The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved from Scripture
Q. 64. What is required in fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honour and performing the duties belonging to every one, in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.
Q. 1. What is the subject of this fifth commandment, or who are the persons of whom the duties of this commandment are required?
A. The subject of the fifth commandment, or the persons of whom the duties of this commandment are required, are relations, especially children and all inferiors, in reference to their parents and superiors, and inclusively superiors in reference to their inferiors, and equals also in reference one to another.
Q. 2. Whom are we to understand by inferiors?
A. By inferiors we are to understand, not only children, but also wives, servants, people, subjects, the younger, and the weaker in gifts or graces.
Q. 3. Whom are we to understand by superiors?
A. By superiors, under the name of father and mother, we are to understand, not only parents, but also husbands, masters, ministers, magistrates, the aged, and stronger in gifts or graces.
Q. 4. Whom are we to understand by equals?
A. By equals we may understand brethren, sisters, kindred, friends, and any acquaintance between whom there is no great distance or difference in regard of age, estate, place, or dignity.
Q. 5. What are the duties of children to their parents?
A. The duties of children to their parents, comprehended in the general precept, “Honour thy father and thy mother,” are —
1. Inward honour, reverence, and estimation. “A son honoureth his father.”— Mal. 1:6. “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father; I am the Lord your God.”— Lev. 19:3.
2. Outward reverent carriage and behaviour. “Her children rise up, and call her blessed.”— Prov. 31:28. “The king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right band.”— 1 Kings 2:19.
3. Diligent hearkening to their instructions. “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”— Prov. 4:1. “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding.”— Prov. 5:1.
4. Willing obedience unto all their lawful commands. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.” — Eph. 6:1. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”— Col. 3:20.
5. Meek and patient, bearing their reproofs and corrections, with amendment of the faults they are reproved and corrected for. “We have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and ye gave them reverence.”— Heb. 12:9. “He that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”— Prov. 15:32.
6. Ready following their reasonable counsel, in reference to their calling, station, marriage, and any great affairs of their lives. “So Moses hearkened unto the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said.”— Exod. 18:24. “And he came to his father and mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath; get her for me to wife.” Judg. 14:2.
7. Grateful kindness to them, in nourishing them, providing for them, and bearing with their infirmities, when aged, and fallen into want and poverty. “He shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age.”— Ruth 4:15. “And Joseph nourished his father with bread.”— Gen. 47:12. “Despise not thy mother when she is old.”— Prov. 23:22.
Q. 6. What are the duties of parents to their children?
A. The duties of parents to their children, are —
l. Tender love and care of them, especially when infants and helpless; particularly, mothers ought to give suck to their children, if they are able. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?”— Isa. 49:15.
2. Training them up in the knowledge of the Scriptures, and principles of religion, and giving them good instructions in the laws and ways of the Lord, so soon as they are capable of receiving them. “And ye fathers, bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord “— Eph. 6:4. “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”— Prov. 22:6. “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures.”— 2 Tim. 3:15.
3. Prayer for them, and giving good examples of holiness, temperance, and righteousness unto them. “Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings, according to the number of them all.”— Job 1:5. “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” — Ps. 101:2, 3.
4. Keeping them under subjection whilst young, yet requiring nothing of them but what is agreeable to the law of the Lord. “And he went down with them, and was subject unto them.”— Luke 2:51. As children must obey, so parents must command in the Lord.— Eph. 6:1, 4.
5. Encouragement of them by kind looks and speeches, and rewards in well-doing, together with discountenance, reproof; and loving and seasonable correction of them for evil-doing. “And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong, and of good courage,” &c. — l Chron. 28:20. “Chasten thy son whilst there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”— Prov. 19:18. “The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight to thy soul.” — Prov. 29:15, 17.
6. Provision for them of what is needful for the present; as also laying up for them, according to the proportion of what they have, for the future. “If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”— 1 Tim. 5:8. “For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”— 2 Cor. 12:14.
7. Disposal of them to trades, callings, and in marriage, when grown up, as may be most for their good; therein using no force, but consulting and considering their capacity and inclination. “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”— Gen. 4:1, 2. “But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely towards his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not; let them marry.— So then, he that giveth her in marriage doth well.”— 1 Cor. 7:36, 38.
