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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXIV. Ques. What is required in the eighth commandment?
Ans.
The eighth commandment requireth the law-fill procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

Q. 1. What doth the eighth commandment respect?
A. The eighth commandment doth respect the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.

Q. 2. What doth the eighth commandment require, in reference unto our own and others' wealth and outward estate?
A. The eighth commandment doth require, in reference unto our own and others' wealth and outward estate, the procuring and preservation thereof.

Q. 3. May we use any means for the procuring and preserving of our own and others' wealth and outward estate?
A. We must use none but lawful means for the procuring or preserving of our own or others' wealth and outward estate.

Q. 4. How may and ought we to endeavour the procurement and preservation of our own wealth and outward estate?
A. We may and ought to endeavour the procurement and preservation of our own wealth and outward estate 1. By making choice of a lawful and fit calling for us; and therein to abide with God. "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it." Gen. 2:15. "And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground." Gen. 4:2. "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Brethren, let every man wherein he is called therein abide with God." 1 Cor. 7:20-24. 2. By a moderate care in our callings, to provide such things of this world's good things for ourselves, as are honest and decent, and useful for us. "She considereth a field, and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard." Prov. 31:16. "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." Rom. 12:17. 3. By prudence and discretion in the managing of the affairs of our callings to the best advantage. "A good man showeth favour, and lendeth; he will guide his affairs with discretion." Ps. 112:5. "Discretion shall preserve thee, and understanding shall keep thee." Prov. 2:11. 4. By frugality, in decent sparing unnecessary expenses, wasting nothing, and denying ourselves the extravagant and costly cravings of our carnal desires and appetites. "There is a treasure to be desired, and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." Prov. 21: 20. "When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." John 6:12. "Teaching, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly," &c. Tit. 2:12. 5. By diligence and laboriousness in our callings. "The hand of the diligent maketh rich." Prov. 10:4. "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall increase." Prov. 13:11. "Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Eph. 6:28. 6. By seeking unto the Lord for his blessing upon our endeavours, and dependence upon him in the use of means for temporal provisions. 'The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Prov. 10:22. "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God." Phil. 4:6. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1 Pet. 5:7. 7. By a cheerful use of the good things which God giveth us ourselves, so far as we have need, and a ready distribution to the necessity of others. "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." Prov. 11:24, 25. 8. By seeking our due, in a moderate endeavour to keep or recover that which doth of right belong unto us, when wrongfully sought or detained from us.

Q. 5. Is it lawful, in the sight of God, to make use of the laws of men to recover or defend that which is our own, when it is said by our Saviour (Matt. 5:40), "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also?" and by the apostle (1 Cor. 6:7), "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another; why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"
A. 1. Neither of these places of Scripture does absolutely forbid the making use of the law at all, or at any time, for the defence or recovery of our right. 2. That of our Saviour doth forbid contention; and rather than to uphold it, to part with some of our right, such as a coat or a cloak, or any such smaller goods, which, without much prejudice, we might spare; but it doth not hence follow, if another should wrong us in a greater matter, and seek to undo us, that we ought to let him take all which we have in the world, without seeking our right by the laws under which we live; for if this were so, all sincere Christians would quickly be robbed and spoiled by the wicked, amongst whom they live, of all their livelihood. 3. That of the apostle doth forbid Christians going to law one with another before the heathen and infidel magistrates, which was a scandal to the Christian religion which they did profess; and he telleth them, they ought rather to make up their differences about wrong and right amongst them-selves, and to suffer wrong rather than do anything to the prejudice of the gospel; but this doth not prohibit Christians, in a Christian commonwealth, to defend or recover their own by law; yet, so much is forbidden in these places, namely, the contending at law about small matters, especially in case of scandal, and the using the law at all, if there be not necessity. 4. That it is lawful in the sight of God to make use of the laws of men for defence or recovery of our right, is evident, from God's appointment of a magistracy to execute those laws, who would be of no use might we not have the benefit of the laws; and be cause those laws are suitable to the judicial Jaws of God's own appointment, which the children of Israel ought make use of for the defence and recovery of their right; and by the same reason Christians may do so too.

Q. 6. How ought we to endeavour the procurement and furtherance of the wealth and outward estate of others?
A. We ought to endeavour the procurement and preservation of the wealth and outward estate of others, in general, by a public spirit, in seeking the good of the commonwealth above our own, and seeking others' private wealth and advantage, as well as our own. "Let no man seek his own (that is, only), but every man another's wealth." l Cor. 10:24.

Q. 7. What is our duty in reference unto such as are poor and in want?
A. Our duty unto such as are poor and in want, is to relieve them, according to our ability and their necessity, by lending and giving freely unto them for their supply and help, especially if they be of the household of faith. "If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger or sojourner, that he may live with thee." Lev. 25:35. "As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:10. "Distributing to the necessities of the saints." Rom. 12:13. "Give to him that asketh thee; and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away." Matt. 5:42. "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you Say, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? " James 2:15, 16. "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" 1 John 3:17.

Q. 8. What is our duty towards all, in reference unto their wealth and outward estate?
A. Our duty towards all, in reference unto their wealth and outward estate, is kindness and justice.

Q. 9. Wherein should our kindness show itself in reference unto the wealth and outward estate of others?
A. Our kindness in reference unto the wealth and out-ward estate of others, should show itself in our readiness unto any offices of love, which may promote and further it. "Let us do good unto all men." Gal. 6:10. "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints; and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you." Rom. 16:1, 2.

Q. 10. What is the rule of justice to be observed in reference unto the wealth and outward estate of others?
A. The rule of justice to be observed, in reference unto the wealth and outward estate of others, is, to do unto others as it is fit, and as we would that others should do unto us. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets." Matt. 7: 12.

Q. 11. Wherein must we show our justice in our dealings with others?
A. We must show our justice in our dealings with other 1. In our truth and sincerity in all our concerns with others. "He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart." Ps. 15:2. " For our rejoicing is this, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we had our conversation in the world." 2 Cor. 1:12. 2. In our faithfulness to fulfil all our lawful covenants and promises, and to discharge whatever trust is committed unto us. "He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not." Ps. 15:4. "It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1 Cor. 4:2. 3. In our buying and selling, giving a just price for those things that we buy, and taking a reasonable rate for such things as we sell. "If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another." Lev. 25:14. 4. In paying every one his dues. "Render, therefore, to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom. Owe no man anything, but to love one another." Rom. 13:7, 8. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not to thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee." Prov. 3:27, 28. 5. In restoring the pledge which is left with us, or goods of others which are found by us, or anything that is gotten by stealth or fraud. "He shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found." Lev. 6:4. "Hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, "&c. Ezek. 18:6. "If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." Luke 19: 8.

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