THE CATECHISM, or Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion.

as the same is taught in the Reformed churches and schools in Holland and America.


Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer. That I with [a] body and soul, both in life and death, [b] am not my own, but belong [c] unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious [d] blood, hath fully [e] satisfied for all my sins, and delivered [f] me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me [g] that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair [h] can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be [i] subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me [j] of eternal life, and makes [k] me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Question 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?

Answer. Three; [l] the first, how great [m] my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered [n] from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude [o] to God for such deliverance.

[a]: 1Cor. 6:19,20
[b]: Rom. 14:7,8,9
[c]: 1Cor. 3:23
[d]: 1Pet. 1:18,19
[e]: 1John 1:7
[f]: 1John 3:8; Heb. 2:14,15
[g]: John 6:39; John 10:28,29
[h]: Luke 21:18; Matt. 10:30
[i]: Rom. 8:28
[j]: 2Cor. 1:22; 2Cor 5:5
[k]: Rom. 8:14; Rom. 7:22
[l]: Luke 24:47
[m]: 1Cor. 6:10,11; John 9:41; Rom 3:10,19
[n]: John 17:3
[o]: Eph. 5:8,9,10



Question 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery?

Answer. Out of the law of God. [a]

Question 4. What doth the law of God require of us?

Answer. Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37-40, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. [b] This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Question 5. Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?

Answer. In no wise; [c] for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor. [d]

[a]: Rom. 3:20
[b]: Luke 10:27
[c]: Rom. 3:10; 1John 1:8
[d]: Rom. 8:7, Tit. 3:3


Question 6. Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?

Answer. By no means; but God created man good, [a] and after his own image, in [b] true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. [c]

Question 7. Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?

Answer. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, [d] in Paradise; hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. [e]

Question 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?

Answer. Indeed we are; [f] except that we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. [g]

[a]: Gen. 1:31
[b]: Gen. 1:26,27; Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24
[c]: Eph. 1:6; 1Cor. 6:20
[d]: Gen 3:6; Rom. 5:12,18,19
[e]: Psa. 51:5; Gen. 5:3
[f]: Gen. 6:5; Job 14:4; Job 15:14,16
[g]: John 3:5; Eph. 2:5


Question 9. Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his low, that which he cannot perform?

Answer. Not at all; [a] for God made man capable [b] of performing it; but man, by the instigation [c] of the devil, and his own willful disobedience, [d] deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.

Question 10. Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

Answer. By no means; [e] but is terribly displeased [f] with our original was well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, and he hath declared, [g] "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them."

Question 11. Is not God then also merciful?

Answer. God is indeed merciful, [h] but also just; [i] therefore his justice requires, [j] that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting [k] punishment of body and soul.

[a]: Eccl. 7:29
[b]: John 8:44; 2Cor. 11:3
[c]: Gen. 3:4,7
[d]: Rom. 5:12
[e]: Psa. 5:5
[f]: Rom. 1:18; Deut. 28:15; Heb. 9:27
[g]: Deut 27:27; Gal. 3:10
[h]: Ex. 24:6
[i]: Ex 20:5; Job 34:10,11
[j]: Psa. 5:5,6
[k]: Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23



Question 12. Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserved temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favor?

Answer. God will have his justice [a] satisfied; and therefore we must make this full [b] satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another.

Question 13. Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?

Answer. By no means; [c] but on the contrary we [d] daily increase our debt.

Question 14. Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?

Answer. None; for, first, God will not [e] punish any other creature for the sin which man hath committed; and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin, so as to [f] deliver others from it.

Question 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?

Answer. For one who is very man, [g] and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very [h] God.

[a]: Ex. 20:5
[b]: Deut. 24:16; 2Cor. 5:14,15
[c]: Job 9:2,3; Job 15:14,15,16
[d]: Mat. 6:12; Isa. 64:6
[e]: Ezek. 18:20
[f]: Rev. 5:3; Psa. 49:8,9
[g]: 1Cor. 15:21; Rom. 8:3
[h]: Rom. 9:5; Isa. 7:14


Question 16. Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

Answer. Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which hath sinned, should [a] likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one, who is himself a sinner, [b] cannot satisfy for others.

Question 17. Why must he in one person be also very God?

Answer. That he might, by the power of his Godhead [c] sustain in his human nature, the burden of God's wrath; and might [d] obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

Question 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man?

Answer. Our Lord Jesus Christ: [e] "who of God is made unto [f] us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

Question 19. Whence knowest thou this?

Answer. From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; [g] and afterwards published by the patriarchs [h] and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices [i] and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly, has fulfilled it [j] by his only begotten Son.

[a]: Rom. 5:12,15
[b]: 1Pet 3:18; Isa. 53:11
[c]: 1 Pet. 3:18; Acts 2:24; Isa. 53:8
[d]: 1John 1:2; Jer. 23:6; 2Tim. 1:10; John 6:51
[e]: Mat. 1:23; 1Tim. 3:16; Luke 2:11
[f]: 1Cor 1:30
[g]: Gen. 3:15
[h]: Gen. 22:17,18; Gen. 28:14; Rom. 1:2; Heb. 1:1; John 5:46
[i]: Heb. 10:7,8
[j]: Rom. 10:4; Heb. 13:8


Question 20. Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?

Answer. No; only [a] those who are ingrafted into him, [b] and receive all his benefits, by a true faith.

Question 21. What is true faith?

Answer. True faith is not only a certain knowledge, [c] whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, but also an assured [d] confidence, which the Holy [e] Ghost works by the gospel, [f] in my heart; that not only to others, but to me also, [g] remission of sin, everlasting righteousness [h] and salvation, are freely given by God, [i] merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.

Question 22. What is then necessary for a christian to believe?

Answer. All things [j] promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith briefly teach us.

