February 17: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 7

by Rev. William Smith, of Glasgow (1836).

Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 7

Q.7. What are the decrees of God?

  1. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.


Eternal purpose.—A design or intention, existing in the Divine Mind from eternity, or before the commencement of time.

Council.—Advice or direction.

Foreordaine whatsoever comes to pass.—Appointed to accomplish, or to bring about whatever is good, and to permit what is evil.


In this answer there are six points of doctrine taught:

  1. That there are decrees of God.—Psal. ii. 7. I will declare the decree.
  2. That these decrees and God’s eternal purpose are the same.—Eph iii. 11. According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  3. That the decrees of God are according to counsel or advice.— Ps. xxxiii. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever.
  4. That the counsel or advice which God follows is that of his own will.— Eph. i. 5. Having predestined us—according to the good pleasure of his own will.
  5. That God, by his decrees, hath foreordained whatsoever came to pass, or whatever happens in the world.—Eph. i. 11. Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
  6. That God has done all this for his own glory.—Prov. xvi. 4. The Lord hath made all things for himself.


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