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A child's Quaker catechism

I mentioned earlier that the Speller by George Fox and Elias Hooke contained a catechism. Steve Angell had written an article on the catechism, and other Quaker catechisms, and hopefully having this available will make that more accessible. (Angell is right that this particular catechism spends little time on the Peace Testimony, though it certainly discusses the suffering of Christians and the warlike tendencies of false prophets and deceivers.)

I've put the full text of the catechism in the extended entry, so as not to overwhelm the front page of this and other sites, but I especially enjoyed this question and answer:

Sch. How many Faiths are there? and which is the true one?

Mast. There is one Faith, and the true Faith is that which works by love, and purifies the heart, and justifies thee, and saves thee, and gives thee Victory over that which separates thee from God, through which Faith thou hast access to God, in which Faith thou pleasest God, and hast unity with him, and them that please God. (47-48)

I can't say this is aimed at especially young children, though it does feel simplified from much of Fox's other writing.


Scholar. How many Offices has Christ in his Church? The Baptists and Teachers of the World tell us Christ has but three.

Master. Yes Child, he has many more than three.

1. His Priestly Office, when he offered up himself for the People in the whole World; and sprinkles the hearts and consciences of his People with his Blood, to cleanse them from dead Works, to serve the living God, and to offer up and present his Church without spot or wrinkle to God.

2. The Kingly Office is to subdue all the Enemies of man, the Devil & all his Works, and to subdue all his Enemies under his Feet, and to give forth the law of love, law of Life, law of Spirit, law of Faith; who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

3. His Prophetical Office; Christ is a Prophet raised up like unto Moses, who is to be heard in all things, who speaks to you by his Light, Power, and Spirit; and opens unto you by his Power, Spirit, and Light, things to come.

4. Christ hath the Office of a Bishop, to over-see thy Soul, Spirit, and Mind, that thou dost not go astray from him, who is Light and Salvation.

5. He hath the Office of a Shephard, who put his Sheep forth out of the prison and Captivity of old Adam and the Serpent, out of the Jaws of Death and the Pit, wherein there is no Water, and the Grave of old Adam, and out of his Bryars and Thorns; and Christ goes before them as a Shepherd, and they know his Voice, and a stranger they will not follow, and he brings them to the Pasture of Life, and to the Waters and Springs of Life, where he feeds them and fills them abundantly; Christ doth, who is the Life.

6. And he hath the Office of Minister, to minister Grace and Truth unto thee, and Glory, and Faith, and the Heavenly Riches, and Light, and Power, and Strength.

7. He hath the Office of a Teacher, whom God hath anointed to preach (the Spirit of the Lord is upon him) to bind up the Broken-hearted, to open the eyes of the Blind, to set the Captive at liberty, and the Prisoner free, and to teach thee the way of Life, Salvation, Holiness, and Godliness, the way of the Redeemed, and the way of the Lord which is perfect, and the way of the Just, which is a shining Light, distinct from way of Unjust, which is Darkness.

8. He hath the Office of a Physician, to heal thee of thy Sicknesses and Infirmities, thy deafness and blindness, who is a Physician of value, Christ Jesus, &c.

9. He hath the Office of a Mediator and Interceder, who meditates and makes intercession for thee to God, that thou mayst pass to God through him, who is able to save to the utmost.

10. He hath the Office of a Captain of thy Salvation, who conquers the Devil and his Works, Hell, Death, & the Grave, who trains up and disciplines his Souldiers with the heavenly Armour, the Breastplate of Righteousness and the Helmet of Salvation and the Armour of Light, and shoes the feet with the preparation of the Gospel; and this Armour is proof of being tryed; and the Arms are, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God: and Christ trains up his Souldiers to keep their Ranks in Righteousness, in Godliness, in Holiness, in Truth, in Life, that they may stand against Death, and stand against Darkness, Unrighteousness, Unholiness, and the Power and Prince of it, but doth not wrestle nor war with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness, the Rulers of Darkness in High places, &c.

And many more Offices, as thou readest the Scriptures, thou will see Child, as thou growest in Truth, that Christ hath; for Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and the Leader of people to God, who old Adam and the Serpent that led from God.

Schol. What is it that gives the knowledge of God? and where is it?

Mast. The Light which shines in the heart, it gives the knowledge of the Glory of God in the Face of Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. 4.

Schol. What brings Salvation?

Mast. The Grace of God which hath appeared to all men, brings Salvation, Titus 2.11, which Grace teacheth us to deny ungodliness and worldly Lusts, that we should live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present World.

