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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Q. 7. What are the Decrees of God?
A. The Decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby for his own glory he hath fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass.


Q. 1. What things are decreed of God?
A. All things whatsoever come to pass, even the smallest. Ephesians 1:11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the Counsel of his own will.

Q. 2. What is the end of God's Decree?
A. The Glory of his own Name. Ephesians 1:11-12. Who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will, that we should be to the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ.

Q. 3. But there are some evil things done in the world, do they fall under God's Decree?
A. Though God doth neither approve them, nor necessitate men to commit them, yet he doth permit and suffer them to be done, and will turn them to his own Glory. Acts 4:27-28. For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel are gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand, and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Q. 4. Who are the Objects of God's special Decrees?
A. Angels and Men are the Objects of God's special Decrees. 1 Timothy 5:21. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels, that thou observe these things, etc. Romans 8:33. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?

Q. 5. What is the first property of God's Decrees?
A. That they are most wise Acts of God laid in the depth of Wisdom and Counsel. Romans 11:33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out.

Q. 6. What is the second property of God's Decrees?
A. The Decrees of God are most free, all flowing from the mere pleasure of his Will. Romans 9:18. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Q. 7. What is the third property of God's Decrees?
A. They are most firm and stable. 2 Timothy 2:19. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this Seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. Zechariah 6:1.

Q. 8. What is the fourth property of God's Decrees?
A. They are Eternal, and before all time. Acts 15:18. Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world.

Q. 9. What is the fifth property of God's Decrees?
A. They are most pure, and altogether unspotted of sin. 1 John 1:5. This is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, That God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Q. 10. What is the first Instruction from God's Decrees?
A. That we ought to ascribe nothing to Chance, but to appointment or providence of God. Proverbs 16:33. The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

Q. 11. What is the second Instruction from God's Decrees?
A. That God's hand is to be acknowledged in the greatest Afflictions that befall us. 2 Samuel 16:11. And David said to Abishai, and to all his Servants, Behold, my Son which came forth of my bowels seeketh my Life, how much more now may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.

Q. 12. What is the last Instruction from God's Decrees?
A. That we ought to be thankful to God for all the good, and patient under all the evils that befall us. Job 2:10. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

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