THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.
Westminster Shorter Catechism.
Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.
Communion with God.—That friendly intercourse, or fellowship, or correspondence, with God, which our first parents had before they sinned.
Under God’s wrath.—To have God angry with us every day.
Under the curse of God.—To be condemned, or given up, by the law of God, to everlasting punishment in the world to come.
Liable to all the miseries in this life.—Exposed, or subjected, to pain, sickness, poverty, and distress of every kind, both of body and mind.
Pains of hell.—The dreadful punishments which wicked men shall be made to suffer after death.
In this answer we have six particulars, of great importance for us to know :
That mankind by the fall lost communion with God. –Genesis 3:8. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, amongst the trees of the garden. Isaiah 59:2. Your inquiries have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
That they are all under God’s wrath and curse. – Ephesians 2:3. And were by nature the children of wrath. Galatians 3:10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.
That, from being under God’s wrath and curse, mankind are liable to all the miseries of this life. –Genesis 3:17. Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
That, on the same account, they are also liable, or subject, to death. – Romans 6:23. The wages of sin is death.
That they are likewise liable to, or in danger of, the pains of hell. –Psalm 9:17. The wicked shall be turned into hell.
We are here also taught that the pains of hell shall last for ever. –Matthew 25:46. These shall go away into everlasting punishment. 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.
Mere good pleasure. –Purely from God’s will or choice, and on no other account.
From all eternity. –Before the beginning of time.
Elected. –Made choice of some, or took them from among the rest of mankind.
Covenant of grace. –That merciful arrangement, or agreement, entered into by the Father for the Godhead, and the Lord Jesus Christ on the part of man, to save a certain number of mankind from everlasting misery. It is sometimes also called the New Covenant, or the Gospel.
Estate of salvation. –A state of repentance, or hatred of sin, and a love of holiness, here, ending in everlasting happiness in heaven.
Redeemer. –One who saves, or delivers from slavery and misery, either by paying a price, or by using force.
In this answer before us, there are seven particulars, or points of doctrine, stated :
- That God hath elected, or chosen, SOME of mankind to everlasting life. -2 Thessalonians 2:13. We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.
- That God has done this, out of his mere good pleasure. -2 Timothy 1:9. Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
- That he did it from all eternity. –Ephesians 1:4. He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.
- That, as a consequence of this election, or choice, God entered into a covenant. –Psalm 89:3. I have made a covenant with my chosen.
- That this covenant is a covenant of grace. –Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
- That the design of this covenant was, 1st, to deliver those whom God had chosen, from the estate of sin and misery, -Matthew 1:21. He shall save his people from their sins. 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come. 2dly, To bring them into a state of salvation. –Titus 3:5. He, (that is, God our Saviour,) saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
- That this deliverance is wrought by a Redeemer. –Proverbs 23:11. Their Redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.