Schol. What is the true Hope, from the Hypocrites?

Mast. The true hope is Christ in you, the hope of Glory, Col. 1, 27.

Sch. Who are them which seek that which comes down from above?

Mast. Them that be risen with Christ and dead with him, their affections are set on things above, and not on things on the earth.

Sch. What makes a man a Believer? and how cometh a man or woman to be a Believer?

Mast. Christ Jesus teaches thee how to believe, and what to believe in, John 12. 36. While you have the Light believe in the Light; so there are no true Believers, but who believe in the Light; so Christ teaches people to believe in the Light, which Light manifests all things; It manifesteth Christ to be its Saviour, its way, its Light, and to be its Mediator; for the light cometh from Christ, who is the Light that enlightens every man that comes into the World that all through him might believe, John 1.

Sch. What makes a Child of Light, and to come to have that honourable Name after God, who is Light?

Mast. By believing in the Light he be- comes a Child of Light, and so Children of the day; and so there are no Children of the light, no Children of the Day; but first they believe in the light.

Sch. What is that which shall lead into all Truth?

Mast. It is the Spirit of Truth which must lead into all Truth.

Sch. Where is the Spirit?

Mast. Within.

Sch. What shall reprove the World of Sin, of their Righteousness, & of their Judgement.

Mast. It is the Spirit of Truth that leads the Saints into all Truth.

Sch. In what is God Worshipped?

Mast. He is worshipped in Spirit and in the Truth.

Sch. Where is this Spirit, and where is this Truth?

Mast. The Spirit is within, and the Truth is within, in the inward parts, by which Spirit God is known; and by the Truth the God of Truth is known.

Sch. What is God?

Mast. God is a Spirit.

Sch. Where is the Church?

Mast. The Church is in God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thes. 1.1.

Sch. What is the Church?

Mast. The People of God, which he hath purchased with his own Blood.

Sch. Was Christ's blood shed for all? and did he taste death for every man? and was he an offering for the sins of the whole World?

Mast. Yes, his blood was shed for all men, and he tasted Death for every man, &c. tho some trample the blood of the New-covenant under their feet, and deny the Lord Jesus that bought them.

Sch. Who is he that must instruct people?

Mast. Neh. 9. Thou mayst see how God gave his people his good Spirit to instruct them in the ways of Righteousness and Holiness, and in the way of the Lord, which is perfect.

Sch. What is the just man's Path? and what the unjust-man's path?

Mast. The path of the Just is a shining light, which shines more and more till the perfect day; but the path of the wicked is Darkness.

Sch. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his ways?

Mast. By taking heed to the Word.

Sch. Where is this Word?

Mast. In the heart and in the mouth, to obey it, and do it, Rom. 10.

Sch. What is the good old way? and which is the new and living Way, and which of these ways must we walk in?

Mast. The good old way was the way among the outward Jews which they were to walk in; but the new and living way is Christ Jesus, which thou and all true Christians must walk in.

Sch. What was that Image of God that Adam was made in? was it from below or from above?

Mast. It was from above, from God, of his Image and Righteousness, likeness and holiness; the Image of God was not of the Earth from below.

Sch. What is meant of that Rib Eve was made of?

Mast. A Rib is a beam or a side-piece, which was part of the building of the whole creation, so she was called Woman because she was taken from man; for Eve signifies Living; and she was the Mother of all living, Gen. 2.

Sch. How many Faiths are there? and which is the true one?

Mast. There is one Faith, and the true Faith is that which works by love, and purifies the heart, and justifies thee, and saves thee, and gives thee Victory over that which separates thee from God, through which Faith thou hast access to God, in which Faith thou pleasest God, and hast unity with him, and them that please God.

Sch. How many Baptisms are there?

Mast. One.

Sch. Who is the Baptizer?

Mast. Christ; for John is decreased, and Christ is increased, that is the one Baptism that saves; he baptizeth with the Holy Ghost and with Fire, and burns up the Chaff with unquenchable fire, who comes with his Fan, and thoroughly purges his Floor, and gathers his Wheat into the Garner.

Sch. What is the Wheat?

Mast. The Wheat is the Seed of God.

Sch. What is the Chaff?

Mast. The body of Death, and the body of the sins of the flesh, and the corruptions that must all be plunged down to the Fire.

Sch. What is the Jordan that John baptized in?

Mast. Jor. is a River, and dan is Judgment; he dipt them in the River of Judgment.

Sch. What is the Ministers of Christ's Work?

