17 Nov 2008

More thoughts on catechising

Robert Hamill Nassau, 1835-1921, medical missionary to Gaboon in West Africa, was once complimented for his ability to answer questions in the language of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. He replied:
I thus had a reply for any one who objected to children being taught Catechism, on the ground that they could not understand it. Of course, they did not. Neither had I, in my childhood. But memorising is easy in childhood. With that Catechism in memory it was an advantage to have its splendid 'form of words' when I reached an age at which I could understand them.

History of Princeton Seminary, Vol 1: Faith and Learning (1812 - 1868) 1994 p363

Here, here!

You can read about our take on Catechising our daughter here.

Nassau's book, Fetichism in West Africa: Forty Years' Observation of Native Customs and Superstitions, written in 1904 is available online here if anyone is interested in learning about the Africa of those early days.


  1. Hi Jeanne,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! We are going through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade at the moment. We are hoping for the girls to memorize the questions & answers. My Dad is a minister in one of the Reformed Churches in NZ and he used to say the same thing - have them memorize it while they're young, then they'll learn to understand it later!

  2. Yes, yes and yes, Jeanne!
    I would agree with the quote with regard to the KJV Bible also, however understanding of the scriptures seems to come sooner. We are seeing the fruit of all the years' labours - the reward is indeed great.


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