, that God is one in three persons, almighty, all-present, all-knowing, unchangeable, and eternal.
18. In this article the word Creator is used: Is, then, everything made or created by God?
God is, doubtless, the Maker of all things, visible and invisible: Who first from nothing made the hosts of heaven only by a thought; that they might be the chief resounders of his praise, and that intellectual world, who, according to the grace bestowed on them, see the glory of God, and in perfect obedience forever do his will.
After which he created this visible and material world out of nothing; and, lastly, he made man, compounded by an immaterial, reasonable soul, and a material body: That man, thus made, might be a manifestation that the same God was the Author and Maker of both worlds, from whence man is not unaptly called a microcosm, or little world, as being in himself an epitome, or abridgement, of the universe.
19. As God created the angels first, I would know what we are to think concerning them?
The angels are spirits, whom God, out of nothing, has produced into being, that they might serve him, and sing praise unto him: and, in this world, might assist men, and lead them into his kingdom. To these is committed the care and guardianship of cities, kingdoms and countries, monasteries, churches, and both ecclesiastical and secular men. As it is evident from the Acts of the Apostles, where there is an example hereof (ch. 5.19): “The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth and said, ‘Go, stand, and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.’” And again (12.7): “And behold the angel of the Lord came upon him, (8) and said unto him, ‘Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals, cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.’” And a little after (v. 11): “When Peter was come to himself, he said, ‘Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.’” In like manner our Saviour teaches us that infants are in their care, saying (Matt. 18.10): “I say unto you, that, in heaven, their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Also, they present our prayers and alms, and other good works, before the Divine Majesty. Not that God himself does not observe our alms, or hear our prayer, but because they intercede for us. And under the first dispensation, before the law of Moses was delivered, the angels were the teachers of the law and will of God, to our forefathers, and led them in the way of salvation (see Dionysius, Herarch. Eccl. 4). And, after the delivery of the law they instructed men, and showed them the good, as appears at large in the Holy Scriptures, which relates both the appearance of angels unto the prophets, and their showing them what was to come. Thus the angel warned Joseph to escape the bloody purpose of Herod (Matt. 2.13): “The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child, and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.’” And again, when the same Joseph feared to take unto him the Blessed Virgin (Matt. 1.20), the angel of the Lord directed him. By the ministration of angels also the works of God are declared, as (Luke 2) when Christ was born at Bethlehem, they told it to the shepherds. Angels also, by the command of God, attend upon good men, and delivered us from many dangers, driving away the enemy of our souls, who always most cruelly persecutes us, whenever the divine permission suffers him. And it is sufficiently evident that this our celestial genius watches over us, and guards us, from the Scripture which says concerning him that trusted in God alone (Ps. xci.11): “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
20. Into how many orders are the angels distributed?
According to the opinion of St Dionysius (Hier. Caelest. cap. vi, vii), they are distinguished into nine choirs, which are again distributed into three orders. [Dionysius the Areopagite, The Celestial Hierarchy 6.1–2] The first order is of those who are nearest to God, as the thrones, cherubim and seraphim. In the second the powers, dominions and virtues. In the third the angels, archangels, principalities, and those all disposed in such order, that all the lower ranks are enlightened and receive the divine blessings from the higher. These angels always continue in the love of God, having received this grace that they should be incapable of falling, because they listened not unto Lucifer, when he tempted them to rebel against God, through whose grace only it is that they are thus established, and not through their own strength. And thus far we think it sufficient to treat in the small compass of this Confession, concerning the knowledge of angels: Wherefore, since it is well enough known that the angels do help us with their guardianship, and also assist us with their intercession, let us therefore, as we ought, entreat them, that they may pray to God for us. More especially the angel who is appointed our guardian and guide.
21. What are we to think concerning evil angels?
They are all created good by God; for whatsoever God made, it was good. But through their own will, they became evil, as our Lord testifies of the chief of the devils (John 8.44): “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” These are the authors and chiefs of all impiety, and continual blasphemers of the Divine Majesty. These are the deceivers of mankind, both they and their instruments, according to the Scripture (1 Pet. 5.8): “Be sober, be vigilant, both your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Nevertheless, be it known that the devil cannot exercise any power, or offer any violence unto any man, or any thing, unless they are so permitted of God, as the Scripture witnesses (Matt. 8.31). “The devils besought him, saying, ‘If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine’; and he said unto them, ‘Go’.” And let every one be assured, that it is least of all in their power to compel man to sin; they can only tempt, and persuade us, by their instigation and deceit, to do evil and go astray; for man is endowed with a free will, which God himself will not constrain, or lay not under any necessity. But forasmuch as the devils are condemned unto everlasting punishment and torments, they can never become partakers of the divine mercy or grace; as it is said (Matt. 25.41), “Depart from me, ye cursed, unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
22. What are we to believe concerning other created things?
As follows: That God, by his word and command, has made all things out of nothing; and, lastly, created man, and appointed him the heir and lord of all things under heaven, saying (Gen. 1.26): “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” And the sacred poet: “Thou makest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands; and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and whatsoever walketh though the paths of the sea.” And a little before, “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour.” But because he disobeyed the command of God in paradise, and took and ate of the forbidden fruit, therefore being at once deprived of all the honours and favours with which he had been adorned, while he held his integrity, he was drive out of the mansion, and became such as the prophet has described him (Ps. xlix.20): “Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish,” and is become like unto them. And to the same purpose (Gen. 3.19): “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
23. What was the state of innocence of man, or purity and freedom from sin?
The state of innocence and integrity was twofold, according to St Basil on the first of Proverbs (Homily on the first chapter of Proverbs). The first is a voluntary departure from sin, as when a man of his own deliberate purpose, forsakes what he knows to be sin. The other is simply not knowing sin, as when a person, either by reason or tender age, or any other cause, is without knowing or committing evil. Of this last kind was the innocence of Adam before the fall, joined with a most complete and perfect rectitude, and innate justice both of will and understanding. So that in his understanding all knowledge was included; and, in his will, all probity and honesty. For instance as Adam had a perfect knowledge of God, therefore in knowing God, he knew all other things through God, as appeared in that, when all the creatures came to Adam to be named. For he gave them all names expressive of the several natures and dispositions, which he knew not from any experience, but from that knowledge of things which, by the blessing of God, he had. And as for his will, that was, in all things, governed by his reason; yet so as to retain a perfect freedom, and that it is manifestly in the power of man to sin, or not to sin, is evident from Holy Scripture (Ecclesiast. 15.11): “Say not thou, ‘It is through the Lord that I fell away’; for thou oughtest not to do the things which he hateth. Say not thou, ‘He hath caused me to err’; for he hath no need of the sinful man. The Lord hateth all abomination; and they that fear God love it not. He himself made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his counsel. If thou wilt, thou shalt keep the commandments and faith by doing what pleases him. He hath set fire and water before thee; stretch forth thine hand unto whither thou wilt. Before man is life and death, and whether him liketh, shall be given him.” And a little after (v. 21), “He hath commanded no man to do wickedly; neither hath he given any man license to sin.” In such a state of innocence and impeccability, like the angels, was man. But when, by transgressing the commandments, he had sinned, he then came in a state of sin; and, being expelled from paradise, he became subject to death, according to that Scripture (Rom. 6.23), “The wages of sin is death”; and presently losing the perfection of his reason and understanding, his will became prone to evil rather than good. Thus the state of innocence and integrity, by man tasting of evil, became a state of sin; and man, who before was perfect, debased so low, that now he may well cry out with David (Ps. 22.6): “I am a worm, and no man.”
24. Whether all men are liable for the sin of Adam?
As all mankind, during the state of innocence, was in Adam; so in him all men, falling from what he fell, remained in a state of sin. Wherefore mankind has become, not only subject to sin, but also, on account of sin, to punishment; which, according to the sentence pronounced by God, was (Gen. 2.17): “In the day that thou eatest of the tree, thou shalt surely die.” And to this the apostle alludes (Rom. 5.12): “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” So that we are conceived in our mother’s womb, and born in this sin, according to the holy psalmist (Ps. li.7): “Behold, I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin hath my mother conceived me.” This is called ancestral sin, first, because before this, man was free from all sin; although the devil was then corrupt, and fallen, by whose temptation this ancestral sin sprang up in man; and Adam becoming guilty, we all likewise, who descend from him, become also guilty. Secondly, this is called original sin, because no mortal is conceived without this depravity of nature.
25. But since God foreknew that Adam would fall, wherefore, I pray, did he create him liable to it?
God fully foreknew both the fall of Adam, and the malice of Lucifer, before he created either, and the most minute thoughts and actions that either of them would think or act; nevertheless the divine goodness would not suffer itself to be overcome by the wickedness of man, or the devil (see St Damascene 2.27, and in his Dialogue concerning the Manichees), but, that it might be the more manifest, God created the devil a good angel, who, of his own free will and choice, became evil, as afterwards man did by his temptation. Now, God so dealt with mankind that, in his disobedience, God’s goodness might shine with more glorious brightness, by sending his only Son into this world, who might take flesh of a most unspotted virgin, by the operation of the Holy Spirit and redeem lost man; and receive him into his kingdom, adorned with greater glory than he had before in paradise, to the eternal confusion of the devil. Therefore neither ought the sin of man hinder, that God should not create him.
26. Since, then, God knew all things before they were, did not he predestinate them to be good or evil, in such wise that they could not be otherwise than they are?
God certainly foreknew all things before they were in being, but he only predestinated good (St Damascene, Book 2, ch. 30); for it would be contrary to the divine goodness to predestine evil. For evil is no other than sin; for, except sin, which is the transgressing of the divine will and law, properly speaking, there is no such thing as evil in the world. For those which God is pleased to inflict on us for our sins, as pestilence, war, sickness and the like, they are said to be evil with regard to us (Basil, Homily 9, that God is the not the Cause of Evil), because they afflict with pain and sorrow, to which we are adverse; but, with regard to God, they are not evil, but rather good, as being the instruments of his correction, whereby he converts us to righteousness. Therefore when the Scripture says (Amos 3.6), “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” there by the word “evil” is to be understood the just judgment of God. In fine, God, in his wisdom and justice, predetermines only those things which are entirely out of our power, with regard to their being or not being; and in those good things which are in our power to be done, he foreknows, but so that his will hinders not ours, which no way controls the nature of free will.
27. What is free will?
Man’s free will is an absolute, free and voluntary choice to do good or evil, arising from reason or the reasonable soul. For it is necessary that a being endued with reason should have a nature joined with a power over his own will, which, as reason prompted, he should exercise freely. Now reason, while man remained in the state of innocence (that is, before his fall) was perfect and uncorrupt, and by his fall, became corrupt; but his will (although with regard to the desire of good and evil, it remained unaltered), yet, in some things, it became more inclined to the evil, and in others to the good. As St Basil says (on Isa. 14), “Every man may by his will and choice become either a good seed or a bad, according to the apostle (1 Cor. 4.15), ‘In Jesus Christ I have begotten you through the Gospel.’” Also St John (John 1.12), “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Wherein the holy doctor teaches us that notwithstanding the will of man is miserably depraved by original sin, yet it is the choice of every one whether he will become righteous, and the child of God, or wicked, and the child of the devil. This, I say, is in everyone’s power, but with the divine grace assisting him to do good, and withdrawing him from evil; yet, nevertheless, so as not to interfere with his free will.
28. Seeing that man is born in sin, is the soul, as well as the body from the seed of Adam?
The human body descends from Adam, but the soul comes from God: according to the Scripture (Zach. 12.1), “The Lord which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” And again (Eccl. 12.7), “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.” For if the soul were of human seed, doubtless it would die with the body, and, with that, return to dust; but we are taught otherwise in the Holy Scriptures, where Christ says to the thief on the Cross (Luke 23.43), “Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The body of the thief remained on the cross, but the soul, as being an immortal spirit, entered with Christ into paradise; whereas, if it had been born of human extract, it must have died with the body on the cross. And, indeed, how can we otherwise understand these words of our Lord (Matt. 22:31): “Have ye not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”? Which words cannot be applied but to the soul, for the bodies of those father had been long ago consumed to dust; they must, therefore, be meant of the soul, which, as it lives for ever, so it for ever stands in the presence of God. Now, if the soul were of the same stock with the body, without doubt it must run the same fate with it, and together with it also perish. But the soul is immitted into the body by God, when he has fitted and prepared it for its reception, and is diffused throughout all its parts, as fire pervades all parts of the glowing iron. But chiefly it resides (according to St Damascene, 1.xvii) in the head and heart.
29. Since God is the Creator of all things, should he not also provide for all things?
He does provide entirely for all things. For from the smallest to the greatest, he knows them all, and every individual which he has made he particularly takes care of. For so says our blessed Saviour (Matt. 10.29): “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” The same providence David celebrates in the Old Testament (Ps. cxlv.15): “The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest all things living with plenteousness.”
30. Are the words foreknowledge, predestination, providence, of the same signification in divinity?
Foreknowledge, predestination, and providence have different signification in divinity. Providence respects things which are already created, but foreknowledge and predestination were in God before any thing was created, but in a manner distinct from each other. Foreknowledge is the bare, simple knowing of a future thing, without any determinate specification of it, that is, not necessarily determining that this or that should be. But predestination, joined with foreknowledge, is a determining the species, or what a thing must be absolutely, only, always determining good, and not evil. For if predestination were to appoint evil, it would be contrary to the essential goodness of God. Therefore, in like manner, as we first conceive a thing, and then appoint concerning it, so may we speak with regard to God: first in order is his foreknowledge; then his predestination; and lastly (things being brought into actual being) his providence. As the apostle plainly teaches (Rom. 8.29), “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate; whom he did predestinate, them he also called; whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” But this is only to be understood of man, for other created beings (except the angels, who are settled in a state of certainty and safety) are not the objects of the divine predestination; for, as they had no free will, so they are without imputation whatever they do, being done by the impulse of natural instinct; wherefore they are neither chastised with punishment of any kind, nor crowned with the rewards of glory and praise.
31. What does this article further teach, concerning God and his creation?
Whatever your mind can possibly imagine good, that consider as appertaining to God, the supreme good, as its origin and source; and whatever you can figure to yourself of evil, consider as the most opposite and remote from God, not so much as being distant in place, as being different in its very essence. Of created things, thinks thus: that they are good, as being produced by an infinitely good Maker; only with this difference, that rational beings, who are endued with understanding and free will, are bad when they depart from God. Not that they were so created, but that they became so by acting contrary to their reason. Of irrational beings, that as they are without free will, they are in their nature good.
32. What is the second article of the faith?
“And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”
33. What does this Article of the Creed teach us?
Chiefly two things. First, that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is God eternal, of the same proper nature with his Father, and equal to him in glory and honour: as he saith of himself (John 17.5), “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Secondly, that Jesus Christ is the Creator, not only of the things which are made, but also of Time itself, in which all things are made (Heb. 1.2), “by whom also he hath made the ages”. But concerning permanent beings, the Evangelist says (John 1.10), “The World was made by him, and the World knew him not.”
34. What mean the words “Jesus Christ”, which we meet with in this Article?
“Jesus” signifies Saviour, as it is interpreted by the Archangel, who said unto Joseph (Matt. 1.21), “She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his People from their sins.” Wherefore this Name cannot properly be given unto any one, save only unto our Lord and Saviour, who has set free all mankind from the bondage of the Devil. “Christ” signifies Anointed: for that, in the old Law, those who were anointed were called “Christs”: namely, Priests, Kings and Prophets, into which three Offices Christ was anointed; not after the common manner of others, but after a superior manner, above all others: As the holy Psalmist says (Ps. xlv.8), “Thou hast loved Righteousness and hated Iniquity; wherefore God, even thy God, hath Anointed thee with the Oil of Gladness, above thy Fellows.” Wherein is meant, the being anointed with the Holy Spirit, with which he was anointed according to the Prophet Isaiah (Isa. lxi.1), “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath Anointed me, to preach good tidings unto the meek.” Which words Christ applies to himself (Luke 14.21), “This day is this Scripture fulfiled in your ears.” Christ, indeed, was, with a three-fold Excellency, and extraordinary Majesty, exalted above his fellows. First, a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, according to the Apostle (Heb. 5.10), “called of God a High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek”. And again (Heb. 9.14), he calls Christ a priest, because he offered himself to God and the Father, saying “who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.” And again (v. 28), “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of man.” Secondly, the next excellency and majesty of Christ, in his kingly office, as the archangel Gabriel declared when he brought the heavenly annunciation to the most chaste Virgin (Luke 1.32), saying, “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Father David, and he shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever, and of his Kingdom there shall be no end.” The wise men, also, when they brought their offerings, testified concerning his kingdom, saying (Matt. 2.2), “Where is he that is born king of the Jews?” And the title given to him at his death confirms this, when it was written (John 19.9), “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. Thirdly, concerning his third office, Moses long before had prophesied, by inspiration, saying (Deut. 18.10), “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee.” This greatness of our Lord’s sufficiently appears from the sanctity of the doctrine which he taught; from whence, also, his divinity is sufficiently manifest, and in which we are taught everything necessary to salvation. As himself spake (John 17.26), “I have made thy Name known unto them.” And a little above (v. 8), “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I come out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” But Christ more especially exercised this third office of prophet when he foretold what would come to pass; which he did, not by inspiration, as other prophets, but as God himself, of his own knowledge, as being God and man.
35. Why is the Son of God called Only-begotten?
That the Son of God is only-begotten is manifest from the Scripture (John 1.14). “We have seen his glory, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father.” And again (v. 18), “the only-begotten Son which is in the Bosom of the Father.” He is called only-begotten because he only is the Son of God by nature: others, who are sometimes called the sons of God, being so, not by nature but by grace, or adoption, as the faithful and elect. Which grace of adoption, to become the sons of God, is granted to them through Jesus Christ, according to the Scripture (John 1.12), “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God.”
36. What mean the words “light of light”?
For the better understanding this, you are to know that there be two kinds of light, namely created and uncreated. Of the created light the Scripture says Gen. 1.3), “God said, Let there be light, and there was light; and God saw the light that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness.” But touching that uncreated light, the Prophet Isaiah thus (Isa. 10.19): “The Sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light.” And it is this uncreated light which is intended in this place, as more plainly appears from the words which immediately follow, namely, “very God of very God, begotten not made.” Created light you are to consider as being made out of nothing; but the begotten Light, or the Son, as springing from the Essence of the Father. As says the Apostle (Heb. 1.3), “who, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the the Word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.”
After the same manner speaketh he of himself (John 8.12), “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Furthermore, it is said “light of light”, because he hath in himself the whole essence of the Father; like as when one light is kindled by another, it hath in it all the nature of that other light. Lastly, the words “by whom all things were made” are thus to be understood: As the Son is equal in the same nature with the Father, so he is equally Creator; and not “by whom”, as a servant or instrument, as the Scripture teacheth us (John 1.10), “he was in the world, and the world was made through him”; that is, by him.
37. What is the third article of the Creed?
“Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
38. What doth this article of the creed teach?
We are hereby taught four things: First, that the Son of God came down from heaven into the womb of a most pure Virgin, to save mankind, as he before had promised. Wherefore he thus speaketh concerning himself (John 3.13), “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man.” Now, he came not down from heaven by change of place; for, as being very God, he fills all places, and is present in all; but so it seemed good unto his majesty, to humble himself by taking on him human nature. Secondly, this article teacheth us, that our Lord Jesus Christ did verily and indeed take on him a real humanity, and not in appearance only. For in that moment wherein the holy Maid answered the angel, and said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy Word”, his body was formed in the virgin’s womb, and he became a perfect man in every particular, and having a reasonable soul conjoined with his divinity, being perfect God and perfect man, in one and the same person. And the immaculate Virgin was saluted, and acknowledged to the Mother of God, as Elizabeth said unto her (Luke 1.43), “And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come unto me?” Furthermore, it behoves us to know that the Divinity was not changed into the Humanity, neither was the Humanity lost in the Divinity, but each Nature remained complete with all its Properties, only joined in the same person; sin only, which appertained to the human nature, being excepted.
