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Q Wherein doth the Mifery of a natural Man confift? A. In every Thing capable of rendering the State of a rational Creature unhappy.
Q. How do you defcribe this Unhappiness?
A. Man is by Nature finful, departed from Communion with God; is under his Wrath and Curse, in Time and Eternity; and unable to help himfelf out of this Miery.
Q. How do you prove that he is finful?
A. From Rom. iii. 10, 23. As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one. For all have finned, and come fhort of the Glory of God.
Q. How do you prove that he has no Communion with God?
A. From Eph. ii. 12. At that Time ye were without Chrift, being Aliens from the Common-wealth of Ifrael, and Strangers from the Covenant of Promife; having no Hope, and without God in the World.
Q. How do you prove that he is under God's Wrath? A. From Eph. ii. 3. And were, by Nature, Children of Wrath, even as others. Which, impends over all the unregenerate in the World. Gal. iii. 10. Curfed is every one that continueth not in all Things which are written in the Books of the Law, to do them.
Q. How do you prove the Miseries of Time, to Death itself?
A. From Gen. iii. 17, 19. Curfed is the Ground for thy Sake, in Sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the Days of thy Life; in the Sweat of thy Face fhalt thou eat Bread, till thou return to the Ground, for out of it waft thou taken. And Rom. vi. 23. The Wages of Sin is Death. Q. How do you prove the Miferies after this Life, to Eternity?
A. From Pix. 17. The Wicked shall be turned into Hell; whofe Torments are Pain of Lofs, and Pain of Senfe. Luke xvi. 22, 23. The rich Man alfo died, and was buried; and in Hell he lift up his Eyes, being in Torments, and feeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus
in his Bofom. As alfo at the Refurrection, and reuniting of Soul and Body, when that awful Sentence fhall be pronounced, Matt. xxv. 41. Depart from me, ye Curfed, into everlasting Fire!
Q. How do you prove that Man is unable to help himfelf out of his Mifery?
A. From Rom. vii. 24. O! wretched Man that I am; who fhall deliver me from the Body of this Death. Q. Is not every one convinced of fuch a woful State? A. No. Man by Nature is fo blind, and fo full of felf Love, and Pride, that nothing can convince him, except only, the Spirit of God. Rev. iii. 17. Becaufe thou fayeft, I am rich and increafed in Goods; and have need of nothing; and knoweft not that thou art wretched, and miferable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Q. Is not the bare furvey of your forrowful State, fufficient to acquaint you with your Mifery?
A. No. I must be perfuaded thereof by myself, and find, and know myself so Miserable; as David faid unto Natban, 2 Sam. xii. 13. I have finned against the Lord; and Pfa. li. 3. For I acknowledge my Tranfgreffions: Being thus convinced of my ruined State, causes true Repentance, and a looking out for my Redemption.
Q. How are you thus convinced, and made Senfible of your Mifery?
A. By the Law of God: I mean the Moral Law, which God hath given at Sinai; fummarily Comprehending the ten Commandments. Exo. xx. and Deut. v. the Explication of which is contained in, and throughout the whole written Word of God; and named therefore very often the Law. Pfa. xix. and 119.
Q. But fince the Law is given upon Sinai, under the Old Teftament; in what Senfe doth it bind Christians being under the Gospel?
A. As a Rule given by our Saviour to order their Converfations. Mat. v. and Gal.. vi. 16. And as
many as walk according to this Rule, Peace be on them, and Mercy; and upon the Ifrael of God. Fam. ii. 8, 9, 10. If ye fulfil the royal Law according to the Scriptures, thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy felf; ye do well, &c.
Q. What Power hath the Law to fhew you your Mifery?
A. The Catechifer fhall fhew that, when he makes a Comparison between the Demand of the Law, and the Inability of Mankind.
The fourth Question of the HEIDELBERG
QWHAT. doth the Law of God require of us?
