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CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, &c.
CHAP. I. What a Christian is. And of the Blessed Trinity. Question. ARE you a Christian? Answer. Yes, by the grace of God, I am a Christian.
Q. What do you mean by saying you are a Christian
A. That I have been baptized in the Catholic Church ; and thereby have become subject to the law of Christ; a child of God, and an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Q. Wheu are Christians obliged to make an open profession of their faith! .
A. As often as God's honour, our own, or our neighbour's good requires it.
Q. How prove you that we are bound outwardly to profess our faith?
A. Out of St. Mutt, x. 32. where Christ saith, "Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will confess him before my Father who is in hearen. But be that shall deny me before men, I also will deny hin before my Father who is in heaven."
Q. Are we bound to expose to danger or loss, our property, our honour, our friends, niy, even our very lives, rather than deny our Faith?
Á. Most certainly we are ; for whosoever, says Christ, Matt. x. 33,
shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven; and as it availeth a man
nothing to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul, Matt. xvi. 26, we should not exchange it, as we would do by a denial of our faith, for any worldly goods, nor for life itself, which is so short and uncertain : moreover it would be base ingratitude to deny the faith of Christ, the Son of the living Gud, who has laid down his life for our salvation.
Q. Which are the principal Mysteries of the Christian Faith?
A. The Unity and Trinity of God. The Incarnation and Death of our Saviour.
Q. How do you prove that there are three persons in one only God?
A. Because the three persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are expressly mentioned in the Scripture ; which teaches that each person is true God, whilst it also teaches that there is but one God, nor can there be more gods than one.
Q. In what Scripture are the three persons of the blessed Trinity so mentioned ?
A. 'In Matt. iii. When Jesus, who was the WORD, or second person, ascended froin the waters of the Jordan, in which he had bi se baptized by John, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost (or third person) descended upon him as a dove, and behold a voice from heaven, (of the Father, or first person) saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom my soul is well pleased. Also Mati. xxviii, when our Saviour sent his Apostles, he mentions the three divine persons as one God, saying, "Going, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." So in John xiv. and xv. Christ, the second person, mentions the Father and the Holy Ghost, saying, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth." And “when the Comforter will come,"—the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father.'
Q. What other proof have you?
A. From 1 St. John v. 7. “ There be three which give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.
Q. Can we understand the mystery of the Trinity, or how 'there can be three persons in one only God?
A. No. The mystery of the Trinity is one of those hidden truths which God has made known to us, that by believing them on his unerring word, without clearly understanding them, we might exercise our faith, humble our pride, and pay
to him a most acceptable worship by submitting our understanding to his holy law.
Q. Is each of the persons in the blessed Trinity equally wise, powerful, and perfect, as the other ?
A. Yes, as there is but one divine nature, or one only God, each of the persons in that nature or Godhead must be equal in all things.
Q. Is there any thing created like to one God in three persons ?
A. Yes, the soul of man is made to the image and likeness of God, not only in being a spirit and immortal, but also in having in itself three powers, to wit, memory, understanding, and will, which are always united, and yet distinct one from the other.
Q. What means the incarnation and death of our Saviour?
A. It means that God the Son, the second person of the blessed Trinity, was made man, and died on the cross to.
Q. In what are these two mysteries signified ?
A. In the sign of the cross, as it is made by Catholics ; for when we put our right hand to our head, saying, in the name, we signify Unity; and when we make the sign of the cross, saying, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we signify Trinity.
Q. How doth the sign of the cross represent the incarnation and death of our Saviour?
A. By putting us in mind that he was made man, and died upon the cross for us.
Faith Explained. Q. WHAT is faith?
A. It is a gift of God, which he imparts to the soul, for the sake of Christ, and by which we firmly believe all those things which he hath any way revealed to us.
Q. Is faith necessary to salvation ?
AI: is; St. Paul assuring us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb. xi. 6. and St. Mark xvi. 16. saying, he that believeth not shall be condemned.
Q. Why must we firmly believe matters of faith ?
A. Because Go: hath' revealed them, who can neither deceive, nor be deceived, and requires that we believe theni,
Q. Is it not enough to believe all that is written in the Bible ?
A. No, it is not; for we must also believe all apostolical tradition.
Q. How prove you that ?
A. Out of 2 Thess, ii. 15. “ Therefore brethren," (saith St. Paul,)“ stand, and hold ye the traditions which ye have learned, whether by word, or by our Epistle.”
Q. What other proof have you ?
A. The apostle's Creed; which all are bound to believe, although it be not in Scripture.
Q. Is faith only, as excluding good works, sufficient to salvation ?
A. No, it is not; St. James ii. 24. saying, “ Do you see how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only ?" And St. Paul saying, 1 Cor. xiii. 2. “If I should have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing; and if I distribute my goods unto the poor, and give my body so that it burn, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing."
Q. What faith will suffice to justify ?
Q. How are we to learn those truths which we are bound to believe on the authority of God's Word, whether that Word be written, or otherwise delivered by the apostles to the Church?
A. From the apostles and their successors; who were sent by Christ to teach those truths to all nations, promising to be with them all days even to the consummation of the world. Matt, xxviii. 20.
Q. What vices are opposed to faith?
A. It is the not knowing, or not believing, in the one only God, and in him whom he hath sent, Jesus Christ. Juhn xvii. 3.
Q. What is Heresy ?
A. It is an obstinate adherence to error, in opposition to the truth as taught in the Church of God.
Q. Is it a grievous sin?
A. A very grievous sin; because it wholly divides a man from God, and leads to infidelity, Christ saying, “ If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as an heathen and a publican.' St. Matt. xviii. 17.