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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXV. Ques. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
Ans.
The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of or doing any thing against, the honour and duty which belongeth to every one in their several places and relations.

Q. 1. How many ways may we sin against the fifth commandment?
A. We may sin against the fifth commandment two ways — 1. By neglecting of the duties therein prescribed. 2. By doing any thing against the honour which belongeth unto every one in their several places and relations.

Q. 2. What are the sins of children against their parents?
A. The sins of children against their parents are— 1. Irreverence towards them, and anywise dishonouring of them, either in speech or behaviour. "Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, Amen." — Deut. 27:16. " Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness." — Prov. 20:20. 2. Disobedience to their commands. " The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." — Prov. 30:17. 3. Unteachableness and refusal of their instruction. "Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not." — Prov. 8:23. "And thou mourn at last, and say, How have I hated instruction, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers?" — Prov. 5:11-13. 4. Stubbornness and incorrigibleness under their reproofs and corrections. " And he said, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings. Notwithstanding, they hearkened not unto the voice of their father." — 1 Sam. 2:23-25. 5. Wastefulness of their substance, unthankfulness for their care and favours, or anywise unkindness to them, especially when they are aged and in distress. " He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach." — Prov. 19:26. " Despise not thy mother when she is old." — Prov. 23:22. 6. Disposal of themselves unto callings or in marriages, without their consent or advice. "And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Been the Hittite and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah." — Gen. 26:34, 35.

Q. 3. What are the sins of parents against their children?
A. The sins of parents against their children are — 1. Want of natural affection and tenderness towards them, especially when infants, or sick and helpless. "Without natural affection." — Rom. 1:31. "She is hardened against her young ones, as though tbey were not hers." — Job 39:16. 2. Too fond love, giving them their will, and subjecting themselves thereunto; together with partial love, and that expressing itself more to the less deserving, and less to the more deserving. 3. Neglect of their souls, to give them instruction, and reasonable and needful correction; as also neglect of their bodies to make convenient provision for them. "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son." — Prov. 13:24. " If any provide not for his own, he is worse than an infidel." — 1 Tim. 5:8. 4. Cruelty towards them, and unreasonable provoking of them unto anger. "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." — Eph. 6:4. " Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be discouraged." — Col. 3:21. 5. Encouragement of them, either by their command or example, in ill-doing or discouragement of them, either by their prohibition or frowns and displeasure, in well-doing. 6. Opposition of that which is really for their good, either in reference unto their calling or marriage.

Q. 4. What are the sins of wives against their husbands?
A. The sins of wives against their husbands are — 1. Want of that due reverence, and honour, and endeared love, which they should have for their husbands above all others. "And Michal saw David dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. " — 2 Sam. 6:16. 2. Infidelity in breaking the marriage covenant, or revealing any secrets committed by their husbands unto them. To deliver thee from the strange woman, who forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God." — Prov. 2:16, 17. 3. Pride and profusive spending and wasting their estates in costly clothes, beyond their degree, or any other ways. "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning, of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel." — 1 Pet. 3: 3. 4. Unsubjection unto, and imperiousness over their husbands, as if they were their foot, to be commanded by them, and not their head, to rule over them; and this accompanied with frowardness and a contentious spirit, disturbing their husbands with their evil speeches and clamours. "The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping." — Prov. 19:13. 5. Evil surmises, and suspicions of their husbands without reason; unkind behaviour towards them whatsoever kindnesses they receive from them, foolish speaking of their faults before others, to their provocation, instead of love and meek admonitions, when they are alone, to their amendment. 6. Deafening their ear unto the loving counsels and faithful reproof of their husbands, for their souls' good, growing the worse, and not the better thereby.

Q. 5. What are the sins of husbands against their wives?
A. The sins of husbands against their wives are — 1. Want of that endeared love and kindness which is due to their wives, bitter speeches, unkind and unreasonable jealousies, revilings, and rage at their advice, especially when it is loving and meek, and for the real good of their body, or estate, or name, or soul. "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." — Col. 3:19. 2. Unfaithfulness unto their wives, and that either in reference unto their bodies by adultery, or in reference unto their souls, by neglect of such advice, reproof, or instruction, as may be for their souls' good, especially by drawing them unto sin, to their souls' ruin. "The Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." — Mal. 2:14. "Then the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, answered1 As for the word which thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee." — Jer. 44:15, 16.

Q. 6. What are the sins of servants against their masters?
A. The sins of servants against their masters are — 1. Disobedience unto their lawful and fit commands, or unwilling obedience; or eye-service of them only, neglecting their business when their backs are turned. "Servants, obey in all things your masters; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord." — Col. 3:22, 23. 2. Dishonouring them, by reviling speeches to them, or reproachful speeches of them, or by any kind of rude and saucy behaviour before them. 3. Lying, or anywise dissembling with them; wronging or anywise defrauding of them in their estates. "He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight." — Ps. 101:7. 4. Repining at their provisions without cause, impatience, anger, discontent, surliness, and answering again when reproved for their faults. "Not answering again." — Tit. 2: 9. 5. Receiving no instruction from them; withdrawment from, or negligent and sleepy attendance upon, family worship.

