September 8: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 41-42.

by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 41-42.

Q. 41. Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?

A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.


Summarily comprehended. –Briefly contained, or shortly expressed.


In this answer we are taught two things :

  1. That there is a summary or short statement of the moral law.
  2. That this is to be found in the ten commandments. –Deut. x. 4. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments. Matt. xix. 17. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Q. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?

A. The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind ; and our neighbor as ourselves.


The sum. –The substance, matter, or meaning.

To love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. –To love him far more than any other object, even as much as it is possible for us to do.

To love ourselves. –Earnestly to seek our own happiness and comfort, next to the glory of God.

To love our neighbor as ourselves. –To love every one around us, as sincerely as we do ourselves, and to do to others whatever we think they should do to us, in the same circumstances.


In this answer we are taught four things :

  1. That love is the sum and substance of all obedience. –Rom. xiii. 10. Love is the fulfilling of the law.
  2. That the first and supreme object of this love, is the Lord our God. –Matt. xxii. 37, 38. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God—This is the first and great commandment.
  3. That we must love the Lord our God with our whole heart and mind. –Matt. xxii. 37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

4. That our neighbor and ourselves are the next, and subordinate objects of this love. –Matt. xxii. 39, 40. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


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