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A Bible
Prayer Book
King James Version

Train Up a Child
An Ancient Catechism
For Youth 
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" -- Prov. 22:6


[The catechism following is found in the writings of the Waldenses, ancient Christians of the Northern Italian Piedmont and surrounding areas. These Christians called themselves evangelic, and predated the protestant reformation by hundreds, perhaps even over a thousand, years. It was among these long persecuted believers that Martin Luther took refuge from Papal inquisitors at one time. Luther owned them as brethren&endash;"worthy of praise due to holy martyrs. . . having forsaken all human doctrines, [they] did meditate with all their power in the law of the Lord day and night." Of their confession, "he said that he gave thanks to God for the great light which he {God} had bestowed upon them, rejoicing with them, that all cause of suspicion. . . [was] removed from among them." (History of the Old Waldenses, Jean Paul Perrin, reprinted by Griffith & Simon, Philadelphia, 1847, p. 38-39, originally published 1618]. Similar were the accolades of other reformers such as OEcolampadius, Bucer, Beza, Bullinger, etc. John Calvin embraced much but not all of their reformed faith, and wrote a preface for a Bible translation into French by his cousin, Olivetan, made expressly for the Waldenses. All Scripture references herein have been updated to the King James Version, which did not exist at the time of the original writing. This catechism is found on pages 214-219 of the above mentioned book&endash;Ed.].


Part 1

Minister: If one should demand of you, who are you? What would you answer?

Answer: A creature of God, reasonable, and mortal.

Minister: Why has God created you?

Answer: To the end that I might know him, and serve him, and be saved by his grace.

Minister: Wherein consists your salvation?

Answer: In three substantial virtues, which do necessarily belong to salvation.

Minister: Which are they?

Answer: Faith, hope, and charity.

Minister: How can you prove that?

Answer: The apostle writes, 1Cor. xiii. 13. Now abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three.

Minister: What is faith?

Answer: According to the apostle, Heb. xi. 1. It is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.

Minister: How many sorts of faith are there?

Answer: There are two sorts, a living and a dead faith.

Minister: What is a living faith?

Answer: It is that which works by charity.

Minister: What is a dead faith?

Answer: According to St. James, that faith which is without works is dead. Again, faith is nothing without works. Or a dead faith, is to believe that there is a God, and to believe those things concerning God, and not to believe in him.


Part 2

Minister: What is your faith?

Answer: The true catholic and apostolic faith.

Minister: What is that?

Answer: It is that which is the result or symbol of the apostles, is divided into twelve articles.

Minister: What is that?

Answer: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary: Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty: From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost: The holy catholic church; The Communion of Saints: The Forgiveness of sins: The Resurrection of the body: And the Life everlasting. Amen.

Minister: By what means can you know that you believe in God?

Answer: By this, that I know and observe the commandments of God.

Minister: How many commandments of God are there?

Answer: Ten, as is manifest in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

Minister: Which be they?

Answer: Hear, O Israel, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Minister: What is the sum, or drift, of these commandments?

Answer: It consists in these two great commandments, Thou shalt love God above all things, and thy neighbour as thyself.


Part 3

Minister: What is the foundation of these commandments, by which every one may enter into life, and without the which foundation, none can do any thing worthily, or fulfil the commandments?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the apostle speaks, I Cor. iii. Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Minister: By what means may a man come to this foundation?

Answer: By faith, as saith Peter. I Peter ii. 6. Behold I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious, and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. And the Lord saith, he that believeth hath eternal life.

Minister: Whereby canst thou know that thou believest?

Answer: By this, that I know him to be true God, and true man, who was born, and who hath suffered for my redemption and justification; and that I love him, and desire to fulfil his commandments.

Minister: By what means may one attain to those essential virtues, faith, hope and charity?

Answer: By the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Minister: Dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost?

Answer: Yes, I do believe. For the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and in one person of the Trinity; and according to the divinity, is equal to the Father and the Son.

Minister: Thou believest God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, thou hast therefore three Gods.

Answer: I have not three.

Minister: Yea, but thou hast named three.

