Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 464 pages of information about Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4).
and receive the Sacraments, you are doing no good at all.  That would be a great mistake, and just such a thing as the devil would suggest to make persons give up their devotions.  What is the use, he might say, of your trying to be good?  You are just as bad as you were a year ago.  Do not listen to that temptation.  Were it not for your prayers and your reception of the Sacraments, you would become a great deal worse than you are.  Suppose a man is rowing on the river against a very strong tide.  He is rowing as hard as he can and yet he is not advancing one foot up the stream.  Is he doing nothing therefore?  Ah! he is doing a great deal:  he is preventing himself from being carried with the current out into the ocean.  He is keeping himself where he is till the force of the tide diminishes, and then he can advance.  So they who are trying to be good are struggling against the strong tide of temptation.  If they cease to struggle against it, they will be carried out into the great ocean of sin and lost forever.  Someday the temptation will grow weaker and then they will be able to advance towards Heaven.  We feel temptations most when we are trying to resist them and lead good lives, because we are working against our evil inclinations—­the strong tide of our passions.  We have no trouble going with them.


“Incarnation” means to take flesh, as a body.  Here it means Our Lord’s taking flesh, that is, taking a body like ours, when He became man.  “Redemption” means to buy back.  Let us take an example.  Slaves are men or women that belong entirely to their masters, just as horses, cows, or other animals do.  Slaves are bought and sold, never receive any wages for their work, get their food and clothing and no more.  As they never earn money for themselves, they can never purchase their own liberty.  If ever they are to be free, someone else must procure their liberty.  Now, suppose I am in some country where slavery exists.  I am free, but I want one hundred dollars; so I go to a slave owner and say:  I want to sell myself for one hundred dollars.  He buys me and I soon squander the one hundred dollars.  Now I am his property, his slave; I shall never earn any wages and shall never be able to buy my freedom.  No other slave can help me, for he is just in the same condition as I myself am.  If I am to be free, a free man who has the money must pay for my liberty.  This is exactly the condition in which all men were before Our Lord redeemed them.  Adam sold himself and all his children to the devil by committing sin.  He and they therefore became slaves.  They could not earn any spiritual wages, that is, grace of God to purchase their liberty; and as all men were slaves one could not help another in this matter.  Then Our Lord Himself came and purchased our freedom.  He bought us back again, and the price He paid was His own life and blood given up upon the Cross. 

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Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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