The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Book of Common Prayer - 1559





1559 Title

The Order of Confirmation, or laying
on of hands upon children baptised, and able
to render an account of their Faith, according
to the Catechisme following.


1604 Title

TO thende that confirmacion may be ministred to the more edifying of suche, as shal receive it (according unto S. Paules doctrine, who teacheth that al things should he doen in ye Church, to the edification of the same) it is thought good that none hereafter shalbe confyrmed but suche as can saie in their mother tongue the articles of the faith, the Lordes praier, and the x Commaundementes: And can also answere to suche questions of this short Catechisme, as the Bishop (or suche as he shal appoinct) shal by hys discretion appose [=examine] theim in. And this order is most convenient to be observed for divers consideracions.

    First, because that when children come to the yeres of discrecion, and have learned what their godfathers and godmothers promised for them in Baptisme, they may then themselves wyth their owne mouthe, and wyth their awne consent, openly before the Churche, ratifie and confyrme the same, and also promise that by the grace of God, they shall evermore endevour themselfes faithfully to observe and kepe suche thynges, as they by theyr owne mouth and confession have assented unto.

    Secondly, forasmuche as Confirmacion is ministred to theym that be Baptised, that by imposition of handes and prayer, they may receive strengthe and defence agaynst all temptacions to synne, and the assaultes of the worlde and the Devill: it is most mete to be ministred when children come to that age, that partely by the frailtye of their awne fleshe, partely by the assaultes of the worlde and the Devil, thei begyn to be in daunger to fal into sondry kyndes of synne.

    Thirdly, for that it is agreable wyth the usage of the Churche, in times paste, wherby it was ordeined that Confirmacion shoulde he ministred to them that were of perfecte [=proper, appropriate] age, that they, beyng instructed in Christes religion, should openly professe their awne faithe, and promise to be obedient unto the wyl of God.

    And that no man shal thyncke that any detryment shall come to children by diferring [deferring] of their Confirmacion; he shal knowe for truth, that it is certeine by Goddes worde, that children beyng baptised, have all thynges necessarie for their salvacion, and be undoubtedly saved.






Question. WHAT is your name?
    Aunswere. N. or M.
Who gave you this name?
    Aunswere. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptisme, wherein I was made a membre of Christe, the childe of God, and an inheritour of the kingdome of heaven.
    Question. What did your godfathers and godmothers then for you?
    Aunswere. They did promise, and vowe iii thinges in my name. First, that I should forsake the devil, and all his [workes and pompes, the]* vanities of the wicked worlde, and al the sinful lustes of the fleshe. Secondly, that I should beleve al the articles of the Christian faith. And thirdely, that I should kepe Goddes holy wil and Commaundemetes, and walke in the same al the daies of my lyfe.

* "workes, the pompes and" in 1604.


