Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy
Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare
plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do
sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.
Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
A. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of
God, the only rule of faith and obedience.
Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are the
Word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their
majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of
the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power
to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto
salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the
Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that
they are the very Word of God.
Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning
God, and what duty God requires of man.
WHAT MAN OUGHT TO BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD
Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
A. The Scriptures make known what God is, the persons in the Godhead,
his decrees, and the execution of his decrees.
Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory,
blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable,
incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things,
most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious,
longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.
Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in
substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their
Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three
persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be
begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the
Father and the Son from all eternity.
Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy
Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God
equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes,
works, and worship, as are proper to God only.
Q. 12. What are the decrees of God?
A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of
his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory,
unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially
concerning angels and men.
Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning
angels and men?
A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for
the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath
elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to
eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his
sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby
he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and
foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin
inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.
Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence,
according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable
counsel of his own will.
Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by
the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things
therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.
Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in
knowledge, mighty in power, to execute his commandments, and to praise
his name, yet subject to change.
Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and
female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the
woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and
immortal souls; made them after his own image, in knowledge,
righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their
hearts, and power to fulfill it, and dominion over the creatures; yet
subject to fall.
Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful
preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all
their actions, to his own glory.
Q. 19. What is God’s providence towards the angels?
A. God by his providence permitted some of the angels, willfully and
irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation, limiting and ordering
that, and all their sins, to his own glory; and established the rest in
holiness and happiness; employing them all, at his pleasure, in the
administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.
Q. 20. What was the providence of God toward man in
the estate in which he was created?
A. The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was
created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it,
giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the
creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help;
affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering
into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect,
and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and
forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon
the pain of death.
Q. 21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God
at first created him?
A. Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will,
through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in
eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of
innocency wherein they were created.
Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first
A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for
himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by
ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first
Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of
God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.
Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that
estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the
guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he
was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly
indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually
good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is
commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual
Q. 26. How is original sin conveyed from our first
parents unto their posterity?
A. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity
by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are
conceived and born in sin.
Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God, his
displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond
slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world,
and that which is to come.
Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?
A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness
of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of heart, horror
of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as the curse of God
upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils that befall us in
our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments; together with
Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting
separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous
torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire forever.
Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the
estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and
misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant,
commonly called the covenant of works; but of his mere love and mercy
delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of
salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.
Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and
in him with all the elect as his seed.
Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he
freely provideth and offereth to sinners a mediator, and life and
salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them
in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work
in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them
unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith
and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to
Q. 33. Was the covenant of grace always administered
after one and the same manner?
A. The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same
manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were
different from those under the New.
Q. 34. How was the covenant of grace administered
under the Old Testament?
A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by
promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other
types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come,
and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the
promised messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and
Q. 35. How is the covenant of grace administered
under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited,
the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the
preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of
baptism and the Lord’s supper; in which grace and salvation are held
forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.
Q. 36. Who is the mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the
Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to
be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.
Q. 37. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body,
and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost
in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet
Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the mediator should
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might
sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath
of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his
sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice,
procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them,
conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.
Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the mediator should
A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might
advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make
intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our
infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have
comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.
Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the mediator should
be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and
man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that
the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and
relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.
Q. 41. Why was our mediator called Jesus?
A. Our mediator was called Jesus, because he saveth his people from
Q. 42. Why was our mediator called Christ?
A. Our mediator was called Christ, because he was anointed with the
Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with
all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest,
and king of his church, in the estate both of his humiliation and
Q. 43. How doth Christ execute the office of a
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in his revealing to the
church, in all ages, by his Spirit and word, in divers ways of
administration, the whole will of God, in all things concerning their
edification and salvation.
Q. 44. How doth Christ execute the office of a
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering
himself a sacrifice without spot to God, to be a reconciliation for the
sins of the people; and in making continual intercession for them.
Q. 45. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a
people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by
which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his
elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins,
preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and
sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and
powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and
also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not
Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein
he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form
of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his
death, until his resurrection.
Q. 47. How did Christ humble himself in his
conception and birth?
A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being
from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was
pleased in the fullness of time to become the son of man, made of a
woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with divers circumstances
of more than ordinary abasement.
