C. A catechism, that is to say, an instruction.] Our Church gives here the notation of the word catechism, telling us it is an instruction: and so it is, an instruction in the first rudiments of Christianity: the author of the epistle to the Hebrews goes as high in its advancement as possibly he can; with him it is καταβολὴ τοῦ θεμελίου, “the laying of the first foundation,” chap. vi. 1, implying that, as a foundation is to the superstructure, so is catechising to the sublimer mysteries of our religion: and what an edifice is without a foundation our Saviour’s parable speaks plainly enough. And this may be sufficient to preserve it not only from scorn and contempt, but in a high esteem, seeing it is suppedaneous, the pedestal to support nobler truths: for as St. Jerome excellently, non contemnenda sunt parva, sine quibus magna constare non possunt, “ nothing, be it never so small, is to be slighted, when it is (the sine qua non) that without which greater things cannot stand.” Nor may it be omitted as another argument of its worth, that St. Augustine, St. Cyril, St. Athanasius, Gregorius, Nyssenus, Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, eminent fathers, yea, St. Paul himself, were catechists in their respective times.
Now because a catechism doth necessarily suppose a catechist and a catechumen, the instructor and instructed, of both which there is so frequent mention in antiquity; requisite it will be to take them into a more curious and choice consideration: and the rather, because I find very learned men have hitherto failed in a true apprehension of them; the more excusable, because controversy having hitherto so little intermeddled in this matter, occasion was not offered for search into a more distinct cognizance of them.
First then, catechists taken in a proper and separate notion, as they constituted an order, severed and parted from others, were certi guidam homines, qui scholam Christiane institutionis exercebant, as Vicecomes describeth them, “ certain men, which kept a school for Christian institution :” but whether those certain men were lay or clergy, or what they were, he determineth not. The annotator and Mr. Thorndike, very learned men both, seem to affirm them presbyters, for where Clemens Alexandrinus demandeth, τίνι ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐπιτίθησι χεῖρα, τίνα δὲ εὐλογήσει ; “whom shall the presbyter lay hands upon, whom shall he bless?” they understand him as if he meant “the solemnity with which the catechists dismissed thosethat were catechised.” And in confirmation of this interpretation, the Doctor produceth Eusebius, who saith of Constantine that ἐξομολογούμενος, τῶν διὰ χειροθεσίας εὐχῶν ἠξιοῦτο, “he made profession, and then was vouchsafed those prayers which were given by imposition of hands.” But I conceive neither of those places at all applicable to catechising. Not this of Eusebius; neither the act done, nor the place where it was done will admit it. Not the act, being ἐξομολόγησις, which is not in that place the ‘ making of profession,’ as the Doctor renders it, but ‘confession of sins,’ and the prayer there mentioned was the absolution, a consequent of that confession, and which was always performed with imposition of hands. Not the place, because it was in that destined for public worship, and so not proper for catechising. Grant I do, that the catechumeni had their κατηχούμενα, “ dwellings,” annexed and adjoined to the temples, which for that very cause were called σεβάσμιοι vaot’, “venerable houses,” perhaps some rooms in the baptisteries, as St. Ambrose in the epistle forementioned. But that they were actually catechised in the church where the congregation of the faithful assembled, I find not one syllable in antiquity, but much to the contrary, as shall be seen anon. To come to Clemens Alexandrinus, I say, that passage of his to catechistical benediction neither did, nor could relate. It did not, because it is expressly restrained to a presbyter: but a presbyter, as presbyter, was never deputed to that office, nor was it ever held necessary for a catechist to be presbyter. I find, indeed, the catechumens enjoined by two several councils, τῇ πέμπτῃ τῆς ἑβδομάδος ἀπαγγέλλειν τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ ἢ τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις, “to give an account of their faith to the bishop or presbyters, on the fifth day of the week,” yet doth it not follow that therefore the bishop or presbyters were catechists, κυρίως, properly so called, they being only appointed for that time to receive that account from them, because it was great reason that they, who regularly had the only power to baptize, should be well assured that they should confer that seal upon none but persons qualified with knowledge sufficient for it.
