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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

Thomas Vincent

XXXIX. Ques. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
Ans. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 1. Upon what account is obedience unto God the duty of man?
A. Obedience unto God is the duty of man, because God is his Creator and Benefactor and supreme Sovereign Lord and King.

Q. 2. Is there any other Lord over the conscience, who can require obedience of men for their own sake chiefly, besides God?
A. God is the only Lord of the conscience; and though we are to obey magistrates, and parents, and masters, yet we are chiefly to do this because God requireth us so to do; and if they command us to do anything which God doth forbid, we are to refuse obedience, being to obey God rather than ally man in the world. "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye." Acts 4:19.

Q. 3. What rule hath God given us, according to which our whole obedience must be guided?
A. The only rule which God hath given us, according to which our whole obedience unto him must be guided, is his revealed will.

Q. 4. Hath God any other will than that which he hath revealed?
A. God hath a secret will of his counsel concerning all things which come to pass, and this cannot be known as to most things beforehand, and therefore is no rule for our obedience.

Q. 5. What is the difference between God's secret will and God's revealed will?
A. God's secret will is concerning all things that are done, and shall be done; and doth extend even unto sinful actions, which he doth will to permit, and determine, and direct beyond man's will and intention, to his own glory. But God's revealed will is concerning those things which may and ought to be done, and doth extend only unto those things which are duty, and which in themselves do tend to God's glory; and this revealed will is the rule of man's obedience.

Q. 6. Where is the revealed will of God to be found?
A. The revealed will of God is to be found in the Scriptures, where the whole duty of man to God is made known. "He hath showed thee, 0 man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?" Micah 6:8.

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