According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Laurence Vaux's Catechism was the first Reformation era Catholic Catechism in English when it was published in 1567. Reprints followed in 1574, 1583, 1599 and 1605. The following is from a reprint of the 1583 edition, published by The Chetham Society in 1885. The old English spelling has in most cases been updated for the convenience of the reader.
Laurence Vaux, B.D.,
CANON REGULAR AND SUB-PRIOR OF ST. MARTINS' MONASTERY,
SOMETIME WARDEN OF THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH,
REPRINTED FROM AN EDITION OF 1583;
The Chetham Society
PRINTED BY CHARLES E. SIMMS,
CONTENTS OF THE CATECHISM
|Printer to the Reader . . . . . . . . . .||3|||||74|
|Author to the Reader . . . . . . . . . .||5|||||Fasting, Prayer, and Almsdeeds||76|
|Articles of the Creed . . . . . . . . . .||10|||||To the Reader . . . . . . . . . . . .||78|
||||Holy Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||81|
|19|||||Sensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||82|
|The Pater Noster . . . . . . . . . . . . .||ib.|||||Procession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||ib.|
|The Ave Maria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||22|||||Holy Candles . . . . . . . . . . . . .||83|
||||The Fast of Lent . . . . . . . . . .||84|
|25|||||Easter Even . . . . . . . . . . . . .||86|
|The Ten Commandments . . . . . . .||ib.|||||The hallowing of the font, bells, etc. . . .||87|
|The Five Commandments of the Church||48|||||Consecration of the Altar . . . .||88|
|The Five Senses . . . . . . . . . . . . .||49|||||Vestments and Ceremonies of Mass||89|
|Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||53|||||Four strong Reasons . . . . . . .||95|
|Confirmation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||56|||||Degrees of Virtue . . . . . . . . .||97|
|Penance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||58|||||Brief Meditation . . . . . . . . . .||101|
|Sacrament of the Altar . . . . . . . .||63|||||On the Sign of the Cross . . . .||104|
|Extreme Unction . . . . . . . . . . . .||65||||
|Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||67||||
|Matrimony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||71||||
THE PRINTER TO THE READER
touching the edition of this book.
Often times I have heard many devout Christians complain of the scarcity and want of this Catechism, heretofore complied and set forth by the reverend good Father L. Vaux: and have heard also many commend the same, at to be a book whereof they themselves & others have reaped much commodity.
Therefore I have long before this, purposed to put forth this said Catechism: yet for that great volumes are written of the like argument in other languages, I deferred the matter, daily expecting some more ample discourse: and such as might serve the turns of all as well Learned and unlearned. But when I made some good men privie to this my purpose & expectation, it was answered, that for an uncertain commodity to lose a certain, such a case were neither wisdom nor piety: for though it might be, that some learned man would hereafter enlarge this argument, and put it forth: yet it is uncertain when that will be: & when it cometh, it may perhaps not so aptly serve for young scholars and the unlearned (To whose use this short and compendious pamphlet was by the Author here of first meant and pretended) as this does.
Whereupon to satisfy the desire of these good men: and to the intent and benefit of this my travail might grow
to Gods glory, and to the furtherance and increasing of the Catholic faith and Religion with the advancement of the godly intent of the first Author, I have to my charges & pains, newly put forth in print this Catechism with the instructions of the laudable Ceremonies lately added thereunto.
And finding in other godly books, diverse brief notes of good and godly matters in foreign tongue not pertinent to this argument, I have thought good to collect, compile, translate and publish the same as an appendix to this book, for a further argumentation of profit and commodity to the unlearned: which my travail I desire may be accepted of all, as profitable to the readers as they may make it, and with as good a will as I offer it.
When the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all his Angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty, and shall say.
THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
When I did inwardly consider in my mind a Decree in the seventh Canon made at the Second General Council held at the Lateran wherein Schoolmasters are straitly charged, upon Sundays and Holy-days to instruct and teach their Scholars Christian doctrine, appertaining to Religion and good manners, as the Articles of faith, the Commandments of God, & such like: And also to exhort and compel their Scholars to be present in the Church with a reverent devotion, in prayer at the times of Mass, Mattins, and Evensong, the which Decree I did see diligently observed at Louan, & other places in Germany and Italy: These and such like considered, in mine own conscience I did confess a great negligence in my self, that I had not done my duty heretofore in bringing up my scholars. (Concil. Latera. 2)
Of these things upon a time I had talk with a grave godly man, who sometime did exercise an honorable room in England, and much pitied the lack of instruction of youth, and the ignorance that was among the simple people there, and of a godly zeal that he had toward the salvation of the souls of the simple of the simple and unlearned, he earnestly requested me, to set forth in writing an Instruction, what all people ought to believe and do, if they will be saved.
Whose request I was willing to satisfy for two causes, partly to recompense my negligence, in that I had not done my duty in teaching and instructing them that were committed to my charge (taking comfort of the parable in the Gospel, that he which entered into the vineyard to labor at eleven o'clock, received his penny equally with him that entered into the vineyard early in the morning to work) (Matth. 20.) partly to join with the said godly man, in the intent to do good to many, and to hurt none: trusting although I come late, that yet this my simple Mite may be received with the poor widow's oblation (Mark 12), although I was much afraid to have it put in print, lest it should come to the hands of such learned men, as would look for finesse of sentence, and eloquence of words, which are lacking in me: my means whereof in the end I feared, lest my good will and diligent labor should result in my rebuke and reproach.
Thus being in a great perplexity, it chanced that I had conference in this matter with a learned man, whose judgment I trusted better than mine own, & wholly depending upon his counsel, I did forsake mine own fancy & will herein. And being animated and encouraged by my said learned friend to take the matter in hand: after my simple and rude manner, I have compiled this little book for young scholars, and the unlearned, beseeching God in my daily prayers (if it be his will and pleasure) so to give his grace to the readers hereof, that some goodness may come thereby in the amendment of life, to God's
glory, and their souls health and comfort, which is the only purpose and intent that moved me to take pains to set forth this little book called A Christian Doctrine.
And what I have set forth in this little book, the ground and substance I have collected & translated out of the Scripture, & general Councils, out of the books of D. Petrus de Soto, and D. Canisius, adding here and there some sentences of the ancient Fathers, S. Cyprian, Athanasius, Ambrose, Hierome, Damascene, & S. Bernard. God send the ears to hear which shall learn it, and them, that need not learn it, because they know it, to take it quietly when they read it, knowing that I have made it for the simple, and ignorant, and not for the fine fellows, and learned.
THE CATECHISME CONTAINING
FIVE CHAPTERS NECESSARY
TO INSTRUCT CHILDREN
AND IGNORANT PEOPLE.
CHAP. I. (Of faith.)
What is man?
MAN is a reasonable creature of God, which God hath made marvelously of a body & a soul. As concerning the body, he is mortal like unto beasts. But as concerning the soul, he is immortal like unto Angels, made after the likeness & image of God, that is to say, with power of knowledge and love, apt to receive felicity, & true blessedness, which consists in the clear knowledge and fruition of God.
Whom do you call a Christian Catholic man?
Him that has received the Sacrament of Baptism, whereby he is made a member of the Catholic Church, & does profess in heart, word, and deed, the wholesome doctrine of Jesus Christ & of the Catholic Church, and does not consent nor agree to any strange sects, or opinions, that the Catholic Church does disavow or condemn.
How, or by what means are you made a Christian?
I Am made a Christian, first by the special grace of God in me, & his mercy: whereby (when I was a servant of the devil & wrath) by Baptism he has received me, to be his
child by adoption, when I could neither discern, nor know it by my age. And also now by his special inspiration and grace (as firmly I believe) he hath persuaded this thing in my mind, and made me certain, that this faith, and doctrine of Religion, which I do hold and believe, he has revealed in the Catholic Church, which as been taught of Christ, & his Apostles, and their successors to this day. And I am persuaded, that same faith & doctrine, only to be true, & that it shall continue to the end of the world: but all other sects, false religions, and heresies, which have risen from time to time, to be pernicious, hurtful and damnable.
Of what things ought a Christian man first to be instructed and taught?
Of Faith, Hope, & Charity, of the Sacraments, and offices of Christian righteousness. For although the doctrine of Christ & his Catholic Church be large, & contain all the holy Scripture, with traditions unwritten (which we are bound firmly to believe) notwithstanding under these five things especially all other things are contained & comprehended, either expressly in words, or understanded.
1. First, those things which appertain to faith, that we are bound to believe, are contained under the Articles of our Creed.
2. Secondly, those things that appertain to hope, and which we should desire & hope for, are contained under the petitions of our Pater Noster.
3. Thirdly, those things that appertain to Charity, are comprehended under the ten Commandments of God.
4. Fourthly, Grace, mercy and sanctification is given to us by the holy Sacraments.
5. Fifthly, by the offices of righteousness we are instructed and taught to decline from evil and to do good.
By what entrance must we come unto God?
First we must come unto God by faith: for without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11.)
What is Faith?
Faith is the gift of God, and light whereby we be lightened within, and assuredly by induced to believe all things that be revealed in Christ's Church to us, either by word written or unwritten.
OF THE ARTICLES OF THE FAITH
What is the Sum of Faith, or chief points that we must
believe, if we will be saved?
The twelve Articles of our Creed that the Apostles made: every one of the Apostles made one Article, as here follows.
1 S. Petrus.
I believe in God the Father almighty, the creator of heaven and earth.
2 S. Andreas.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.
3 S. John Evangelist.
Which was conceived by the holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.
4. S. Jacobus Major.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead & buried.
5. S. Thomas.
Descended into hell, and the third day he rose again from death.
6. S. Jacobus Minor.
He ascended into heaven, & sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.
7. S. Philippus.
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
8. S. Bartholomew.
I believe in the holy Ghost.
9. S. Matthew.
The holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.
10. S. Simon.
The forgiveness of sins.
11. S. Judas Thad.
The resurrection of the body.
12. S. Matthias.
The life everlasting. Amen.
What meaneth the first article?
I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven & earth.
We must believe in god the Father almighty, the first person in Trinity, the Creator and maker of heaven and earth, and of all creatures therein, both visible and invisible.(Gen I.)
What meaneth the second article?
In Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.
We must believe in Jesus Christ the second person in Trinity, his only Son our Lord, begotten of his Father before the beginning of the world: very God of the true God, light of light, being of the same substance with the Father. (Matth. 16., Heb. I.)
What meaneth the third Article of our Creed?
Which was conceived by the holy Ghost.
We must believe, that our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, taking flesh & blood of her (by the working of the holy Ghost without seed of man) which conception was immediately after the Salutation of the Angel Gabriel and her Consent. So he was born of the blessed virgin Mary after nine months, being very God and perfect man. (Luke I.)
What meaneth the fourth Article?
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
We must believe, that Christ our Lord being without spot of sin, was condemned to suffer death (Pontius Pilate being judge) he was cruelly crucified, he gave up the ghost upon the Cross, he was buried with great reverence of Joseph and Nicodemus.(Matth. 20.)
What meaneth the fifth Article?
He descended into hell, the third day he arose again.
We must believe, that Christ's body lying in the grave, his soul descended into hell: not to suffer pains, as some heretics do say, but for consolation and comfort of many Fathers there, and out of that place (called Lymbus Patrum) (Matth. 8., Luke 14., Ephe. 4., I Cor. 15.)
he loosed the souls of the blessed Fathers from captivity, and carried them away with him: the third day he rose again from death to life, manifestly showing himself to his Disciples, eating with them, and speaking of the kingdom of God. (Acts I.)
What meaneth the sixth Article?
He ascended into heaven.
We must believe, that our Lord Jesus Christ, after that he had done all things necessary for our redemption in this manhood, the fortieth day after his glorious resurrection in the same manhood marvelously ascended into heaven with great glory and triumph, carrying with him the souls which he had loosed from captivity, and bondage of the devil. And there Christ assumed into heaven, is peaceably in great glory & majesty, both judges and disposes all things quietly & peaceably with God the Father in everlasting blessedness (which is understanded by the right hand) where his seat was prepared from the beginning of the world. (Acts I., Matth. 16., Luke 24., Heb. I.)
What meaneth the seventh Article?
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
We must believe, that Christ our Lord at the day of judgment, in man form like as he did ascend, so shall come from heaven: to receive the good people to eternal joy, and to judge the bad people to perpetual pain. (Matth. 25.)
What meaneth the eighth Article?
I believe in the Holy Ghost.
We must believe in God the holy Ghost (the third person in Trinity) proceeding from the Father and the Son, being equal in power with them: we must believe that he teaches the Catholic church all truth, and hath appointed
(John 15., Acts 10.)
the Bishops to govern and rule said Church, and that he sanctifies us by the holy Sacraments.
What is the meaning of the ninth Article?
The holy Catholic Church.
We must believe one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: and we must believe the doctrine that is taught therein.
What is the Church?
The Church is a visible company of people, first gathered together of Christ & his disciples, continued unto this day in a perpetual succession, in one Apostolic faith, living under Christ the head: and in earth, under his Vicar, Pastor and chief Bishop. (Aug. ca. 4. cont. epis. fundamen.)
Why is the Church called one?
Because thereby are excluded all congregations of the malignant Church, which are divided into sundry schisms, sects, and opinions in doctrine, as the Lutherans Church does not agree with the Zuinglians, nor the Zuinglians with the Anabaptists &c. Therefore Christ his Church is called one, being gathered together in one spirit of Jesus christ. In this Church is confessed and worshipped one God, one faith is confessed and taught, one baptism and one uniform order of Sacraments are ministered without schism or division, having one Head in earth, God's Vicar in the Apostolic See, successor to S. Peter. ( Ephe. 4.)
Why is that Church called holy?
Because in it we be sanctified and made holy in receiving to many benefits of God, as we have received: the Church being Christ's dear spouse, the pillar & foundation of (Ephe. 5., I Cor. 6.)
truth, Christ has sanctified it by his precious bloodshedding: the blessed Martyrs have suffered cruel martyrdom therein: and many miracles have been wrought therein by the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors & Virgins, for the confirmation of their doctrine.
Why is the Church called Catholic?
Because everywhere, at all times, and in most persons, it both is, and has been. (Matth. 28)
Why is the Church called Apostolic?
Because it is founded upon the Apostles, and in this Church we can show and prove by lineal descent in the See of Rome, a succession of Bishops, which have received & kept the Scriptures with the true exposition thereof, traditions and observations, from the Apostles to these our days, from one to another: so that the true doctrine, principal traditions, general observations and customs used in the Church at this day, we are able to show instituted or allowed by the Bishops succeeding lineally to the Apostles Peter and Paul, which did sit at Rome, there laying a foundation of Christ his Church, and also suffered martyrdom there.
What is the Communion of Saints?
We must believe, that all good faithful Christian people, whether they be in heaven, earth, or purgatory, be members of Christ his mystical body (which is the Church) and communicate & participate one with another.
The Saints in heaven do pray for us in earth, and we participate of the benefit of their prayers & merits: we that be in this world do communicate one with another in prayers and the sacrifice of the Mass, with all good spiritual things, that be
done in the universal Church: we ought to pray for them that be in Purgatory, & they may participate with us of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and of our prayers, & other good deeds, and take relief and benefit thereof.
What meaneth the tenth Article?
Forgiveness of sins.
We must believe (if we remain still in the Catholic Church) to have remission & forgiveness of sins: which is by the holy Sacraments that take their efficacy & strength of the merits of Christ his Passion.
What meaneth the eleventh Article?
The resurrection of the body.
We must believe, that although our bodies die, & be eaten with worms, or with wild beasts, or other ways consumed: yet at the day of judgment the same bodies with the same flesh and bones shall arise again, & be united to our souls again.
What meaneth the twelfth Article?
The life everlasting.
We must believe, that the day of judgment, our souls & bodies shall be joined together. (Matth. 25) And we must come before Christ, to give a reckoning of our own deeds, & they that have done well, shall go to everlasting joy both body and soul: and they that have done evil, shall go to everlasting pains both body and soul: so that after this life, is an everlasting life, either in joy, or pain. This is the Catholic faith, the which except we wholly and steadfastly believe, without doubt we shall perish to everlasting damnation. (Athanasi.)
What is the sum of all the Articles of our Creed?
To believe in heart, and confess with mouth, that our Lord God being most mighty in power, prudent in wisdom, of (I John 5.)
an infinite goodness, is one in nature and substance, & three in persons, the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost, so that these three are one true, eternal and incomprehensible God: of whom, by whom, and in whom all things are. Especially yet creation appertains to the Father, Redemption to the Son, and Sanctification to the holy Ghost. (Rom. II.)
Who is alienated & utterly separated from the Church of Christ?