39. What is the third thing taught in this Article?
Thirdly, we are hereby taught, that the Incarnation of Christ was by the operation of the Holy Spirit; so that as the holy Maid was a Virgin before her Conception, so also in conceiving, after she had conceived, and even when she brought fourth, she remained a Virgin. For Christ came forth of his Mother’s Womb after such a manner as to leave unviolated her virginity and left unbroken that seal, that she might remain a virgin for ever.
40. What further is contained in this Article?
Concerning the most chaste Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, whom all the Orthodox (as it is their duty) ought to praise and reverence as the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, or rather as the Mother of God, seeing she was thought worthy, by God, to fulfil so great a mystery. For which reason the Church has composed a salutation to her partly with the words of the archangel and holy Elizabeth, and partly with a form of her own. Thus: “O God-bearing Virgin! Hail Mary, fully of Grace! The Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among Women, and blessed is the fruit of thy Womb, for thou hast brought forth the Saviour of our Souls.”
41. What are we to think concerning this salutation?
First, you must believe that this salutation was originally appointed by God himself: though it was taught unto men by the archangel Gabriel, who has not dared to have used it, unless he had been so commanded by God. The words of the holy Elizabeth were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, as is evident from the Evangelist’s account (Luke 1.41), “Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she spoke out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” Also the words which the church hath added are of the Holy Spirit.
And the Church, by the Authority with which she is vested, doth command us, that when we pray, we should frequently honour and praise the blessed Virgin with this Salutation.
42. What is taught us in this Salutation?
In this salutation is contained a commemoration, that the Son of God became man, and of the benefits which we receive thereby. And also we learn thereby, that when the eternal Word of God, which is without beginning, came down from heaven he brought not flesh with him, but received it in the womb of the most holy virgin, formed of her purest blood, by the operation of the Holy Spirit; so that he was born of her as of his proper parent. And this we must most truly and firmly believe; for the Church doth condemn, as heretics, all such as hold that the Saviour came down from heaven already clothed with flesh, wherewith he passed through the holy Virgin as through a Door (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 13). We are, furthermore, taught therein to call the blessed Virgin “God-bearing”, according to the human nature of Christ; and that Christ, who was born of her, was perfect God, and perfect man. Moreover, this salutation, in calling the Virgin “full of grace”, teacheth us, that as she is the Mother of God, she is made more abundantly a partaker of the divine grace than any created being: Wherefore the Church rightly extolleth her above the Cherubim and Seraphim, for she, far above all the choirs of angels, is at the right hand of her Son, with all honour and glory, according to David (Ps. xlv.10), Upon thy Right Hand did stand, the Queen, in a Vesture of Gold wrought about with divers Colours. Every orthodox Christian ought to repeat this Salutation with the utmost reverence, and implore the Intercession of the Virgin; for the Prayer of the Mother availeth much with the Son. And whosoever would be a devout honourer of the Virgin, let him (always standing, not sitting) repeat the hymn called Akathistos, and other Supplications and Hymns, which the Church hath composed in honour of the Mother of God.
43. What is the fourth article of the Creed?
Who was crucified for us, under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried.
44. What doth this article teach?
Chiefly, six things. First, that the Word verily, and indeed, suffered on the Cross for our sakes, and truly and really died, according to that same humanity which he received from the Virgin Mary: As is manifest from the holy Book (Luke 23.46), And when Jesus had cried with a loud Voice, he said, Father, into thy Hands I commend my Spirit; and having said thus he gave up the Ghost. And that he truly poured out his precious Blood for us, wherewith he redeemed us, as the Apostle witnesseth (Eph. 1.5, 7), Who, hath predestinated us unto the Adoption of Children, by Jesus Christ, in whom we have Redemption through his Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins according to the Riches of his Grace.
45. What is the second thing contained in this Article?
That Christ suffered the punishment of us sinners, having no sin in himself: as the Apostle St Peter testifieth (1 Pet. 1.18), Forasmuch as ye know ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation taught you by your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb, without blemish and without spot. In like manner doth John the Baptist bear witness, that Jesus who was perfectly innocent, and free from any stain of sin, suffered for our sins; For thus saith he (John 1.29), Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the Sin of the World. And this was voluntarily, and of his own free will, as himself saith (John 10.18), I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again.
46. What is the third thing taught?
That Christ suffered on the Cross, according to his human nature, not according to his divinity. For his divine nature suffered not: that was not fastened to the Cross, that did not give its Face to be spit upon, nor to the Smiters: that died not. And that Christ was crucified only in the flesh of the Apostle manifesteth, saying (Col. 1.21, 22), Now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you hold, and unblameable, and unreprovable before him. Nevertheless his divine nature, having taken to it the humanity, was never again separated from it. Not in the time of his passion and death upon the Cross; not even in death; although his soul was separated from his body, yet did not his divinity ever depart from his body or his soul. So that in death itself Christ still continued one and the same Person.
47. What is the fourth Part contained in this Article?
That the death of Christ was abundantly more excelled, and of far greater benefits, than could be the death of all other men: For these especially reasons. First, because of the heavy burden of our sins, as saith the prophet (Isa. 53.4), He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our Transgressions, he was braised for our Iniquities. Also the Prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the Person of Christ (Lament. 1.12), Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me. Secondly, for that on the Cross he fulfiled his priestly office, offering himself to God and the Father, for the Redemption of mankind: as the Apostle speaks concerning him (1 Tim. 11.6), who gave himself a ransom for all. And again (Eph. 5.2), Christ loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour. Also in another place (Rom. 5.8), While we were yet Sinners, Christ died for us. Thirdly, because on the Cross he completed the Reconciliation which he had undertaken between God and Man; as the Apostle just mentioned declareth (Col. 1.20; 2.14), By him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his Cross; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us; which was contrary to us; and took it out of the way, nailing it to the Cross.
48. What is the fifth thing contained in this Article?
Concerning the Burial of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he was really and truly fastened to the Cross, and underwent the most grievous torments, so was he verily and indeed dead, and buried in an honourable place; which came to pass for this end that from henceforth none should doubt of the real resurrection of Christ from the dead. For had he been buried in an obscure bye-place, and, as we say, in a corner, it would have given good occasion to the Jews to have opposed our Lord with their slanders: wherefore, that the glorious Resurrection of Christ might be more unquestionable and glorious, the Jews, as if they had been directed by Providence, go to Pilate, and say unto him (Matt. 27.64), Command therefore that the Sepulchre be made sure until the third day: and Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went and made the Sepulchre sure, sealing the Stone, and setting a Watch. Which watch of the Jews afforded a most certain and manifest proof of Christ’s resurrection; being struck with great Dread at the Time it was come to pass, as the Scripture informs us (Matt. 38.2), And behold there was a great earthquake, for the Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it; and for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men. Who afterwards (v. 11) going into the City, told the chief Priests all that had happened. Being, as it were, constrained to testify what the Angel had spoken to the Women, saying (v. 5), I know that ye seek Jesus that was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said; come and see the place where the Lord lay, and go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. For this cause, therefore, it was that the sepulchre of our Lord should be in a place of honour, that it might be clear to all that his disciples did not steal him away, and bury him in an unknown obscure place, as the perverse Jews gave out, having corrupted the keepers with large money. But this empty suspicion was fully confuted by the tomb itself, wherein our Lord had been buried, and by the sealing of the Stone, and by the Guard which the Jews had set. Beside Joseph and Nicodemus were men of great honour and account in their nation. Lastly, the precious linen wherein the dead body of our Lord had been wrapped, and the napkin which was about his head, remained folded up in the Sepulchre after he was arisen; all which sufficiently proved that his body had not been secretly conveyed away by the disciples, but was indeed returned to life. To this it deserves to be added, that according to the holy Prophecies it was of necessity that our Lord’s Sepulchre should be honourable, as it is, and has been: for so sayeth the Prophet Isaiah (xi.10), And his rest shall be glorious. Now, whosoever visiteth this Sepulchre, in Faith and Love of Christ, he shall obtain pardon of many sins; coming through that, in his mind, unto Christ himself.
49. From what hath been said, I am become desirous to know in what place the Soul of Christ remained after its departure from his body, and before his resurrection.
The soul of Christ, although separated from his body, yet remained joined to his divinity, and together with it went down to hell: although no mention is made therefore in this Article, yet we are sufficiently certified that it is so by many hymns of the Church on this subject, which teach that Christ, together with his soul and his divinity, descended into hell. As this Troparion, or hymn of the Church, particularly setteth forth – With thy Body in the Tomb. With thy Soul in hell. In paradise with the Thief. And on thy Throne with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Thou wast God, O Christ! Filling all things, thyself unbounded. And having delivered from thence the Souls of the holy Fathers, he led them into Paradise, together with the Thief who had believed on him when he was crucified.
50. What is the sixth thing contained in this Article?
This article, by making mention of the Cross on which Christ died and wrought the great work of our salvation, prompts us to comment something concerning it: Of which the Apostle St Paul thus speaketh (Gal. 6.14), God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. And again (1 Cor. 1.18), The preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For many and great reasons, therefore, the Cross is venerable unto us, as the peculiar sign of Christ, on which a wonderful power is bestowed of putting evil spirits to flight: forasmuch as it was anointed with the blood of the Son of God, who breathed out his soul thereon. To this purpose hear St Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (Catech. 18): “When we sign ourselves with the venerable sign of the Cross, the devil then being mindful that Christ was nailed to the Cross for our salvation, and for the destruction of his hellish power, can no longer be present, nor withstand the power of the Cross; but he fleeth from us, and ceaseth to tempt us, more especially as we usually call upon the name of our Saviour Christ at the same time.” Wherefore it is necessary that we should frequently use to sign ourselves with this holy sign; forasmuch as we perceive ourselves too commonly beset with the temptations of the devil, which we cannot otherwise drive away than by the sign of the life-giving Cross, and seriously calling upon the name of Jesus Christ. And by this, we not only drive away the insults of the spirits of darkness from our persons, but also from whatever belongeth unto us; from our meat and our drink, from our utensils, and everything appertaining to us. Wherefore St Cyril, in the place before mentioned, saith farther: “Bless thyself with the venerable sign of the Cross, when thou eatest and when thou drinkest; when thou standest and when thou sittest; when thou speaketh and when thou walkest. Begin not any business or employment without first making this reverend sign; in thine house or on the way, in the day or in the night, and in all places.”
51. After what manner ought we to form the sign of the venerable and life-giving Cross?
After this manner: first, with thy thumb and two fingers touch thy forehead, saying “In the name of the Father”; then in the same manner touch thy breast, saying, “and of the Son”; then touch thy right shoulder, saying, “and of the Holy Spirit”. And, lastly, complete the sign of the Cross, by touching thy left shoulder, saying “Amen”. Thou mayest, also, when thou crossest thyself, say thus, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen.”
52. What is the fifth article of the faith?
Who arose the third day from the dead, according to the Scriptures.
53. What are we taught by this article of the faith?
Two things. First, that our Lord, Jesus Christ, returned to life by the power of his divinity (Luke 24.7), As it was written of him in the Prophets and Psalms. And, secondly, that he arose in that same individual body wherewith he was born, and died.
54. According to what Scripture did it so become Christ to suffer and to die, and also to rise on the third day?
The holy Scriptures are twofold; of the Old and of the New Testament. The former foretold that Christ should come, and also the manner in which he should redeem mankind; namely, by suffering, dying and arising again from the dead: Therefore, according to those Scriptures, all these things were to be fulfiled by Christ. And by the latter, namely, the New Testament, it is manifestly confirmed, that Christ did fulfil all these things, and that he came into the world for that very cause whereof it was afore written, As he sayeth of himself (Mark 14.21), The Son of Man goeth indeed, as it is written of him. And again, after his Resurrection, to his two Disciples as they were journeying (Luke 24.26), Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses, and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. Now that the Old Testament ought to have full and satisfactory credit and authority with us, the Apostle testifies, saying of it (2 Pet. 1.19), We have also a more sure Word of Prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. Furthermore, all the Evangelists confirm unto us that these things were done exactly according to those Scriptures. The Apostle also (1 Cor. 15.3), Christ died for us, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he arose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures. And that he was seen of Cephas, and then of the twelve. After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some have fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James, then of all the Apostles. And last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. The Prophet James had also, of old, beautifully represented the Resurrection of Christ; as our Lord Jesus Christ applied it to himself when he spoke to the Jews, saying (Matt. 12.39), An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the Prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
55. What is the sixth article of the faith?
Who ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father.
56. What are we taught by this article?
Four doctrines. First, that Christ ascended into heaven, and sat down, with glory and honour, at the right hand of God; with that very same body in which he had truly and really suffered the torments of the Cross, and with which he had risen from the dead. Secondly, that he ascended into heaven only as man, for as God he was already there, and in all places. Thirdly, that Christ never after put off the human nature which he had taken upon him of the blessed Virgin, and that he will hereafter come again to judgment therewith; as the Angels spake to the Apostles (Acts 1.11), This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Fourthly, we are hereby taught the Body of Christ is in heaven only, and not on the earth, after the manner it used to be whilst he conversed among us; but only after a sacramental manner (μυστηριώδη); whereby, in the holy Supper, the same Son of God, God and man, is present on Earth by a change of substance (κατὰ μετουσίωσιν), for the substance of the bread is changed (μεταβάλλεται) into the substance (εἰς τὴν οὐσίαν) of his most holy Body, and the Substance of the wine into the substance of his most precious blood. Wherefore we ought to glorify and reverence the holy Eucharist as our Saviour Jesus himself.
57. What is the seventh article of the faith?
He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
58. What doth this article teach us?
Three things. First, that Christ will come again, to judge the living and the dead; as he sayeth himself (Matt. 25.31), When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him. And this coming will be with swiftness (Matt. 24.27), As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be; (v. 36), But of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels. But first it must be that these things happen (v. 14), namely, That the Gospel be preached unto all nations; that Antichrist come; that there be horrid and inhuman wars, famine and pestilence; and the like. In a word, that there be many and great afflictions, according to the Word of the Lord (v. 21), Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world tot his time, no, nor ever shall be after. Of this judgment the Apostle thus plainly teacheth (2 Tim. 4.1), I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at his appearing and his kingdom.
59. What is the second doctrine contained in this article?
That in this last judgment all men are to give an account of all their thoughts, words and works, as the Scripture testifies (Matt. 12.36), I say unto you, that every idle Word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. And so the Apostle (1 Cor. 4.5), Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have his praise of God.
60. What is the third thing taught in this article?
That in that day every one shall receive a full and everlasting reward, according to his merit; some receiving this sentence (Matt. 25.34), Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. And to others shall be pronounced this afflicting sound (v. 41), Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; (Mark 9.44), where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
61. In that day, peradventure, all men in general must give an account of their actions and affairs; but I would know whether every one, at his departure from this life, giveth an account of his life, and answers, as it were, in a particular judgment.
The judgment of that day will not be by inquiring after every minute circumstance, for all things are known and manifest unto God; and as every one, at the time of his death, is fully conscious to himself of all his faults, so does every one, after death, very well know what is to be the rewards of his deserts; for as his deeds are manifest, so is the will of God concerning them also manifest. As Gregory the Divine sayeth (Funeral Oration of his Brother Caesarius), “I am induced to believe that, as wise men say, the good and acceptable soul, when its espousal with the body is dissolved, enjoying with the powers of its mind the good which it possesses (for that which before clouded it with darkness being now purged away, or laid aside, or what no words can express), is enraptured, and exults with a most singular and transporting joy, and flies rejoicing to its Lord (whilst it escapes from this life, as from a loathsome prison, and spurns under its feet the shackles which fettered before the wings of its mind) to taste, as in imagination, the bliss in store for it.
“And when, not long after, it again receives its well-known body from the earth, which first supplied, and now had kept it safe in store; after a manner only known to God, who first joined, and afterwards separated them; with that body, wherein it had afore lived the heavenly life, it enters now united, to possess the heritage of celestial glory.”
In like manner may be considered the wicked souls; namely that they are immediately sensible of the torments that await them. Howbeit, neither the just nor the wicked receive the full recompense of their deeds before the final judgment; nor are they all in one state, nor limited to one place. Now, from hence it is clear enough that this could not be, before the general judgment, without some kind of (as it were) particular judgment: And such a particular judgment as this there is only. When, therefore, we say that God does not require an exact account of our lives, it is to be understood that we mean, not according to the forms and weakness of human tribunals.
62. Are not all the souls of the saints placed in the same degree of happiness after death?
As the souls do not all go out of this life in the same degree of divine grace, so neither after their departure are they in one and the same degree of happiness. This we learn from Christ himself (John 14.2), In my Father’s house are many mansions. And elsewhere (Luke 7.47), Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: But to whom little is forgiven the same loveth little. To the same purpose speaks the Apostle (Rom. 9.6), Who will render unto every man according to his deeds.
63. What are we to think concerning those who depart hence under the wrath of God?
Of these, some, after the last Judgment, will be punished with greater, some with lesser Torments; but both will be without end. As the Scripture declareth (Luke 12.47), That servant that knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes: But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
64. Do not some die, so as to be in a medium between the blessed and the damned?
Of these there be not any; nevertheless, it is certain that many sinners are freed from the chains of Hades; not by their own repentance or confession, as the Scripture saith (Ps. 6.5), In the pit who shall give thanks unto thee? And elsewhere (Ps 115.17), The dead praise not thee, O Lord; neither all them that go down into the pit; but for the good works and alms of the living, and for the prayers of the Church, made in their behalf; but chiefly for the sake of the unbloody Sacrifice (the Liturgy) which the Church daily offers up for the living and teh dead; in like manner as Christ also died for both. But the souls of such are by no means to be delivered by their own works; as Theophylact, treating on these words of Christ, in the sixth chapter of Luke, To whom Power is given of forgiving Sins on Earth, teacheth, saying, “Observe, it is said on Earth; For so long as we continue on Earth we can wipe out our sins, but after we leave this Earth we are no more able of ourselves to cancel our sins by our confessions. The ‘Doors then are shut’.” And again, on the Words of Matthew (ch. 22.13), Bind him hand and foot, by which the active Faculties of the soul are meant, he says, In this life life we may labour and endeavour, but afterwards the active faculties of the soul are bound, nor can we any more do ought atonement for our offences. And farther, on the 25th chapter of the same Gospel, he says, There is no more time for repentance and good works after this life. From all which it is clear, that after its separation the soul can no more perform penance, nor do any other work whereby it might be freed from the chains of Hades. Therefore, only the sacrifices, the prayers and alms, which are performed by the living, for their sakes, do comfort and greatly benefit the souls, and free them from the bonds of Hades.
65. What, then, are we to think concerning the alms and good works, which are performed for the comfort of the departed?
Theophylact, expounding these words of Christ (Luke 12.5), Fear him who hath power to cast into hell, thus treats of this matter, “Observe, my brethren, Christ saith not, fear him who, after he hath killed, casteth into hell, but who hath power to cast into hell. For he casteth not all who died in their sins into hell, but it is in the hand of God to do so, and also to pardon them. ‘This, I say, concerning the pious offerings and intercessions which are made for the good of those that sleep. For these things are of no small benefits, even to those who depart hence in the most grievous state of sin. God doth not, then, cast the guilty into hell when he hath killed him; but he hath power to cast them into hell. Wherefore let us not cease to endeavour, again and again, by our alms and our intercessions, to implose his favour, who, having the power to cast into hell, doth not always exert it; but hath, also, power to indulge with pardon.’”
We are therefore taught by the holy Scripture, and the exposition of this Father, that we ought, by all means, to pray for the departed, to offer the unbloody sacrifice for them, and to dispense our alms with a liberal hand; seeing they can no more perform these good works for themselves.
