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THE

SUM OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION

IN WAY OF QUESTION AND ANSWER


Question. What is the best and last end of man?

Answer. To live to God. (Rom. vi. 10, 11; Gal. iii. 9; 2 Cor. v. 3, 15.)

Q. How is man to live unto God?

A. Two ways. First, by faith in God. (Ps. xxxvii. 3.) Secondly, by observance of God. (Eccl. xii. 13.)

Q. What is faith in God?

A. It is the first act of our spiritual life, whereby the soul believing God believeth in God, and there resteth, as in the only author and principle of life. (Heb. iv. 3; x. 38; xi. 13. John iii. 33, 36. Rom. iv. 3. Deut. xxx. 20.)

Q. What is God?

A. God only knoweth himself; no man can so know him and live. Yet he hath manifested himself unto us in his back parts, according to our manner or measure of knowing things; and we need know no more than these, that we may live. (1 Tim. vi. 16. Ex. xxxiii. 19, 23.)

Q. What are God's back parts?

A. They are two. First, his sufficiency. (Ps. xxxvi. 9.) Secondly, his efficiency. (Rom. iv. 21.)

Q. What is God's sufficiency?

A. It is his perfect fullness of all good, whereby he is all-sufficient for us in himself (Ps. xvi. 13. Gen. xvii. 1.)

Q. Wherein stands and appears God's sufficiency?

A. First, in his essence. (Ps. lxviii. 19.) Secondly, in his subsistence or persons. (2 Sam. vii. 20, 25.)

Q. What is God's essence?

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A. Whereby he is that absolute first being. (Rev. i. 8. Is. xliv. 6. Ex. iii. 14.)

Q. Can you sufficiently conceive of the glory of this one most pure essence by one act of faith?

A. No; and therefore the Lord hath manifested it unto us by divers attributes. (Deut. xxix. 29. Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7.)

Q. What are God's attributes?

A. That one most pure essence diversly apprehended of us, as it is diversly made known unto us. (1 John iv. 16. Is. xliii. 25.)

Q. How many kinds of attributes are there?

A. There are two sorts of them. First, some showing what God is. Secondly, some showing who God is.

Q. By what attributes know you what God is?

A. By these: God is a Spirit living of himself. (John iv. 24; v. 26.)

Q. By what attributes do you understand who God is?

A. By his essential properties, which show to us. First, how great a God he is. (Ps. lxxvii. 13.) Secondly, what a manner of God he is. (Matt. vi. 17.)

Q. What attributes show how great a God he is?

A. First, his infiniteness, whereby he is without all limits of essence. (2. Chron. ii. 5, 6.) Secondly, his eternity, whereby he is without all limits of beginning, succession, or end of time. (Ps. cii. 25-27. 1 Tim. i. 17.)

Q. What are those attributes which show what a manner of God he is?

A. His qualities, whereby he acteth with, are of two sorts. First, his faculties, whereby he is able to act. (Is. lx. 16; lxiii. 1.) Secondly, his virtues of those faculties, whereby he is prompt and ready to act. (Ps. lxxxvi. 5.)

Q. What are his faculties?

A. First, his understanding, whereby he understandeth together and at once all truth. (Heb. iv. 13. Acts xv. 8.) Secondly, his will, whereby he purely willeth all good. (Ps. cxix. 68.)

Q. What are the virtues of those faculties?

A. First, they are intellectual; the virtues of his understanding, as wisdom, knowledge, and the rest. Secondly, moral; the virtue of his will, as love, holiness, mercy. In the acting of both which consists God's happiness.

Thus much have you seen of God's sufficiency, in regard of his essence. Now follows his subsistence.

Q. What are his subsistences or persons?

A. That one most pure essence, with its relative properties.

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Q. What are those relative properties?

A. They are three. First, to beget. Secondly, to be begotten. Thirdly, to proceed from both.

Q. How many persons learn you from hence to be in God?

A. Three. First, the first is the Father, the first person in order, begetting the Son. (Ps. ii. 7.) Secondly, the Son, the second person, begotten of the Father. (John iii. 6. Heb. i. 3.) Thirdly, the Spirit, the third person, proceeding from them both. (John xv. 26.)

