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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q.19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.

1. When our first parents had eaten the forbidden fruit, did they become as gods? No: they were like the beasts that perish, Ps. 49:12. Did the devil make his words good then? No: for he is a liar and the father of it, John 8:44. Did not he put a cheat upon them? Yes: the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, Gen. 3:13. Did shame come in with sin? Yes: for they knew that they were naked, Gen. 3:7. Did fear come in with sin? Yes: for they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden, Gen. 3:8. Was not that their misery? Yes: for fear hath torment, 1 John. 4:18.

2. Did they lose communion with God? Yes: for he drove out the man, Gen. 3:24. Is fallen man unworthy of communion with God? Yes : for what communion has light with darkness? 2 Cor. 2:14. Is he unfit for communion with God? Yes: for can two walk together except they be agreed? Amos 3:3. Could fallen man ever get to heaven by virtue of the covenant of innocency? No: for cherubims and a flaming sword were set to keep that way to the tree of life, Gen. 3:24.

3. Is fallen man under God's wrath? Yes: for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, Rom. 1:18. Are we all so by nature? Yes: we are by nature children of wrath, even as others, Eph. 2:2. Are we so by reason of sin? Yes: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience, Eph. 5:6. Is there a distance between God and man by reason of sin? Yes: your iniquities have separated between you and your God, Isa. 49:2. Is there a quarrel between God and man by reason of sin? Yes: My soul loathed them, and their soul also it abhorred me, Zech. 11:8. Is it not said to lie under God's wrath? Yes: for who knows the power of his anger? Ps. 90:11.

4. Is fallen man under God's curse? Yes: for cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. 3:10. Is this curse in force against all wicked people? Yes: the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, Prov. 3:33. Has sin brought a curse upon the world? Yes: Cursed is the ground for thy sake, Gen. 3:17.

5. Is mankind by the fall become liable to the miseries of this life? Yes: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life, Gen 3:17. Are we all by nature liable to these miseries? Yes: for man is born to trouble, Job 5:7. Is all the hurtfulness of the creatures the effect of sin? Yes: Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth, Gen. 3:18. Is the toil of business the effect of sin? Yes: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, ver. 19. Is pain and sickness the effect of sin? Yes: There is not any rest in my bones, because of my sin, Ps. 38:3. Are all our crosses the effect of sin? Yes: our sins have withholden good things from us, Jer. 5:25. Should we not therefore bear them patiently? Yes: Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? Lam. 3:39.

6. Is all mankind by the fall become liable to death itself? Yes: for so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Rom. 5:12. Was a sentence of death immediately passed upon fallen man? Yes: Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return, Gen. 3:19. Do we all deserve death? Yes: the wages of sin is death, Rom. 6:23. Is it the natural consequence of sin? Yes: for sin, when it is finished, brings forth death, Jam. 1.15. Can any avoid it? No: What man is he that liveth and shall not see death? Ps. 89:48. Is it determined? Yes: it is appointed to men once to die, Heb. 9:27. Do you expect it? Yes: I know that thou wilt bring me to death, Job 30:23. Is sin the sting of death? Yes: the sting of death is sin, 1 Cor. 15:56. Is the amazing fear of death the effect of sin? Yes: there are those who through fear of death are all their life-time subject to bondage, Heb. 2:15. Is the body's rotting in the grave the effect of sin? Yes: as drought and heat consume the snow-waters, so doth the grave those which have sinned, Job 24:19.

7. Is mankind by the fall become liable to the pains of hell for ever? Yes: for he that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead, Prov. 21:16. Ps. 9:17. Can God make a soul forever miserable? Yes: for after he hath killed he hath power to cast into hell, Luke 12:5. Is there a state of punishment in the other life? Yes: for we are warned to flee from the wrath to come, Matt. 3:7. Is it the desert of sin? Yes: for when God renders to every man according to his works, he will render indignation with wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, Rom. 2:8, 9. Will it be the portion of impenitent sinners? Yes: Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell, Matt. 23:33.

8. Is hell the wrath of an everlasting God? Yes: for the breath of the Lord. like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it, Isa. 30:33. Is it the anguish of an immortal soul? Yes: for their worm dieth not, Mark 9:44. Is any way of relief open to them? No: Betwixt us and you there is a gulf fixed, Luke 16:26. Is their punishment therefore everlasting? Yes: These shall go away into everlasting punishment, Matt. 25:46. Should we not every one of us dread it? Yes: for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, Heb. 10:31. Isa. 33:14.

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