66. What are we to think of the fire of purgatory?
It is nowhere taught in the Holy Scriptures that there is any temporary punishment, whereby the soul, after death, may be purged. On the contrary, the Church, in the second Council of Constantinople, did condemn Origen for this very opinion. Moreover, it is evident that the soul, when once departed, cannot again become a partaker of the Sacraments of the Church. Could this be, that the Soul could satisfy there for sins committed in this life, then, by like reason, it might partake of the sacraments of penance there; which being contrary to orthodox doctrine, the Church rightly and wisely offers the unbloody sacrifice for those souls, together with her prayers, that they may be forgiven those things wherein they had offended, whilst they continued in this life: And not that they might be delivered from any punishment that they were then suffering for a time only. Our Church doth not admit or approve of such fables as some men have fancied concerning the state of souls after death; as that they are tormented in pits and waters, and with sharp prongs, when they are snatched away by death before they can have done sufficient penance for their faults.
67. What place is particularly appointed for those souls that go hence in a state of grace and favour with God?
Those souls of men which depart hence in favour with God, and have wiped out their sins by repentance, have their place in the hand of God. As saith the holy Scripture (Wisd. 3.1), The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torments touch them. Their place is also named “Paradise”, as our Lord Christ called it to the thief on the Cross (Luke 23.43), Verily I say unto thee, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. It is also called “Abraham’s Bosom”; as in Luke 16.22, And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. Sometimes it is named the “Kingdom of heaven”, as it was by our Lord (Matt. 13.11), I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven. By whichsoever of these three names that we have mentioned any one shall call the Receptacle of righteous souls, he will not err; provided that he believes and understands thus much, that they enjoy the favour of God, and are in his heavenly Kingdom, and, as the hymns of the Church mention, in heaven.
68. Where is the place of those souls who leave their bodies under the displeasure of God?
Many names are given to that place: it is called “Hell”, into which the Devil, when thrust out of heaven, was driven; as the Prophet testifies (Isa. 14.14), I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High, saith Satan. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Again, it is called “Everlasting fire”, as the Scripture saith (Matt. 25.41), Depart from me, ye cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. Likewise it is named Outer Darkness (v. 30), Cast ye the unprofitable Servant into Outer Darkness; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is called by many other names, all of which mean a place of condemnation and the wrath of God. To this place go down the souls of all those who die at enmity with God, and under his wrath; and here are they damned. This, then, is to be believed by the Faithful, that as the souls of the righteous, although received into heaven, do not receive the full and perfect crown of glory before the last judgment, so neither do the souls of the damned feel and suffer the full measure and weight of the punishments before that time. But after that final and decisive judgment, the souls of all, rejoined to their bodies, will be crowned with glory or overwhelmed with torments.
69. What is the eighth article of the faith?
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the Prophets.
70. What doth this Article teach?
Three things. First, that the Holy Ghost is God, of the same substance with the Father and the Son; as these words of the Apostle do manifest (1 Cor. 12.4), There are diversity of gifts, but the same Spirit: And difference of administrations, but the same Lord: And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God that worketh in all. And again (2 Cor. 13.14), The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Now, whereas, in these texts, the Holy Ghost is sometimes first named, and sometimes the Son, it is because all the three Persons are of the same substance and partakers of equal honours. And not because the Son differeth aught from the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Ghost form the Son, in their essence (to say which would be blasphemy); but because, as we said before, they are both of the same essence and glory; and also because the Son and the Holy Ghost both of them immediately and equally have their origin of the Father; the Son as beging begotten, and the Holy Ghost as proceeding. According to what Peter declareth to Ananias in Acts (v. 3), Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? And presently after he concludes (v. 4), Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. The Holy Ghost is, therefore, certainly true and very God.
71. What is the second thing taught in this article?
That the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father only, as from the Fountain and Original of his Divinity; as our Saviour himself teacheth us (John 15.26), When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father; the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father. The same docrine St Athanasius lays down in his Creed, “The Holy Ghost is of the Father, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.” And elsewhere in his works (Holy Questions, vol. ii.43, etc.), “God and Father, he only is the cause of the other two, and unbegotten. The Son, begotten, and sprung from the Father only, the cause of his origin. The Holy Ghost himself also springs and proceeds only from the Father, as his cause, and by the Son was sent into the world.” And Gregory the Divine sayeth (Homily V of Divinity and of the Holy Ghost), “The Holy Ghost, who proceedeth from the Father, is uncreated, as being proceeding; as being begotten, he is not the Son; but as being between unbegotten and begotten, he is God.” We have already treatedof this matter at large in the First Article. Let it, therefore, suffice us that we hold what Christ himself taught; what the Catholic and Orthodox Eastern Church believeth and altogether professed in the Second General Council; and let us hold the Fatih without addition, and from the Son, as the Church hath commanded. Nay, not only the Orthodox and Catholic Eastern Church hath passed a heavy censure on those who add these words, but also the Western Roman Church. This is evident from the two Silver Tables, on one of which the Creed was engraved in Greek, and on the other in Latin, without this addition, and from the Son; which Tables were, by order of Leo the Third, Pope of Rome, affixt up in St Peters’ Church, in the year of our Lord 809, as Baronius confesseth. Whosoever, therefore, continues firm and constant in this faith, he may have undoubting hope of his salvation, as one who turneth not aside from the doctrine of the Church.
72. What is the third thing taught in this article?
That the Holy Ghost is the real author of the holy Scripture, both of the Old and of the New Testaments; and wrote them by the hands of divers servants: Wherefore the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and also of the New, is the Doctrine of the Holy Ghost. Wherefore thou oughtest to beleive, that whatsoever the holy Fathers have decreed, in general and particular orthodox councils, wheresoever they were held, is taught of the Holy Ghost. The holy Apostles speak in their Synod (Acts 15.28), It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us: After whose example other orthodox councils have, in the same style, concluded their decrees.
73. What, and how many, are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Seven; of which the holy Scripture speaketh thus (Rev. 4.5), And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Now, these gifts of the Spirit, or, to speak more properly, the Holy Spirit himself was in Christ after a more abundant and a perfect manner than ever in any other man, a sayeth the Prophet (Isa. 11.2), And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge, and of the Fear of the Lord. This the Evangelist St John confirms with his Testimony (John 1.14), And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And (v. 16), Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the Holy Spirit was in Christ, as being of the same substance with him, according to his Divinity; and filled him with grace and wisdom, as it is written (Luke 2.40), And the child grew and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. This is to be understood of the human nature of Christ.
74. What is the first gift of the Holy Spirit?
The first gift is wisdom; namely, that wisdom which is from above, of which the Apostle thus speaketh (James 3.17), The Wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And this is the contrary of carnal wisdom, accoding to the Apostle (2 Cor. 1.12), In simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world. Which fleshly and worldly wisdom the same Apostle farther speaks of, rehearsing the Old Testament (1 Cor. 1.19), For it is written (namely, Isa. 29.14 and 33.18), I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
75. What is the second gift of the Holy Spirit?
The gift of understanding, of the knowledge of the hidden and secret things of the divine will, whereof the Scripture thus teacheth (Exod. 36.1), Every wise-hearted man in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding, to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded. And of the companions of Daniel (Dan. 1.17), God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. And also (Luke 24.45), Then opened he their undersatnding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And the Apostle (2 Tim. 2.7), The Lord give thee understanding in all things. Contrary to this is folly and disbelief; of which our Lord sayeth thus (Luke 24.25), O fool, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken. And elsewhere the Apostle (Gal. 3.3), Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
76. What is the third gift of the Holy Spirit?
The third gift of the Holy Spirit is counsel, which serveth to carry to the divine glory and the salvation of men’s souls, and is nearly the same as justice. Of this counsel the Scripture thus speaketh (Acts 20.27), For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the Counsel of God. Opposite to this is the counsel of the ungodly; of which thus the divine Psalmist (Ps. 1.1), Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly. And again (Ps. 33.10), The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, and maketh the devices of the people to be of none effect, and casteth out the counsels of princess.
77. What is the fourth gift of the Holy Spirit?
Strength. For, maintaining all constancy and fortitude in the faith, we ought bravely to resist all temptations: of which strength of mind the Scripture sayeth thus (1 Cor. 16.13; Eph. 6.14), Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you lke men, be strong. Stand ye, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Contrary to this strength is fear; of which the Holy Prophet sayeth (Ps. 14.9), They were brought in great Fear, even where no Fear was. And our Lord Jesus Christ forbids to have this fear (Luke 12.4), Fear not those that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
78. What is the fifth gift of the Holy Spirit?
Knowledge, which the holy Psalmist thus describeth (Ps. 94.10), Who nurtureth the heathen, shall not he punish? It is he that teacheth man knowledge. And the Prophet (Jer. 3.15), I will give you Pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. Which Knowledge and understanding is chiefly to be understood and explained to mean the knowledge of the will and law of God. Contrary to this is ignorance; namely, of the Divine will and law: as sayeth the Psalmist (Ps. 79.6), Pour out thine indignation upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
79. What is the sixth gift of the Holy Ghost?
Godliness, which is founded in constant and earnest prayer and good works, togehter with a right faith; of which the Apostle saith (1 Tim. 4.8), Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Therefore are those truly called godly who continually worship God with prayer, and shun everything that appertaineth unto sin. Godliness, I say, not showy and specious, as was that formerly of the Pharisees, but solid and genuine, deep rooted in the bottom of the heart, and to which this saying of our Lord’s cannot be applied (Matt. 15.8), This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And again (Matt. 23.26), Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
80. What is the seventh gift of the Holy Spirit?
The fear of God, which ought to be like the fear of children towards their parens, and not like the fear of servants towards their masters. Of this proper, right fear the holy Psalmist singeth (Ps. 34.9), O fear the Lord, ye that are his saints, for they that fear him lack nothing. But of the other sort of fear the Apostle sayeth thus (1 John 4.18), There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment; he that feareth is not made perfect in love. And the Scripture teacheth us, that we should fear God for love (Ps. 22.23), O praise the Lord, ye that fear him. Magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob; and fear him, all ye seed of Israel. He that thus feareth the Lord will keep his commandments, as it is said (John 14.23), If a man love me, he will keep my words.
81. What, and how many, are the fruits of the Holy Ghost?
Saint Paul reckons up nine fruits of the Holy Gost, or signs of divine grace (Gal. 5.22), The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. But we are, moreover, to call and account all other virtues fruits of the Holy Spirit, because they come down from him, and by his grace are rightly practised by men. And, therefore, St Paul doth not add, “against these (only) there is no law”, but “against such”, there being many like unto these.
82. What is the ninth article of the faith?
In one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
83. What doth the Holy Church teach in this article of the faith?
Four things. First, that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic; according to the doctrine of the Apostle (2 Cor. 11.2), I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin unto Christ. For like as Christ is only one, so his spouse also can be but one; as is manifest from the Epistle to the Ephesians (4.5), One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all.
84. What is the second thing contained in this article?
The second thing taught in this article is that the Church doth not take this denomination of Catholic Church from any one place or see predominant over all others; for those are particular Churches which are in particular places; as the Church of Ephesus, of Philadelphia, of Laodicaea, Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria and others. However, among these particular Churches she may well be called the Mother who was honoured first with the presence of Christ, and received eternal life and remission of sins, and from which the Gospel was first preached and spread through the whole world; as the Scripture witnesseth (Luke 24.47), Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And that repentance and remission from sin should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, and ye are witnesses of these things. And elsewhere (Acts 1.8), Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. And she is wont to be respected first who outshone all other Churches in sanctity of doctrine and manners, and to whose judgment the Apostles submitted their actions; as the Scripture tells us (Acts 11.2), And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, thou wentest into men uncircumcised, and dist eat with them. To which Peter answered (v. 17), What was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. And (v. 22), Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the Church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. And elsewhere (ch. 15.2), They determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the Apostles and Elders about this Question; (v. 22), Then pleased it the Apostles and Elders, with the whole Church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, and wrote letters by them after this manner: It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay no greater burden upon you than those necessary things. Farther also of the same, in xvi.4 of the Acts: And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and Elders which were at Jerusalem. The Church of Jerusalem, therefore, is without doubt the mother and princess of all other Churches: forasmuch as the Gospel was spread from her over the whole world (although, indeed, in aftertimes, the Emperors gave the precedency to Old and New Rome, for the Honour of the Empire, which they became the seats of, according to the third Canon of the second general Council of Constantinople). Nevertheless, this Church of Jersualem was the universal Church, as all nations received their faith and doctrine from her.
85. What is the third thing contained in this article?
That Jesus Christ is the only foundation of the Church, according to the words of the Apostle (1 Cor. 3.11), Other foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Although in some times the Apostle and Prophets are called the foundations of the faith and of the Church; as when St John says (Rev. 21.14), That the great city, Jersualem, was enclosed with a wall, having twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb were written. And St Paul affirms, that we are built upon the foundations of the Apostles and Prophets. This is to be understood, not as if the Apostles and Prophets were these foundations of themselves, and in the first instance; for in that sense Christ only is the foundation; but secondarily, and with relation, as being themsleves laid next upon the Foundation of the Doctrine of Salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, as being the First who propagated the faith of Christ over the whole world. For Christ hath not founded his Church on any mortal men, but only upon himself, and on his own divine doctrine. Moreover, we are taught in this article, that Christ is the only head of his Church; according as we are taugh by the Apostle (Eph. 5.23), For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church; and he is the Saviour of the Body. And again (Col. 1.18), He is the head of the body of the Church, who is the beginning, and the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. However, the Rulers of the Church are called heads, in their several Churches over which they are placed; but this is only as stewards and vicars of Christ, in his several provinces, over which they are said to be heads. Thus the holy Scripture speaks then (Acts 20.28), Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and unto the whole flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Churches of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. In suchwise, however, that Christ himself is the head and chief of the shepherds; as St Peter testifies (1 Pet. 5.4), When the chief Shepherd shall appear, we shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
86. What is the fourth thing taught in this article?
It instructs us, that every Christian ought to submit himself and be obedient to the Church. This Christ himself teacheth (Matt. 18.17), If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. And the Church is so fully empowered, that she hath authority, in her general councils, to examine and warrant the Scripture, to inquire into the behaviour and judge of Patriarchs, Popes, Bishops and all others, and to inflict severe canonical punishment upon them according to their offences. For it is the Pillar and the Ground of Truth, as the Apostle says (1 Tim. 3.15), That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of Truth.
87. What are the precepts of the Church?
The chief and principle commands or precepts of the Church are nine in number. First, that every one worship God with a humble and contrite heart, and carefully observe all the Sundays and Holy Days, and all other solemn times as the Church shall appoint. That is, by diligently attending on all the Service of Morning Prayer, the Holy Communion, Evening Prayers and Sermons, of which the Scripture thus teacheth us (Luke 18.1), Men ought always to pray ,and not to faith. And again (Eph. 6.18), Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. And in another place St Paul goes on (1 Thess. 5.17), Pray without ceasing.
88. What is the second Precept of the Church?
That every Christian do yearly keep and observe four stated or set Lents, or times of Fasting. The first, just before the time of the nativity of Christ, beginning the fifteenth day of November. The second, which is called Great Lent, established by the Fasting of Christ himself (Matt. 4.2), And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, at length he was an hungered. The third is of the holy Apostles, which the Church appoints to begin immediately after the Whitsun Week; this is called the Lent of the Holy Apostles, because at this time the holy Apostles, being just upon going forth to preach the Gospel, solemnised a Fast, as appears form the Acts (13.3), When they had fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them and sent them away. The fourth is the Fast of the all-holy, the God-bearing, and ever-Virgin Mary, beginning the first Day of August, and ending on the Feast of the Assumption, which is the fifteenth Day of the same Month. Moreover, he must Fast on all Wednesdays and Fridays, but not on Saturdays and Sundays (this being forbidden by the LXVI Canon of the Holy Apostles), except the great Sabbath, or Saturday which is the Easter Eve. The Church also appoints the fourteenth of September, being the exaltation of the Holy Cross, to be observed as a Fast, because on that day we soelmnise the Memory of our Lord suffering, by reciting the Gospel wherin that is related. Also, the twenty-ninth of August is to be held a Fast, it being the Decollation of St John the Baptist, the Forerunner of Christ. Farthermore, on some certain days the Church forbiddeth us to Fast; as from the Day o four Lord’s Nativity to the Epiphany, and all the Week of Easter, and Whitsun week. Also the Week before Septuagesima Sunday and the Week between Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays. All which the Orthodox Christian ought most faithfully to keep and observe.
89. What is the third precept of the Church?
That we respect spiritual persons with all due reverence, as the ministers of God set apart, who pray to God for us: Especially those who, as our spiritual Fathers, receive our Confessions, and whom we are to consult about our salvation. Of this command the Scripture thus declareth (1 Cor. 4.1), Let a man so account of us as of the Ministers of Christ and Stewards of the Mysteries of God. And again (1 Thess. 5.12), We beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you, who are over you in the Lord, and admonish you that you esteem them very highly in love, for their work’s sake. Also in another place (1 Cor. 9.13), Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live by the things of the Temple? And they which wait at the Altar are partakers with the Altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. Also in his Epistle to Timothy (1 Tim. 5.17), Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. It is, therefore, unlawful for lay persons to meddle with and thrust themselves into spiritual matters; as the Apostle says (Gal. 6.1), Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.
90. What is the fourth precept of the Church?
That we make confession of our sins to a priest, rightly and lawfully ordained, four times every year. However, those who are well advanced in religion and godliness may discharge this duty every month. The weaker brethren must at least once a year, namely, at the great Lent, not fail to unburden their conscience by confession: And let the sick, before all things, purify their conscience by confession, and partaking of the holy sacrament, having first received the holy oil, with prayer, with reverence and devotion.
91. What is the fifth precept of the Church?
That plain and unlearned men do not read the books of heretics, nor listen to their doctrines, nor entertain any conversation with them, lest they be corrupted, by becoming familiar with them: As the Psalmist Prophet warns us (Ps. 1.1), Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners. And elsewhere the Scripture enjoins us (Tit. 3.10), A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject.
92. What is the sixth precept of the Church?
That we pray unto the all-good God for all conditions of men. First, for all spiritual persons; for the most holy Patriarch, for the Metropolitan, and for the Bishop of the Province to which we belong. Secondly, for the King, the Governor of our Province, the Senate and Commonwealth, and for the Army; but chiefly for those who deserve well of the Church and endeavour to propagate and extend the orthodox and catholic religion. According to the Apostle (1 Tim. 2.1), I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. Thirdly, we are to pray for all those who are departed hence in the Orthodox faith. Lastly, we are to make intercession for heretics and schismatics, that they may repent and return to the Sanctuary of true religion before their last day.
93. What is the seventh precept of the Church?
That all people observe to keep the fasts and supplications which are particularly enjoined and appointed by their Metropolitan or Bishops of their Diocese, when they think proper, by reason of any necessity, to appease the wrath of God, afflicting his people; and for deliverance from pestilence, famine, war, drought, excessive rain, and the like: or for the sick, and those that are oppressed. As it is said (Acts 12.5), Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church to God for him.
94. What is the eighth precept of the Church?
That lay persons do not presume to meddle with the goods or moneys belonging to the Church, or take them away by fraud or force and apply them to their own needs; but that those cares be committed to the rulers of the Church, that with the holy treasure they may provide vestments and other necessaries; so that those who minister unto the Church, being clothed and fed, they may have wherewith to relieve the poor and the stranger: according to the Scripture (Acts 11.29), The disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea; which also they did, and sent it to the Elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. Besides, it is unjust that either secular men, or, indeed, that even the spiritual rulers who, in any Church, are entrusted with the care of things appertaining to the Church, should withdraw any money, or other valuable movables, whether left by will to the Church or given to it otherwise, and pervert them to their own private use and profit: for thus the piety of well-disposed persons would be disappointed and rendered ineffectual.
95. What is the ninth precept of the Church?
That no marriage be solemnised on such days as are forbidden by the Church. Also, that Orthodox Christians abstain from forbidden games and diversions, and from theatres and unseemly shows; not following the manners and behaviour of barbarians and savages, but avoiding, as much as possible, all their bad customs.