Q. Are these three persons three distinct Gods?

A. No. For they are that one pure essence, and therefore but one God. (John i. 1. Rom. ix. 5. 1 Cor. vi. 16; ii. 10.)

Q. If every person be God, how can they be distinct persons and not distinct Gods?

A. Yes; because one and the same thing may have many relative properties and respects of being, which in the Godhead makes distinct persons. As one and the same man may be a father in one respect, a master in another respect, and a scholar in another respect.

Q. If these three persons be but one God, what follows from hence?

A. That all the three persons are coequal, coeternal, subsisting in, not separating from each other, and therefore delighting in each other, glorifying each other. (Prov. viii. 30.)

Thus much concerning God.

Now concerning the Works of God.

Q. Thus much concerning God's sufficiency. What is his efficiency?

A. Whereby he worketh all things, and all in all things. (Rom. xi. 36. Is. xlv. 7.)

Q. What of God shines forth, and are you to behold, in his efficiency?

A. Two things. First, God's omnipotency, in respect of his essence. Secondly, the cooperation and distinct manner of working of the three persons. (Rom. i. 20. John v. 17.)

Q. What is God's omnipotency?

A. It is his almighty power, whereby he is able to bring to pass all that he doth will, or whatever he can will, or decree. (2 Chron. xx. 6. Phil. iii. 21. Matt. iii. 9. Ps. cxv. 7.)

Q. What is God's decree?

A. It is his eternal and determinate purpose concerning the effecting of all things by his mighty power, according to his counsel. (Eph. i. 11.)

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Q. What attributes or glory of God appear in his decree?

A. First, his constancy, whereby his decree remains unchangeable. (Num. iii. 19.) Secondly, his truth, whereby he delivereth nothing but what he hath decreed. (Jer. x. 10.) Thirdly, his faithfulness, whereby he effecteth whatever he decreeth according thereunto. (Is. xlvi. 10.)

Q. What is God's counsel?

A. His deliberation, as it were, for the best effecting of every thing according to his wisdom. (Acts iv. 24. Ps. xl. 24.)

Q. What is God's wisdom?

A. It is the idea or perfect platform of all things in the mind of God, which either can be known, or shall be done, according to the good pleasure of his will. (Heb. xi. 3. Prov. viii. 12, 13.)

Q. What is the good pleasure of God's will?

A. It is the most free act of his will, whereby he willeth himself directly, as the greatest good, and all other things for himself, according to his good pleasure. (Matt. xi. 25. Prov. xvi. 4.)

Q. What learn you from hence?

A. That God's good pleasure is the first and best cause of all things. (Ps. cxv. 3; xxxiii. 8-11.)

Q What is the cooperation of the three persons in God's efficiency?

A. Whereby they work the same thing together unseparably. (John v. 17, 19, and xvi. 13, 14.)

Q. If they work the same thing together, how is it that some works are attributed to God the Father, as creation; some to the Son, as redemption; some to the Holy Spirit, as application?

A. This is not because the same work is not common to all the three persons, but because that work is principally attributed in Scripture to that person whose distinct manner of working appears chiefly in the work.

Q. What is God the Father's distinct manner of working?

A. His working is from himself by the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. (Ps. xxxiii. 6. John i. 3.) And hence the beginning, and so the creation of all things is attributed to him.

Q. What is God the Son's manner of working?

A. His working is from the Father, by the Holy Ghost, (John xiv. 16); and hence the dispensation of all things, and so redemption, is attributed to him.

Q. What is the Holy Ghost's manner of working?

A. His working is from the Father and the Son, (John xiv. 26,) and hence the consummation of all things; and so application is attributed unto him.

Q. Wherein doth God's efficiency or working appear?

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A. In two things. First, in bis creation of the world. Secondly, in his providence over the world. (Is. xxxvii. 16.)

Q. What is his creation?

A. It is God's efficiency, whereby be made the whole world of nothing, originally exceeding good. (Ps. xxxiii. 9. Gen. i. 31.)