Q. 7. What are the sins of masters against their servants?
A. The sins of masters against their servants are — 1. Requiring and commanding them to do any thing which is in itself sinful; or encouraging of them by their example so to do. "It may he the Lord will bear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master hath sent to reproach the living God." — Isa. 37:4. 2. Requiring their whole time for themselves, and not allowing them sufficient for the refreshment of nature, and daily secret worship of God. 3. Proud, imperious carriage towards them, and ruling over them with severity, and continual chiding and threatenings, discontent, and dissatisfaction with all their willing endeavours to do them service, too eager insisting upon, and too frequent upbraiding them with their faults. "Forbearing threatening." — Eph. 6:9. 4. Niggardly pinching, and withholding from them their convenient food, or things needful for them when they are sick, as also keeping back from them their due wages. "Behold, the hire of the labourers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth." — James 5:4. 5. Neglect of their souls, and of family worship with them. "Pour out thy fury upon the families that call not upon thy name." — Jer. 10:15.

Q. 8. What are the sins of people against their ministers?
A. Thu sins of people against their ministers are — 1. Hatred and persecution of them, either with the hand or tongue, making slanders, or taking them up without proof, and nowise esteeming and honouring of them as ministers of Christ, and ambassadors sent from heaven unto them. "I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words." — 3 John 10. "His letters (say they) are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible." — 2 Cor. 10:10. "He that despiseth you, despiseth me." — Luke 10:16. 2. Forbearing to hear them through an itching ear, slightness of spirit in hearing, and anywise grieving of them by their unbelief; hardness of heart, unfruitfulness, divisions among themselves, unstedfastness, and unsuitable conversation unto the gospel which their ministers do preach amongst them. "For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts, shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." — 2 Tim. 4:3, 4. "He looked about with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." — Mark 3:5. "Out of much affliction, and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears." — 2 Cor. 2:4. 3. Restraining prayer for them, denial of required submission and obedience unto them, withholding due maintenance from them, or anywise neglecting the duties required of people to their ministers.

Q. 9. What are the sins of ministers against their people?
A. The sins of ministers against their people are — 1. Want of sincere and tender love to their souls, seeking more to receive earthly gain from them, than to do any good unto them. "I seek not yours, but you ." — 2 Cor. 12:14. "His watchmen are blind; they are greedy dogs which can never have enough; they look every one for his gain from his quarter." — Isa. 56:10. 2. Negligence in their prayers and studies for them, and in their preaching the word to them. "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine: neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." — 1 Tim. 4:13, 14. 3. Unwatchfulness over them, unprofitableness in their discourse among them, unsuitableness of conversation unto their doctrine and profession, unteaching that by their lives which they teach in their pulpits. 4. Corrupting the word they preach, and infecting the minds of their people with erroneous opinions. "We are not as many, which corrupt the word of God." — 2 Cor. 2:17.

Q. 10. What are the sins of subjects against their magistrates?
A. The sins of subjects against their magistrates are — 1. Rebellion against them, and any treasonable seeking their overthrow and ruin. "An evil man seeketh only rebellion, therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him." — Prov. 17:11. 2. Unsubjection and disobedience unto their good and righteous laws. "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake." — Rom. 13:5. 3. Neglecting of prayer for them, and, instead thereof, speaking evil of them. "Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." — 2 Pet. 2:10. 4. Reviling speeches unto them, and irreverent behaviour before them. "Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people." — Exod. 22:28. "And Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king." — 2 Sam. 24:20. 5. Denial of their just dues, and anywise defrauding of them. "Owe no man any thing." — Rom. 12:8.

Q. 11. What are the sins of magistrates against their subjects?
A. The sins of magistrates against their subjects are — 1. Making laws which are contrary to the laws of God. "Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, 0 king, shall be cast into the den of lions ?" — Dan. 6:12. 2. Oppression, tyranny, and cruelty in their government. "As a roaring lion and a raging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor; but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days." — Prov. 28:15, 16. 3. Seeking their own interest, rather than the interest of the commonwealth. 4. Discountenance and discouragement of the good and righteous, together with encouragement and preferment of the wicked and unrighteous. 5. Unsubjection to the laws of God themselves, and, by their evil example, encouraging others to do the like. "The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted." — Ps. 12:8.

Q. 12. What are the sins of the younger and weaker in gifts and graces against them that are aged and stronger?
A. The sins of the younger and weaker in gifts and graces, against them which are aged and stronger, are — 1. A proud conceitedness of wisdom and worth in themselves, beyond their elders and betters, together with a despising of them in their hearts, and judging of them for making use of their known liberty. "Not a novice, lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil." — 1 Tim. 3:6. "Let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth." — Rom. 14:3. 2. A rude and indecent taking place of them, or anywise irreverent carriage towards them. "Sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden, and he say, Give this man place." — Luke 14:8, 9. 3. A masterly Spirit and stiff will, which will not yield to their wise counsels, and advice for their good.

Q. 13. What are the sins of the aged and stronger in gifts and graces against the younger and weaker?
A. The sins of the aged and stronger in gifts and graces, against the younger and weaker, are — 1. Giving them evil examples of unholiness, covetousness, unrighteousness, intemperance, or any wickedness. 2. Contemptuous carriage towards them, or not giving due encouragement unto good beginnings. 3. Not bearing with their weakness, and despising of them because of their infinities. "We, then, that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." — Rom. 15:1. "Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not." — Rom. 14:3.

Q. 14. What are the sins of equals against one another?
A. The sins of equals, one against another, are — 1. Hatred, envy, malice, inordinate anger towards, and evil speaking either to or of; one another, and any way injuring, defaming, and dishonounng each other. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another." — Eph. 4:31, 32. 2. Instead of provoking one another unto love and good works, enticing one another, or yielding unto one another's enticements unto sin. "Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works." — Heb. 10:24. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." — Prov. 1:10. 3. A private, contracted, selfish Spirit, which keepeth them from any cordial and diligent seeking of one another's good, unless their own private carnal interest be promoted thereby. " Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." — 1 Cor. 10:24.

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