Historic DocumentsThe Heidelberg Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism
The Catechism Method of Instruction in the Christian Religion As the Same is Taught in the Reformed Churches and Schools
What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (Romans 14:7,8) am not my own, (1 Corinthians 6:19) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (1 Corinthians 3:23; Titus 2:14) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2,12) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:34-36) and so preserves me (John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 1:5) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (Matthew 10:29-31; Luke 21:18) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (Romans 8:28) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14; Romans 8:16) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:3)
How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
Three; (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 24:46-48; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:3-7) the first, how great my sins and miseries are; (John 9:41; John 15:22) the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; (John 17:3; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43) the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance. (Ephesians 5:8-11; 1 Peter 2:9,10; Romans 6:1,2,12,13)
Whence knowest thou thy misery?
Out of the law of God. (Romans 3:20)
What does the law of God require of us?
Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27)
Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?
In no wise; (Romans 3:10,20,23; 1 John 1:8,10) for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbour.(Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:3; Titus 3:3; Genesis 6:5; Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:23)
Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
By no means; but God created man good, (Genesis 1:31) and after his own image, (Genesis 1:26,27) in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. (Colossians 3:9,10; Ephesians 4:23,24; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?
From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,Adam and Eve, in Paradise; (2 Corinthians gen.3; Romans 5:12,18,19) hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. (Psalms 51:5; Genesis 5:3)
Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
Indeed we are; (Genesis 8:21; John 3:6; Genesis 6:5; Job 14:4; Job 15:14,16,36; Isaiah 53:6) except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. (John 3:3,5; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 3:5)
Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his law, that which he cannot perform?
Not at all; (Ephesians 4:24; Ecclesiastes 7:29) for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3:4) and his own wilful disobedience, (Genesis 3:6; Romans 5:12; Genesis 3:13; 1 Timothy 2:13,14) deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.
Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
By no means; but is terribly displeased (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12) with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, (Psalms 5:5; Psalms 50:21; Nahum 1:2; 20:5; 34:7; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 5:6; Hebrews 9:27) as he has declared, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10)
Is not God then also merciful?
God is indeed merciful, ( 34:6,7; 20:6) but also just; (Psalms 7:9; 20:5; 23:7; 34:7; Psalms 5:5,6; Nahum 1:2,3) therefore his justice requires, that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment of body and soul.
Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favour?
God will have his justice satisfied: (Genesis 2:17; 20:5; 23:7; 18:4; Matthew 5:26; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Luke 16:2) and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another. (Romans 8:3,4)
Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?
By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt. (Job 9:2,3; Job 15:15,16; Job 4:18,19; Psalms 130:3; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 18:25; Matthew 16:26)
Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?
None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; ( 18:4; Genesis 3:17; Hebrews 2:14-17) and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it. (Nahum 1:6; Psalms 130:3)
What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?
For one who is very man, and perfectly (1 Corinthians 15:21; Jeremiah 33:16; Isaiah 53:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21) righteous; (Hebrews 7:16,26) and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God. (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 9:5; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Jeremiah 23:6; Luke 11:22)
Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?
Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; ( 18:4,20; Romans 5:12,15,18; 1 Corinthians 15:21; Hebrews 2:14-16; 1 Peter 3:18; Isaiah 53:3-5,10,11) and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. (Hebrews 7:26,27; Psalms 49:7,8; 1 Peter 3:18)
Why must he in one person be also very God?
That he might, by the power of his Godhead (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 63:3) sustain in his human nature, (Isaiah 53:4,11) the burden of God’s wrath; (Deuteronomy 4:24; Nahum 1:6; Psalms 130:3) and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life. (Isaiah 53:5,11; Acts 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; John 3:16; Acts 20:28; John 1:4)
Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, (1 John 5:20; Rom.9:5; Rom.8:3; Gal.4:4; Isa.9:6; Jer.23:6; Mal.3:1) and a real (Luke 1:42; Luke 2:6,7; Rom.1:3; Rom.9:5; Philip.2:7; Heb.2:14,16,17; Heb.4:15) righteous man? (Isa.53:9,11; Jer.23:5; Luke 1:35; John 8:46; Heb.4:15; Heb.7:26; 1 Pet.1:19; 1 Pet.2:22; 1 Pet.3:18)
Our Lord Jesus Christ: (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:9; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 2:11) “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Whence knowest thou this?
From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; (Genesis 3:15) and afterwards published by the patriarchs (Genesis 22:18; Genesis 12:3; Genesis 49:10,11) and prophets, (Genesis isa.53; Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 49:5,6,22,23; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Jeremiah 31:32,33; Jeremiah 32:39-41; Micah 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Romans 1:2; Hebrews 1:1; Acts 3:22-24; Acts 10:43; John 5:46) and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; (Hebrews 10:1,7; Colossians 2:7; John 5:46) and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. (Romans 10:4; Galatians 4:4,5; Galatians 3:24; Colossians 2:17)
Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?