Catechists were usually, if not constantly, laymen. In Scripture dialect, I take them to be those which pass under the name of doctors, διδάσκαλοι, such were the doctors amongst whom our Saviour was found in the temple disputing, that is, questioning and answering like a catechumen. Such St. Paul, who, as I said before, was a catechist, calls himself, διδάσκαλον ἐθνῶν, 1 Tim. 1. 7; 2 Tim. i. 11, “a teacher or catechist of the Gentiles ;” so I am certain they were termed in the times succeeding. The supposed Clemens, discoursing of catechising, saith, ὁ διδάσκων, εἰ καὶ λαϊκὸς, ἔμπειρος δὲ τοῦ λόγου, Kal τὸν τρόπον σεμνὸς, διδασκέτω, “he that is ἃ catechist, though he be a layman, yet if he be skilful and able for the place, and of good behaviour, let him teach the novices:” where not only διδάσκων imports a catechist, but also there is an implied toleration for him to be a layman. So St. Cyprian, Optatum inter lectores doctorem audientium constituimus, “Optatus, one of the readers, I have constituted a doctor” (there is doctor again) “of the hearers.” This Optatus was then in the clergy, in lectores, “one of the readers,” and therefore the father saith he was only clero proximus, ad clerum paratus, “the next remove beneath, and ready to be ordained by the clergy.” Indeed, St. Augustine gives an account of a deacon who performed his office ; petisti a me, frater Deogratias, ut aliquod ad te de catechizandis rudibus, quod tibi usui esset, scriberem. Diaisti enim, quod apud Carthaginem, ubi diaconus es, ad te sepe adducuntur, qui fide Christiana primitus imbuendi sunt: “thou didst desire of me, Deogratias, that I should write to thee something concerning the catechising of novices. For thou sayest that at Carthage, where thou art deacon, many are brought to thee to be instructed in the principles of Christianity.” All this time no mention of any presbyter catechist in the African Church. But it might be otherwise at Alexandria. Not at Alexandria to be sure, where a Marco evangelista semper ecclesiastict fuere doctores, “even from the time of Mark the evangelist, there were always successively ecclesiastical doctors,” that is, catechists; where this very Clemens was one, and so was Origen, (once his scholar,) at eighteen years of age, as both Eusebius and St. Jerome witness, too young to be ordained a clergyman. And for other parts, St. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, was there a catechist, and wrote his Catecheses in adolescentia, “in his youth,” as St. Jerome tells us; if so, then probably he was no presbyter at that time, a presbyter or elder, (as the word imports,) and a youth, being terms contra-distinct.
But there is still behind another argument, an infallible one, that Clemens, his presbyter, here mentioned, could not be a catechist, for his question hath evident reference to women. Inveighing against such women as wore false hair, he frameth this expostulatory argument ; τίνι ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἐπιτίθησι χεῖρα, τίνα δὲ εὐλογήσει; οὐ τὴν γυναῖκα τὴν κεκοσμημένην, ἀλλὰ τὰς ἀλλοτρίας τρίχας, καὶ δι᾽ 5. Epist. xxiv. τ (Lib. vi. e. 3.) αὐτῶν ἄλλην κεφαλήν : “upon whom shall the presbyter impose his hand, whom shall he bless? not the adorned woman herself, but her false hair, and thereby another’s head.” Women being then the subject of his discourse, the presbyter cannot be a catechist. It is most undoubtedly true, what the most famous Grotius hath delivered in this particular: femine per feminas primi Christianismi cognitione imbut, et sic ad Ecclesias pertrahi debebant : “women were by women (meaning deaconesses and sanctimonials) to be taught the principles of Christianity, and so to be brought into the Churches.” And though he quoteth no one authority for it, yet for Greece he yields a very persuading reason that it was so: in Grecia clausa gyneconitis: “the fashion was in Greece, for the gyneczeum or women’s chamber to be kept private, inaccessible to men.” To which known custom, this very Clemens elsewhere referreth: giving us an account what those women were which the Apostles made their synodites and companions in their journeys, he calls them συνδιακόνους πρὸς τὰς οἰκουpovs γυναῖκας, “fellow ministers with them towards women which kept close at home,” δ ὧν εἰς τὴν γυναικωνῖτιν ἀδιαβλήτως παρεισεδύετο ἡ τοῦ κυρίου διδασκαλία, “by whom” (viz., as catechists) “Christian