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PRACTICAL HELPS FOR CATECHUMENS.
BY THE REV.
THOMAS GRIFFITH, A.M.
MINISTER OF RAM'S EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, HOMERTON.
AUTHOR OF “THE SPIRITUAL LIFE,”
PORTMAN SQUARE ;
I CONTEMPLATE for this book a threefold use. First, for those who have not yet been confirmed. To such I would suggest an early preparation for the next recurrence of that rite. Do not put off the consideration of it to some far-distant or indefinite period. Set it before you as the goal towards which you will already commence your advance. Begin to consider the depth and compass of the obligations which it will call upon you to ratify. Examine the state of your affections towards religion. Arrange and systematize your conceptions of it. Listen to sermons, read books, study your Bible, with reference to the making up your mind for public entrance on the Christian life. Consider yourselves as Catechumens of the Church, and seek to become masters of the lessons it lays before you ;—as Candidates for a higher degree in Christianity, and prepare betimes for your examination. Use this book as your manual of instruction. Ponder on your present relation to God as Christian persons ;-on the privileges to which you
have been admitted — the vows by which you are bound—the invitations which are vouchsafed you ;
-and be not satisfied till you present yourselves for full communion with the Church, with some of the intelligence, the devoutness, and the meek determination, which become a full-grown Christian
But I commend this volume, further, to those who have recently been confirmed. You have already acted on the invitations of this book; you have felt, I trust, the truths which it contains ; you have joined yourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant not to be forgotten ; and herein you have reached a most important epoch of your lives. Forget not this event, I pray you, as a something done and passed away, and now numbered “ with the years beyond the flood.” But let it live in your remembrance, and reproduce itself in your affections and your conduct. Connect therewith each successive step you take. Carry along with you its encouragements. Revive from day to day the sentiments -- renew the feelings — reiterate the vows and prayers, with which you entered on it. Use this book as a memorial of the past ; as a record of what you promised to your Minister-to yourselfto the all-seeing God; and as a monitor to call you back to your engagements. It is only as we thus link the present with the past, that we shall walk straight onward through the future. It is only as we pause, that we shall steadily advance. It is only as we step back in idea) in our course, and gather up our energies by recollection, that we shall gain new impulse and new power for springing forward. Retrospection is essential to progression. Reflection is the parent of Improvement.
And therefore, not less useful and important do I consider the meditation on this initiative rite to Christians of every age, and every degree of progress in the spiritual life. The subjects here treated of are the elementary principles of Christianity. But a principle, to be efficacious, must not be left behind us,—it must be carried with us. It must be to us, as its very name implies, a beginning--a constantly renewed beginning, through each successive stage of being, -of new thoughts, purposes, and acts,. which modify the character and actuate the man. And hence our Catechism, simple as it is, is by: no means to be looked upon as suited for our childhood only. It comprises in itself a Body of Divinity, the developement of which — and not the passing away from which to something else—forms the whole business of the after life of a confirmed member of the Church. “ My advice is,” says the profoundly simple Luther, “that we dispute not much of mysteries and hidden things, but rather cleave simply to God's word; specially the Catechism; for therein we have a very exact, right, and direct short way to the whole Christian Religion ; for the chief heads and articles thereof are contained in it.” “ The Catechism is the best and completest doctrine;