No; (Matthew 7:14; Matthew 22:14) only those who are ingrafted into him, and, receive all his benefits, by a true faith. (Mark 16:16; John 1:12; John 3:16,18,36; Isaiah 53:11; Psalms 2:12; Romans 11:17,19,20; Romans 3:22; Hebrews 4:2,3; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 10:39; Hebrews 11:6)
What is true faith?
True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, (James 2:19) but also an assured confidence, (2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:7-9; Ephesians 3:12; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 11:1,7-10; Hebrews 4:16; James 1:6; Matthew 16:17; Philippians 1:19; Romans 4:16-21; Romans 5:1; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:10,17; Romans 3:24.25) which the Holy Ghost (Galatians 5:22; Matthew 16:17; 2 Corinthians 4:13; John 6:29; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:19; Acts 16:14) works by the gospel in my heart; (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Acts 10:44; Acts 16:14) that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:10,38; Galatians 2:16) are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. (Ephesians 2:8; Romans 3:24; Romans 5:19; Luke 1:77,78)
What is then necessary for a christian to believe?
All things promised us in the gospel, (John 20:31; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:15) which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith briefly teach us.
What are these articles?
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell:5. The third day he rose again from the dead:6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:9. I believe a holy catholic church: the communion of saints:10. The forgiveness of sins:11. The resurrection of the body:12. And the life everlasting.
How are these articles divided?
Into three parts; the first is of God the Father, and our creation; the second of God the Son, and our redemption; the third of God the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification.
Since there is but one only divine essence, (Deut.6:4; Eph.4:6; Isa.44:6; Isa.45:5; 1 Cor.8:4,6) why speakest thou of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
Because God has so revealed himself in his word, (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Genesis 1:2,3; Psalms 33:6; Isaiah 48:16; Psalms 110:1; Matthew 3:16,17; Matthew 28:19; 1 John 5:7; Isaiah 6:1,3; John 14:26; John 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18; Titus 3:5,6) that these three distinct persons are the one only true and eternal God.
What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?
That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Titus who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; Titus (gen.1,2; Job 33:4; Job 38,39; Psalms 33:6; Acts 4:24; Acts 14:15; Isaiah 45:7) who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) (Matthew 10:29; Hebrews 1:3; Psalms 104:27-30; Psalms 115:3; Matthew 10:29; Ephesians 1:11) is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5-7; Ephesians 1:5) on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body (Psalms 55:23; Matthew 6:25,26; Luke 12:22) and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; (Romans 8:28) for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, (Romans 10:12; Luke 12:22; Romans 8:23; Isaiah 46:4; Romans 10:12) and willing, being a faithful Father. (Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 7:9-11)
What dost thou mean by the providence of God?
The almighty and everywhere present power of God; (Acts 17:25-28; Jeremiah 23:23,24; Isaiah 29:15,16; 8:12) whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs (Hebrews 1:3) heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, (Jeremiah 5:24; Acts 14:17) fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, (John 9:3) riches and poverty, (Proverbs 22:2) yea, and all things come, not by chance, but be his fatherly hand. (Matthew 10:20; Proverbs 16:33)
What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?
That we may be patient in adversity; (Romans 5:3; James 1:3; Psalms 39:9; Job 1:21,22) thankful in prosperity; (Deuteronomy 8:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:18) and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, (Psalms 55:22; Romans 5:4) that nothing shall separate us from his love; (Romans 8:38,39) since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move. (Job 1:12; Job 2:6; Acts 17:25,28; Proverbs 21:1)
Why is the Son of God called “Jesus”, that is a Saviour?
Because he saveth us, and delivereth us from our sins; (Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 7:24,25) and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find salvation in any other. (Acts 4:12; John 15:4,5; 1 Timothy 2:5; Isaiah 43:11; 1 John 5:11)
Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?
They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour; (1 Corinthians 1:13,30,31; Galatians 5:4) for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Saviour, must find all things in him necessary to their salvation. (Hebrews 12:2; Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 1:19,20; Colossians 2:10; 1 John 1:7,16)
Why is he called “Christ”, that is anointed?
Because he is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost, (Hebrews 1:9; Psalms 45:8; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37; Isaiah 55:4) who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; (John 1:18; John 15:15) and to be our only High Priest, (Psalms 110:4) who by the one sacrifice of his body, has redeemed us, (Hebrews 10:12,14; Hebrews 9:12,14,28) and makes continual intercession with the Father for us; (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1; Romans 5:9,10) and also to be our eternal King, who governs us by his word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in that salvation, he has purchased for us. (Psalms 2:6; 9:9; Matthew 21:5; Luke 1:33; Matthew 28:18; John 10:28; Revelation 12:10,11)
But why art thou called a Christian? (Acts 11:26)
Because I am a member of Christ by faith, (1 Corinthians 6:15) and thus am partaker of his anointing; (1 John 2:27; Acts 2:17) that so I may confess his name, (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10; Mark 8:38) and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: (Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 5:8,10; Revelation 1:6) and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life (1 Peter 2:11; Romans 6:12,13; Galatians 5:16,17; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Timothy 1:18,19) and afterwards I reign with him eternally, over all creatures. (2 Timothy 2:12; Matthew 24:34)
Why is Christ called the “only begotten Son” of God, since we are also the children of God?