    Question. Doest thou not thynke that thou art bounde to beleve and to do, as they have promised for the?
    Answer. Yes verely, and by Goddes helpe so I wil. And I hartely thanke our heavenly Father, that he hath called me to this state of salvation, through Jesus Christe our saviour. And I pray God to geve me his grace, that I may continue in the same unto my lyves ende.
    Question. Reherse the Articles of thy belefe.
    Aunswere. I beleve in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and of earth. And in Jesus Christe his onely Sonne our Lorde. Whiche was conceived of the holy Ghost. Borne of the Virgine Mary. Suffered under Ponce Pylate, was crucifyed, deade and buried, he descended into hell. The thyrd day he rose agayne from the dead. He ascended into heven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shal come to judge the quicke and the dead. I beleve in the Holy ghost. The holy catholike Churche. The Communion of saynctes. The forgivenes of synnes. The resurrection of the body. And the lyfe everlastinge. Amen.
    Question. What doest thou chiefly learne in these artycles of thy beliefe?
    Aunswere. Firste, I learne to beleve in God the father, who hath made me and al the worlde.
    Secondlye, in God the sonne, who hath redemed me and all mankinde.
    Thirdly, in God the holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God.
    Question. You said, that your godfathers and godmothers, dyd promise for you, that you shoulde kepe Gods commaundementes. Tell me how many there be?
    Aunswere. Tenne.
    Question. Whiche be they?
    Aunswere. The same which God spake in the .xx. cha of Exodus, saying: I am the Lord thy God whyche have brought the out of the land of Egypt, oute of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other goddes but me.
    II. Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any graven Image nor the lykenes of any thyng that is in heaven above, or in the earthe beneth, nor in the water under the earthe: thou shalt not bow doune to them nor worship them. For I the Lorde thy God, am a gelous God, and visyte the sinnes of the fathers upon the chyldren, unto the iii and fourth generacion of them that hate me, and shewe mercye unto thousandes of them that love me, and kepe my commaundementes.
    III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vaine, for the Lorde will not holde hym guiltles that taketh his name in vaine.
    IIII. Remember thou kepe holy the Sabboth day. Syxe daies shalt thou laboure, and do all that thou hast to do: but the vii day is the Sabboth of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt do no maner of worcke, thou, and thy sonne, and thy daughter, thy man servaunt, and thy maydservaunt, thy cattel, and the straunger that is wythin thy gates: for in sixe daies the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and al that in them is, and rested the vii day, wherfore the Lorde blessed the vii day, and halowed it.
    V. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy daies may be long in the lande, whiche the Lorde thy God geveth the.
    VI. Thou shalt do no murther.
    VII. Thou shalt not committe adultery.
    VIII. Thou shalt not steale.
    IX. Thou shalt not beare false wytnes agaynste thy neighbour.
    X. Thou shalt not covet thy neyghbours house, thou shalt not covet thy neyghboures wyfe, nor hys servaunt, nor hys mayde, nor hys oxe nor hys asse, nor any thyng that is hys.
    Question. What doest thou chiefly learne by these commandementes?
    Aunswere. I learne two thynges. My duty towardes God, and my dutye towardes my neighbour.
    Question. What is my duety towardes God?
    Aunswere. My dutye towardes God is, to beleve in him, to feare him [=to hold him in awe], and to love hym with all my harte, with al my mynde, with al my soule, and with all my strengthe. To worship hym. To geve hym thanckes. To putte my whole truste in hyrn. To call upon hym. To honour hys holy name and hys woorde, and to serve hym truely all the dayes of my lyfe.
    Question. What is thy dutye toward thy neighbour?
    Aunswere. My dutye towardes my neyghbour is to love hym as my selfe: And to do to all men as I would they should do unto me. To love, honour, and succour my father and mother. To honour and obey the Kyng, and his minysters. To submitte my selfe to al my governours, teachers, spiritual Pastours and Maisters. To order my selfe lowly and reverently to all my betters. To hurte no body by worde, nor dede. To be true and juste in all my dealyng. To beare no malice nor hatred in my harte. To kepe my handes from pickyng and stealyng, and my tongue from evil speakyng, liyng and slaunderyng. To kepe my body in temperaunce, sobernes, and chastitie. Not to covet nor desire other mennes goodes. But learne and labour truely to get myne awne livyng, and to do my dutye in that state of life, unto whiche it shal please God to cal me.
    Question. My good child know this, that thou art not able to do these thinges of thy self, nor to walke in the commaundementes of God, and to serve hym, wythout hys specyall grace, whyche thou must learne at al tymes to cal for by diligent prayer. Let me heare therfore, if thou canst saye the Lordes praier.
    Aunswere. Our Father whiche art in heaven; Hallowed be thy name. Thy kyngdom come. Thy wil be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Geve us this day our daily bread. And forgeve us our trespasses, as we forgeve them that trespasse against us. And leade us not into temptacion. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
    Question. What desirest thou of God in this praier?
    Aunswere. I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the gever of al goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people, that we may worship hym, serve hym, and obeye hym as we ought to doe. And I pray unto God, that he will sende us all thynges that be nedefull, bothe for our soules and bodies. And that he will be merciful unto us, and forgeve us our sinnes: and that it wil please him to save and defende us in al daungers ghostly [=spiritually] and bodily : and that he will kepe us from all synne and wikednes, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlastyng death. And this I trust he wil do of his mercye and goodnes, throughe our lord Jesu Christ. And therefore I say. Amen. So be it.

Page from the Catechism of 1604


Page from the 1604 Book of Common Prayer showing the Catechism with additional questions.