Q. 7. What are the duties of wives to their husbands?
A. The duties of wives to their husbands are—
1. Love of them above all other persons in the world. “That they teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children “— Tit. 2:4.
2. Loyalty and faithfulness, in reference unto the bed and estate, and any secrets intrusted with them. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.”— Heb. 13:4. “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”— 1 Tim. 3:11.
3. Reverence and fear of offending them. “Let the wife see that she reverence her husband.”— Eph. 5:33.
4. Subjection unto them in all things lawful under Christ. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. As the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”— Eph. 5:22, 24.
5. Care to please them, suiting themselves to their disposition, and all things to their liking. “She that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may cleanse her husband.” — 1 Cor. 7:34.
6. Helping them to bear their burdens, and in making provision for their families. “And the Lord said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”— Gen. 2:18. “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”— Prov. 31:27.
7. Giving ear to, and complying with, the counsels of their husbands, if good, for their souls’ welfare; and endeavouring, with meekness and wisdom, with kindness and loving admonitions, and a chaste, sweet conversation, to win their husbands over to the ways of God, when they are wicked. “Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may, without the word, be won by the conversation of the wives, while they be-hold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear.”— 1 Pet. 3:1, 2.
Q. 8. What are the duties of husbands to their wives?
A. The duties of husbands to their wives, are —
1. Most endeared love to them, like unto the love of Christ to his Church. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it.”— Eph. 5:25.
2. Dwelling with them, and, according to knowledge, honouring them, and delighting in their company. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife.”— Eph. 5:31. “Husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel.”— 1 Pet. 3:7. “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe: let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, and be thou ravished always with her love.” — Prov. 5:18, 19.
3. Tenderness towards them, and careful provision of food and raiment, and all things necessary for them, as for their own bodies. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.”— Eph. 5:28, 29.
4. Fidelity to them in keeping the marriage covenant, so as to forbear the use of any other besides them. selves. “Thou shalt not be for another man; so will I also be for thee.”— Hos. 3:3.
5. Protection of them from injuries, and covering of their infirmities with the wings of love. “And David rescued his two wives.” — 1 Sam. 30:18. “For charity [or love] shall cover a multitude of sins.”— 1 Pet. 4:8.
6. Care to please them in all things lawful and fit, and praise of them when they do well. “He that is married, careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.”— 1 Cor. 7:33.
7. Prayer with them and for them, counsel and admonition of them, and every way helping them, especially in reference to their souls, walking with them in the ways and ordinances of the Lord. “Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.”— 1 Pet.3:7. “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”— Luke 1:6.
Q. 9. What are the duties of servants to their masters?
A. The duties of servants to their masters are —
1. Honour of their masters in their heart, speech, and behaviour. “A servant honoureth his master.”— Mal. 1:6. “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour.”— 1 Tim. 6:1.
2. Service of them with diligence, willingness, fear, and out of obedience unto Christ. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men.” Eph. 6:5-7.
3. faithfulness to them in their estate, and any trust committed to them, with endeavours to please them well in all things. “Exhort servants to please their own masters well in all things; showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” — Tit. 2:9, 10.
4. Meekness and patience under reproof and strokes, and that not only when they do deserve them, but also when they are innocent. “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently I but if; when ye do well, and suffer for it. ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”— 1 Pet 2:18-20.
Q. 10. What are the duties of masters to their servants?
A. The duties of masters to their servants are —
1. Wisdom and gentleness in their guidance and government of their servants, and acceptance of their diligence and willingness in their service not threatening for every fault, remembering that they also are servants to Christ, and have many faults to be covered. “And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing [or moderating] threatening; knowing that your Master also is in heaven; and there is no respect of persons with him.”— Eph. 6:9.
2. Provision of convenient and sufficient food for them. “Thou shalt have enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens.”— Prov. 27:27.
3. Payment of their wages in full, and at the promised time. “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal.”— Col 4:1. “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant. At his day thou shalt give him his hire; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it; lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.”— Dent. 24:14, 15.
4. Reproof of them for sin, and correction of them with more than words for some faults. “A servant will not be corrected with words; for though he understand, he will not answer.” — Prov. 29:19.
