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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism

John Whitecross

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?

A. In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), we pray, that Satan's kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

1. A little girl sent about ten shillings to a gentleman for the purchase of some missionary tracts; and in her letter she said: 'She who takes this freedom to ask so much of a stranger, began this letter with a trembling hand. She is indeed young in years, and in knowledge too, and is not able to talk much with a gentleman on religion; but her mother has taught her, almost eleven years, to say, Thy kingdom come; and she believes she cannot be saying it sincerely, if she does nothing to help it on among the heathen. This thought emboldens her to write to a stranger, almost as though he were a friend.'

2. 'There are at Haworth,' says Newton, in his Life of William Grimshaw, 'two feasts annually. It had been customary with the innkeepers, and some other inhabitants, to make a subscription for horse-races at the latter feast. These were of the lowest kind, attended by the lowest of the people. They exhibited a scene of the grossest and most vulgar riot, profligacy, and confusion. Grimshaw had frequently attempted, but in vain, to put a stop to this mischievous custom. His remonstrances against it were little regarded. Unable to prevail with men, he addressed himself to God; and for some time before the races began, he made it a subject of fervent prayer, that the Lord would be pleased to stop these evil proceedings in His own way. When the race time came, the people assembled as usual, but they were soon dispersed. Before the race could begin, dark clouds covered the sky, which poured forth such excessive rains, that the people could not remain upon the ground; it continued to rain incessantly during the three days appointed for the races. This event, though it took place nearly forty years since, is still remembered and spoken of at Haworth, with the same certainty as if it had happened but a few months past. It is a sort of proverbial saying among them, that old Grimshaw put a stop to the races by his prayers. And it proved an effectual stop. There have been no races in the neighbourhood of Haworth from that time to the present day.'

3. Melancthon, going once upon some great service for the Church of Christ, and having many doubts and fears about the success of his business, was greatly relieved by a company of poor women and children, whom he found praying together for the prosperity of the Church.

4. 'I one day dined on board the Duff (missionary ship),' wrote a minister of the gospel, 'and much pleased I was with the thought, that amidst all the hundreds of vessels I saw in the river, trading to different parts of the globe, carrying the perishing things of this world from one nation to another, there was one trading for heaven, engaged in conveying the everlasting gospel to benighted heathens perishing for lack of knowledge. Perhaps it is the first vessel that in any age of the world was ever solely so employed. I thought the nation highly honoured by the event, as well as the persons principally concerned.'

5. A godly man and woman had an only son, named Thomas, who to the great grief of his parents, began to turn out wild. A worthy minister named Rees, went to lodge at the house, and the father and mother with many tears, informed him of the ungodliness of their son. The following morning, before family prayer, the minister took hold of the young man's hand, and spoke very seriously and affectionately to him respecting his salvation. In family worship he prayed for him with great enlargement, and amongst others, used the following expression: 'O Lord, say to this Thomas, "be not faithless, but believing."' The words, to use the young man's own expression, entered his heart like a sword, and a permanent change was effected: he soon became a church member, and was an ornament to his Christian profession till death.

6. 'I know,' says William Fenner, 'an old man that used constantly to go to the labourers in the fields, and talk to them about religion as they were reaping and working. He would go to men's shops where he was acquainted, and stir them up to the care of their souls; and, by this means, brought about forty men and women to seek for heaven, who before had no more care that way, than if they had been a company of beasts. Wouldest thou not be glad to do good? Thou wilt never be able to do it except thou be zealous. Paul had women and sundry private Christians who laboured with him in the gospel. This—this—beloved, would cause religion to thrive here amongst us!'

7. Dr James Spener, some days before his death, gave orders that nothing of black should be on his coffin--'For,' said he, 'I have been a sorrowful man these many years, lamenting the deplorable state of Christ's church militant upon earth; but now being upon the point of retiring into the church triumphant in heaven, I will not have the least mark of sorrow left upon me; but my body shall be wrapped up all over in white, for a testimony that I die in expectation of a better and more glorious state of Christ's church to come, even upon earth.'

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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