The Jews, and all Infidels, and they that by Apostasy forsake their faith. And heretics which although they be christened, yet obstinately defend error against the Catholic faith. Moreover Schismatics, which separate themselves from peace and Catholic unity: also they that be lawfully excommunicated. All these manner of people are excluded from the Communion of Saints, the participation of Sacraments, & sufferages of the Church: which be clean void of a spiritual life, & are in bondage of the devil.
What is the most plain rule of faith whereby Catholics be discerned from heretics?
The most plain rule to know a Catholic is: They that do profess the faith of Christ, & the whole authority of the Church, and steadfastly do hold the doctrine and faith of the Church, which the Doctors and Pastors of the Catholic Church do define and teach to be believed, are Catholics. For he that will not obey the Church (Christ him self says) let him be taken as a Heathen & Publican (Matth. 18). He shall not have God to be his Father, that will not have the Church to be his mother. (Cypri.)
CHAP. 2. (Of Hope.)
Spe saluati summus.
By hope we are saved.
What is hope?
Hope is a virtue given from God above, whereby we look for the goodness of our salvation and everlasting life with a sure trust.
Whereof my we learn the right manner and way to trust and ask necessaries of God?
Of our Pater Noster, which our Lord & master with his own mouth, has taught and appointed us to learn: wherein be seven petitions, as here follows (Matth. 6).
1. Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
2. Thy Kingdom come.
3. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread.
5. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
6. And lead us not into temptation.
7. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
What meaneth the beginning of this prayer? Our Father which art in heaven.
It is a preface, which puts us in remembrance of an high and singular benefit, that Christ our Saviour has obtained through his merits: whereby God the Father is content to receive and take us as his children and heirs by adoption. And by this sweet name of the father, we are provoked and allured, both to love him again, and also to pray with great trust. (Rom. 8., Gal. 4., Ephe. I.)
What meaneth the first petition? Thy name be hallowed.
By this petition we desire, that like as God the Father is holy by nature, so by grace in the holy Sacraments we may be made holy and be sanctified, and that this gift of holy fear (lest we should offend God) be so firmly planted in our hearts, that thereby all corruption of sin be expelled and excluded from us, and that the love of God be so kindled in our hearts with pureness of life, that with all our might and strength we may endeavor our selves, to magnify, extol, & praise the honour, worship, & magnificence of the eternal Majesty, and what so ever appertains to the glory of the most high & mighty God the Father.
What meaneth the second petition? Thy Kingdom come.
By this petition we desire and ask, the glory of the heavenly kingdom, and everlasting felicity to be given to us, that speedily we may reign with Christ for ever: which petition must be obtained by humility and meekness on our parts, applying our selves to Gods mercy and pity.
What meaneth the third petition? Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
By this petition we ask & desire the help of the divine grace to be given to us: that willingly, sincerely, and constantly we may fulfil the will of God the Father in earth, as the blessed company do in heaven. (Rom. 8., Matth. 25)
What meaneth the fourth petition? Give us this day our daily bread.
We desire and ask, that those things may be given to us, which appertains to the nourishment, and sustentation of the life of our bodies & souls: as meat, drink & (1 Tim. 6., Matth. 4)
clothing, the word of God, & the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
What meaneth the fifth petition? Forgive us our trespasses as we &c.
We desire pardon & forgiveness of our sins, being ready to forgive & remit what offense so ever any has committed against us: and so he that is not with all men in Charity, can never truly say his Pater Noster. And as we show mercy, pity & compassion upon the poor, and to our inferiors that have need of us: so God will show mercy, pity, & compassion upon us.
What meaneth the sixth petition? And lead us not into temptation.
We desire that in so great imbecility, frailty, & weakness of life, we may be underset & upholden with a divine power and strength: and that we may be defended against the devil, the flesh and the world, lest by any means we be overcome with temptation of our said ghostly enemies, and give consent.
What meaneth the seventh petition? Deliver us from evil.
We desire God the Father, that of all his gentile beneficiaries he would deliver us from all adversaries, and miseries, both of body and soul, and from all occasions of the same in this present life, and in the life to come. Amen (which is as much to say in English as, so be it) signifies the hope to obtain all that is contained in the petitions before going.
What is the sum of the four first petitions?
By the first petition we desire that the honour and glory of the Divine Majesty may be reverenced & hallowed among us. (1.)
By the second we desire our own felicity. (2.)
By the third petition we desire due obedience to God. (3.)
By the fourth, necessary sustentation of our bodies and souls. (4.)
What is the sum of the other three petitions?
The other three petitions contain the evil things and miseries, that we ought to put away with prayer, as sins, which shut up the Kingdom of heaven from us. And temptations, which draw us from God to sin. And calamities both of this life, & the life to come, except we be helped by a Divine grace. So our Pater noster teaches us both to ask good things, and to put away evil things by prayer.
OF THE AVE MARIA.
Whereof came this manner of salutation to the Blessed Virgin Mary?
The first part came of the example of the Angel Gabriel which with great reverance & humility did salute the virgin Mary, being set from God, so show the wonderful incarnation of our saviour christ our redeemer, saying: Hail full of grace, our Lord is with thee. The second of the example of S. Elizabeth, which being replenished with the holy ghost, did salute her saying: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Now the continuance of this manner, of the salutation, comes of the use & custom of the catholic church, being taught by the holy ghost, this Angelical Salutation, to be a very necessary prayer of laud & praise, to be often said, & to be joined to our Pater noster.
What fruit or profit does this Salutation bring us?
It does revive and stir up in us, the gracious and healthful memory of the holy Virgin Mary & our Lords Incarnation.
And furthermore it does admonish us, & put us in remembrance, that we may seek to get the gracious favour of the Virgin to make intercession for us to God.
What may we believe of this Salutation?
The excellent gifts & praises of the incomparable Virgin: that she was replenished, and fulfilled with the gifts of God, and the most singular virtues: that she was a Virgin and a Mother: that she was blessed among all women of all times: that she was Mother of the King of all Kings, mother of Christ our Lord God. Also that she was the procurer of grace, and mother of life, which is Christ himself.
Why is the Ave Maria used so often to be said for a prayer, seeing there is no petition in it?
Who so ever has any suite, or request that he would gladly obtain of a Prince, Magistrate, or his Superior: he will use often words that will please and delight the mind of him that his suite is to, that thereby his mind may be moved with affection, and made attentive to hear the Suiter, and grant all his requests. So all Christian people are suiters to God, and ought to make suite & request for mercy, grace, and godly help, to attain and come to eternal glory. And for because our blessed Lady was preelected & chosen of God before all other creatures, to be the mother of Christ took his manhood, wherewith he redeemed us: therefore it is expedient, to desire the said Mother of God to pray for us, that by her intercession we may the better obtain our suite of God.
No words can be found in the holy Scripture of more efficacy and strength, to move the holy Trinity mercifully to hear our suite, & grant our request, then the Angelical Salutation.
First what words can more acceptable to God the Father, then these words, that he himself was the Author of, & (as one would say) edited in heaven, and sent them down into earth by his mighty Archangel Gabriel, when he had decreed mans redemption & salutation.
What words can be more pleasant to god the Son, the second person of the Trinity, then the words of the Angel, whereby his blessed incarnation is most specially remembered: that he being god, was also mad man perfectly: taking his manhood of the most pure blood of the blessed Virgin Mary, and was the blessed fruit of her womb: which fruit that the blessed Virgin brought forth, is really present in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, to feed and nourish the worthy receivers, and to bring everlasting life to them that receive worthily. And also to be as a medicine, to expel the poison of the fruit that Eve first tasted of, which brought death and condemnation to all mankind.
What words can more please god the Holy Ghost, the third Person in Trinity, then these words that the Angel spake to the blessed Virgin Mary: by the which he did work the miraculous Incarnation of our Saviour in the Virgins womb? So the will of the holy Trinity was wrought by the Salutation of the Angel, to great joy of Angels, & to the unspeakable comfort of mankind: what words can be more joyful to the blessed virgin Mary then to hear these words that the Angel saluted her with, at the conception of our Saviour Christ in her womb: when Eva was turned into Ave, declaring her to be innocent, without spot of sin, so full of grace, as never any earthly creature was: in such sort and manner to have our Lord God with her, as never any creature had: to have such blessedness, as never any woman had. Being a pure Virgin and mother, without grief or pain,
bringing forth such fruit of her womb, as by his glorious Passion did redeem the world? what can more move the blessed virgin to pray to God for us, then the Angelical salutation (called commonly the Ave Maria) in the which is contained such mystical words (says S. Bernard) that as often as it is said with a reverent devotion, it makes Angels glad, and the Devils to quake and tremble. Therefore upon these considerations the holy Church does universally and daily use both in public & private prayer, this Angelical Salutation, and commends the same to all her obedient Children.
CHAP. 3. (Of Charity)
Si vis ad vitä ingredi, serus mandata.
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.
OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
What is Charity?
Charity is a virtue given from God, by the keeping whereof (as Christ said) we shall possess everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. (Matth. 22., Luke 10, Matth. 19.)
How many Commandments of God be there?
Ten whereof the first Commandment is: Thou shalt have none other Gods but one: God the Father, god the Son, and God the holy Ghost, three Persons, and one God. Thou shalt worship thy Lord God and only serve him. (Exo. 20., Matth. 4.)
What meaneth this Commandment?
It does prohibit and condemn all idolatry and worshipping of false Gods, art magic, divination, superstitions observations, & all wicked worshipping. And upon the contrary part it requires, that we believe in God and worship him. (Exo. 23., Deu. 18.)
How many manner of honours and worship be there?
Three, which be called Latria, Hyperdulia, and Dulia.
What is the honour and worship called Latria?
Latria is a Service, Adoration, honour & worship, that must be given only to God being the beginning & end of every creature. By this honour and worship called Latria: we must honour, worship & reverence the blessed Trinity, and Christ incarnate the second Person in Trinity.
What is the honour, worship, and reverence called Hyperdulia?
Hyperdulia, is a reverence, worship, & honour, due unto no other, but to such as be most joined unto God: as our most blessed Lady mother of God of whom Christ took his manhood.
What is the honour, worship, and reverence, that is called Dulia?
Dulia, is a reverence, worship, and honour appertaining to reverend persons both in heaven and in earth. By this honour called Dulia, we worship and honour the Angels and Saints in heaven. But we do not honour & worship Saints, as putting more confidence and trust in them, then in God, nor with such honor as is due to God. For we honour them as the friends of God, being his Children and heirs by grace, and our Advocates and Intercessors with God the giver of all honor. In earth we reverence their Relics and Images but the honour is referred to the Saints themselves. Also with this honor of Dulia we honour our Parents, Superiors, & all reverend persons. (Damas. lib. 4. ca. 16.)
How is God due honour & service given him?
In our hearts by faith, hope and charity. In our bodies by outward gesture and acts as Sacrifice and fasting, &c.
In believing the xii. Articles of our Creed, both expressed in words, and understanded as holy Church does believe and teach: and in having an inward devotion of mind toward God & his Saints for his sake.
How must we honour God by Hope?
We must have a steadfast trust in god, that of his mercy & grace (our good works answering there unto) he will reward us with everlasting joy in heaven.
How must we honour God by Charity?
We must love God with all our hearts so firmly, that neither for fear nor flattery, prosperity, nor adversity we be carried away from God. (Charity. Matth. 22.) And that the love of no creature remain in our hearts, but for God and godliness. With all our souls we must love god so faithfully, that we had rather our souls should be severed from our bodies, then from god. This love makes all things light and easy: this love caused the glorious Martyrs to suffer all kind of torments, both patiently and gladly for the fervent love of God. This ardent love unto God, caused the blessed Fathers in wilderness to take great pains and penance upon them, in fasting, and praying, weeping and mourning. For their meat and drink they used dry bread and cold water, herbs, roots, and barks of trees, for their clothing, heare and sack, the cold earth for a bed: a hard stone for a pillow: and were ready to suffer any cruel death for Christs sake: their hearts were so kindled with a burning Charity towards God.
How many ways, is the first Commandment broken concerning faith?
1 By Infidelity.
2 Doubting in faith.
3 Presumptuous searching of faith.
4 Denying of faith.
5 Tempting of God.
6 Unreverence of god.
7 The Art Magic.
Who be they, that break the first commandment of God by Infidelity?
All heretics, idolaters, Turks and Jews, and all they that do not profess the catholic faith both in heart, word and deed, that our godfathers and godmothers promised for us in Baptism: And all they that neglect to learn the Articles of our faith, and the Commandments of god. For we ought to learn the said Articles of our faith & ten Commandments, before we receive the blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
Who be they that break the first commandment, by doubting in Faith?
They that do not steadfastly believe, but doubt whether there be a Paradise, a hell, and a Purgatory. Also they that do not steadfastly believe the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and other Sacraments of the Catholic Church. For he that doubts in faith, mistrusts the certainty of Gods word.
Who be they that break this Commandment, by presumptuous searching of Faith?
They that presumptuously search the Articles of Faith or doubting, dispute of Faith and Verity. And they that will believe nothing concerning Faith, but that with can be tried and shown by reason: for faith has no merit where mans reason gives experiment. No man can try our his faith by reason. (3. Grego.)
Who breaketh the first Commandment by denying of Faith?
They that will not confess the Catholic faith with their mouths, although they believe it in their hearts for a Christian man ought to be of such constancy, that he should rather suffer his life to be taken from him, then his faith. And S. Paul says: we believe in heart to righteousness, and confess in mouth to salvation. (Rom. 10)
Who breaketh the first commandment of God by tempting of God?
They that require of God, or of his Saints, miracles: & seek to be helped of God by miracle where they may be helped by other means. And they that for poverty, sickness, or adversity, do murmur & grudge, that God will not grant them their desire, when peradventure they desire against their souls health. For many times god does not give us that, which we desire: to the intent he have give us that which is is better for us.
Who breaketh the first Commandment of God by unreverence of God?
They that do not give due reverence to God, and his Saints, or to their Relics and Images. Secondly, they that unworthily receive the blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Thirdly, they that unreverently behave themselves before the blessed Sacrament. Fourthly, they that unreverently behave themselves in the Church, or other places dedicated to gods service: as they that will not pray with their mouths, kneel upon their knees, knock upon their breasts, holy up their hands and lift up their eyes when ordered requires, and necessity or reason dispenses not.
Who breaketh the first Commandment by art Magic?
They that of purpose tell destinies by taking of lots, or verses in the scriptures, Enchanters, witches, Sorcerers,
interpreters of dreams, & such like prohibited by the law of God: and all they that advisedly use their help to recover health, or to get a thing that is lost.
How many ways is the first Commandment broken, concerning hope?
Three manner of ways: By desperation, by presumption of gods mercy, and presumption of our good works.
Who breaks the first Commandment by desperation?
First, they that by temptation of the Devil, pusilanimitie, or other infirmity destroy themselves upon mistrust of gods mercy. Secondly they that do think their sins so great, that God either can not, or will not forgive their sins. Thirdly, they that heap sin upon sin and will not go about to get remission of their sins. All such break this Commandment.
Who breaks the first Commandment by presumption of Gods mercy?
First, they that continue in sin still, trusting to have mercy without Penance, and everlasting life without good works: & will say, God has created them, and redeemed them, and therefore he must needs save them. Secondly, they that trust only by Christ's Passion, or by only faith to be saved. Thirdly they that continue in sin still, trusting in the hour of death to ask mercy and to have it: which is a presumption without all discretion. For when the heart is pinched with pangs of death, the body vexed with sickness, the mind tossed with the perplexity of hell-fire, and both body and soul environed & compassed about with horrible swarms of Devils: the commonly grace & memory fails to ask mercy. And then it fares (as
Scripture says) he that loves danger, shall perish in it (Eccle. 3). For he that will not seek for mercy when he may, often lacks it when he would have it. All such breaks the Commandment of God by presumption of gods mercy.
Who breaks the first Commandment by presumption of good works?
All they that think their merits so great, that they ought to have no adversity in this life, and they shall possess heaven only by their merits. And they that think they can merit of themselves, without the continual grace of god. Such break the Commandment of God by presumption of good works.
How many ways is the first Commandment broken, concerning Charity?
Three manner of ways, by love of worldly things, by worldly fear, and by servile fear.
Who breaks the first commandment by love of worldly things?
First of all, they that love wife, child, master, friend, or themselves more than god. Secondly, they that for worldly gains, preferment, or carnal pleasure neglect their duty to god. Thirdly they that be more careful for worldly things, then for heavenly things, & would still remain in the world if they might. For the love of god & the world can not dwell together in one heart. Nor one heart can serve God & Mammon. All such break the Commandment of God.
Who breaks the first commandment by worldly fear?
First of all they, that for fear of Princes, Lords, Magistrates or Masters, do not obey the Commandment of God.
