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THE SHORTER CATECHISM ILLUSTRATED: From Christian History and Biography
John Whitecross

"This unusual volume follows the doctrinal structure of the classic Puritan catechism, expanding each doctrinal point not with exposition, as is customary, but with many factual stories well selected by the author from a wide range of sources. Thus such subjects as Providence, Prayer and The Ten Commandments are illuminated with telling and sometimes fascinating narratives. First published in 1828, and passing through many editions in the last century, the book has been revised for greater usefulness today.


Matthew Henry, a little before his death, said to a friend, "You have been accustomed to take notice of the sayings of dying men: this is mine, That a life spent in the service of God, and in communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that any one can live in this world."

A Polish prince was accustomed to carry the picture of his father always in his bosom; and on particular occasions used to take it out and view it, saying, "Let me do nothing unbecoming so excellent a father." A suitable reflection for a Christian!

The punctuality of John Newton, while tide-surveyor at Liverpool, was particularly remarked. One day, however, some business had detained him, and he came to his boat much later than usual, to the surprise of those who had observed his former punctuality. He went out in the boat as heretofore, to inspect a ship, but by some accident the ship blew up just before he reached it; and it appears, that if he had left the shore a few minutes sooner, he must have perished with the rest on board.

It was remarked by one, 'If I have been honored to do any good in my day; if I have been of any use to the church of Christ, to my family, and to my fellow-creatures; if I have enjoyed any happiness in life (and I am happy to say I have had a large share); if I have any hope beyond the grave, and that hope I would not exchange for a thousand worlds-I owe all to the Bible.'

In the Memoirs of Thomas Boston of Ettrick appears the following: Singing at family worship Psalm 121, this view of the Bible was given me, namely, that whatever were the particular occasions of the writing of it or any part thereof, I am to look upon it as written for me as much as if there were not another person in the world, and so is everybody else to whose hand it comes.'

Sometimes there were more kings than one in Sparta, who governed by joint authority. A king was occasionally sent to some neighbouring senate in the character of a Spartan ambassador. Did he, when so sent, cease to be a king of Sparta, because he was also an ambassador? No; he did not divest himself of his regal dignity, but only added to it that of public deputation. So Christ, in becoming man, did not cease to be God; but though He ever was, and still continued to be, King of the whole creation, He acted as the voluntary servant and messenger of the Father.

Among the many whom George Whitefield was honored to be the means of converting to the knowledge and love of the truth, and who will be a crown of joy to him in the day of the Lord, it is perhaps not generally known that the celebrated James Hervey is to be mentioned. In a letter to Whitefield, Hervey expresses himself thus: 'Your journals, dear sir, and sermons, especially that sweet sermon on What think ye of Christ? were the means of bringing me to the knowledge of the truth.'

David Dickson, once Professor of Divinity in Edinburgh, being asked, when on his deathbed, how he found himself answered, "I have taken my good deeds and bad deeds, and thrown them together in a heap, and fled from them both to Christ, and in Him I have peace."

John Whitecross, a schoolmaster, knew well what would gain the attention of the young and the book can be recommended for children of ten and over; it will also be of general interest to all readers and a valuable treasury of illustrative matter for the many in the home, school or church who have the responsibility of making Biblical teaching interesting."



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