The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 49-50.
Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth ; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me ; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Exod. xx. 4-6.
A jealous God. –By this we are informed, that God is highly concerned for his own honor, and that he carefully watches over it.
Visiting the iniquity. –Punishing the sins.
Unto the third and fourth generation. –Upon their children’s children, and their children.
Q.50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances, as God hat appointed in his word.
Ordinances. –Appointments of God, such as preaching, baptism, &c.
Receiving God’s ordinances. –Understanding and embracing them.
Observing God’s religious worship and ordinances. –Doing what is therein required, and waiting on God in them.
Keeping them pure. –To allow nothing to be added to them ; or to keep them free from any mixture of the inventions of men.
Keeping them entire. –To suffer nothing to be taken from them ; or not to leave out any part of that which God hath appointed.
The information here received may be divided into four parts :
- That religious worship and ordinances are appointed by God in his word. –Isai. viii. 20. To the law and to this testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Psalm cxlvii. 19. He hath shewed his statutes unto Israel.
- That we are commanded to receive these ordinances. –Psalm xxvii. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
- That we ought to observe them. –Matt. xxviii. 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
- That we are also to keep them pure and entire. –Deut. xii. 32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.