Secondly, they that fear more the displeasure of any man, than of god. Thirdly they that for fear to be talked of or scorned, withdraw themselves from Divine service, or worshipping of God, or of his Saints. Such break this commandment of God.
Who breaks the first Commandment by servile fear?
All they that keep the Commandments of god only for fear of punishment in hell-fire, & not for the love of god: all such break this Commandment of god.
How many causes be there that move us to love God above all things?
1 Gods chief goodness.
2 He loved us first.
3 He is our Father.
4 He has redeemed us.
5 He provides continually for us.
6 He is present unto us in the Blessed Sacrament.
7 He promised to us a reward, that eye never saw, that ear never heard, that heart never thought.
OF THE SECOND COMMANDMENT.
What is the second Commandment of God?
Thou shalt not take the name of god in vain.
What means this Commandment?
It does forbid and condemn the abusing and unreverent taking of the name of God, and his Saints, or any other creature: which is committed of perjurers, and blasphemers. No man may swear an oath without a great cause, and that must be before a
Judge in verity, in justice, and judgment: that is, truly, uprightly, and advisedly. Otherwise all our talk ought to be, yea, and nay.
How many ways is the name of God taken in vain?
Five manner of ways: By perjury, blasphemy, unlawful vows, breaking of lawful vows, and by unadvised taking of the name of God and his Saints.
How many ways is God offended by Perjury?
Seven manner of ways. First by falsity, in calling God or his Saints to witness, affirming with an oath that, which is false: or that, which we think to be false.
Secondly by doubtfulness, affirming with an oath that, which we be doubt of, although it prove true afterward.
Thirdly, if we promise with an oath to another that, which we intend not to perform.
Fourthly, if by craft or subtlety of words in an oath we go about to deceive the hearers understanding.
Fifthly, if we swear to do a naughty act or deed, which oath is not to be kept.
Sixthly, if we swear to omit a good deed, or work of Charity, which oath is not to be kept.
Seventhly, if of purpose we compel any man to perjury.
How many ways is God offended by blasphemy?
Seven manner of ways: First if we swear by false Gods.
Secondly, if we attribute unto God that, which does not agree to him: as to say, God is not righteous or merciful.
Thirdly, if we deny anything, that agrees to God: as to deny God to take care of mortal things.
Fourthly, if we attribute unto a creature that, which only
agrees to God: as if we attribute to the devil and fortune the power and dominion of all things.
Fifthly, if we attribute members to God, as concerning his divinity.
Sixthly, if we curse God or his Saints, and will say: God is not righteous, if we may not have our own will. For as light is odious to sore eyes, and good meat unsavory to the sick: so God his mercy displeases evil & wicked people.
Seventhly, if we do injury to God or to his Saints.
How many ways is God offended by unlawful vows?
Four manner of ways. First if we make a vow, to do an evil deed: as to kill a man, or to maim him.
Secondly, if we make a vow against a godly purpose: as not to enter into religion, or not to give alms.
Thirdly, if we vow a lawful vow for an evil intent, that we have have our unlawful purpose, so to make God author of evil.
Fourthly, if we make a vow that is foolish, indiscrete, or unreasonable. And if we do not perform our lawful vow in due time, we break Gods commandment: yet some vows for a reasonable cause may be changed or dispensed with, by them that have authority to dispense.
Also, we may break the second commandment of God by unadvisedly taking of the name of God: as if without need or compulsion we swear in things that be certain, or if we swear of a perverse custom, or of a purpose by God or his Saints in idle talk or anger. For he that is accustomed to swear, can not escape perjury.
OF THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
What is the third Commandment of God?
Remember that thou sanctify, & keep holy the Sabbath day. In Moses law the people were commanded to sanctify
& keep holy the Sabbath day, which day we call Saturday, or the seventh day. For after that almighty God had created all kind of creatures in six days, the seventh day he rested or ceased to create any new creature. But in the law of grace we do not sanctify or keep holy the seventh day, called the Saturday: but we sanctify or keep holy the day following, called the Sunday or our Lord's day: in the which day christ our Lord arose from death, making mankind (that was created earthly) a heavenly creation, in the day of his resurrection. This precept of sanctifying or keeping holy the Sunday, or our Lord's day, does contain under it, all feasts & holy days instituted & commanded by the Church. And we do sanctify the holy day, when we apply ourselves to the worshipping of God. Therefore upon Sundays & holy days we ought to search our conscience, and purge it from sin: we should cry & call unto God for mercy & grace, thanking him for his manifold benefits bestowed upon us: we ought to have in memory Christ's Passion, Paradise, Hell & Purgatory, so to abstain from sin, & exercise ourselves in things that be godly for our souls health: as in going to the Church, to pray devoutly, reverently to hear Mass, and other Divine service.
How many ways is the holy day broken?
Four manner of ways. By servile work, by omitting the worshipping of God, by unreverence of holy things, by wanton or unlawful plays.
How is the holy-day broken by servile work or labor?
If upon Sundays or holy days we work, or cause other to work any servile labor, that properly pertains to servants: as plowing, carting, digging, & such like, or do use handy crafts, How be it for pity or necessity, some things be
permitted to be done upon holy days: as dressing of meat, preparing of a medicine, burying the dead, & such like. Also it is permitted upon holy days to exercise the liberal sciences, as to dispute, or study, to sing, or to play upon instruments. And if necessity do constrain to take a journey upon the holy day, it is permitted.
How is the holy day broken in omitting the worship of God?
If every Sunday and holy day we be not present at Divine service, & if we do not hear wholly one Mass with a devout reverent mind: or if we do not say our Divine service that we be bound unto, if we be not confessed at Easter and receive the Sacrament. In omitting these and such like, we break the holy day.
How is the holy day broken, by unreverence of holy things?
If we hear Mass unreverently, as talking, walking, gasing, or occupying ourselves idlely. And if we misuse the church or church yard, or pollute the same, or if we use anything forbidden by Christ or his Church, we break the holy day.
How is the holy day broken by plays, pastimes, or gaming?
If we misspend the holy day in unthrifty games, as cards and dice for covetousness, or when we should be at Divine service: or if we use dancing for wantoness, or if we frequent taverns or bowling alleys, or if we use any dishonest place or company. By these ways & such like we break the holy day, and so offend god.
OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT OF GOD.
What is the fourth Commandment of God?
Honor thy Father and Mother, that thy days may be long upon earth (Exo. 20).
In what things does the honor consist, that we must do to our Fathers and Mothers?
In three things. In reverence, obedience, and succoring them. (Ephe. 6. Col. 3.)
How must we reverence our Fathers and Mothers?
In loving them, doing good to them, in praying for them, being afraid lest we should offend them in word or deed. In giving place to them: we must reverence them both in words and gesture.
How do we offend in not reverencing our parents?
First, if we neglect our natural parents, or kinsfolkes being in poverty or misery, if we deride or scorn them, or stir them to anger, or if we desire their death for hatred towards them, or for desire of inheritance, goods or honor, and by such like, we break gods precept.
Secondly, we break the commandment of God, if we do not reverence our Prelates, Bishops, ghostly Fathers, & other spiritual rulers and governers in Christ's Church, that have cure & charge of souls. For whosoever does condemn, despise, or scorn either their carnal parents: or spiritual fathers: be accursed of God, as Cham was for laughing at his father Noah. (Rom. 13, Heb 13, 1 Pet. 2, Gen. 9)
Thirdly, we break this Commandment of God: if we do not reverence our God Fathers and God mothers, our superiors and elders both in age, gravity, wisdom, virtue and learning, or in office, authority and dignity.
In what things must we obey our parents?
In all things appertaining to God, or good manners, in things that be honest and lawful. We must obey them by the example of our Saviour Christ, which was obedient to his parents. And as we be bound to obey our carnal parents, so we be bound to obey our Prelates, Bishops and spiritual govern-
ours in Christ's Church: we are bound to obey their precepts, and firmly to keep their doctrine, that they have taught us, for our souls health.
We must diligently take heed that we be not carried away with any strange heretical doctrine, & that we entangle not ourselves in schism: steadfastly we must cleave and stick to the doctrine concerning faith and religion, that has been taught in Christ's Church by a succession of Pastors and Bishops coming linealy from the Apostles. Whose doctrine is derived from the Apostles to this day from one to another. Whosoever does not obey these spiritual Fathers, does greatly offend God.
In what things must we succor our parents?
In comforting them: and ministering necessities to them. For if any be so unnatural: that they will not comfort them, when they be alive, and pray for them when they be dead: they break the commandment of God.
Also by this Commandment every man and woman is bound to pay truly their tithes to their Prelates, & all other debts and duties due unto others.
And as the children be bound to obey their parents, so fathers and mothers ought to give good example to their Children. But some parents seek so much to enrich their Children in worldly things: that they purchase everlasting damnation both to themselves: and to their children. Such parents show themselves to care only for the body: and not for the soul. If they see their Children in poverty or misery: they lament: but to see their Children in sinful life they little pass there of. (Ephe. 6)
OF THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
What is the fifth Commandment of god?
Thou shalt not kill. That is to be understood: thou shalt not without just authority kill or hurt any man in body or in
soul. And therefore both the Judge in the commonwealth does lawfully put offenders to death, or otherwise punish them bodily, and the Bishop does lawfully excommunicate wicked or disobedient persons, for the preservation of peace & tranquility in the commonwealth, & in the church.
How many ways do we break this Commandment?
Twelve manner of ways. First if we kill, hurt or maim willfully ourselves, or any other: or if we command any man unjustly to be killed, or hurt or give counsel, aid or help there unto.
Secondly, If women by medicine, as by herbs, drinks, or by any other means kill their Children after their conception: Or if any man kill the Child in the mothers womb by strokes or by other means. Or if any man or woman procure bareness to themselves, or to any other.
Thirdly, They break this Commandment, that by witchcraft, or by any such devilish means, be the cause of any mans death.
Fourthly, They that shorten their life by surfeiting with meats and drinks, or by riotous wanton life.
Fifthly, Princes, and such as be in authority, if they make laws to put innocents to death, or any man unjustly: as they that have made laws to put the holy Martyrs to death: for confessing Christ: and the Catholic faith.
Sixthly, They that of malice do wish hurt death or damnation to any man: or they that rejoice of any mans adversity: or be sorry to hear of other mens felicity or they that speak contemptuously of any man: or they that desire God to take vengeance upon any man or woman.
Seventhly, They that neglect to succor & help them: that be in extreme necessity. Saint Ambrose does say feed them that be like to die for hunger: for if thou do not feed hast killed.
Eighthly, They that do imagine hurt or displeasure to any man: or make conspiracies, or take counsel to imprison, to vex or trouble innocents, or any man for a godly cause, as for the Catholic faith, or Religion.
Ninthly, They that have offended any man, and will not ask forgiveness. And they that will not forgive them which have offended, but will do evil for evil.
Tenthly, They that kill the souls of the people with heresy, or wicked doctrine, or counsel, whereby souls are brought to damnation. And they that corrupt youth with wicked doctrine, or by any means corrupt good manners.
Eleventhly, They that show evil example in word, or deed, and they that will not admonish their neighbor offending.
Twelfthly, Fathers, Mothers, and Schoolmasters, if they do not correct Children offending with the rod discretely: for he that spareth the rod, hateth the child (said Solomon - Prov. 23) They that will not correct the children offending, kill their souls. By correcting Children with the rod: fathers mothers: and masters may deliver the Childrens souls from hell. Therefore it is better to be unborn, then untaught. But in doing correction: anger must follow reason: & be ruled by reason.
We must beware, that we break not this fifth Commandment of God, in any of these twelve ways before said.
OF THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT
What is the sixth Commandment of God?
Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Exo. 20) Under this Commandment is forbidden all unlawful company in lechery: whether it be fornication between unmarried persons (1 Cor. 6, Matt. 5): deflowering of virgins, rape: incest between kinsfolks: sacrilege as pretended marriage of priests or between religious persons, or in sin against nature: which is most horrible in the sight of God. Also they
that be unlawfully married & inordinately give themselves to carnal lust. For the special cause of marriage ought to be, for procreation of Children. And under this precept is also forbidden all consent in delectation, & voluptuous pleasure of carnal concupiscence and lechery: an dishonest handling or touching themselves or others for lust or unlawful appetite, whereby nature is stirred, or concupiscence kindled.
In like manner they that suffer others willingly & dishonestly to touch or handle them. Also by inordinate or lascivious kissing or clipping, by bawdy songs: or dishonest talking, or by any dissolute behaviour: as wanton & unchaste sight, dancing to the intent to procure wanton love, or to move any to filthy sin. Also they that be bawdes, to bring any persons together to commit sin: or they that give counsel, aid, succor or help there unto in word or in deed. Finally if in our hearts we give a full and deliberate consent to filthy sin of the flesh: which may come of unchaste sight: or talking, or of filthy thoughts, and imaginations: although we do not accomplish our filthy lust neither in deed, nor in words, yet we may offend deadly. By all these ways afore said we may break the sixth Commandment of God, and so set ourselves in a damnable state.
What means must we use to avoid the filthy sin of the flesh?
First we must consider: that lechery corrupts every age, it confounds all the senses, it breaks all order, it perverts every degree, it assaults young and old, men, and women, wise and simple: superiors and inferiors, it weakens the body: and kills the soul, it lessens good fame: and offends the neighbor, it lessens God: and wins the Devil, it dulls the wit: and makes men beastly: of the temple and members of Christ (Ephe. 5), it makes the temple and members of the Devil. Fornicators and unclean livers shall have no inheritance in the Kingdom of (Apo. 21)
god: but their portion and part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Saint Hierome compares lechery to hellfire, whose flame is pride, whose sparks are ungodly talk, whose smoke is infamy, whose end is poverty, misery and hellfire.
Consider moreover, the more any man gives himself to voluptuous carnal pleasure, willing to satisfy this filthy concupiscence: the more shall his desire increase, and the less shall he be satisfied. It is but a moment: that this filthy lust delights: but the painful torments due for the same, be eternal in hellfire. That they will avoid this filthy sin: first must keep their hearts clean from idle filthy thoughts, by holy meditations of Christ & his Saints. Secondly, they must shut up their eyes from vain aspects, and their ears from ungodly talk. Thirdly, they must shut up their mouths from all talk sounding to sin, and use devout prayer. Fourthly, they must chastise their bodies with abstinence and fasting, watching and exercising of some godly labor: & flee from idleness and evil company: so by the help of Gods grace this filthy damnable sin may be avoided.
OF THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT
What is the seventh Commandment of God?
Thou shalt commit no theft (Exo. 20). By this Commandment we are forbidden, to take, keep, or occupy anything that is an other mans against the right owners will, by violence, fraud, or deceit.
How many ways do we break this precept?
Seventeen ways. First by sacrilege, as robbing of Churches, taking anything away that is dedicated to God or to his Saints, out of the Churches or hallowed place, & putting it to profane use.
Secondly by Simony, in buying, or selling, or making any Simoniacal pact for spiritual gifts or ecclesiastical promotion: as patrons that nominate or give any ecclesiastical benefice or promotion for profit or gains (Act. 8), either to themselves, or to some friend of theirs. They also break this commandment, that obtain holy Orders by giving of money or money worth: and they that give money for any Ecclesiastical promotion or promise any part of their benefice or spiritual living, to the intent to obtain any such spiritual living. Whosoever does so give or receive any such spiritual living, does not only commit grievous sin, but ought to be deprived, and make restitution to the Church.
Thirdly, by usury in lending money, to the intent to have the same sums of money again with gains either in money or money worth (Psal. 14). All such usurers are bound to make restitution to the party. Yet he is urged with great necessity, & can help himself by no other means, does not offend in borrowing money & promising gain.
Fourthly, by theft, spoiling or robbing openly or secretly.
Fifthly, by deceiving or defrauding, or by any means doing wrong to children during their nonage.
Sixthly, by bargaining or buying anything of servants, or of any that have no authority to sell.
Seventhly, they that will not pay their debts or wages that they owe to any man.
Eighthly, they that use extortion, polling, or oppression of their subjects or tenants.
Ninthly, scholars that receive money of their parties to buy necessities with, if they bestow it upon vanities.
Tenthly, they that deceive any man in paying counterfeited money or gold for good and lawful, although they have received the same for good of others.
Eleventhly, they that hurt or destroy other mens goods, either
openly or privily, and they that will not make a recompense for hurt done to their power.
Twelfthly, they that do not their work truly, that they are hired to work: and they are bound to make restitution of the damage and loss.
Thirteenthly, they that retain or keep anything that they have found which another has lost by negligence against his will. For what you have found and not restored, you have stolen (if you know the owner.) And if by diligent search and inquisition you can not find the right owner, you are bound to give unto the poor, what you have found.
