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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 75 What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbids whatsoever does or may unjustly hinder our own or our neighbour's wealth, and outward estate.

1. May we do what we will with our own estates? No: for we are but stewards of the manifold grace of God, 1 Pet. 4:10. Is it a sin then to waste our estates in prodigality? Yes: for the drunkard and glutton shall come to poverty, Prov. 23:31. Is luxury the way to beggary? Yes: he that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man, Prov. 21:17. Is slothfulness a robbing of ourselves? Yes: for he that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster, Prov. 18:9. And is that the way to poverty? Yes: for drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags, Prov. 23:21.

2. Is keeping idle company the way to poverty? Yes: for he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough, Prov. 28:19. Is fraud and injustice the way to poverty? Yes: for wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished, Prov. 13:11. Can any expect to prosper in a way of unjust gain? No: for he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool, Jer. 17:11. Do men rob themselves and their families by foolishness in their affairs? Yes: for every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands, Prov. 14:1. And by rash suretyship? Yes: for he that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it, Prov. 11:15.

3. Is it a sin to rob ourselves of the comfort of that which God has given us? Yes: if a man hath not power to eat of it, it is vanity, and an evil disease, Eccl. 6:2. And is it a sin to deny it to our relations? Yes: if any provide not for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel, 1 Tim. 5:8.

4. Is it a great sin to steal from anybody? Yes: for everyone that stealeth shall be cut off, Zech. 5:3. Is it a great sin for children to steal from their parents? Yes: whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith it is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer, Prov. 28:24. And for the rich to oppress the poor? Yes: Rob not the poor, because he is poor, Prov. 22:22. Will you therefore keep your hands from picking and stealing? Yes: because of the fear of God, Neh. 5:15. Must those who have used themselves to it break it off? Yes: Let him that stole steal no more, Eph. 4:28. Must poor people especially watch and pray against this temptation? Yes: Lest I be poor, and steal, Prov. 30:9.

5. Is it a sin to cheat anybody in a bargain? Yes: Let no man go beyond or defraud his brother in any matter, 1 Thess. 4:6. Is it a sin to use false weights and measures? Yes: A false balance is abomination to the Lord, Prov. 11:1. Is it a sin to give assistance or countenance to any fraud? Yes: Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul, Prov. 29:24.

6. Is it a sin to deny relief to the poor? Yes: Whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up the bowels of his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in that man? 1 John 3:17. Is it a sin to deny the payment of a just debt? Yes: for the wicked borroweth, and payeth not again, Ps. 37:21. Or withhold wages that is due? Yes: the hire of the labourers kept back by fraud crieth, James 5:4. And is the love of money the cause of all these sins? Yes: the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Tim. 6:10.

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