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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


L. Ques. What is required in the second commandment?
Ans.
The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 1. How doth the worship required in this second commandment differ from the worship required in the first commandment?
A. The worship required in the first commandment hath a respect unto the object of worship, whereby we are bound to worship the true God, and none else: the worship required in the second commandment hath a respect unto the means of worship, whereby we are bound to worship God according to the way and means of his own appointment, and no other.

Q. 2. What is the way and means which God hath appointed for his worship?
A. The only way and means which God hath appointed for his worship, are his ordinances, which he hath prescribed in his Word.

Q. 3. What are the ordinances which God hath appointed in his Word, to be the means of worship, and to be observed by his people ?
A. The ordinances which God hath appointed in his Word, to be the means of his worship, and to be observed by his people, are — 1. Prayer unto God with thanksgiving, and that publicly in assemblies, privately in families, and secretly in closets. "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."— Phil. 4:6. "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."— Eph. 5:20. "And the whole multitude of people were praying." — Luke 1:10. "Pour out thy fury upon the families which call not upon thy name."— Jer. 10:25. "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which. is in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." — Matt. 6:6. 2. Reading and searching the Scriptures. "For Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day."— Acts 15:21. "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me."— John 5:39. 3. Preaching and hearing of the word. "Preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine."— 2 Tim. 4:2. "Hear, and your soul shall live."— Isa. 55:3. 4. Singing of psalm.. "Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints."— Ps. 149:1. "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." — James 5:13. 5. Administration and receiving of the sacraments, both of baptism and the Lord's supper. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."— Matt. 28:19. "For I have received of the Lord that which also I have delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which lie was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."— 1 Cor. 11:23-25. 6. Fasting. "But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days."— Luke 5:35. 7. Instructing of children and household in the laws of the Lord. "For I know him, that he will command his children, and his house-hold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." — Gen. 18:19. "And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children."— Deut. 6:6, 7. "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring thera up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."— Eph. 6:4. 8. Conference and discourse of the things of God. "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it."— Mal. 3:16. "Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."— Deut. 6:7. 9. Meditation. "I will meditate of all thy works."— Ps. 77:12. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear unto all."— 1 Tim. 4:15. 10. Vows to the Lord. "Vow and pay unto the Lord."— Ps. 76:11. 11. Swearing by the name of the Lord, when lawfully called. "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.— Deut. 6:13. 12. Exercise of Church discipline. "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican."— Matt. 18:15-17.

Q. 4. What doth God require in the second commandment, in reference to his ordinances and means of worship?
A. God, in the second commandment, doth require, in reference to his ordinances and means of worship — 1. The receiving of them. 2. Observing of them. 3. The keeping them pure and entire.

Q. 5. What is it to receive God's ordinances?
A. The receiving God's ordinances implieth an approving of them with the mind, and embracement of them with the will.

Q. 6. What is it to observe God's ordinances?
A. The observing God's ordinances, implieth a doing what is required in them, a making use of them, and attending upon God in them.

Q. 7. What is it to keep pure and entire God's ordinances?
A. The keeping pure and entire God's ordinances implieth a doing what in us lieth to preserve the ordinances from corruption, not suffering any thing to be added to them, or taken away from them. "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."— Deut. 12:32.

Q. 8. How doth it appear that the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed, is required in the second commandment, when it doth only forbid: "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image," &c?
A. God's forbidding the making of any graven image, and worshipping it, doth clearly imply— 1. That God must be worshipped by some means. 2. That it is a sin to worship God by graven images. 3. That, by consequence, it is a sin to worship God by the means which he hath not appointed. 4. That therefore it is a duty to worship God by the means which he hath appointed, which being his ordinances, they must be received, observed, and kept pure and entire.

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