Fourteenthly, they that use untrue weights or measures in buying or selling, or they that sell that for good, which they know to be nought: or sell one thing for another, whereby the buyer is deceived or in bargaining use crafty or subtle words.
Fifteenthly, they that use craft or deceit in gaining for covetousness such are bound to make restitution.
Sixteenthly, he that takes and Action unjustly against any man for gains, or does give counsel and or consent: or they that praise any man in a naughty act, or they that hold their peace, when they may let an evil deed deceit, or unrighteousness to be done to any man.
Seventeenthly, they that be in authority, if they do not make laws, & provision to their power, to repress all injuries, wrongs and deceits before said for in all these seventeen ways the Commandment of God is broken.
OF THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
What is the eighth Commandment of God?
Thou shalt bear no false witness against thy neighbor. First, by this commandment is forbidden all hurtful lying, whether it be in judgment, or in common and familiar talk: whereby hurt cometh to any man or woman.
Secondly, it is forbidden, to slander or to speak evil of any man, or to manifest the secret sin of any man.
Thirdly, it is forbidden, to dispraise, or diminish the good deeds or acts of any man, to bring him out of favor of estimation.
Fourthly, it is forbidden to use craft to hide the truth, being called in judgment to witness the truth.
Fifthly, it is forbidden, to deride or scorn others with scornful words, or to object a crime to do displeasure to any man or woman.
Sixthly, it is forbidden to detract or impair the good name or fame of any that is absent whether they say true or false, they ought to restore their good name and fame.
Seventhly, it is forbidden to take pleasure to hear evil spoken of any man or woman: for every man ought to answer for his neighbor, to defend his good fame.
Eighthly, he does offend God grievously, that does defame or slander himself.
Ninthly, they that curse themselves or others with evil words of mischief, or vengeance, or such like ungodly words: & also they that ask vengeance or mischief upon unreasonable creatures, such as cattle, corn, ground, & such like, break Gods precept.
Tenthly, it is forbidden to judge rashly, or to take, or to interpret the words or deeds of any man in the worst part: for in things that be doubtful, we ought to judge the best.
Eleventhly, it is forbidden to use whispering: with contentious words to provoke any man to wrath: or to set dissention between party, and party, or to cause dissention to continue.
Twelfthly, it is forbidden to use flattery as to praise any man or woman of a deed that is deadly sin or to praise any many or woman to the intent to hurt them in body, or soul or by flattering or praising to be the cause of deadly sin.
Thirteenthly, it is forbidden, to use dissimilation in words or
deeds, Also is is forbidden, to break honest and lawful promises.
Fourteenthly, it is forbidden, to hurt the souls of the people with heresy and false doctrine, contrary to the Catholic faith whereby the people are deceived and brought into state of damnation. Heretics bear false witness with the Devil against christ & his dear spouse the Catholic Church. They maintain falsity against the truth & although they be punished or put to death by burning or other wise: yet they receive no crown of Martyrdom, but they receive punishment worthily for their infidelity and false witness against the truth. So heretics be Children, Martyrs, and witnesses for the Devil against Christ & his Church. Thus all manner of lies are to be detested, and are forbidden by the Commandment of God.
OF THE NINTH COMMANDMENT.
What is the ninth Commandment of God?
Thou shalt not covet or unlawfully desire thy neighbors wife maid or daughter. As in the sixth commandment all carnal lust outwardly appertaining to the sin of the flesh is forbidden: so in this precept is forbidden all inward concupiscence and unlawful carnal desire of thy neighbors wife daughter, or maid, in heart & mind for may are chaste in body, that have committed adultery or lechery in will. Christ saith in mind to commit carnal act with her: already in his heart he has committed lechery with her: for although the thoughts be hidden from man: & cannot be judged by mans law: yet all things that we imagine or think in our hearts, are open and unhid to the eyes of God. And the will & intent that is ready to commit sin, is repute before god as the fact and deed done, being letted against the will. For he that hath a full will to co-
mmit lechery, if opportunity of time would serve: breaketh this Commandment. Also they that be negligent to resist temptations or to repress & refrain the passions or concupiscence of the flesh, or suffer thoughts of carnality to continue with delectation in their minds. For everyone ought to defend their chastity, as their lives. Finally, they that trim or deck themselves to allure & provoke others to their carnal love, or use flattery or dissimulation to provoke other to sin: all such break the commandment of god.
OF THE TENTH COMMANDMENT.
What is the tenth Commandment of God?
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods. As in the eighth Commandment, the outward act of theft, damage and hindrance is forbidden to be done to thy neighbor in his soul, body, or goods: so in this tenth Commandment is forbidden the inward will & desire unjustly to have thy neighbors goods. For they that refrain to take or keep their neighbors goods only for fear of worldly punishment or shame, break this precept. And they that be ready in mind and will, to put forth their money to usury, or to be in will to steal: to take any mans goods to keep them, or hurt them or to withhold anything that is found, if opportunity to time would serve there unto: all such break this Commandment. Also they that play at any game for the intent to get their neighbors goods break this Commandment.
Also they that covet to have any Ecclesiastical promotion, authority, and dignity by unlawful means, break this Commandment. No man may do evil, to the intent that goodness may come thereof: and much more grievously they offend God, that desire goods: lands dignities, or promotion, to maintain their solace and worldly pleasure.
What is the sum of the ten Commandments?
The sum of the ten Commandments does consist in the love towards god, and our neighbor (Ephe. 4., Matt. 7.).
In the first Table be three Commandments: which take away and forbid sin and vice against the worshipping of God. They forbid idolatry, apostasy, heresy, superstition, perjury, blasphemy, and move us to the pure and true worshipping of God in heart, word and deed. In the Second table be seven Commandments, which command us to give reverence and honor to every man in his degree, to profit all, and hurt none: to do unto others, as we would be done to ourselves.
OF THE FIVE COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH.
Ne dimittas legem matris.
Forsake not the law of thy mother. (Prov. I)
How many Commandments be there of the Church that we be bound to keep?
There be five precepts especially Commanded by our mother the catholic church christs dear spouse, which we are bound to keep (Mar. I.). For if we should be disobedient children to our mother the catholic Church, & not obey her precepts, we can not have God to be our loving father (Cyprianus).
The first precept is, that we celebrate and keep holy days commanded by the Catholic church. As in the old Testament the people were bound to celebrate diverse feasts beside the Sabbath day: so in the new Testament we are bound to celebrate diverse feasts besides the Sunday (Concil. Lugd. Holy days).
The second precept is, that every Sunday and holy day we reverently hear Mass (2. Mass. Concil. Agath.)
The third precept is, that we keep the fasting days commanded by the Church: and obstain from such meats as the Church does prohibit & forbid (3. Can. Apost. 68).
Fourthly, every man & woman once in the year is bound to be confessed of all their sins to their own Curate: or to some discreet Priest that has authority to absolve them of their sins (4. Concil. Later. Confession).
The fifth precept is that every man & woman having reason & discretion: once in the year at the least, receive the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and especially at Easter time. These and such like precepts of the Church we are bound to observe and keep. The observing of these precepts and such like is both profitable, & necessary (5. Concil. Later.)
First, for the exercise of our faith, humility, and Christian obedience.
Secondly, because they nourish, keep and maintain godly worship, honest discipline, and public tranquility, and marvelously set forth all things in a decent order in christs church.
Thirdly, the charitable keeping of them brings everlasting life: but the condemning of these precepts and such like of holy church brings everlasting damnation.
THE FIVE SENSES.
Exhibete membra vestra seruire iustitice, in sanctificationem.
Bestow your members to serve justice for sanctification.
How many outward senses hath God given to us?
Five: Sight, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, & Touching: the which Senses we ought to use to the honor of God, to the health of our souls, & the necessary use of our bodies. And except with great diligence we keep & refrain the said outward Senses, they be as open windows for sin and death to enter in at, to our souls.
God has given to us our eyes that we may see to flee from such things as be hurtful, either to our bodies or to our souls:
and keep such things as be good & necessary. And as this sense of sight is more excellent then other senses, so is it more perilous: for except our sight be restrained and ruled by reason, it does allure and entice us to many sins.
First, they offend God by sight that take pleasure to look upon their own comliness of body or clothing: and such like.
And they that with proud looks turn their eyes from place to place.
They also, that give their eyes unchastly to look upon any: for a wanton and unchaste eye is a sign of an unchaste heart and mind.
And they that idly behold the gesture or gate of any.
And they that seeing another mans felicity, be sorry, or seeing another mans calamity rejoice.
And they that for hatred, disdain to look upon any man.
And they that seeing another mans goods, desire the same.
And they that take pleasure, to look upon filthiness, or any ungodliness.
All such as are before spoken of, misspend their sense of sight, & commit sin. God hath given to us our ears, to hear such things as be good and honest. God being a marvelous craftsman, would that man should have two ears, and but one tongue, to the intent he should hear more, then he should speak. Our ears are given to us, to perceive the doctrine of God, for our souls health.
All these ways following, we do misspend our sense of hearing, and so offend God.
If we be angry (more then reason does permit) when we hear anything that does not please us.
If we take pride to hear our own praise.
If we take pleasure to hear lascivious or wanton talk, scoffing, flattering or slanderous words.
If we take pleasure to hear heresy or devilish doctrine.
God has given to us the sense of smelling, whereof the nose is an instrument, to draw sweet smells to the brain, that be profitable to the body & not hurtful to the soul. These ways following, we may misspend the sense of smelling.
If inordinately we be delighted with the pleasant smell of delicious meats, desiring the same.
If for lasciviousness or voluptuousness, we be delighted with sweet odours, ointments, powders or perfumes.
If we abhor the poor or sick & be over careful, least we should feel the odor or smell them.
God has given to us the sense of tasting, whereof the tongue is an instrument, to taste or discern savour or taste in such things as be for the nourishment of the body, & not hurtful to the soul. This sense of tasting, except it be ruled by reason, it brings many infirmities to the body, & is cause of sin.
We do misspend this sense of tasting by surfetts of meats or drunkenness, or being overmuch delighted in delicious meats & drinks: And in breaking fasting days, or in eating flesh or other meats for deliciousness, at such times as the Church does prohibit and forbid the same.
God has given to us the sense of touching, which consists in all parts of the body, but especially in the hands: for there is a multitude of vaines & sins come together. This sense is given to us, that we should use it to the profit of our bodies and souls.
We do misspend this sense of touching: If we in malice we kill, wound, or strike any man. If we steal, rob, or take anything unjustly. If we unchastly touch ourselves or any other. And as we do misspend these five sense, so we do misuse other parts of our bodies, and let sin enter into our souls.
CHAP. 4. (Of the 7 Sacraments.)
Sapientia cedisicauit sibi domum, & excidit septem columnas (Prov. 5.).
Sapence has built her a house, and has cut out seven pillars.
What is a Sacrament?
A Sacrament is a visible form of an invisible grace, which is instituted of God for our sanctification (Aug. li. 3. de doctri. Christia.). In every Sacrament is an outward form or manner that we may see with our corporal eyes: under the which lies hidden an invisible grace, that we can not see with our corporal eyes: which we must firmly believe (Amb. li. 4. Sacra.). As in Baptism we see the Child washed in water, and we hear the words of Baptism spoken, but invisibly the grace of the Holy Ghost does purge the Child from sin: So the flesh is washed, that the soul may be purged.
How many Sacraments did Christ institute?
Seven, which be expressed in the Scripture: & they have continually been kept in the Catholic Church, & used by tradition from the Apostles, from man to man, until these our days. The sacraments be these: Baptism, Confirmation, Penance the Sacrament of the Altar, Extreme unction, Order: and Marriage, the which concerning the invisible grace that they give to the worthy receivers of them, take their efficacy & strength of the merits of Christs Passion.
Why did Christ institute these seven Sacraments?
Christ did institute the Sacraments for four causes.
First, to be medicines and preservatives against sin.
Secondly, to be means & helps to the keeping of the Commandments of God.
Thirdly, to induce us to humility and obedience, to bring us to knowledge and exercise of virtue in the fear of God.
Fourthly, to be instruments or vessels, whereby God does pour abundantly his mercy and grace into our souls, & makes us apt to receive the fruit and benefits of his Passion.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is the most necessary Sacrament of the new Testament, instituted of Christ, specially to wash away original sin, & all other sin done before Baptism. By baptism we be regenerated & born again of water and the holy Ghost, and made Children of God by adoption & heirs of the Kingdom of heaven: Without Baptism: either in act or in will, note can be saved. (Joh. 3, Rom. 6, Gala. 3)
What is the effect of Baptism?
The effect of this Sacrament is to wash away all manner of sin so clean, that no satisfaction is to be enjoined: for if any die after Baptism, before they commit sin, their souls go straight to heaven.(Concill.Florent.)
In what things does Baptism consist?
In two things especially, the matter and form. The matter is water, a simple element (Concil. Florent.). No Baptism can be in wine, rose water, or any confect liquour. The form is the words of Baptism, which are: Ego te baptiso in nomine Patris, & Filii, & Spiritus Sancti: or I Christen thee, in the name of the Father, & the Son, and the holy Ghost. Amen.
Who is the minister of this Sacrament?
Ordinarily the priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Baptism, but in time of necessity a deacon, or a layman, & in the absence of a man: a woman may baptize, or for lack of other
an Heretic or paynim may Christen: so that they keep the form, and have the matter, having an intent to do that which the Catholic church does. But it is to be noted, that the minister, when he dips the Child in the water, or puts water upon his head, which is the principal part of the Child at the same instant time must speak the words of Baptism.
If any layman or woman take upon them to Christen a Child, except it be in peril of death (when a Priest can not be had) they offend God grievously in the sin of presumption.
Whether may one be Christened twice?
One Person can be christened but once. Baptism can not be iterated in any one Person: for Baptism does impress & give a Character or a distinct spiritual sign, that can not be done away.
What do Godfathers and Godmothers for Children in Baptism?
Godfathers and Godmothers become sureties for children, and do promise in the Childrens name, that they shall forsake the Devil, and all his works & pomps. Godfathers & Godmothers also become surities for Children, and promise, that they shall believe all the Articles of the Creed. Therefore Godfathers and Godmothers ought diligently to look to their charge, when to teach them, or cause them to be taught the Catholic faith and Pater noster.
Why be ceremonies used in Baptism?
Ceremonies be used in baptism partly against the power of the Devil: partly for instruction both of us, and of them that be baptized.
Why be Exorcisms done over the child without the Church?
For by cause before the child be christened, he is no part of Christs Catholic church.
What profit has the child by the Exorcisms?
By the exorcisms the Devil is driven away, which goes about to let the child from Baptism.
Why is the sign of the Cross made upon the child.
The flesh is signed and crossed, that the soul may be armed and defended. The sign of the cross is made in the childs forehead, which is a place of shamefastness, that the child should never be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ. The sign of the cross is made upon the childs breast, steadfastly to believe the faith of christ. The sign of the cross is made in the childs hand to bless itself, & defend itself from the Devil, and all adversities, and to abide in the Catholic faith. (The sign of the cross. Tertul.)
Why is Salt put into the childs mouth?
The Salt does signify heavenly wisdom, given to the Child by the holy Ghost, to be used with discretion.
Why does the priest put spittle into the Childs ears and nose?
The Priest does put spittle into the childs ears and nose, after the example of Christ healings a deaf man by putting his fingers in his ears, by spitting, and touching his tongue (Mat. 7): that the childs ears may be open, to hear wholesome doctrine, & to savour and taste that, which is godly.
Why does the Priest anoint the child with holy Oil upon the breast and back?
The child is anointed upon the breast with holy Oil, to signify: that the holy Ghost should always dwell in that heart and breast by faith and charity.
The child is anointed upon the back with holy Oil, to signify the yoke of our Lord, which is sweet and light.
Why is the child anointed with holy Chrism?
The anointing of the child with holy Chrism on the head does signify, that thereby the child is incorportate to Christ, the head of the mystical body of the Church, and of holy Chrism & Christ, we take the name of Christians: so the flesh is anointed, that the soul may be consecrated and hallowed to everlasting life.
What does the Chrism signify?
The chaste garment of innocency, and cleanness of a new life.
What does the candle signify?
The light of our good works, that we must keep diligently, to enter in with the five wise virgins, when Christ shall come to the marriage. (Mat. 25)
OF THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is a Sacrament (Act. 8), whereby the grace, that was given in Baptism, is confirmed & made more strong by the seven gifts of the holy Ghost (Con. Flor.). For although the visible sign of the holy Ghost does now cease, that was manifestly seen in the Apostles time (Act. 19): yet the same grace invisible is given in Confirmation.
In what things does the substance of this Sacrament consist?