Because Christ alone is the eternal and natural Son of God; (John 1:1-3,14,18; Hebrews 1:1,2; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9; Romans 8:32) but we are children adopted of God, by grace, for his sake. (Romans 8:15-17; John 1:12; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:5,6)
Wherefore callest thou him “our Lord”?
Because he hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with silver or gold, but with his precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus has made us his own property. (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Timothy 2:6; John 20:28)
What is the meaning of these words “He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary”?
That God’s eternal Son, who is, and continues (Romans 1:4; Romans 9:5) true and eternal God, (1 John 5:20; John 1:1; John 17:3; Romans 1:3; Colossians 1:15) took upon him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, (Galatians 4:4; Luke 1:31,42,43) by the operation of the Holy Ghost; (John 1:14; Matthew 1:18,20; Luke 1:32,35) that he might also be the true seed of David, (Psalms 132:11; Romans 1:3; 7:12; Acts 2:30)like unto his brethren in all things, (Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14,17) sin excepted. (Hebrews 4:15)
What profit dost thou receive by Christ’s holy conception and nativity?
That he is our Mediator; (Hebrews 7:26,27; Hebrews 2:17) and with His innocence and perfect holiness, covers in the sight of God, my sins, wherein I was conceived and brought forth. (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30,31; Romans 8:3,4; Isaiah 53:11; Psalms 32:1)
What dost thou understand by the words, “He suffered”?
That he, all the time that he lived on earth, but especially at the end of his life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind: (Isaiah 53:4; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:6) that so by his passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, (Isaiah 53:10,12; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 10:14) he might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, (Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18,19) and obtain for us the favour of God, righteousness and eternal life. (Romans 3:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16; John 6:51; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:19)
Why did he suffer “under Pontius Pilate, as judge”?
That he, being innocent, and yet condemned by a temporal judge, (John 18:38; Matthew 27:24; Acts 4:27,28; Luke 23:14,15; John 19:4) might thereby free us from the severe judgement of God to which we were exposed. (Psalms 69:4; Isaiah 53:4,5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13)
Is there anything more in his being “crucified”, than if he had died some other death?
Yes there is; for thereby I am assured, that he took on him the curse which lay upon me; (Galatians 3:13) for the death of the cross was accursed of God. (Deuteronomy 21:23)
Why was it necessary for Christ to humble himself even “unto death”?
Because with respect to the justice and truth of God, (Genesis 2:17) satisfaction for our sins could be made no otherwise, than by the death of the Son of God. (Romans 8:3,4; Hebrews 2:9,14,15)
Since then Christ died for us, why must we also die?
Our death is not a satisfaction for our sins, (Mark 8:37; Psalms 49:7) but only an abolishing of sin, and a passage into eternal life. (John 5:24; Philippians 1:23; Romans 7:24)
What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?
That by virtue thereof, our old man is crucified, dead and buried with him; (Romans 6:6) that so the corrupt inclinations of the flesh may no more reign in us; (Romans 6:6-8,11,12; Colossians 2:12) but that we may offer ourselves unto him a sacrifice of thanksgiving. (Romans 12:1)
Why is there added, “he descended into hell”?
That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, (Psalms 18:5,6; Psalms 116:3; Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 5:7; Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 27:46) but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell. (Isaiah 53:5)
What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?
First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; (1 Corinthians 15:16; Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 1:3) secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; (Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:1,3; Ephesians 2:5,6) and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:12,20,21; Romans 8:11)
How dost thou understand these words, “he ascended into heaven”?
That Christ, in sight of his disciples, was taken up from earth into heaven; (Acts 1:9; Matthew 26:64; Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51) and that he continues there for our interest, (Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 4:10; Colossians 3:1) until he comes again to judge the quick and the dead. (Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30)
Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as he has promised? (Matt.28:20)
Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his human nature, he is no more on earth; (Hebrews 8:4; Matthew 26:11; John 16:28; John 17:11; Acts 3:21) but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is at no time absent from us. (John 14:17-19; John 16:13; Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 4:8,12)
But if his human nature is not present, wherever his Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?
Not as all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, (Acts 7:49; Jeremiah 23:24) it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature he assumed, (Colossians 2:9; John 3:13; John 11:15; Matthew 28:6) and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it.
Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension into heaven?
First, that he is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; (1 John 2:1; Romans 8:34) secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members; (John 14:2; John 17:24; John 20:17; Ephesians 2:6) thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit as an earnest, (John 14:16,7; Acts 2:1-4,33; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5) by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.” (Colossians 3:1; Philippians 3:14)
Why is it added, “and sitteth at the right hand of God”?
Because Christ is ascended into heaven for this end, that he might appear as head of his church, (Ephesians 1:20,21,23; Colossians 1:18) by whom the Father governs all things. (Matthew 28:18; John 5:22)
What profit is this glory of Christ, our head, unto us?
First, that by his Holy Spirit he pours out heavenly graces upon us his members; (Acts 2:33; Ephesians 4:8) and then that by his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies. (Psalms 2:9; Psalms 110:1,2; John 10:28; Ephesians 4:8)
What comfort is it to thee that “Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead”?
That in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head I look for the very same person, who before offered himself for my sake, to the tribunal of God, and has removed all curse from me, to come as judge from heaven: (Luke 21:28; Romans 8:23; Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) who shall cast all his and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, (2 Thessalonians 1:6,8-10; Matthew 25:41-43) but shall translate me with all his chosen ones to himself, into heavenly joys and glory. (Matthew 25:34; 2 Thessalonians 1:7)
What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?
First, that he is true and coeternal God with the Father and the Son; (1 John 5:7; Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 48:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Acts 5:3,4) secondly, that he is also given me, (Galatians 4:6; Matthew 28:19,20; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22; Ephesians 1:13) to make me by a true faith, partaker of Christ and all his benefits, (Galatians 3:14; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 6:17) that he may comfort me (Acts 9:31; John 15:26) and abide with me for ever. (John 14:16; 1 Peter 4:14)
What believest thou concerning the “holy catholic church” of Christ?
That the Son of God (Ephesians 5:26; John 10:11; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-13) from the beginning to the end of the world, (Psalms 71:17,18; Isaiah 59:21; 1 Corinthians 11:26) gathers, defends, and preserves (Matthew 16:18; John 10:28-30; Psalms 129:1-5) to himself by his Spirit and word, (Isaiah 59:21; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:14-17; Ephesians 5:26) out of the whole human race, (Genesis 26:4; Revelation 5:9) a church chosen to everlasting life, (Romans 8:29,30; Ephesians 1:10-13) agreeing in true faith; (Acts 2:46; Ephesians 4:3-6) and that I am and forever shall remain, (Psalms 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8,9; John 10:28; 1 John 2:19; 1 Peter 1:5) a living member thereof. (1 John 3:14,19-21; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Romans 8:10)
What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?
First, that all and every one, who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of him, and of all his riches and gifts; (1 John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13; 1 Corinthians 6:17) secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members. (1 Corinthians 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:1,5; Philippians 2:4-8)
What believest thou concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?
That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long; (1 John 2:2; 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:19,21) but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ, (Jeremiah 31:34; Psalms 103:3,4; Psalms 103:10,12; Micah 7:19,23-25) that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God. (Romans 8:1-4; John 3:18; John 5:24)
What comfort does the “resurrection of the body” afford thee?
That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its head; (Luke 16:22; Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:21,23) but also, that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:53,54; Job 19:25,26; 1 John 3:2; Philippians 3:21)
What comfort takest thou from the article of “life everlasting”?
That since I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, (2 Corinthians 5:2,3) after this life, I shall inherit perfect salvation, which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man” to conceive, and that to praise God therein for ever. (1 Corinthians 2:9; John 17:3)
How are thou righteous before God?
Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; (Romans 3:21-25,28; Romans 5:1,2; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9) so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, (Romans 3:9) and am still inclined to all evil; (Romans 7:23) notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine, (Titus 3:5; Deuteronomy 9:6; 36:22) but only of mere grace, (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8) grants and imputes to me, (Romans 4:4,5; 2 Corinthians 5:19) the perfect satisfaction, (1 John 2:2) righteousness and holiness of Christ; (1 John 2:1) even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me; (2 Corinthians 5:21) inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart. (Romans 3:22; John 3:18)
Why sayest thou, that thou art righteous by faith only?
Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God; (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:2) and that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only. (1 John 5:10)
But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?
Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, (Galatians 3:10; Deuteronomy 27:26) and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin. (Isaiah 64:6)
What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?
This reward is not of merit, but of grace. (Luke 17:10)
But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?
By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness. (Matthew 7:18; John 15:5)
Since then we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, whence does this faith proceed?
From the Holy Ghost, (Ephesians 2:8,9; Ephesians 6:23; John 3:5; Philippians 1:29) who works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and confirms it by the use of the sacraments. (Matthew 28:19,20; 1 Peter 1:22,23)
What are the sacraments?
