Westminster Larger Catechism
Question 98: Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
Answer: The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments,
which were delivered by the voice of God upon Mount Sinai, and written by
him in two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of
Exodus. The four first commandments containing our duty to God, and the
other six our duty to man.
Question 99: What rules are to be observed for the right understanding
of the ten commandments?
Answer: For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules
are to be observed: That the law is perfect, and binds everyone to full
conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire
obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty,
and to forbid the least degree of every sin. That it is spiritual, and so
reaches the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the
soul; as well as words, works, and gestures. That one and the same thing,
in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments. That
as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where
a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise
is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening
is annexed, the contrary promise is included. That: What God forbids, is
at no time to be done;: What he commands, is always our duty; and yet every
particular duty is not to be done at all times. That under one sin or duty,
all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes,
means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto. That:
What is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to
our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according
to the duty of their places. That in: What is commanded to others, we are
bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and
to take heed of partaking with others in: What is forbidden them.
Question 100: What special things are we to consider in the ten commandments?
Answer: We are to consider, in the ten commandments, the preface, the substance
of the commandments themselves, and several reasons annexed to some of them,
the more to enforce them.
Question 101: What is the preface to the ten commandments?
Answer: The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words,
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage. Wherein God manifests his sovereignty, as being
JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and
of himself, and giving being to all his words and works: and that he is
a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as
he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivers us from our
spiritual thraldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our
God alone, and to keep all his commandments.
Question 102: What is the sum of the four commandments which contain
our duty to God?
Answer: The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is,
to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and
with all our strength, and with all our mind.
Question 103: Which is the first commandment?
Answer: The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.
Question 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and
acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship
and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly
esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him;
believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous
for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all
obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all
things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and
walking humbly with him.
Question 105: What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying
or not having a God; idolatry, in having or worshiping more gods than one,
or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him
for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required
in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions,
unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and curious searching into his
secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all
other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections
upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain
credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness,
and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption,
carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in
lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal;
lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and
apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints,
angels, or any other creatures; all compacts and consulting with the devil,
and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and
conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and
grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations,
charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; and ascribing the
praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves,
or any other creature.
Question 106: What are we specially taught by these words before me in
the first commandment?
Answer: These words before me, or before my face, in the first commandment,
teach us, that God, who sees all things, takes special notice of, and is
much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be
an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent
provocation: as also to persuade us to do as in his sight,: Whatever we
do in his service.
Question 107: Which is the second commandment?
Answer: The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in
the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands
of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving,
observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances
as God has instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving
in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;
the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and
discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing
by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting,
opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one's place and calling,
removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,
counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship
not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any
representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly
in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature:
Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any
representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging
to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding
to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or
received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity,
custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony;
sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and
ordinances which God has appointed.
Question 110: What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment,
the more to enforce it?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce
it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them
that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God's sovereignty over
us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful
indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting
the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish
them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as
love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many
Question 111: Which is the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his
name in vain.
Question 112: What is required in the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles,
attributes, ordinances, the Word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots,
his works, and: Whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known,
be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing;
by an holy profession, and Answerable conversation, to the glory of God,
and the good of ourselves, and others.
Question 113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of
God's name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent,
profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning, or otherwise using his titles,
attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings,
oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling
them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying
into, and misapplying of God's decrees and providences; misinterpreting,
misapplying, or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it, to profane
jests, curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining
of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under
the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning,
scorning, reviling, or anywise opposing of God's truth, grace, and ways;
making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being
ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and
offensive walking, or backsliding from it.
Question 114: What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The
Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his
name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name
is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; especially because he will
be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment,
as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit
many such escape the censures and punishments of men.
Question 115: Which is the fourth commandment?
Answer: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it
holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day
is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou,
nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor
thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the
Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested
the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed
Question 116: What is required in the fourth commandment?
Answer: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping
holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one
whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world
to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since,
and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,
and in the New Testament called the Lord's day.
Question 117: How is the sabbath or the Lord's day to be sanctified?
Answer: The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting
all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even
from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;
and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it
as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private
exercises of God's worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts,
and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably
dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for
the duties of that day.
Question 118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially
directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
Answer: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to
governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only
to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that
are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them
by employments of their own.
Question 119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions
of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing
of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and
doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words,
and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.
Question 120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment,
the more to enforce it?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce
it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for
our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six
days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God's challenging a special
propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:
from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing
which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for
his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our
sanctifying it;Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed
Question 121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth
Answer: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,
partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby
helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep
all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance
of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short
abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget
it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restrains
our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it comes but once
in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take
off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify
it;and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory,
and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.
Question 122: What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our
duty to man?
Answer: The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man is,
to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others: What we would have
them to do to us.
