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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

1. Are we to take care of our own lives? Yes: No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, Eph. 5:29. Must we endeavour the preservation of them? Yes: Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life, Job 2:4. Are we to be careful of our diet? Yes: Hast thou found honey, eat so much as is sufficient for thee, Prov. 25:16. Are we to use physic when we need it? Yes: Take a lump of figs and lay it upon the boil, Isa. 38:21. And are we to be cheerful? Yes: for a merry heart doeth good like a medicine, Prov. 17: 22.

2. But may we deny Christ to save our lives? No: he that so saveth his life shall lose it, Matt. 16:25. May we commit any wilful sin to save our lives? No: we must do no evil that good may come, Rom. 3:8. But what we do for the preservation of our own lives, must it be with an eye to God's glory? Yes: That I may live, and keep thy word, Ps. 119:17. Live and praise thee, ver. 175.

3. Are we to be compassionate even to the brute creatures? Yes: A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast, Prov. 12:10. Are we to be careful of the lives of others as well as of our own? Yes: It was Cain that said, Am I my brother's keeper? Gen. 4:9. Are we to do what we can in our places for the relief of those who are exposed to violence? Yes: We must deliver them that are ready to be slain, Prov. 24:11,12. Must we succour the distressed, like the good Samaritan? Yes: Go thou and do likewise, Luke 10:87.

4. Are we to support the lives of those who are in straits? Yes: The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, Job 29:13. Are we to be meek towards those that provoke us? Yes: showing all meekness toward all men, Titus 3:2. And are we to be merciful toward those who need us? Yes: Put on, as the elect of God, bowels of mercy, Col. 3:12.

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