96. Wherefore do we, who ought only to believe in God, profess to believe in the Church, which is a Creature?
Because, although the Church be a creature, as consisting of men, who are created beings, she hath for her head Christ himself, who is very God. She hath the Holy Spirit, who perpetually teacheth and guideth her, and maketh her, according to the Apostle (Eph. 5.27), The spotless and unblemished spouse of Christ; and (1 Tim. 3.15), The Pillar and Ground of the Truth. Now, her precepts and doctrines are by no means human, but divine; not by man, but of God. When, therefore, we profess to believe in her, we profess to believe in the Scriptures delivered to her of God, and in the commands, which are inspired by God. For thus sayeth the Scripture (2 Pet. 1.21), Holy men of God speak as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In like manner St Paul (1 Thess. 2.13), Ye received it not as the Word of Men, but (as it is in Truth) the Word of God. Wherefore we are persuaded to have faith, both in the holy Gospel, which the Church hath received, according to that command of Christ himself (Mark 1.15), Believe the Gospel, and also in all the other holy writings and decrees of councils.
97. What is the tenth article of the faith?
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
98. What doth this article of the faith teach?
Whereas we here have baptism, which is the first mystery of the Church made mention of: this seemeth a meet place wherein to discourse concerning the seven mysteries of the Church, which be these: Baptism, the Unguent of Chrism, Eucharist, Penance, Priesthood, Marriage and Oil with Prayer; which seven mysteries correspond unto the seven gifts of the Spirit; inasmuch as by them the Holy Spirit conveyeth his gifts and grace unto the soul that rightly useth these mysteries. Concerning which matter the Patriarch Jeremias hath more at large treated, in the books which he wrote for the conversion of the Lutherans.
99. What is a mystery or sacrament?
A mystery is a certain holy rite or ceremony, which, under a visible show, causes into the soul of the faithful the invisible grace of God; an institution of our Lord, whereby every one of the faithful receiveth the divine grace.
100. What things are requisite to a mystery?
Three things. First, fit and proper matter, as water in baptism, bread and wine in the Eucharist, oil and other things in their respective mysteries. Secondly, a Bishop, or a priest, regularly ordained. Thirdly, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and a solemn form of words: By which the priest celebrates the mystery, through the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit: Having a fixed and deliberate intention of celebrating it.
101. For what end were mysteries instituted?
First, That they might be the marks and signs of the true children of God, and of the Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church. For whosoever rightly partakes of the Mysteries, the same is a real and true Member of the Church of God; and by grace a Child of God. Secondly, that we might be a sure pledge of our trust in God. To wit, that if we persevere with constancy in faith and good works, we shall finally become partakers of salvation and eternal life. Thirdly, that we might have a present and certain remedy wherewith to heal the infirmities caused by our sins.
102. What is the first mystery, or baptism?
Baptism is a washing away and rooting out of original sin, by being thrice immersed in water; the priest pronouncing these words: In the Name of the Father, amen; and of the Son, Amen; and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. After which regeneration by Water and the Spirit a man is restored to the grace of God, and the way opened him into the Kingdom of Heaven; as our Saviour said (John 3.5), Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. But this mystery being once received, is not to be again repeated; provided the person who administered the Baptism believed orthodoxly in three Persons in one God, and accurately, and without any alteration, pronounced the aforementioned words; namely, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. As the Holy Catholic and Orthodox Church directs.
103. What is requisite to be observed in this Mystery?
First, it is necessary that the infant, by his surety, who ought to be an orthodox Christian, should renounce the devil and all his works, and all respect and worship to him: But if the people to be baptised be of full age, then he shall, with his own mouth, make this renunciation, by answering the question put to him by the priest, and by expressing his scorn of Satan, and all his works. Secondly, that he make open confession of the faith, by repeating the Creed; but if it be an infant, the surety shall profess the Creed for it, and bind it unto God. And, thirdly, that care be taken to use none other than pure water, not mixed with any other thing; and such as is natural, and not made by art. Furthermore, lawful Baptism must necessarily be administered by a minister of the Word only, unless in case of urgent necessity, when any other person, whether man or woman, may administer this sacrament; being observant to use the proper requisite, namely, unmixed and natural and pure water, and dipping the person to be baptised thrice therein, repeating the solemn form of In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. And this baptism, which is not to be again repeated, is of such power and efficacy, that ti is an undoubted seal and pledge of eternal salvation. Now, what the fruits and benefits are of this mystery may be easily apprehended; for, first, it taketh away original sin in infants, and in those of ripe age it taketh away both original and voluntary sin. Secondly, it plainly renews or regenerates the man, and restores him to that state of justice and righteousness wherein he stood before, while undefiled with sin, in the state of innocence; as the Apostle testifies (1 Cor. 6.11), But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Moreover, by Baptism we become members of Christ’s Body, and put on the Lord Jesus, as the Apostle witnesseth (Gal. 3.27), As many of you as have been baptised with Christ have put on Christ.
104. What is the second mystery in the Church of Christ?
The ointment of chrism is the second mystery; and this had its beginning at the time when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and rested upon the Apostles, and sealed them with his divine grace, that they might preach the faith of Christ steadfastly and without ceasing. Of this blessing and divine assistance hath every one need who becometh a Christian; and as then the Holy Spirit came down in the visible form of fire and bestowed his grace, or gifts, upon the Apostles, so now, when the priest anointeth the newly baptised person with the holy oil, he becomes endued from above with the gifts of the Holy Spirit: As appears from the words which the priest (as appointed) useth in the celebration of this Mystery; namely, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Amen. As if he should say, By the anointing of this holy ointment thou art sealed and confirmed into the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which thou dost receive for a confirmation of thy Christian faith. Agreeable hereto are the words of the Apostle (2 Cor. 1.21), He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God: Who hath also sealed us, and given the Earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. This Anointing, or rather the bestowing the Efficacy of this Unction, was done in the times of the Apostles by laying on of hands; according to the Scripture (Acts 8.17), Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. This was afterwards performed by anointing with ointment, as we learn from St Dionysius the Areopagite, who was the Disciple of St Paul (Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, chs. 2 and 4).
105. What are the things necessary for the celebration hereof?
First, it is necessary that this holy ointment be consecrated by a Bishop of the highest Order. Secondly, that it be composed of apt and fit material, as oil, balsam, and other unguent. Thirdly, that immediately after Baptism the Priest do anoint the members of the baptised person which are directed to be anointed, using this form of words: the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Now, from this mystery do arise the following fruits: First, that as by baptism we are born again, so by this holy ointment we are made partakers of the Holy Spirit, we are confirmed or established in the faith of the Lord, and immediately become ripe in the divine favour; as the Apostle teacheth us (Titus 3.5), According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Secondly, That by the assistance of the Holy Spirit we are so strengthened and established, that our ghostly enemy cannot, by any means, hurt our souls. Lastly, this mystery may not again be repeated unless it be unto those who, having renounced the name of Christ, return again unto the profession of his true Faith.
106. What is the third mystery?
The holy Eucharist, or the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the visible species of bread and wine: Wherein, really and properly, and according to the thing itself, Jesus Christ is present. This mystery is in an eminent degree above all the other mysteries, and conduceth unto our salvation in a more especial manner than they all do; for in this mystery the whole grace and benefits of our Lord Jesus are manifested and imparted to all the faithful; as will more fully appear hereafter.
107. What is to be observed in this mystery?
First, that no man do presume to administer this mystery, on any occasion whatsoever, although ever so urgent; but only a priest lawfully ordained. Secondly, it must be provided, that where the Priest is to celebrate this Sacrament there be a fit and proper Altar, or at least a consecrated cloth, without one of which he may not, by any means, offer the unbloody sacrifice. Thirdly, let him take heed that he be provided with the proper necessities, namely, the purest leavened bread, made of grain, and the purest leavened Bread, made of grain, and the purest wine, unmixed with any other liquor; whereto, in the time of celebration, let water be added; that the Scripture may be fulfiled, which sayeth (John 19.34), One of the soldiers pierced his side, and forthwith came thereout water and blood. Fourthly, in the moments of consecration of the holy gifts, the priest must firmly and undoubtingly resolve within himself that the substance of the bread and the substance of the wine are changed into the very substance of the very body and blood of Jesus Christ, by the operation or working of the Holy Spirit, whose power and influence let the priest invoke in these words, in order to the due performance of this mystery: O Lord, send down from heaven thy Holy Spirit upon us, and upon these gifts now lying before thee; and make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ, and that which is in this cup the precious Blood of thy Christ, changing them by thy Holy Spirit. At these words there is wrought a change in the elements, and the bread becomes the very Body of Christ, and the wine his very blood; the species only remaining, which are perceived by the sight; in the first place, that we might not behold the body of Christ with our eyes, but by faith, only, believe it to be so; because Christ said, “This is my body”, and “This is my blood”, depending and trusting rather in the Words and Power of our Lord than on our own senses; and so becoming partakers of the blessing which is the reward of faith (John 20.29), Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And furthermore, secondly, because that human nature would abhor and be shocked at the eating of raw flesh; and yet, nevertheless, by the partaking of the body and blood of Christ in this mystery, a Christian is most closely united with Christ. Therefore, to the end that our weak nature might not abominate and reject this necessary partaking, the divine goodness hath taken this method to familiarise and conciliate it unto us, and imparteth unto the faithful the very body and the very blood of Christ for meat and drink, under the covering of bread and wine. Hereof St Gregory Nyssene and St Damscene fully treat.
Moreover, the Communion of the Mystery ought to be alike received and partaken by the clergy and the laity, by the Priest and the People, in both kinds; namely, of both the Bread and the Wine. For so Christ commanded, without making any distinction (John 6.54), Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. Wherefore the holy Apostles have delivered this mystery unto others, as they themselves received it of Christ; namely, to the joint and equal use of both secular persons and persons in the priesthood; and in both kinds, both of the Bread and of the Wine: As St Paul writes to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 11.23), For I received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you; that the Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my Body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner, also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. Furthermore, the honour which is due to these awful Mysteries ought to be the same and equal to that which is rendered to Christ himself (as we have before said in the fifty-seventh question), and as St Peter, speaking in the name of all the Apostles, and, as it were, with their mouth, said, (Matt. 16.16), Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God; so we, in like manner worshipping him, do profess, saying, “I believe, Lord, and confess, that thou art the very Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the World to save Sinners, of whom I am chief.” This holy Mystery is also offered as a sacrifice for all orthodox Christians, as well living as those who sleep in hopes of a joyful resurrection; and this Sacrifice shall never fail, nor be discontinued, even unto the End of the World. The Fruits of this Mystery are chiefly these: – First, A Commemoration of the Sufferings and of the Death of Christ; wherewith he was afflicted, not for his own, but for our Transgressions: As saith the Scripture (1 Cor. 11.26), As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Secondly, this mystery is a propitiation, or atonement with God, for our sins, both of the living and also of the dead: Wherefore the holy Liturgy is never solemnised, but there are always prayers and supplications made unto God for our sins. Thirdly, the devout Christian, who frequently partakes of this sacrifice, is hereby delivered from the snares and temptations of the devil; for that enemy cannot prevail against him whom he findeth to have Christ dwelling in him. Lastly, a man should rightly prepare himself for the receiving of this awful mystery, according to the precepts of our orthodox Church; namely, by a sincere confession of his sins, by fasting and mortification, by a perfect reconciliation with all persons, and the like.
108. What is the fourth mystery?
Holy Orders, or the Priesthood; and this is twofold – the one spiritual, the other sacramental. Of the former, namely, the spiritual priesthood, all Christians in general are equally endowed, and do exercise it in common, according to that saying of St Peter the Apostle (1 Pet. 2.9), But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. And St John, in the Revelation (ch. 5.9), Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests. And accordingly as this priesthood is, so are its oblations; namely, prayers, thanksgiving, mortification of the flesh, voluntary sufferings of martyrdom for Christ, and suchlike; to which the Apostle St Peter exhorteth us (1 Pet. 2.5), Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ. Also St Paul (Rom. 12.1), I exhort you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
109. What, then, is the sacramental priesthood?
The priesthood, which is a mystery, is that which Christ committed to his Apostles; which is continued down unto this day, by their laying on of hands, and by the laying on of hands of the Bishops, who are the successors of the Apostles, to dispense the divine mysteries, and to perform the ministry of the salvation of mankind. Thus saith the Apostle (1 Cor. 4.1), Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now, this stewardship is twofold. First, it comprehendeth the power of absolving men from their sins, as we read in St Matthew (ch. 18.18), Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. In the next place, it containeth the power and permission to teach; as it is delivered unto us in these words (Matt. 28.19), Go, teach ye all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. From hence it is manifest that Christ sent forth the Apostles to preach the Gospel; and again, the Apostles afterwads sent forth others, whom they ordained to this work by laying on of their hands; according to St Luke (Acts 8.17), Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And again (Acts 13.2), As they ministered unto the Lord (that is, while they offered the unbloody sacrifice to God), and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them; and when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. Also St Paul (1 Tim. 5.22), Lay hands suddenly on no man. By this kind of ordination and uninterrupted succession, those who are sent forth unto this work have the power and permission to preach the doctrine of salvation; as saith St Paul (Rom. 10.15), How shall they preach unless they be sent?
110. What is to be regarded in this mystery?
Those who are admitted to this mystery must be first thoroughly examined and tried, that they be qualified in three particulars. First, that they have a good and clear consience, so that they be free from all those crimes which render them incapable of receiving holy orders. Secondly, that they be adorned with wisdom and learning, both in dispensing the holy mysteries, as also in edifying and instructing the ignorant people, by their sermons and discourses. Thirdly, that they be sound and perfect in all their limbs and members; which are necessary toward a due discharge of their function.
111. Are there not some orders which are given before the order of priesthood?
The order of priesthood includes all other orders in itself; nevertheless, they ought all to be given in their due order; namely, the Lector, or Reader; the Chantor, or Singer; the Lampadary, or he who lighteth the Lamps; the Sub-Deacon; the Deacon; as more at large is declared in the Euchologium, where it directs concerning these things. However, it is enough at present, with relation to this orthodox confession, to note that it is the duty of the Bishop, that unto whatsoever degree of holy order he doth admit any person, he do clearly and plainly instruct such person in the Duties of that office which is committed to him, whether it be the Order of the Holy Liturgy, the reading of the Gospel, the Epistle, the serving of the holy Vessels, or the cleaning of the Church. For each Degree is distinguished from another by its own particular duty and habit; and this is to be explained and taught them by the Bishop.
112. What is the fifth Mystery?
The fifth Mystery is Penance, which is a true and thorough sorrow for the sin that a person hath been guilty of, and which he confessed unto the Priest, his spiritual Father, with a full purpose of performing the penance inflicted by him, and a steadfast resolution to amend his life for the future. This mystery is most complete, and doth then most fully benefit us, when, according to this constitution and customs of the Church, Absolution of sins is granted by the priest. For so soon as any person receiveth the absolution of his sins, they are all forthwith pardoned by God, through the ministration of the priest: According to the words of Christ (John 20.22 and 23), Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
113. What is to be observed in this Mystery?
First, it is requisite that the penitent be a Christian of the orthodox and catholic faith; for that repentance which is destitute of a right faith is no repentance, nor is it acceptable with God. Secondly, that the Confessor who heareth and receiveth the repentance of Christians be also, himself, Orthodox; for a heretic and an apostate hath no power of absolving. Thirdly, it is necessary that the penitent have a contrite heart and a serious sorrow for his sins, whereby he hath provoked God to anger or injured his neighbour. Concerning which contrition David said (Ps. 51.17), A broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise. This contrition of heart ought to be followed by an exact and particular confession, in words, of all sins and misdeeds; for the Ghostly Father cannot absolve where he knoweth of nothing to absolve; neither can he lay on or impose due penance. The Holy Scripture manifestly speaketh of this confession (Acts 19.18), And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. And elsewhere (James 5.16), Confess your Faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Again (in Mark 1.5), And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptised of him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. Now, this Confession ought to have these properties, namely, that whenever it be exercised, it be humble, devout, true, sincere, accusing itself with grief and mourning. The last part of penance is the penitential canon, and punishment which the confessor appointeth and inflicts; of which kind are prayer, alms, fastings, pilgrimmages to holy places, prostrations and the like; as the Ghostly Father udgeth proper. And let him who departeth from confession, having obtained absolution, apply to himself what the author of the Psalms saith (Ps. 34.14), Eschew evil, and do good. And also that which our Saviour saith (John 5.14), Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. And again (in John 8.11), Go, and sin no more. But, forasmuch as it is impossible that a man should, altogether and entirely, avoid sin, the pious Christian must, according to the best of his understanding and ability, endeavour, from confession to confession, to amend his life to the utmost of his power.
114. What are the fruist of this mystery?
The first benefit which we receive is that, whereas by sin we are deprived of that innocence we obtained in baptism, now, by penance, we approach nearer to that state. And as, by sin, we had forfeited the divine grace, now, by repentance, we regain it: And, having become the slaves of the devil by sin, by repentance we are made free. Lastly, as fear and dread entered into our consciences through sin, so now, by repentance, we are restored to peace and confidence, such as children are wont to have towards their parents.
115. What is the sixth Mystery?
Honourable marriage, which, in the first place, is made by the mutual consent and agreement of a man and a woman with each other, where there is no lawful impediment to hinder it. However, this conent, alone, doth not make the bond of marriage, unless the same perosns do confirm their espousals, by a mutual testimony before a priest, and by pledging their faith, either to the other, with joined hands, that they will be faithful to and honour each other; that they will love each other with all conjugal affection, in all states and conditions of life; and that they will never forsake each other unto their lives’ end. Secondly, this, their consent and promise, is confirmed and hallowed by the priest; as it is written (Heb. 13.4), Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.
116. What are the fruits of this mystery?
First, that a man might bereby be preserved from the danger of whoredom and unchastity; for honourable marriage was, therefore, instituted that the first of lust might thereby be extinguished; according to St Paul (1 Cor. 7.2), To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Secondly, that is deservedly to be honoured, whereby the procreation of children is honestly provided for. Thirdly, that in sickness, or any other distress, the husband might be to the wife, and the wife unto the husband, a faithful companion and helpmate, because of that especial affection and strict bond of love, wherewith they are united. As testifieth the Scripture (Gen. 2.24), For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his own wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.
117. What is the seventh mystery of the Church?
The holy oil. This was instituted by Christ himself, for when he sent out his disciples two and two (Mark 6.13), They anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. The same was afterwards received by the universal Church, for a solemn custom, as appears from the Epistle of St James (5.14), If any be sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
118. What is to be observed in this mystery?
First, that this mystery, and all belonging unto it, be only performed by priests, and none others. Secondly, that the oil be pure, and not prepared with any mixtures; and that the sick person be an orthodox Christian; and, also that he have beforehand confessed all his sins unto his spiritual father. Thirdly, that whilst the unction is administering, that prayer be repeated wherein the power and efficacy of this mystery is recited.
119. What are the fruits of this mysery?
We are taught by St James, in the place last mentioned, what are the fruits and benefits of this mystery; namely, the forgiveness of sins, or the healing of the soul, and the restoring of health unto the body. And, however, although this latter is not always obtained, yet, nevertheless, the forgiveness of sins is always most assuredly thereby received.
120. What is the eleventh article of the faith?
I look for the resurrection of the dead.
121. What doth this Article of the faith teach?
It teacheth the undoubted and most certain resurrection of the human body; of the good, and also of the wicked; according tot he Word of the Lord, saying (John 5.28), All who are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. And they shall arise with the same bodies which they lived with before in this world; according to that of Job (19.25), I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. But this body, which, as we have said, will be the very individual same which was laid down in the grace – this body shall be raised, incorruptible and immortal; as saith St Paul (1 Cor. 15.51), We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the Trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. We are, moreover, to understand that the soul of every one shall return into its own body, and, together with it, shall receive the full and everlasting reward of its works. The bodies of the wicked, also, shall be made immortal, to receive eternal punishment.
