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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXX. Ques. What is required in the tenth commandment?
Ans.
The tenth commandment requireth, full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbour, and all that is his.

Q. 1. What doth the tenth commandment require, in reference to ourselves?
A. The tenth commandment doth require, in reference to ourselves, full contentment with our own condition. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have."— Heb. 13:5.

Q. 2. Wherein doth contentment with our own condition consist?
A. Contentment with our own condition doth consist in our free acquiescence and complacency with God's disposal of us, whereby we like our present condition, as best, and most fit for us.

Q. 3. How may we attain contentment in a prosperous condition, when we abound in wealth and the good things of this life?
A. We may attain contentment in a prosperous condition, and when we abound in wealth and the good things of this life— 1. By not setting our hearts too much on, nor expecting too much from, any of these things. "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them."— Ps. 62:10. "Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."— Luke 12:15. 2. By placing our chief happiness in God and things above; and chiefly seeking to enjoy God in the good things which we have. "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen into me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage."— Ps. 16:5, 6. 3. By readiness to distribute to the necessities of others, which is accompanied with God's love and blessing, who giveth the greatest comfort in these things unto such. " God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work."— 2 Cor. 9:7, 8. 4. By prayer, and seeking to God through Christ for this grace of contentment, without which the more we have in the world, the more our desires after increase will be enlarged, and the less we shall be satisfied.

Q. 4. How may we attain contentment in a low. necessitous, and afflicted condition?
A. We may attain contentment in a low, necessitous, and afflicted condition— 1. By attaining true godliness, unto which alone true contentment is annexed. " Godliness with contentment is great gain." — 1 Tim. 6:6. 2. By being fully persuaded of, and seriously and understandingly eyeing the wise and good hand of God's providence in his disposal of us, and bringing any affliction upon us. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."— Job 1:21. "I was dumb, and I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it." — Ps. 39:9. "I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." — Ps. 119:75. 3. By getting all interest, and trusting in God's promise, to cause all things, even the worst things that can befall us, to work together for our good. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." — Rom. 8:28. 4. By humility, and a deep sense of our undeservings and ill-deserving at God's hands for our sins. "I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto tby servant."— Gen. 32:10. "O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, because we have sinned against thee."— Dan. 9:8. 5. By looking to others better than ourselves, who have been lower in the world, and more afflicted than we have been. Our Saviour had not where to lay his head; and those of whom the world was not worthy had no certain dwelling place in the world, and mally of them destitute, afflicted, and tormented. 6. By labouring so much the more to abound in spiritual riches, the less we have of temporal; and if we have no earthly inheritance to secure our right unto, living by faith upon our heavenly inheritance; hereby the poorest sometimes become the richest, and those that have most outward trouble have most inward joy. "Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him l"— James 2:5. "Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost."— 1 Thess. 1:6. 7. By considering bow we brought nothing into the world, and that we can carry nothing with us out of it. "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither."— Job 1:21. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content."— l Tim. 6:7, 8. 8. By going to Christ to teach us the lesson of universal contentment, and fetching strength from him to exercise this grace in every condition. "Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere, and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."— Phil. 4:11-13.

Q. 5. What doth the tenth commandment require, in reference unto our neighbour?
A. The tenth commandment doth require, in reference unto our neighbour, a right and charitable frame of spirit towards him, and all that is his.

Q. 6. Wherein doth this right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbour, and all that is his, consist?
A. This right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbour, and all that is his, doth consist— 1. In our affections of love, desire, and delight, towards and in our neighbour, and his welfare; together with grief and sorrow with and for our neighbour's evil and sufferings. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love. Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep."— Rom. 12:10, 15. "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."— Heb. 13:3. 2. In a ready disposition and habitual inclination unto these affections towards our neighbour.

Q. 7. How may we attain such affections and dispositions towards our neighbour?
A. We may attain such affections and dispositions towards our neighbour— 1. By getting the law of God written in our hearts, whereby we are wrought into a love of the law, and to an inclination to do it. "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts."— Heb. 8:10. 2. By getting our affections chiefly set upon God, which will incline unto any right affections one towards another. "Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that 'is begotten 'of him."— 1 John 5:1. 3. By faith in Jesus Christ, which worketh the heart both to a true love to God and towards one another. "But faith which worketh by love."— Gal. 5:6. 4. By looking unto, and following the example of, Jesus Christ. "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us."— Eph. 5:2.

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