instruction might freely, without proof, enter the most retired chambers allotted for women.” Much to the same purpose the other supposed Clemens, who, shewing cause why deaconesses must be chosen, saith, ἔστι yap ὁπόταν ἐν τισὶν οἰκίαις ἄνδρα διάκονον γυναιξὶν οὐ δύναται πέμπειν διὰ τοὺς ἀπίστους, ἀποστελεῖς οὖν γυναῖκα διάκονον : “it happeneth sometimes that for the speech of unbelievers, you cannot send a deacon to women, and then you shall send a deaconess.” The gyneceum, or women’s room, being so δυσέντευκτον, and “inaccessible to men,” no marvel if deaconesses were appointed for the service. Nay further, clear it is, even in other places where they were not so strictly mewed up, within the Latin jurisdiction, the practice was the same, as appeareth by the fourth council of Carthage. Sanctimoniales que ad ministerium baptizandarum mulierum eliguntur, tam instructe sint ad officium ut possint apto et sano sermone docere imperitas et rusticas mulieres, tempore quo baptizande sint gualiter baptizatori interrogate respondeant; “sanctimonials which are chose to officiate about women to be baptized, are to be instructed and fitted for the place, that they may be able, with edifying and wholesome doctrine, to teach ignorant and unskilful women what to answer to such interrogatories as shall be administered unto them when they come to be baptized.” Thus have I evidently manifested that Clemens’s presbyter could not in this place be a catechist, in the pursuing of which proof I hope my discourse hath not seemed tedious, because not impertinent : upon the whole matter, all that I can make out concerning catechists is, that in the deputation of persons for that office, regard was rather had to their abilities and qualifications, than to the degrees or orders whereby they were distinguished from others.
To come now to catechumens, they were, to speak properly, such as were desirous to be instructed in the mysteries of the Christian profession, such as had their catechumenium, or distinct place in the Church, assigned for their station ; such as were admitted not only to hear the word read and preached, but were permitted also to be present at some prayers. Learned men generally describe them by audientes, as if they were altogether the same persons. And they may, it is true, promiscuously so pass one for another, but not in their sense, that is, not taking audients for such as were hearers of the word in public assemblies. Such audients and catechumens being not terms convertible, but evidently in all antiquity distinct. The council of Nice, concerning lapsed persons,resolves thus: ἔδοξε ὥστε τριῶν ἐτῶν, αὐτοὺς ἀκροωμένους, μετὰ ταῦτα εὔχεσθαι μετὰ τῶν κατηχουμένων, “that three years they should continue as hearers only, and after that to pray with the catechumens.” So also in the Constitutions ascribed to Clemens‘; ὁ διάκονος κηρυσσέτω, μήτις TOY ἀπίστων, μήτις TOV ἀκροωμένων, Kal ἡσυχίας γενομένης, λεγέτω, εὔξασθε οἱ κατηχούμενοι, το. ; ‘let the deacon proclaim, away infidels, begone hearers; and silence being made, let him say, pray ye catechumens.” In both which places a remarkable real as well as nominal difference is to be discerned between the axpowpévor, “hearers,” and the κατηχούμενοι, “ catechumens ;” these staying behind, when they were sent away. Audientes, in their large sense, were, in truth, all persons, the faithful only excepted, who were permitted to be present at the lessons read, and the sermon preached, as appeareth by the fourth council of Carthage: episcopus nullum prohibeat ingredi in Ecclesiam et audire verbum Dei, sive gentilem, sive hereticum, sive Judeum usque ad missam catechumenorum; “let the bishop forbid none from coming into the church to hear God’s word, be he heathen, be he heretic, be he Jew, and there to abide until the service of the catechumens.” Grant, I do, that Cyprian calls the same persons catechumeni in one epistle, and audientes in another: but these are called audientes upon a clear other account, not in reference to their attention to the word of God in public assemblies, but, as Xenophon is called, dxpoaτὴς Σωκράτους, “ Socrates’ hearer,” in relation to their being taught by such whom this father called even now doctores audientum, “instructors of the hearers,” and were no other than catechists, so that the error and mistake lieth in the notion and application, not in the word itself.
