September 15: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 43-44

by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 43 and 44.

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage.” Exod. xx. 2.


Preface. –Something written or spoken before, which is intended to lend forward to that which is to follow.

Egypt –the house of bondage. –This country was so called, because in it the children of Israel were made bondmen of slaves.

Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?

A. The preface to the ten commandments teaches us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.


Redeemer. –See Explic. Q. 20:

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.

Bound to keep all his commandments. –That is, since “God is the Lord,” we are in duty “bound,” or obliged, to obey him, as being our Creator and Sovereign ; and, since he is “our God and Redeemer,” we ought to do so, out of love and gratitude to him for his goodness and mercy.


In the preface to the ten commandments we are taught,

That we are bound to keep all God’s commandments. –Deut. xi. 1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments always.

The reasons here are assigned, why we should thus obey God’s commandments, are three in number :

  1. Because God is the Lord. –Lev. xix. 37. Ye shall observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them. I am the Lord.
  2. Because he is our God. –Lev. xx. 7. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God.
  3. Because he is our Redeemer. –Luke i. 74, 75. That we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, before him, all the days of our lives. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God, in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.


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