122. What more doth this article teach?
It teacheth every Christian to bear constantly in mind these four things – death, the last judgment, the torments of hell, and, lastly, the everlasting kingdom of heaven.
123. What benefit shall a man receive by being mindful of these four things?
A man, by constantly reflecting on these things, will beget in himself devotion, a watchfulness against sin, the fear of God, a dread of hell torments, and a longing after the joys of heaven. And whosoever duly considers these things will undoubtedly take care to prepare himself for the world to come: For, by thinking on that last day wherein the whole world shall be judged, he will be mindful to make himself ready for the account which he must then give of all his thoughts, words, and actions. The thoughts of hell will quicken his endeavours to avoid it, and the consideration of hevaen must excite his utmost earnestness to attain its joys.
124. What is the twelfth article of the faith?
And the life of the world to come.
125. What doth the Church teach us in this article of the faith?
That in the world to come, the grace and blessing of God shall be given unto the elect; and life eternal, filled with joy and spiritual delights: As the Holy Scripture testifieth (1 Cor. 2.9), Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. And agian, to the same effect (Rom. 14.17), The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
126. Shall the soul only, or shall the body also, together with the soul, enjoy eternal happiness?
As the soul and body jointly did good words for the hope of eternal rewards, even so shall they jointly, and not separately, receive and enjoy the same triumphant happiness and felicity. For the joy of the soul and of the body are not distinct and different things, but the same; and, therefore, as the body shall be glorified, so the whole man, both soul and body, shall be made glorious; and shall be made like the angels, and equal unto them: According to the Scripture, which saith (Matt. 22.30), In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. The body shall be glorious, immortal, incorruptible, not needing meat or drink; and the soul shall be the same: As saith the Scripture (1 Cor. 15.52). The dead shall be raised, incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Now, this joint felicity will consist in contemplating the most blessed Trinity, and in bearing a delightful part in the spiritual harmony of the angelical chorus: According o the Apostle (1 Cor. 13.12), Now we see as through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Now, whereas the Lord said unto Moses (Exod. 33.20), There shall no man see my face and life, this is to be understood of this present life, and of this corruptible body, not as yet glorified; and before that ultimate and most perfect redemption. But after that complete glorification, in the future and eternal life, after the day of judgment, God will so clothe us with light, that we shall be ale to behold the light of God: According to the Psalmist (Ps. 36.9), With thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light. And this light, as it shall be plainly and fully beheld, will entirely satisfy us, and gratify, to the utmost, all our desires of wisdom and beauty. For all good is contained in the contemplation and profession of the supreme good; and the perfection of happiness, in the complete enjoyment of it: As the divine Psalmist declareth (Ps. 17.15), When I awake up after thy likeness, I shall be satisfied with it.
Part Two – Of Hope.
1. What is hope?
Hope is a true confidence in God, bestowed on the heart of man by the divine enlightening and inspiration, that he might never despair of God’s grace and favour in granting his petitions, whether they be for pardon of his sins, or for any othe spiritual or temporal good. Concerning which the Apostle sayeth thus (Heb. 10.35), Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. And elsewhere (Rom. 8.24), We are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we, through patience, wait for it.
2. Whence have we this sure and certain hope?
All our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ; as the Apostle sayeth (1 Tim. 1.1), By the commandment of God our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope. Because from him we receive all things: as Christ himself teacheth (John 14.13), Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Now, hereby is to be understood the divine grace; for by Jesus Christ both grace and truth were given unto us: According to the blessed Scripture (John 1.17), For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. And in this grace is all our hope founded. We also place great confidence in the observation of God’s commands, seeing Christ hath said (John 14.21), He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him. Moreover, our hope is confirmed by the communion of the awful and most holy mysteries; namely, of the Body and Blood of Christ; whereby the Lord himself doth dwell in us: As himself testifieth (John 6.56), He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him. Lastly, our faith is established by constant prayer: As we are taught by the Apostle (James 5.13), Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. And another Apostle saith (Jude 20), Ye, beloved, building up youselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
3. What is necessary to be considered in order to a right comprehension of this second part of the Orthodox confession?
In this second part of the Orthodox confession, it seemeth best that we should take into consideration the Lord’s Prayer and the Nine Beatitudes; for whatsoever we would obtain of God, we must ask both with a true and lively faith, and also with hope that God will assuredly grant our petitions: According to the Apostle (1 Thess. 5.24), Faithful is he that calleth you; who also will do it. In like manner, through hope, we make these beatitudes ours when we exercise those virtues in hopes of obtaining the blessings which are promised as a reward for them.
4. What is prayer?
Prayer is a certain petition offered up to God, out of an ardent faith, with the hope of obtaining that which we ask, according to his will. Or it is thus to be defined: Prayer is a lifting up of our minds and wills to God, whereby we praise him or beseech him, or give thanks unto him for his benefits towards us.
5. How ought a man to prepare himself for praying?
It is to be observed that there be three principal kinds of prayer.
First, when we give thanks to god for his benefits unto us, as the ancient people of Israel give thanks unto God for their deliverance out of Egypt. In like manner, we ought, at all times, to give thanks for the great benefits we have received at his hands, but more especially for that he hath delivered us from the bondage of the most cruel enemy of our souls: According to the Apostle (1 Thess. 5.17), Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. And again (1 Cor. 1.4), I thank my God always on your behalf for the grace of God, which is given you by Jesus Christ. And also elsewehre (Col. 1.12), Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakersof the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.
The second kind of prayer is that whereby we beseech God for pardon of our sins; that is, that he would deliver us from the punishment due to them, and that he would pour out upon our souls and bodies the abundance of his holy grace. Of this kind, we offer up our prayers both for ourselves and for our neighbours; according to the Apostles (Col. 1.9), For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
The third kind of prayer is that wherein we praise and mangify the Lord our God for his excellent majesty and immortal glory; according to that of the holy Prophet (Ps. 145.2), Every day will I give thanks unto thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord, and marvellous, worthy to be praised; there is no end of his greatness. One generation shall praise thy works unto another, and declare thy power. Of this kind, especially, is the Great Doxology (Glory be to God in the highest, etc.) which we daily say or sing in the Church.
6. What is further necessary in order to pray?
It is requisite that when we go to pray we should rightly prepare ourselves; namely, with soberness, temperance, and reverence: As we are taught by the Apostle (Tit. 2.12), That, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; and also with compunction of heart, as the same Apostle says elsewhere (Col. 3.16), Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, and Hymns, and spiritual Songs; singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord. But all wrath and malice must be put away from him that goeth to pray: According to the Scripture (Matt. 6.15), If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. If, therefore, there be any one that hath aught against us, we must first be reconciled unto him: According to the Scripture (Matt. 5.23), Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. We must also, when we are praying, put far away from us all other thoughts but those of devotion, that our prayer may be pure and acceptable to God; lest God pronounce of us as he did of the hypocrites (Mark 7.6), This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And further, lest we be liable to that of the Psalmist (Ps. 109.7), Let his prayer be turned into sin.
7. What is the Lord’s Prayer?
Our Father which art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kindgom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven, etc.
8. Into how many parts is the Lord’s Prayer divided?
Three. The Preface, or Invocation; the Petitions; and the Conclusion.
9. What is the Preface, or Invocation?
Our Father which art in heaven.
10. What meaneth this Invocation?
First, it teacheth that whoso prayeth unto God ought to apepar before him, not only as his creature, but also as his son by grace; for unless he be his son he cannot call upon God as his Father. Now, this grace of adoption, whereby we are made the Sons of God, we receive from Christ, who hath bestowed it on those that ebleive in him: As saith the Scripture (John 1.12), As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God. And elsewhere (Gal. 4.6), Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son unto your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. And for this reason, therefore, we call God our Father.
Secondly, it is requisite that he who goeth about to pray should be a Son of the Catholic and Orthodox Church; for whosoever hath not the Church for a mother, neither can he have God for his Father: As it is said (Matt. 18.17), Tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.
Thirdly, Let not the devout petitioner doubt but that he shall receive that which he asketh for, seeing he prayeth unto the most indulgent and merciful, as the common Father of all: According to the Scripture (Luke 6.36), Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father which is in heaven is merciful, who not only doth not deny us, but even doth himself stir us up to ask of him, and teacheth us how; and with infinite mercy accepts our prayers, provided only they be offered up with humility and sincerity: For he well knows wherefore we ask. And the Scripture says (Matt. 6.8), Your Father knoweth whereof ye have need, before ye ask him. And in another place (Matt. 7.11), If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him!
Fourthly, this introduction, or invocation, teacheth us, that as God is the Father of us all, in like manner we, who are of the faithful, should be unto each other as Brothers; and not only pray to God for ourselves, but also for our brethren, interceding for each other: According to the Scripture (James 5.16), Pray one for another, that ye may be healed; namely, to God, who is our common Father; as Christ himself teacheth us (Matt. 23.9), Call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your father which is in heaven. And when he beholds this our brotherly love (which he so frequently recommends to us in his holy Gospel), he is both pleased with it, as a Father, and, also, more induced thereby to hear us when we pray, and to grant our petitions.
Fifthly, by these words, which art in heaven, we are taught that when we pray we should raise our minds and thoughts wholly above all earthly and worldly things, and fix them entirely on heaven and things incorruptible. Nevertheless, God, our Father, is not only in heaven, but he is present in all places and filleth all things: But whereas his grace and glory more abundantly are manifest in heaven, it is, therefore, said to be his trhone: According tot hat of the Psalmist, where he said (Ps. 11.4), The Lord’s seat is in heaven, and also (Ps. 103.19), The Lord hath prepared his seat in heaven, and his kingdom ruleth over all.
11. How many petitions are contained in the second part of this prayer of our Lord?
12. What is the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer?
Hallowed by thy name.
13. What is contained in this petition?
First, we pray unto God that we may lead a life adorned with virtue and good works, hat men may be excited to glorify the name of God by the purity and holiness of our lives: according to that of St Matthew (5.6), Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Second, we ask that not only our whole lives may be to the glory of God, but also that all those who do not know the true God, nor believe in him, may repent, and come tot he knowledge of him, that the name of God be glorified, both in them and by them. We also beseech the Lord our God, in this petition, for those who bear indeed the name of Christians, but who live ungodly and scandalous lives, whereby our holy religion and God himself is blasphemed: of whom the Apostle saith (2 Tim. 3.5), Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. And elsewhere (Rom. 2.24), The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. For the sake of these it is that, in this petition, God is besought; that such may turn from their wickedness, and bring forth good fruits, leading for the future a sober and godly life; and so the name of God, by these means, also may be hallowed. Moreover, we are to understand, that although the name of God is in itself most holy without our glorification, yet it is said to be hallowed by us, and in us, when by piety and holiness of life we sanctify ourselves to the glory of God’s name.
14. What is the second petition?
Thy Kingdom come.
15. What is contained in this petition?
Herein we pray to God, that by his grace and justice and mercy he would reign in us altogether, especially in our hearts, and not suffer sin to have any dominion over us: as it is written (Rom. 6.12), Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Secondly, this petition expresses that a man who is in the state of grace with God, and feels the heavenly joy in his mind, careth not for this world, but is only solicitous and wishful to become an inhabitant in the heavenly Kingdom: as the Apostle, speaking of himself, saith (Phil. 1.23), I desire to depart, and to be with Christ.
Thirdly, we beg of God that he would please to hasten his second Coming, wherein the Son of Man shall appear in his glory (Matt. 25.31), and the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Day of Judgment, by which the kingdom of this world and the enemy of our souls may be taken away: and the Kingdom of Heaven come, that God may be all in all; as the Apostle speaks in 1 Corinthians 15.28.
16. What is the third petition?
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
17. What is contained in this third Petition?
First, we beseech God that he would not suffer us to live in this world after our own wills, but that he would guide and govern us by his will and pleasure.
Secondly, we pray that neither we nor others might resist or dislike the will of God, but that, as the angels in heaven submit unto and obey the divine will in all things, without any delay or denial, so, likewise, on earth, that all men may be obedient unto God without murmuring, and and with all readiness and thanksgiving.
Thirdly, in this petition we express our belief that nothing can affect us, God’s elect, without the divine will and permission, whether it be in relation to the holiness and innocence with which we ought to pass our lives, or to persecutions and temptations of the enemy. Insomuch that the Lord not only taketh care of our persons, but of even the very hairs of our head: according to the Scripture (Luke 12.7), Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. And again (Luke 21.18), There shall not an hair of your head perish.
18. What is the fourth petition?
Give us this day our daily bread.
19. What is contained in this petition?
First, that divine and most excellence food of our souls, the Word of God, is here meant; concerning which the Scripture thus teaches us (Matt. 4.4), Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We therefore ask of God that he would keep us from want and famine of his holy Word; that is, the doctrine of Christ, without which doctrine our inward man would surely die, as if it were perished of hunger. Therefore we very properly, in this petition, remember that death of the soul which befalleth those who refuse or neglect to hear the Word of God and divine instruction, and thereby set the bad example of an ill life.
Secondly, herein is included that other food of our souls, namely, the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ; for so the Lord hath spoken concerning it (John 6.55), My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed: whosoever eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, he dwelleth in me, and I in him. Wherefore, that we may worthily partake of this food, we do, in this petition, beseech God that, out of his mercy and favour to mankind, he would be pleased to bestow himself upon us. And when we have these two kinds of food, then we have the Kingdom of God within us (Luke 17.21); and then God, of his own accord, will give unto us all such temporal and worldly things as th weakness and poverty of our mortal condition make necessary for us: As it is written (Matt. 6.33), Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Thirdly, under the name of bread, in this petition, are comprehended all things which are necessary for us in this present life, both with regard to our substance and our preservation. However, let every one remember that superfluities and luxury are not hereby prayed for, but only a just and proper sufficiency; for those things which minister unto our voluptuousness, and are the instruments of sensuality, are no other than the seeds of misery and punishment. Whereof the Apostle, St Paul, thus speaketh (Rom. 13.13), Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness. And elsewhere (1 Tim. 6.8), Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. Now, by the words this day is to be understood this present life, while we continue in this world; for in that which is to come we shall enjoy the presence itself and sight of God, and the happiness from thence arising.
20. What is the fifth petition?
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.
21. What is contained in this petition?
First, we do, in this petition, ask of God that he would forgive us our sins, especially those which we have committed since our baptism; as well mortal sins as all others whereby we have offended God and our neighbou; by thought only or by a full design and intention of sin, or by words, or by actions.
Secondly, whereas in this petition we say, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us, now we do hereby engage our faith that we will also forgive our enemies. He, therefore, who doth not forgive his neighbour, whatsoever he hath committed against him, let him not use this petition; for he may not hope to have his sins forgiven. Nay, further, his very pryaer will become a sin, according to the Psalmist (Ps. 109.6), Let his prayer be turned into sin. And truly with justice, for if we will not forgive our brethren their trifling offences against us, how can it be expected that God should forgive our sins against him, which will bear no comparison to the trespasses which we resent to our brethren; seeing we are daily, nay hourly, giving just cause for God’s anger against us?
22. What is the sixth petition?
And lead us not into temptation.
23. What is contained in this petition?
First, we pray to God that we may be free from all temptation; but if not from all, at least from those which exceed our strength. Of these, some arise from the world, some from the devil, and some from our own flesh, and entice us to sin. Again, others are inflicted by tyrants who solicit and harass the Church of God by erroneous doctrines, by deceitful flatteries and falsehoods, by pretended miracles, by the allurements of promised riches and honours; in fine, by tryannical force and persecutions; by open violence and rapine, and despoiling us of our possessions, and by loading us with shame and reproach. All which we woefully see in these our days. Furthermore, we beseech God, in this petition, that if we be called to pour out our blood, or to lay down our lives, for his most holy name’s sake, for the holy Church, which is his Spouse, and for the Truth of the Gospel; that then he would be pleased to strengthen us, and support us with his grace, whereby we might be enabled to endure and overcome the most unusual or excessive torments with constancy and reoslution, and obtain the crown of martyrdom in heaven; and that he would be pleased not to let us suffer things greater than we can bear.
24. What is the seventh petition?
But deliver us from evil.
What is contained in this petition?
First, we herein pray to God to deliver us from all kinds of evil, especially from sin, and from all wickedness that provokes the wrath of God. Second, that his grace might accompany us, and keep us from falling into his displeasure (Ps. 6.1), That he would not rebuke us in his indignation, neither chasten us in his displeasure, for our sins; but that we might (Ps. 95.2) come before his presence with thanksgiving, and show oursleves glad in him with Psalms. In this petition we also pray that we may be delivered from all sorts of evil and mischiefts whatsoever that are hard and difficult to be borne by the children of men: such as famine, pestilence, war, fire, and such like. All which we hereby beseech God to turn away from us, and to grant us his merciful lovingkindness. More especially we pray that in the hour of death he would protect us from all insults of the enemy of our souls, and that we whould give us grace to fight piously and securely under the protection of his favour, and the guide and safeguard of his angels. For whosoever departeht out of life in such a manner, that person is happy undoubtedly. It therefore behoveth us, in the highest degree, that we should all most earnestly ask of God that we may be defended from the temptations and assaults of the devil in our last moments. Lastly, we pray, in this petition, that we may be delivered from the devil and hell torments.
26. What is the third part of the Lord’s prayer?
This conclusion, For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.
27. What is contained in this part, the Conclusion?
This conclusion is twofold, in the first part corresponding to the invocation. For as that makes us hope that we shall certainly obtain what we ask of God as we ought, since he is our Father of whom we ask it; so this conclusion teaches to expect that our proper petition will be granted, because the whole universe belongeth unto this our Father. He is the King of the whole world. To him all created things are subject. His is the power, and the glory is his; which power and glory nothing can resist, whether in hevaen or on earth. He, therefore, can assuredly give us all things, whatsoever we ask with faith and hope; for this cause only, the eternal glory of his name: As it is expressed in these words, And the glory, for ever. The second part of this conclusion is the word Amen; in which word we pray that whatsoever we have asked may be granted unto us according to our desire: As the Apostle saith (1 John 5.14), This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desired of him.
28. Is this conclusion united to the Lord’s Prayer?
It is certain that Christ himself, concluding his prayer, which he taught us, ends with these wods; as appears from St Matthew (6.13). And the sense of them shows plainly that they are no ways inconsistent with the Lord’s Prayer; rather that the prayer is greatly strengthened and perfected by them, seeing it is That God we call upon whose power extends over the whole universe, and unto whom all things are subject. And although lay persons do not use this conclusion, that hindereth not, but that in the public prayers of the Church, and in private devotions, where a priest is present, he should use them for adding the greater weight unto his prayer. Neither will it be amiss for a lay person to use them if no priest be present, any more than it would for him to recite any other part of the Gospel. And it were better never to separate these words from the Lord’s Prayer, it being evident that the Church orders them to be pronounced by the Priest only in the public Divine Service, only for the sake of adding the greater solemnity to this devotion.
29. Forasmuch as the Beatitudes do very much establish and confirm our Faith, I pray, what be they?
The Beatitudes which our Lord Christ hath taught us in the fifth Chapter of St Matthew’s Gospel are nine in number; on which St Chrysostom thus commenteth (Homily on 1 Cor. 15.28), Moses delivered ten Commandments, but Jesus, the Lord of Moses, gave nine Beatitudes. And again, The Law gave unto us ten Commandments, but Jesus nine Beatitudes, forming therbey a thrice threefold Crown.