Question 123: Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer: The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that
thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.
Question 124: Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
Answer: By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only
natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such
as, by God's ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family,
church, or commonwealth.
Question 125: Why are superiors styled father and mother?
Answer: Superiors are styled father and mother, both to teach them in all
duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and
tenderness to them, according to their several relations; and to work inferiors
to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to
their superiors, as to their parents.
Question 126: What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
Answer: The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of
those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors,
superiors, or equals.
Question 127: What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors?
Answer: The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence
in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation
of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands
and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense
and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several
ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and
covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their
Question 128: What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
Answer: The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of
the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion
against, their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and
corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage,
as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.
Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
Answer: It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive
from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless
their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing,
commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving,
and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things
necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage,
to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority
which God has put upon them.
Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?
Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required
of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit,
or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors
to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil;
dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good;
correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation,
and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves,
or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss
Question 131: What are the duties of equals?
Answer: The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each
other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each
other's gifts and advancement, as their own.
Question 132: What are the sins of equals?
Answer: The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required,
the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement
of prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.
Question 133: What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the
more to enforce it?
Answer: The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That
thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee, is
an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve
for God's glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.
Question 134: Which is the sixth commandment?
Answer: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.
Question 135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies,
and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting
all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions,
temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life
of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the
hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat,
drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love,
compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous
speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient
bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting
and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.
Question 136: What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away
the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful
war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and
necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire
of revenge;all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of
meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling,
striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the
life of any.
Question 137: Which is the seventh commandment?
Answer: The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Question 138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in
body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it
in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;
temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those
that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent
labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting
Question 139: What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect
of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy,
and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and
affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;
wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting
of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating,
keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life,
undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same
time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste
company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all
other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.
Question 140: Which is the eighth commandment?
Answer: The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.
Question 141: What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness,
and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to
everyone his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right
owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and
the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections
concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use,
and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation
of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence
in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary lawsuits and suretyship, or other
like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure,
preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as
Question 142: What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect
of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man_stealing, and receiving
anything that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures,
removing land marks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man
and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery,
vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depopulations; engrossing commodities
to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful
ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor: What belongs to him, or
of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly
goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping,
and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness,
prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice
our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort
of that estate which God has given us.
Question 143: Which is the ninth commandment?
Answer: The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against
Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving
and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor,
as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart,
sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the
truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things: Whatsoever;
a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in
their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely
acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready
receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report,
concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love
and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requires; keeping
of lawful promises; studying and practicing of: Whatsoever things are true,
honest, lovely, and of good report.
Question 145: What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing
the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially
in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses,
wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing
the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding
the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according
to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence
in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calls for either a
reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably,
or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in
doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;speaking
untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, tale bearing, whispering,
scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing
intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking
or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the
gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults;hiding, excusing, or
extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession;unnecessary discovering
of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports,
and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving
at the deserved credit of any, endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing
in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach
of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing,
or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering: What we can in others, such
things as procure an ill name.
Question 146: Which is the tenth commandment?
Answer: The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house,
thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant,
nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
Question 147: What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment
with our own condition, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward
our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him,
tend unto, and further all that good which is his.
Question 148: What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment
with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor, together
with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.
Question 149: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
Answer: No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this
life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but does daily break them
in thought, word, and deed.
Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous
in themselves, and in the sight of God?
Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but
some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more
heinous in the sight of God than others.
Question 151: What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous
Answer: Sins receive their aggravations, From the persons offending: if
they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession,
gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be
followed by others. From the parties offended: if immediately against God,
his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit,
his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such
as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints,
particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common
good of all or many. From the nature and quality of the offense: if it be
against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain
in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in
words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against
means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public
or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our
prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or
men: if done deliberately, wilfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly,
maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing
after repentance. From circumstances of time and place: if on the Lord's
day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these,
or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or
in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.
Question 152: What does every sin deserve at the hands of God?
Answer: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness,
and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserves his wrath and
curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated
but by the blood of Christ.
Question 153: What does God require of us, that we may escape his wrath
and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
Answer: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason
of the transgression of the law, he requires of us repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward
means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.
Question 154: What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates
to us the benefits of his mediation?
Answer: The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his
church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially
the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect
for their salvation.
Question 155: How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
Answer: The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching
of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling
sinners; of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ;
of conforming them to his image, and subduing them to his will; of strengthening
them against temptations and corruptions; of building them up in grace,
and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto
Question 156: Is the Word of God to be read by all?
Answer: Although all are not to be permitted to read the Word publicly to
the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by
themselves, and with their families: to which end, the holy Scriptures are
to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.
Question 157: How is the Word of God to be read?