Having hitherto discoursed what catechists and catechumens were, it will next be seasonable to enquire into the time anciently set apart for this sacred exercise, which was the forty days of Lent. Consuetudo apud nos istiusmodi est, ut his qui baptizandi sunt, per quadraginta dies publice tradamus sanctam, et adorandam Trinitatem; “the custom with us is such, that all Lent long we teach persons to be baptized, the mysteries of the blessed Trinity;” whereby it is discernible that catechising was then antecedent, which, with us, is subsequent to baptism; and reason good it should be so, men of ripe years coming to the font, who were not allowed their proxies, but were to give an account of their own belief. Nevertheless, though catechumens were by such instruction fitted for baptism, yet did they not always enter the font so soon as they were prepared for it, but delayed their admission to this Sacrament as long as they pleased ; some not for a few years, as is evident by Arnobius and St. Augustine, who both wrote many pieces of divinity when they were catechumens, and before they were baptized. When any purposed to receive this holy seal, the fashion was for them to give in their names (that the Church might know who they were which desired to be initiated) the week before Easter and Whit-Sunday, and from that time of entering their names they were called ‘competentes);’ appropinquabat Pascha, dedit nomen inter alios competentes, i. e. “the feast of Easter was at hand, he gave in his name amongst the rest of the competents.” So Ambrose, dimissis catechumenis symbolum aliquibus competentibus tradebam, i. e. “the catechumeni being sent away, I delivered the creed to certain competents.” Now although competents came thus to be distinguished from the catechumeni, as one remove above them, yet was this nominal difference not always punctually observed by the ancient fathers, but sometimes they gave the name of catechumen to such an one as was ready to be baptized. So the very forementioned authors ; St. Ambrose, credit etiam catechumenus in crucem Domini Jesu qua et ipse signatur, i.e. “the catechumen believeth also in the cross of our Lord Jesus, wherewith he is signed,” that is, when he gave in his name for baptism, this ceremony being then applied to him: St. Augustine, quando catechument ad gratiam sancti lavacri festinant solemniter cantatur, Psalmus cvli., i. e. “ when the catechumens are hastening to the holy laver, this forty-first Psalm is usually sung.” This may suffice to be delivered concerning the catechumens, “the candidates of the Christian faith,” as St. Jerome calleth them, as they are represented in the writings of the primitive times.
As to the make and form of a catechism, our first reformers more consulted the condition of their own than the practice of the primitive times, who required in persons to be baptized no other precognita, or things to be foreknown, than the Articles of the Christian faith, and in some places the Lord’s Prayer: our reformers adding the decalogue, with very edifying explanations of them. But these being thought defective as to the doctrine of the Sacraments, it was by an addition to it in that concernment, which was done accordingly in that excellent frame we see, being penned at first by Bishop Overall, then dean of St. Paul’s, and allowed by the bishops; so that therein, indeed, throughout the whole frame of our Church’s Catechism, that golden rule of that judicious prince is punctually observed, viz., the “ avoiding of all odd, curious, deep and intricate questions ;” no magisterial determination of the priorities or posteriorities, of the absoluteness or respectiveness of God’s decrees, points ἀνεξερεύνητα, i. 6. inscrutable to the most illuminate doctor of the Gentiles, and which put him to his ὦ βάθος, i.e. “O the depth of the wisdom of God,” Rom. xi. 33, nor of any thing less than fundamental, being there taken notice of. Happy were we, did all practitioners in theology, they especially who pretend on high honour to our Church, conform to her example.
Why the catechism is placed next. SINCE children, in their baptism, engage to renounce the devil and all his works, to believe in God, and serve him; it is fit that they he taught, so soon as they are able to learn, what a solemn vow, promise, and profession they have made. Accordingly after the offices appointed for baptism, follows A CATECHISM, that is to say, An Instruction, to he learned of every person, before he be brought to he confirmed by the Bishop.
Catechism of divine institution, and universal practice. And this (i.e. the catechising or instructing of children and others in the principles of religion) is founded upon the institution of God himself, and is agreeable to the best examples in Scripture. As to the Jews, Josephus tells us, that they were above all things careful that their children might be instructed in the law: to which end they had in every village a person called the instructor of babes, (to which St. Paul seems to allude,) whose business it was (as we may gather from Buxtorf) to teach children the law till they were ten years of age, and from thence till they were fifteen, to instruct them in the Talmud. Grotius tells us, that at thirteen they were brought to the house of God in order to be publicly examined; and, being approved, were then declared to be children of the precept, i.e. they were obliged to keep the law, and were from thenceforth answerable for their own sins. And whereas our Saviour submitted himself to this examination when he was but twelve years old, (for that Grotius supposes was the end of his staying behind at Jerusalem, and offering himself to the doctors in the temple;) it was by reason of his extraordinary qualifications and genius, which (to speak in the Jews' own. language) ran before the command.