Q. Did the Lord make the world in an instant?

A. No, but by parts, in the space of six days, described at large by Moses. (Gen. i.)

Q. When did the Lord make the third heaven, with the angels their inhabitants?

A. In the first day, in the first beginning of it. (Gen. i. 1. Job xxxviii. 6, 7.)

Q. What is the creation of the third heaven?

A. Whereby he made it to be the heaven of heavens, a most glorious place, replenished with all pleasure which belongs to eternal happiness, wherein his majesty is seen face to face, and therefore called the habitation of God. (2 Chron. ii. 5, 6. Ps. xvi. 11; lxiii. 15.)

Q. What is the creation of the angels?

A. Whereby he created an innumerable number of them, in holiness, to be ministering spirits, with most acuteness of understanding, liberty of will, great strength, and speedy in motion, to celebrate his praises and execute his commands, specially to the heirs of salvation. (Heb. xi. 22. John viii. 44. Heb. i. 14. 2 Sam. xiv. 20. Jude 6. 2 Pet. ii. 11. Is. vi. 2. Ps. cxxx. 20.)

Q. When did God create man?

A. The sixth day. (Gen. i. 27.)

Q. How did God create man?

A. He made him a reasonable creature, consisting of body and an immortal soul, in the image of God. (Gen. ii. 7; i. 28.)

Q. What is the image of God, wherein he was made?

A. That hability of man to resemble God, and wherein he was like unto God, in wisdom, holiness, righteousness, both in his nature, and in his government of himself and all creatures. (Col. iii. 10. Eph. iv. 24. Gen. i. 26.)

Q. What became of man, being thus made?

A. He was placed in the garden of Eden, as in his princely court, to live unto God, together with the woman which God gave him. (Gen. ii. 15.)

Thus much of God's creation.

Q. What is his providence?

A. Whereby he provideth for his creatures, being made, even to the least circumstance. (Ps. cxlv. 16. Prov. xvi. 33.)

Q. How is God's providence distinguished?

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A. It is either, First, ordinary and mediate, whereby he provideth for his creatures by ordinary and usual means. (Hos. ii. 22.) Secondly, extraordinary and immediate, whereby he provides for his creatures by miracles, or immediately by himself. (Ps. xxxvi. 4. Dan. iii. 17.)

Q. Wherein is his providence seen?

A. First, in conversation, whereby he upholdeth things in their being and power of working. (Acts xvii. 28. Ps. civ. 29, 30. Neh. ix. 6.) Secondly, in gubernation, whereby he guides, directs, and brings all creatures to their ends. (Ps. xx. 10; xxxiii. 11.)

Q. Doth God govern all creatures alike?

A. No; but some he governs by a common providence, and others by a special providence, to wit, angels and men, to an eternal estate of happiness in pleasing him, or of misery in displeasing him. (Deut. xxx. 15, 16.)

Q. What of God's providence appears in his special government of man?

A. Two things. 1. Man's apostasy, or fall. 2. His recovery, or rising again.

Q. Concerning man's fall, what are you to observe therein?

A. Two things. 1. His transgression, in eating the forbidden fruit. (Gen. ii. 17.) 2. The propagation of this unto all Adam's posterity.

Q. Was this so great a sin, to eat of the forbidden fruit?

A. Yes, exceedingly great, this tree being a sacrament of the covenant; also he had a special charge not to eat of it; and in it the whole man did strike against the whole law, even when God had so highly advanced him.

Q. What are the causes of this transgression?

A. The blameless cause was the law of God. (Rom. v. 13.) And hence, as the law did it, so God did it, holily, justly, and blamelessly. (Rom. vii. 10-12.)

Q. What are the blamable causes?

A. Two, principally. 1. The devil abusing the serpent to deceive the woman. (Gen. iii. 1.) 2. Man himself, in abusing his own free will, in receiving the temptations which he might have resisted. (Eph. vii. 29.)

