THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 65. What is forbidden in the Fifth Commandment?

ANSWER: The Fifth Commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing any thing against, the honour and duty, which belong to every one in their several places and relations.


Q. 1. What is it to neglect the honour and duty which belong to every one in their several places and relations?

A. It is not only to omit the performance of such relative duties altogether, but even when they are performed, to do them without any regard to the command and authority of God enjoining them, Isa. 29:13.

Q. 2. What is it to do any thing against the honour and duty which belong to every one?

A. It is to commit those sins which are the very opposite of the relative duties incumbent on us, Rom. 2:22.

Q. 3. "What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?"

A. "Envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections."[81]

Q. 4. "What are the sins of superiors?"

A. "-- Commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counselling, encouraging, or favouring them in that which is evil;" and "dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good -- "[82]

Q. 5. "What are the sins of equals?"

A. "-- Envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another, and usurping the pre-eminence one over another."[83]

Q. 6. What punishment did the law of Moses inflict upon children, for smiting or cursing their parents?

A. DEATH, Ex. 21:15 -- "He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to DEATH." And verse 17 -- "He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to DEATH."

Q. 7. Why was so severe a punishment inflicted for these crimes?

A. Because either beating or cursing of parents is a sin directly opposite to the light and law of nature, and a pregnant evidence, not only of the worst kind of ingratitude, but of incurable disobedience; and therefore the equity of this punishment seems to be approved by our Lord under the New Testament, Matt. 15:4.


[81] Larger Catechism, Question 128.

[82] Ibid., Q. 130.

[83] Ibid., Q. 132.


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