Mast. Christ gave Gifts unto men for the Work of the Ministry, and their work was for the perfecting the Saints, and for the edifying the body of Christ, till we be all come to the unity of the Faith, the knowledge of the Son of God [Mark] and unto a perfect man, and unto the measures of the stature of the Fulness of Christ.

Sch. And are these Christ's Ministers?

Mast. Yes.

Sch. And what are the rest that do not bring People to this stature, such as toss People to and fro, and carry them with their cunning slights and craftiness of men, and lies in wait to deceive them?

Mast. Yes, they are them that bring People to no Stability, Ephes. 4.

Sch. What is the Scripture? Are they the Word of God?

Mast. The Scriptures signifie writings; the Scriptures of Truth are the Words of God; Christ's Name is called the Word in the Revelations; In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word, John 1.

Sch. What is the Original of Sin?

Mast. Original is the Beginning; the beginning of Sin was the Devil.

Sch. And who destroys him?

Mast. Christ Jesus destroys the Devil and his works, and through Death destroys Death, and the Devil who has the power of Death; and the Seed of the Woman shall bruise the Serpent's Head.

Sch. What Seed was that?

Mast. Christ Jesus.

Sch. To bruise, how is that?

Mast. It is to break to pieces, to crush, to break into pieces and into powder his strength and power.

Sch. Master, the Star-gazers tell me, all Light comes from the Sun.

Mast. Read Genesis 1. there thou wilt see, there was Light and Day, and there was three days before the Sun was made.

Sch. What is the Church Fellowship?

Mast. It is the Gospel Fellowship.

Sch. What is the Gospel?

Mast. The Gospel it is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone that believeth; so the Power of God (the Gospel) is everlasting.

Sch. What is the Cross of Christ.

Mast. The Cross of Christ is the Power of God, and this is foolishness to them that perish, and set up a wooden or a stone or iron Cross, or any other outward Cross.

Sch. What is the ministration of condemnation, which was glorious? And what is that administration that exceeds it in glory?

Mast. The Ministration of Condemnation was the Law that took hold upon the outward Actions of Men and Women; but the Ministration of Restoration that exceeds it in Glory is Christ, that takes away the Root of Sin, which the Fruits of Sin proceeded from, and the Law took hold upon the outward Action, which Christ takes away the Root of, and so makes the Root and the Branches holy, who destroys the Devil and his works, and bruiseth the Serpents head, Christ doth, by whom all things were made and created, who was glorified with the Father before the World began, and set up from everlasting to everlasting, the beginning and ending, the first and last.

Sch. Who is the Christian Sabbath or Rest?

Mast. Christ Jesus; he that believeth hath entered into his Rest and ceased from his own Works, as God did from his; and so Christ is the Rest by whom all things are made and Created, and there is Rest and Peace in him, but not in old Adam.

Sch. Is the Light sufficient for Salvation.

Mast. Yes, by believing in the Light, thou shalt be a Child of Light.

Sch. Who are true Christians?

M. Such as believe in the Light of Christ and are led and guided by Christ Jesus.

Sch. Why are the true Christians called Quakers in this Age?

Mast. It is in scorn and derision that they are so called, to render them and the Truth odious to the People, that so they might not receive the Truth and be saved. Yet quaking and trembling is no new thing; for thou mayst read of Quakers in the Scriptures, as in Heb. 12.21. Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake. And it is said, Son of man, eat thy bread with Quaking, and drink thy Water with Trembling. And when Daniel saw a Vision, a great quaking fell upon the men that were with him: And Habakkuk his Belly trembled, and his Lips quivered, Hab. 3.16.

Sch. Sure those that scoffingly call the true Christians Quakers, never read these Scriptures: for they prove very plain, that there were Quakers in the Primitive times: But why do the people called Quakers say Thee and Thou to a single person? Is that according to the Scriptures?

Mast. Yes, it is the proper Language to a single person, and according to the Scripture; God said Thee and Thou to Adam, and Adam said Thou to God; and people say Thee and Thou in their prayers; and it is the Pride in peoples Hearts that cannot take that Language themselves which they give to God: And God said Thee and Thou to Moses, and Moses said Thee and Thou to him again; and Jacob said Thee and Thou to Laban, and Laban said Thee and Thou to him again; and Jacob and his sons said Thee and Thou to each other, Gen. 43 to Chap. 49. And Jeptha, who was a Judge in Israel, did Thee and Thou his Daughter, and she did Thee and Thou her Father the Judge again, Judge. 11. And when Daniel and the three Children were before the King, upon Examination they said Thou to the King; and the Caldean did Thou the King, Dan. 3. And Paul did Thou King Agrippa: And many other Examples there be in Scripture; but these are sufficient; And Thee and Thou is the singular Number, and to be spoken to one, & You or Ye the plural Number, and to be spoken unto more than one.