Q. What is the devil?

A. That great number of apostate and rebellious angels, which, through pride and blasphemy against God, and malice against man, became liars and murderers of man, by bringing him into that sin. (Luke xi. 18. 1 Tim. iii. 6. 1 John iii. 12; viii. 44.)

Q. What are the effects and fruits of this transgression?

A. They are two. 1. Guilt, whereby they are tied to undergo 525 due punishment for the fault. (Rom. iii. 19.) 2. Punishment, which is the just anger of God upon them for the filth of sin. (Rom. i. 18.)

Q. What are the particular punishments inflicted on the causes of this sin?

A. Besides the fearful punishment of the devils, mentioned Jude vi., and that of the serpent and the woman, (Gen. iii. 14, 16,) the punishment of man was, First, sin original and actual. Secondly, death. (Gen. v. 5.)

Q. What is sin?

A. The transgression of God's law. (John iii. 4.)

Q. What is original and actual sin?

A. First, original sin is the contrariety of the whole nature of man to the law of God, whereby it, being averse from all good, is inclined to all evil. (Eccl. viii. 11. Gen. vi. 5. Rom. vi. 20.) Secondly, actual sin is the continual jarring of the actions of man from the law of God, by reason of original sin, and so man hath no free will to any spiritual good. (Is. lxv. 2, 3. James i. 14, 15. Is. i. 11.)

Q. What death is that God inflicts on man for sin?

A. A double death. 1. The first death of the body, together with the beginnings of it in this world, as grief, shame, losses, sicknesses. (Deut. xxviii. 21, 22, 25.) 2. The second death of the soul, which is the eternal separation and ejection of the soul after death, and soul and body after judgment, from God, into everlasting torments in hell.

Q. Is there no beginning of this death, as there is of the other in this life?

A. Yes, at first security and hardness of heart, which can not feel sin its greatest evil. 2. Terrors of conscience. (Heb. ii. 15.) 3. Bondage of Satan. (Eph. ii. 2.) 4. The curse of God in all blessings, whereby they are fitted for destruction. (Rom. ix. 22.)

Q. What of God's attributes shine forth here?

A. His holiness, whereby he, being pure from all sin, can not away with the least sin in the best of his creatures. (Heb. i. 13.) 2. His justice, whereby he, being most just in himself, can not but punish man for sin, as well as reward him for well doing. (2 Thess. i. 6.) 3. His patience, whereby he useth pity, patience, and bounty to his creatures offending. (Rom. ii. 3.)

Q. Is this sin, and the punishment of it, derived to all men's posterity?

A. Yes. (John iii. 3. Eph. ii. 3.)

Q. How is it propagated?

A. By the imputation of Adam's sin unto us, and so the punishment must needs follow upon it. (Rom. v. 13.)

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Q. Why should Adam's sin be imputed to all his posterity?

A. Because we were in him as the members in the head, as children in his loins, as debtors in their surety, as branches in their roots, it being just, that as if he standing, all had stood, by imputation of his righteousness, so he falling, all should fall, by the imputation of his sin.

Q. Thus have you seen man's apostasy from God. What is his recovery?

A. It is the return of man to the favor of God again, merely out of favor, and the exceeding riches of his free grace. (Eph. ii. 12, 13. Rom. v. 8.)

Q. How are we brought into favor, and what are the parts of this recovery?

A. Two ways. First, by redemption. (2 Cor. v. 19, 20.) Secondly, by application hereof. (Tit. iii. 6.)

Q. What is redemption?

A. The satisfaction made, or the price paid, to the justice of God for the life and deliverance of man out of the captivity of sin, Satan, and death, by a Redeemer, according to the covenant made between him and the Father. (1 Cor. vi. 20. Luke i. 74. Is. lv. 10, 11.)

Q. Who is this Redeemer?

A. Jesus Christ, God and Man. (Matt. i. 23. John i. 14. Col. ii. 19.)

Q. Why is he God-Man?

A. That so he might be a fit Mediator, to transact all businesses between God and man, in the execution of his three offices, whereunto he was anointed of the Father. (1 Tim. ii. 5. Is. xlii. 12.)