Answer: That is by reason of the difference of the persons, not by reason of the essence of the divinity. For although there are three persons, yet, notwithstanding, there is but one essence.


Part 4

Minister: In what manner dost thou adore and worship that God on whom thou believest?

Answer: I adore him with the adoration of an inward and outward worship. Outwardly, by the bending of the knee, and lifting up the hands, and bowing the body, by hymns and spiritual songs, by fasting and prayer. But inwardly, by a holy affection, by a will conformable unto all things that are well pleasing unto him. And I serve him by faith, hope, and charity, according to his commandments.

Minister: Dost thou adore and worship any other thing as God?

Answer: No.

Minister: Why?

Answer: Because of his commandment, whereby it is strictly commanded, saying, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And again, I will not give my glory to another. Again, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow before me. And Jesus Christ saith, There shall come the true worshippers, which shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. And the Angel would not be worshipped by St. John, nor St. Peter by Cornelius.

Minister: After what manner prayest thou?

Answer: I pray rehearsing the prayer given me by the Son of God, saying, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Minister: What is the other substantial virtue?

Answer: It is charity.

Minister: What is charity?

Answer: It is the gift of the Holy Spirit, by which the soul is reformed in the will, being enlightened by faith, whereby I believe all that ought to be believed, and hope all that ought to be hoped.


Part 5

Minister: Dost thou believe in the holy church?

Answer: No; for it is a creature; but I believe there is one.

Minister: What is that which thou believest concerning the holy church?

Answer: I say that the church is considered two manner of ways, the one substantially, and the other ministerially. As it is considered substantially, by the holy catholic church is meant all the elect of God, from the beginning of the world to the end, by the grace of God through the merit of Christ, gathered together by the Holy Spirit, and foreordained to eternal life; the number and names of whom are known to him who has elected them: and in this church remain none who are reprobate. But the church as it is considered according to the truth of the ministry, is the company of the ministers of Christ, together with the people committed to their charge, using the ministry by faith, hope and charity.

[Note the subtle, but important, distinction the youth are taught concerning the nature of the church and how not to believe "in the holy church," but to "believe there is one," which at times includes many false sheep, even wolves. This distinction warns youth that the truth lies not "in the holy church," whose organization can be manipulated by men for gain, but in the constant Word of God, sola scriptura&endash;Ed.].

Minister: Whereby dost thou know the church of Christ?

Answer: By the ministers, lawfully called, and by the people participating in truth of the ministry.

Minister: By what marks knowest thou the ministers?

Answer: By the true sense of faith, by sound doctrine, by a life of good example, by the preaching of the gospel, and due administration of the sacraments.

Minister: By what mark knowest thou the false ministers?

Answer: By their fruits, by their blindness, by their evil works, by their perverse doctrine, and by their undue administration of the sacraments.

Minister: Whereby knowest thou their blindness?

Answer: When not knowing the truth, which necessarily appertains to salvation, they observe human inventions as ordinances of God; of whom is verified what Isaiah saith, and which is alleged by our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew xv. This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

[It is worthy to emphasize that the youth are taught against "human inventions" in place of "truth," concerning worship and salvation by faith alone. In contrast, quite early on, the establishment church "sold" salvation for the mere price of water baptism and the eucharist. Later, amidst spiritual inflation, the price rose to include monetary "penances," indulgences, Papal "dispensations," prayers for the dead, vigils, fastings, pilgrimages and other human works&endash;Ed.].

Minister: By what mark knowest thou their evil works?

Answer: By those manifest sins of which the apostle speaks, Galatians v. 21, saying, That they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Minister: By what marks knowest thou perverse doctrines?

Answer: When it teacheth contrary to faith and hope; such is idolatry of several sorts, viz. towards a reasonable, sensible, visible, and invisible creature; for, it is the Father alone, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, who ought to be worshipped, and not any creature whatsoever. But on the contrary, they attribute to man, and to the work of his hands, to his word, or to his authority, in such a manner, that men ignorantly believe that God is a debtor to man by their false religion, and satisfying the simony of the priests.


Part 6

Minister: By what marks is an undue administration of the sacraments known?