30. What is the first Beatitude?
Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
31. What doctrine doth this beatitude contain?
It relates to riches and the good things of this world; which, if it please God to bestow them on us, we should use, not as if they were our own, but as only being the stewards and dispensers of them, and not give ourselves up to great anxiousness or to covetousness: As we are admonished by the holy Psalmist (Ps. 62.10), If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. We ought to imitate the ancient Christian perfection, and have nothing distinct, but all things in common: After the example of those Christians who lived in the infancy of the Church, of whom the Scripture testifies (Acts 4.32), The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common. And after, at the 34th verse, Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the Apostles’ feet; and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And again (Acts 2.44), All that believed were together, and had all things common. It is this virtue that is called Poverty of Spirit. However, it is requisite and allowable that every one retain to himself so much as is necessary for his due and proper support and accommodation, without luxury or extravagance. In this virtue the monks and religious are deservedly allowed to excel, seeing they are not to be careful for anything as their own, not even for necessary food and clothing; but they suffer the want of all things with patience, in hopes of greater rewards in heaven: having before their eyes the worsd of the Apostle (1 Cor. 4.11), Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things, even unto this day. For sufferings like these Christ offers the Kingdom of heaven as a reward. Nevertheless, such as do possess wealth, gotten innocently and with justice, will be also partakers of salvation and eternal life, provided they possess their riches in righteousness; namely, if they use them for the relief of the necessities of the Church, in Almsgiving to the Poor, the Stranger, the Sick, and whosoever is in need. In like manner as Zacchaeus did unto Christ himself when he spoke unto him thus (Luke 19.8), Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give unto the poor, and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore to him fourfold. But spendthrifts, who by debauchery and profuseness are reduced to extreme poverty, are in no sort the object of this beatitude, such poverty being rather the proper punishment of their prodigality and unjust abuse of what they had. Nevertheless they are not to be rejected from the alms of good men, and if they reform and practise the virtues of poverty, they will receive the reward of this beatitude from God.
32. What is the second beatitude?
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
33. What doth this beatitude teach?
First, It teacheth that those of the Faithful are blessed who through their whole lives mourn and weep fro their own sins and offences, whereby they have offended God and their neighbour; according to the words of the Prophet (Jer. 1.4), The Children of Israel shall come, and the Children of Judah shall come; going weeping, they shall go and seek the Lord their God. But they have no part in this beatitude who mourn and weep only because of some worldly grief or misfortune. Nor they who, when they are condemned to suffer the punishment due to their crimes, weep and mourn; not because they have sinned, but because of the fear of their punishments which they must undergo for them. Nor they, likewise, who are concerned only on account of having ost some perishable thing or other, and the like. Secondly, this beatitude teacheth us that those are blessed who, with unfeigned Sorrow, and Tears shed for the Sins of others, appease the wrath of God towards them, and pour fourth their prayers before him that he would vouchsafe unto them the grace to repent of their sins: namely, that he would bring back heretics to the communion of the Church, and that he would convert the wicked from their evil and irregular lives to a sober and orderly course of life. Thirdly, by this beatitude we are taught that those are blessed who are oppressed by the great and powerful ones of the world, and unjustly despoiled of their goods: which suffering they may not endeavour to revenge, but with bitterness of heart and mourning, pray to God for deliverance and safety, placing all their hope and confidence in God’s mercy, which they shall receive together with abundance of Consolation, being therein rightly and truly partakers of the divine grace. Those also are comprehended in this beatitude who are afflicted for the orthodox fatih and the sake of the Church: such are all martyrs and the like.
34. What is the third Beatitude?
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
35. What doth this beatitude teach?
This Beatitude teacheth us, First, that we should yield a ready and sincere obedience, with this virtue of meekness and humility, unto God and the Church of Christ, and also unto our superiors, following the example of our most meek Lord, Jesus Christ. And when we pay this obedience unto our superiors, we should propose within ourselves that it is to Christ and for his sake. So we should also refer to Christ the respect and reverence which we show unto his priests, our spiritual pastors. Secondly, this beatitude teacheth us that they are blessed who are not grievous or troublesome unto any man; who do not rob any of their good name, and are not censurers and condemners of others; but esteeming themselves as the meanest, are always ready to condemn their own life and actions, and think their own good deeds to be vile and unworthy. However, if those whose duty it is to reprove others should, through the warmth of their zeal, use some harsh expressions in correcting a sinner, not out of contempt or spitefulness, but for the good of his spiritual warfare, such a one is not, however, exempted from this beatitude, seeing that he doth that which is his duty: As the Apostle teacheth (Gal. 6.1), Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. But if any one say that it is not possible for a mortal man thus to quell his anger, let such a one know that he ought not to pour out his wrath and anger on his neighbour, but on the devil, who is the tempter and instigator or men to all kind of evil. Those, therefore, who are endued with this virtue shall receive the promised inheritance of the earth, an abundance of God’s goodness in this life, and eternal happiness in that which is to come: According to the Scripture, which saith (Ps. 27.15), I believe verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
36. What is the fourth beatitude?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
37. What doth this beatitude teach?
It teacheth us that they are blessed who, having sustained an injury, cannot obtain redress from justice, either because of their religion or their poverty; or for want of health, or because they are strangers; or for that their adversary is too powerful, or through any other unjust cause. Wherefore those who are set in the seat of justice, and whose office it is to judge, ought to be most conscientious and careful that the poor, the widow, and the orphan be not oppressed with unrighteous judgment, remembering what the Scripture saith unto them (Isa. 1.17), Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Which duties if they neglect, then those who suffer oppression are said to hunger and thirst after justice or righteousness, and they are the objects of this beatitude. And unto these unjust judges God will render severe punishment: according to the Scripture (Ps. 10.19), Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the poor; thou prepares their heart, and thine ear hearkeneth thereunto. To help the fatherless and poor unto their right, that the man of the earth be no more exalted against them.
38. What is the fifth beatitude?
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
39. What doth this beatitude teach us?
That they are blessed who discharge the duties of mercy.
40. What are the works of mercy?
The works of mercy are twofold, some regarding the soul, and others relating to the body (Theophylact on the 25th chapter of Matthew).
41. What are those offices of humanity which respect the body?
They are seven. First, to give food unto the hungry, according to the saying of Christ (Matt. 25.35), I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat. To those, namely, who are in necessity, and who could not supply their needs by their own Labour. And for the discharge of this duty we must use what we have earned by our labour, or otherwise gotten with honesty: As the Scripture teaches us (Prov. 3.9), Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase. But we are not to confine our alms to those only who apply to us for them publicly in the streets, nor yet to hose only who lie sick in the public hospital, but we must also extend them to those who, through modesty, or any other impediment, cannot ask our alms. And we must be cautious, to the utmost, that these our good deeds may be as secret as possible, lest we receive our reward in the praises of men: according to the words o our Lord Christ (Matt. 6.2), When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of man. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
42. What is the second act of mercy?
The second act of mercy is to give drink to the thirsty; namely, to those who, through poverty or disability of body, cannot produce wherewithal to quench their thirst. And hereby is meant and intended all sorts of drink, insomuch that whoso giveth only a cup of cold water to him that hath need of water, the same shall be a partaker of this beatitude: According to what our Saviour himself said in the Scripture (Mark 9.41), Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. In this duty are included all those services and good offices of any kind that are done unto the poor and needy: those, namely, who cannot by their own labour and care provide for necessities of hunger and thirst.
43. What is the third work of mercy?
The third work of mercy is to clothe the naked. Those obtain this beatitude who, with a benevolent mind toward their fellow-creatures, relieve them in their distress and clothe those who are destitute of garments. Unto such will Christ, at the Day of Judgment, render a reward, and say unto them (Matt. 25.34), Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. And hereby, not only those are meant who are destitute of all clothing, but also they whose clothing is not sufficient to defend them from cold. And they, likewise, who, through hard fortune, scarcely can support themselves through the want of proper clothes, to whom the merciful man will render the offices of humanity, and supply their necessities with suitable necessaries, to protect them from the injuries of weather.
44. What is the fourth work of mercy?
To visit those who are in prison. In the discharge of which duty let him not be anxious whether the person deserved or not to be cast into prison, or who he be: For whosoever he be, or whatever his crime, nevertheless we owe this duty to him for the sake of Christ our Lord; and we must visit and comfort him, lest he fall into despair.
45. What is the fifth work of mercy?
That we should visit the sick. And we must discharge this duty without inquiring whether the sick person be our neighbour, or friend, or kindred, or acquaintance; for it is incumbent on us to visit those who are sick, although utterly unknown to us, especially those who are ill in the public hospital. First, we should comfort the sick, by expressing our concern for his distress. Secondly, by exhorting the sick to bear his afflictions patiently, and that he should receive his visitation of the Lord without murmuring or discontent; but rather that he should with his heart and voice give thanks unto God, who thus expresseth his favour and kindness towards him, and firmly repose his trust on God’s mercy for being restored to health. Moreover, we should induce the sick person to confess his sins with a broken and contrite heart, and to receive the blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the Holy Oil, as the Church directs. For these Mysteries not only in many ways promote the salvation of the soul, but also contribute to the healing of the body. Furthermore, we should offer up our prayers to God for them, and also recommend them to the public prayers of the Church. And if the sick person be so poor that he cannot apply unto the Church, then it is the duty of the pious and well-disposed to call upon his own spiritual father, that he may supply his spiritual necessities. Above all, let him be sure to admonish the sick earnestly, that he do not use any unlawful and superstitious means for his recovery, such as the Church hath forbidden; such as magical charms and incantations, and contracts with the devil; for from these he will receive infinitely more hurt than advantage or benefits to his health: but, on the contrary, that he should place all his trust and confidence in God’s mercy only, and make use of such medicines as the skilful physician prepare or directs for him. Whoso after this manner shall visit the sick shall, according to this beatitude, be blessed both in this world and that which is to come. However, when the sick person is ill of any contagious disease, or of the plague itself, then the devout Christian may take such measures in the discharge of this duty as may best conduce to the safety of his life, and do that which he himself cannot do in person, by the administration of others who can.
46. What is the sixth work of mercy?
To receive the stranger into one’s house, with cheerfulness and hospitality; especially those who, being on their way to visit holy places, that they may there pay their vows and worship, turn in unto us. Such are all religious mendicants and travellers, whose necessities he must relieve according to his abilities that desires to be an inheritor of this beatitude; and more especially those who are sick and destitute in the public streets, and are forced to beg by the wayside.
47. What is the seventh work of mercy?
To bury the dead. And this duty we should perform with promptitude and readiness, especially to those who die in extreme poverty, on whom we should bestow such things as are requisite for their sepulchre, according to the manner o pious Christians: as Tobias did (Tob. 2). When we perform this duty to our friends and relations, we must take care to have orthodox and pious men, who may accompany the deceased to its sepulchre, and make due offerings of worship and prayer unto god for the salvation of the departed soul.
48. What and how many are the works of mercy that respect the soul?
Seven. The first is to exhort a sinner, and convert him from his sins, that he may be brought to amend his life; as witnesseth the Scripture (James 5.19), Brethren, if any o yu do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul rom death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
This is the chiefest and most exalted office of humanity that can move a good man with compassion for his neighbour; for this containeth not temporary and changeable rewards only, but such as are permanent and eternal. But in the discharge of this duty, the utmost care and caution must be used that the sinner be not imprudently cast into despair, or let into an ill-grounded or presumptious confidence of God’s mercy. By either of these we should do more harm than good unto the person we undertook to convert; wherefore we should discreetly preserve a middle course: And where we ourselves are not equal to such an undertaking, it is our duty to seek out some more fit and able person for the office, and endeavour to engage their assistance. The same is also to be regarded in the conversion of heretics and schismatics.
49. What is the second spiritual work of mercy?
To instruct the ignorant and unlearned. And he rightly dischargeth this duty who teacheth the ignorant how to believe in God, three persons, but only one Godhead. That is, supposing a person to be properly qualified for instructing; which if he be not, let him then seek some other who is so; lest, as the Scripture saith, The blind leading the blind, they should both fall into the ditch. We are, also, hereby directed to inform the unskilful, how they should worship God in a proper manner, and in what method they should pray unto him; and also how they should the most easily know the Commands of God, and the readiest means of obeying them. And this especially with regards to orphans and children destitute of friends and parents; whom we should take care to have instructed in good and religious knowledge; whereby, afterwards, they may haply become useful to the Church and the public weal; and God be thanked and glorified by them. This duty if we neglect, we shall surely be condemned in the same sentence which was pronounced against the unprofitable servant, who having received the talent, returned it unto his master without any profit or improvement (Matt. 25.30).
50. What is the third spiritual work of mercy?
That we should give good counsel to him that standeth in need thereof; as when, by our pious and Christian exhortations and good advice, we reclaim a wicked and sinful liver from his evil courses to a regular and holy life. Likewise when any, by misfortunes and other afflictions, are so distressed and entangled that they know not how to help themselves and get out of their troubles; then should we freely, and with a liberal hand, give unto them this healing balsam of good counsel, and advise them how they best may secure their lives and credit. This duty also requires that we should disclose unto our neighbour any ill designs that we know to be laid against his life or good name, whereof he is ignorant: But herein we must proceed warily and prudently, and take care that we do not stir up hatred between any, nor become the causes of bloodshed.
51. What is the fourth spiritual work of mercy?
That we should pray unto God for each other. And although this duty more particularly obligeth the priests of the Church and spiritual fathers, yet are laymen also bound by it. Concerning which we spake more at large when we treated concerning the sixth precept of the Church.
52. What is the fifth spiritual work of mercy?
To comfort the sorrowful. And in order to this, we must first take care that no one suffers affliction or damage through our means, and that we do not become grievous unto any: as saith the Apostle to the Romans, chap. 12.18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath; for it is written, Revenge is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. But most especially are we bound to the observance of this duty when any one either labours under any grievous crime, or is afflicted with any dangerous sickness, or is oppressed with any great and uncommon calamity: In all which cases we must not fail to comfort and relieve our suffering brethren with our consolation and good offices.
53. What is the sixth spiritual work of mercy?
That we bear with injuries patiently. And we discharge this duty when we cheerfully and meekly suffer for Christ’s sake, remembering that he endured much more grievous things for our sakes: As it is written (1 Pet. 2.21), Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. Wherefore we must not wish evil to those who tyrannically vex and afflict us, nor return evil for evil: According to the Apostle (1 Pet. 3.9), Not rendering evil for evil, but rather giving thanks unto God that we are thought worthy to suffer for his sake, we should pray unto him earnestly that he would forgive our enemies.
54. What is the seventh spiritual work of mercy?
That we readily and heartily forgive those that offend us. And in order to discharge this duty effectually we must forgive unto our enemies whatsoever they have done against us; and not only so, but we must, moreover, sincerely endeavour to obtain the peace and forgiveness of God for those who have injured us, as we have before said. And this, our forgiveness, must not be confined to once, but even unto seventy times seven; according as our Lord and Saviour taught unto Peter, saying (Matt. 18.22), I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven.
55. What is the sixth beatitude?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
56. What doth this beatitude teach?
In this beatitude the virtue of chastity is recommended. For whosoever desireth to see God, he must be chaste and continent, both in body and mind, and in all his thoughts, for impure thoughts defile the image of God, and drive away the divine presence out of the soul.
57. What is the seventh beatitude?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
58. What doth this beatitude teach?
In the first place, those are entitled to the blessing and reward of this beatitude who daily offer up the unbloody sacrifice to God, with fastings and prayer, to turn away the wrath of God from men, which we most justly have deserved, and reconcile him to his sinful creatures. Secondly, those obtain the promise of this beatitude who, by prudently and seasonably interposing, put away strife and quarrelling; and uniting men in mutual love and charity, cause them to become friends who before were enemies. And, lastly, those are intended who by their counsel and advice heal the differences arising among kings and princes, and stifle and extinguish the first sparks of war, that bloodshed and slaughter may be prevented.
59. What is the eighth beatitude?
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
60. What doth this beatitude teach?
They are the objects of this beatitude who speak the truth undauntedly, and reprove men or their sins and faults, notwithstanding for so doing they suffer hatred, and even death: As did John the Baptist from Herod (Matt. 15.16), and many others. In which number are to be reckoned all the doctors of the Church, preachers of the Gospel, and confessors, who, for the truth of their doctrine and the purity of their rules, have been hated and persecuted oftentimes even by their own ungrateful hearers and disciples.
61. What is the ninth beatitude?
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
62. What is contained in this beatitude?
The Apostles, Martyrs, and all those who suffer persecution for the orthodox and catholic faith; who are reviled and afflicted, despoiled of their goods and possessions, driven into banishment and disgrace, and, finally, deprived even of their lives, and their blood cruelly shed, are the possessors of this beatitude.
63. How are we to think concerning the works to which Christ hath promised the reward of this beatitude?
First, that these good works are so connected and joined together, that whosoever really and truly hath one of these virtues, he possesses them all; and so, likewise, that he who is entirely destitute of any one is void of all the rest.
Secondly, you are to understand concerning these good works that we have recited, that he who doth them will not only enjoy eternal blessedness in heaven, but also in this life, by the divine favour, will receive a plentiful reward of temporal good things: According to the words of Christ (Matt. 19.29), Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. And elsewhere (Mark 10.29), There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the Gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Part Three – Of Charity.
1. What is contained in the third part of the Orthodox Confession?
The third part of the Orthodox Confession treats of the love of God and of our neighbour, and contains the divine Decalogue, or Ten Commandments.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ratified and confirmed the authority of the Decalogue in the new law, and enlarged and perfected the doctrine of it by these words (Matt. 5.19), Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
2. What is necessary for us toward the exact and right performing of these divine Commandments?
First, it is to be considered that the commands of God are either such as require us to do some good thing, or such as forbid us doing some evil thing. Whosoever, therefore, is desirous to understand these commandments rightly, ought in the first place to learn what is meant by Good, and what is understood by Evil. Good, therefore, is, properly, virtue, and sin is evil. Now, as it seems to us to be the most useful and agreeable method, we shall first treat concerning virtues and vices, and then of the ten commandments of our Lord and God.
3. How are we to think concerning the Christian virtues, or of good works?
Good works, or the Christian virtues, are the fruits of faith, as of a good tree – (Matt. 7.16), By their fruits ye shall know them. And elsewhere (John 13.35), By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. And again (1 John 2.3), And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. But that it may be more fully understood what we mean by Christian Virtue, we may say that good works is the fulfilling of the Commandments of God, which any one doth freely by the divine assistance, the human will and understanding also concurring, and being moved thereunto by the love of God and of our neighbour, and when a man is free from all real impediments.
4. Which of the Christian virtues are the most necessary?
Faith, hope and charity are the most necessary, as being those without which we can by no means obtain salvation. To this the Apostle refers when he says (1 Cor. 13.13), And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. Of the two former of these virtues, namely, faith and hope, we have sufficiently discoursed already in the two foregoing parts of this Orthodox Confession. In this present part, therefore, we propose, with the guidance of the divine Spirit, to treat concerning charity.
5. What are those other virtues that spring forth and arise out of these three general and fundamental virtues?
These three, prayer, fasting and alms, which, arising from faith, are rendered pleasing and acceptable to God, by hope through charity.
6. What is prayer?
Of prayer we have already treated sufficiently in the second part of this catechism.
7. What is fasting?
That fasting which is considered as a Christain virtue is the abstaining from all food (at least from sonme, as in case of sickness) and liquors, from all worldly concerns, and from all evil desires; that so, being freed from all hindrances and encumbrances, the devout Christian may apply himself with more readiness and tranquillity to recommend himself to God in prayer, and obtain his pardon; and also subdue the lusts of the flesh, and receive the grace of God. Of this kind of fasting the Scripture speaketh thus (2 Cor. 6.4–5), But in all things approving ourselves as the servants of God; in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distress, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings. And again, in another place (Joel 2.15), Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the people. And a little after, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach. And this kind of fasting being rightly and duly performed, hath great efficacy in obtaining God’s pardon for our sins, as came to pass at Nineveh. But on this head we have been very full already, in treating of the precepts of the Church.