Sch. I am very well satisfied that Thee and Thou is the proper Language to a single Person, and You to more than one; but the People called Quakers will not put off their Hats, nor bow, nor give flattering Titles to People; what Scripture have they for that?

Mast. With God there is no respect of persons; and James said, if you have respect of persons you commit sign, and are convinced of the Law as Transgressors; and in Job, Elihu said, Let me not, I pray you, accept any mans person, neither let me give flattering Titles unto Man; for I know not to give flattering Titles, in so doing my Maker would soon take me away. Job 32.21, 22.

Sch. They say the People called Quakers deny the Scriptures.

Mast. No, they own the Scriptures more than any People, for they walk in the Light of Christ Jesus, and by following him do witness the Scriptures fulfilled in them; and they who hate to be reformed, have nothing to do to speak of the Siants and holy men of Gods conditions mentioned in Scripture.

Sch. The People called Quakers do not call their Days and Months as other Professors do.

Mast. No, Professors and People are so far degenerated from Truth that they have lost the very form of sound Words used by the Primitive Christians.

Sch. How did the Primitive Saints call their days and months?

Mast. God made the World in six Days, and rested the seventh Day, and he called the Evening and the Morning the first Day, and the Evening and the Morning the Second Day, and the third Day, &c. And Christ rose on the first Day of the Week? and they came to the Sepulchre when the Jews Sabbath was ended, on the first Day of the Week, and upon the first Day of the Week the Disciples met together: And in Ex. 12.2. This month shall be unto you the beginning of months, it shall be the first Month of the year to you: And in Ex. 16. Moses writeth, the fifteenth day of the second Month, and the Scriptures say, the third Month, and fourth Month, &c.

Sch. Who invented those Names of Sunday, Monday, &c. and calling the Months March, April, May, &c.

Mast. The old Pagan Saxons in their Idolatry were the first that brought in the names of the Days after than manner, and these called Christians, have retained them to this day. The first Day of the week they worshipped the idol of the Sun, from whence came Sunday; The second Day of the week they worshipped the Moon, from whence came Moonday or Monday; the third day they worshipped the Idol of the Planets, which they called Tuisce, from whence came Tuesday; and from the Idol Woden came Wednesday; and from the Idol Thor came Thursday; and from the Idol Friga came Friday, and from the Idol Seatur came Saturday. And the Heathen called Mars the God of Battle, and from thence they called the first Month March: And Venus they called the Goddess of Love and beauty, and from thence they called the second Month April; and Maja a heathen Goddess called Flora; Flora and Cloris were called the Goddesses of Flowers; Unto Maja the heathen Idolaters used to sacrifice, from thence was the third Month called May; and upon the first day of the same Month they used to keep Floralia Feasts to the two Goddesses of Flowers (viz.) Flora and Cloris, and Flora was a Strumpet in Rome, that used on the first Day of that Month, to set up a May-pole before her Door, to entice her Lovers, from whence came May-poles to be first observed: And from the Heathens Goddess Juno is the fourth Month called June: And in honour to Julius Caesar a Roman Emperor, is the fifth Month called July: and the sixth Month took it Name August, in honour of Augustus Caesar; and September, October, November, and December are called from the Latines: And one Janus a King of Italy, was for his Wisdom pictured with two Faces, whom they honoured as God: and from this name Janus was the eleventh Month called January: And Saturnus, Pluto Februs, were called the Gods of Hell, whom the Heathens said, had the rule of the evil Spirits there, and from Pluto Februs, was the twelfth Month called February.

Sch. Who have been the Ministers and Intrusters of those People, that they are erred so from Scripture Example? Let me have some marks and signs by which I may know the Deceivers and false Prophets?

Mast. The marks the Scriptures give of Deceivers and false Prophets are these: I shall set them down in short, that thou maist remember them the better.

1. They are such as bear rule by their Means, Jer. 30. 31. Mat. 10. 19,20.

2. They are such as seek for their Gain from their Quarters, Isa. 56.

3. They seek for the Fleece and make a prey upon the People, Ezek. 34.1, 2, 3.

4. They are such as preach for Hire, and Divine for Money, Mic.3.11.

5. They cry Peace so long as People put into their Mouthes; but when any come to see them to be Deceivers, and cannot put into their Mouths, nor give them Gifts, then they prepare War against them, Mic. 3. 5. Hos. 6. 9.