5. Instruction of them in the ways of God; worshiping God with them; allowance of time every day for worshiping God by themselves; restraining them as much as they can from every sin, especially from external breach of the Sabbath; exhortation and persuasion of them unto the obedience and service of the Lord, and therein to be both examples unto, and companions with them. “I know him, that he will command his household, and they shall keep the ways of God.”— Gen. 18:19. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”— Josh. 24:15. “A devout man, and one that feared God, with all his house.”— Acts 10:2.
Q. 11. What are the duties of the people to their ministers?
A. The duties of people to their ministers are —
1. High estimation of them, and endeared love to them, for their work’s sake. “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord; and to esteem them very highly, in love for their work’s sake.”— 1 Thess. 5:12, 13. “Ye received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. For I bear you record, that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.”— Gal. 4:14, 15.
2. Diligent attendance upon the word preached, and other ordinances administered by them. “He that heareth you, heareth me.”— Luke 10:16.
3. Meek and patient suffering the word of reproof, and ready obedience unto the word of command, which ministers shall, from the Scriptures, make known unto them, together with submission unto the discipline entrusted with them by the Lord. “Receive with meekness the ingrafted word,” &c. James 1:21. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls.”— Heb. 13:17.
4. Communicating to them of their temporals. “The Lord hath ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”— 1 Cor. 9:14. “Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”— Gal. 6:6.
5. Prayer for them. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.”— Rom. 15:30. “Brethren, pray for us.”— 1 Thess. 5:25.
6. Shutting their ear against reproaches and slanders, believing nothing without proof; and standing up in their defense against an ungodly world, and many false brethren, and rotten-hearted hypocrites, who are made use of by the devil to cast dirt upon them, that thereby people receiving prejudices against them, might be kept either from hearing them, or receiving benefit by their doctrine, and so be either drawn to ways of error, or hardened in ways of profaneness. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”— Tim. 5:19.
Q. 12. What are the duties of ministers to their people?
A. The duties of ministers to their people are —
1. Dear and tender love to their souls. “We were gentle among you, as a nurse cherisheth her children: being so affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted to you, not the gospel only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”— 1 Thess. 2:7, 8.
2. Diligent, sincere, and frequent preaching of the word unto them, with administration of all ordinances. “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor in guile; but as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”— 1 Thess. 2:3, 4. “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.”— 2 Tim. 4:2.
3. Watchfulness over them, with willingness and cheerfulness. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”— 1 Pet. 5:2.
4. Prayer for them, and praise for the grace of God which is in them. “Wherefore, I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” — Eph. 1:15, 16.
5. Showing themselves an example of holiness and good works unto them. “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.”— Tit. 2:7. “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”— 1 Tim. 4:12.
Q. 13. What are the duties of subjects to their magistrates?
A. The duties of subjects to their magistrates, are —
1. High estimation and honour of them. “Fear God; honour the king.”— 1 Pet. 2:17.
2. Subjection to them, and obedience unto their laws, so far as they are not contrary to the laws of Christ. ” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”— Rom. 13:1.
3. Ready payment of their dues. ” Render unto all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom.”— Rom. 13:7.
4. Defense of them in danger. “Wherefore hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came in one to destroy the king thy lord.”— 1 Sam. 26:15.
5. Prayer and thanksgiving for them. “I exhort that prayers and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”— 1 Tim. 2:1, 2.
Q. 14. What are the duties of magistrates to their subjects?
A. The duties of magistrates to their subject are —
1. Government of their subjects under Christ, with wisdom, justice, and clemency, endeavouring above all things to promote the interest of religion among them. “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people.”— 2 Chron. 1:10. ” And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.”— 2 Chron. 2:1.
2. Making good laws for the benefit of their subjects, and appointing faithful officers, with charge of due execution of them. “And he set judges in the land, and said, Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord; for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”— 2 Chron. 19:5-7.
3. Care of the common safety of their subjects. “And Jehoshaphat reigned in his stead; and he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah.”— 2 Chron. 17:1, 2.
4. Encouragement of them that do well, by their example, countenance, and reward, together with discouragement and punishment of evildoers. “Governors are for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”— 1 Pet 2:14.
Q.15. What are the duties of the younger and inferior in gifts and graces. to the aged and superior?
A. The duties of the younger and inferior in gifts and graces, to the elder and superior, are —
1. To rise up before them, and give place to them, with reverence and respect. “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God.”— Lev. 19:32.
