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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.

1. Is a sacrament a holy ordinance? Yes: For we minister about holy things, 1 Cor. 9:13. Must they therefore be holy that attend them? Yes: Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord, Isa. 52:11. Are sacraments instituted by Christ? Yes: The Lord himself shall give you a sign, Isa. 7:14. May men institute sacraments? No: Jeroboam, that ordained a feast which he had devised of his own heart sinned, and made Israel to sin, 1 Kings 12:33.

2. Is there in a sacrament an outward and visible sign? Yes: Behold the blood of the covenant, Exod. 24:8. Is there an inward and spiritual grace? Yes: for that Rock was Christ, 1 Cor. 10:4. Are outward signs of use to inform our understandings? Yes: for in them Christ is evidently set forth crucified among us, Gal. 3:1. Are they of use to refresh our memories? Yes: these stones shall be for a memorial, Josh. 4:7. And to stir up our affections? Yes: They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn, Zech. 12:10. Are they of use to transmit the things of God from generation to generation? Yes: For your children shall ask you, What mean you by this service? Exod. 12:26.

3. Is a sacrament a seal? Yes: Circumcision was a seal of the righteousness which is by faith, Rom. 4:11. A seal of the covenant? Yes: He gave him the covenant of circumcision, Acts 7:8. Is a sacrament an oath? Yes: They entered into an oath to walk in God's law, Neh. 10:29. Is it an encouragement to our faith? Yes: Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing, John 20:27. Is it an engagement to obedience? Yes: That henceforth we should not serve sin Rom. 6:6. Is Christ applied to us in sacraments? Yes: As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, Gal. 3:27. Are the benefits of the new covenant applied to us? Yes: To be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee, Gen. 17:7.

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