From the Jews this custom was delivered down to the Christians, who had in every church a peculiar officer, called a catechist, whose office it was to instruct the catechumens in the fundamentals of religion, in some places for two whole years together, besides the more solemn catechising of them during the forty days of Lent, preparatory to their baptism at Easter.
§.2. Catechism of children or converts, as proper after Baptism as before. There was indeed some difference between the persons who were catechised then, and those whom we instruct now. For then the catechumens were generally such as were come to years of discretion; but, having been born of heathen parents, were not yet baptized. So that they catechised them before their baptism, as we also do those who are not baptized till they come to riper years. But as to the children of believing parents, it is certain that, as they were baptized in infancy, they could not then, any more than now, be admitted Catechumens till after baptism. Nor is there any necessity of doing it before, if so be we take care that due instruction be given them, so soon as they are capable of receiving it. For our Saviour himself in that commission to his apostles, Go ye, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, &c. - teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you, seems to intimate that converts may first be entered into his Church by baptism, and afterwards instructed in the fundamentals of their religion. And indeed we read, that when St. Basil was baptized, the Bishop kept him in his house some time afterwards, that he might instruct him in the things pertaining to eternal life. And a learned writer affirms, that all baptized persons in the primitive times (although they had been catechised before) were yet wont to stay several days after their baptism, to be more fully catechised in all things necessary to salvation. And therefore there is much more reason for us to catechise children after baptism, who are naturally incapable of being instructed beforehand.
The Catechism drawn up by way of Question and Answer. AS to the form of our Catechism, it is drawn up after the primitive manner by way of question and answer: so Philip catechised the Eunuch, and so the persons to be baptized were catechised in the first ages, as I have already shewn in discoursing of the antiquity of the baptismal vow. And indeed the very word CATECHISM implies as much; the original κατηχέω, from whence it is derived, being a compound of ἠχὼ, which signifies an echo, or repeated sound. So that a Catechism is no more than an instruction first taught and instilled into a person, and then repeated upon the catechist's examination.
§.2. The contents of it. As to the contents of our Catechism, it is not a large system or body of divinity, to puzzle the heads of young beginners; but only a short and full explication of the baptismal vow. The primitive Catechism indeed (i.e. all that the catechumens were to learn by heart before their Baptism and Confirmation) consisted of no more than the Renunciation, or the repetition of the Baptismal Vow, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer; and these together with the Ten Commandments, at the Reformation, were the whole of ours. But it being afterwards thought defective as to the doctrine of the Sacraments, (which in the primitive times were more largely explained to baptized persons,) king James I appointed the Bishops to add a short and plain explanation of them, which was done accordingly in that excellent form we see;* being penned by bishop Overal, then dean of St. Paul's, and allowed by the Bishops. So that now (in the opinion of the best judges) it excels all Catechisms that ever were in the world; being so short that the youngest children may learn it by heart; and yet so full, that it contains all things necessary to be known in order to salvation.
In this also its excellency is very discernible, viz. that as all persons are baptized not into any particular Church, but into the Catholic Church of Christ; so here they are not taught the opinion of this or any other particular Church or people, but what the whole body of Christians all the world over agree in. If it may any where seem to be otherwise, it is in the doctrine of the Sacraments: but even this is here worded with so much caution and temper, as not to contradict any other particular Church; but so as that all sorts of Christians, when they have duly considered it, may subscribe to every thing that is here taught or delivered.