The sacraments are holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof, he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz., that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross. (Genesis 17:11; Romans 4:11; Deuteronomy 30:6; Leviticus 6:25; Hebrews 9:7-9,24; 20:12; Isaiah 6:6,7; Isaiah 54:9)
Are both word and sacraments, then, ordained and appointed for this end, that they may direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the only ground of our salvation? (Rom.6:3; Gal.3:27)
Yes, indeed: for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the whole of our salvation depends upon that one sacrifice of Christ which he offered for us on the cross.
How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the new covenant, or testament?
Two: namely, holy baptism, and the holy supper.
How art thou admonished and assured by holy baptism, that the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross is of real advantage to thee?
Thus: That Christ appointed this external washing with water, (Matthew 28:19) adding thereto this promise, (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Matthew 3:11; Mark 16:16; John 1:33; Romans 6:3,4) that I am as certainly washed by his blood and Spirit from all the pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, (1 Peter 3:21; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3) as I am washed externally with water, by which the filthiness of the body is commonly washed away.
What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?
It is to receive of God the remission of sins, freely, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which he shed for us by his sacrifice upon the cross; (Hebrews 12:24; 1 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:5; Revelation 7:14; 13:1; 36:25) and also to be renewed by the Holy Ghost, and sanctified to be members of Christ, that so we may more and more die unto sin, and lead holy and unblamable lives. (John 1:33; John 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12)
Where has Christ promised us, that he will as certainly wash us by his blood and Spirit, as we are washed with the water of baptism?
In the institution of baptism, which is thus expressed: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, Matt 28:19. And “he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.”, Mark 16:16. This promise is also repeated, where the scripture calls baptism “the washing of regenerations” and the washing away of sins. Tit 3:5, Acts 22:16. (Titus 3:5; Acts 22:16)
Is then the external baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?
Not at all: (Matthew 3:11; 1 Peter 3:21; Ephesians 5:26,27) for the blood of Jesus Christ only, and the Holy Ghost cleanse us from all sin. (1 John 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:11)
Why then does the Holy Ghost call baptism “the washing of regeneration,” and “the washing away of sins”?
God speaks thus not without great cause, to-wit, not only thereby to teach us, that as the filth of the body is purged away by water, so our sins are removed by the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ; (Revelation 1:5; Revelation 7:14; 1 Corinthians 6:11) but especially that by this divine pledge and sign he may assure us, that we are spiritually cleansed from our sins as really, as we are externally washed with water. (Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:27)
Are infants also to be baptized?
Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; (Genesis 17:7) and since redemption from sin (Matthew 19:14) by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; (Luke 1:15; Psalms 22:10; Isaiah 44:1-3; Acts 2:39) they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers (Acts 10:47) as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, (Genesis 17:14) instead of which baptism is instituted (Colossians 2:11-13) in the new covenant.
How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord’s Supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?
Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 10:16,17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; 1 Corinthians 12:13) first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.
What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?
It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; (John 6:35,40,47-54) but also, besides that, to become more and more united to his sacred body, (John 6:55,56) by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven (Colossians 3:1; Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 11:26) and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone” (Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 5:29,30,32; 1 Corinthians 6:15,17,19; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13; John 14:23) and that we live, and are governed forever by one spirit, (John 6:56-58; John 15:1-6; Ephesians 4:15,16) as members of the same body are by one soul.
Where has Christ promised that he will as certainly feed and nourish believers with his body and bleed, as they eat of this broken bread, and drink of this cup?
In the institution of the supper, which is thus expressed: (1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 10:16,17) “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and: said: eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: this cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” 1Cor 11:23-26.This promise is repeated by the holy apostle Paul, where he says “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1Cor 10:16,17.
Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
Not at all: (Matthew 26:29) but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; (Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5) so the bread in the Lord’s supper is not changed into the very body of Christ; (Mark 14:24; 1 Corinthians 10:16,17,26-28) though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, (Genesis 17:10,11,14,19; 12:11,13,27,43,48; 13:9; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4) it is called the body of Christ Jesus.
Why then doth Christ call the bread “his body”, and the cup “his blood”, or “the new covenant in his blood”; and Paul the “communion of body and blood of Christ”?
Christ speaks thus, not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; (John 6:51,55) but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood by the operation of the Holy Ghost as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him; (1 Corinthians 10:16,17) and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.
What difference is there between the Lord’s supper and the popish mass?
The Lord’s supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12,25-28; Hebrews 10:10,12-14; John 19:30; Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:19,20) and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:16) who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1,2; John 20:17) and will there be worshipped by us. (Matthew 6:20,21; John 4:21-24; Luke 24:52; Acts 7:55,56; Colossians 3:1; Philippians 3:20,21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 9:6-10) But the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry. (Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 10:12,14,19-31)
For whom is the Lord’s supper instituted?
