Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending (Jer 2:8) if they be of riper age (Job 32:7, 9; Ecc 4:13), greater experience or grace (1 Kings 11:4, 9), eminent for profession (2 Sam 12:14; 1 Cor 5:1), gifts (James 4:17; Luke 12:47-48), place (Jer 5:4-5), office (2 Sam 12:7-9; Ezek 8:11-12), guides to others (Rom 2:17-24), and whose example is likely to be followed by others (Gal 2:11-14).
2. From the parties offended (Matt 21:38-39): if immediately against God (1 Sam 2:25; Acts 5:4; Ps 5:4), his attributes (Rom 2:4), and worship (Mal 1:8, 14); against Christ, and his grace (Heb 2:2-3; 7:25); the Holy Spirit (Heb 10:29; Matt 12:31-32), his witness (Eph 4:30), and workings (Heb 6:4-6) against superiors, men of eminency (Jude 8; Num 12:8-9; Isa 3:5), and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto (Prov 30:17; 2 Cor 12:15; Ps 55:12-15); against any of the saints (Zeph 2:8, 10-11; Matt 18:6; 1 Cor 6:8; Rev 17:6), particularly weak brethren (1 Cor 8:11-12; Rom 14:13, 15, 21), the souls of them, or any other (Ezek 13:19; 1 Cor 8:12; Rev 18:12-13; Matt 23:15), and the common good of all or many (1 Thess 2:15-16; Josh 22:20).
3. From the nature and quality of the offense (Prov 6:30-33): if it be against the express letter of the law (Ezra 9:10-12; 1 Kings 11:9-10), break many commandments, contain in it many sins (Col 3:5;1 Tim 6:10; Prov 5:8-12; 6:32-33; Josh 7:21): if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions (James 1:14-15; Matt 5:22; Mic 2:1), scandalize others (Matt 18:7; Rom 2:23-24), and admit of no reparation (Deut 22:22, 28-29; Prov 6:32-35): if against means (Matt 11:21-24; John 15:22), mercies (Isa 1:3; Deut 32:6), judgments (Amos 4:8-11; Jer 5:3), light of nature (Rom 1:26-27), conviction of conscience (Rom 1:32; Dan 5:22; Tit 3:10-11), public or private admonition (Prov 29:1), censures of the church (Tit 3:10; Matt 18:17), civil punishments (Prov 27:22; 23:35); and our prayers, purposes, promises (Ps 78:34-37; Jer 2:20; 13:5-6, 20-21), vows (Ecc 5:4-6; Prov 20:25), covenants (Lev 26:25), and engagements to God or men (Prov 2:17; Ezek 17:18-19): if done deliberately (Ps 36:4), wilfully (Jer 6:16), presumptuously (Num 15:30; Ex 21:14), impudently (Jer 3:3; Prov 7:13), boastingly (Ps 52:1), maliciously (3 John 10), frequently (Num 14:22), obstinately (Zech 7:11-12), with delight (Prov 2:14), continuance (Isa 57:17), or relapsing after repentance (Jer 34:8-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22).
4. From circumstances of time (2 Kings 5:26) and place (Jer 7:10; Isa 26:10): if on the Lord’s day (Ezek 23:37-39), or other times of divine worship (Isa 58:3-5; Num 25:6-7); or immediately before (1 Cor 11:20-21) or after these (Jer 7:8-10; Prov 7:14-15; John 13:27, 30), or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages (Ezra 9:13-14); if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled (2 Sam 16:22; 2:22-24).
Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty (James 2:10-11), goodness (Ex 20:1-2), and holiness of God (Hab 1:13; Lev 10:3;11:44-45), and against his righteous law (1 John 3:4; Rom 7:12), deserveth his wrath and curse (Eph 5:6; Gal 3:10), both in this life (Lam 3:39; Deut 28:15-18), and that which is to come (Matt 25:41); and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ (Heb 9:22; 1 Pet 1:18-19).
Q. 153. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21; Matt 3:7-8; Luke 13:3-5; Acts 16:30-31; John 3:16, 18), and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation (Prov 2:1-5; 8:33-36).
Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation (Matt 28:19-20; Acts 2:42, 46-47).
Q. 155. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching of the Word, an effectual means of enlightening (Neh 8:8; Acts 26:18; Ps 19:8), convincing, and humbling sinners (1 Cor 14:24-25; 2 Chron 34:18-19, 26-28); of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ (Acts 2:37, 41; 8:27-30, 35-38); of conforming them to his image (2 Cor 3:18), and subduing them to his will (2 Cor 10:4-6; Rom 6:17); of strengthening them against temptations and corruptions (Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Eph 6:16-17; Ps 19:11; 1 Cor 10:11); of building them up in grace (Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:15-17), and establishing their hearts in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation (Rom 16:25; 1 Thess 3:2, 10-11, 13; Rom 15:4; 10:13-17; 1:16).
Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the Word publicly to the congregation (Deut 31:11-13; Neh 8:2-3; 9:3-5), yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves (Deut 17:19; Rev 1:3; John 5:39; Isa 34:16), and with their families (Deut 6:6-9; Gen 18:17; Ps 78:5-7): to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages (1 Cor 14:6, 9, 11-12, 15-16, 24 27-28).
Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them (Ps 19:10; Neh 8:3-6, 10; Ex 24:7; 2 Chron 34:27; Isa 66:2); with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God (2 Pet 1:19-21), and that he only can enable us to understand them (Luke 24:45; 2 Cor 3:13-16); with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them (Deut 17:10, 20); with diligence (Acts 17:11), and attention to the matter and scope of them (Acts 8:30, 34; Luke 10:26-28); with meditation (Ps 1:2; 119:97), application (2 Chron 34:21), self-denial (Prov 3:5; Deut 33:3), and prayer (Prov 2:1-6; Ps 119:18; Neh 7:6, 8).
Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted (1 Tim 3:2, 6; Eph 4:8-11; Hos 4:6; Mal 2:7; 2 Cor 3:6), and also duly approved and called to that office (Jer 14:15; Rom 10:15; Heb 5:4; 1 Cor 12:28-29; 1 Tim 3:10; 4:14; 5:22).
Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine (Tit 2:1, 8), diligently (Acts 18:25), in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2); plainly (1 Cor 14:19), not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power (1 Cor 2:4); faithfully (Jer 23:28; 1 Cor 4:1-2), making known the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27); wisely (Col 1:28; 2 Tim 2:15), applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers (1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12-14; Luke 12:42); zealously (Acts 18:25), with fervent love to God (2 Cor 5:13-14; Philip 1:15-17) and the souls of his people (Col 4:12; 2 Cor 12:15); sincerely (2 Cor 2:17; 4:2), aiming at his glory (1 Thess 2:4-6; John 7:18), and their conversion (1 Cor 9:19-22), edification (2 Cor 12:19; Eph 4:12), and salvation (1 Tim 4:16; Acts 26:16-18).
Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence (Prov 8:34), preparation (1 Pet 2:1-2; Luke 8:18), and prayer (Ps 119:18; Eph 6:18-19); examine what they hear by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11); receive the truth with faith (Heb 4:2), love (2 Thess 2:10), meekness (James 1:21), and readiness of mind (Acts 17:11), as the Word of God (1 Thess 2:13); meditate (Luke 9:44; Heb 2:1), and confer of it (Luke 24:14; Deut 6:6-7); hide it in their hearts (Prov 2:1; Ps 119:11), and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives (Luke 8:15; James 1:25).
Q. 161. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted (1 Pet 3:21; Acts 8:13, 23; 1 Cor 3:6-7; 12:13).
Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church (Gen 17:7, 10; Ex 12:1-51; Matt 28:19; 26:26-28), to signify, seal, and exhibit (Rom 4:11; 1 Cor 11:24-25) unto those that are within the covenant of grace (Rom 15:8; Ex 12:48), the benefits of his mediation (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 10:16); to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces (Rom 4:11; Gal 3:27); to oblige them to obedience (Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 10:21); to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another (Eph 4:2-5; 1 Cor 12:13); and to distinguish them from those that are without (Eph 2:11-12; Gen 34:14).
