Larger Catechism, week 37

September 15, 2016

Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No man is able, either of himself,[917] or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God;[918] but doth daily break them in thought,[919] word, and deed.[920]

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.[921]

Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,

1. From the persons offending[922] if they be of riper age,[923] greater experience or grace,[924] eminent for profession,[925] gifts,[926] place,[927] office,[928] guides to others,[929] and whose example is likely to be followed by others.[930]

2. From the parties offended:[931] if immediately against God,[932] his attributes,[933] and worship;[934] against Christ, and his grace;[935] the Holy Spirit,[936] his witness,[937] and workings[938] against superiors, men of eminency,[939] and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto;[940] against any of the saints,[941] particularly weak brethren,[942] the souls of them, or any other,[943] and the common good of all or many.[944]

3. From the nature and quality of the offense:[945] if it be against the express letter of the law,[946] break many commandments, contain in it many sins:[947] if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions,[948] scandalize others,[949] and admit of no reparation:[950] if against means,[951] mercies,[952] judgments,[953] light of nature,[954] conviction of conscience,[955] public or private admonition,[956] censures of the church,[957] civil punishments;[958] and our prayers, purposes, promises,[959] vows,[960] covenants,[961] and engagements to God or men:[962] if done deliberately,[963] wilfully,[964] presumptuously,[965] impudently,[966] boastingly,[967] maliciously,[968] frequently,[969] obstinately,[970] with delight,[971] continuance,[972] or relapsing after repentance.[973]

4. From circumstances of time[974] and place:[975] if on the Lord’s day,[976] or other times of divine worship;[977] or immediately before[978] or after these,[979] or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages;[980] if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled[981].


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