Question 23. What are these articles?

  1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
  2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
  3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
  4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell:
  5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
  6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
  7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
  8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
  9. I believe an holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
  10. The forgiveness of sins:
  11. The resurrection of the body:
  12. And the life everlasting. AMEN.

[a]: Mat. 1:21; Isa. 53:11
[b]: John 1:12,13; Rom. 11:20; Heb. 10:39
[c]: John 6:69; John 17:3; Heb. 11:3,6
[d]: Eph. 3:12
[e]: Rom. 4:16,20,21; Heb. 11:1; Eph. 3:12; Rom. 1:16; 1Cor 1:21; Acts 16:14; Mat. 16:17; John 3:5
[f]: Rom. 10:14,17; Mat. 9:2
[g]: Rom. 5:1
[h]: Gal. 2:20
[i]: Rom. 3:24,25,26
[j]: John 20:31; Mat. 28:19,20


Question 24. How are these articles divided?

Answer. Into three parts; the first is of God the Father, and our creation; [a] the second of God the Son, and our redemption; [b] the third of God the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification. [c]

Question 25. Since there is but one only [d] divine essence, why speakest thou of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

Answer. Because God hath so [e] revealed himself in his word, that these three distinct persons are the one only true and eternal God.

[a]: Gen 1
[b]: 1Pet. 1:18,19
[c]: 1Pet. 1:21,22
[d]: Deut. 6:4
[e]: Gen. 1:26; Isa. 61:1; John 14:16,17; 1John 5:7; John 1:13; Mat. 28:19; 2Cor. 13:14



Question 26. What believest thou when thou sayest, "I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?

Answer. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who [a] of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; who likewise upholds and [b] governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary [c] for soul and body: and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears [d] turn out to my advantage; for he is able to do it, being Almighty [e] God, and willing, being a [f] faithful Father.

[a]: Gen. 1; Gen 2; Psa. 33:6
[b]: Psa. 115:3; Mat. 10:29; Heb. 1:3; John 5:17
[c]: John 1:12,16; Rom. 8:15,16; Gal. 4:5,6; Eph. 1:5; 1John 3:1
[d]: Psa. 55:22; Mat. 6:26
[e]: Rom. 8:28; Rom. 4:21
[f]: Rom. 10:12; Mat. 6:26; Mat. 7:9,10,11


Question 27. What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

Answer. The almighty and everywhere present power of God; [a] whereby, as it were by his hand, he [b] upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain [c] and drought, fruitful [d] and barren years, meat and drink, [e] health and sickness, [f] riches and poverty, yea, and all things [g] come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.

Question 28. What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence doth still uphold all things?

Answer. That we may be patient in adversity [h]; thankful [i] in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm [j] trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall [k] separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they [l] cannot so much as move.

[a]: Acts 17:25,26,27,28
[b]: Heb. 1:3
[c]: Jer. 5:24
[d]: Acts 14:17
[e]: John 9:3
[f]: Prov. 22:2; Job 1:21
[g]: Mat. 10:29,30; Eph. 1:11
[h]: Rom. 5:3; Psa. 39:10
[i]: Deut. 8:10; 1Thes. 5:18
[j]: Rom. 5:3,4,5,6
[k]: Rom. 8:38,39
[l]: Job 1:12; Job 2:6; Mat. 8:31; Isa. 10:15



Question 29. Why is the Son of God called Jesus, that is a Savior?

Answer. Because he saveth us, and delivereth us from our [a] sins; and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find [b] salvation in any other.

Question 30. Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?

Answer. They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny [c] Jesus the only deliverer and Savior; for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Savior; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Savior, must find all things in him [d] necessary to their salvation.

[a]: Mat. 1:21
[b]: Acts 4:12
[c]: 1Cor. 1:13,31; Gal. 5:4
[d]: Col. 2:20; Isa 9:6,7; Col. 1:19,20


Question 31. Why is he called Christ, that is anointed?

Answer. Because he is ordained of God the Father, and [a] anointed with the Holy Ghost, to be our [b] chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; and to be our only High Priest, [c] who by the one sacrifice of his body, has redeemed us, and makes continual [d] intercession with the Father for us; and also to be our eternal King, [e] who governs us by his word and Spirit, and who defends and [f] preserves us in (the enjoyment of) that salvation, he has purchased for us.

Question 32. But why art thou called a christian?

Answer. Because I am a member of Christ [g] by faith, and thus am partaker [h] of his anointing; that so I may [i] confess his name, and present myself a living [j] sacrifice of thankfulness to him: and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and [k] Satan in this life: and afterwards [l] reign with him eternally, over all creatures.

[a]: Heb. 1:9
[b]: Deut. 18:18; Acts 3:22; John 1:18; John 15:15; Mat. 11:27
[c]: Psa. 110:4; Heb. 7:21; Heb. 10:14
[d]: Rom. 8:34
[e]: Psa. 2:6; Luke 1:33
[f]: Mat. 28:18; John 10:28
[g]: 1Cor. 6:15
[h]: 1John 2:27; Joel 2:28
[i]: Mat. 10:32
[j]: Rom. 12:1
[k]: Eph. 6:11,12; 1Tim. 1:18,19
[l]: 2Tim 2:12


Question 33. Why is Christ called the only begotten Son of God, since we are also the children of God?

Answer. Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of [a] God; but we are children [b] adopted of God, by grace, for his sake.

Question 34. Wherefore callest thou him our Lord?

Answer. Because he hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, [c] but with his precious blood, and hath delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus hath made us his own property.

[a]: John 1:1; Heb. 1:2
[b]: Rom. 8:15,16,17; Eph. 1:5,6
[c]: 1Pet. 1:18,19; 1Cor. 6:20

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