8. How many kinds of fasting are there?
There be many sorts of fasts, as first, those that are constantly observed at stated times, as the four yearly fasts, and those which are kept weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays; and those accidental and occasional ones which are appointed by the governors of the Church, in particular provinces and towns on particular occasions. And these, in due obedience to the Church, must be carefully observed. There be also public and private fasts; public, as those which are solemnised by the whole Church in general; and private, or peculiar, such as are those observed and kept by particular provinces, or countries, or cities, or by private persons, by their own appointment, for some religious advancement, or the performance of a vow, or by the injunction and command of their spiritual father.
9. What is almsgiving?
Almsgiving is a work of mercy, performed by doing a benefit to the soul or body of any one, having regard only to the necessities, and not to the person o him who standeth in need of your alms. Now, this virtue is especially necessary for every Christian; as the Holy Scripture teaches (Tobit 12.9), For alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sins: those that exercise alms and righteousness shall be filled with life. And in the New Testament we find the Scripture thus recommending almsgiving (Matt. 21.21), Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. And Christ promiseth that he will give a great reward in the day of judgment (Matt. 25.40), Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me; (v. 34), Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Moreover, almsgiving, joined with fasting, renders our prayers acceptable with God, and inclines his ears to hear us: As the Angel said unto Cornelius (Acts 10.4), Thy prayer and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. This virtue comprehends within itself all other virtues, as we have already shown in the second part of this our confession.
10. What other virtues, besides, arise out of these?
These four general virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
11. Wherein doth Christian prudence consist?
Christian prudence is an earnest and upright will, arising from forethought and a diligent circumspection, that none of our actions or thoughts offend god or our neighbour. Of this kind of prudence the Lord thus teacheth us (Matt. 10.16), Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Which St Paul thus more fully expoundeth (Eph. 5.15), See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. This Christian prudence is founded in plainness and perfect simplicity of heart, in all honesty and uprightness, and in all wariness, that the enemy of our souls do not beguile us with indiscretion; nor any others who may desire to give us hindrance or disturbance.
12. What is justice?
Justice is that virtue which renders to every one that which belongeth unto him and is his due; which observeth to do that which is his duty, without respect to persons; and this not only in one’s business and dealings, but also in what relates to another’s distinction and dignity. Christian justice not only returns good for evil, but also permitteth not to wish evil to another, although deserved from us: According to the Apostle’s doctrine (Rom. 12.17), Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. And the Apostle, speaking directly of Justice itself, saith thus (Rom. 13.7), Render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
13. Do, then, magistrates and judges sin against justice when they punish the guilty for their crimes?
No; for there is no power but of God, as St Paul teacheth (Rom. 13.3), Rulers are not a terror to good works, but unto the evil: wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
14. What is temperance?
Temperance is the moderation in eating, drinking and clothing which any one observeth; likewise it is that whereby one prudently chooseth that which is fit and becoming him in all his words and actions; as the Apostle says to the Romans (Rom. 13.13), Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. In like manner (1 Cor. 14.40), Let all things be done decently and in order.
15. What is fortitude?
Fortitude, that is, considered as a Christian virtue, is a firm strength of mind, whereby any one withstands all the storms of temptation, which, for Christ’s sake, he endureth from visible and invisible enemies; which constancy of mind St Paul describeth (Rom. 8.35), Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? And a little after, at the 38th verse, For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come: nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. But of this class of virtues we have already discoursed in the former part, when we treated of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and other virtues.
16. What is sin?
Sin hath not any existence in itself, as it is not a being created by God: wherefore we cannot explain what it is; only thus far we can describe it, That it is a certain unrestrained and unruly will of man, out of the Devil; or it may be described as in Holy Scripture (1 John 3.4), Sin is a transgression of the law: that is, sin is a transgression of the divine law; which transgression is some contrariety, opposing the will of God, proceeding from the understanding and the proper and deliberate will of the sinner. From this contrariety ariseth death, and all the divine wrath; as saith the Scripture (James 1.15), Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
17. How many kinds of sin be there?
According to the Scripture, some sins be unto death, and some not unto death. There be, therefore, mortal sins, and those that are not so.
18. What is mortal sin?
Mortal sin is, when the perverse will of man doeth a thing manifestly forbidden by the divine law; or, on the other hand, omitted to do, with the whole heart and desire, that which is commanded of God, whereby charity towards God and our neighbour is broken.
This will of man excludeth from the grace of God, and killeth him who fulfileth it in his works. For which reason their degree of sin is said to be mortal; according to the Apostle (Rom. 6.23), the wages of sin is death. A base consenting, whereby any one determines or purposes to commit a sin, giveth indeed a grievous wound unto the soul, but doth not entirely kill it.
19. Into how many parts is mortal sin divided?
One kind of mortal sin is original, the other voluntary.
20. What is original sin?
Original sin is the transgression of that law of God which was given to Adam, the Father of all men, in these words (Gen. 2.17), Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. This original sin spreadeth over all human nature; forinasmuch as we were all then contained in Adam. Wherefore by one Adam sin hath passed into us all. And we are conceived and born with this blemish, as the Scripture teacheth us (Rom. 5.12), By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. This hereditary sin cannot be rooted out or abolished by any repentance whatever, but only by the grace of God, through the work of redemption, wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, in taking upon him our flesh and pouring out his precious blood. And this is done in the mystery of holy Baptism; and whosoever is not a partaker thereof, such a one remains unabsolved from his sin, and continueth in his guilt, and is liable to the eternal punishment of the divine wrath: As it is said (John 3.5), Verily, verily, I say unto you, that except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21. What is voluntary mortal sin?
Voluntary mortal sin is that which, after having received baptism, and being arrived in years of discretion, laying aside the love of God and of our neighbour, and of our own free will we commit against the manifest command of God. By which sin we are deprived of the divine grace that we received in holy Baptism, and of the kingdom of heaven, and become captives to eternal death: as saith the Apostle (Rom. 6.16), Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? This sin is taken away by repentance and the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, when his priest absolveth the penitent at confession from his sins.
22. How may this voluntary mortal sin be divided?
Into three kinds. Of the first, whereof we reckon general moral sins, or those from whence others do arise; of the second are those which are committed against the Holy Spirit; and the third sort are they which do the most frequently draw down the divine vengeance on this world.
23. What are those you call general mortal sins?
These: pride, avarice, whoredom, envy, gluttony, desire of revenge or bearing malice, and sloth.
24. What is pride?
Pride is an inordinate and unjust ambition of its own glory and exultation, by right or wrong, over others. This sin, first of all, sprang from Lucifer; and from this, as from an infected fountain, flow all the streams of wickedness. The Scripture saith of it (Prov. 8.13), The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward mouth, do I hate. And another Scripture saith (Sirach 10.7), Pride is hateful before God and man. Opposite unto this vice is the virtue of humility, which our Lord Jesus Christ, commending and exhorting us to embrace, speaketh of thus (Matt. 11.29), Learn of me, or I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
25. What further sins arise from this?
Namely, these; to wit, man’s thinking evil of his neighbour; rashly condemning of others, whether clergy or laymen; disobedience to the Church and our spiritual rulers; also boasting, hypocrisy, fondness for contention, forwardness, strife, unseasonable curiosity, arrogancy, neglecting of God’s commandments, familiar and habituate practice of sin, and the like. Wherefore, whosoever desireth to be free from this sin, let him always bear in mind the words which God spoke unto Adam (Gen. 3.19), Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return. Let him, likewise, be ever mindful of the Last Judgment, and of everlasting torments; and also of these words of the Apostle (James 4.6 and 1 Pet. 5.5), God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
26. What is avarice?
Avarice is the unbounded coveting of riches and possessions. Of this sin the Scripture speaketh thus (Prov. 28.16), he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. And the Apostle (2 Pet. 2.14), An heart they have exercised with covetous practices, accursed children. The virtue opposite to this vice is liberality; as the Psalmist saith (Ps. 112.9), He hath dispersed abroad and given to the poor; his righteousness remaineth for ever.
27. What sins arise from avarice?
From avarice do arise rapine, slaughter, fraud, lying, rebellion, oppression and cruelty, unmercifulness, inhumanity, hard-heartedness, envy, treachery, injuries done to the poor and others, niggardliness, theft and the life of these. Whosever, therefore, desireth to avoid this vice, let him constantly reflect upon the voluntary poverty of Christ our Lord, who saith o himself (Matt. 8.20), The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. Let him also be mindful that he is the steward only, and not the Lord of that which he possesseth; and that God will require an account of his stewardship when he cometh to judgment.
28. What is whoredom or intemperance?
Whoredom is a foul and detestable lust of the flesh, repugnant to the law of God, which a man committeth against his own body: as saith the Apostle (1 Cor. 6.18), Every sin that a man doth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Furthermore, whereas every Christian is a member of Christ’s body; whosoever, therefore, lasciviously walloweth with a harlot defileth himself. Now, that every one of the faithful is a member of Christ’s body the Apostle affirmeth (1 Cor. 6.15), Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of an harlot? God forbid. And a little after (v. 18), Flee fornication. The opposite virtue to this vice is temperance.
29. What other sins arise from this?
Blindness of heart, hatred of divine things, impiety, envy, despair, profuse luxury, laziness, enmity to his neighbour, and such like. Whosoever would, therefore, flee from this sin, it behoveth him to set continually before his mind that the holy God dwelleth not save in the chaste and pure heart: for which reason the sacred prophet beseecheth God that he would bestow on him a clean heart (Ps. 51.12), Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me.
30. What is envy?
Envy is a grief and discontent of mind conceived at the good arising to another, and a joy and satisfaction when evil befalleth him. Or, perhaps, it ariseth from our neighbour’s being something richer than ourselves, or for that he is as much esteemed and as wealthy. The same suppose of honour, glory, learning, and other qualifications. Of this vice the Scripture saith thus (1 Pet. 2.1), Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
31. What sins do spring out from this envy?
Hatred, backbiting, contempt, fraud, circumventing, bloodshed, and such like. Now, whosoever would strive to avoid this sin, let him always consider that whatsoever good happeneth unto any man cometh altogether from the divine favour; as it is said (1 Cor. 4.7), What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Whosoever, therefore, envieth another the good things that he hath received from God, reproacheth God himself, and becometh altogether such as he to whom it was said (Matt. 20.15), Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because mine is good? The opposite of this vice is the virtue of benevolence and a disposition of mind to goodwill.
32. What is gluttony?
Gluttony, or ravening, is the devouring an immoderate quantity of meat and drink, more than usual and necessary. Of this vice the Scripture thus speaketh (Luke 21.34), Take heed to yourselves, let at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. And again (Rom. 13.13), Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
33. What sins proceed from gluttony?
Stupidity and sloth, laziness in the exercise of religion, lascivious inclinations, vain jests and unseemly mirth, insolent self-love and contempt of others, foul language, brawling, rudeness, great diseases, profuse luxury, and the like. To this vice are opposite sobriety and cheerful frugality; as it is said (1 Cor. 13.40), Let all things be done decently and in order.
34. What is remembrance of injuries, or the desire of revenge?
The desire of revenge is an inflamend inclination wherewith an angry man burns, of taking vengeance on any person who hath injured or offended him, or whom he thinks to have done so. Of this sin the Scripture speaketh thus (James 1.19), Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. And elsewhere (Eph. 4.31), Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
35. What sins are caused by this inveterate anger or remembrance of injuries?
From this desire of revenge arises an inclination to strife, grudging at another’s good, bloodshed, raving, mischief, and doing of injuries, and the like. The virtue of patience is opposed to this vice, as the apostle declareth in these words (Heb. 10.36), Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
36. What is sloth and listlessness?
Sloth is a coldness and negligence in obtaining the eternal salvation of our souls, causing one to do good actions with unwillingness and aversion, and to avoid taking pains to do anything that is good. Against this vice the Apostle writes (Heb. 4.12), Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Our Saviour, also, speaking of such idle and slothful servants, saith (Matt. 25.26), Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed. And again (ver. 30), Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
37. What sins arise from sloth?
Voluntary dissoluteness, pretences for sinning, scandal, a voluptuous life, haughtiness, and such like. The virtue opposite to this vice is diligence and wakeful industry. To which Christ thus exhorteth us (Matt. 25.13), Watch, therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh. And the Apostle saith (1 Pet. 5.8), Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith.
38. What are the sins that are committed against the Holy Spirit?
An over-great and ill-grounded confidence in the grace of God; i.e., presumption, and likewise despair, which is when any one entirely distrusts the divine mercy; for this is to contradict the manifest and established truth, and a denial of the orthodox faith of Christians.
39. What is over-great confidence in the grace of God?
This over-great confidence is a rash dependence which any one takes upon the mercy of God, and thereon presumes to hope that God will not withhold his grace from him, nor punish him, notwithstanding he continues still in his sins; and so thereby makes the justice of God of none account. Let those who have this most dangerous and grievous error to conflict and struggle with hear the Apostle teaching them, thus (Rom. 2.4), Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance: But, after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God?
Of this sort are those who, with unbridled tongues, are not ashamed to declare openly thus: “If God pleases, I shall be saved; and if he doth not please, I shall not”. And thus, casting of all care of amending their lives, they rest in a destructive security, and neglect the salvation of their souls. The Holy Scripture calls on these men to be more provident, in these words (Matt. 18.14), It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. And the Lord hath pronounced by his prophets (Ezek 33.11), As I live, saith the Lord God, I would not the death of a sinner, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Also the Apostle in another place saith (1 Tim. 2.4), For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. Those likewise partake of this error who expect to obtain eternal life by faith only without good works.
40. What is despair of the divine mercy?
Despair is a distrust of the mercy of God, which ariseth in a sinner from a mistaken opinion that God will not pardon him, and receive him again into favour, because of the evil deed which he hath done, or the good works which he hath left undone. He supposeth human malice and iniquity almost to exceed the divine mercy and goodness, as Cain said (Gen. 4.13), Mine iniquity is greater than it may be remitted unto me; which horrid blasphemy is the highest and most reproachful affront to the mercy and goodness of God. Wherefore let not any one, howsoever great or heavy be his sins, in the least think distrustfully or despairingly of the boundless mercy of God toward mankind. Let him, instead thereof, bethink himself of the example of the prodigal son, whom his heavenly Father received with a most gracious countenance and bosom full of affection when he repented and turned again unto him; thereby most clearly teaching us that we should not only forgive our repenting brother seven times that whatsoever he hath sinned against us in, but even until seventy times seven (Matt. 18.22). The same he hath said by the mouth of his Prophet (Joel 2.12–13), Turn ye even unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; or he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
41. What is wilful gainsaying or perverseness which any one committeth against a manifest truth?
A person is guilty of this perverseness, or contradiction against certain and manifest truth, when, notwithstanding he well and fully knows what is good, yet obstinately opposes it both in his words and actions, though contrary to his conscience, that he may go on in sin with the less restraint. Of such sinners the Scripture speaketh thus (Rom. 1.18), The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. They wander in a like error who slander the good works of their neighbour, denying that they be of God; as the Pharisees and Jews formerly abused our Saviour when they beheld him cast out impure spirits with his word and do many miracles. Like unto these are they who envy others the grace bestowed on them by God, and likewise those who forbear to teach the articles of the Christian faith unto those who are ignorant of it merely out of malice and evil-minded. Which dreadful evil do thou, O Christ our King, entirely root out of every Catholic and Orthodox Christian’s heart! A like estimation is to be had of these who attribute true piety an dother good deeds, which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, unto hypocrisy. They also are led astray by the same error who put off the faith of Christ; as it is said (Matt. 10.32), Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever shall deny me before man, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
42. What are those sins which do most usually and frequently bring down the divine vengeance on this world?
These following; namely, wilful and designed murder; of which the Scripture speaketh (Gen. 4.10), The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. Also the sin of sodomy; as the Lord saith (Gen. 18.20), Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrha is great, and because their sin is very grievous; therefore I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. Likewise oppression of the orphan and the widow, and the defrauding the labourer of his hire. Concerning which thus the Prophet Malachi speaketh (ch. 3.5), I will come near you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the false-swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts. To this may be added those who neglect their duty to their parents, and become ungrateful unto them: As saith the Scripture (Exod. 21.15), He that smiteth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. And (v. 17), He that curseth his father or mother shall surely be put to death.
43. What is venial sin, or sin not mortal?
Sin not mortal, or, as it is called by some, venial sin, is that which no man that is born, except Christ and the Virgin Mary, can be without. However, this degree of sin doth not deprive us of the grace of God, nor devote us unto eternal death. Of this kind of sin the Scripture thus teacheth us (John 1.8), If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Not any particular sin, indeed, can be described by this name, but, in general, whatever are not reckoned in the number of mortal sins may be referred to this class of venial sins. Nevertheless these sins are not to be disregarded and suffered to pass unamended; but we ought daily, in our beds, and in the night season, to call them to mind, and bewail and lament before God for them, as well as for our other offences: According to the holy Psalmist (Ps. 4.5), Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart in your chamber, and be still. And again (Ps. 6.6), I am weary of my groaning; every night wash I my bed and water my couch with my tears. For these, therefore, is pardon also to be sought, through the intercessions of the holy God-bearing Virgin and the choir of the saints; for how hateful even these smaller offences are in the sight of God is manifest from Scripture (Prov. 15.26), Wicked thoughts are an abomination to the Lord. And without they be cleansed away by sincere repentance, they open the way to mortal sins, chill and weaken the piety of man, and render him slothful and negligent of the commands of God.
44. May not a person by some means become a partaker of another’s guilt?
We become partakers of another’s guilt when we entice any one to sin, especially if the person be one that wholly depends upon our advice and assistance, and puts all his confidence and trust in us. Such are those spiritual fathers who permit a man to lead a wicked life contrary to the divine commands and the traditions of the Church. Such, also, are those masters who cause their servants to sin, husbands their wives, parents their children, or teachers their scholars, by immediate persuasion, or permitting them the liberty of living, and so, too, of sinning as they think fit. All these, and all like unto these, shall render a strict account unto God in the Day of Judgment of those who are committed unto their care; wherefore St Paul thus admonisheth his own Timothy (1 Tim. 5.22), Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself.
45. By what other means may we become partakers of the sin of others?
When any one giveth occasion unto others of sinning, whether it be inviting them to sin by scandal, by consenting, by indecent language, by commending of vice or decrying of virtue. Among these are deservedly reckoned those who designedly excite others to anger, those who do not strive against vice and wickedness with all their might, and those who do not, according to their station, reprehend and admonish. All these become involved in the other’s guilt.
46. Having now sufficiently discoursed concerning virtues and vices, I desire thou wouldst treat concerning the commandments of God?
The commandments of God are ten in number, and in them are many others contained.
47. But are not the precepts of the old law long since fulfilled?
The precepts of the Old Testament which were concerning ceremonies and mysteries, and were to foreshadow the works of Christ, these all are passed away as a shadow at the approach of the body; nor are they any longer binding or to be observed by Christians. But those commands which enjoin the observation of charity and our duty towards God and our neighbour are not only to be observed by Christians, but to be observed also more carefully and perfectly by them than they were by the Israelites under the old law. For as God hath bestowed on us greater and more excellent gifts than on them, and especially as we have received that most incomparable grace of the Holy Spirit, through our Lord Jesus Christ, so ought our actions to excel those of the Jews: as it is said (Matt. 5.20), Unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Likewise (verse 21), Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother withour a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raka! shall be in danger of the Council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool! shall be in danger of hell fire. In the same place much more is also said of the rest; wherefore all the commandments relating to the love of God and of our neighbour are carefully to be observed, for on these two hang all the Law and the Prophets: As the Lord hath said (Matt. 22.37), Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy ind. This is the first and great commandment; the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
48. Since Christ confirmed only two commandments, I pray thee how can there be ten?
These are the two general and principal commandments, on which all the rest are founded, and for this reason: these ten commandments are divided into two tables, in the first of which those are contained which enjoin the love of God, in the last those which teach us in what manner we are to love our neighbour. Therefore in these two Christ hath confirmed and established the whole ten; and concerning this law he hath pronounced thus (Luke 16.17), It is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail.
49. What is the first commandment of the first table?
This is the first commandment of the first table, or codicil (Exod. 20.2), I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage: Thou shalt have none other God but me.
