THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 70. What is the Seventh Commandment?

ANSWER: The Seventh Commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.


QUESTION 71. What is required in the Seventh Commandment?

ANSWER: The Seventh Commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbour's chastity, in heart, speech, and behaviour.


Q. 1. What is chastity?

A. It is an abhorrence of all uncleanness, whether in the body, or in the mind and affections, Job 31:1.

Q. 2. What does this commandment require with reference to such chastity?

A. The preservation of it, both in ourselves, and in our neighbours.

Q. 3. What is the best means for preserving our own and our neighbour's chastity?

A. The cherishing in our minds and consciences a continual regard, reverence, and awe of the divine Majesty, and a fear of displeasing him, Prov. 5:20, 21.

Q. 4. What influence will this have upon the preservation of chastity?

A. It will make us boldly resist all assaults or attacks that may be made upon it; as in the instance of Joseph, when solicited by his master's wife to lie with her, he refused; and said -- " How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Gen. 39:7-9.

Q. 5. Wherein are we to preserve our own and our neighbour's chastity?

A. In heart, speech, and behaviour.

Q. 6. How ought we in heart to preserve our own chastity?

A. By resisting the very first emotions of lust in the soul, Prov. 4:23; by repelling all wanton imaginations, Matt. 5:28; and by essaying both these in the way of praying to God that he would turn away our hearts and eyes from beholding vanity, Ps 119:37.

Q. 7. How ought we to preserve our neighbour's chastity in our hearts?

A. Not only by ardently desiring the preservation of it, but by loving one another with a pure heart fervently; 1 Pet. 1:22.

Q. 8. How ought we to preserve our own and our neighbours chastity in our speech?.

A. By "letting no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying that it may minister grace unto the hearers," Eph. 4:29.

Q. 9. How should we do this in our behaviour?

A. By such a uniform modesty in our conduct and deportment, as may evidence that every one of us possesses his vessel, (that is, his body,) in sanctification and honour, 1 Thess. 4:4.

Q. 10. Why should we be so careful to preserve our chastity?

A. Because we should study to have our bodies to be the temples of the Holy Ghost, and therefore should keep them free from those pollutions which are so provoking to a holy God, 1 Cor. 6:19.

Q. 11. What is the ordinary mean of divine appointment for the preservation of chastity?

A. Lawful wedlock or marriage, 1 Cor. 7:2 -- "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

Q. 12. When was marriage first instituted?

A. Before the fall, in paradise, Gen. 2:24.

Q. 13. For what end was it instituted?

A. For the mutual help of husband and wife, Gen. 2:18; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the church with a holy seed, Mal. 2:15; and for preventing of uncleanness," 1 Cor. 7:2.[90]

Q. 14. What is necessary to constitute marriage?

A. The voluntary and mutual consent of both parties, Gen. 24:58, 67.

Q. 15. Who may be lawfully married?

A. "All sorts of people; who are able, with judgment, to give their consent," Heb. 13:4 -- "Marriage is honourable in all."[91]

Q. 16. What is the duty of Christians with reference to marriage?

A. It is to marry "only in the Lord," 1 Cor. 7:39.

Q. 17. What is the native import of marrying "only in the Lord"?

A. It plainly imports, that "such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies."[92]

Q. 18. What is an incestuous marriage?

A. It is that which is within the degrees of consanguinity, or affinity, forbidden in the word, Lev. 18:6-18.

Q. 19. What is the meaning of the words consanguinity and affinity?

A. CONSANGUINITY is a relation by blood, being between persons descended from the same family: AFFINITY is an alliance by marriage, between persons who were not blood relations before.

Q. 20. What is the general rule for preventing incestuous marriages?

A. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own."[93]

Q. 21. Is it proper to call marriage a HOLY state?

A. No; because they who are without the visible church, such as Heathens, Turks, and Jews, may marry as well as the professed members of it; Heb. 13:4.

Q. 22. Was marriage instituted to signify the "mystical union that is between Christ and his church," as the Book of Common Prayer affirms?

A. No; because this borders too near upon making marriage a sacrament, as the Papists do; in as much as an outward visible sign, of divine institution, and a spiritual benefit signified by it, would make it partake of the nature of a sacrament.

Q. 23. Does not the apostle make it a significant sign, when he says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church?" Eph. 5:25.

A. He exhorts husbands to have such a love to their wives, as may bear a faint resemblance in some respects, to the love of Christ; but does not make the one a sign significant of the other.

Q. 24. Is not marriage called a great mystery? ver. 32.

A. It is not marriage that is called a great mystery, but the union that is between Christ and the members of his mystical body; as will appear by reading the whole verse, "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning CHRIST and the CHURCH."


[90] Confession of Faith, chapter 24 § 2.

[91] Confession of Faith, chap 24 § 3.

[92] Ibid., § 3, with the scripture proofs.

[93] Ibid., § 4.


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