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as expressive of the real sentiments and convictions of the heart. It has been thought hest, therefore, to leave the text unbroken, so that it may be read like other works of a popular doctrinal character.

In the preparation of this work, the author has un hesitatingly availed himself of all the materials within his reach. Many works of a similar kind have been published in Germany, and the late production of Dr. Harnisch, containing illustrations of the ten commandments, is highly valuable, as it embraces, on this subject, all the excellences of preceding writers. To this work, with others, the author has had access, and acknowledges himself much indebted. Most of the prayers have been translated from the German, and others have been compiled from our excellent Liturgy.

A work similar to the one now offered to the church, has long been a desideratum; should the present imperfect effort pronote in any degree, the purpose for which it is intended, the author will have reason to rejoice that he has not labored in vain. He is fully aware of its many deficiencies; but these he has found it more easy to discover, than to avoid. He submits it therefore -- not to the severe ordeal of impartial and enlightened criticism — but to the prayerful attention of those, for whose benefit it has been prepared.

INTRODUCTION.

It has ever been customary in the Lutheran church to instruct candidates for confirmation in the first principles or leading doctrines of Christianity. This course of preparatory instruction, consisting of a series of catechetical lectures, is commenced by the pastor a few months previous to the time of confirmation. And, severely as it has been reprehended, by those who have remained voluntarily ignorant of its advantages, the plan is pursued by the ministers of our communion, under the conviction, that so far from being evil in its tendency, its universal adoption would be the commencement of a new and brighter era, in the history of the church.

The practice in question is based on the very constitution of the human mind, and is clearly recognized in the gospel itself.

Were an individual about to engage another to undertake for him some hazardous enterprise, he would first carefully explain to him its nature, and warn him of all the dangers in the way of his success; and he would rather present to his mind many imaginary difficulties, than to conceal a single obstacle he would be likely to encounter. This would be the only way to test his courage and determination. Were this rational precaution

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CATECHETICAL INSTRUCTION.

neglected, the person employed might suddenly meet some unforeseen and unexpected danger, which would cause him to shrink from all further effort, and thus the enterprize would fail. Let us take a familiar example, for the sake of illustration.

When it was determined by the American congress to contend with England for the independence of these United States, and when an army was raised for this purpose, every individual belonging to that band of patriots, was well acquainted with the superior strength and facilities of the enemy. It was known that the English troops were well disciplined, that their means of carrying on the war were abundant, that the contest would, in all probability, be prolonged for years, unless America should consent to yield to the unjust oppressions of her foe, and that there were many circumstances to threaten the total defeat of our arms. With this knowledge of the difficulties they would have to encounter in contending for their rights, our forefathers, nevertheless, pledged « their lives,

their fortunes, and their sacred honor," in the cause of • freedom. And why did they persevere until they con

quered? Was it simply because they were engaged in a righteous undertaking ?" No. It was because they had counted the cost. They pledged their lives, under the conviction that life might be the forfeit of their exertions, Danger did not intimidate them, because they expected to meet it. Defeat did not dishearten them, because their own inferiority in numbers and resources, scarcely allowed them to hope for conquest.

Thus it is with the religion of Jesus Christ. quires those who embrace it to sacrifice interest to duty, and to carry on a perpetual contest with the sinful desires

It reTHE PRACTICE DEFENDED.

and passions of their own hearts. It does not admit of indolence and inactivity, but it calls for the diligent and unremitted exercise of all the mental, moral and bodily powers. The Christian is appropriately called a soldier of the cross. He has a battle to fight, and a victory to gain. There are enemies within him and around him. And the courage and determination of every one, who wishes to enlist under the banners of the gospel, cannot be tested, unless he is made acqauinted with the holy requirernents of the great Captain of our salvation.

I lay it down, therefore, as a principle which ought to regulate every minister of the gospel, that no one should Le received into the church, whilst ignorant of the doctrines taught, and the moral obligations enforced in the word of God. Now it is a fact, that persons have been frequently received into church-fellowship, whilst unacquainted with the most obvious truths and simple requirements of the gospel. Nothing can be more detri. mental to the interests of piety, than this mistaken measure. And we may safely attribute to this cause, the melancholy dissensions that have arisen, and still exist, in individual congregations, and the actual defection of many of the professed followers of Christ.

Suppose the soldiers of the American revolution had been ignorant of the resources of the enemy, and of the order that pervaded their ranks, and suppose they had imagined that they were to contend in battle with a few undisciplined troops like themselves, it is easy to conceive that the very sight of a well-disciplined army, with all the “pomp and circumstance” attending it, would have sent terror to almost every heart. Or had they been assured that congress would supply all their wants, and ad

CATECHETICAL INSTRUCTION.

minister to the necessities of their families, and secure to them every comfort and luxury, with what feelings would they have encountered the fatigue and misery they endured, and how long would they have witnessed, without murmuring and revolt, the burning of their houses and their barns, and the total destruction of their crops and cattle? But they knew the worst, and this enabled them to face every danger with firmness and determination.

Now it is equally necessary, that candidates for churchmembership should be made acquainted with all the duties they will have to perform, and all the sacrifices they will be required to make, as the followers of Christ. If they are destitute of this knowledge, there will be great danger that they will not persevere to the end. There may be those, who, at the time of their admission into the church, were wholly, or in a great degree, ignorant of their duty, and have nevertheless been diligent in the discharge of every obligation, subsequently revealed to them. Yet, I am bold to say, that the policy to which I have just animadverted, is injudícious and unscriptural, and, in many instances, ruinous to the interests of religion. And therefore I contend, that persons who are but partially awakened to a sense of moral obligation, or only alarmed at the consequences of their guilt, should be fully enlightened in regard to the most prominent points of Christian doctrine and duty, before they are received into fellowship with the church.

Not long since, a female applied to a minister of our church for confirmation. In a conversation with her, he soon discovered, that she was entirely ignorant of Christian duty. She could not read, had never been accustomed to attend the preaching of the gospel, and had been

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