The substance of this Sacrament consists in the matter and the form: The matter is holy Chrism confect and made of oil olive and balm (Concil Florent.), consecrated of a Bishop, and
every year it is renewed, and the old Chrism burned. The oil does signify the cleanness of conscience by the infusion of grace, and the fervent zeal of charity toward the maintenance of Christs faith: wherewith he is indued that is Confirmed.
The balm does signify the odor of good fame, and also the sweetness of Gods holy spirit, wherewith Christ does allure and draw us to his service.
The form is the words of Confirmation that the Bishop does speak, when he makes the sign of the Cross upon the forehead, with holy Chrism.
Who is the minister of this Sacrament of Confirmation?
In this Sacrament the holy Ghost is given to make them that be confirmed more strong in grace: as the holy Ghost was given to the Apostles in the day of Pentecost: so in Confirmation grace is given, boldly to confess the name of Christ and all things belonging to a Christian man. Therefore whosoever is confirmed, has a Cross made in his forehead with holy Chrism, where as is the seat of shamefastness: least he should be ashamed to confess Christ, & that he is a Christian.
What Ceremonies be used in Confirmation?
First, he or she that cometh to be confirmed, must have one godfather or on godmother (that is already confirmed,) to hold them up to the Bishop.
Secondly, they that receive confirmation, have a blow on the cheek given to them of the bishop, in remembrance that they must suffer patiently & gladly rebukes and tribulation for the name of Christ and righteousness sake.
Thirdly, they that receive confirmation, for the space of three days ought to have and bear about with them, a band, in signification, that christ lay three days in his sepulchre, & upon the third day they that be confirmed, but be brought to the Priest, and then in the holy place the Priest washes of the chrism with salt and water, and burns the band, casting the ashes in the Churchyard.
In some countries they use to tie the band upon the forehead of them that be confirmed, where the bishop made the sign of the Cross with holy Chrism.
In England they use to tie the band about the childs neck, and upon the third day the Priest loosed the band, and there with washed of the holy Chrism with holy water.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
What is Penance?
Penance is a Sacrament, whereby a penitent sinner is purged, absolved, and made clean from sin. For if any commit deadly sin after Baptism, the only refuge is to the Sacrament of Penance: without which Sacrament in act or in will, they that have committed mortal sin can not be saved. (John 20., Concil Florent.)
What is the matter of this Sacrament?
The matter of the Sacrament of Penance is the humble & true confession of a penitent sinner, that is contrite in heart for the sin committed: plainly confessing before the Priest (sitting in Gods stead) the sin done, being in will and mind not to commit sin again, and being content to do satisfaction by the appointment of his ghostly Father.
What is the form of this Sacrament?
The form of the Sacrament of penance is the words of absolution, that the Priest speaks over the sinner: by
virtue of the which the holy Ghost works remission and forgiveness of sin, so that the sinner being penitent is purged and made clean from sin, as he was in baptism: saving that the penitent sinner after confession must do penance, or suffer pains for his sin, either in this life, or in Purgatory.
How many parts of Penance be there?
Three: Contrition in heart, Confession with mouth to a ghostly Father, and Satisfaction in works: so that whosoever will be purged and made clean from sin, must be sorry in heart for the sin done, willing to offend no more, and then plainly confess the sin with the circumstances thereof: as how often, the place, the time, age, & degree of persons, naming none by name.
These circumstances may alter and change the kind & nature of the sin, they may aggravate or diminish the sin. Thirdly, the sinner must bring forth fruit of penance by the appointment of his ghostly Father.
Who is the minister of this Sacrament?
The priest is the minister, whose office is to hear the Confession, and then to discern between sin and sin: to give counsel how to avoid the occasion of sin, and there upon to enjoin penance, & to pronounce the words of absolution over the penitents sins.
How many manner of sins may be forgiven by this Sacrament?
Two manner of sins, deadly sin, and venial: but deadly sin can not be forgiven without this Sacrament, in deed or in will. Venial sin may be purged by prayer, almsdeeds, by the worth receiving of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, by taking of holy water, knocking upon the breast, with holy meditation, the Bishops blessing and such like.
How shall we discern deadly sin from venial sin?
Deadly sin so much displeases God, that thereby we be separated from God & charity, in such sort, that dying therein, without this Sacrament of penance in act or in will it brings everlasting damnation. (Eph 5.) The scripture notes, that all fornicators, adulterers, unclean livers, thieves, robbers, extortioners oppressors unlawful covetous persons, common drunkards, slanderers, wicked speakers, idolaters, unbelievers witches, sorcerers, they that be malicious enemies, contentious persons, brawlers, and chiders, dissentious persons, they that make sects or divisions, manslayers, and they that deny God for fear of man: these and such like commit deadly sin, and dying therein without Penance, they shall have no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven: but their portion and part shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. (Phil. 3, Col. 3, Apo 21)
In the foresaid sins we may offend deadly, three ways.
In deeds, or acts, as in satisfying our malice, contempt or in ordinate concupiscence, in the sins before said. In words, advisedly expressing our malice or concupiscence in the sins before said. In our thoughts, imagining with consent, by deliberation & delectation, any evil or displeasure to any man or giving full consent with deliberation to the suggestion of the devil & carnal concupiscence: where the will & intent is counted for the deed of deadly sin before God. (Mat. 21, Mat. 16)
Venial sin is committed by acts & deeds, wherein is neither malice, nor contempt, but curiosity or vanity: as idle words and thoughts without consent of evil. By venial sin we be not destitute of grace, nor separated from subjection to God, not we do not lose our Charity: but yet thereby our souls be darkened, & we are made less apt to any good work and a temporal pain is due for venial sin, either in this life, or in Purgatory, if we be not purged by such means, as God and holy Church
has ordained for the same. But exactly to determine and judge of venial sin appertains to God, and not to man.
What is the effect of the Sacrament of Penance?
The effect of the Sacrament of Penance, is to purge a sinner, and absolve him from all sin, to restore him to the Church, to reconcile him to God, to enrich him with spiritual gifts, and of the child of the devil to make him the child of God.
How must they behave themselves that would be confessed?
They must humbly kneel down at the Priests feet, and make the sign of the Cross upon their breast, and bless them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Ghost, and then say, Benedicite, And when the priest has given them a benediction, they must begin to acknowledge themselves sinners to God our Lady Blessed Mary, with all the holy company of heaven before their ghostly father sitting in Gods stead: then plainly express & declare their sins committed in thought, word, and deed, in breaking the Commandments of God: and how they have offended in the seven deadly sins, and branches of the same, in misspending the five outward senses, in not fulfilling the seven works of mercy bodily and ghostly. These things with the circumstances declared, the Priest will give the penitent sinner counsel how to avoid sin, and upon Penance enjoined, give him absolution.
Whether may every Priest hear confessions and give absolution?
Although every Priest in extreme necessity may hear confessions and give absolution yet such priests as be heretics, or excommunicated, suspended or condemned ordinarily, may not loose, nor bind. Every man and woman is bound to be confessed of their own proper curate: except either by license
of their own curate, or otherwise they have license from the Bishop or superior authority, to choose them a discrete Priest to be their ghostly Father.
Whether may every Curat of his ordinary authority absolve for every sin?
No. For there be some sins so grievous, that none may absolve, but the Pope or his Legate: as burning of Churches, violent striking a Priest, and counterfeiting of the Popes letters or Bulls. Some sins appertain to the Bishop, or his Penitentiary to absolve: as incest between kinsfolks, deflowering of virgins, manslaughter, breakers of vows, perjurers, witches, sorcerers, robbers of Churches, they that strike their Fathers or Mothers, Sodomites, burners of houses, they that overlie their Children, blasphemers, heretics, adulterers, an such like. Whosoever has committed any of these, ought to go to the Bishop, or to his Penitentiary for absolution.
How often in the year is every man and women bound to go to confession?
Every man & woman is bound (at the least) once in the year (at Lent) to go to Confession: and as often as they receive the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, if they know or suspect themselves to be in deadly sin.
Whether is any man or woman bound, to iterate and confess
again any sins, that they have once confessed to a Priest?
In three cases we are bound, to iterate and confess again our sins.
First, if the Priest that we were confessed of, lacked authority to absolve such sins as we had done.
Secondly, if the Priest that we were confessed of, lacked discretion & knowledge, to discern and judge our sins.
Thirdly, if we have divided our confession, showing part to one Priest, and part to another, by means of whereof our ghostly father could not plainly understand our sins with the circumstances.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR.
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is a Sacrament, wherein is contained the body and blood of our Saviour Christ: which is consecrated upon the Altar by a lawful Priest at Mass. (Mat. 16., 1 Cor. 1., Concil Latera.)
What is the matter of the Sacrament?
The matter of the Sacrament is bread of wheat, and wine of the wine mixed with water: which does signify the blood and water that did flow out of Christs side, when he was pierced to the heart with a spear.
What is the form of this Sacrament?
The form of this Sacrament is the words of Christ wherewith this Sacrament is made, for the Priest speaks in person of Christ. By virtue of the words of Consecration in substance of bread is turned & changed into the very body of Christ. And the substance of wine is turned into the blood of Christ, the holy ghost working by a divine power: so that Christ is wholly under the form of bread, & in every part of the Host being broken, christ is wholly. And under the form of wine, & every part thereof being separated, Christ is wholly.
What is the effect of this Sacrament?
The effect of this Sacrament is to knit, join and incorporate the worthy receivers thereof unto Christ. By the worthy receiving of this blessed Sacrament grace is increased, virtue is nourished, steadfastness is given against frailty, strength against temptation, the merits of Christs Passion are revived in us, our bodies & souls are spiritually nourished with this blessed Sacrament (being the blessed fruit of holy Mary) to be a medicine, to expel the poison that came to all mankind by the fruit that our first parent tasted of, in Paradise. As the fruit brought everlasting death and damnation, so this blessed Sacrament is a pledge, to bring us to everlasting life, and to restore us to the joy that was lost by our first parents. (Concil Florent.)
Who is the minister of this Sacrament?
The Minister is a priest lawfully ordained and consecrated by a Bishop. It is required, that the Priest does consecrate at Mass, having an intent to consecrate the body and blood of Christ.
Who is bound to receive this Sacrament?
Every Christian man and woman having discretion, that is twelve years of age and elder, is bound at every Easter time to receive & at other times as their devotion will serve them (Concil. Latera.). In the primitive Church the people used often to receive, as every Sunday. Afterward devotion began something to decay, that customably the people received three times in the year: as at Christmas, Easter, & Pentecost. Then afterward devotion waxed so cold, that it was thought good to the Church, to make a law, that every man and woman upon pain of deadly sin, should receive the Blessed Sacrament at Easter time at the least. And it is convenient, that every christian man and
woman against death receive this Sacrament, to be their voyage provision.
How ought every man and woman to prepare themselves to receive the blessed Sacrament?
First, they ought diligently to examine their own conscience ( 1 Co. 11.) and if they perceive any deadly sin in them, with a penitent heart they ought to confess their sin to a discrete Ghostly Father, they have authority to absolve them from their sins: so having their conscience purged from sin, & with a fervent and reverent devotion, worshipping Christ in the blessed Sacrament, they may safely receive. For as the benefit is great in the worthy receivers, so the unworthy receive their own damnation.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION
What is the Sacrament of extreme Unction?
Extreme unction or anointing is a Sacrament, wherein the sick persons (by holy Oil and the words of christ) are relieved, that more happily they may depart out of this world, and also that their bodies may be restored to health, if it be expedient. (Jacob. 5., Concil Florent.) This Sacrament is to ministered to men and women lying in extreme sickness in peril of death, by Gods visitation, and not by violence of war, or execution. And this Sacrament is not to be ministered unto infants, and such as lack reason: for none ought to receive this Sacrament, but such as have reason, & humbly desire it for gods sake.
What is the matter of this Sacrament?
The matter is oil olive hallowed by a Bishop, wherewith the sick is anointed upon the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands, & feet. A man is anointed upon the reines of the back, and a
woman upon the belly: because concupiscence reigns most in those parts.
What is the form of this Sacrament?
The form is the words, that the Priest speaks, when he does anoint the sick in the foresaid parts or places.
What is the effect of this Sacrament?
The effect of this Sacrament of anointing is, to put away and purge venial sin committed by misspending of our senses & to purge and put away sins forgotten.
This Sacrament is comfortable to the soul, and healthful to the body, as much as is expedient. And in this Sacrament the holy Ghost does strengthen the sick with grace against the violent assault of the Devil, and the terror of death.
Who is the Minister of this Sacrament of Extreme Unction or anointing?
The priest is the Minister of this Sacrament, whom the sick ought to send for, & before that he receive this Sacrament, he ought to be confessed of his mortal sins, and receive absolution of the Priest, and also the Sacrament of the Altar, and humbly desire the Priest for Gods sake to be anointed.
How should the Priest anoint them that lack eyes, hands, or any
such parts as should be anointed?
The Priest must anoint the parts that be there next adjoining unto these parts that should be anointed: for although any lack such parts wherewith they may offend inwardly about those things that appertain to those members, although outwardly they can not be expressed.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF ORDER.
What is the Sacrament of Order?
Order is a Sacrament, wherein grace or a spiritual power is given to Priests, & to other ministers in their Consecration, by the outward sign of imposition of the Bishops hands, to exercise effectually the ministration of the Church, as in ministering of Sacraments, preaching and exercising of discipline. And whatsoever they do in the Church, according to the institution of Christ & his Church, almighty God does ratify, accept, & allow. Therefore all people of whatsoever degree, estate, or authority they be, ought to obey the Bishops & Priests in causes Ecclesiastical. This is a power of the Church, given to them that be lawfully ordained & consecrated, which power is not by laws of men, or of nature, but only of Christ above nature. (Con. Flo., Mat. 10. 3., Tit. 3., Act. 13.)
What is the matter of this Sacrament?
The matter is that thing, by delivering of which Order is given: as Priesthood is given or delivered by giving of the chalice and Paten with bread and wine. Deaconship is given by delivering of a book of the Gospels. Subdeaconship is given by the empty Chalice & Paten. And in like manner the inferior Orders have some special matter appertaining to their Order: as the giving of the keys to the Ostiarie or Porter, and book to the Exorcist, the book of Psalms and Prophets to the Reader called Lector, the Candle & Cruet to the Accolyte.
What is the form of this Sacrament?
The form is the words of Order, which the Bishop speaks: whereby an authority is given, to exercise some office in the Church, as in Priesthood the formal words be:
Accipe potestatem offerendi Sacrificium, Missasque celebrandi, tam pro viuis, quam pro defunctis, in nomine Domini.
By these words, the Bishop gives authority & power to him that receives Priesthood, to offer Sacrifice, and to celebrate Mass both for them that be alive, & for them that be dead, in the name of our Lord.
Whosoever shall receive the Order of Priesthood, must by degrees receive six orders before of the Bishop: of the which Orders four be called Inferior Orders.
Exorcists, which have authority given to them, to expel Devils from them that be possessed.
Ostiaries or Porters have authority, to keep the Church door, to expel the unworthy, and to let into the Church the faithful and worthy.
Readers, called Lectores, have authority to read lessons and scriptures in the Church: whereby the understanding of the faithful people is lightened.
Acolytes have authority to bear Cruets to the Altar with wine and water, and bear candles and tapers: wherewith the mind of the people may be kindled and stirred to devotion.
These four Orders have not continency so annexed unto them but that they may marry. Subdeacon, Deacon, and Priest, have Continency so annexed to their Orders, that them may not marry.
Subdeacon has authority given to read the Epistle, to prepare necessaries for ministration, and to assist the Priest in ministration.
Deacon has authority given to him from God by the Bishop to read the Gospel, and to assist the Priest in ministration of the Sacraments, and other offices in the Church.
The Priest has his hands sanctified and hallowed by the bishop to sanctify and bless. And authority is given from God by the Bishop to the Priest, to minister Sacraments, that is: Baptism, whereby people first enter into the Church of God.
Secondly, if after Baptism any man fall into deadly sin, the
Priest has authority, to absolve them, if with a contrite heart they confess their sin before him.
Thirdly, the Priest has authority, to consecrate and minister the Sacrament of the Altar.
Fourthly, the Priest has authority, to pray over the sick persons and to anoint them with Holy Oil in the name of God, to the remission of their sins, and to the salutation of the sick, according to Gods pleasure.
Fifthly, the Priest has authority, to join those two persons together in matrimony, that Marry in Christ.
What does the Crown signify?
It does signify, that they should be as kings, to rule and govern spiritually, both them selves, and others. The shaving of the hairs upon the crown of the head, does signify the renouncing and putting away of earthly affections, and the lifting up of their minds toward heaven, making them selves heirs of God, that they may have their portion and part with God.
