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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism

John Whitecross

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

1. A friend calling on Ebenezer Erskine during his last illness, said to him, 'Sir, you have given us much good advice; pray, what are you now doing with your own soul?' 'I am doing with it,' said he, 'what I did forty years ago: I am resting on that word, I am the Lord thy God; and on this I mean to die.' To another he said, 'The covenant is my charter, and if it had not been for that blessed word, I am the Lord thy God, my hope and strength had perished from the Lord.' The night on which he died, his eldest daughter was reading in the room where he was, to whom he said, 'what book is that you are reading, my dear?' 'It is one of your sermons.' 'what one is it?' 'It is the sermon on that text, I am the Lord thy God.' 'O woman,' said he, 'that is the best sermon I ever preached.' And it was, most probably, the best to his soul. A little afterwards, with his finger and thumb, he shut his own eyes, and laying his hand below his cheek, breathed out his soul into the hands of his living Redeemer. Happy the man that is in such a state! Happy the man whose God is the Lord!

2. A gentleman one day took an acquaintance of his upon the leads of his house to show him the extent of his possessions; waving his hand about, 'There,' says he, 'that is my estate.' Then pointing to a great distance on one side, 'Do you see that farm?' 'Yes.' 'Well, that is mine.' Pointing again on the other side, 'Do you see that house?' 'Yes.' 'That also belongs to me.' 'Then,' said his friend, 'do you see that little village out yonder?' 'Yes.' 'Well, there lives a poor woman in that village, who can say more than all this.' 'Aye! what can she say?' 'Why, she can say, "Christ is mine!"' He looked confounded, and said no more.

This material is taken from THE SHORTER CATECHISM ILLUSTRATED by John Whitecross revised and republished by the Banner of Truth Trust edition 1968 and reproduced with their permission.

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