For those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, and yet trust that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves. (1 Corinthians 10:19-22; 1 Corinthians 11:28,29)
Are they also to be admitted to this supper, who, by confession and life, declare themselves unbelieving and ungodly?
No; for by this, the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole congregation; (1 Corinthians 11:20,34; Isaiah 1:11-15; Isaiah 66:3; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Psalms 50:16) therefore it is the duty of the christian church, according to the appointment of Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons, by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, till they show amendment of life.
What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?
The preaching of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.
How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?
Thus: when according to the command of Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ’s merits; and on the contrary, when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent, that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal condemnation, so long as they are unconverted: (Matthew 16:18,19; Matthew 18:15-19; John 20:21-23) according to which testimony of the gospel, God will judge them, both in this, and in the life to come.
How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by christian discipline?
Thus: when according to the command of Christ, those, who under the name of christians, maintain doctrines, or practices inconsistent therewith, and will not, after having been often brotherly admonished, renounce their errors and wicked course of life, are complained of to the church, or to those, who are thereunto appointed by the church; and if they despise their admonition, are by them forbidden the use of the sacraments; whereby they are excluded from the christian church, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ; and when they promise and show real amendment, are again received as members of Christ and his church. (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:2-5,11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14,15; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8)
Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?
Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, (Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1,2; 1 Peter 2:5,9,10; 1 Corinthians 6:20) and that he may be praised by us; (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 1:6,7) also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, (2 Peter 1:10; Matthew 7:17; Galatians 5:6,22,23) by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ. (1 Peter 3:1,2; Romans 14:19)
Cannot they then be saved, who, continuing in their wicked and ungrateful lives, are not converted to God?
By no means; for the holy scripture declares that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Ephesians 5:5,6; 1 John 3:14)
Of how many parts does the true conversion of man consist?
Of two parts; of the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man. (Romans 6:1,4-6; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:5-10; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 7:10)
What is the mortification of the old man?
It is a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them. (Romans 8:13; Joel 2:13; Hosea 6:1)
What is the quickening of the new man?
It is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, (Romans 5:1; Romans 14:17; Isaiah 57:15) and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works. (Romans 6:10,11; Galatians 2:20)
But what are good works?
Only those which proceed from a true faith, (Romans 14:23) are performed according to the law of God, (Leviticus 18:4; 15:22; Ephesians 2:10) and to his glory; (1 Corinthians 10:31) and not such as are founded on our imaginations, or the institutions of men. (Deuteronomy 12:32; 20:18,19; Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-9)
What is the law of God?
God spake all these words, Exodus 20:1-17 and Denteronomy 5:6-21, saying: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.1st commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.2nd commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing 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 shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.3rd commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.4th commandment: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, 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 it.5th commandment: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.6th commandment: Thou shalt not kill.7th commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.8th commandment: Thou shalt not steal.9th commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.10th commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
How are these commandments divided?
Into two tables; ( 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 10:3,4) the first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbour. (Matthew 22:37-40)
What does God enjoin in the first commandment?
That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, (1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; 1 Corinthians 10:7,14) sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, (Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:9-12) invocation of saints, or any other creatures; (Matthew 4:10; Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8,9) and learn rightly to know the only true God; (John 17:3) trust in him alone, (Jeremiah 17:5,7) with humility (1 Peter 5:5,6) and patience submit to him; (Hebrews 10:36; Colossians 1:11; Romans 5:3,4; 1 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:14) expect all good things from him only; (Psalms 104:27-30; Isaiah 45:7; James 1:17) love, (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37) fear, (Deuteronomy 6:2; Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Matthew 10:28) and glorify him with my whole heart; (Matthew 4:10; Deuteronomy 10:20,21) so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will. (Matthew 5:29,30; Matthew 10:37; Acts 5:29)
What is idolatry?
Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. (Ephesians 5:5; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Philippians 3:19; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:12; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; John 5:23)
What does God require in the second commandment?
That we in no wise represent God by images, (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Isaiah 40:18-25; Romans 1:23,24; Acts 17:29) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. ( 15:23; Deuteronomy 12:30-32; Matthew 15:9)
Are images then not at all to be made?
God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: (Isaiah 40:25) but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. ( 23:24,25; 34:13,14,17; Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; Deuteronomy 16:21; 18:3,4)
But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?
No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dumb images, (Jeremiah 10:8; Habakkuk 2:18,19) but by the lively preaching of his word. (Romans 10:14,15,17; 2 Peter 1:19; 2 Timothy 3:16,17)
What is required in the third commandment?
