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The eighth Question of the HEIDELBERG
are we fo corrupted that we are abfolutely incapable of doing any Good, and inclined to all Manner of Wickedness?
"A. Yes; unlefs we are regenerated by the Spirit "of God."
Q. Of what Good are we incapable?
A. Of all fpiritual Good; of which St. Paul speaks, Gal. v. 22. The Fruits of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith.
Q. How doth it appear that you are incapable of doing Such Good?
A. From the Teftimony of Chrift, John xv. 4, 5. As the Branch cannot bear Fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine; no mare can ye, except ye abide in me, &c. And Paul, 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Q. Are we then inclined to all Evil?
A. Yes; by Nature we are, Gen. vi. 5. God faw that the Wickedness of Man was great in the Earth; and that every Imagination of the Thought of his Heart, was only Evil continually. And Tit. iii. 3. We ourselves alfo were fometimes foolish, difobedient, ferving divers Lufts, and Pleafures; living in Malice and Envy, hateful, and bating one another.
Q. Doth then every Man practife nothing but Evil?
A. No. For by Nature he is inclined to it; the Seed of all Sin is in us. Fer. vi. 7. As a Fountain cafteth out her Waters, fo fhe cafteth out her Wickedness, &c. Matt. xv. 19. For out of the Heart proceed evil Thoughts, Murders, Adulteries, Fornication, Thefts, Falfe Witnefs, Blafphemies.
Q. Hath not Man free Will?
A. No; not to do Good. Because he is a bond Slave to Satan; and a Servant of Sin. John viii. 34. and 2d Tim. ii. 26. That they may recover themjelves
out of the Snare of the Devil, who are taken Captive by him at his Will.
Q. How long are we unable to do any Good, and inclined to do Evil?
A. Until we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. Q. What is it to be regenerated?
A. It is to be renewed in the Spirit of our Mind, fo as to be turned from Darkness to Light; and from the Power of Satan, unto God, Eph. iv. 23. and Acts, xxvi. 18.
Q. By what Means may we be thus regenerated?
A. The Spirit of God regenerates us by his Word, as well by the Law as by the Golpel, John iii. 5. and James i. 18.
Q. Is this Regeneration necessary to our Salvation?
A. Yes. For without that no Man can fee God, John iii. 5. Except a Man be born of Water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
Q. What was the Intention of the Catechift to give fuch a Defcription of our corrupt Nature?
A. That we may thereby discover how miserable, hateful and loathfome we are in the Sight of God, and how incapable to do good; and that as long as we continue in that State, we need not expect any Confolation in Jesus Christ.
Q. How doth it appear that this is the pure Doctrine? A. Because all its Inftructions are conformable to the Spirit and Word of God, who humbleth a Man, and brings him to understand his own Nothingness. Q. What Ufe do you make of this Doctrine?
A. That we, with the greatest Calmness, ought to confider our corrupt Nature, what horrible Creatures and Generation of Vipers we are, having the leaft Reason of all Creatures to be proud or haughty; but that we may humble ourselves, and endeavour to be regenerated; flying to Jefus Chrift, our Saviour; praying with all Prayers and Supplication in the Spirit, for his Mercy, until we find by and in ourselves an Averfion
Avertion to all Evil; and on the contrary, a longing
The ninth Question of the HEIDELBERG
DOTH not God injure Man, by requiring those
Le knotus he cannot perform?
A. No. For God created Man in a State of "Ability of doing Good; but Man, by the Inftiga❝tion of the Devil and his own Rebellion, deprived himfelf and his Pofterity of thofe Divine Gifts, " wherewith he was endowed.
Q. Can you not render this more evident?
A. Yes. God never can do any unjuft Thing, Job xxxiv. 10. Rom. iii. 5. Man, as a rational Creature, in what State foever he finds himself, is always depending on God, and is obliged to obey the fupreme Being, as his Creator and Suftainer. Jer. x. 6, 7. And the willfull Difobedience of Man cannot take away God's Juftice, in demanding a continual and perfect Obedience of Man, even as a Creditor has a juft Right to Payment, altho' his Debtor fhould become Infolvent.
Q. Is it not in vain to require from a Man that, which is impoffible for him to perform?
A. It would be in vain, when God fhould only require to perform Things which were absolutely impoffible, but not now, because God requires a perfect Obedience of Man, to that End, that he should be humbled and convinced of his Incapacity and Mifery, By the Law is the Knowledge of Sin, Rom. iii. 20. In order to cause him to fly for Help to Jefus Chrift, who is all and in all, Col. iii. 11. That is All-fufficient, and All-meritorious to them, that believe in him. And that God may be justified in punishing the Wicked. Luke xii. 47.
The 10th Question of the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM.
UT will God fuffer this Difobedience and Rebellion to go unpunished?
"A. By no Means; but on the contrary beholds "Sin, whether original or actual, with Indignation " and Abhorrence; and is refolved to punish by the "Effect of his juft Judgment, both with temporal ❝and eternal Pains, as he hath declared, faying, Curfed is every one that continueth not in all Things, "which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them.' Q. Having poke of the Wrath and Curfe of God, under which all Men lie by their Fall, in the third Queftion, tell me why you call the Wrath of God horrible?
A. Because of its being compared to Things the moft horrible, Deut. xxxii. 22. For a Fire is kindled in my Anger, and shall burn unto the lowest Hell, and fhall confume the Earth with her Increase, and set on Fire the Foundations of the Mountains. And Jer. xxiii. 19. Q. But is it not hard that Sinners should fuffer eternally for the Sins of a few Years?
A. No. For the Evil of Sin is not to be measured by the Length of Time; but by the Object against which it is committed, Pf. li. 4, 5. Against Thee only have I finned, and done this Evil in thy Sight.
The 11th Question of the HEIDELBERG
S not God then alfo merciful?
Q. "A. Yes, doubtlefs. But he is also just, "and for that Reason, his Juftice requires, that the "Sins which have been committed against the infinite "Majefty of God, fhould be punished with infinite" "Punishment; that is to fay, eternal Torments, "which Man is to endure both in his Body and Soul."
Q. What is, in Brief, the Subftance of this Anfwer? A. That God cannot have Mercy upon us, by darkening his Righteousness, as we fee, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. That he will by no Means clear the Guilty. All his Mercy fpoken of (differing from his common Goodness) fuppofes an Evidence of his Juftice in exacting full Satisfaction for our Sins; and unless God is obliged, according to the perfect Rectitude and Equity of his Nature and Government, to punish, and that eternally. Sinners, (except they come by Faith to Chrift) would never forfake their Sins; therefore confequently, according to his Juftice, God can never leave off punishing the Sinner.
Of the Redemption of Man.
The 12th Question of the HEIDELBERG
TS there any Means whereby we may avoid fuch
"A. As God will have his Juftice fatisfied, we "muft therefore make a fall and entire Payment, "either by ourselves, or by fome other, as is menti"oned in the 11th Question."
Q. Wherein dath this Satisfaction confift?
A. In Obedience to the Law, Rom. v. 19. And fuffering all the Punishment which we have deferved, 2 Cor. v. 21,
Q. Is fuch Satisfaction for our Sins, necessary?
A. Yes. Not only because it is the eternal Will of God, but alfo for the Honour of his Juftice, Rom. iii. 25, 26. Whom God hath fet forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in his Blood, to declare his Righteousnefs for the Remission of Sins that are paft, through the For