The round circle of the crown does signify perfection of life.
How many things do let to take Orders?
First, a woman may not take Orders, nor a child, nor any that lacks discretion, but he must be a man of full age, that shall take holy Orders.
Secondly, a servant that is in bondage to his Master without his Masters consent, may not take holy Orders: for if he do, his Master may compel him to do his service.
Thirdly, a manslayer in deed or consent, may not take holy orders.
Fourthly, he that is not legitimate, may not take holy orders without dispensation.
Fifthly, he that is married may not take holy Orders (for continency is annexed to holy Order) except by consent of his wife, who must vow chastity.
Sixthly, he that is Bigamist, which has married two wives, and knows them both carnally or he that has married a widow or a woman that is corrupt of an other, if after carnally he know her: or if he carnally company with his own wife, after that she has committed adultery with an other man: such a man may not take holy Orders.
Seventhly, he that lack any member, or has defect or deformity, may not take holy orders.
Eighthly, he that is infamed, or a slanderous person having any notorious crime, may not take holy Orders.
Who is bound to say Canonical hours daily?
He that is within holy orders is bound to say Canonical hours. For canonical hours, as Matins, Prime, and Hours, Evensong, and Compline, with other divine service, be annexed to holy Orders to give God thanks. Also they that be beneficed, be likewise bound. If for negligence or sloth any do omit their divine Service, they offend God. (Concil. Later.)
Who is the minister of this Sacrament of Order?
The Bishop ordinary is the Minister.
What is the effect of Order?
The effect of the Sacrament of Order is, to give increase of grace, by the imposition of the Bishops hands, whereby one may be a meet minister in the Church of God. (Con. Flor.)
OF THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
What is Matrimony?
Matrimony, which is a sign of the conjunction of Christ, and the Church his Spouse, is a Sacrament, whereby man & woman lawfully joined together in marriage, do enter into an undivided society of fellowship of life, and grace is given therein, both honestly and Christianly to procreate Children, & to bring them up godly, and also to avoid filthy lust and incontinency.
What is the efficient cause of Matrimony?
The efficient cause is, a mutual consent of the man and woman expressed by words of matrimony of the time present, when the man says: I take thee to my wife: and the woman says: I take thee to my husband. And therein ought of necessity to be the presence of witnesses, & of congruity, the consent of friends.
Whether may a man put away his wife for any cause?
A man may put away his wife for no cause, except for fornication only: & if for that cause any be separated at bed, neither of them may marry any other, as long as both they live. For Matrimony is a perpetual bond of a lawful Contract or Marriage.
At what age may marriage be made?
Spousage may be at seven years of age, but full consent in Marriage must not be, before the woman be twelve years of age, and the man fourteen years of age.
Whether does carnal copulation after Spousage or truthplight, make Matrimony.
If carnal copulation follow the spousage or truthplight, with this mind to be one to the other, as man & wife, it makes
Matrimony: but if it be for the intent of fornication, it is no Matrimony.
If man and woman bind themselves by faith and truth, or by book oath, with mutual consent to marry either other in time to come: although thereby they be bound to marry, upon pain of setting themselves in a damnable state yet lacking the formal word of Matrimony, it is no Marriage.
If either of them marry any other after the former promise, they must so continue, & and not be separated. For although they spake words of promising marriage in time to come, the words of the time present must take place.
If man & woman with a mutual consent in heart, shall speak some words of the time to come, thinking thereby, that they be made man & wife before God: it stands for Marriage, but not before man & the Churches judgment, which must judge upon the words & not upon the mind and intents: and if either of them marry any other, they live in adultery.
Whereas holy church has ever destested & forbidden privie contracts, yet when any such have been done with consent & formal words, it has been marriage before God, whether they have had witness or not. Albeit this matter of privy Contracts, being thoroughly examined at the last general council held at Trent, the inconvenience that did arise thereof diligently weighed & considered: for the better safeguard of the peoples consciences, & avoiding contention, it was thought good to the holy Ghost and the Fathers assembled in the said general council, to make all privy contracts void and of no strength, except the contract be made in the presence of the priest and other witnesses: so that after the publication of the said general council, all such privie contracts without the witness of the priest & others be void and of no effect, but that the parties so privily contracting may lawfully marry any other.
If any man and woman speak the formal words of Matrimony for fear of their parents or friends, or for any evil purpose, without consent of heart: they be not man and wife before God. If either of them do use carnal copulation with other, that gave no consent in heart, they commit fornication, as long as he or she continue in the same mind: wherein the next remedy is, to give consent of heart to that which was spoken before in words, and so be they man and wife before God.
How many things be required in Matrimony of necessity?
Two things: consent of both their hearts and words, expressing the consent of both their minds.
Also some things be required in Matrimony, that the ordinary for some necessary causes may dispense in: As that banes ought to be asked three solemn days before the time of marriage as the Ordinal does plainly appoint.
And certain time and days in the year, the ordinance of holy church does forbid marriage to be solemnized, that they may give themselves more conveniently to prayer, as the scripture does teach.
The times that the solemnization of Matrimony does cease in the Catholic church, is from the saturday next before Advent Sunday, until the Octave of the Epiphany: from the saturday next before Septuagesima Sunday, until the Octaves of Easter be past: that is to say, until the monday next after low Sunday: from the Sunday before the Rogation week, until Trinity Sunday.
How many things do let matrimony to be contracted, and dissolve matrimony that is made?
First, Error of the person, when one is brought in for another: except after that it is known, both the parties consent to the marriage.
Secondly, when the man is within holy Orders: or if either of them be professed in Religion or have vowed Chastity.
Thirdly, by consanguinity, which extends to the fourth degree.
Fourthly, by affinity, which extended to the fourth degree.
Fifthly, by spiritual kindred, which is between the party that is baptized or confirmed, & his Godfathers and Godmothers, and also between the Godfather or Godmother, and the parents of the child so baptized or confirmed.
THE FIFTH CHAPTER, OF THE OFFICES OF CHRISTIAN JUSTICE.
Sobriè, piè & justè vivamus.
Soberly, Godly, and justly let us live. (Tit. 2)
How many offices of Christian justice be there?
Two, the one is to decline from evil, the other is to do good. (Psal. 3., 1 Jo. 3., Isa. 1.)
How can a man be able to perform these two offices of justice?
He can not truly of himself, by being holpen by the grace of God, and instructed by the holy Ghost, a Christian man may and ought (as much as the state of this life does permit) to live justly and fulfil the law. (John 5., 2. Cor. 3., Luke 1., Rom. 8., Tit. 3.)
By what degrees be we brought into sin?
By suggestion of the Devil, delectation of the flesh, and consent of the mind. (Pro. 11., John 11.)
Who be the most grievous sinners?
They that sin willfully of mere malice. Also they, that do boast of their sin. Thirdly they, that with contentious words strive against them that give them good counsel, and utterly condemn the same. (Pro. 2.)
Which be the sin so abominable that cry unto God in heaven for vengeance?
The scripture does make mention of four, that be most horrible and abominable in the sight of God.
The first is, voluntary or willful man-slaughter. How the innocent blood of Abel cried from the earth to God, and how Cain was punished, it is evident. (Gen. 4.)
The second is Sodomitical sin, man with man, or woman with woman against nature. How the cry of this most abominable sin came to God from the earth: and how God poured down fire & brimstone to destroy the wicked Sodomites, it appears plain in Scripture. (Gen. 18.) This terrible example puts in remembrance that perpetually to burn in hell with fire and brimstone, is a punishment due for them that commit sin against nature.
The third is oppression of the poor, fatherless children and widows. How God punished Pharaoh and the Egyptians, for oppressing the Israelites, the scripture does show. Oppressors can not escape Gods vengeance. (Exo. 22.)
The fourth sin that cries to God for vengeance, is to keep back the wages of the hired servant or workman, when he has done his service or work. (Jacob. 5.)
Whether is not sufficient for a christian man to do no evil?
To do no evil is but the half part of christian justice. It is not sufficient for a Christian man, to do no evil (Psal. 36., Rom. 12.), but he is bound to do good: for as St. James says. (Jacob 4.) He that knows how to do good, & and does it not, he does commit sin: and also the Gospel says every tree that does not bring forth good fruit, it shall be cut down and cast into the fire. (Mat. 3.)
What kind of good works ought a Christian man to use?
Fasting, almsdeeds, mercy and prayer. That prayer is good (says the scripture) that is joined with fasting & almsdeeds.
What is Fasting?
Fasting is a foundation of virtue whereby vice & sin is repressed, and mind is lifted up: the body is chastised, and the flesh is made subject to the spirit: obedience is exercised, and the grace of God obtained. By fasting the soul is nourished. ( Heiron.)
The manner of fasting is, certain days and times, according to the custom and precept of the church, to abstain from flesh, and to eat but one moderate meal in the day. The time of the lent is more straightly to be kept, then other times of fasting: by cause Lent has it for the institution of Christ. (Concil. Magüt. c. 35. &. Bracca. 8. capi. 9.)The sixth general council in the lent time does forbid to eat eggs, or cheese, except as necessity require, or dispensation be obtained. (Concil. Constantin. 3.)
What is prayer?
Prayer is a lifting up of the mind to God, whereby we desire, evil or adversity to be put away, or else we desire good things to ourselves or to others, or we do praise God. (Damas.)
What is almsdeeds or mercy?
It is a benefit, wherewith we help and succor the necessity or misery of others, for the honour of God, with a good affection and compassion.
How many kinds of alms or mercies be there?
There be two kinds of alms or works of mercy: the one is called corporal, the other spiritual. (Mat. 25.) The works of mercy or pity corporal be seven. To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to cloth the naked, to visit the prisoners and sick, to harbor the harborless, and bury the dead.
The works of mercy or pity spiritual be seven. (1. Thes. 5., Jacob 5., Rom. 15., Matt. 6., & 28.) Discretely to correct them that offend: to teach the ignorant, to give good counsel to them that have need: to pray unto God for the
health of our neighbor: to comfort the comfortless: patiently to suffer injuries: to forgive offenses done against us.
God grant us to do, that we may live. And here now let us make an end. For after thou knowest once (Gentle Reader, or diligent learner) what you ought to believe, & how you ought to live, which to points I have prosecuted in this short Catechism, what remains but to make an end? For the rest now: is to be committed unto your practice: that like as you know through my simple and plain instruction what is to be done: so study and labour to exemplify & show in your conversation that which you know. Especially, whereas I now have no more to say unto them, and God will begin to have a saying unto thee, except you keep his laws and Commandments. For when the Son of man shall come in his Majesty and all his Angels with him, than shall he sit upon the seat of his Majesty (Matt. 15), and all nations shall be gathered together before him et cet. the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, and the just into life everlasting. Be faithful therefore in all articles that are to be believed, be devout in thy prayers, be loving and obedient as touching the Commandments of God and his Church, be wise in receiving the Sacraments, & make not light of the remedies of thy sins and infirmities. Be diligent in the works of mercy, and take in good part this my small labor, which, I trust, shall bring great profit unto thee, and God grant it may be so great, as I have and shall wish it to be. Amen.
TO THE READER, CONCERNING
THE HOLY CEREMONIES OF
Many wise and learned men have thought it good that I should join to the Catechism (which I did lately set forth for the instruction of young children in matters of faith) a brief declaration of certain Ceremonies whose signification is not so well known to the ignorant people as they should be.
It is therefore first to be known, that no company of men can meet together in one mind and consent of heart, for the true service of God, except they have certain holy signs, whereby both their worship towards God may be stirred up, and the profession thereof towards their neighbors may be seen. And thereupon as well in the law of the Jews as of the Christians, holy signs and Ceremonies have been always in use, by the appointment of God himself, or of his Prophets and Apostles. But for so much as the state of the Jews did bear outwardly a form and show of serving God rather like children, the like men, yea rather in a bound, then in a free sort: their Ceremonies were in a manner all expressly named in the Law like unto them, because it was presupposed, that they of themselves were not able to judge, what was convenient for this or that Sacrifice, or else for this or for that time, unless it were by their master and Lawmaker namely prescribed & appointed.
But for so much as the state of the New Testament is free, as wherein men of all nations are taught of God himself, & are anointed inwardly with the Holy Ghost, having the law, not of Moses, but of God written in their hearts and bowels (as the Prophets and Apostles do witness) therefore (the holy Sacraments being made and instituted of Christ himself) most of the other ceremonies were left to the discretion of the Apostles & their successors. For which cause S. Peter with the rest of the Apostles & Priests at Jerusalem ordained & decreed, what was to be observed of the Gentiles, who were newly converted to the faith. And S. Paul having declared, what he received of Christ touching the Sacrament of the Altar, adds of his own authority: Caetera cum venero. disponam. The rest I will set in order, when I shall come. (Isa 54, John 6, 1 John 2, Jere 31, Heb 8 &10, 2 Cor. 3)
Upon which words of S. Paul (1 Cor. 11), the great Clerk S. Augustine writes thus: Apostolus de hoc Sacramento loquens, ait: Caetera cum venero, ordinabo. Vnde intelligi datur, quia multum erat, vt in epistola totu illum agendi ordinem insinuaret. quem unviuersa per orbem seruat Ecclesia, ab ipso ordinatum esse, quod nulla morum diuersitate variatur. (Aug. in epi. 118) The Apostle speaking of this sacrament, saith: The rest I will set in order, when I shall come. (1 Cor. 2) Where upon it is given us to understand (because it was much) or hard (to touch in an epistle the whole order in doing, which the whole church throughout the whole world does observe) that thing which is varied with no diversity of customs to have been ordained by the Apostle Saint Paul. Mark what S. Augustine saith, Wherein so ever all churches agree in celebrating Mass, that thing he doubts not, to have been ordained, of S. Paul. Of this kind are holy Altars, secret praying at certain times of the Mass,
praying for the living, & for the faithful souls departed, the use of receiving the blessed Sacrament in the morning, or fasting: with many other like ceremonies. Which all churches in all countries have always used. And that which is namely said of the ceremonies belonging to the chief Sacrament, is likewise to be understood of all other Sacraments. For the Apostle said generally: State & tenete traditions, quas didicitis siue per sermone, siue per epistola nostra Stad steddie, & keep ye the traditions which ye have learned either by our talk, or by our letters (2 Thess 2): & S. Augustine says likewise generally. Quoe no scripta, sed tradita custodimus, &c (In ep. 118). Those things which we keep, not being written, but being delivered, which at the least are observed throughout the whole world, and are understanded to be kept by the commending and decreeing of the Apostles themselves, or else of the general councils whose authority is most wholesome in the church. As that the Passion of our Lord, and Resurrection, and ascension into heaven, and the coming from heaven of the holy Ghost are solely kept every year: and so of any other thing, which is kept in every place where the Church spreads itself.
It were easy to show, that many other ancient Fathers do speak in like sort of our holy Ceremonies, were it not above the measure of a brief Catechism, to stand about that matter any longer. Therefore now I will talk more particularly of certain special Ceremonies, and the meaning thereof.
THE USE AND MEANING OF THE HOLY
CEREMONIES OF GODS CHURCH
Why is holy water used in the Church?
It is used, to put men in mind of the water of Baptism, wherein their sins were cleansed, through the name of the blessed Trinity called upon them, and through their own or the Churches faith. (Tit 3, Matt 28) And therefore as men by the water of Baptism entered into the Church, which is the mystical body of Christ: so at the entering into the material church, they sprinkled themselves with holy water. For albeit the Baptism it self can not be repeated, yet the remembrance thereof is most laudably preserved in all good Christians.
How old is the use of Holy Water?
It came even from the Apostles, as it may be thought. For mention thereof is made in the Epistle of Pope Alexander. Who was the fifth Bishop of Rome after saint Peter.
Can holy water drive away the Devils?
Not only holy water, but many other holy things are of power to drive away Devils from their bodies or places, who use them in a right faith. For, as through our sins the devil has power to use, not only his own malice, but also Gods creatures to our hurt: even so faithful men take power of Christ, not only to resist the devil by their own faith, but also by the creatures, which are sanctified by Gods word & prayer. (1 Tim 4) And so does Theodoretus an ancient writer of the Ecclesiastical history witness, that devils were cast out in the old time. (Eccles. Histor. Libr. 5. cap. 21) For where as the devil stayed the fire that could have no strength in burning
of an Idols temple, Marcellus the Bishop of Apamea caused his Deacon Equitius to bring water in a vessel, which being set under the holy Altar, the Bishop prayed, & when he had made the sign of the Cross upon the water, he willed his faithful Deacon to sprinkle the said water upon the flame, quo facto contactus aquoe impatien doemon aufegit. Which being done, the devil not being able to abide that the water should touch him, fled away. And verily whosoever now a days can not abide to have holy-water sprinkled upon him, he may well be suspect, that a devil has power on him, who is afraid of the said holy water, and therefore keeps his servant from it as far as he can. Thus we see both the profit, and the antiquity of holy water.