That we, not only by cursing (Leviticus 24:11-16) or perjury, (Leviticus 19:12) but also by rash swearing, (Matthew 5:37; James 5:12) must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; (Leviticus 5:1; Proverbs 29:24) and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; (Jeremiah 4:2; Isaiah 45:23) so that he may be rightly confessed (Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32) and worshipped by us, (Psalms 50:15; 1 Timothy 2:8) and be glorified in all our words and works. (Romans 2:24; 1 Timothy 6:1; Colossians 3:16,17)
Is then the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do not endeavour, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such cursing and swearing?
It undoubtedly is, (Proverbs 29:24; Leviticus 5:1) for there is no sin greater or more provoking to God, than the profaning of his name; and therefore he has commanded this sin to be punished with death. (Leviticus 24:15,16)
May we then swear religiously by the name of God?
Yes: either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm a fidelity and truth to the glory of God, and the safety of our neighbour: for such an oath is founded on God’s word, (Deuteronomy 6:13; Deuteronomy 10:20; Isaiah 48:1; Hebrews 6:16) and therefore was justly used by the saints, both in the Old and New Testament. (Genesis 21:24; Genesis 31:53,54; Joshua 9:15,19; 24:22; 3:35; 1:28-30; Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 1:23)
May we also swear by saints or any other creatures?
No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows the heart, that he will bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely; (2 Corinthians 1:23; Romans 9:1) which honour is due to no creature. (Matthew 5:34-36; James 5:12)
What does God require in the fourth commandment?
First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; (Titus 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:14,15; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Corinthians 9:11,13,14; 2 Timothy 2:2) and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, (Psalms 40:10,11; Psalms 68:27; Acts 2:42,46) to hear his word, (1 Timothy 4:13,19; 1 Corinthians 14:29,31) to use the sacraments, (1 Corinthians 11:33) publicly to call upon the Lord, (1 Timothy 2:1-3,8-11; 1 Corinthians 14:16) and contribute to the relief of the poor. (1 Corinthians 16:2) Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath. (Isaiah 66:23)
What does God require in the fifth commandment?
That I show all honour, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience; (Ephesians 5:22; Ephesians 6:1-5; Colossians 3:18,20-24; Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 20:20; 21:17; Romans 13:1-7) and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities, (Proverbs 23:22; Genesis 9:24,25; 1 Peter 2:18) since it pleases God to govern us by their hand. (Ephesians 6:4,9; Colossians 3:19-21; Romans 13:2,3; Matthew 22:21)
What does God require in the sixth commandment?
That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonour, hate, wound, or kill my neighbour, by myself or by another: (Matthew 5:21,22; Matthew 26:52; Genesis 9:6) but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: (Ephesians 4:26; Romans 12:19; Matthew 5:25; Matthew 18:35) also, that I hurt not myself, nor wilfully expose myself to any danger. (Romans 13:14; Colossians 2:23; Matthew 4:7) Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. (Genesis 9:6; 21:14; Matthew 26:52; Romans 13:4)
But this commandment seems only to speak of murder?
In forbidding murder, God teaches us, that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, (Proverbs 14:30; Romans 1:29) hatred, (1 John 2:9,11) anger, (James 1:20; Galatians 5:19,21) and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder. (1 John 3:15)
But is it enough that we do not kill any man in the manner mentioned above?
No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves; (Matthew 7:12; Matthew 22:39; Romans 12:10) to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, (Ephesians 4:2; Galatians 6:1,2; Matthew 5:5,7,9; Romans 12:18; Luke 6:36; 1 Peter 3:8; Colossians 3:12; Romans 12:10,15) and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; ( 23:5) and that we do good, even to our enemies. (Matthew 5:44,45; Romans 12:20,21)
What does the seventh commandment teach us?
That all uncleanness is accursed of God: (Leviticus 18:27,28) and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, (Jude 1:23) and live chastely and temperately, (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5) whether in holy wedlock, or in single life. (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:7-9,27)
Does God forbid in this commandment, only adultery, and such like gross sins?
Since both our body and soul are temples of the holy Ghost, he commands us to preserve them pure and holy: therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, (Ephesians 5:3,4; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20) thoughts, desires, (Matthew 5:27,28) and whatever can entice men thereto. (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Corinthians 15:33)
What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?
God forbids not only those thefts, (1 Corinthians 6:10) and robberies, (1 Corinthians 5:10; Isaiah 33:1) which are punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbour: (Luke 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:6) whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, (Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11; 45:9-12; Deuteronomy 25:13-16) false coins, usury, (Psalms 15:5; Luke 6:35) or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, (1 Corinthians 6:10) all abuse and waste of his gifts. (Proverbs 23:20,21; Proverbs 21:20)
But what does God require in this commandment?
That I promote the advantage of my neighbour in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: (Matthew 7:12) further also that I faithfully labour, so that I may be able to relieve the needy. (Ephesians 4:28)
What is required in the ninth commandment?
