Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

THE NEW YORK
PUBLIC LIBRARY

522095

ASTOR, LENOX ANO
TILBEN FOUNDATIONS.
R

L

ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by

WILLIAM MARSHALL & Co., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of

Pennsylvania.

STEREOTYPED BY L. JOHNSON,

PHILADELPHIA.

PREFACE.

use.

The work now submitted to the American reader has been prepared and published in its present form, with the hope of contributing, by the instrumentality of the churcI CATECHISM, to its great object, the inculcation of SCRIPTURAL TRUTH. The instructions of this publication were designed, in the first instance, for the use of Sunday-schools, as will be seen from the preface to the English edition. It was, however, as the author truly stated, “equally calculated for general use," and suitable for the purpose of a “Manual of Divinity for young persons." In a subsequent edition, while the instruction of Sunday-schools was still kept in view, many alterations and additions appear to have been made, in order to adapt the work still more to general

The measure of approbation and “liberal patronage" which it has received from the English public, may be estimated from the fact, that four editions of it have been published in England, two of them within the last five years.

The American editor, desirous of promoting the proper and intelligent use of the Church Catechism, and sensible, moreover, that a plain summary of Christian doctrine and duty is much needed, both by the young and by many of mature age, has gladly availed himself of the present publication to provide for both these objects. In his opinion it is eminently adapted, both to render the study of the Church Catechism more profitable and interesting, and to inculcate clear and satisfactory views of “the first principles of the oracles of Christ,” by means of that excellent summary. No better basis could probably be found for a series of instructions in the principles of Christianity.

The manner in which the present work is to be used will vary with the age and attainments of the reader. In classes of very young persons the matter in the large type may be studied, with so much of the Scripture reference as circumstances may sense ; forming their thoughts and fixing their attention to the reason and relation of things; aiding and inuring them to reflect a little on such points as are within their reach, and enabling them at length to give a clear account of all parts of the Christian dispensation, and become fully acquainted with their duty both to God and man. This is the office of catechising: which, though it may appear a low, contemptible one, yet is assuredly an arduous task; and which perhaps requires the greatest pains and skill of any part in the whole ministerial function."

The great contrast between the practice of ancient and modern times with respect to catechising, is attributed by Bishop Law, in a great measure, to the neglect of what he considers the proper mode of performing this duty. After referring to the Catechetical schools established in the times of primitive Christianity, and the exercises of several eminent masters in them, still extant, he adds,

“ At present this is a work which many, either discouraged by disuse and the despicable notions which are apt to be entertained of it, or deterred by its difficulty, are extremely shy of undertaking. Some have not the desire, some not the resolution, to set about it: and most content themselves with causing the Church Catechism, or a comment upon it, to be repeated in the time of Lent; and, if they continue to hear the children say it over till they repeat each word in order, think that they have amply done their parts in this respect. But, formerly, the Church of God, both among Jews and Christians, understood his precepts, and their duty, on the point before us in a different manner: and whether our own Church by requiring* every parson, vicar, or curate, to teach, instruct, and examine the youth and ignorant persons of his parish, in some part of the Catechism, for half an hour or more, every Sunday and holyday ; and all fathers, masters, &c. to cause their children, servants, and apprentices to come at the time appointed, obediently to hear and be ordered by the minister,' and this with so high a penalty,

* The rubric, as in the American Prayer-book, also requires that the

« ÎnapoiContinuați »