Q. What are those three offices of Christ?

A. 1. His prophetical office, whereby he doth reveal the will of the Father. (Acts iii. 22. Col. ii. 3.) 2. His priestly office, whereby he makes full atonement with the Father for us. (Col. i. 20.) 3. His kingly office, whereby he governs his people whom he had taught and reconciled, subduing their enemies, and procuring their eternal peace. (Ps. ii. 6. Is. ix. 6.)

Q. How hath Christ Jesus made satisfaction?

A. By his humiliation, whereby he was made subject, throughout his whole life and death, to the strict justice of God, to perform whatever the same might require for the redemption of man. (Gal. iv. 4, 5.)

Q. What did God's justice require of man?

A. 1. Death, for the breach of the law, and that Christ tasted, in his bitter sufferings, both of body and soul, by being made sin, 527 and so abolishing sin; and this is called his passive obedience. (Heb. ii. 9. Eph. i. 7. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13.) 2. Perfect obedience, in fulfilling the law perfectly, both in his nature and actions, for the procuring and meriting of life; and this is called his active obedience. (Heb. vii. 26.)

Q. What follows Christ's humiliation?

A. His exaltation, which is his glorious victory and open triumph over all his and our enemies, sin, Satan, and death, in the several degrees of it. (Luke xxiv. 26. Phil. ii. 8, 9. 1 Cor. xv. 5, 7.)

Q. What is the first degree of Christ's exaltation?

A. His resurrection the third day, whereby his soul and body, by the power of the Godhead, were brought together again, and so rose again from death, appearing to his disciples for the space of forty days. (1 Cor. xv. 4. John ii. 19. Acts i. 3.)

Q. What is the second degree of Christ's exaltation?

A. His ascension into heaven, which was the going up of the manhood into the third heaven, by the power of the Godhead, from Mount Olivet, in the sight of his disciples. (Acts i. 11, 12.)

Q. What is the third degree of his exaltation?

A. His sitting at the right hand of God, whereby he, being advanced to the fullness of all glory, in both natures, governeth and ruleth all things, together with the Father, as Lord over all, for the good of his people. (Mark xvi. 9. Ps. cx. 1. 1 Cor. xv. 25. Eph. i. 20-22. 1 Pet. iii. 22.)

Q. What is the fourth and last degree of his exaltation?

A. His return to judgment, which is his second coming into this world with great glory and majesty, to judge the quick and the dead, to the confusion of all them that would not have him rule over them, and to the unspeakable good of his people. (Matt. xix. 28. 2 Tim. iv. 1. Acts xvii. 31. 2 Thess. i. 1, 7-9.)

Q. Thus much of redemption, the first part of his recovery. What is application?

A. Whereby the Spirit, by the word and ministry thereof, makes all that which Christ, as Mediator, hath done for the church, efficacious to the church as her own. (John xvi. 14. Tit. iii. 5-7. John x. 16. Rom. x. 14, 17. Eph. v. 25, 26.)

Q. What is the church?

A. The number of God's elect. (Heb. xii. 23. John xvii. 9-11; x. 16. Eph. i. 22, 23.)

Q. How doth the Spirit make application to the church?

A. 1. By union of the soul to Christ. (Phil. iii. 9, 10.) 2. By communion of the benefits of Christ to the soul.

Q. What is this union?

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A. Whereby the Lord, joining the soul to Christ, makes it one spirit with Christ, and so gives it possession of Christ, and right unto all the benefits and blessings of Christ. (1 Cor. vi. 17. John xvii. 21. Rom. viii. 32. 1 John v. 12.)

Q. How doth the Spirit make this union?

A. Two ways. 1. By cutting off the soul from the old Adam, or the wild olive tree, in the work of preparation. (Rom. xi. 23, 24.) 2. By putting or ingrafting the soul into the second Adam, Christ Jesus, by the work of vocation. (Acts xxvi. 18.)