Why is sensing used?
It betokens, that as the sweet perfume of frankincense ascends up into the air: so our prayers ought to be directed as a sweet smell in the sight of God. And as the Angel taught Tobias, to drive away the devil by kindling of the liver of the fish: even so like kindling of frankincense with the like faith and devotion, does help to drive away the devil, & to defend the faithful people from his injuries and assaults. (Psal. 146, Tob. 6)
How long has sensing been used?
Even from the Apostles time as it may appear by the words of Dionysius the Areopagite, in his book of the holy order & government of the Church, where he expressly names that ceremony (Dionysius. Ecclesi. Hierarc. cap. 3.). In the solemn Mass also of S. James, and Chrisostom it was used.
What means Procession?
Procession was ordained, partly to protest and to show everywhere by our deeds the Christian faith (as by carrying openly
before us the banners & tokens of Christs death) partly also to betoken, that even as we go out of the Church, and after a pilgrimage make come into it again: so Christ coming from the bosom of the Father to take flesh of the blessed Virgin Mary, did after his peregrination made in this world return to his Father again whither also we hope to follow him. (Psal 18)
Why is the Cross carried before us in Procession?
To make us understand, that all our pilgrimage in his life ought to be in faith, merit and example of Christs painful conversation, by whose only death we come to life, if yet we suffer with him, to the end we may reign & triumph with him. (1 Pet 2, Phili 2, Rom 3)
What may we learn by holy candles?
First, that God is a consuming fire, whereof the very burning candle does warn us. (Deut. 4)
Secondly, that as the candle being one kind of creature consists of fire, wax, and wick: so Christ consists of the Godhead, soul, & flesh, all being in one person. Therefore on Candlemass day by carrying a holy candle, we to well represent our Lady carrying Christ to the Temple in her arms. (Luke 21)
Thirdly, we ought always to have the fire of charity in our hearts, as the wise Virgins had. (Matt. 25)
Last of all, by the torches which are lighted at the singing of the gospel, it is signified, that the word of God is the light of our soul. (Hieron. Contra Vigilan., Psal. 118)
Why are candles set before Images?
To betoken that their works did so shine before men, that men glorified god in heaven thereby. And Christ himself called S. John Baptist a burning candle which gave light. And he said to his Apostles: ye are the light of the world. (John 5)
What do holy ashes mean?
They warn us to do penance as the Niniuites did, and therefore at the beginning of Lent (which is the time of penance) they are laid on our heads or foreheads, to betoken, that we must lament our former evil life, according as Christ said: Except ye do penance, ye shall all perish. (Matt. 5, John 3, Luke 13)
Why was the fast of Lent ordained?
To the intent, that we the members should according to our ability follow the example of Christ our head, protesting by our deed, that he fasted forty days for our necessities, and not for his own. Item as not only Moses but Elias fasted forty days, so was it signified that not only the bond of the law, but also the free grace of the Prophets needed the said fast of forty days: and we are now in a prophetical state, seeing it is written of our time, that God will pour his spirit upon every flesh (or nation) & that all men shall be taught of God, as in the old time the Prophets were. (Matt. 4, Exo. 34, 3 Re. 29, Joel 2, John 6)
Who instituted the fast of Lent?
The Apostles themselves, as S. Hierom teaches, & therefore even Ignatius. Who was the disciple of the apostles, commands the christians, not to despise the Lent or the forty days, because it contains a following of Christs conversation (Hieron. in epi. ad Marcel. Ignatius in epist. ad Phil.)
How is Lent to be fasted?
With eating dry meats such as do engender least blood, & consequently do least provoke carnal lusts. For which cause all flesh & white meats are forbidden, unless necessity, reasonable dispensation, or a custom lawfully prescribed does otherwise permit. (Eccles, Histo. li. 1. cap. 19) Also except men by age, great labor, or sickness be excused, they ought to take but one meal on a fasting day,
which in the old time was toward night. For as the perfect fasting is to eat nothing at all: so in them who can not bear such an abstinence, it is permitted to make one meal. (August. epist. 86) As for drinkings at night, or eating any other thing (which yet may not be a meal) so that no fraud be used: it is sufficient to keep the custom which is allowed by the lawful Bishop of the Church wherein we live. (Augu. in epi. 118. & in fine epist. 86)
Why are Images covered in the Lent?
As holy Images are set up in Gods church at other times to represent unto us, that the saints reign with God in heaven: so in the Lent they are covered & kept from our sights, to betoken, that sins and iniquities (for which we then do penance) divide between God and us: hiding his face & glory from us, even as the veil hid Moses face from the hard hearted Jews. And therefore when the good Christian looks up, and sees not the glorious representation of heavenly joy, which in the church, was wont by his eye to come to his mind, he has warning thereby, to cry out: woe to me: My sins have hidden gods glory from me, except by his grace I may come to true repentance, & to do penance for them. And so he is warned, to call unto God for true contrition, sacramental confession, and temporal satisfaction. (Isa. 5:4, Exo. 34, 2 Cor. 3, Isa. 59, 1 Cor 7, John 20)
What signifies the veil, which is drawn between the people
and the high Altar in the Lent?
As our first parents having sinned, were kept from Paradise with the fiery sword of the Angel, and as in the tabernacle of Moses there was a veil between the inmost and the outward holy place: and as the letter of the Law in a veil, which keeps the meaning of the holy Ghost from them, who believe not rightly in christ: so to us that believe and live not well. our sins are a (Gen. 3, Hebr. 9, 2 Cor. 3)
veil and cover which keep us from christ. But as by the death of Christ the veil of the temple was torn in sunder & all the secrets of the inmost holy place lay open to them who did believe: (in token whereof the lenten veil is also cast down in the passion week) so to them, who after due penance do again work the will of god through his grace, the veil of iniquity is torn down, and the grace of Charity lies open.
Why do the people bear palms the Sunday before Easter?
In remembrance of the notable, miraculous, and triumphant entry, which Christ made into Jerusalem that day, at which time the Israelites did cast not only boughs of trees, but also their garments in his way for honors sake. And the Children cried: Osanna to the son of David. All which ceremonies we still maintain to the honor of Christ, as the faithful Israelites once did then: and the Protestants still disdain the same, as once the stubborn and hard hearted Jews did. Our palm boughs also betoken, that we ought to fight against the devil, the flesh and the world even till death, as Christ did, in which death both his victory was and ours must be perfectly ended.
What signifies the four and twenty candles that are set up on
wednesday before Easter even?
They signify the twelve prophets, and twelve Apostles, adn thereby all just men, who by preaching and good life gave unto us light and a true testimony of Christs godhead and manhood, but yet they were all after a certain sort dimmed, and (as it were) their light was put out on after another, because they sinned as men, at the least venially: and none of them was that light, which showing itself without blemish, lightens every man coming into this world, which is Jesus Christ the everlasting light. And yet for so much as they believed in him, their light in him is now also everlasting.
Why is the old fire quenched, & new fire hallowed on
To show, that in Christ we are made new men in spirit, & that we must cast of the old man which came by our parents carnal generation, & take new light of Christs death and resurrection, walking as the Children of light. Therefore the clergy go to hallow the new fire, says Psalm. Dominus illuminatio mea & salus mea. The Lord is my light and my Salvation. (Eph. 4, Eph. 5, Psal. 26)
Why is the Paschal of wax hallowed and set up in the Church?
To represent Christ, who is the truth signified by the pillar of fire, which gave light to the Children of Israel by night. And as Christ at certain times appeared to his Disciples after his resurrection: so is the Paschal taper in remembrance thereof lighted at certain times from Easter till Ascension. (Exo. 13, Mar. 16, John 20&21)
Why is the font hallowed?
Because the apostles did so institute, as may appear in Saint Dionisius, who lived in their time. (Dionysius Ecclesia. Hierar. ca. 2) Also S. Basil confessed that the custom to bless the water of Baptism came from an unwritten tradition. (Basil de spiritu sa. cap. 27) The feasts of Easter and Whitsunday are chosen for the purpose, because in the one Christ after death rose out of his grave: in the other he sent down the holy Ghost. Now in Baptism (as S. Paul says) we are buried with Christ, and rise again to walk with him in a new life, & the sanctification of the new man, which we take and bear, is wrought in Baptism first of all by the holy Ghost. (1 Cor 15, Act 2, Rom. 6, Eph. 4, Tit 3)
Why are bells hallowed?
To the end nothing may be profane, with serves for God his religion, because he is infinitly holy, whom we
serve. And thereby the devils also are the more vexed and driven the farther of, because they know them to be the signs, and as it were the trumpets calling the faithful soldiers to hear Gods word, and to make common prayer.
Why is the Church hallowed?
Because it bears a figure of the lively members of Christ, which is holy and unspotted in her faith & religion. Item to cause the men who come thither, to be the more stirred to prayer, & to the sooner heard in a holy place, as it may well appear, that the holy Ghost taught us to believe by the dedication of Solomons temple: where a special grace is desired for them, who pray in the temple dedicated to Gods holy name. (1 Pet. 2, Ephe. 5, 3 Reg. 8)
Why is the Altar consecrated?
That the chief protestation & showing of external religion (which is external sacrifice) may be offered upon a most solemn & reverend place. For although the whole Church be generally hallowed: yet the Altar being within the same Church, has a most special sanctification, as which bears that room in our holy doings, which the Cross itself bare, when Christ died upon it (3 Reg. 8). And seeing Noah built an Altar and Abraham is noted not only to have offered up his son (Gen. 3 & 22, Jacob. 2), but also to have done it upon the Altar: seeing also that in the tabernacle of Moses, and the temple of Solomon the Altar was so holy, that (as our Saviour him self saith) it sanctified and made holy the gift which was laid upon it (Matt 23): by the same reason our Altars should much more be hallowed, as which contain that body upon them, for whose sake all Altars were hallowed, & all Sacrifices were made. Wherefore, Optatus. An ancient writer (Contra Paramenianum lib. 6) speaking against the Donatists who in his time destroyed the holy Altars of the Catholics, said: Quid est enim Altare, nisi sedes corporis
& sanguinis Christi? For what is the Altar, but the seat of the body and blood of Christ? That is to say, the place where Christs body and blood does remain, during the time of the unbloody Sacrifice.
What do the Altar clothes signify?
Verily they represent the Good affection, which faithful people have to honor the place of Christs residence. For as the Apostles being commanded to bring the ass unto Christ (Matt. 21), did upon their own Good affection cast their clothes upon the Ass, to the end Christs seat might be made the more honorable: so do the faithful followers of the Apostles deck and set forth the place where christ in a mystery presents himself unto us. And therefore S. Hierome praises Nepotianus, for providing carefully, that the Altar might be neat and clean. Erat solicitus si niteret altare, si parietes absque fuliqine, si pauimenta tersa, si ianitor creber in porta, vela semper in ostiis, si sacrificium mundum, si vasa luculenta, & in omnes ceremonias pia solicitudo disposita. (Ad Heliod de epitaph. Nepotiani) He was careful to see, that the Altar might shine, that the walls might be without the smoke and the tapers or lamps, that the pavements might be neat, that the porter might be often at the Church door, that the clothes might always cover the doors, that the Vestry might be clean, that the vessels might be bright, & that his godly carefulness might be well disposed toward all the Ceremonies.
What means the apparel which the Priest wears at Mass?
The Amice, which the Priest first puts on his head, does signify the cloth, wherewith Christs face was covered whilst the Jews buffeted him, saying: Areade, who did strike thee? (Matt. 26)
The Albe, which is a long white garment, represents the
white coat, wherewith Herod did send Christ back to Pilate, reputing him as a fool.
The Girdle betokens the scourge wherewith Christ was whipped. And the Fauell, which the Priest puts on his left arm, betokens the cord wherewith they bound Christ, when they first took him. As also the Stole represents the other ropes, wherewith they bound him to the Pillar while they whipped him. (John 19, 18)
The upper vestment does betoken the purple garment, wherewith Christ was clothed in derision, when they saluted him king of the Jews. (John 19) Thus the priest going to make the sacrifice of the church which it learned of Christ, does in outward signs set before our eyes the history of Christs Passion, which is the true pattern of all sacrifices. (Cyprian lib. 2. epist. 3)
The Priest then being so clothed sets briefly before us all the life of Christ, but most specially of all the circumstances of his death. He comes therefore from the vestry to the Altar, as it were showing, how Christ came from heaven into this world. He begins the Mass with some part of a Psalm, which he repeats twice or thrice, in showing the Prophets & Patriarchs to have prayed for, & to have rejoiced at the day of Christs incarnation, which they saw in spirit.
He cries out for mercy nine times, giving us to understand, that his Sacrifice depends upon Christ, and not upon our merits. (John 8) He begins the Gloria in excelsis Deo, Glory in the highest unto God, putting us in mind of the hymn and praise, which the Angels sang at christs birth. And therewith he said. The lord be with you: which is no more but the prophetical naming of Christ who is called Emanuel, that is to say, the Lord with us. The collect signifies, the whole church with one accord to have prayed for the coming of our Saviour, and by him only to trust for salvation. The epistle does resemble the preaching of S. John
Baptist. The mourning song of the Grail shows that penance with insued among the good men upon S. John Baptists preaching. (Matt 3) The joyful song Alleluya betokens the spiritual joy, which after their penance done they obtained, partly in this life, and specially in the life to come: for those who mourn in God, shall be comforted. (Matt 5) The Gospel betokens the preaching of Christ. The creed witnesses, what great fruit of professing the true faith insued upon Christs preaching, which is not only showed by words, but also by works: while the devout persons offer unto God before the Altar, some of their temporal goods & substance, either to be consecrated unto God (as bread and wine) or to be distributed to the poor, or else to be employed to the use of the church, as wax and oil. At the length the Catecumens and learners of the faith being removed out of the Church, the Christians proper sacrifice is begun. At which neither novices in faith, nor infidels may be present: because it is most subject to the derision of the wicked.
Bread and wine then is brought to the Priest at the Altar, to the end he may do with them as Christ in his last supper did, when he was now going to his death. The Chalice betokens the grave: the white corporace betokens the white sheet, wherein Joseph did fold Christs body, when it was laid into the grave: & the paten represents the stone wherewith the grave was covered. But because all this is done only to bring Christs death unto our remembrance, & not to bury Christ again, therefore the priest after Secret prayer (which Christ also used in the garden before his Passion - Matt 26) crieth: lift up your hearts: and again: thanks unto our Lord God, who has both redeemed us & left us these mysteries of his glorious death, resurrection, & ascension. After which praises & thanksgiving by the Priest, all the people, or such as supply their place, do sing in the honor of the blessed Trinity three times, Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Osanna in the highest.
The Priest now entering into the most holy meditations of Christs death, commends to god the whole Church dispersed throughout the whole world, & those by name for whom he is bound to pray, as the Pope, the Bishop, the King, & his own friends. (1 Tim 2) And because this is the common sacrifice of all the church, he reverently makes mention on the blessed saints which reign with Christ, and desires to be holpen by their prayers, whom he doubts not to hear him, because they live with Christ, and in him see our necessities, when we call to them, much the better then the Prophets save their hearts, who came unto them for aid or succor. (Phili. 1, 1. Reg. 9, 3. Reg. 5) And being thus provided he making many times the sign of the holy Cross, to betoken, that all the virtue and power he has, is taken by Christs death and Passion, comes at last to take Christs person, upon him, saying in his name and power over the bread. This is my body and over the wine. This is my blood &c. (Matt. 26) By which words no faithful man doubts, but that Christs body and blood are made really present under the form of bread and wine. In token of which belief the priest lifts up the holy Sacrament, to put us in remembrance, how Christ was exalted upon the Cross for us, and the people adore with godly honor the self body and blood, which died, and was shed for us. And then in words also the Priest beseeches, the said body and blood of Christ being most acceptable to God, in his own nature, to be accepted also of God in respect of the Church, which being yet sinful, adventures to handle and to offer such precious gifts. And then the faithful souls are commended also unto God, to the end no members of the Church may be omitted of the Church in the common sacrifice which touches the whole body of the Church. And all this holy secret action is ended with the open pronouncing of our Lords prayer by the seven petitions, whereof we may cal to mind the seven words or sayings
which our Lord pronounced alone upon the Cross, over and besides these secret prayers, wherein he commends to his father all the Patriarchs, Prophets, just men, and all that ever shall be saved, whether they were then born or no: for signification of the which diverse state in the church, for all whom Christs body was broken and vexed upon the cross, the B. Sacrament of the Altar is broken into three parts, and the kiss of peace being sent to the faithful that are present (while they cal for mercy and peace at the hands of the Lamb of God) the whole Sacrifice is received either by the priest alone, if none other be prepared there unto (as Christ upon the Cross ended his own Sacrifice alone) or if others be ready, they receive also with the priest even as Christ at his supper gave his Sacrament, Passio est Domini sacrificium quod offerimus. (Lib. 1. pist. 3) The sacrifice which we offer, is the Passion of our Lord: that is to say, the substance which we offer, is the same, which suffered and rose again from death.
