DO NOT LOOSE OR ABATE YOUR INTEREST IN STUDYING THE DOCTRINES AND TEACHINGS OF OUR HOLY RELIGION

The things necessary to be known in reli-
gion have been revealed to our minds, not in
them. If we would know them we must
study them, learn them. The prophets, the
Saviour, the Apostles, were all teachers. It
was their mission to teach all nations — to
teach them the things of religion. It was
the duty of the people to learn, to study, to
know what was taught. The very meaning
of the word “disciple” is a learner.

It is so still. If we would know the way
of life, if we would understand our duties
and privileges, we must study and learn
them. Oh! how much is there for us to
know, and consequently to learn by earnest
attention and study!

You have for some time been a learner in
religion — a Catechumen. You have heard
much, and much of it you have treasured
up in your memory. But how much is there
still for you to learn! What a mine of
sacred wisdom still lies unfathomed before
you! What heights, and depths, and lengths,
and breadths, are still unexplored! You
have but barely commenced. You have as
yet learned but a few of the first principles
of the doctrines of Christ. It is not merely
that you may know these things that you
ought to study them, but especially on ac-
count of the influence which they exert
upon your heart. You have found that
your interest in religion has increased with
your studying and learning. Your heart
has been warmed by the truths to which
you have paid attention. The truth, as you
took it into your mind and heart, was as
food to the soul. This is the true nature,
these are the legitimate effects, of the truth
— when we know it right we feel its power.
Ignorance of the truth is of course indiffer-
ence to it.

You have no doubt sometimes thought —
for this has been the experience of many
Catechumens — that if the lectures would
always continue, it would be easy for you to
continue warm-hearted, and devoted, and
faithful. It is your constant feeding upon
the truth that keeps you strong.

Now if, after you are confirmed, you lose
your interest in improving in religious
knowledge, you will certainly also grow cold
in your zeal, and love, and devotion. On
the other hand, if you keep up your diligence
in learning more and more of religion, you
will find your heart continuing its warmth
and vigor. These two things go together.
If we would grow in grace, we must grow
in the knowledge of Christ. Religious know-
ledge is just as necessary to a vigorous
growth in piety, as food is to the growth of
the body, or as water is to the roots of a
tree. Ignorance is not the mother of devo-
tion, but the mother of darkness, stupidity,
superstition, and all kinds of error and
degradation.

We warn you, therefore, against the neg-
lect of your religious studies. You have
abundant opportunity to go on in the future,
as you have in the past. Future classes of
Catechumens are open to you, even though
you are confirmed. Adult classes in the
Sabbath-school, with pious and able teachers,
may be open to you. The instructions of
the pulpit and the weekly lectures are open
to you. The Bible, and all kinds of instruc-
tive religious books, together with the reli-
gious papers of the Church, are open to you.
The conversations of intelligent Christian
friends may be enjoyed by you. You have
every opportunity that heart can desire, to
become a well-informed, enlightened, intel-
ligent Christian. It will be your own fault
if you do not.

There is a great defect at the present day
in just this point. Religious instruction is
not sufficiently thorough. Christians do not
care to be indoctrinated as they should.
There is too little earnest study of God’s
word, and the doctrines of the Church. If
these things were more faithfully attended
to, there would not be so much backsliding,
wavering, weakness of faith, and indifference.

You may hear it said that religion does
not consist in knowing and learning; and
this is only what has been told you over and
over — it includes, also, the power of what
we know upon the heart. But beware of the
insinuating error that knowing does not be-
long to religion. If mind belongs to man,
then does also knowing and learning belong
to religion. Seek to have warm hearts, but
also clear heads. Let the mind know and
the heart feel. These two God hath joined
together; let no man put them asunder.

Against losing your interest in the study
of Christian doctrines and duties, we most
earnestly and solemnly warn you! “As
new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of
the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom.”

II.

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