Q. 48. How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A. Christ humbled himself in his life, by subjecting himself to the
law, which he perfectly fulfilled; and by conflicting with the
indignities of the world, temptations of Satan, and infirmities in his
flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly
accompanying that his low condition.
Q. 49. How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A. Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by
Judas, forsaken by his disciples, scorned and rejected by the world,
condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors; having also
conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt
and borne the weight of God’s wrath, he laid down his life an offering
for sin, enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.
Q. 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after
A. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried,
and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death
till the third day; which hath been otherwise expressed in these words,
He descended into hell.
Q. 51. What was the estate of Christ’s exaltation?
A. The estate of Christ’s exaltation comprehendeth his resurrection,
ascension, sitting at the right hand of the Father, and his coming
again to judge the world.
Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen
corruption in death (of which it was not possible for him to be held),
and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential
properties thereof (but without mortality, and other common infirmities
belonging to this life), really united to his soul, he rose again from
the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to
be the Son of God, to have satisfied divine justice, to have vanquished
death, and him that had power of it, and to be Lord of quick and dead:
all which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for the
justification, quickening in grace, support against enemies, and to
assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.
Q. 53. How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
A. Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his
resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles,
speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and
giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations, forty days
after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head, triumphing
over enemies, visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to
receive gifts for men, to raise up our affections thither, and to
prepare a place for us, where himself is, and shall continue till his
second coming at the end of the world.
Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the
right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that
as God-man he is advanced to the highest favor with God the Father,
with all fullness of joy, glory, and power over all things in heaven
and earth; and doth gather and defend his church, and subdue their
enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces, and
maketh intercession for them.
Q. 55. How doth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature
continually before the Father in heaven, in the merit of his obedience
and sacrifice on earth, declaring his will to have it applied to all
believers; answering all accusations against them, and procuring for
them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings, access with
boldness to the throne of grace, and acceptance of their persons and
Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming
again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in
that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall
come again at the last day in great power, and in the full
manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy
angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.
Q. 57. What benefits hath Christ procured by his
A. Christ, by his mediation, hath procured redemption, with all other
benefits of the covenant of grace.
Q. 58. How do we come to be made partakers of the
benefits which Christ hath procured?
A. We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured, by
the application of them unto us, which is the work especially of God
the Holy Ghost.
Q. 59. Who are made partakers of redemption through
A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to
all those for whom Christ hath purchased it; who are in time by the
Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.
Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and
so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living
according to the light of nature?
A. They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and
believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame
their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that
religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other,
but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.
Q. 61. Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and
live in the church?
A. All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not
saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.
Q. 62. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages
and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their
Q. 63. What are the special privileges of the
A. The visible church hath the privilege of being under God’s special
care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages,
notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the
communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of
grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel,
testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and
excluding none that will come unto him.
Q. 64. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have
been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.
Q. 65. What special benefits do the members of the
invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and
communion with him in grace and glory.
Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with
A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s
grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and
inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done
in their effectual calling.
Q. 67. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace,
whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from
nothing in them moving him thereunto) he doth, in his accepted time,
invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his word and Spirit; savingly
enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their
wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made
willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace
the grace offered and conveyed therein.
Q. 68. Are the elect only effectually called?
A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although
others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the
word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their
willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly
left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.
Q. 69. What is the communion in grace which the
members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church
have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in
their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in
this life, manifests their union with him.
Q. 70. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which
he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons
righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them, or done by
them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of
Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.
Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free
A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper,
real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that
are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a
surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this
surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and
requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also
is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.
Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner
by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin
and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to
recover him out of his lost condition, not only assenteth to the truth
of the promise of the gospel, but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and
his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the
accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God
Q. 73. How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight
A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those
other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are
the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof,
were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an
instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his
Q. 74. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son
Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into
the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of
his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations,
admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made
heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.
Q. 75. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath,
before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time,
through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and
resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the
image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other
saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up,
increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin,
and rise unto newness of life.
Q. 76. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a
sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby, out of the sight and
sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and
odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in
Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins,
as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavoring
constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.
Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification
A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification,
yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the
righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace,
and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned;
in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers
from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that
they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all,
nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.
