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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbids the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, and whatsoever tends thereunto.

1. May we dispose of our own lives at our pleasure? No: For surely your blood of your lives will I require, Gen. 9:5. Is it a sin in any case to kill ourselves? Yes: Do thyself no harm, Acts 16:28. Is it an exceeding sinful sin? Yes: it was the sin of Saul and Judas, Sam. 31:4. Matt. 27:5. Is it a sin needlessly to expose our own lives? Yes: Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God, Matt. 4:7. But must we not expose our lives to keep a good conscience? Yes: Neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I might finish my course with joy, Acts 20:24.

2. Is drunkenness a sin against our own lives? Yes: Take heed lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and so that day come upon you unawares, Luke 21:34. Is uncleanness so? Yes: He that commits fornication sins against his own body, 1 Cor. 6: 18. Is immoderate care and grief a sin against our own lives? Yes: for the sorrow of the world worketh death, 2 Cor. 7:10.

3. Is it lawful for the magistrate to take away the life of a malefactor? Yes: for he bears not the sword in vain, Rom. 13:4. May soldiers kill in a lawful war? Yes: Cursed is he that keepeth back his sword from blood, Jer. 48:10. But is wilful murder a great sin? Yes: The voice of thy brother's blood cries Gen. 4:10 Is it an iniquity to be punished by the judge? Yes: Whoso sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, Gen. 9:6. And ought the murderer to be put to death? Yes: A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him, Prov. 28:17.

4. Is murder a great affront to God? Yes: for in the image of God made he man, Gen. 9:6. Does it make men like the devil? Yes: for he was a murderer from the beginning, John 8:44. Is it of dangerous consequence to the murderer? Yes: for no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him, 1 John 3:15. Ought we therefore to pray that God would keep us from it? Yes: Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God of my salvation, Ps. 51:14.

5. Is malice heart-murder? Yes: lie that hateth his brother is a murderer, 1 John 3:15. Is rash anger a breach of this commandment? Yes: But I say unto you, Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause, shall be in danger of the judgment, Matt. 5:22. Is giving foul language a breach of this commandment? Yes: Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, or Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire, Matt. 5:22. Is revenge a breach of this commandment? Yes: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, Rom. 12:19.

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