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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of Perseverance.

Q. 1. What is perseverance to the end?
A. It is the steady and constant continuance of Christians in the ways of duty and obedience, amidst all temptations and discouragements to the contrary; Colossians 1:23. If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, whereof I Paul am made a minister.

Q. 2. Do all that profess Christ continue in him?
A. No; many that at first zealously profess him, afterwards fall away; John 6:66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Q. 3. Why do not all persevere?
A. Because all professors have not a good root and foundation; Matthew 13:20-21. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that beareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet bath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Q. 4. What is the first ground of the saints perseverance?
A. Godís electing love, in which they are given to Christ; John 10:20. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Fatherís hand.

Q. 5. What is the second ground of perseverance?
A. The immortal nature of sanctifying grace; John 4:14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life, 1 John 3:9. For his seed remaineth in him.

Q. 6. What is the third ground of it?
A. The covenant of grace; Jeremiah 32:40. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

Q. 7. What is the fourth ground of it?
A. Christís effectual intercession; Luke 22:32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.

Q. 8. Are there no declinings of grace in the saints?
A. Yes, there are Revelation 2:4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Yet grace cannot be totally or finally lost: For the seed of God remaineth in the sanctified; 1 John 3:9. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: And be cannot sin; because he is born of God.

Q. 9. Is there no hope of salvation for final apostates?
A. No, the gospel gives none; Hebrews 10:38. But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Q. 10. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. It warns all men to lay a good foundation, lest the buildings of hope be over-turned when the storm comes; Matthew 7:24-25. Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them, I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

Q. 11. What is the second instruction?
A. That all men should look to themselves, lest they lose the things which they have wrought; 2 John 8. Look to yourselves, that ye lose not these things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 1 Corinthians 10:12. Wherefore let him that thinketh be standeth take heed lest he fall.

Q. 12. What is the last instruction?
A. Let no true Christian be discouraged, how weak soever, for God is able to make him stand; Romans 15:4. Who art thou that judgest another manís servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand.

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