THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

ANSWER: The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.


Q. 1. Why is man's apostasy from God called the fall?

A. Because man is not now where God set him at his creation, but is fallen by his iniquity, Hos. 14:1.

Q. 2. Where did God set man at his creation?

A. Upon the high pinnacle of holiness and happiness, Eccl. 7:29.

Q. 3. Where is he now?

A. He is fallen into the depths of sin and misery, called in scripture, a "horrible pit," and "miry clay," Psalm 40:2, and "the pit wherein is no water," Zech. 9:11.

Q. 4. Why is man's state, by the fall, called an estate of sin?

A. Because he is now under the guilt of sin, Rom. 3:19, which has dominion over him, chap. 6:14.

Q. 5. Why is it called an estate of misery?

A. Because, according to the penalty of the law, death and the curse involve him in all manner of misery, Rom. 5:12.

Q. 6. Why is the state of sin put before the state of misery?

A. Because there could be no misery, if there were no sin; sin being the procuring cause of all misery, Rom. 6:23.

Q. 7. How came man into this state of sin and misery?

A. By the abuse of his free will; hence mankind sinners are called self-destroyers, Hos. 13:9 -- "O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself."

Q. 8. How does the Spirit of God, in scripture, express man's state of sin and misery, into which he is fallen?

A. By a state of darkness, Eph. 5:8; a state of distance, Eph. 2:13; a state of condemnation and wrath, John 3:18, 36; a state of bondage, or captivity, Isa. 49:24, 25; and a state of death, both spiritual and legal, Eph. 2:1.

Q. 9. Is man in any capacity to help himself out of this sinful and miserable state?

A. No more than a new-born infant, cast out in the open field, which, of all creatures, is the most helpless, Ezek. 16:4, 5.

Q. 10. Has he a desire and will to be helped out of a state of sin and misery, when help is offered?

A. No; his nature is become "enmity against God," and the way of salvation proposed in the gospel, Rom. 8:7, Psalm 81:11; and therefore rejects the only help of God's appointment, John 5:40.

Q. 11. What may we learn from this?

A. That the whole world being guilty before God, every mouth had been for ever stopped, though he had left all mankind to perish eternally with the fallen angels, with whom they said, a Confederacy, Rom. 3:19; and therefore to admire the infinite love of God, in sending his only begotten Son, to save us from sin, as the only way of being saved from misery, Heb. 2:14, 16.


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