- (This also appears on my blog: http://ragingcalvinist.blogspot.com )
I hold a little book in my hand called, "The Heidelberg Catechism,
with Proof-Texts and Explanations as used in the Palatinate,
translated from the German by Rev. H. Harbaugh, D.D., with Forms of
Devotion." It was published in Reading, PA., by Daniel Miller. On the
inside near the back of the book is an inscription, written in pencil,
apparently by a child, which reads, "I gave my heart to Jesus, And I
mean to keep my vows. A.A.R."
After the Catechism section of the book, there follows a section
called "Questions and Councels as Helps to Self-Examination." I typed
up the questions here, and plan on typing out the cousels later:
Let each one ask himself or herself these questions. Make a pause
after each one; and bring the conscience, the heart, and the life,
solemnly to these tests. It is better to answer these questions now
than to meet them in the day of Judgment. Oh! be honest with your soul!
1. Have you been made to feel that by nature you were in a lost and
helpless condition? Have you experienced the conviction that your
heart is the seat and fountain of sin, and that you have committed
many acts of transgression and sin against God? Have you felt that
there is no way of escape from this condition of misery, save through
the Cross of Christ? Have you hence been led to despair of yourself,
and your works, and to throw yourself altogether on the free mercy of
God in Christ?
2. Have you been willing to acknowledge that this depravity and
helplessness of your nature comes from sin? Have you felt that in
punishing you for your sin, God is just? Have you been willing to
acknowledge that God has a right to require obedience to the whole
law? Have you felt that you are altogether unable to deliver yourself
from misery and want, and that a DIVINE deliverer alone can save you?
3. Have you hence turned towards Christ as the God-man, and as such
the only one able and willing to save you? Have you sincerely turned
unto him, accepted of him as your only hope, and thrown yourself
unreservedly upon his sacrifice for salvation?
4. Have you reason to believe that Go has accepted of you, and that
you are truly converted to him? On what is your hope of acceptance
with God based? On your reformation? On your sorrow for sins? On your
prayers? On your tears? On your good works? On your religious acts? Or
is it on Christ alone, as your all in all? Has Christ appeared to your
soul as the one altogether lovely?
5. Do you love God? Can you call him, "Abba, Heavenly Father?" Do you
desire to live to his glory here, and to praise him forever hereafter?
Is it your great comfort to now that you belong to the Saviour? Have
you the consciousness of pardoned sin? Do you delight in religious
worship? Do you delight in serving God?
6. Do you hate, and desire to be delivered from sin? Do you love and
strive after holiness? Do you live near to God?
7. Do you pray? Do you love prayer? Do you love the Scriptures? Do you
see a loveliness in the truths of the Bible? Do you desire to grow in
grace and in the knowledge of God? Do you desire to live so as to
promote the glory of God, as the chief end of your life?
8. Do you feel the importance of adorning religion by a holy and
blameless life? Do you seek sincerely so to honor and adorn religion?
Are you jealous for the honor of religion?
9. Do you hate sin? In others? In yourself? Does the sight of sin
really pain you? Do the strivings of sin in you give you penitence,
humility, and deep distress of soul?
10. Do you love holiness? Is the beauty of holiness to you the highest
beauty? Do you desire that others might be holy? Do you long for a
holy church? Do you desire to be holy? Is holiness to you one of the
chief attractions of heaven?
11. Have you any bosom sin? Do you yield to any indulgence which you
know to be sinful, and which you nevertheless love? Are you willing to
part with it? If you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not
12. Are you at all times humbly and anxiously endeavoring to be a
Christian, and to seek holiness of heart? Or do you only manifest this
concern at special times? Such as Communion seasons? Do you, after
these seasons, go back again to your former course of life?