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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbids all profaning or abusing of any thing whereby God makes himself known.

1. Do all hypocrites take God's name in vain? Yes: for they make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth and righteousness, Isa. 48:1. Do they therefore profane that name? Yes: the name of God is blasphemed through them, Rom. 2:24. Do hypocritical worshippers take God's name in vain? Yes for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness, Ezek. 33:31. And is their seeming religion a vain religion? Yes: That man's religion is vain, James 1:26. Can it be pleasing to God? No: Bring no more vain oblations, Isa. 1:11,13. Can it be profitable to themselves? No: for they receive the grace of God in vain, 2 Cor. 6:1. Do covenant-breakers take God's name in vain? Yes: for they lie unto him with their tongues, Ps. 78:36.

2. Is it a sin against this commandment to use the name of God lightly and carelessly? Yes: For thou shall fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God, Deut. 28:58. Will God's friends thus affront him? No: Thine enemies take thy name in vain, Ps. 139:20. Is it the character of the wicked? Yes: Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins, Jer. 12:2.

3. Is it a sin against this commandment to swear rashly? Yes: Above all things, my brethren, swear not, Jam. 5:19. Is it a sin to swear by creatures? Yes: whether by heaven, or by the earth, or by the head, Matt. 5:34-36. Must our communication be yea, yea, and nay, nay? Yes: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil, Matt. 5:37. Is it a sin to swear falsely? Yes: Thou shalt not forswear thyself, Matt. 5:33. Is profane swearing a great sin? Yes for it blasphemes that worthy name by which we are called, Jam. 2:7. Is it an inexcusable sin? Yes: for they transgress without cause, Ps. 25:3. Does it bring judgments upon families? Yes: for the curse shall enter into the house of him that swears falsely, and shall consume it, Zech. 5:4. And upon nations? Yes: because of swearing the land mourns, Jer. 23:10.

4. Is it a sin against this commandment to jest with the word of God? Yes: Be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made B, Isa. 28:22. Or to use it as a charm? Yes: as those exorcists which said, We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preacheth, Acts 19:13. Is it a sin to put a slight upon sacred things? Yes: Ye have profaned my name, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible, Mal. 1:12.

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