Rubric 1. Catechism how often to be performed. THE times now appointed for catechising of children, are Sundays and Holy-days. Though Bishop Cosin observes, this is no injunction for doing it every Sunday and holy-day, but only as often as need requires, according to the largeness or number of children in the parish. And it is true, that by the first book of king Edward VI it was not required to be done above once in six weeks. But Bucer, observing that this was too seldom, and that in several churches in Germany there was catechising three times a week, urged, in his censure upon this rubric, that the Minister should be required to catechise on every holy-day. Upon this exception indeed the rubric was altered, but expressed notwithstanding in indefinite terms. So that Bishop Cosin was of the opinion, that no obligation could be urged from hence, that the Minister should perform it on all Sundays and holy-days. And indeed by the Injunctions of queen Elizabeth, it was only required upon every Holy -day and every second Sunday (i.e. I suppose every Sunday) in the year; though it is plainly the design of the present rubric, that it should be done as often as occasion requires, i.e. so long as there are any in the parish who are capable of instruction, and yet have not learned their Catechism. And therefore, in many large parishes, where the inhabitants are numerous, the Minister thinks himself obliged to catechise every Sunday; whilst in parishes less populous, a few Sundays in the year are sufficient to the purpose; and therefore in such places the duty of Catechism is reserved till Lent, in imitation of an old custom in the primitive Church, which, as I have already observed, had their more solemn Catechisms during that season. But now how to reconcile the fifty-ninth canon to this exposition of the rubric, I own I am at a loss: for that requires every Parson, Vicar, or Curate, upon every Sunday and Holy-day, to teach and instruct the youth and ignorant persons of his parish, in the Catechism set forth in the Book of Common Prayer; and this too upon pain of a sharp reproof upon the first complaint, of suspension upon the second, and of excommunication till he be reformed upon the third.
§.2. Why to be performed after the second Lesson. The part of the service where this is to come in, is after the second Lesson at Evening Prayer: though in all the Common Prayer Books till the last review, it was ordered to be done half an hour before Even-Song, i.e. (as the fifty-ninth canon explains it,) the Minister should for half an hour, or more, before Evening Prayer, examine and instruct the youth and ignorant persons of his parish in the Church Catechism. I suppose the reason of the alteration was, that Catechism being performed in the midst of divine service, the elder persons, as well as the younger, might receive benefit by the Minister's expositions, and that the presence of parents and masters might be an encouragement to the children and servants to a diligent performance of their duty herein.
§.3. Rubric 2. The persons to be catechized, who. The persons appointed to be instructed in this Catechism, are so many of the parish sent unto him, as the Minister shall think convenient: which the next rubric supposes to be all children, servants, and apprentices, which have not learned it. In king Edward's first Common Prayer Book, those only were to be sent, who were not yet confirmed. But because many were then confirmed young, at least before they could understand their Catechism, though they might repeat the words of it, Bucer desired that they might still be catechised, till the Curate should think them sufficiently instructed; upon which motion the words were somewhat altered in the next review.
§.4. What care is to be taken by parents and masters, &c. The care of sending their children and servants is by the same rubric laid upon their Fathers, Mothers, Mistresses, and Dames, who are to cause them to come to Church at the time appointed, and obediently to hear, and he ordered by the Curate, until such time as they have learned all that is here appointed for them to learn. The same is required by the fifty-ninth canon of our Church, which further orders, that if any of these neglect their duties, as the one sort in not causing them to come, and the other in refusing to learn as aforesaid: they are to be suspended by the Ordinary, i.e. from the Communion, I suppose, (if they be not children) and if they so persist by the space of a month, they are to be excommunicated. And by the canons of 1571, every Minister was yearly, within twenty days after Easter, to present to the Bishop, &c. the names of all those in his parish, which had not sent their children or servants at the times appointed. And to enforce this, it was one of the articles which was exhibited, in order to be admitted by authority, that he, whose child at ten years old or upwards, or his servant at fourteen or upwards, could not say the Catechism, should pay ten shillings to the poor's box.
The two next rubrics, relating more immediately to the Order for Confirmation, will come more properly to be treated of in the next chapter.
The Curate of every Parish shall diligently upon Sundays and Holy-days, after the second Lesson at Evening Prayer, openly in the Church instruct and examine so many Children of his Parish sent unto him, as he shall think convenient, in some Part of this Catechism.
And all Fathers, Mothers, Masters, and Dames, shall cause their Children, Servants, and Prentices (which have not learned their Catechism,) to come to the Church at the time appointed, and obediently to hear, and be ordered by the Curate, until such time as they have learned all that is here appointed for them to learn.
So soon as children are come to a competent age, and can say, in their Mother Tongue, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments; and also can answer to the other questions of this short Catechism; they shall be brought to the Bishop. And every one shall have a Godfather, or a Godmother, as a witness of their Confirmation.
And whensoever the Bishop shall give knowledge for Children to be brought unto him for their Confirmation, the Curate of every Parish shall either bring, or send in writing, with his hand subscribed thereunto, the names of all such persons within his Parish, as he shall think fit to be presented to the Bishop to be confirmed. And, if the Bishop approve of them, he shall confirm them in manner following.