50. How is this commandment to be understood?
In this first commandment God reveals himself unto man that he may be known by him, for unto this end gave he an understanding heart unto man, that he might discern and acknowledge him for his Lord and his Creator, and praise and glorify him. Accordingly he doth not introduce his laws by saying, I am God, the Creator of the world; but, I am thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt; it being more familiar and affecting to the Jews that he should introduce his Commandments with a reason for their obeying them that was taken rom a signal and memorable transaction wherein they were most affectingly interested, and which, as yet, continued before their eyes, and whereby they would the more manifestly and apparently see the great bounty and goodness of God towards men, and thereby be excited to praise him with the greater readiness, and acknowledge him to be the one only true God. He hath elsewhere testified concerning himself (Isa. 45.12), I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heaven, and all their hosts have I commanded. Also a little before (ver. 5), I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God besides me. Now, we Christians are bound to a more exact observance of this precent than the Jews were; forasmuch as our Lord God hath bestowed on us a more ample and excellent liberty: according to the Apostle (Col. 1.13), Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. In the second part of this command the Israelites are forbidden to adore and worship any other God but only the true God. By this precept, then, the inward worship of God, and that which proceedeth out of the heart itself, is commanded; and that because God seeth the heart and searcheth out the most hidden things of men’s minds.
51. Who be they that disobey this commandment, and wherein do they transgress it?
First, all those do mortally sin against this commandment who do utterly deny and disown the being of a God: as the Psalmist saith (Ps. 53.1), The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Secondly, those who make unto themselves many gods, unto whom they render worship and adoration as unto the true God, as did the heathen. Thirdly, those who sell themselves to the devil, as conjurers, and those who practise magical arts and use charms and spells. Fourthly, those who give themselves up to superstitions and put their trust in them; and those who, when they have any sickness, have recourse to enchantments and incantations, and follow after such like superstition. Fifthly, they who betake themselves to seek for omens and divinations in everything. Sixthly, those who do not with a right faith believe that God, though in his nature he be only one, is yet in person three. Seventhly, they who put more trust and depend more in their own prudence and circumspection than in the grace and providence of God, or in their own wisdom and cunning, or in their strength and bravery, or in the numbers, wealth and mightiness of their friends. Eighthly, they who love themselves and their worldly possessions more than God. In a word, all they sin against this commandment who set up anything of any kind whatsoever, or in any manner whatsoever, for a God, and put their trust therein besides the true God only.
52. What, then, are we to think of the invocation of saints? For this seems to be the most suitable place to treat concerning that matter?
We pray unto the saints for their intercession with God, that they may sustain our cause with him by their prayers; but we do by no means call upon them as gods, but as the beloved of God, whom they serve, and whom they worship and glorify with united hymns. And surely their assistance is very necessary for us; not, indeed, that of their own power they can help us, but because by their prayers in our behalf they may obtain the grace and favour of God for us. For, in like manner, we are taught by the Holy Scriptures that we should entreat the saints, even when they remain in this life, to make prayers and intercessions for us unto God: As St Paul himself did (Rom. 15.30), I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. And elsewhere (2 Cor. 1.10), In whom we trust that he will yet deliver us, you also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. In like manner he also prayed himself unto God for others, as he testifieth (Phil. 1.4), Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. Now, from these testimonies of his we learn these two things. First, that the Saints, whilst they continue in this life, entreat of others to make prayers and supplications to God for them. Secondly, that they themselves, on their parts, do pray and intercede for others, not only privately and for particulars, but openly and for all: As the Scripture witnesseth (Acts 12.5), Pater therefore was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him. Now, the saints after their departure can much more recommend us to God, forasmuch as they have nothing to hinder them in the exercise of this duty. Furthermore, if the saints do procure the punishment of the wicked, as the Scripture beareth witness (Rev. 6.9), I saw under the Altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the Testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? How much more shall they intercede with God for their brethren, who are conflicting in the Christian Warfare; especially for those who stand in need of their help and intercession: As the Scripture teacheth (Rev. 11.16), And the four and twenty Elders who sat before God in their seats fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty. And again (ver. 18), And the time is come that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy Name, small and great. But some will say that the saints do not know or understand our prayers; to such we answer that although, indeed, of themselves alone they may not hear nor know our prayers, yet nevertheless, by the divine favour and revelation wherewith God abundantly blesseth them, they will both see and understand; and as Elisha knew what his servant hath done on the Way (2 Kings 5), in like manner, also, do the saints know and hear the necessities of those who call upon them, even by the divine communications. Furthermore, also, we do address ourselves unto the angels, that they would assist us with their support and favour before God, inasmuch as it is they who present the prayers o men, and our deeds of charity, and other good works unto the divine majesty. Now, seeing that after death the saints become as the angels, they can therefore, undoubtedly, in like manner both know our necessities and hear our prayers, and also help us by their intercession. From whence it follows that we are far from offending against the commandment when we put up our prayers unto the saints, who, standing always like faithful servants before the divine majesty, can therefore become supplicants for our salvation unto that one only true God.
On the other hand, if we despise and reject the assistance and labouring for us of the saints, we shall most grievously offend the divine majesty; forasmuch as we refuse to do honour unto those who have most faithfully and most holily served him.
Having now finished the doctrine of this commandment, we shall conclude with laying down two things which every Christian ought to understand aright. The first is, that we do not in any way trespass against the commandment of the Decalogue, nor weaken its authority; neither do we in any wise act beside the intention and meaning thereof by our praying to the Saints, seeing that the honour which is done unto the saints is rendered through them to the majesty of God himself, unto whom the saints are become dear and acceptable because of their faith, an the lives, adorned with all virtues, which they lived whilst on earth. Wherefore it is right and a duty to reverence the saints of God, according to the Scripture (Ps. 139.17), O how dear unto me are all thy saints, O God! forasmuch as through them we obtain the favour and assistance of God, as formerly the friends of Job whom the Lord commanded that they should go unto his faithful servant Job, that he might pray for them, and that for his sake their offences might be forgiven. The second necessary point is, that this commandment forbids that we should worship any created thing whatever with the worship called Latria, which we have before expounded. For we do by no means worship the Saints of God with that most holy worship of latria, but modestly call upon them as our brethren and the friends of God, praying that they would obtain the divine help and assistance for us their brethren, and be as mediators with God for us. And this is in no wise repugnant to this precept of the Decalogue; for as the People of Israel sinned not in calling upon Moses to intercede with God for them, so neither do we sin in desiring the assistance and intercession of the saints.
53. What is the second commandment?
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 waters under the earth. Thou shalt not fall down to them, nor worship them.
54. How is this commandment to be understood?
This commandment is distinct from the former, for that treateth concerning the true God, and his being only one, and taketh away and prohibiteth the vain crowd of false gods; whereas this commandment relateth to certain outward rites and ceremonies, namely, that we should not only worship false gods, but that we should also not make or dedicate any graven image in honour of them, nor give religious worship unto idols, or perform sacrifices and solemn rites to them. These, therefore, sin against this commandment who worship idols and gods, and offer sacrifice unto them, and trust in them: according to the Psalmist (135.15), the images of the heathen are but silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, and speak not; eyes have they, and they see not. They have ears, and hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. Those that make them are like unto them; and so are all they that put their trust in them. They also break this commandment who give themelves up to covetousness, of whom the Scripture speaketh thus (Col. 3.5), mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, effeminacy, inordinate affections, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Gluttons, likewise, and they who are given up to riotous living, sin against this precept, of whom the Scripture thus speaketh (Phil. 3.19), their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Moreover, they are guilty of breaking this commandment who use enchantments and juggling, who put their trust and confidence in fortune and fate, who seek by soothsaying and divinations to know what is to come to pass, and pretend to foretell future things by the lines of the hand, by witchcraft and conjuring up of spirits, by observations of water, and the like. They also who endeavour by spells and sorcery to transform men into brutal forms, and they who wear amulets for turning away of evils, and who carry about them, or bind on their bodies, scrolls inscribed with oracles, or prophecies, or magical characters, and by looking on such scrolls, or muttering over them certain invocations, or whirling them around them, do believe that nothing, whilst such charms are present, can have power to hurt them, whether fire, or water, or sword, or any other weapon. And all they who use conjuring wands, knotted strings, and other unlawful remedies, which are also condemned and disallowed by the art of curing and physicians, whether the same be by magical verses, or characters, or any other kind of things which they hang up, interweave, untie, or any way else apply, as in earrings for the ears, in rings for the fingers, or otherwise.
55. What are we to think of the images which the Church worshippeth and reverenceth?
There is a very great difference between images and idols. An idol is a mere fiction and invention of men, as the Apostle testifieth (1 Cor. 8.4), an idol is nothing in the world. But an image is a representation showing forth a real thing that is actually being in the world, as the image of our Saviour Christ, of the holy Virgin Mary, and of all other saints. Besides, the heathens worshipped their idols as God, and offered sacrifices unto them, thinking gold and silver to be true deities, as of old did Nebuchadnezzar. Whereas we, in worshipping and reverencing images, do not adore the painting or the wood, but we respect the saints who are thereby represented, and worship them with that kind of worship which is called doulia, placing them, by the representation, before our eyes as if they were in our sight and we really beheld them; as, for instance, whilst we worship a crucifix, we thereby set Christ himself before our mind hanging upon the Cross of our salvation; and unto him, with religious gratitude, do we bend our knee and bow down our heads. So, in like manner, when we reverence the image of the Virgin Mary, we ascend in our minds unto the most holy Mother of God; to her it is that we bow down our heads, to her we bend our knees, and it is her that, with the Archangel Gabriel, we proclaim the most blessed of all men and women. It is evident, therefore, that the worship of holy images, which is received into the Orthodox Church, is not contrary to this commandment, as it is neither the same with that which is given to God, nor is it addressed unto the work of art – that is, the picture – but unto the persons of those saints whom the images represent unto us. Furthermore, as the Cherubim that overshadowed the Ark of the covenant represented those real cherubs who serve God and stand before his face in heaven, and the Israelites worshipped and reverenced the without breaking this commandment of God; and, in like manner, as the Jews sinned not, nor broke this commandment of the Decalogue, but rather honoured God with more glory, when they worshipped the Ark of the Covenant, and received it with honour and respect (2 Sam. 6.13); so neither do we transgress this command of the Decalogue by reverencing holy images, but rather more highly praise God, who is wonderful in his holy places (Ps. 68.35). Nevertheless we must take care that every image has the name of the saint it representeth inscribed on it, that thereby it may the more readily answer the intention and design of the worshipper.
We may add, furthermore, in confirmation of what we have said concerning the worship of holy images, that the Church of God, in the seventh General Council, hath pronounced a dreadful anathema against the image-breakers, and hath established and confirmed to all ages the worship of holy and venerable images: As is manifest in the ninth canon of the council.
56. For what reason, then, was Hezekiah praised in the Old Testament, who broke in pieces the brazen Serpent that Moses had formerly set up and dedicated? (2 Kings 18.4.)
Because the Jews began to fall away from the worship of the true God, worshipping the Serpent as true God, and offering incense unto it, as the Scripture showeth. Therefore to cut off this evil, and that it might not spread farther, Hezekiah breaks in pieces the serpent, that it might give no further occasion of idolatry to the Israelites. But had there not been given unto it the worship of latria, he would not have broken the serpent, nor have condemned the Israelites of idolatry. We Christians do not worship images as God, nor in our approaches to them do we depart from the latria, whish is due only to God himself; but rather by the help of the image are we, as it were, led by the hand unto God; whilst in their images we honour the saints, as the friends of God, with the worship of dulia, and beseech them to render our God propitious and favourable unto us. But if any one out of ignorance should worship images otherwise than herein is taught, surely it would be better that such a one should be instructed rightly in this matter than that the worship of venerable images should be banished of the Church.
57. What is the third commandment?
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.
58. What doth this commandment teach us?
First, it teacheth us that we should hold the name of the Lord God in the highest and most awful respect and honour, nor ever use it lightly or jestingly, nor on trifling occasions or for unjust purposes. Secondly, that by no means we call the name of God to gain credit to a falsehood, nor perjure ourselves. Thirdly ,that we do not give occasion or advice to others to be forsworn. Fourthly, that we do most devoutly observe and fulfil whatever vows we make unto God, according to that Scripture (Deut. 23.21), When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it; for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. And in this sort are all they guilty who, having promised in their baptism that they would preserve in the right and true faith of God to their life’s end, yet afterwards suffer themselves to be drawn away for self-interest or danger of suffering; as, namely, for fear of being hurt in their worldly honours, or estate, or life, and do therefore abjure and renounce that which they had before so solemnly sworn and promised unto God: Concerning the danger of which apostasy the renowned Apostle St Paul rejoiceth in these words (2 Ti. 4.7), I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.
59. What is the fourth commandment?
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, nor thy Son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made haven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: Wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.
60. What are we to learn from this commandment?
Hereby we are to know that God hath set apart one day in seven, to the end that mortals might be mindful of the benefits which he continually bestoweth upon mankind, and that for an especial memorial of all his blessings and mercies he hath hallowed this day, in which men, meditating upon the gracious goodness of God, might give thanks unto him and glorify his majesty. Therefore, when in six days God had created the whole universe out of nothing, and had rested the seventh day, he sanctified it; that men, laying aside all other employments, might with extraordinary devotion worship and praise God, in remembrance of the great blessings he hath bestowed upon us in the creation of the world. So, likewise, when he had delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, he was pleased to establish the feast of the Passover by Moses; as also many other feasts and solemn times, which are mentioned in the Old Testament, and were to be observed. But we Christians, instead of the Sabbath, keep holy the Lord’s Day, which we do because on the Lord’s Day the world was renewed and human nature delivered from the bondage of the devil by the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore we ought to abstain this whole day from every kind of work and employment, that with quiet and undisturbed minds we may entirely be given up the whole time unto prayer and holy meditations for the great benefits we have received. And, likewise, our families and servants must do no work on that day; but being at rest and leisure, let them be employed only in holy things, praying unto God and praising him. Furthermore, by this commandment we are obliged to observe and keep all such other days as the Church hath required us to keep holy, such as the feasts of Thanksgiving, of the Nativity of Christ, of the Circumcision, of the Epiphany, of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, of the Resurrection, Ascension, etc.; also the festivals of the Ever-Virgin Mary, the Apostles, the Martyrs, and of other Saints. Now, after what manner the Lord’s day ought to be observed the sixth General Council teacheth in the ninety-first canon. Moreover, another cause of transferring the Sabbath to the Lord’s Day is this, namely, that Christ is Lord of the Sabbath, according to the Scripture (Matt. 12.8), For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath-day. If, therefore, Christ be Lord of the Sabbath, then surely the Sabbath is with great reason transferred to the Lord’s Day, both because Christ might not seem to be in any subjection thereunto, and also because on that day, and none other, did Christ arise from the dead: Whereby the World, as to its eternal salvation, was renewed and restored.
61. What is the fifth commandment?
(Exod. 20.12), Honour thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long in that good land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
62. How is this commandment to be understood?
This commandment requireth us to honour our parents, and to render all obedience and respect unto them, as they both begat us and raised us up. And even natural reason would teach us that it was highly just and good to love those from whom we came, even although there were not any command of God to oblige us to do so; for we are beholden unto them for the highest of all benefits, andwhich we can in no wise possibly make them a like return of, inasmuch as we can by no means beget those who begot us; and therefore, since, next to God, we have not received from any so great benefits as from them (except spiritual gifts), assuredly unto them do we owe the highest affection and obedience. In these words, father and mother, this commandment likewise comprehendeth all those from whom we receive any good, as our spiritual fathers, our teachers, masters, kindred, kings, magistrates, and the like; which the Apostle declareth in these words (Rom. 13.1), let every soul be subject to the higher powers. And again (ver. 7), honour to whom honour. And (Rom. 1.31), he calleth those who are disobedient unto their parents without understanding. However, we must be careful that nothing be contrary to the glory of God or his most holy commandments, always remembering that we must obey God rather than our parents: according to the doctrine of Christ (Matt. 10.37), He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And the same is to be understood of all our superiors. Lastly, we should let this regard and respect that we owe to our superiors shine forth in goodwill and submission, and speaking honourably of them, and the like.
63. What is the sixth commandment?
Thou shalt not kill.
64. How is this commandment to be understood?
This commandment teacheth us that man-slayig is by no means to be committed by a righteous man who feareth God, whether it be a killing of the body or of the soul. Those who kill the body do only take away a temporary life, but those who kill the soul deprive it of eternal life; and these are by far the most criminal man-slayers. Of this sort are heretics, false teachers, and wicked and reprobate Christians, who set an example of evil living; that is, when they become stumbling-blocks unto others. Concerning whom the Scripture judgeth thus (Matt. 18.6), Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Furthermore, a person may be guilty of killing not only by his own act, but also by persuading of another to do it, by assisting, instigating, and consenting to others. This commandment also comprehendeth all whatsoever may produce or cause killing, as pride, envy, hatred, covetousness, and the like.
65. What is the seventh commandment?
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
66. How is this commandment to be understood?
Our Lord Jesus Christ enjoined the most exact and perfect observation of this commandment when he said (Matt. 5.28), Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Now, this adultery is twofold, the one spiritual, the other bodily; the spiritual adultery is, when any one, putting off the true orthodox and catholic faith, turneth aside into various heresies. Of such a one the Scrpture speaketh thus (Ps. 73.26), They that forsake thee shall perish; thou hast destroyed all them that commit fornication against thee. Bodily adultyer is an unclean and immodest action committed with the wife of another man. By this commandment, likewise, all other lewdness and wantonness is forbidden; as also procuring and alluring others to unchastity, indecent and obscene songs, and dancing and gestures: as the Apostle declares (Eph. 5.3), fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not once be named amongst you, as becometh saints: neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient.
67. What is the eighth commandment?
Thou shalt not steal.
68. How is this commandment to be understood?
This commandment teacheth us that we are not to possess ourselves of that which belongeth unto another by any unjust means whatever, whether it be by robbery, or theft, or violently withholding the right of another. Hereby is also forbidden the taking away of another’s good name and reputation, the exacting too much of one’s hireling or tenants, and the imposing too hard conditions of service on them. This likewise respects usury. Of all which the Apostle thus pronounceth (1 Cor. 6.10), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. This commandment regardeth, also, all just contracts and bargains, in which we are required to be strictly true and upright, that we defraud not one another.
69. What is the ninth commandment?
(Exod. 20.16), Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
70. How are we to understand this commandment?
This commandment forbids us to speak any falsehood of our neighbour or hurt the character of another out of malice or a desire of revenge; in a word, that we should avoid all evil dispositions and passions, that we become not the children of the devil, and like unto those of whom our Lord spake (John 8.44), ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
In a more especial manner it behoveth all such as are called to sit in judgment that they most carefully observe this commandment, that they be not led aside by the testimony of false witnesses or writings, but that they judge only righteous judgment, lest they become the children of the devil and heirs of hell.
71. What is the tenth commandment?
(Exod. 20.17), Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, nor his land, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
72. After what manner are we rightly to understand this commandment?
Among all the commandments that relate to charity or love towards our neighbour, this is the most complete and full, for it not only forbiddeth outward actions, but even those of the inward parts of man, and the evil inclinations which arise form the deliberate purposes and will of men’s minds to do evil. This commandment, therefore, fulfileth all Christian perfection; and he who truly keepeth it may be thought to have done full justice to his neighbour. For that which thou wouldest not that another should do unto thee, that do thou not unto another. And herein is all Christian salvation contained, that no one should desire anything that is averse to God or his neighbour, but, on the other hand, that he should love God more than himself, and his neighbour as himself.
These duties if we perform and do in this world with the love of our Lord and God, rightly and duly, and with the catholic and orthodox faith, then surely, without any doubting, we may hope to obtain the supreme perfection of charity in the world to come, and to praise and celebrate in heaven that one only God, who is worshipped in Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
And may glory be to God.