Q. What are the parts of the preparation of the soul to Christ?

A. They are two. 1. Contrition, whereby the Spirit immediately cuts off the soul from its security in sin, by making it to mourn for it, and separating the soul from it, as the greatest evil. (Is. lxi. 1, 3. Jer. iv. 3, 4. Matt. xi. 20, 28.) 2. Humiliation, whereby the Spirit cuts the soul off from self-confidence in any good it hath or doth; especially by making it to feel its want and unworthiness of Christ, and hence submitteth to be disposed of as God pleaseth. (Phil. iii. 7, 8. Luke xvi. 9; xv. 17-19.)

Q. What are the parts of vocation of the soul to Christ?

A. 1. The Lord's call and invitation of the soul to come to Christ, in the revelation and offer of Christ and his rich grace. (2 Cor. v. 10.) 2. The receiving of Christ, or the coming of the whole soul out of itself unto Christ, for Christ, by virtue of the irresistible power of the Spirit in the call; and this is faith. (Jer. iii. 32. John vi. 44, 45; x. 16. Is. lv. 5.)

Q. Thus much of our union. What is the communion of Christ's benefits unto the soul?

A. Whereby the soul possessed with Christ, and right unto him, hath by the same Spirit fruition of him, and all his benefits. (John iv. 10, 14.)

Q. What is the first of those benefits we do enjoy from Christ?

A. Justification, which is the gracious sentence of God the Father, whereby for the satisfaction of Christ apprehended by faith, and imputed to the faithful, he absolves them from the guilt and condemnation of all sins, and accepts them as perfectly; righteous to eternal life. (Rom. iii. 24, 25; iv. 6-8; viii. 33, 34.)

Q. What difference is there between justification and sanctification?

A. Justification is by Christ's righteousness, inherent in Christ only; sanctification is by a righteousness from Christ inherent in ourselves. (2 Cor. v. 21. Phil. iii. 9.) 2. Justification is perfected at once, and admits of no degrees, because it is by Christ 529 his perfect righteousness. Sanctification is imperfect, being begun in this life. (Rev. xii. 1. Phil. iii. 11.)

Q. What is the second benefit next in order to justification, which the faithful receive from Christ?

A. Reconciliation, whereby a Christian justified is actually reconciled, and at peace with God. (Rom. v. 1. John ii. 12.) And hence follows his peace with all creatures.

Q. What is the third benefit next unto reconciliation?

A. Adoption, whereby the Lord accounts the faithful his sons, crowns them with privileges of sons, and gives them the Spirit of adoption--the same Spirit which is in his only-begotten Son. (1 John iii. 2. Rom. viii. 11, 14-17.)

Q. What is the fourth benefit next to adoption?

A. Sanctification, whereby the sons of God are renewed in the whole man, unto the image of their heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, by mortification, or their daily dying to sin by virtue of Christ's death; and by vivification, their daily rising to newness of life, by Christ's resurrection. (1 Thess. v. 23. Eph. iv. 24. Jer. xxxi. 22. Rom. vi. 8.)

Q. What follows from this mortification and vivification?

A. A continual war and combat between the renewed part, assisted by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the unrenewed part, assisted by Satan and this evil world. (Rom. vii. 21-23.)

Q. What is the fifth and last benefit next unto sanctification?

A. Glorification, which hath two degrees--the one in this life, and the other in the world to come.

Q. What is the first degree of glorification in this life?

A. A lively expectation of glory, from the assurance and shedding abroad God's love in our hearts, working joy unspeakable. (Rom. v. 2, 5. Tit. ii. 13.)

Q. What is the second degree in the world to come?

A. Full fruition of glory, whereby being made complete and perfect in holiness and happiness, we enjoy all that good eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard, in our immediate and eternal communion with God in Christ. (Heb. xii. 23. 1 Cor. xv. 28.)

Thus much of the first part, of living to God by faith in God.

Q. What is the second part, viz., our observance?

A. It is the duty that is to be performed to God of us, through the power of his Holy Spirit, working in us by faith, according to the will of God. (Eph. vi. 6, 7. Ps. cxxxix. 24. Rom. vi. 1. Luke i. 74.)

