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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A form of instruction by means of questions and answers. There have been various catechisms published by different authors, but many of them have been but ill suited to convey instruction to juvenile minds. Catechisms for children should be so framed as not to puzzle and confound, but to let the beams of divine light into their minds by degrees. They should be accommodated as far as possible to the weakness of their understandings; for mere learning sentences by rote, without comprehending the meaning, will be but of little use. In this way they will know nothing but words: it will prove a laborious task, and not a pleasure; confirm them in a bad habit of dealing in sounds instead of ideas; and after all, perhaps create in them an aversion to religion itself. Dr Watts advises that different catechisms should be composed for different ages and capacities; the questions and answers should be short, plain, and easy; scholastic terms, and logical distinctions should be avoided; the most practical points of religion should be inserted and one or more well chosen texts of Scripture should be added to support almost every answer, and to prove the several parts of it. The doctor has admirably exemplified his own rules in the catechism he has composed for children at three or four years old; that for children at seven or eight; his assembly's catechism, proper for youth at twelve of fourteen; his preservative from the sins and follies of childhood; his catechism of Scripture names, and his historical catechism. These are superior to any I know, and which I cannot but ardently recommend to parents and all those who have the care and instruction of children.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Catechism'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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