6. They run when the Lord never sent them, and prophesie Lies in his Name, Jer. 14. 14.

7. They stand praying in the Synagogues: They love the uppermost Rooms at Feasts, and the chief Seats in the Synagogues, and love Greeting in the Markets, and to be called of men Master, and they make them broad Philacteries on their Garments, that they may be taken notice of; for they do that they do to be seen of men, and are proud and covetous, and they come of Cain's Stock, for they are full of Envy, and are in Balaam's way, who was erred from the Spirit of God, and received the Wages of Unrighteousness, and so do they, 2 Peter 2, Jude 1.

8. They are such as sprinkle Infants, for which they have no rule in Scripture; and tell people it is an Ordinance of Christ, when it is but one of their own Inventions, and so are Lyars and Deceivers.

9. They tell people they shall never be free from Sin while they live here.

10. They are made Ministers by the Will of man, and men uphold them: if thou meetest with them and seeth those Fruits brought forth by them, then beware of them; for they have got on sheeps Clothing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves.

Sch. How may I know the true Ministers?

Mast. I may give thee some Marks how to know them.

1. The true Ministers of Christ, as they have received the Gift of God freely, so they minister freely from the same, as good Stewards of the manifold Grace of God, and they do unto all Men as they would have all men do unto them.

2. They do not strive for Mastership, like the false Prophets; but are gentle unto all men, and apt to teach, patient in meekness, instructing those that oppose themselves 2. Tim.2.22 that so the Church may be edified.

3. The true Ministers have no mans person in admiration because of advantage, but are men of sorrows, dispised and rejected of men, as Christ was; and they are not made Ministers by the Will of man, but by Christ Jesus and are blameless as he, Stewards of God, not self-willed, nor soon angry, nor given to Wine, no Strikers, nor greedy of filthy Lucre, Tit. 1.7.

4. And the true Ministers work was, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: and the true Ministers were not bred up from years at the Colleges, as the Deceivers are now; but the Lord called Tradesmen to be Ministers: Moses was a Keeper of Sheep, and Jacob and David were Keepers of Sheep, and Elisha was a Ploughman, and Amos a Herdsman, and Peter and John Fisher-men, and Paul a Tent-Maker.

Sch. The People called Quakers are mocked, beated, persecuted, and imprisoned; was it so with the People of God in former Ages?

Mast. Yes, the People of God were in all Ages mock'd, persecuted, imprisoned, and sufferers. Elisha the Prophet was mocked, and called Bald-head. And the Lord sent his Messengers, rising up betimes and sending, because he had compassion on his People; but they mocked the Messengers of God, and despised his Words and misused his Prophets, wherefore the Wrath of the Lord was against them, 2 Chron. 36.15. And David was as dispised of the people, they laughed him to scorn, they shot out their Lips, and shaked their Heads at him: And in Psal. 69. 12. David said, Sack-cloth is my Garment and I am become a Proverb to them, and I am the Song of the Drunkards. And Jer. 20. 8. Jeremiah said, I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. And thou mayst read before, how he was persecuted, and put in the Dungeon. And David said, The wicked have waited for me, to destroy me, and they have laid a Snare for me. And Job said, I am as one mocked of his Neighbour: and said, The just and upright man is laughed to scorn. Job 12. 4. and said, Now I am their Song, yea, I am their By-word; they abhor me, and spare not to spit in my Face. And in Acts thou mayst read, how Herod the King stretcht forth his hand to vex some of the Church of Christ; and how he killed James and imprisoned Peter; and how Paul and Silas had their Cloaths torn off, and after they had received many stripes, they cast them into Prison, and a strict charge was given to the Gaoler to keep them safely, who thrust them into the inner Prison, and made their Feet safe in the Stocks: and above forty of the Jews bound themselves under a Curse, that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And in Acts 22, when Paul spake to the people, some of them cried, away with such a Fellow from the Earth; for it is not fit that he should live. And in Acts 24. For we have found this man a pestilent Fellow, and a mover of Sedition, and a Ring-leader of the Sect of the Nazarens: And Christ himself was derided by the Pharisees, Luke 16. And Paul said, Whoever will live Godly in Christ Jesus, must suffer Persecution, for it is through many Tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

(From the Speller, pages 40-62.)