Q. Wherein consists our observance of God?

A. It is either moral or ceremonial.

Q. Wherein consists our moral observance of God?

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A. In two things. 1. In suffering his will, whereby a believer, for the sake of Christ, chooseth rather to suffer any misery than to commit the least sin. (Heb. xi. 26. Acts xxi. 13.) 2. In doing his will, whereby a believer, in sense of Christ's love, performeth universal obedience to the law of God. (Rom. vii. 22. 1 John v. 3. Luke i. 6. Phil. iii. 12.)

Q. Is there any use of the law to a Christian?

A. Although it be abolished to a Christian in Christ, as a covenant of life, (for so Adam and his posterity are still under it,) yet it remains as a rule of life, when he is in Christ, and to prepare the heart for Christ. (Rom. vi. 14, 15. Matt. v. 17-20. Ezek. x. 11. Rom. ix.)

Q. Why is not a Christian so under the law as a covenant of life, so as if he breaks it by the least sin, he shall die for it?

A. Because Jesus Christ hath kept it perfectly for him. (Rom. viii. 3, 4; v. 20, 21.)

Q. Can any man keep the law perfectly in this life?

A. No, for the unregenerate, wanting the Spirit of life, can not perfect an act of life in obedience to it. The regenerate, having the Spirit but in part, perform it only imperfectly. (Rom. viii. 7; vii. 21.)

Q. What befalls the unregenerate upon their disobedience unto it?

A. The eternal curse of God for the least sin, and the increase of God's fierce and fearful secret wrath as they increase in sin. (Gal. iii. 10. Rom. ii. 5.)

Q. What befalls the regenerate after their breach of the law, and imperfect obedience unto it?

A. The Lord may threaten and correct them, but his loving kindness (in covering their sins in their best duties by Christ, and accepting their meanest services so far as they are quickened by his Spirit) is never taken from them. (Ps. lxxxix. 31-33. Zech. iii. 1-8. Is. lvi. 7. Rom. vii. 20.)

Q. What is that imperfect obedience of believers which is accepted?

A. When they observe the will of Christ, as that therein,--1. They confess and lament their sins. (1 John i. 9. Rom. vii. 24.) 2. They desire mercy in the blood of Christ, and more of his Spirit. (Phil. iii. 9-11.) 3. They return him the praise of the least ability to do his will. (Ps. 1. 23. 1 Cor. xv. 10.)

Q. How is the law or ten commandments divided?

A. Into two tables. The first showing our duty to God immediately, in the four first commandments. The second, our duty to man, in the six last commandments.

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Q. What rules are you to observe to understand the moral law?

A. These: 1. That in whatsoever commandment any duty is enjoined, there the contrary sin is forbidden; and where any sin is forbidden, there the contrary duty is commanded. 2. That the law is spiritual, and hence requires not only outward, but inward and spiritual obedience. 3. Where any gross sin is forbidden, there all the signs, degrees, means, and provocations to that sin are forbidden also, and are in God's account that sin. And so, where any duty is commanded, there all the signs, means, and provocations to that duty are commanded also. 4. That the law is perfect, and therefore there is no sin in all the Scripture but is forbidden in it; nor no duty required (if moral) but it is commanded in it.

Thus much of our moral observance of God.

Q. What is our ceremonial observance?

A. The celebration of the two sacraments, baptism and the Lord's supper.

Q. What is a sacrament?

A. It is a holy ceremony, wherein external sensible things, by the appointment of Christ, are separate from common use; to signify, exhibit, and seal to us that assurance of eternal life by Christ Jesus, according to the covenant of his grace. (Gen. xvii. 9, 10.)

Q. Which are the sacraments?

A. They are two, baptism and the Lord's supper.

Q. What is the external sensible part of baptism?

A. Water. (John iii. 23.)

Q. What is the inward and spiritual part of baptism, signified, exhibited, and sealed thereby?

A. Christ's righteousness and his Spirit. 1. Washing away our sin, and so delivering us from death. 2. Presenting us clear before the Father, and so restoring us again to life. (Rom. iv. 1 Cor. ii. 11. Matt. iii. 11.)