A. "Jefus Chrift teaches us in that Sum"mary which he hath given us of it, Matt. xxii. Thou "fhalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy Heart, and "with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind: That is "the first and great Commandment; and the fecond "is like unto it, Thou fhalt love thy Neighbour as "thy felf. On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Q. What is the first Object of your Love?
A. In having great Delight and Efteem in his Word, and keeping his Commandments. Pf. cxix. 97. For thy Law is my Delight. And John xiv. 21. He that hath my Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.
Q. How muft you love the Lord your God?
A. With all my Heart, and with all my Soul, and with all my Might, Deut. vi. 5.
Q. What is contained herein?
A. To love the Lord with a fupreme Love.
A. It implies the loving of God purely; and abfolutely for himself, and his divine Excellencies, Cant.
i. Thy Name is as Ointment poured forth; therefore the Virgins love thee. And the Benefits we receive from him, Pf. cxvi. 1. I love the Lord, because he hath heard my Voice and my Supplication.
Q. What doth it contain more?
A. It causes the Soul to depreciate and flight all other Things in Comparison of God's Glory, and Intereft in Christ. Acts xx. 24. But none of thefe Things move me; neither count I my Life dear unto myself, fo that I might finish my Courfe with Joy. Phil. iii. 8. I count all Things but Lofs, for the Excellency of the Knowledge of Chrift fefus, my Lord.
Q. Why must we love God with a fupreme Love?
A. Becaufe fuch Love only fuits the tranfcendent Excellency of God; and devotes all we are, and have, to God; and is the only Love that will continue to the End, Rom. viii. 35. Who shall feparate us from the Love of Chrift?
Q. What is meant by our loving our Neighbours as our felves?
A. It is the exact Obfervation and Practice of the Golden Rule of Chrift, Matt. vii. 12. Therefore all Things whatfoever ye would that Men fhould do to you, do ye even fo to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Q. Are all Men to be loved alike with the fame Degree of Love?
A. No. We muft love all Men benevolently, even our Enemies, Matt. v. 44. But the Saints we muft love with Complaifancy, P. xvi. 3. But to the Saints that are in the Earth, and to the Excellent, in whom is all my Delight.And to fuch especially we muft do good, Gal. vi. 10. As we have therefore Opportunity, let us do good to all Men; but especially unto them who are of the House of Faith.
Q: Can we love God, and not our Neighbour?
A. No. 1 John, iv. 20, 21. If a Man fay, I love God, and hateth his Brother, he is a Liar; for he that loveth not his Brother, whom he hath feen, how can he
love God, whom he hath not feen. And this Commandment have we from him, That he that loveth God, loveth his Neighbour also.
The fifth Question of the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM.
AN you perfectly keep these Commandments? A. "No. For I am inclined by Nature to "hate both God and my Neighbour."
Q. Can you prove, that fince the Fall, no mere Man is able perfectly to keep the Word of God, but doth daily break them in Thought, Word, and Deed?
no not one.
A. Yes. For the Word of God teacheth plainly, Rom. iii. 12. They are all gone out of the Way; they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doth good, Prov. xx. 9. Who can fay, I have made my Heart clean: I am pure from my Sin. James iii. 2. For in many Things we offend all, &c. 1 John, i. 8. If we fay that we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us.
Q. Why can't you perfectly keep the Law of God? A. Because I am by Nature inclined to hate both God and my Neighbour.
Q. Do you find in the Holy Scriptures that we are haters of God?
A. Yes. Rom. i. 30. Back-biters, Haters of God, &c. And Rom. viii. 7. The carnal Mind is Enmity against God; for it is not Subject to the Law of Gad, neither indeed can be.
Q. How do you prove that we are Haters of our Neighbours?
A. By Tit. iii. 3. Living in Malice and Envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Q. Is then the reasoning of the Catechift fufficient to fhew that we are not capable of keeping the Laws perfectly?
A. Yes. Whereas the perfect keeping of the Law of God confifts in the perfect and conftant Conformity