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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LII. Ques. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
Ans.
The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God's sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

Q. 1. What is the first reason annexed unto the second commandment?
A. The first reason annexed unto the second commandment is, God's sovereignty over us, in these words, "I the Lord."

Q. 2. What is the force of this first reason?
A. The force of this first reason is, because God is the great sovereign King over us, and hath the sole or only authority to make laws for the way of his worship, therefore we ought, by virtue of our allegiance, as we are his subjects, to observe his laws and ordinances, and to worship him no other way than he hath appointed in his Word. "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lerd is a great God, and a great King above all gods."— Ps. 95:2, 3.

Q. 3. What is the second reason annexed unto the second commandment?
A. The second reason annexed unto the second commandment is, God's propriety in us, in these words, "Thy God" — " I the Lord, thy God."

Q. 4. What is the force of this second reason?
A. The force of this second reason is, that because we belong unto the Lord, therefore we ought to keep close unto him and his appointments, and take heed especially of idolatry and superstition, which do alienate the heart from him. "O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."— Ps. 95:6, .7. "They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. They forgat God their Saviour."— Ps. 106:19, 21

Q. 5. What is the third reason annexed unto the second commandment?
A. The zeal which God hath to his own worship, is his jealousy, whereby, out of love to his own worship and institutions, he is highly offended with those that turn aside from them unto their own inventions. "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." "Thou shalt worship no other God; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."— Exod. 34:14.

Q. 6. Wherein doth this zeal and jealousy of God for his own worship show itself?
A. The zeal or jealousy of God for his own worship doth show itself— 1. In his accounting the breakers of this commandment those that hate him, and threatening to punish them unto the third and fourth generation: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." 2. In his esteeming the keepers of this commandment such as love him, and promising mercies unto thousauds of them: " Showing mercy unto thoijsands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Q. 7. How can God in justice visit the iniquity of the fathers upon their children?
A. 1. If children do not walk in the steps of the same sins with their parents, God doth not punish them for their sins. " If he beget a son that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, aud considereth, and doeth not such like, lie shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live."— Ezek. 18:14, 17. 2. If God doth visit the iniquity of the fathers upon their children, it is when the children are guilty of the same iniquity, and so fill up the measure, and the punishment of them is most equal and righteous. "Are not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal ?"— Ezek. 18:25.

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