2. Humble submission to them, so as to follow their wise counsels. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.”— 1 Pet. 5:5.
3. Imitation of them in their graces and holy conversation. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”— 1 Cor. 11:1.
Q.16. What are the duties of the aged and superior in gifts and graces unto the younger and inferior?
A. The duties of the aged and superior in gifts and graces, unto the younger and inferior, are— To adorn their old age, and show forth the power of their grace in a holy and exemplary conversation. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience: the aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, teachers of good things.” — Tit. 2:2, 3.
Q. 17. What are the duties of equals one to another?
A. The duties of equals one to another, are —
1. To live in peace with, and sincere love to one another, preferring each other in honour. “Be at peace among yourselves.” — 1 Thess. 5:13. “Let love be without dissimulation. Be kindly-affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another.” — Rom. 12:9, 10.
2. To be pitiful, courteous and affable, and ready to promote one another’s good, and to rejoice therein. “— Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” — 1 Pet. 3:8. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” — 1 Cor. 10:24. Rejoice with them that do rejoice.” Rom. 12:15.
Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of or doing any thing against, the honour and duty which belongeth to every one in their several places and relations.
Q. 1. How many ways may we sin against the fifth commandment?
A. We may sin against the fifth commandment two ways — 1. By neglecting of the duties therein prescribed. 2. By doing any thing against the honour which belongeth unto every one in their several places and relations.
Q. 2. What are the sins of children against their parents?
A. The sins of children against their parents are —
1. Irreverence towards them, and anywise dishonouring of them, either in speech or behaviour. “Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people shall say, Amen.” — Deut. 27:16. ” Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.” — Prov. 20:20.
2. Disobedience to their commands. ” The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” — Prov. 30:17.
3. Unteachableness and refusal of their instruction. “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” — Prov. 8:23. “And thou mourn at last, and say, How have I hated instruction, and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers?” — Prov. 5:11-13.
4. Stubbornness and incorrigibleness under their reproofs and corrections. ” And he said, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings. Notwithstanding, they hearkened not unto the voice of their father.” — 1 Sam. 2:23-25.
5. Wastefulness of their substance, unthankfulness for their care and favours, or anywise unkindness to them, especially when they are aged and in distress. ” He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.” — Prov. 19:26. ” Despise not thy mother when she is old.” — Prov. 23:22.
6. Disposal of themselves unto callings or in marriages, without their consent or advice. “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Been the Hittite and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.” — Gen. 26:34, 35.
Q. 3. What are the sins of parents against their children?
A. The sins of parents against their children are —
1. Want of natural affection and tenderness towards them, especially when infants, or sick and helpless. “Without natural affection.” — Rom. 1:31. “She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers.” — Job 39:16.
2. Too fond love, giving them their will, and subjecting themselves thereunto; together with partial love, and that expressing itself more to the less deserving, and less to the more deserving.
3. Neglect of their souls, to give them instruction, and reasonable and needful correction; as also neglect of their bodies to make convenient provision for them. “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.” — Prov. 13:24. ” If any provide not for his own, he is worse than an infidel.” — 1 Tim. 5:8.
4. Cruelty towards them, and unreasonable provoking of them unto anger. “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.” — Eph. 6:4. ” Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be discouraged.” — Col. 3:21.
5. Encouragement of them, either by their command or example, in ill-doing or discouragement of them, either by their prohibition or frowns and displeasure, in well-doing.
6. Opposition of that which is really for their good, either in reference unto their calling or marriage.
Q. 4. What are the sins of wives against their husbands?
A. The sins of wives against their husbands are —
1. Want of that due reverence, and honour, and endeared love, which they should have for their husbands above all others. “And Michal saw David dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. ” — 2 Sam. 6:16.
2. Infidelity in breaking the marriage covenant, or revealing any secrets committed by their husbands unto them. To deliver thee from the strange woman, who forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.” — Prov. 2:16, 17.
3. Pride and profusive spending and wasting their estates in costly clothes, beyond their degree, or any other ways. “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning, of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” — 1 Pet. 3: 3.
4. Unsubjection unto, and imperiousness over their husbands, as if they were their foot, to be commanded by them, and not their head, to rule over them; and this accompanied with frowardness and a contentious spirit, disturbing their husbands with their evil speeches and clamours. “The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” — Prov. 19:13.