Question. HOW many Sacraments hath Christ ordained in his Church? 
   Answer. Two onely as generally necessary to salvation; that is to say, Baptisme and the Supper of the Lord. 
   Question. What meanest thou by this word Sacrament
   Answer. I meane an outward and visible signe of an inward and spirituall grace given unto us; ordained by Christ himselfe, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof. 
   Question. How many parts be there in a Sacrament? 
   Answer. Two; the outward visible signe, and the inward spirituall grace. 
   Question. What is the outward visible signe or forme in Baptisme? 
   Answer. Water: wherein the person baptized is dipped or sprinkled with it, In the name the Name of the Father, and of Sonne, and of the holy Ghost.
   Question. What is the inward and spirituall grace? 
   Answer. A death unto sinne, and a new birth unto righteousnesse: for being by nature borne in sinne, and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace. 
   Question. What is required of persons to be baptized? 
   Answer. Repentance, whereby they forsake sinne; and faith, whereby they stedfastly beleeve the promises of God, made to them in that Sacrament. 
   Question. Why then are Infants baptized, when by reason of their tender age they cannot performe them? 
   Answer. Yes: they doe performe them by their Sureties; who promise and vow them both, in their names: which when they come to age, themselves are bound to performe. 
   Question. Why was the Sacrament of the Lords Supper ordained? 
   Answer. For the continuall remembrance of the Sacrifice of the death of Christ, and the benefits which we receive thereby. 
   Question. What is the outward part or signe of the Lords Supper? 
   Answer. Bread and wine, which the Lord hath commanded to bee received. 
   Question. What is the inward part or thing signified? 
   Answer. The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verely and indeed taken and received of the faithfull in the Lords Supper. 
   Question. What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby? 
   Answer. The strengthening and refreshing of our soules by the Body and Blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the Bread and wine. 
   Question. What is required of those which come to the Lords Supper? 
   Answer. To examine themselves, whether they repent them truely of their former sinnes, stedfastly purposing to leade a new life; have a lively faith in Gods mercy through Christ, with a thankefull remembrance of his death; and be in charitie with all men.

The following questions & answers were added in 1604

So sone as the children can saye in theyr mother tongue, the articles of the faith, the Lordes prayer, the .x. commaundementes, and also can aunswere to such questyone of thys shorte Catechisme, as the Bishoppe (or suche as he shall appoinct) shal by hys discretyon appose [=examine] them in, then shal they be brought to the Byshop by one that shalbe his godfather or godmother, that every childe may have a witnes of his Confirmacyon.

And the Bishoppe shal confirme them on this wise. 


1559 Title

Confirmation, or laying
on of hands.

1604 Title

OUR helpe is in the name of the Lorde.
    Aunswere. Whiche hath made bothe* heaven and earth.
    Minister. Blessed is the name of the Lorde.
    Aunswere. Hencefurthe worlde without ende.
    Minister. Lorde heare our prayer.†
    Aunswere. And let our crie come to the.

Let us pray.

ALMIGHTYE and everlivyng God, whyche hast vouchedsaufe to regenerate these thy servauntes by water and the holy Ghost; and hast geven unto them forgevenes of al theyr synnes: strengthen them we beseche the (O Lorde) with the holy Ghoste the comforter, and daiely encrease in them thy manifolde giftes of grace, the spirite of wisedome and understanding: the spirite of counsail and ghostly strength, the spirite of knowledge and true godlinesse, and fulfyll them (O Lord) with the spirite of thy holy feare. Amen.

Then the Bishop shal laye hys hande upon every childe severally, saying,

DEFENDE, O Lorde, this childe with thy heavenly grace that he may continue thine for ever, and daiely encrease in thy holy spirite more and more, untill he come unto thy everlastyng kingdome. Amen.

Then shal the Bishop saye,

Let us praie.

ALMIGHTIE everlyvyng God, whiche makest us bothe to will, and to do those thynges that be good, and acceptable unto thy Majestie, we make our humble supplications unto the for these children, upon whome (after the example of thy holy Apostles) we have laied our handes, to certifie theim (by thys signe) of thy favour, and gracious goodnes toward them, let thy fatherly hande we beseche the ever be over them, let thy holy spirite ever be with them, and so leade them in the knowledge and obedience of thy worde that in the ende they may obtaine the everlasting lyfe: through our Lorde Jesus Christe, who with the and the holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God, worlde without ende. Amen.

Then the Bishop shal blesse the children, thus saying.

THE blessing of God almightye, the Father, the Sonne, and the Holy ghoste, be upon you, and remayne with you for ever. Amen.

The Curate of every paryshe, or some other at his appoinctment, shal diligently upon Sondayes and holy dayes, haulfe an houre before Evenyng prayer, openly in the Churche instruct and examyne so many children of his parish sent unto him, as the time wil serve and as he shal thinke convenient, in some part of this Catechisme.

And al fathers, and mothers, maisters, and dames, shal cause theyr children, servaunts, and prentises (whyche have not learned theyr Catechisme) to come to the Churche at the tyme appoyncted, and obediently to heare, and he ordred by the Curate, untyll suche time as they have learned all that is here appoincted for theim to learne. And whensoever the Byshop shall geve knowledge for chyldren to be brought afore him to any convenyent place, for their confirmation: then sheal the Curate of every Paryshe eyther bryng or sende in wrytyng the names of all those children of hys Paryshe, whiche can say the Articles of their fayth, the Lordes prayer, and the x Commaundementes, and also how many of them can answere to thother questions conteined in this Catechisme.

And there shall none be admitted to the holy communion; until suche tyme as he can saye the Catechisme and be confirmed.


* 'bothe' removed in 1604.

† 'prayers' in 1604


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