Q. What follows from hence?

A. 1. That it is a sacrament of our new birth, and ingrafting into Christ. (John iii. 5.) 2. That as we are perfectly justified at once, and being new born once, shall never die again. Hence this seal is to be administered but once.

Q. What is the external and sensible part of the Lord's supper?

A. Bread and wine, with the sacramental actions about the the same.

Q. What is the inward and spiritual part of it, signified, sealed, and exhibited thereby?

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A. The body and blood of Christ crucified, offered and given to nourish and strengthen believers, renewing their faith unto eternal life. (1 Cor. xi. 24. John vi. 54, 55.)

Q. What follows from hence?

A. 1. That it is the sacrament of our growth in Christ, being new born, because it is food given to nourish us, having received life. 2. That therefore it is to be administered and received often, that we may grow. 3. That children and fools, and wicked, ought not to partake of the sacrament, because they can not examine themselves, and so renew their faith. (1 Cor. xi. 28.)

Q. Ought not the sacrament to be administered to carnal people, if they have been baptized?

A. No, because such as are not within the covenant have no right to the seal of the covenant.

Q. Where are believers, who have right unto this sacrament, to seek fruition from it?

A. Because it ought not to be administered privately, (as the Papists would); hence God's people are to seek to enjoy their right to it in some particular visible church, in joining with them, as fellow-members of the same body. (1 Cor. xi. 20, 22. 1 Chron. x. 17. Acts ii. 42.)

Q. What members ought every particular visible church to consist of?

A. Christ being head of every particular church, and it his body, hence none are to be members of the church but such as are members of Christ by faith. (1 Cor. i. 2. 1 Thess. i.)

Q. But do not hypocrites, and no true members of Christ, creep in?

A. Yes; but if they could have been known to be such, they ought to be kept out; and when they are known, they are orderly to be cast out. (Matt. xxv. 1. 2 Tim. iii. 5. Rev. ii. 20. Tit. iii. 20.)

Q. Are these members bound only to cleave to Christ, their head, by faith?

A. Yes; and to one another also by brotherly love, which they are bound to strengthen and confirm (as well as their faith) by a solemn covenant. (Eph. iv. 15, 16. Col. i. 4. Jer. 1. 4, Is. lvi. 45. Zech. xi. 14. Zeph. iii. 9. Ps. cxix. 106.)

Q. What benefits are there by joining thus to a particular church?

A. 1. Hereby they come to be under the special government of Christ in his church, and the officers thereof. (Is. xxx. 20.). 2. Hereby they have the promise of special blessing, and on their children also. (Ps. cxxxiii. 3. Exod. xx. 6.) 3. Herein 533 they have the promise of God's special presence: 1. Revealing unto them his will. (Ps. xxvii. 4; lxiii. 2, 3.) 2. Protecting them. (Is. xliv. 6.) 3. Hearing all their prayers. (Deut. iv. 7. Matt. xviii. 19.)

Q. Are there not some who never find these benefits?

A. Yes. Because many knowing not how to make use of God's ordinances, not feeling a need of God's presence only in them, their sin also blinding, and partly hardening their hearts, and polluting God's house, they then become worse when they have best means. (Matt. xi. 23. Jer. xvii. 5, 6. Heb. vi. 8. 1 Sam. v. 8, 9. Ezek. xiv. 4. 1 Kings viii. 21.)

Q. What are the miseries of those who carelessly and willfully despise, and so refuse to join to God's church?

A. Besides the loss of God's presence in the fellowship of his people, it is a fearful sign (continuing so) God never intends to save their souls. (Acts ii. 47. Is. lx. 12. Rev. ii. 23, 24.)

Q. What therefore ought people chiefly to labor for, and to hold forth unto the church, that so they may be joined to it?

A. A threefold work. 1. Of humiliation, under their misery, death, and sin, as their greatest evil. (Acts ii. 37. Matt. iii. 6.) 2. Of vocation, or their drawing to Christ, out of this misery, as to their greatest and only good. (Acts i. 38, 41.) 3. Of new obedience; how they have walked in Christ since called. (Acts ix. 26, 27. Matt. iii. 8.)

END OF VOLUME I

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