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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


XC. Ques. How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
Ans.
That the Word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives.

Q. 1. What is required before the hearing of the Word, tbat it may become effectual unto salvation?
A. Before the hearing of the Word, that it may become effectual unto salvation, two things are required— 1. Preparation. 2. Prayer.

Q. 2. What is that preparation that is required before the hearing of the Word?
A. The preparation which is required before the hearing of the Word is— l. That we consider the majesty of God, in whose presence we are to appear, and whose word we are to hear. "We are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God."— Acts 10:33. 2. That we examine ourselves, to find out, and lay aside, whatever may hinder the saving operation of the Word of God upon us. "I will wash mine hands in innocency, so will I compass thine altar, O Lord."— Ps. 26:6. "Wherefore lay apart all superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls."— James 1:21. "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.

Q. 3. What is that prayer which is required before hearing the Word?
A. The prayer which is required before hearing the Word, is prayer in secret, and in our families, for God's assistance of his ministers in preaching the Word to us, and for his blessing the Word, and making it effectual to us by his Spirit in our hearing of it. "Pray for us that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified."— 2 Thess. 3:1.

Q. 4. What is required in reading and hearing the Word, to make it effectual unto salvation?
A. In reading and hearing the Word, that it may become effectual unto salvation, three things are required — 1. Attention. 2. Faith. 3. Love.

Q. 5. What is that attention which is required in reading and hearing the Word?
A. The attention which is required in reading and hearing the Word, is a diligent inclining the ear, and bending the mind, that we may understand what we read and hear. "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart unto understanding: then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God." — Prov. 2:1, 2, 5.

Q. 6. What is that faith which is required in reading and hearing the Word?
A. The faith which is required in reading and hearing the Word doth imply — 1. In general, a believing assent unto the divine authority of the whole Scripture, that it is indeed the word of God; and however it was penned by divers holy men in divers ages, that yet the whole was indited, and they wrote nothing but as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. "We thank God, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God."— 1 Thess. 2:13 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God "— 2 Tim. 3:16 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." — 2 Pet. 1:21. 2. The faith required in reading and hearing the Word, doth imply in particular— (1) A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all Scripture history, as that which most certainly was; especially the history of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. (2.) A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all Scripture prophecy, as that, so far as it is not yet fulfilled, which most certainly will be; especially the prophecy concerning the consummation of all things, and the general judgment of the world by Jesus Christ at the last day. (3.) A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all Scripture doctrine, as that which is most high, and most worthy of understanding; especially the doctrine of the Trinity, and Christ's incarnation, and the way of man's redemption. (4.) A believing assent unto the truth and righteousness of all Scripture threatenings, whether in the law or gospel, and that in the most severe executions of them. (5.) A believing assent unto the holiness, righteousness, and goodness of all Scupture precepts; as also to the perfection of the Scripture rule for all things which concern our practice. (6.) A fiducial application of all Scripture promises, so far as they have a general reference unto all believers, as most firm, true, precious, and such as contain in them whatever is really for our good and happiness, both in this and in the other world.

Q. 7. What is that love which is required in reading and hearing the Word of God?
A. The love which is required in reading and hearing the Word of God, is love of the Word, because it is the word of God. "Consider how I love thy precepts. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly."— Ps. 119:159, 167.

Q. 8. Wherein should our love to the Word of God show itself?
A. Our love to the Word of God should show itself— 1. In our high prizing the Word of God above things which are most necessary and precious in the world. "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."— Job 23:12. "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."— Ps. 119:72. 2. In our earnest desires after the Word. "My soul breaketh for the longing it hath unto thy judgments at all times. I opened my mouth and panted; for I longed for thy commandments." — Ps. 119:20, 131. 3. In our delighting ourselves in the Word. "Thv testimonies are my delight, and my counsellors. Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil."— Ps. 119:24, 111, 162.

Q. 9. What is required after the reading and hearing of the Word, that it may become effectual unto salvation?
A. There is required after the reading and hearing of the Word, that it may become effectual unto salvation— 1. That we lay it up in our hearts, making our hearts and memories storehouses of this heavenly treasure. "Tliv word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."— Ps. 119:11. 2. That we practise it in our lives, being ready to obey and do whatever we read or hear out of the Word to be our duty. "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves. Whose looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, lie being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed"— James 1:22, 25.

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