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Meantime, the world, corrupted by idolatry and every species of vice, arose, as it were, to a newness of life. For the space of three hundred years the Church continued to suffer the most dreadful persecution, but the world united in vain to destroy it. The holiness of its children, and the constancy of its martyrs, edified and converted the nations; and when the Almighty had resolved to bestow peace on his Church, he raised up Constantine the Roman emperor, who publicly embraced christianity.
The kings of the earth became children and defenders of the Church, and in accordance with the ancient prophecies, it was established throughout the world. The heresies which had been predicted by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, arose; all the mysteries of Faith were attacked one after the other, but these assaults only tended to establish it more firmly. By her holy doctrine, and the administration of the Sacraments, the Church has always produced saints. Every age has been illustrated by brilliant examples of sanctity. Amid the temptations and perils of this life, christians look forward to a general resurrection, and to the day when Jesus Christ will come again with power and great glory, to judge the living and the dead.
N.B.-In order to impress this short history on the minds of children, it is well to make them remember the names of the principal servants of God, for experience teaches that they will thus more easily retain in their recollection the chief events of sacred history, connected with these names. They may, therefore, be questioned in the following, or any other similar manner:
Q. Who was the Creator of Heaven and Earth? A. The Eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Q. Who was the first man that God made?
Q. And the first woman?
Q. Were they our first parents?
A. Yes; Adam and Eve were our first parents. Q. What have we inherited from our first parents?
A. Sin and death.
Q. Who was the first man who died in a state of grace?
A. Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain from a motive of jealousy.
Q. Had Adam another son after the death of Abel?
A. Yes, he had another son, who was called Seth, whose family and descendants continued for a long time to live in the service of God.
Q. Did they abandon God's service?
A. Yes, they became corrupted.
Q. How did God punish the universal corruption of the world?
A. By sending the deluge.
Q. Was there not at that time one righteous man living in the world?
A. Yes; Noah was a righteous man.
A. By preserving him in the ark with his family. Q. By whom was the world repeopled?
A. By the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japhet.
Q. With whom did God make a covenant?
Q. From whom was Abraham descended?
Q. Whom do you call the patriarchs?
A. Abraham, Isaac his son, Jacob the son of Isaac, and his twelve sons.
Q. What other name has Jacob?
A. He is also called Israel: and from him are descended the Israelites, that is to say, "The people of God."
Q. From whom are the twelve tribes of Israel descended?
A. From the twelve sons of Israel.
Q. From which of the sons of Jacob does our Saviour derive his descent?
A. From Judah.
Q. Where were the Israelites first captives? A. In Egypt, where their forefathers had taken refuge during a universal famine.
Q. Whom did God employ to deliver them from this captivity?
Q. Through whom did God give the law to the ancient Hebrews?
A. Through the same Moses.
Q. Who led them into the Promised Land?
Q. Who completed the conquest of this land?
Q. Of what tribe was David?
A. Of the tribe of Judah.
Q. What particular promise did he receive from God?
A. That Christ, or the Messiah, should be born of his race.
Q. Who built the temple at Jerusalem?
A. Solomon, son of David, one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ.
Q. Of what was the temple a type or figure? A. Of the Catholic church in which God desires to be worshipped.
Q. Under what king did the ten tribes separate from the temple?
A. Under Rehoboam, son of Solomon.
Q. Who was the author of this schism? A. Jeroboam, whose name is infamous to posterity.
Q. Of what was this separation a figure?
A. Of heresies and schisms.
Q. What tribe was the chief of those who remained faithful?
A. The tribe of Judah, of which tribe the Christ was to be born.
Q. Was he expected by the Jewish people?
A. Yes, he was expected. His coming was predicted by Moses, by David in the Psalms, and by the prophets.
Q. At what time did our Saviour appear?
Q. Of whom is he the Son.
A. He is the Son of God, from all eternity; but the son of Mary in time.
Q. Whom did he call to establish his church?
A. The twelve Apostles.
Q. Who was the first of the Apostles?
A. St. Peter.
Q. Who gave him the primacy?
A. Jesus Christ himself.
Q. Whence come the Bishops and Pastors of the Church?
A. From the twelve Apostles.
Q. Who first persecuted the Church?
A. The emperor Nero, the most cruel and infamous of princes.
Q. Whom did he first persecute?
A. Saints Peter and Paul.
Q. Where were they martyred?
A. At Rome.
Q. Who was the first Christian Emperor?
ON THE SIGN OF THE CROSS.
Q. What is a Christian?
A. A Christian is one who believes in Jesus Christ, and who has been baptized.
Q. What is the Christian's sign?
A. The sign of the Christian is the sign of the Cross.
Q. How do you make this sign?
A. By placing the right hand, first on the forehead, after that on the breast, then on the left shoulder, and from that on the right, saying; "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.-Amen."
Q. When is it proper to make the sign of the Cross?
A. It is proper to make the sign of the Cross, before and after our prayers, and as frequently as possible, at the commencement and end of our principal actions.
Q. In what are contained the principal truths which we ought to believe?
A. They are contained in the Creed.
A. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,