Q. 78. Whence ariseth the imperfection of
sanctification in believers?
A. The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the
remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual
lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled
with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their
spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in
the sight of God.
Q. 79. May not true believers, by reason of their
imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken
with, fall away from the state of grace?
A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his
decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union
with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and
seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away
from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith
Q. 80. Can true believers be infallibly assured that
they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein
A. Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good
conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith
grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling
them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of
life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the
children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of
grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.
Q. 81. Are all true believers at all times assured
of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be
A. Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith,
true believers may wait long before they obtain it; and, after the
enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through
manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions; yet are they
never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as
keeps them from sinking into utter despair.
Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the
members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church
have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last
perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.
Q. 83. What is the communion in glory with Christ
which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A. The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in
this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of
him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is
fully possessed of; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of
God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of
glory; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of
conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked
the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.
Q. 84. Shall all men die?
A. Death being threatened as the wages of sin, it is appointed unto all
men once to die; for that all have sinned.
Q. 85. Death being the wages of sin, why are not the
righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in
A. The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day,
and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it; so
that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love, to free them
perfectly from sin and misery, and to make them capable of further
communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon.
Q. 86. What is the communion in glory with Christ
which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ which the members of the
invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls
are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest
heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting
for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue
united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at
the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of
the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in
torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as
in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.
Q. 87. What are we to believe concerning the
A. We are to believe that at the last day there shall be a general
resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: when they that
are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame
bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again
united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of
Christ. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue
of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual,
incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body; and the bodies of
the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor by him, as an offended judge.
Q. 88. What shall immediately follow after the
A. Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and
final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man
knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming
of the Lord.
Q. 89. What shall be done to the wicked at the day
A. At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left
hand, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own
consciences, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation
pronounced against them; and thereupon shall be cast out from the
favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his
saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with
unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his
Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the
day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in
the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly
acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of
reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they
shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with
inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and
soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but
especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of
our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And
this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the
invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection
and day of judgment.
HAVING SEEN WHAT THE SCRIPTURES PRINCIPALLY TEACH US TO
BELIEVE CONCERNING GOD, IT FOLLOWS TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY REQUIRE AS THE
DUTY OF MAN
Q. 91. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed
Q. 92. What did God first reveal unto man as the
rule of his obedience?
A. The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence,
and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the
fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.
Q. 93. What is the moral law?
A. The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind,
directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual
conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the
whole man, soul, and body, and in performance of all those duties of
holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising
life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.
Q. 94. Is there any use of the moral law since the
A. Although no man, since the fall, can attain to righteousness and
life by the moral law; yet there is great use thereof, as well common
to all men, as peculiar either to the unregenerate, or the regenerate.
Q. 95. Of what use is the moral law to all men?
A. The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the holy
nature and will of God, and of their duty, binding them to walk
accordingly; to convince them of their disability to keep it, and of
the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives: to humble them
in the sense of their sin and misery, and thereby help them to a
clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and of the perfection of
Q. 96. What particular use is there of the moral law
to unregenerate men?
A. The moral law is of use to unregenerate men, to awaken their
consciences to flee from the wrath to come, and to drive them to
Christ; or, upon the continuance in the estate and way of sin, to leave
them inexcusable, and under the curse thereof.
Q. 97. What special use is there of the moral law to
A. Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be
delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they
are neither justified nor condemned; yet besides the general uses
thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them
how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring
the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to
provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their
greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their
Q. 98. Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A. 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.
Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right
understanding of the Ten Commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the Ten Commandments, these rules are
to be observed:
1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth every one 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.
2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will,
affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works,
3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or
forbidden in several commandments.
4. 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.
5. 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
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Q. 100. What special things are we to consider in
the Ten Commandments?
A. 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.
Q. 101. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A. 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 manifesteth 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 delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom; and
that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep
all his commandments.
Q. 102. What is the sum of the four commandments
which contain our duty to God?
A. 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.
Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before
Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first
A. 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.
Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first
A. 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.
Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words,
before me, in the first commandment?
A. These words, before me, or before my face, in the first
commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh 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.
Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. 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
shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving,
observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and
ordinances as God hath 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.
Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,
counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious
worship not instituted by God himself; 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 hath
Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second
commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. 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 shewing 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
Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. 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
taketh his name in vain.
Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. 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.
Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third
A. 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 any wise 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.
Q. 114. What reasons are annexed to the third
A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The
LORD thy God, and, For the LORD will not hold him guiltless
that taketh 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.
Q. 115. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. 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 it.
Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or
keeping holy to God such set times as he hath 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
Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be
A. 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 be taken 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.
Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath
more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. 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.
Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth
A. 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
Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth
commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. 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 it.
Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the
beginning of the fourth commandment?
A. 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 restraineth our natural liberty in things at
other times lawful; that it cometh 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.
Q. 122. What is the sum of the six commandments
which contain our duty to man?
A. 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 do to us.
Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that
thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother
in the fifth commandment?
A. 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.
Q. 125. Why are superiors styled Father and
A. 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
Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth
A. 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.
Q. 127. What is the honor that inferiors owe to
A. 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 government.
Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their
A. 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
Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their
A. 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 hath
put upon them.
Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
A. 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
Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?
A. 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
others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.
Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?
A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required,
the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the
advancement or prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one
Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth
commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That
thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth 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
Q. 134. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.
Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth
A. 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.
Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth
A. 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.
Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh
A. 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 temptations thereunto.
Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh
A. 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.
Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.
Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth,
faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and
man; rendering to every one 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 suretiship, 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 our own.
Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth
A. 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 landmarks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts
between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion,
usury, bribery, vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depredation;
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 hath given us.
Q. 143. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbour.
Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth
A. 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 requireth; keeping of
lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true,
honest, lovely, and of good report.
Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth
A. 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 calleth 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 or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or
justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting,
talebearing, 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.
Q. 146. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s
house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant,
nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy
Q. 147. What are the duties required in the tenth
A. 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
Q. 148. What are the sins forbidden in the tenth
A. 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
Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the
commandments of God?
A. No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this
life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break
them in thought, word, and deed,
Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God
equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law 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.
Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some
sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. From the nature and quality of the offence: 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, willfully,
presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently,
obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance.
4. 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
Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness,
and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath
and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be
expiated but by the blood of Christ.
Q. 153. What doth God require of us, that we may
escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of
the transgression of the law, he requireth 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
Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ
communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
A. 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.
Q. 155. How is the word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh 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; or
building them up in grace, and establishing their hearts in holiness
and comfort through faith unto salvation.
Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. 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.
Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. 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, and prayer.
Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently
gifted, and also duly approved and called to that office.
Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by
those that are called thereunto?
A. 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.
Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the word
A. 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.
Q. 161. How do the sacraments become effectual means
A. 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.
Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an 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.
Q. 163. What are the parts of a sacrament?
A. 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.
Q. 164. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted
in his church under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in his church only
two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper.
Q. 165. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath
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.
Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. 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.
Q. 167. How is baptism to be improved by us?
A. 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.
Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. 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.
Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to
be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. Christ hath 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.
Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the
Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. 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.
Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of
the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. 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
Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ,
or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth 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 hath
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
Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to
come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. 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
hath left in his church, until they receive instruction, and manifest
Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the
sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. 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 fullness, 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.
Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they
have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. 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, fulfill 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.
Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the
Lord’s supper agree?
A. 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.
Q. 177. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the
Lord’s supper differ?
A. 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
Q. 178. What is prayer?
A. 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 acknowledgement of his mercies.
Q. 179. Are we to pray unto God only?
A. God only being able to search the hearts, hear the requests, pardon
the sins, and fulfill 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.
Q. 180. What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. 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.
Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. 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.
Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth 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 that duty.
Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. 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.
Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. 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.
Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. 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 will.
Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction
in the duty of prayer?
A. 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
Q. 187. How is the Lord’s prayer to be used?
A. 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.
Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s prayer
A. The Lord’s prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and
Q. 189. What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer
A. The preface of the Lord’s prayer (contained in these words, Our
Father which art in heaven) teacheth 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.
Q. 190. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. 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.
Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. 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 fullness 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.
Q. 192. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. 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 to 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.
Q. 193. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. 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
Q. 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. 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.
Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. 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,
Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s
prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer (which is, For thine is the
kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.) teacheth 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 fulfill our requests. And, to testify this our desire
and assurance, we say, Amen.