That I bear false witness against no man, (Proverbs 19:5,9; Proverbs 21:28) nor falsify any man’s words; (Psalms 15:3; Psalms 50:19,20) that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; (Romans 1:29,30) that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; (Matthew 7:1,2; Luke 6:37) but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, (John 8:44) unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; (Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 13:5) likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; (1 Corinthians 13:6; Ephesians 4:25) also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the horror and good character of my neighbour. (1 Peter 4:8)
What does the tenth commandment require of us?
That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness. (Romans 7:7)
But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?
No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; (1 John 1:8-10; Romans 7:14,15; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 Corinthians 13:9) yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God. (Romans 7:22; Psalms 1:2; James 2:10)
Why will God then have the ten commandments so strictly preached, since no man in this life can keep them?
First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know (Romans 3:20; 1 John 1:9; Psalms 32:5) our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin, and righteousness in Christ; (Matthew 5:6; Romans 7:24,25) likewise, that we constantly endeavour and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:11-14)
Why is prayer necessary for christians?
Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: (Psalms 50:14,15) and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them. (Matthew 7:7,8; Luke 11:9,10,13; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
What are the requisites of that prayer, which is acceptable to God, and which he will hear?
First, that we from the heart pray (John 4:24; Psalms 145:18) to the one true God only, who has manifested himself in his word, (Revelation 19:10; John 4:22-24) for all things, he has commanded us to ask of him; (Romans 8:26; 1 John 5:14; James 1:5) secondly, that we rightly and thoroughly know our need and misery, (2 Chronicles 20:12) that so we may deeply humble ourselves in the presence of his divine majesty; (Psalms 2:11; Psalms 34:19; Isaiah 66:2) thirdly, that we be fully persuaded that he, notwithstanding that we are unworthy of it, will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer, (Romans 10:14; James 1:6) as he has promised us in his word. (John 14:13,14; John 16:23; Daniel 9:17,18; Matthew 7:8; Psalms 27:8)
What has God commanded us to ask of him?
All things necessary for soul and body; (James 1:17; Matthew 6:33) which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer he himself has taught us.
What are the words of that prayer? (Matt.6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4)
Our Father which art in heaven,1Hallowed be thy name.2Thy kingdom come.3Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.4 Give us this day our daily bread.5 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.6 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.Amen.
Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: “Our Father”?
That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things. (Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13)
Why is it here added, “Which art in heaven”?
Lest we should form any earthly conceptions of God’s heavenly majesty, (Jeremiah 23:23,24; Acts 17:24,25,27) and that we may expect from his almighty power all things necessary for soul and body. (Romans 10:12)
Which is the first petition?
“Hallowed be thy name”; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee, (John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:24; Jeremiah 31:33,34; Matthew 16:17; James 1:5; Psalms 119:105) and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, (Psalms 119:137; Luke 1:46,47,68,69; Romans 11:33-36) in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account. (Psalms 71:8; Psalms 115:1)
Which is the second petition?
“Thy kingdom come”; that is, rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; (Matthew 6:33; Psalms 119:5; Psalms 143:10) preserve and increase thy church; (Psalms 51:18; Psalms 122:6-9) destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; (1 John 3:8; Romans 16:20) till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, (Revelation 22:17,20; Romans 8:22,23) wherein thou shalt be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
Which is the third petition?
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, (Matthew 16:24; Titus 2:11,12) and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; (Luke 22:42; Ephesians 5:10; Romans 12:2) that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, (1 Corinthians 7:24) as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven. (Psalms 103:20,21)
Which is the fourth petition?
“Give us this day our daily bread”; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, (Psalms 104:27,28; Psalms 145:15,16; Matthew 6:25,26) that we may thereby acknowledge thee to be the only fountain of all good, (James 1:17; Acts 14:17; Acts 17:27,28) and that neither our care nor industry, nor even thy gifts, can profit us without thy blessing; (1 Corinthians 15:58; Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalms 37:3-5,16; Psalms 127:1,2) and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in thee. (Psalms 55:23; Psalms 62:11; Psalms 146:3; Jeremiah 17:5,7)
Which is the fifth petition?
“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; (Psalms 51:1-7; Psalms 143:2; 1 John 2:1,2; Romans 8:1) even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour. (Matthew 6:14,15)
Which is the sixth petition?
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; (John 15:5; Psalms 103:14) and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12) the world, (John 15:19) and our own flesh, (Romans 7:23; Galatians 5:17) cease not to assault us, do thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, (Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:33) but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory. (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23)
How dost thou conclude thy prayer?
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever”; that is, all these we ask of thee, because thou, being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good; (Romans 10:11,12; 2 Peter 2:9) and all this we pray for, that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified for ever. (John 14:13; Jeremiah 33:8,9; Psalms 115:1)
What does the word “Amen” signify?
“Amen” signifies, it shall truly and certainly be: for my prayer is more assuredly heard of God, than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him. (2 Corinthians 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:13)