April 21: School & Family Catechist WSC Q’s 17-18

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 17-18.

Q. 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery


The fall.—Adam’s first sin is so called, because by it he lost his innocence, and thus fell from God’s favor.

Estate of misery.—A state of fear, misfortune, pain, sickness, distress, and death, without anything like perfect happiness.


Here we are taught two things:

That the state into which man has fallen, (or our present state,) is one of sin.—Eccles. vii. 20. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

That it is also a state of misery.—Gal. iii. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?

A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin, together with all actual transgression which proceed from it.


Guilt of Adam’s first sin.—By this we are to understand, that all mankind are justly exposed to punishment, that is, to sorrow, and to suffering, on account of Adam’s first sin, because he was then answerable, by his agreement with God, not only for himself, but for all his descendants.

Original righteousness.—That holiness and purity of nature, or those good inclinations and desires, which Adam had when God made him.


Original sin.—Those evil inclinations and desires which every one, since the fall, brings with him into the world.

Actual transgressions.—The sins which we every day commit, either in our thoughts, or in our words, or in our works.

Proceed from it.—Which arise, or spring, from original sin.


The doctrines contained in this answer, are five in number.—We are here taught, that the sinfulness of our present state consists,

  1. In the guilt of Adam’s first sin.—Rom. v. 19. By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners.
  2. In the want of original righteousness.—Rom. iii. 10. There is none righteous, no, not one.
  3. In the corruption of our whole nature.—Psal. liii. 3. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  4. That this general corruption of our nature is commonly called Original Sin.—Psal. li. 5. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
  5. That our actual transgressions, which also greatly contribute to the sinfulness of our present state, proceed from our original sin.—Matt. xv. 19, 20. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, furnications, [sic] thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


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