Larger and Shorter Catechisms (1647).
The West minster Assembly, through its Confession, Directory and Catechisms, has become so associated with the Presbyterian Church that it is difficult to realize that it was not a church court at all, much less a creation of Presbyterianism.
The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms are recognized and venerated standards in all the lands where British Presbyterianism, with its sturdy characteristics, has taken root.
Luther himself had a gift of words which through his catechisms made the reformed theologypopular in Germany.
In this respect catechisms of modern times, from Luther's down to the recent Evangelical catechism of the Free Churches, and including from their respective points of view both the catechism of the Church of England and the catechism of the council of Trent, are markedly superior to articles and synodical decrees.
Schmalkalden, drawn up by Luther in 1536, Luther's catechisms, and the Formula of Concord which was an attempt to settle doctrinal divisions promulgated in 1580, sum up what is called " the confessional theology of Lutheranism."
The Westminster Confession (1648), with its two catechisms, is perhaps the ablest of the reformed confessions from the stand point of Calvinism.
With the filioque), and the so-called Athanasian Creed; six come from the 16th century - the Augsburg Confession, the Apology for the Augsburg Confession, the Schmalkald Articles, Luther's two Catechisms, and the Form of Concord.
Luther's Catechisms, especially the shorter of the two, have been almost universally accepted, but the Form of Concord was and is expressly rejected by many Lutheran churches.
The first regular catechisms seem to have grown out of the usual oral teaching of catechumens, and to have been compiled in the 8th and 9th centuries.
The age of the Reformation gave a great stimulus to the production of catechisms. This was but natural at a time when the invention of printing had thrown the Bible open to all, and carried the war of religious opinion from the schools into the streets.
Catechisms of the Chief Religious Communions.
- It was the ignorance of the peasantry, as revealed by the horrors of the Peasants' War of 1524-25, and his pastoral visitation of the electorate of Saxony 1525-1527, that drew the above exclamation from Luther, and impelled him to produce his two famous catechisms (1529).
In France, after Calvin's day, the Reformed church used besides Calvin's book the catechisms of Louis Capell (1619), and Charles Drelincourt (1642), and at the present time Bonnef on's Nouveau Catechisme elementaire (14th ed., 1900) seems most in favour.
Since 1648 the standard Presbyterian catechisms have been those compiled by the Westminster Assembly, presented to parliament in 1647, and then authorized by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (July 1648) and by the Scottish parliament (January 1649).
Though the Shorter Catechism, closely associated as this has been from the first with Scottish public elementary education, has had very great influence in forming and training the character of Presbyterians in Scotland, America and the British colonies, it is, like most other catechisms drawn up by dogmatic theologians, more admirable as an epitome of a particular body of divinity than as an instruction for the young and the unlearned.
The catechisms of Bellarmine (1603) and Bossuet (1687) had considerable vogue, and a summary of the former known as Schema de Parvo was sanctioned by the Vatican council of 1870.
The catechisms of Levshin Platon (1762) and V.
Compared with the thoroughness of most other catechisms this one seems very scanty, but it has a better chance of being memorized, and its very simplicity has given it a firm hold on the inner life and conscience of devout members of the Anglican communion throughout the world.
The Socinians embodied their tenets in the larger and smaller works drawn up by Fausto Sozzini and Schmalz, and published at Rakow in Poland in 1605; 2 modern Unitarians have modern catechisms. The Quakers or Friends possess a kind of catechism said to have been written by George Fox in 1660, in which father and son are respectively questioner and answerer, and an interesting work by Robert Barclay, in which texts of Scripture form the replies.
Congregationalists for some time used Isaac Watts's Catechisms for Children and Youth (1730), since superseded by the manuals of J.
In its compilation representatives of the Episcopal Church in Scotland co-operated, and the book though " not designed to supersede the distinctive catechisms officially recognized by the several churches for the instruction of their own children," certainly " commends itself as suitable for use in schools where children of various churches are taught together."
Catechisms have a strong family likeness.
The Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms are of a more logical and independent character.
See Ehrenfeuchter, Geschichte des Katechismus (187); P. Schaff, History of the Creeds of Christendom (3 vols., 1876-1877); Mitchell, Catechisms of the Second Reformation (1887); C. Achelis, Lehrbuch der prakt.
In France agitation was directed chiefly against the Jesuits, active in the movement to displace ancient local catechisms and liturgies by the Roman texts, to enroll the laity in Roman confraternities, and to induce the bishops to visit Rome more frequently.
The so-called Rules (the Longer and the Shorter) are catechisms of the spiritual life rather than a body of regulations for the corporate working of a community, such as is now understood by a monastic rule.
Their presses confined their activities to the production of catechisms, martyrologies and handbooks in the native languages after the fashion of the presses of Mexico.
He wrote, besides, biographies, catechisms and hymnals for children, manuals of religious verse, lectures and essays on Dante, &c.
Besides these, the catechisms of the Russian Church should be consulted, especially the catechism of Philaret, which since 1839 has been used in all the churches and schools in Russia.
Popular catechisms and various histories of the Church were then written.