And therefore although Christ made the sacrifice of his supper at the evening, to declare, that as well the old Sacraments, as the world itself were now come to their later end: yet we offer in the morning, to show, that we take hold of Christs resurrection also, & live now in a new state of grace.
And in deed the very receiving and consuming of the Sacrament by the faithful is a resemblance also of Christs Ascension, wherein he was taken from our sight into the heavens, whence he sent the holy Ghost, even as the Priest (having now ended the mysteries with the Collet of thanksgiving) blesses the people, and departs into the vestry when he first came forth. Thus are the Obsecrations, the Orations, the Postulations and the giving of thanks made, whereof S. Paul wrote unto Timothy. (1 Tim. 2) And that according to the mind of S. Augustin, who
there in treating upon the word Oratio (which in Greek signified Votum a vow) doubts not to say, Vouenter omnia quoe offerentur Deo, maxime Sancti Altaris Obatio. (August. epi. 56) All things are vowed which are offered unto God, especially the Oblation of the holy Altar: Where he names the Sacrament of Christs supper, the Oblation of the Altar, and expressly teaches it to be offered and vowed unto God. Unto God, I say, and not (as the Protestants teach) either by the people only to the Priest, or by the Priest only to the people. But he says, Sancti Altaris oblatio maxime offertur Deo. The oblation or offering of the holy Altar, is most of all offered unto God.
This may suffice for a brief instruction of the youth, concerning the most notable and daily Ceremonies of the church, which who so despiseth, he therein despiseth the whole company of Christians, who from the Apostles time till this hour, have used the said Ceremonies at the Service of God, as whereby the mind is provoked to think of God, and of the holy saints much more reverently, then otherwise it would. God give every man grace, not to be wise more than he ought, but to be humble, and rather to seek what an unknown Ceremony means, then to laugh at that which he knows not. For he that by such contempt is ignorant, shall not be known of God, as the Apostles threaten. And he that seeks as he ought, shall find, as our Saviour himself has said. (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 41, Luke 1)
CERTAIN BRIEF NOTES OF DIVERSE
GODLY MATTERS COLLECTED BY
THE SETTER FORTH OF THIS
LATER EDITION, & ADDED
HEREUNTO FOR THE FURTHER
Four strong reasons Why a man ought to forsake all new doctrines, and constantly to cleave to the ancient Religion and doctrine, universally and openly professed in England, by all the ancient Kings and people of this Land, ever since the first receiving of Christian Religion there.
Whereas the holy scripture admonishes us to be constant in faith, and not wavering, or yet light in belief: These reasons following inform us, that we cannot observe this said admonition if we forsake the said ancient Religion & doctrine, and lean to any other. (Gal. 19, John 4, Matt. 24)
First the said ancient Religion and doctrine is an approved and surely grounded religion and doctrine: for it is the very same which the first preachers of Christian faith in England did there plant: And the very same which the most ancient Fathers of virtuous life and excellent learning, from age to age in all Christian Regions, from Christ till this day have holden and followed: and therefore by a good consequence, it is the Religion & doctrine of the Catholic church, which all the people are bound to follow. (Mat. 18, Matt. 24, 1 Tim. 3, 1 Tim. 4, 1 Cor. 11) And on the other side, most part of the new doctrines
are of late foundation: devised, set up & advanced in these later days: & therefore in that point are to be holden as suspected, & to be taken heed of, as we are admonished. (1 Tim. 4, 2 Tim. 3&4) Many of them are old heresies new scoured, and many years before condemned: and therefore they bring sufficient matter to suspect their favorers in all the rest. And they are also so opposite and repugnant to all the said ancient Religion in so many several points, as if all our ancestors had lived ever in misbelief, and as if true faith had never been published, or at least securely defended till this day, which to affirm, were not only to accuse Christ of breach of promise, and to deny the providence of the holy ghost in governing the Church, but also absurd and against common sense. (Matt. 16, John 14,-16, Luke 11, 2 Tim. 3)
Secondly the Authors & beginners of the new doctrines were and are infamous persons, and detected of horrible crimes, as well before as after there publishing of there doctrines: In so much as if the world had been universally in misbelief until there times (as most untruly & absurdly they pretend) yet is it not probable, that God would use any such wicked instruments in so great a cause: neither is there any example that ever he did the like: but the contrary. And as for the first preachers of the said ancient Religion in England what they were in life & conversation, all ancient Histories bear witness & their works & monuments yet remaining do testify, so as this one comparison may suffice for a testimony against the new gospellers either to condemn them clearly or at least to hold them for suspected.
Thirdly the new doctrines being repugnant in themselves, & disagreeing in the chief points of Religion, are without rest & unity of spirit: which defect argues their untruth. But his is not to be found in the said ancient Religion and doctrine. (Rom. 12, 2 Cor. 1, Heb. 4, Ephe. 4, Phil. 2).
Fourthly, the new doctrines do deprave virginity, abstinence, austerity of life, & Christian discipline, and favors liberty so
much, as they give occasion of licentious and dissolute living: and have the marks which the scripture gives of the doctrine of Antichrist: So as the wicked conversation of many of the professors and favorers thereof, appears evidently to be the mere fruits of their doctrine: a special note to detect all sects & sectaries. (2 Pet. 2, 1 John 2, Ep. Jud.)
HERE FOLLOWS CERTAIN DEGREES TO
VIRTUE PROPERLY CALLED:
A LADDER OF SIX STEPS TOWARDS HEAVEN.
The first degree is diligently to search & examine himself. Every person ought to speak and confer daily with his inward man or soul before he go to bed saying thus. Oh my soul how much & in what manner have I this day erred & strayed or loitered from a spiritual or celestial life, how much of this day have I spent in true devotion or exercise of virtue, what kind of thing have I done, said, or thought, for or against my souls health. This first rule or degree is found in diverse places of holy scripture, as when the prophet said, I have nightly meditated with my heart and used groaning in my spirit, he said also in another place I have labored sore in my sightings, I will every night wash my bed and sprinkle my conche with trares, & the king Ezechias said, I will bring to thy remembrance. O Lord God all my years in bitterness and anguish of any soul or of my life. (Isa 38)
The second degree is detestation. I behooves that when any person by this diligent examination have found his conscience loaded or charged with sin, then to detest and hate it for the love of god (to whom all sin is contrary & displeasing) & for no other thing.
Purpose of Amendment.
The third degree is full of purpose to amend. After sin be detested must follow to intend & endeavour to do good, for to have at the least some beginning of the two parts of Christian Justice, which are to decline from evil & do good, which is at large defined in the fifth chapter of this present book, entreating of the office of Christian Justice: For he is unhappy, wicked, and void of understanding, that will not (at the least) purpose & determine every day betwixt God and himself, to do better in time to come. And this is to present himself to the grace of God, of the which the prophet speaks. Quare tristis es anima mea & quare coturbas me, et ce. Wherefore art thou heavy my soul and wherefore doest thou trouble me, trust in God for yet will I confess the praises of him. It is to be understanded by these praises, the Good life we lead.
The fourth degree is prayer, After having purposed well & virtuously to live, It behooves to do all by humble, devout and perseverant prayer to then we may have help & assistance of god. For without him we can not enter into any step of virtue and therefore we ought every day humbly to pray unto God saying. O most sovereign Lord & God which by thy benign grace exhorts us by thy holy scripture to trust & put our refuge in thee by prayers, for that thou art almighty & vigilant: & incline by divinity bounty to our feebleness we bring thy work and poor creatures. Now then for the love of thee I renounce all worldly vanities & sensuality. And desire to live well and virtuously in keeping thy commandments. Confirm therefore my desire by thy holy spirit and finally give me such virtues as are to me necessary to bring me to thee where is all
glory, beatitude and felicity to all Just. And thou blessed virgin Mary and all the Saints of heaven, it is to you to whom I lift up mine eyes, to the end that by your merits and prayers I may obtain that which my merits could never obtain.
O Jesus fountain of all secretness pardon me that I have not until this present sufficiently known thy incomprehensible secretness, neither have I forced myself anything to get at the least, any taste thereof making small accompte to beautify my soul or to relieve her, nor of the union betwixt her and thy holy spirit. O how little have I drawn myself to spiritual things and so prepare my heart to receive thee and to be Joyful with thee and to make a chamber in me in the which thou had long time and often made thy dwelling.
Alas my most loyal and true lover pardon me that I have not always sought & obeyed according to thy holy will, that I have not esteemed thy friendship for my sovereign wealth: but the contrary have as the prodigal child long time served swine & have satisfied myself with their meat, that is to say with vain and wicked delights and pleasures of this world beseeching thee therefore, to forgive me and to have begun so late to know thee, and that I have not before this time endeavored myself to run after the secret odor of thy ointments, that is to say after thy virtues and thy divine grace. I beseech thee withdraw not thy right hand from me, and disdain not to succour him which comes though something late: but rather awake me & draw me more strongly because I come so late (for the most part of my days are past over) to the end I may in running hastily to thee, recover the time past which I lost, & that the hour of death overtake me not before I have taken such state of life as always I ought to purpose and pretend, that is to say a perfect union of my soul & thy holy spirit through pure & true continual love. Amen.
Execution of works.
The fifth degree is execution of works. In this point we fail commonly all, for we purpose & pray sometimes enough, but we never come to this degree to work the said purpose which appertains to a virtuous life. It behooves then, that person that tends to perfection (when he rises in the morning) to say in his heart. I see & consider well that it behooves me to use such and such virtue & therefore this day without any longer delay, I will put in execution the same work, & then he ought effectually & constantly to begin.
Perseverance in virtue.
The sixth degree is perseverance in virtue. It is necessary also to ascend up to this degree (those that will come to a heavenly and godly life) and not to rest & faint in the way: for it may so happen that some having served God and lived virtuously for the space of 16. or 20, years, after by little and little shall wax weary and negligent, leaving of his virtuous exercises and God also begin to forsake him, for if God abandon or forsake any, the devil presently takes possession to denounce him, to make him forget his former good life, and to live wickedly in all vice and sin: of this speaks the prophet David saying (Deus dereliquu eum, persequemini & comprehendite eum quia non est qui eripiat) God hath forsaken him, pursue him and apprehend him for there is none that will deliver him. These are the words of the wicked and reproved spirits, destroyers of souls in speaking one to another. Alas it is marvelously lamentable when it thus happens & therefore we ought most humbly and often pray unto God with the prophet Daniel saying (Ne derelinquas me domine deus neus, nequando rapiat, & non sit qui eripiat) forsake me not my Lord & God, depart not from me lest the devil come to denounce me & none be that can deliver me. God through his grace grant us this request. Amen.
A BRIEF MEDITATION OR RATHER FORM OF EXAMINATION
OF ONES CONSCIENCE DAILY TO BE USED TO BEDWARD
WHEREIN IS CONTAINED A RIGHT PRACTICE OF
THE FORMER SIX STEPS.
The first point is to give God thanks for his benefits received, with this or such like prayer.
Bless our Lord God (O my soul) & all that is within me bless him. Give thanks to God (my soul) for all his benefits given to me, & see thou never forget them. To thee O Lord be all thanks, glory & honour for ever more. Amen.
The next point is to desire God his grace for to know your sins, and to expel the same with this or such like prayer.
O Lord show to me thy ways and teach me thy foot-paths: Pour into my heart O Lord the grace of thy holy spirit, and lighten my understanding, that I may thoroughly perceive and see all my sins before my eyes, and by thy gracious aid expel the same from time to time till my lives end, good Lord I beseech thee.
The third point is to call your soul to an account for all your sins that day committed, (beginning in the morning at your first waking, and so from hour to hour till the time of this meditation) in thought, word, deed and omission: and to this shall help you, if you call to remembrance, what matters you have been occupied withall, and with what persons: & how much time you spent therein: And first examine your thoughts.
With what idle and unfruitful cogitations you passed this time or that time of the day, if your mind has been upon worldly things more than need were, or in the time of prayer: or if you have been over careful of your estate, lest by loss of this or that
friend you should want: or have had any thought to suspect or misjudge wrongfully: or motion to mistrust Gods help, by thinking to much of the loss of any friend or worldly thing, or have had any murmuring against God anyway, & how far you waded in any thought & whether you gave any consent to your remembrance, or if you have felt any fleshly motions, or any carnal delectations, and whether they came in your mind, so as you passed them without consent or without strife to your remembrance or no. Or whether you have had mind to revenge wrongs, or if you have had any thoughts of pusillanimity or discouragement in godly exercise, which is a spice of sloth: As when the devil does suggest you think any evil of God or exercise of virtue, or of weariness of the world, otherwise then for hate of sin, or for love to be with God. Or if any thoughts have drawn you from serving of God, in prayers, or at Mass, or in saying penance enjoined, or in receiving the Sacrament: or what other vain thought has troubled you.
And then examine your self for words: what superfluous talk for recreations sake have you used: if you have opened any secret faults of others: or have spoken to the reproach of others anything true or false: or justly have provoked others to anger by talk or hasty speech: or by filthy speech have given to others occasion of sin: or have sworn vainly: or have spoken untruths: And ever foresee that you stand in doubt of your own words, though you remember no ill words to have escaped you. And even so for your works: whether you have done any works of charity with pure intent, without vain glory or hypocrisy. And here think of Pride, Envy, wrath, Sloth, Covetousness, Gluttony and Lechery, how you have actually offended in any of them. If you have not loved God so earnestly as you should: if you have desired any mans death, or killed any man in his good fame: if you have left anything undone which you ought to
have done according to your ability touching the work of mercy, or deeds of Charity. And ever suspect your doings in everything: though you remember not any evil done that day. And this examination daily done, will make you more ready for your sacramental confession, & help you in many things.
The fourth point is with a short confession to ask forgiveness to this effect or like.
I confess to thee (O God almighty maker of heaven & earth) all my sins, whatsoever they be which I have committed from my infancy to this present time wittingly or ignorantly, and specially those which this day I have committed in thought word or deed against thy divine will. And I most humbly crave pardon of thee, for my sins be Innumerable, mercy Lord mercy I most humbly beseech thee.
The fifth point is to purpose with god his grace to amend your life, and say Pater noster. Ave Maria. Kindle in me (O Lord) the fire of thy love, and grant me fruitful amendment of my life I beseech thee. Amen.
A NOTE OF SUCH THINGS AS ARE REPRESENTED TO
CHRISTIANS BY THE USUAL BLESSING OF
THEMSELVES WITH THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.
Jesus Christ our saviour the son of God, for the love he did bear to mankind came down into the world, suffered death upon the Cross, descended into hell, & with victory over hell, damnation, & death he rose again, and in his glorified body ascended to the glory of his Father: The memory of which victory, and our reconciliation to God the Father, with the whole mystery of our redemption is celebrated of every good Christian daily by making the sign of the Cross.
In this faith & belief all good Christians use oftentimes to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads: as a continual renewing of the badge or mark of their Christian profession impressed in their foreheads by the priest of God at the font of Baptism.
In this faith & belief the church of God has appointed her children the Catholic Christians at the saying of Deus in adiutorium and in other parts of divine service to make the sign of the cross, by drawing the hand from the forehead to the breast, & from the left shoulder to the right: with observation was appointed upon grave considerations: For thereby the good Christian is put in mind of diverse things daily & hourly mete to be thought of.
For the drawing down of the hand from the forehead to the breast reneweth the memory of the coming of the son of God down into the world to save mankind.
The removing of the hand to the left shoulder represents the descending of our saviour into hell, for to obtain victory over hell, damnation and death.
The drawing of the hand over heart to the right shoulder for
to finish up the figure and shape of the cross resembles unto us the glorious recourse of our saviour Jesus Christ to his Father, for to consummate our redemption and reconciliation after his death upon the cross.
And for so much as by the left hand in an apt form of speech all sinister & evil things are signified: and good things by the right hand therefore the good Christian by drawing of the hand from the left shoulder to the right is put in mind, that he must withdraw his cogitation, care and study from all worldly vanities the sinister allurements of our ghostly enemies, & to fix his heart and mind of heaven and heavenly things: That he must eschew the broad way of sin which lieth on the left hand: and tread the strait path of virtuous conversation on the right hand. And that by the benefit of the cross he is put in hope to pass from temporal to everlasting pleasures and commodities: to avoid eternal misery and obtain eternal felicity.