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45. Are there among these any which answer to the books of the Law, or form the basis of the New Testament?
Yes. The Gospel, which consists of the four books of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
46. What means the word Gospel?
It is the same as the Greek work Evangely, and means good or joyful tidings.
47. Of what have we good tidings in the books called the Gospel?
Of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, of his advent and life on earth, of his miracles and saving doctrine, and, finally, of his death upon the cross, his glorious resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
48. Why are these books called the Gospel?
Because man can have no better nor more joyful tidings than these, of a Divine Saviour and everlasting salvation. For the same cause, whenever the Gospel is read in the church, it is prefaced and accompanied by the joyful exclamation, Glory be to thee, O Lord, glory be to thee.
49. Are any of the books of the New Testament historical?
Yes. One: the book of the Acts of the holy Apostles.
50. Of what does it give an account?
Of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and of the extension through them of Christ's Church.
51. What is an Apostle?
The word means a messenger. It is the name given to those disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ whom he sent to preach the Gospel.
52. Which books of the New Testament are doctrinal?
The seven general Epistles: namely, one of the Apostle James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude; and fourteen Epistles of the Apostle Paul: namely, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews.
53. Are there also among the books of the New Testament any prophetical? Such is the book of the Apocalypse.
54. What means this word Apocalypse?
It is Greek, and means revelation.
55. What are the contents of this book?
A mystical representation of the future destinies of the Christian Church, and of the whole world.
56. What rules must we observe in reading holy Scripture?
First, we must read it devoutly, as the Word of God, and with prayer to understand it aright; secondly, we must read it with a pure desire of instruction in faith, and incitement to good works; thirdly, we must take and understand it in such sense as agrees with the interpretation of the orthodox Church and the holy Fathers.
57. When the Church proposes the doctrine of Divine Revelation and of holy Scripture to people for the first time, what signs does she offer that it is really the Word of God?
Signs of this are the following:
1. The sublimity of this doctrine, which witnesses that it can not be any invention of man's reason.
2. The purity of this doctrine, which shows that it is from the allpure mind of God.
5. The mighty effect of this doctrine upon the hearts of men, beyond all but divine power.
58. In what way are prophecies signs of a true revelation from God?
This may be shown by an example. When the Prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of the Saviour Christ from a virgin, a thing which the natural reason of man could not have so much as imagined, and when, some hundred years after this prophecy, our Lord Jesus Christ was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, it was impossible not to see that the prophecy was the word of the Omniscient, and its fulfillment the work of the Almighty God. Wherefore also the holy Evangelist Matthew, when relating the birth of Christ, brings forward the prophecy of Isaiah: But all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying: Behold a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us. Matt. i. 22, 23.
59. What are miracles?
Acts which can be done by no power or art of man, but only by the almighty power of God; for example, to raise the dead.
60. How do miracles serve for a sign that the word spoken is from God? He who does true miracles works by the power of God; consequently he is in favor with God, and partaker of the divine Spirit; but to such it must belong to speak only the pure truth; and so, when such a man speaks in God's name, we are sure that by his mouth there speaketh really the Word of God.
On this account our Lord Jesus Christ himself owns miracles as a powerful testimony to his divine mission: The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. John v. 36.
61. Whence may we more particularly see the mighty effect of the doctrine of Christ? From this that twelve Apostles, taken from among poor and unlearned people, of the lowest class, by this doctrine overcame and subdued to Christ the mighty, the wise, and the rich, kings and their kingdoms.
THE COMPOSITION OF THE CATECHISM.
62. What may be a good order for setting forth a catechetical instruction in religion? For this we may follow the book of the Orthodox Confession, approved by the Eastern Patriarchs, and take as our basis the saying of the Apostle Paul, that the whole energies of a Christian, during this present life, consist in these three: faith, hope, charity. And now abideth faith, hope, charity; these three. 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
And so the Christian needs: First, Doctrine on faith in God, and on the Sacraments which he reveals; Secondly, Doctrine on hope towards God, and on the means of being grounded in it; Thirdly, Doctrine on love to God, and all that he commands us to love.
63. What does the Church use as her instrument to introduce us to the doctrine of faith?
64. What may we take as a guide for the doctrine of hope? Our Lord's Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer.
65. Where may we find the elements of the doctrine of charity? In the Ten Commandments of the Law of God. VOL. II.-G G
THE FIRST PART OF THE ORTHODOX CATECHISM.
ON THE CREEd generally, AND ON ITS ORIGIN.
66. What is the Creed?
The Creed is an exposition, in few but precise words, of that doctrine which all Christians are bound to believe.
67. What are the words of this exposition?
They are as follows:
1. I believe in one God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
2. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;
3. Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost, and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
4. And was crucified for us, under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried;
5. And rose again the third day according to the Scripture;
6. And ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
7. And he shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
8. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the Prophets.
9. I believe one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
10. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. 11. I look for the resurrection of the dead;
12. And the life of the world to come. Amen.
68. From whom have we this exposition of the faith?
From the Fathers of the first and second œcumenical Councils.
69. What is an ecumenical Council?
An assembly of the Pastors and Doctors of the Catholic Church of
Christ, as far as possible, from the whole world, for the confirmation of true doctrine and holy discipline among Christians.
70. How many œcumenical Councils have there been?
Seven: 1, Of Nicæa; 2, Of Constantinople; 3, Of Ephesus; 4, Of Chalcedon; 5, The second of Constantinople; 6, The third of Constantinople; 7, The second of Nicæa.
71. Whence is the rule for assembling Councils?
From the example of the Apostles, who held a Council in Jerusalem. Acts xv. This is grounded also upon the words of Jesus Christ himself, which give to the decisions of the Church such weight that whosoever disobeys them is left deprived of grace as a heathen. But the mean, by which the cecumenical Church utters her decisions, is an œcumenical Council.
Tell it unto the Church; but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Matt. xviii. 17.
72. What were the particular occasions for assembling the first and second oecumenical Councils, at which the Creed was defined?
The first was held for the confirmation of the true doctrine respecting the Son of God, against the error of Arius, who thought unworthily of the Son of God; the second for the confirmation of the true doctrine respecting the Holy Ghost, against Macedonius, who thought unworthily of the Holy Ghost.
73. Is it long ago that these Councils were held?
The first was held in the year 325 from the birth of Christ; the second in 381.
ON THE ARTICLES OF THE CREED.
74. What method shall we follow in order the better to understand the cecumenical Creed?
We must notice its division into twelve articles or parts, and consider each article separately.
75. What is spoken of in each several article of the Creed?
The first article of the Creed speaks of God as the prime origin, more particularly of the first Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, and of God as the Creator of the world;
The second article, of the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God;