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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism

John Whitecross

Q. 30. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

1. The wife of William Romaine was once in company with a clergyman at Tiverton, who spoke with no little zeal against what he called 'irresistible grace,' alleging that 'such grace would be quite incompatible with free will.' 'Not at all so,' answered Mrs Romaine; 'grace operates effectually, yet not coercively. The wills of God's people are drawn to Him and to divine things, just as your will would be drawn to a bishopric, if you had the offer of it.'

2. A lady was one evening engaged in dispute with a gentleman, and argued so long and so violently, in defence of the creature's being first in the matter of conversion to God, that to her surprise she perceived it was one o'clock in the morning. She was startled, and said, 'Well, I did not know it was so late; I see I cannot work upon you, and I am sure all you say will not convince me; so good night.' 'Yes,' said the gentleman, 'it is time to go to rest. Madam, I wish you a good night. I suppose, however, that when you retire, you think to spend a few minutes praying to God.' 'Doubtless, sir, I do.' 'Please, then, madam, to tell God what you have just told me.' 'What is that, sir?' 'Why, madam, that you began with Him, before He began with you.' 'No, I will not,' said she. 'I knew you would not,' replied the gentleman, 'and therefore I reserved this argument to the last, for I never found any person of your opinion, that could address God, in consistency with the language you hold out so confidently to your fellow-mortals.'

3. The Rev. Ebenezer Erskine was once preaching in the open air at Glendevon, in Perthshire, and pressing on his hearers the importance of at once acceding to the terms of salvation. 'You will perhaps tell me', he said, 'that you cannot believe. Very true, you cannot; but the offer of Christ to sinners is the means by which they are enabled to receive Him; and if I had a commission from my great Lord and Master, I would offer Him to these rocks, and they would answer me.' He pronounced these last words with a considerable elevation of voice; and, there being an echo in the place, the word rocks was immediately reverberated. The people were so struck with this incident, that they all turned their eyes to the rocks behind them.

4. 'I have had six children,' said John Eliot (minister to the Indians of North America), 'and I bless God for His free grace, they are all either with Christ, or in Christ; and my mind is now at rest concerning them. My desire was, that they should have served Christ on earth; but if God will choose to have them rather serve Him in heaven, I have nothing to object to it. His will be done.'

5. One of the missionaries in the East Indies being called to visit the death-bed of one of the native Christians, inquired into the state of her mind. She replied, 'Happy! happy! I have Christ here,' laying her hand on the Bible, 'and Christ here,' pressing it to her heart, 'and Christ there,' pointing upwards to heaven. Happy Christian! to whatever part of the universe she might be removed, the Lord of the universe was with her, and she was secure of a home.

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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