Answer: When the priests not knowing the intention of Christ in the sacrament, say that the grace and truth is included in the external ceremonies, and persuade men to the participation of the sacrament without the truth, and without faith. But the Lord chargeth them that are his, to take heed of such false prophets, saying, Beware of the Pharisees, that is to say, the leaven of their doctrine. Again, Believe them not, neither go after them. And David hates the church or congregation of such persons, saying, I hate the congregation of evil men. And the Lord commands to come out from the midst of such people; Numbers vi. 16. Depart from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in their sins. And the apostle, 2 Corinthians vi. 14, Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness, and what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you. Again, 2 Thessalonians iii. 12. Now we command you brethren, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, Again, Revelation xviii 4. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Minister: By what marks are those people known, who are not in truth within the church?

Answer: By public sins and an erroneous faith; for we ought to fly from such persons, lest we be defiled by them.

[Youth are taught to shun notorious sinners and doctrinal heretics, no matter their priestly office, no matter their political alignment, no matter their personal power&endash;Ed.].

Minister: By what way oughtest thou to communicate with the holy church?

Answer: I ought to communicate with the church in regard of its substance, by faith and charity, as also by observing the commandments, and by a final perseverance in well doing.

Minister: How many things are there which are ministerial?

Answer: Two, the word and the sacraments.

Minister: How many sacraments are there?

Answer: Two: namely, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.


Part 7

Minister: What is the third virtue necessary to salvation?

Answer: Hope.

Minister: What is hope?

Answer: It is a certain expectation of the grace and glory to come.

Minister: By what means do we hope for grace?

Answer: By the mediator Jesus Christ, of whom John saith, i. 17. Grace comes by Jesus Christ. Again, we hope for his glory, who is full of grace and truth. And we all have received of his fulness.

Minister: What is that grace?

Answer: It is redemption, remission of sins, justification, adoption, and sanctification.

Minister: By what means do we hope for grace in Christ?

Answer: By a living faith, and true repentance, saying, Repent ye and believe the Gospel.

Minister: Whence proceedeth this hope?

Answer: From the gift of God, and the promises of which the apostle mentioneth, He is able to perform whatsoever he promiseth. For he hath promised himself, that whosoever shall know him and repent, and shall hope in him, he will have mercy upon, pardon, and justify.

Minister: What are the things that divert a man from this hope?

Answer: A dead faith, the seduction of antichrist, to believe in other things beside Christ; in saints, in the power of antichrist; in his authority, words, and benedictions, in sacraments, relics of the dead, purgatory, which are but things forged and contrived; in teaching that faith is obtained by those ways, which are opposite to the truth, and are against the commandments of God, as is idolatry in divers respects; as also by wickedness and simony, forsaking the fountain of living water given by grace, and running to broken cisterns, worshiping, honouring, and serving the creature, by prayers, by fastings, by sacrifices, by donations, by offerings, by pilgrimages, by invocations, relying upon themselves for the acquiring of grace, which none can give, save only God in Christ. In vain do they labour, and lose their money, and their lives. And the truth is, they do not only lose their present life, but also that which is to come; wherefore it is said that the hope of fools shall perish.


Part 8

Minister: And what dost thou say of the virgin Mary? For she is full of grace, as the angel testifies, I salute thee full of grace.

Answer: The blessed virgin was and is full of grace, as much as is necessary for her own particular, but not to communicate to others; for her Son alone is full of grace to bestow on others, as it is said of him, and we have all received of his fulness, grace for grace.

Minister: Believest thou not the communion of saints?

Answer: I believe that there are two sorts of things wherein the saints communicate; the first substantial, the other ministerial: as to the substantials, they communicate by the Holy Spirit in God though the merit of Jesus Christ; as to the ministerials, or things ecclesiastical, they communicate by the ministry duly performed; namely, by the word, by the sacraments, and by prayer. I believe both the one and the other of these communion of saints. The first only in God, and in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, by the Holy Spirit, the other in the church of Christ.

Minister: Wherein consists eternal life?

Answer: In a living and operating faith, and in perseverance in the same. Our Saviour says, John xvii. 3; This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. And he that endures to the end shall be saved.

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