Answer: The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem
of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and
that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe,
and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention
to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self_denial,
Question 158: By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
Answer: The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently
gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.
Question 159: How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are
Answer: They that are called to labor in the ministry of the Word, are to
preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly,
not in the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit,
and of power; faithfully, making known the whole counsel of God; wisely,
applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; zealously,
with fervent love to God and the souls of his people; sincerely, aiming
at his glory, and their conversion, edification, and salvation.
Question 160: What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
Answer: It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend
upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine: What they hear
by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness
of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their
hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.
Question 161: How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
Answer: The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power
in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him
by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost,
and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted.
Question 162: What is a sacrament?
Answer: A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church,
to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of
grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith,
and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish
their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from
those that are without.
Question 163: What are the parts of a sacrament?
Answer: The parts of a sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible
sign, used according to Christ's own appointment; the other an inward and
spiritual grace thereby signified.
Question 164: How many sacraments has Christ instituted in his church
under the New Testament?
Answer: Under the New Testament Christ has instituted in his church only
two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Question 165: What is Baptism?
Answer: Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ has
ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost, to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself,
of remission of sins by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit; of adoption,
and resurrection unto everlasting life; and whereby the parties baptized
are solemnly admitted into the visible church, and enter into an open and
professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord's.
Question 166: Unto whom is Baptism to be administered?
Answer: Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible
church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess
their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, but infants descending from
parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and
obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.
Question 167: How is our Baptism to be improved by us?
Answer: The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is
to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation,
and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious
and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which
Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby,
and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement,
our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and
our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all
other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from
the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the
mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by
faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those
that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly
love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.
Question 168: What is the Lord's Supper?
Answer: The Lord's Supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein,
by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus
Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed
upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace;
have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their
thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship
each with other, as members of the same mystical body.
Question 169: How has Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and
received in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper?
Answer: Christ has appointed the ministers of his Word, in the administration
of this sacrament of the Lord's Supper, to set apart the bread and wine
from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to
take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the
communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread,
and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was
broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.
Question 170: How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord's Supper
feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
Answer: As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present
in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, and yet are
spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really
than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily
communicate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, do therein feed upon
the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a
spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and
apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.
Question 171: How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper
to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
Answer: They that receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper are, before
they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves of their
being in Christ, of their sins and wants; of the truth and measure of their
knowledge, faith, repentance; love to God and the brethren, charity to all
men, forgiving those that have done them wrong; of their desires after Christ,
and of their new obedience; and by renewing the exercise of these graces,
by serious meditation, and fervent prayer.
Question 172: May one who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due
preparation, come to the Lord's Supper?
Answer: One who doubts of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation
to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, may have true interest in Christ,
though he be not yet assured thereof; and in God's account has it, if he
be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly
desires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity: in which case
(because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief
even of weak and doubting Christians) he is to bewail his unbelief, and
labor to have his doubts resolved; and, so doing, he may and ought to come
to the Lord's Supper, that he may be further strengthened.
Question 173: May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the
Lord's Supper, be kept from it?
Answer: Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding
their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord's Supper,
may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ
has left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their
Question 174: What is required of them that receive the sacrament of
the Lord's Supper in the time of the administration of it?
Answer: It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord's
Supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy
reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance, diligently
observe the sacramental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord's
body, and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby
stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces; in judging themselves,
and sorrowing for sin; in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ,
feeding on him by faith, receiving of his fulness, trusting in his merits,
rejoicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace; in renewing of their
covenant with God, and love to all the saints.
Question 175: What is the duty of Christians, after they have received
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper?
Answer: The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of
the Lord's Supper, is seriously to consider: How they have behaved themselves
therein, and with: What success; if they find quickening and comfort, to
bless God for it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, fulfil
their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance:
but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation
to, and carriage at, the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve themselves
to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in
due time: but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled,
and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.
Question 176: Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Answer: The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper agree, in that the
author of both is God; the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits;
both are seals of the same covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of
the gospel, and by none other; and to be continued in the church of Christ
until his second coming.
Question 177: Wherein do the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Answer: The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ, in that
Baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal
of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ, and that even to infants;
whereas the Lord's Supper is to be administered often, in the elements of
bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment
to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and growth in him, and that
only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.
Question 178: What is prayer?
Answer: Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of
Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful
acknowledgment of his mercies.
Question 179: Are we to pray unto God only?
Answer: God only being able to search the hearts, hear the requests, pardon
the sins, and fulfil the desires of all; and only to be believed in, and
worshiped with religious worship; prayer, which is a special part thereof,
is to be made by all to him alone, and to none other.
Question 180: What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
Answer: To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and
in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning
of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness,
strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.
Question 181: Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
Answer: The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof,
being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without
a mediator; and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit
for, that glorious work but Christ alone, we are to pray in no other name
but his only.
Question 182: How does the Spirit help us to pray?
