Canons of Dordt, week 35

August 28, 2015

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

V

Who teach that corrupt and natural man can make such good use of common grace (by which they mean the light of nature) or of the gifts remaining after the fall that he is able thereby gradually to obtain a greater grace — evangelical or saving grace — as well as salvation itself; and that in this way God, for his part, shows himself ready to reveal Christ to all people, since he provides to all, to a sufficient extent and in an effective manner, the means necessary for the revealing of Christ, for faith, and for repentance.

For Scripture, not to mention the experience of all ages, testifies that this is false: He makes known his words to Jacob, his statutes and his laws to Israel; he has done this for no other nation, and they do not know his laws (Ps. 147:19-20); In the past God let all nations go their own way (Acts 14:16); They (Paul and his companions) were kept by the Holy Spirit from speaking God’s word in Asia; and When they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit would not allow them to (Acts 16:6-7).


Larger Catechism, week 35

August 27, 2015

Q. 143. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.[839]

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man,[840] and the good name of our neighbour, as well as our own;[841] appearing and standing for the truth;[842] and from the heart,[843] sincerely,[844] freely,[845] clearly,[846] and fully,[847] speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice,[848] and in all other things whatsoever;[849] a charitable esteem of our neighbours;[850] loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name;[851] sorrowing for,[852] and covering of their infirmities;[853] freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces,[854] defending their innocency;[855] a ready receiving of a good report,[856] and unwillingness to admit of an evil report,[857] concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers,[858] flatterers,[859] and slanderers;[860] love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth;[861] keeping of lawful promises;[862] studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.[863]

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours, as well as our own,[864] especially in public judicature;[865] giving false evidence,[866] suborning false witnesses,[867] wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth;[868] passing unjust sentence,[869] calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked;[870] forgery,[871] concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause,[872] and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves,[873] or complaint to others;[874] speaking the truth unseasonably,[875] or maliciously to a wrong end,[876] or perverting it to a wrong meaning,[877] or in doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;[878] speaking untruth,[879] lying,[880] slandering,[881] backbiting,[882] detracting, tale bearing,[883] whispering,[884] scoffing,[885] reviling,[886] rash,[887] harsh,[888] and partial censuring;[889] misconstructing intentions, words, and actions;[890] flattering,[891] vain-glorious boasting;[892] thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others;[893] denying the gifts and graces of God;[894] aggravating smaller faults;[895] hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession;[896] unnecessary discovering of infirmities;[897] raising false rumors,[898] receiving and countenancing evil reports,[899] and stopping our ears against just defense;[900] evil suspicion;[901] envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any,[902] endeavoring or desiring to impair it,[903] rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy;[904] scornful contempt,[905] fond admiration;[906] breach of lawful promises;[907] neglecting such things as are of good report,[908] and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.[909]


Belgic Confession, week 8

August 26, 2015

Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement. Yet God is not the author of, nor can he be charged with, the sin that occurs. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that he arranges and does his work very well and justly even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly. We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits. This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures under his control, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground[20] without the will of our Father. In this thought we rest, knowing that he holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without his permission and will. For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance.


Shorter Catechism, week 34

August 25, 2015

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days;[145] and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship,[146] except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.[147]

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.[148]

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments,[149] his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.[150]


Children’s Catechism, week 34

August 24, 2015

Q. 99. What is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Q. 100. What does the ninth commandment teach us?
A. To tell the truth.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 34

August 23, 2015

34. Lord’s Day

Q. 92. What is the law of God?
A. God spake all these words, Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, saying: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Q. 93. How are these commandments divided?
A. Into two tables; [a] the first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbour. [b]

Q. 94. What does God enjoin in the first commandment?
A. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, [a] sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, [b] invocation of saints, or any other creatures; [c] and learn rightly to know the only true God; [d] trust in him alone, [e] with humility [f] and patience submit to him; [g] expect all good things from him only; [h] love, [i] fear, [j] and glorify him with my whole heart; [k] so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will. [l]

Q. 95. What is idolatry?
A. Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. [a]


Westminster Confession, week 34

August 22, 2015

Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

1: The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.[404] But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.[405]

2: Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone;[406] not to angels, saints, or any other creature:[407] and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.[408]

3: Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,[409] is by God required of all men:[410] and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,[411] by the help of His Spirit,[412] according to His will,[413] with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love and perseverance;[414] and, if vocal, in a known tongue.[415]


Canons of Dordt, week 34

August 21, 2015

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

III

Who teach that in spiritual death the spiritual gifts have not been separated from man’s will, since the will in itself has never been corrupted but only hindered by the darkness of the mind and the unruliness of the emotions, and since the will is able to exercise its innate free capacity once these hindrances are removed, which is to say, it is able of itself to will or choose whatever good is set before it — or else not to will or choose it.

This is a novel idea and an error and has the effect of elevating the power of free choice, contrary to the words of Jeremiah the prophet: The heart itself is deceitful above all things and wicked (Jer. 17:9); and of the words of the apostle: All of us also lived among them (the sons of disobedience) at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts (Eph. 2:3).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

IV

Who teach that unregenerate man is not strictly or totally dead in his sins or deprived of all capacity for spiritual good but is able to hunger and thirst for righteousness or life and to offer the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit which is pleasing to God.

For these views are opposed to the plain testimonies of Scripture: You were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5); The imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil all the time (Gen. 6:5; 8:21). Besides, to hunger and thirst for deliverance from misery and for life, and to offer God the sacrifice of a broken spirit is characteristic only of the regenerate and of those called blessed (Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:6).


Larger Catechism, week 34

August 20, 2015

Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.[800]

Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man;[801] rendering to everyone his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof;[802] giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others;[803] moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods;[804] a provident care and study to get,[805] keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition;[806] a lawful calling,[807] and diligence in it;[808] frugality;[809] avoiding unnecessary lawsuits,[810]. and suretiship, or other like engagements;[811] and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.[812]

Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[813] are, theft,[814] robbery,[815] man-stealing,[816] and receiving any thing that is stolen;[817] fraudulent dealing,[818] false weights and measures,[819] removing landmarks,[820] injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man,[821] or in matters of trust;[822] oppression,[823] extortion,[824] usury,[825] bribery,[826] vexatious lawsuits,[827] unjust inclosures and depopulations;[828] ingrossing commodities to enhance the price;[829] unlawful callings,[830] and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbour what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves;[831] covetousness;[832] inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods;[833] distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them;[834] envying at the prosperity of others;[835] as likewise idleness,[836] prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate,[837] and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.[838]


Belgic Confession, week 7

August 19, 2015

Article 12: The Creation of All Things

We believe that the Father created heaven and earth and all other creatures from nothing, when it seemed good to him, by his Word– that is to say, by his Son. He has given all creatures their being, form, and appearance, and their various functions for serving their Creator. Even now he also sustains and governs them all, according to his eternal providence, and by his infinite power, that they may serve man, in order that man may serve God. He has also created the angels good, that they might be his messengers and serve his elect. Some of them have fallen from the excellence in which God created them into eternal perdition; and the others have persisted and remained in their orginal state, by the grace of God. The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions. So then, by their own wickedness they are condemned to everlasting damnation, daily awaiting their torments. For that reason we detest the error of the Sadducees, who deny that there are spirits and angels, and also the error of the Manicheans, who say that the devils originated by themselves, being evil by nature, without having been corrupted.


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