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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism

John Whitecross

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God's elect?

A. The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.

1. A minister who resided at Bedford, taking a ride one afternoon by way of relaxation, overtook a decent-looking woman on the road, to whom, after a little conversation on other subjects had passed, he said, 'Good woman, you seem to be an intelligent person, pray, do you know anything of the Lord Jesus Christ?' She replied, 'No, sir; there is no such nobleman living hereabouts that I know of!'

2. A girl, seventeen years of age, the daughter of a respectable Jewish merchant at Ohio, in America, being near death, said to her father, 'I know but little about Jesus, for I was never taught; but I know that He is a Saviour, for He has manifested Himself to me since I have been sick, even for the salvation of my soul. I believe He will save me, although I never before loved Him; I feel that I am going to Him — that I shall be ever with Him. And now, my father, do not deny me; I beg that you will never again speak against this Jesus of Nazareth; I entreat you to obtain a New Testament, which tells of Him.' The father afterwards became a humble follower of the once despised Saviour.

3. A poor man, unable to read, who obtained a livelihood by mending old shoes, was asked by an Arian minister, how he knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God? 'Sir,' he replied, 'I am sorry you have put such a question to me before my children, although I think I can give you a satisfactory answer. You know, sir, when I first became concerned about my soul, and unhappy on account of my sins, I called upon you to ask for your advice, and you told me to get into company, and spend my time as merrily as I could, but not to go to hear the Methodists.' 'I did so,' answered the ungodly minister. 'I followed your advice,' continued the illiterate cobbler, 'for some time; but the more I trifled, the more my misery increased; and at last I was persuaded to hear one of those Methodist ministers who came into our neighbourhood, and preached Jesus Christ as the Saviour. In the greatest agony of mind, I prayed to Him to save me, and to forgive my sins; and now I feel that He has freely forgiven them — and by this I know that He is the Son of God.'

4. ' I have sometimes heard of Christ,' said an Indian girl, seven years old, 'and now I experience Him to be just such a Saviour as I want. I have often heard people undertake to tell of the excellency that is in Christ; but their tongues are too short to express the beauty and love which are contained in this lovely Jesus! I cannot tell my poor relations how lovely Christ is! I wonder my poor playmates will choose that dreadful place hell, when here stands that beautiful person, Jesus, calling upon sinners, and saying, "Come away, sinners, to heaven!" Come, 0 do come to my Saviour! Shut Him out no longer, for there is room enough in heaven for all of you to be happy for evermore. It causes much joy at times that I delight to serve Him, and by the help of God I mean to hold out to the end of my days.'

5. As a tutor and his pupil toured the shores of the Mediterranean, they slept one night at the little town where Bonaparte landed, and in the very room in which he rested on his return from Elba. About day-break, the pupil heard his companion thus speaking in an audible, distinct, and deliberate tone, 'Took upon Himself the form of a servant. Now, every creature is, by the mere fact of his creation, the servant of his Maker. Not our Lord Jesus Christ, for He took upon Himself the form of a servant; therefore He is, He can be, no creature — therefore He is the Creator — therefore He is God over all, blessed for ever.' And then followed, in expressions of the deepest fervour, and of the most elevated sublimity, a solemn dedication to this Lord Jesus Christ, as his Maker, Redeemer, and ever-blessed God and portion, of himself of his person, of his ministry, of his all. The pupil was electrified, and rivetted; but he thought it to be the morning meditation of his reverend companion, unconsciously uttered aloud, and would not intrude on so hallowed an exercise. As they rode along, however, in the course of the day, he could not refrain from saying, 'I was deeply interested, sir, in your reflections this morning.' 'What reflections?' asked the tutor. 'The reflections you uttered before you rose to-day.' 'I remember none, what were they?' The pupil repeated them. As he was doing so, the tutor's mind seemed caught by the novelty of the conception, and powerfully struck also by the weight and conclusiveness of it. 'Perfectly new!' he exclaimed, 'I never saw the passage in that light before — it is a finishing stroke. It cuts them up (the Socinians and Arians) root and branch. But — I remember nothing of the morning.'

6. 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.

7. When a certain Mr Kirkland was a missionary to the Oneidas, a tribe of North American Indians, being unwell, he was unable to preach on the afternoon of a certain Sabbath, and told Peter, one of the head men of the Oneidas, that he must address the congregation. Peter modestly and reluctantly consented. After a few words of introduction, he began to discourse on the character of the Saviour. 'What, my brethren,' said he, 'are the views which you form of the character of Jesus? You will answer, perhaps, that He was a man of singular benevolence. You will tell me, that He proved this to be His character, by the nature of the miracles which He wrought. All these, you will say, were kind in the extreme. He created bread to feed thousands, who were ready to perish. He raised to life the son of a poor woman, who was a widow, and to whom his labours were necessary for her support in old age. Are these, then, your only views of the Saviour? I will tell you they are lame. When Jesus came into the world, He threw His blanket around Him, but the God was within.'

8. Among the many whom George Whitefield was honoured to be the means of converting to the knowledge and love of the truth, and who will be a crown ofjoy 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.'

This material is taken from THE SHORTER CATECHISM ILLUSTRATED by John Whitecross revised and republished by the Banner of Truth Trust edition 1968 and reproduced with their permission.

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