Q. 163. What are the parts of a sacrament?
A. The parts of the sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified (Matt 3:11; 1 Pet 3:21; Rom 2:28-29).
Q. 164. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in his church only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:20, 23; Matt 26:26-28).
Q. 165. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19), to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself (Gal 3:27), of remission of sins by his blood (Mark 1:4; Rev 1:5), and regeneration by his Spirit (Tit 3:5; Eph 5:26); of adoption (Gal 3:26-27), and resurrection unto everlasting life (1 Cor 15:29; Rom 6:5); and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church (1 Cor 12:13), and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s (Rom 6:4).
Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him (Acts 8:36-37; Acts 2:38), but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized (Gen 17;7, 9; Gal 3:9, 14; Col 2:11-12; Acts 2:38-39; Rom 4:11-12; 1 Cor 7:14; Matt 28:19; Luke 18:15-16; Rom 11:16).
Q. 167. How is our baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others (Col 2:11-12; Rom 6:4, 6, 11); by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein (Rom 6:3-5); by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements (1 Cor 1:11-13; Rom 6:2-3); by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament (Rom 4:11-12; 1 Pet 3:21); by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace (Rom 6:3-5); and by endeavoring to live by faith (Gal 3:26-27), to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness (Rom 6:22), as those that have therein given up their names to Christ (Acts 2:38); and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body (1 Cor 12:13, 25).
Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament (Luke 22:20), wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace (Matt 26:26-28; 1 Cor 11:23-26); have their union and communion with him confirmed (1 Cor 10:16); testify and renew their thankfulness (1 Cor 11:24), and engagement to God (1 Cor 10:14-16, 21), and their mutual love and fellowship each with the other, as members of the same mystical body (1 Cor 10:17).
Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his Word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them (1 Cor 11:23-24; Matt 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20).
Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper (Acts 3:21), and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses (Matt 26:26, 28); so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really (1 Cor 11:24-29), while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death (1 Cor 10:16).
Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves (1 Cor 11:28) of their being in Christ (2 Cor 13:5), of their sins and wants (1 Cor 5:7; Ex 12:15); of the truth and measure of their knowledge (1 Cor 11:29), faith (1 Cor 13:5; Matt 26:28), repentance (Zech 12:10; 1 Cor 11:31); love to God and the brethren (1 Cor 10:16-17; Acts 2:46-47), charity to all men (1 Cor 5:8; 11:18, 20), forgiving those that have done them wrong (Matt 5:23-24); of their desires after Christ (Isa 55:1; John 7:37), and of their new obedience (1 Cor 5:7-8); and by renewing the exercise of these graces (1 Cor 11:25-26, 28; Heb 10:21-22, 24; Ps 26:6), by serious meditation (1 Cor 11:24-25), and fervent prayer (2 Chron 30:18-19; Matt 26:26).
Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof (Isa 50:10; 1 John 5:13; Ps 88:1-18; 77:1-4, 7-10; Jonah 2:4); and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it (Isa 54;7-10; Matt 5:3-4; Ps 31:22; 73:13, 22-23), and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ (Philip 3:8-9; Ps 10:17; 42:1-2, 5, 11), and to depart from iniquity (2 Tim 2:19; Isa 50:10; Ps 66:18-20): in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians) (Isa 40:11, 29, 31; Matt 11:28; 12:20; 26:28) he is to bewail his unbelief (Mark 9:24), and labor to have his doubts resolved (Acts 2:37; 16;30); and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened (Rom 4:11; 1 Cor 11:28).
Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church (1 Cor 11:27-34; Matt 7:6; 1 Cor 5:1-13; Jude 23; 1 Tim 5:22), until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation (2 Cor 2:7).
Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance (Lev 10:3; Heb 12:28; Ps 5:7; 1 Cor 11:17, 26-27), diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions (Ex 24:8; Matt 26:28), heedfully discern the Lord’s body (1 Cor 11:29), and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings (Luke 22:19), and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces (1 Cor 11:26; 10:3-5, 11, 14); in judging themselves (1 Cor 11:31), and sorrowing for sin (Zech 12:10); in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ (Rev 22:17), feeding on him by faith (John 6:35), receiving of his fullness (John 1:16), trusting in his merits (Philip 1:16), rejoicing in his love (Ps 58:4-5; 2 Chron 30:21), giving thanks for his grace (Ps 22:26); in renewing of their covenant with God (Jer 50:5; Ps 50:5), and love to all the saints (Acts 2:42).
Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success (Ps 28:7; 85:8; 1 Cor 11:7, 30-31); if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it (2 Chron 30:21-23, 25-26; Acts 2:42, 46-47), beg the continuance of it (Ps 36:10; Song 3:4; 1 Chron 29:18), watch against relapses (1 Cor 10:3-5, 12), fulfill their vows (Ps 50:14), and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance (1 Cor 11:25-26; Acts 2 42, 46): but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament (Song 5:1-6; Ecc 5:1-5); in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time (Ps 123:1-2; 42:5, 8; 43:3-5): but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled (2 Chron 30:18-19), and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence (2 Cor 7:11; 1 Cor 15:12-14).
Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree, in that the author of both is God (Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:23); the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits (Rom 6:3-4; 1 Cor 10:16); both are seals of the same covenant (Rom 4:11; Col 2:12; Matt 26:27-28), are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other (John 1:33; Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 11:23; 4:1; Heb 5:4); and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming (Matt 28:19-20; 1 Cor 11:26).
Q. 177. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ (Matt 3:11; Tit 3:5; Gal 3:27), and that even to infants (Gen 17:7, 9; Acts 2:38-39; 1 Cor 7:14); whereas the Lord’s supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul (1 Cor 11:23-26), and to confirm our continuance and growth in him (1 Cor 10:16), and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves (1 Cor 11:28-29).
Q. 178. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God (Ps 62:8), in the name of Christ (John 16:23), by the help of his Spirit (Rom 8:26); with confession of our sins (Ps 32:5-6; Dan 9:4), and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies (Philip 4:6).
Q. 179. Are we to pray unto God only?
A. God only being able to search the hearts (1 Kings 8:39; Acts 1:24; Rom 8:27), hear the requests (Ps 65:2), pardon the sins (Mic 7:18), and fulfill the desires of all (Ps 145:18); and only to be believed in (Rom 10:14), and worshipped with religious worship (Matt 4:10); prayer, which is a special part thereof (1 Cor 1:2), is to be made by all to him alone (Ps 50:15), and to none other (Rom 10:14).
Q. 180. What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake (John 14:13-14; 16:24; Dan 9:17); not by bare mentioning of his name (Matt 7:21), but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation (Heb 4:14-16; 1 John 5:13-15).
Q. 181. Why are we to pray in the name of Christ?
A. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by reason thereof, being so great, as that we can have no access into his presence without a mediator (John 14:6; Isa 59:2; Eph 3:12); and there being none in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for, that glorious work but Christ alone (John 6:27; Heb 7:25-27; 1 Tim 2:5), we are to pray in no other name but his only (Col 3:17; Heb 13:15).
Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty (Rom 8:26-27; Ps 10:17; Zech 12:10).
Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth (Eph 6:18; Ps 28:9); for magistrates (1 Tim 2:1-2), and ministers (Col 4:3); for ourselves (Gen 32:11), our brethren (James 5:16), yea, our enemies (Matt 5:44); and for all sorts of men living (1 Tim 2:1-2), or that shall live hereafter (John 17:20; 2 Sam 7:29); but not for the dead (2 Sam 12:21-23), nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death (1 John 5:16).
Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God (Matt 6:9), the welfare of the church (Ps 51:18; 122:6), our own (Matt 7:11) or others, good (Ps 125:4); but not for anything that is unlawful (1 John 5:14).
Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God (Ecc 5:1), and deep sense of our own unworthiness (Gen 18:27; 32:10), necessities (Luke 15:17-19), and sins (Luke 18:13-14); with penitent (Ps 51:17), thankful (Philip 4:6), and enlarged hearts (1 Sam 1:15; 2:1); with understanding (1 Cor 14:15), faith (Mark 11:24; James 1:6), sincerity (Ps 145:18; 17:1), fervency (James 5:16), love (1 Tim 2:8), and perseverance (Eph 6:18), waiting upon him (Mic 7:7), with humble submission to his will (Matt 26:39).
Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer (1 John 5:14); but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
Q. 187. How is the Lord’s Prayer to be used?
A. The Lord’s Prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2).
Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s Prayer consist?
A. The Lord’s Prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.
Q. 189. What doth the preface of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The preface of the Lord’s Prayer (contained in these words, Our Father which art in heaven,) (Matt 6:9) teacheth us, when we pray, to draw near to God with confidence of his fatherly goodness, and our interest therein (Luke 11:13; Rom 8:15); with reverence, and all other childlike dispositions (Isa 64:9), heavenly affections (Ps 123:1; Lam 3:41), and due apprehensions of his sovereign power, majesty, and gracious condescension (Isa 63:15-16; Neh 1:4-6): as also, to pray with and for others (Acts 12:5).
Q. 190. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. In the first petition, (which is, Hallowed by thy name, (Matt 6:9)) acknowledging the utter inability and indisposition that is in ourselves and all men to honor God aright (2 Cor 3:5; Ps 51:15), we pray, that God would by his grace enable and incline us and others to know, to acknowledge, and highly to esteem him (Ps 67:2-3), his titles (Ps 83:18), attributes (Ps 86:10-13, 15), ordinances, Word (2 Thess 3:1; Ps 147:19-20; 138:1-3; 2 Cor 2:14-15), works, and whatsoever he is pleased to make himself known by (Ps 145:1-21 ; 8:1-9); and to glorify him in thought, word (Ps 103:1; 19:14), and deed (Philip 1:9, 11): that he would prevent and remove atheism (Ps 67:1-4), ignorance (Eph 1:17-18), idolatry (Ps 97:7), profaneness (Ps 74:18, 22-23), and whatsoever is dishonorable to him (2 Kings 19:15-16); and, by his over-ruling providence, direct and dispose of all things to his own glory (2 Chron 20:6, 10-12; Ps 83:1-18; 140:4, 8).
Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,) (Matt 6:10) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan (Eph 2:2-3), we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed (Ps 68:1; Rev 12:10-11), the gospel propagated throughout the world (2 Thess 3:1), the Jews called (Rom 10:1), the fullness of the Gentiles brought in (John 17:9, 20; Rom 11:25-26; Ps 67:1-7); the church furnished with all gospel-officers and ordinances (Matt 9:38; 2 Thess 3:1), purged from corruption (Mal 1:11; Zeph 3:9), countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate (1 Tim 2:1-2): that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted (Acts 4:29-30; Eph 6:18-20; Rom 15:29-30, 32; 2 Thess 1:11; 2:16-17): that Christ would rule in our hearts here (Eph 3:14-20), and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever (Rev 22:20): and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends (Isa 64:1-2; Rev 4:8-11).
Q. 192. What do we pray for in the third petition?
A. In the third petition, (which is, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,) (Matt 6:10) acknowledging, that by nature we and all men are not only utterly unable and unwilling to know and do the will of God (Rom 7:18; Job 21:14; 1 Cor 2:14), but prone to rebel against his Word (Rom 8:7), to repine and murmur against his providence (Ex 17:7; Num 14:2), and wholly inclined to do the will of the flesh, and of the devil (Eph 2:2): we pray, that God would by his Spirit take away from ourselves and others all blindness (Eph 1:17-18), weakness (Eph 3:16), indisposedness (Matt 26:40-41), and perverseness of heart (Jer 31:18-19); and by his grace make us able and willing to know, do, and submit to his will in all things (Ps 119:1, 8, 35-36; Acts 21:14), with the like humility (Mic 6:8), cheerfulness (Ps 100:2; Job 1:21; 2 Sam 15:25-26), faithfulness (Isa 38:3), diligence (Ps 119:4-5), zeal (Rom 12:11), sincerity (Ps 119:80), and constancy (Ps 119:112), as the angels do in heaven (Isa 6:2-3; Ps 103:20-21; Matt 18:10).
Q. 193. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. In the fourth petition,(which is, Give us this day our daily bread,) (Matt 6:11) acknowledging, that in Adam, and by our own sin, we have forfeited our right to all the outward blessings of this life, and deserve to be wholly deprived of them by God, and to have them cursed to us in the use of them (Gen 2:17; 3:17; Rom 8:20-22; Jer 5:25; Deut 28:15-17); and that neither they of themselves are able to sustain us (Deut 8:3), nor we to merit (Gen 32:10), or by our own industry to procure them (Deut 8:17-18); but prone to desire (Jer 6:13; Mark 7:21-22), get (Hos 12:7), and use them unlawfully (James 4:3): we pray for ourselves and others, that both they and we, waiting upon the providence of God from day to day in the use of lawful means, may, of his free gift, and as to his fatherly wisdom shall seem best, enjoy a competent portion of them (Gen 43:12-14; 28:20; Eph 4:28; 2 Thess 3:11-12; Philip 4:6); and have the same continued and blessed unto us in our holy and comfortable use of them (1 Tim 4:3-5), and contentment in them (1 Tim 6:6-8); and be kept from all things that are contrary to our temporal support and comfort (Prov 30:8-9).
Q. 194. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. In the fifth petition, (which is, Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,) (Matt 6:12) acknowledging, that we and all others are guilty both of original and actual sin, and thereby become debtors to the justice of God; and that neither we, nor any other creature, can make the least satisfaction for that debt (Rom 3:9-22; Matt 18:24-25; Ps 130:3-4): we pray for ourselves and others, that God of his free grace would, through the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, apprehended and applied by faith, acquit us both from the guilt and punishment of sin (Rom 3:24-26; Heb 9:22), accept us in his Beloved (Eph 1:6-7); continue his favour and grace to us (2 Pet 1:2), pardon our daily failings (Hos 14:2; Jer 14:7), and fill us with peace and joy, in giving us daily more and more assurance of forgiveness (Rom 15:13; Ps 51:7-10, 12); which we are the rather emboldened to ask, and encouraged to expect, when we have this testimony in ourselves, that we from the heart forgive others their offenses (Luke 11:4; Matt 6:14-15; 18:35).
Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,) Matt 6:13) acknowledging, that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations (2 Chron 32:31); that Satan (1 Chron 21:1), the world (Luke 21:34; Mark 4:19), and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us (James 1:14); and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption (Gal 5:17), weakness, and want of watchfulness (Matt 26:41), are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations (Matt 26:69-72; Gal 2:11-14; 2 Chron 18:3; 19:2), but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them (Rom 7:23-24; 1 Chron 21:1-4; 16:7-10); and worthy to be left under the power of them (Ps 81:11-12): we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it (John 17:15), subdue the flesh (Ps 51:10; 119:133), and restrain Satan (2 Cor 12:7-8), order all things (1 Cor 10:12-13), bestow and bless all means of grace (Heb 13:20-21), and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin (Matt 26:41; Ps 19:13); or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation (Eph 3:14-17; 1 Thess 3:13; Jude 24); or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it (Ps 51:12), and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof (1 Pet 51:12): that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected (2 Chron 13:7, 9), Satan trodden under our feet (Rom 16:20; Luke 22:31-32), and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever (John 17:15; 1 Thess 5:23).
Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.) (Matt 6:13) teacheth us to enforce our petitions with arguments (Rom 15:30), which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God (Dan 9:4, 7-9, 16-19); and with our prayers to join praises (Philip 4:6), ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency (1 Chron 29:1013); in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us (Eph 3:20-21; Luke 11:13), so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would (2 Chron 20:6, 11), and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfil our requests (2 Chron 14:11). And, to testify this our desire and assurance, we say, Amen (1 Chron 14:16; Rev 22:20-21).