5. Evil surmises, and suspicions of their husbands without reason; unkind behaviour towards them whatsoever kindnesses they receive from them, foolish speaking of their faults before others, to their provocation, instead of love and meek admonitions, when they are alone, to their amendment.
6. Deafening their ear unto the loving counsels and faithful reproof of their husbands, for their souls’ good, growing the worse, and not the better thereby.
Q. 5. What are the sins of husbands against their wives?
A. The sins of husbands against their wives are —
1. Want of that endeared love and kindness which is due to their wives, bitter speeches, unkind and unreasonable jealousies, revilings, and rage at their advice, especially when it is loving and meek, and for the real good of their body, or estate, or name, or soul. “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” — Col. 3:19.
2. Unfaithfulness unto their wives, and that either in reference unto their bodies by adultery, or in reference unto their souls, by neglect of such advice, reproof, or instruction, as may be for their souls’ good, especially by drawing them unto sin, to their souls’ ruin. “The Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” — Mal. 2:14. “Then the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, answered, As for the word which thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee.” — Jer. 44:15, 16.
Q. 6. What are the sins of servants against their masters?
A. The sins of servants against their masters are —
1. Disobedience unto their lawful and fit commands, or unwilling obedience; or eye-service of them only, neglecting their business when their backs are turned. “Servants, obey in all things your masters; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.” — Col. 3:22, 23.
2. Dishonouring them, by reviling speeches to them, or reproachful speeches of them, or by any kind of rude and saucy behaviour before them.
3. Lying, or anywise dissembling with them; wronging or anywise defrauding of them in their estates. “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” — Ps. 101:7.
4. Repining at their provisions without cause, impatience, anger, discontent, surliness, and answering again when reproved for their faults. “Not answering again.” — Tit. 2: 9.
5. Receiving no instruction from them; withdrawment from, or negligent and sleepy attendance upon, family worship.
Q. 7. What are the sins of masters against their servants?
A. The sins of masters against their servants are —
1. Requiring and commanding them to do any thing which is in itself sinful; or encouraging of them by their example so to do. “It may he the Lord will bear the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master hath sent to reproach the living God.” — Isa. 37:4.
2. Requiring their whole time for themselves, and not allowing them sufficient for the refreshment of nature, and daily secret worship of God.
3. Proud, imperious carriage towards them, and ruling over them with severity, and continual chiding and threatenings, discontent, and dissatisfaction with all their willing endeavours to do them service, too eager insisting upon, and too frequent upbraiding them with their faults. “Forbearing threatening.” — Eph. 6:9.
4. Niggardly pinching, and withholding from them their convenient food, or things needful for them when they are sick, as also keeping back from them their due wages. “Behold, the hire of the labourers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth.” — James 5:4.
5. Neglect of their souls, and of family worship with them. “Pour out thy fury upon the families that call not upon thy name.” — Jer. 10:15.
Q. 8. What are the sins of people against their ministers?
A. Thu sins of people against their ministers are —
1. Hatred and persecution of them, either with the hand or tongue, making slanders, or taking them up without proof, and nowise esteeming and honouring of them as ministers of Christ, and ambassadors sent from heaven unto them. “I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words.” — 3 John 10. “His letters (say they) are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” — 2 Cor. 10:10. “He that despiseth you, despiseth me.” — Luke 10:16.
2. Forbearing to hear them through an itching ear, slightness of spirit in hearing, and anywise grieving of them by their unbelief; hardness of heart, unfruitfulness, divisions among themselves, unstedfastness, and unsuitable conversation unto the gospel which their ministers do preach amongst them. “For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts, shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” — 2 Tim. 4:3, 4. “He looked about with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts.” — Mark 3:5. “Out of much affliction, and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears.” — 2 Cor. 2:4.
3. Restraining prayer for them, denial of required submission and obedience unto them, withholding due maintenance from them, or anywise neglecting the duties required of people to their ministers.
Q. 9. What are the sins of ministers against their people?
A. The sins of ministers against their people are —
1. Want of sincere and tender love to their souls, seeking more to receive earthly gain from them, than to do any good unto them. “I seek not yours, but you .” — 2 Cor. 12:14. “His watchmen are blind; they are greedy dogs which can never have enough; they look every one for his gain from his quarter.” — Isa. 56:10.
2. