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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXXI. Ques. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
Ans.
The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his.

Q. 1. What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are— 1. All discontentment with our own estate. 2. All envying the good of our neighbour. 3. All inordinate motions and affections towards any thing that is his.

Q. 2. Wherein doth discontentment with our own estate show itself?
A. Discontentment with our own estate doth show itself in our not liking, or not being well pleased with our own present condition, in our murmuring and repining, in our vexing and fretting, in our quarrelling and complaining of our condition, and taking no rest nor quiet therein. "And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house, heavy and displeased; and he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread."— 1 Kings 21:3, 4. "And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate."— Esther 5:11, 13. "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the. destroyer."— 1 Cor. 10:10.

Q. 3. Whence doth discontentment with our own estate arise?
A. Discontentment with our own estate doth arise— 1. From our not believing or not trusting the providence of God, who orders every particular circumstance of our estate and condition, and hath promised to order it for the best. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many Sparrows." — Matt. 10:29-31. 2. From pride and overvaluing ourselves, as if we had some desert of our own, and such high thoughts, as if it were fit that such worthy persons as we are should be in a better condition than that wherein God hath placed us. 3. From a carnal heart, filled with inordinate self-love; which, if God's providence doth not gratify with full provisions for the flesh, it doth vex and grieve, and is disquieted. 4. From inordinate affections unto, and expectations of and from, these outward things, which causeth inordinate grief and trouble in the loss of these things, and great discontent in the disappointment of what we expected of them, and from them.

Q. 4. How may we be cured of discontentment with our own estate?
A. We may be cured of discontentment with our own estate, by mourning for it, and application of ourselves unto the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon and healing; and by the diligent use of the means before directed, for the attainment of the grace of true contentment.

Q. 5. What is the second sin forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The second sin forbidden in the tenth commandment is envy. " Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another."— Gal. 5:26.

Q. 6. What is envy?
A. Envy is a grief at another's good, when the parts and gifts of the mind, or strength and beauty of the body, or the wealth and outward prosperity, or the esteem and honour, or any good thing which another hath, more than ourselves, is a grief or trouble unto us. "His horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved: he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away." — Ps. 112:9, 10. "When Sanballat and Tobiah heard it, it grieved them exceedingly, that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel."— Neh. 2:10.

Q. 7. Why ought we to forbear envying one another?
A. We ought to forbear envying one another—1. Because this sin is very offensive unto God, reflecting great dishonour upon his goodness. "Is thine eye evil, because I am good ?"— Matt. 20:15. 2. Because this sin is promoted by, and makes us like the devil, that envious spirit. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."— John 8:44. 3. Because this sin of envy is heart-murder, and the spring of much strife and contention, and of much evil and mischief; which we shall be ready to do unto those whom we envy. "Where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."— James 3:16. 4. Because this sin of envy is very injurious unto ourselves— ( 1.) To our bodies: it causeth a wasting and decay, and is the foundation of many distempers and diseaseq, where it doth prevail. " Envy is the rottenness of the bones."— Prov. 16:30. (2.) To our souls: it puts our souls out of frame, and unfits us for the duties of Cud's worship. "Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."— 1 Pet. 2:1, 2. (3.) To both body and soul: being such a sin as, without repentance, and the mortification of it, will destroy both body and soul in hell.

Q. 8. How may we be delivered from the sin of envy?
A. We may be delivered from the sin of envy—1. By conviction of its evil, and hearty grief for it. 2. By application of the blood of Christ through faith, for the cleansing of our hearts from it." " The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin."— 1 John 1:7. 3. By cordial love and charity towards our neighbour. "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not."— 1 Cor. 13:4. 4. By the indwelling of the Spirit, through whom alone this sin can be mortified and subdued. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."— Rom. 8:13.

Q. 9. What is the third sin which the tenth commandment doth forbid?
A. The third sin which the tenth commandment doth forbid, is all inordinate motions and affections towards any thing that is our neighbour's. "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affections, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." — Col. 3:5.

Q. 10. What special inordinate motion and affection is forbidden in this commandment?
A. The special inordinate motion and affection which is forbidden in this commandment, is coveting that which is our neighbour's, either his house, or wife, or man-servant, or maid-servant, or ox, or ass, or any thing that is his.

Q. 11. Why ought we not to covet any thing which is our neighbour's?
A. We ought not to covet any thing which is our neighbour's— 1. Because God hath directly forbidden it. 2. Because it is both uncharitableness and injustice towards our neighbour, to covet any thing that is his. 3. Because we lose the comfort of that which is our own, by coveting and inordinately desiring that which is another's.

Q. 12. Doth this tenth commandment forbid only the actual coveting that which is another's?
A. The tenth commandment doth not only forbid the actual coveting that which is another's, but also all habitual inclinations hereunto, and all those inordinate motions of the spirit this way which do precede the consent of the will, which is part of original sin, with which human nature is universally polluted and depraved.

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