Friday, December 26, 2008

0 Catechesis and the Privilege of Raising Children in the Fear of God, Part II

Just after posting the previous note, I began reading an article in the Puritan Reformed Journal (a new journal from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, edited by the president, Joel Beeke) about John Murray, and happened upon the following paragraph, which reinforces exactly the same idea.
John Murray was brought up on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Use was made of it in the home, in the church and in the day school. It was an educational process of priceless value. Archibald Alexander, who founded Princeton Theological Seminary where John Murray was later to study and teach, was also brought up on the Shorter Catechism. The invaluable role of catechetical instruction in a young child's life is beautifully captured in Charles Hodge's remarks about this important influence in Alexander's childhood, words that could have equally applied to the young John Murray: 'The principles of moral and religious truth contained in that sublime symbol, when once embedded in the mind, enlarge, sustain, and illuminate it for all time. That God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth is a height of knowledge to which Plato never reached...A series of such precise, accurate, luminous propositions, inscribed on the understanding of a child, is the richest inheritance which can be given to him. They are seeds which need only the vivifying influence of the Spirit of life, to cause them to bring forth the fruits of holiness and glory. Dr. Alexander experienced this benefit to its fullest extent.' ("John Murray and the Godly Life", John J. Murray, Puritan Reformed Journal, volume 1, number 1, 2009, p. 143)
The quotation from Hodge is taken from the autobiography of Archibald Alexander, written by James M. Garrison, entitled "Princeton and Preaching". It was published in 2005 by Banner of Truth, and is available here.



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