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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXI. Ques. What is required in the seventh commandment?
Ans.
The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.

Q. 1. What doth the seventh commandment respect?
A. The seventh commandment doth respect our own and others' chastity.

Q. 2. What doth the seventh commandment require, in reference unto our own and others' chastity?
A. The seventh commandment doth require, in reference unto our own and others' chastity, the preservation thereof, in keeping of ourselves unpolluted, and doing what in us lieth to prevent the defilement of others. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour." 1 Thess. 4:3, 4.

Q. 3. Wherein are we bound by this commandment to preserve our own and our neighbour's chastity?
A. We are bound by this commandment to preserve our own and our neighbour's chastity 1. In heart, by such love unto, and desire after, and delight in one another's company, as is pure and chaste; and that whether we be men, as to the company of women; or women, as to the company of men. "See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." 1 Pet. 1:22. 2. In speech, by such discourse one with another, as is uncorrupt, and may tend to one another's edification and sanctification. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Eph. 4:29. 3. In behaviour, by such a conversation and actions as are modest and chaste. "That if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives, while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear." 1 Pet. 3:1, 2.

Q. 4. Whereby may we preserve our chastity?
A. We may preserve our chastity 1. By watchfulness; and that, (1.) Over our hearts and spirits, to oppose uncleanness in the first desires of it, and inclinations of heart to it, and risings of it in the thoughts. "Keep thy heart with all diligence." Prov. 4:23. "Therefore take heed to your spirit." Mal. 2:16. (2.) Over our senses; our eyes, to turn them away from such objects as may provoke lust. "I made a covenant with mine eyes, why then should I think upon a maid ?" Job 31:1. Our ears, to shut them against all lascivious discourse; we must watch also against such touches and wanton dalliances as may be an incentive to unchaste desires, and take heed of all light and lewd company, and watch to avoid all occasions, and resist temptations to the sin of uncleanness. "Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house." Prov. 5:8. "His master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused; and said, How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God ?" Gen. 39:7-9. 2. By diligence in our callings, wherein, when our bodies and minds are busily employed, both may be pre served from those unclean practices and desires which idle persons are more prone unto. "She eateth not the bread of idleness. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." Prov. 31:27, 29. "And Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land. And Shechem took her and lay with her, and defiled her." Gen. 34:1, 2. 3. By temperance in eating and drinking, excess in either of which doth pamper the body, and excite unto lust. "They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife." Jer. 5:8. "Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup," &c. "Thine eyes shall behold strange women." Prov. 23:31, 33. 4. By abstinence, and keeping under the body, when there is need, with frequent fastings. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away." 1 Cor. 9:27. 5. By the fear of God, and awful apprehension of his presence and all.seeing eye. "And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings." Prov. 5:20, 21. 6. By faith in Jesus Christ, and thereby drawing virtue from him for the purifying of the heart and the crucifying of the fleshly lusts. "Purifying their hearts by faith." Acts 15: 9. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." Gal. 5:24. 7. By application of the promises of cleansing the heart, and subduing iniquity. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness will I cleanse you. Ezek. 36:25. "He will subdue our iniquities." Micah 7:19. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 7:1. 8. By the help of the Spirit. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." Rom. 8:13. 9. By frequent and fervent prayer. "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than the snow." Isa. 51:2, 7. "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity." Ps. 119:37. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Matt. 6:13. 10. When no other means will avail to quench burning desires, marriage is to be made use of; and that must be in the Lord. "But if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. If her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." 1 Cor. 7:9, 39.

Q. 5. Why must we preserve our chastity?
A. We must preserve our chastity 1. Because we are men and women, and not beasts, who are under no law; it is suitable to the principles of reason, and law of God written upon the heart, as well as the express command of the word, to keep ourselves chaste and clean. 2. Because we are Christians and not heathens, who have no knowledge or fear of God. " Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who know not God." 1 Thess. 4:5. " This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." Eph. 4:17, 19. 3. Because we are true believers, our bodies are members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost, and not our own, and therefore ought to be kept clean and holy "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What! know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ?" 1 Cor. 6:15, 16, 19. "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:17.

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