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Poor Man's Catechism;
BY JOHN MANNOCK, O. S. B.
FIRST AMERICAN FROM THE FIFTH LONDON EDITION
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Matthew, v. 3.
PUBLISHED BY BERNARD DORNIN.
J. Robinson, printer.
Of the Name and Dignity of a Christian.
WHAT religion are you of? A. By the
grace of God, I am a christian.
INSTRUCTION. Christian is derived from Christ, and signifies as much as a disciple of Christ, and professor of his law and doctrine; or one who is baptized by divine institution in the name of the blessed Trinity, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: whereby being purified from original-sin, and from all sin whatever, we are made sons of God, and heirs of heaven; members of Christ's church, or christians; and living temples of the Holy Ghost. Thus what Christ is by nature, a christian is by the grace of baptism; as Christ is by nature the eternal Son of God, a Christian by grace is the adopted son of God; and so receives, in some proportion, by a spiritual regeneration, what the Son of God received by his eternal generation; That we should be called
and be the sons of God, 1 John iii. 1. by adoption
Before we are baptized, we remain in sin; are infi-
The faithful first received the name of christians in the city of Antioch, Acts. xi. 26. Before that time they went by the name of disciples, and brethren : they were called disciples, as being followers of Christ's doctrine; and brethren, from the great and remarkable love they had for one another: They were all of one heart and one mind. Acts iv. 32. At length they took the name of Christians, a name derived from Christ, to signify their being the believers and professors of his law, as well as partakers of the unction of his grace.
EXHORTATION.-Learn to value yourself for what you are through the grace of Christ: a christian; a disciple of Christ. What more excellant than that profession which derives its name from Christ! By it we become truly his, partakers of his merits here, and glory hereafter. See your vocation then, as the apostle warns you. 1 Cor. i. 26. and have a just regard to its dignity, by living worthily of it; and, as you retain his name, resemble him also in your life and virtues. The character of a christian is a character of holiness be not a scandal to it, as many are; for many are christians in name, and that is all; beware you blemish it not by a wicked life: He who commits sin, is the servant of sin, St. John viii. 34. So when you sin mortally, you are no longer the servant of God, or disciple of Christ; you belong not to him, but to the devil; you forfeit your right and title to the kingdom of heaven; and as long as you remain in that state impenitent, you are out of the grace and favour of your God and Redeemer. O sin! unworthy of the breast or name of a Christian, who has been anointed with divine grace; with the oil of gladness, above his fellows, Psalm xliv. 9.
Of the Obligations of a Christian.
HAT is a christian obliged to by his profession? A. He is obliged inwardly to believe, and outwardly to confess the faith and law of Christ: With the heart we believe unto justification, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. x. 10.
INSTRUC.-A christian must believe in his heart all that Christ has taught, and his church professes, with a sincere and unfeigned faith: God must be served with sincerity and truth; no deceit, dissimulation, or hypocrisy, must harbour therein; since all things, even our most secret thoughts, are open to him, and nothing is hidden but shall be revealed at the last day.
A christian must also profess the faith and law of Christ outwardly and openly, for God's honour thus, if called before kings and princes, enemies of your faith, and if demanded by them, what religion you profess, you must boldly confess yourself a christian, a Catholic, and if by your confession of it you are to suffer, you must rather undergo death, as the apostles and holy martyrs did, than deny your faith: God must ever be obeyed before men, Acts v. 29. and the reward of this obedience will be, He who confesseth me before men, him will I confess before my Father who is in heaven, St. Matt. x. 32. whereas the reverse will follow disobedience: He who denieth me before men, him will I deny before my Father who is in heaven.A christian must profess his faith outwardly, for his own good, by often repeating his belief. He must again profess it outwardly, for his neighbour's good, thereby to bring him from his error, to the true faith and church of Christ.
EXHOR.-Give thanks to God for your vocation to the true faith, for having made you a christian, a catholic. See how far you have concurred with your faith, or deviated from it, whether you have made open profession of it when required, and whether you have joined good works to your faith, and by them