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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

Thomas Vincent

LIV. Ques. What is required in the third commandment?
The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God's names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.

Q. 1. What are we to understand by the name of God, which we are forbidden in this commandment to take in vain?
A. The name of God, which we are forbidden in this commandment to take in vain, is to he taken generally and comprehensively for anything whereby God makes himself known.

Q. 2. By what is it that God doth make himself known?
A. God doth make himself known— 1. By his names taken particularly, which he hath given unto himself in Scripture, such as GOD, LORD, I AM, JEHOVAH, and the like. "Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord."— Deut. 6:4. And they shall say unto me, What is his Name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: Thou shalt say, I AM hath sent me unto you." — Exod. 3:13, 14. "I appeared unto Abraham by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known" — Exod. 6:3. 2. By his titles; such as, Lord of hosts; Holy One of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; Creator, Preserver of men; the King of kings, and Lord of lords; King of nations; the King of saints; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies; the God of salvation; the Hearer of prayer, and the like. "Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant." — Isa. 1:9. "The Zion of the Holy One of Israel."— Isa. 60:14. "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."— Exod. 3:6. "The Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth."— Isa. 40:28. "What shall I do unto thee, thou Preserver of men ?"— Job 8:20. "The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords."— 1 Tim. 6:15. "Who would not fear thee, 0 King of nations."— Jer. 10:7. "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." — Rev. 15:3. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies."— 2 Cor. 1:3. "He that is our God is the God of salvation."— Ps. 68:20. "O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come."— Ps. 65:2. 3. By his attributes, which are his perfections and properties, whereby he distinguisheth himself from his creatures; such as omnipotency, eternity, invisibility, infinite wisdom, omnipresence, holiness, unchangeableness, mercifulness, love, and the like. "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth."— Rev. 19:6. "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory."— 1 Tim. 1:17. "Great is our Lord, and of great power.; his understanding is infinite."— Ps. 147:5. "Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and earth "— Jer. 23:24. "For the Lord our God is holy." — Ps. 119:9. "I am the Lord; I change not."— Mal. 3:6. "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion."— Ps. 145:8. "God is love."— 1 John 4:8. 4. By his ordinances; prayer, hearing, the sacrament. "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary."— Ps. 78:13. 5. By his Word, law and gospel. "Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name."— Ps. 138:2. 6. By his works of creation and providence. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." — Ps. 19:1. "The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth."— Ps. 9:16. "He left not himself without a witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain, and fruitful seasons."— Acts 14:17.

Q. 3. What doth the third commandment require, in reference unto those things whereby God doth make himself known?
A. The third commandment doth require, in reference unto the things whereby God doth make himself known— 1. The use of them. 2. The holy and reverent use of them; that we should use them with holy ends, designing the glory of God, and in a reverent manner, as is suitable unto the majesty of God, who maketh himself known by them. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. — Ps. 96:8. "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty. Who shall not fear thee, and glorify thy name?"— Rev. 15:3, 4.

Q. 4. How should our holiness and reverence show itself towards these things?
A. Our holiness and reverence should show itself— 1. In reference unto God's names, titles, and attributes; in our holy and reverent thoughts, and meditating on them, so as to admire, fear, love, desire, and delight in God; and in our holy and reverent mention of them with our tongues. 2. In reference unto God's ordinances; in our holy and reverent making use of them, waiting upon, and seeking after God in them. 3. In reference unto God's Word; in our holy and reverent minding the majesty and authority of God therein, so as to yield ready obedience thereunto. 4. In reference unto God's works of creation; in our holy and reverent contemplation of God's infinite power, and wisdom, and greatness, therein manifested: and in reference unto God's works of providence; in our holy and reverent eyeing, following, and complying with God's designs in all his providential dispensations, blessing and praising him for all his mercies, submitting unto, and patiently bearing his corrections, and any sort of afflictions.

Q. 5. When should we especially, holily, and reverently make use of those things whereby God maketh himself known?
A. At all times; but especially when we are called to the duties of his immediate worship, we should be holy and reverent in the use of these things, sanctifying the name of God in them.

Q. 6. What is the difference between the worship of God required in this third commandment, and that which is required in the first and second commandments?
A. The first commandment hath a respect unto the object of- God's worship; the second commandment hath a respect unto the means of worship; but this third commandment hath a respect unto the manner of worship, requiring that it be performed with humility and holy fear, with sincerity, fervency, and all kind of holy affections.

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