Answer: We not knowing: What to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helps our
infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and: What, and:
How prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although
not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions,
affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of
Question 183: For whom are we to pray?
Answer: We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; for magistrates,
and ministers; for ourselves, our brethren, yea, our enemies; and for all
sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead,
nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.
Question 184: For what things are we to pray?
Answer: We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare
of the church, our own or others good; but not for anything that is unlawful.
Question 185: How are we to pray.?
Answer: We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God,
and deep sense of our own unworthiness, necessities, and sins; with penitent,
thankful, and enlarged hearts; with understanding, faith, sincerity, fervency,
love, and perseverance, waiting upon him, with humble submission to his
Question 186: What rule has God given for our direction in the duty of
Answer: The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer;
but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior
Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord's Prayer.
Question 187: How is the Lord's Prayer to be used?
Answer: The Lord's Prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according
to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer,
so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces
necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.
Question 188: Of how many parts does the Lord's Prayer consist?
Answer: The Lord's Prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions,
and a conclusion.
Question 189: What does the preface of the Lord's Prayer teach us?
Answer: The preface of the Lord's Prayer (contained in these words, Our
Father which art in heaven), teaches us, when we pray, to draw near to God
with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein; with
reverence, and all other childlike dispositions, heavenly affections, and
due apprehensions of his sovereign power, majesty, and gracious condescension:
as also, to pray with and for others.
Question 190: What do we pray for in the first petition?
Answer: In the first petition (which is, Hallowed be thy name), acknowledging
the utter inability and indisposition that is in ourselves and all men to
honor God aright, we pray, that God would by his grace enable and incline
us and others to know, to acknowledge, and highly to esteem him, his titles,
attributes, ordinances, Word, works, and: Whatsoever he is pleased to make
himself known by; and to glorify him in thought, word, and deed: that he
would prevent and remove atheism, ignorance, idolatry, profaneness, and:
Whatsoever is dishonorable to him; and, by his overruling providence, direct
and dispose of all things to his own glory.
Question 191: What do we pray for in the second petition.?
Answer: In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging
ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and
Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the
gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fulness of
the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and
ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil
magistrate: that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made
effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the
confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted:
that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second
coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased
so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce
to these ends.
Question 192: What do we pray for in the third petition?
Answer: In the third petition (which is, Thy will be done in earth, as it
is in heaven), acknowledging, that by nature we and all men are not only
utterly unable and unwilling to know and do the will of God, but prone to
rebel against his Word, to repine and murmur against his providence, and
wholly inclined to do the will of the flesh, and of the devil: we pray,
that God would by his Spirit take away from ourselves and others all blindness,
weakness, indisposedness, and perverseness of heart; and by his grace make
us able and willing to know, do, and submit to his will in all things, with
the like humility, cheerfulness, faithfulness, diligence, zeal, sincerity,
and constancy, as the angels do in heaven.
Question 193: What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
Answer: In the fourth petition (which is, Give us this day our daily bread),
acknowledging, that in Adam, and by our own sin, we have forfeited our right
to all the outward blessings of this life, and deserve to be wholly deprived
of them by God, and to have them cursed to us in the use of them; and that
neither they of themselves are able to sustain us, nor we to merit, or by
our own industry to procure them; but prone to desire, get, and use them
unlawfully: we pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting
upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may,
of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a
competent portion of them; and have the same continued and blessed unto
us in our holy and comfortable use of them, and contentment in them; and
be kept from all things that are contrary to our temporal support and comfort.
Question 194: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
Answer: In the fifth petition (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors), acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original
and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that
neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for
that debt: we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace
would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and
applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin, accept
us in his Beloved; continue his favor and grace to us, pardon our daily
failings, and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more
assurance of forgiveness; which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and
encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we
from the heart forgive others their offenses.
Question 195: What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
Answer: In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil), acknowledging, that the most wise, righteous,
and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that
we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations;
that Satan, the world, and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside,
and ensnare us; and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason
of our corruption, weakness, and want of watchfulness, are not only subject
to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations, but also
of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them,
and to improve them; and worthy to be left under the power of them: we pray,
that God would so overrule the world and all in it, subdue the flesh, and
restrain Satan, order all things, bestow and bless all means of grace, and
quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people
may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin; or, if tempted,
that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation: or when
fallen, raised again and recovered out of it, and have a sanctified use and improvement
thereof: that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected, Satan trodden under our
feet, and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.
Question 196: What does the conclusion of the Lord's Prayer teach us?
Answer: The conclusion of the Lord's Prayer (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the
power, and the glory, forever. Amen.), teaches us to enforce our petitions with
arguments, which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other
creature, but from God; and with our prayers to join praises, ascribing to God alone
eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency; in regard whereof, as he is
able and willing to help us, so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he
would, and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfil our requests. And, to testify this our
desire and assurance, we say, Amen.
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