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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q.20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the state of sin and misery?
A. God having out of his mere good pleasure from all eternity elected some to eternal life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of a state of sin and misery, and to bring them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer.

1. Might not God justly have left all mankind to perish in their fallen state? Yes: for in his sight shall no man living be justified, Ps. 143:2. Would God have been a loser by it, if they had been left to perish? No: for, can a man be profitable to God? Job 22:2. But did he leave them to perish? No: for the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appears, Tit. 3:4. Was the case of fallen angels helpless and desperate? Yes: for God spared not them, 2 Pet. 2:4. But is the case of fallen man so? No: for he is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, 2 Pet. 3:9. Is God's patience a token for good? Yes: the long suffering of our Lord is salvation, 2 Pet. 3:15. Does it appear that God has a good will to man's salvation? Yes: As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn and live, Ezek. 33:11. Is this an encouragement to us all to hope in his mercy? Yes: for if the Lord had been pleased to kill us, he would not have showed us such things as these, Judg. 13:23.

2. Could man help himself out of his state of sin and misery? No: for while we were without strength, Christ died for the ungodly, Rom. 5:6. Could any creature help us? No: for none of them can by any means redeem his brother, Ps. 49:7. Could God himself only help us? Yes: 0 Israel thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help, Hos. 13:9. Did God contrive a way for man's recovery? Yes: he hath devised means that his banished may not be expelled from him, 2 Sam. 14:14. Was it the contrivance of infinite wisdom? Yes: it is the wisdom of God in a mystery, ordained before the world for our glory, 1 Cor. 2:7. Has he provided a way for our recovery? Yes: I have found a ransom, Job 33:24.

3. Did God particularly design the salvation of a remnant of mankind? Yes there is a remnant according to the election of grace, Rom. 11:5. Are there some whom God has chosen? Yes: God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thes. 2:13. Is there a certain number of such? Yes: for their names are in the book of life, Phil. 4:3. Rev. 13:8. Were they chosen from eternity? Yes: he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, Eph. 1:4. Were they chosen for the sake of any thing in themselves? No: ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, John 15:16. But of his mere good pleasure? Yes: he hath predestinated us according to the good pleasure of his will, Eph. 1:5. Were they chosen to salvation, as the end? Yes: God had appointed us to obtain salvation, 1 Thess. 5:9. And to sanctification as the means? Yes: he has chosen us that we should be holy, Eph. 1:4. Was it for the glory of God? Yes: that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, Rom. 9:23.

4.Shall the election obtain? Yes: the purpose of God according to election shall stand, Rom. 9:11. Does our salvation begin there? Yes: we love him, because he first loved us, 1 John 4:19. Are others passed by? Yes: when the election hath obtained, the rest are blinded, Rom. 11:7. Does God know certainly whom he has chosen? Yes: the Lord knows them that are his, 2 Tim. 2:19. Do we know it? No: for secret things belong not to us, Deut. 29:29 Can we know our own election otherwise than by our being sanctified? No: we must make our calling, and so make our election, sure, 2 Pet. 1:10.

5. Were the elect given to Christ? Yes: thine they were, and thou gavest them me, John 17:6. Did he undertake their salvation? Yes: for this is the Father's will, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, John 6:39. Was it promised him that he should effect it? Yes: he shall see his seed, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand, Isa. 53:10. And was he himself assured of it? Yes: all that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, John 6:37. And does it always prove so? Yes: as many as were ordained to eternal life believed, Acts 13:48. And shall any of them miscarry? No: for it is said of seducers, they shall deceive, if it were possible, the very elect, Matt. 24:24.

6. Has God entered into a new covenant, pursuant hereto? Yes: for we are not under the law, but under grace, Rom. 6:14. Does he insist upon the terms of the first covenant? No: he hath not dealt with us after our sins, Ps. 103:10. Is he willing to deal with us upon new terms? Yes: I will make a new covenant with them, Jer. 31:31. Is he willing to be ours in covenant? Yes: I will be to them a God, Heb. 8:10. Will he accept us as his? Yes: they shall be to me a people. And will he be at peace with us? Yes: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, 2 Cor. 5:19.

7. Is this wrought out by a Redeemer? Yes: for there is not salvation in any other, Acts 4:12. Was that Redeemer of God's own providing? Yes: God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, John 3:16. Is the new covenant made with us in Christ ? Yes for he is the Mediator of the better covenant, Heb. 8:6. Is it a covenant much for our advantage? Yes: for it is well ordered in all things and sure, 2 Sam. 23:5. Is perfect obedience the condition of it? No: for if by grace, then it is no more of works, Rom. 11:6. Is faith the condition of it? Yes: for, by grace ye are saved through faith, Eph. 2:8. Is sincerity accepted as our gospel perfection? Yes: walk before me, and be thou perfect, Gen. 17:1. Is that which is required in the covenant promised in the covenant? Yes: I will cause you to walk in my statutes, Ezek. 36:27. Does every transgression in the covenant cast us out of the covenant? No: I will visit their transgression with a rod, but my lovingkindness will I not utterly take away, Ps. 89:32, 33.

8. Will this covenant deliver us out of a state of sin and misery? Yes: Whosoever believes in Christ shall not perish John 3:16. Will it bring us into a state of salvation? Yes: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, John 3:36. And can we desire any more? No: It is all my salvation, and all my desire, 2 Sam. 23:5.

9. Was there intimation given to Adam of this way of salvation by a Redeemer? Yes: for it was said to him, That the seed of the woman should break the serpent's head, Gen. 3:15. Was it made known to the Old Testament saints? Yes: for of this salvation have the prophets inquired, and searched diligently, 1 Pet. 1:10. But is it brought to a clearer light in the New Testament? Yes: Go preach the gospel to every creature; he that believes shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned, Mark 16:15, 16. Is this good news to fallen man? Yes: Glory be to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will towards men, Luke 11:14. Does this covenant exclude any that do not exclude themselves? No: Whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely, Rev. 22:17.

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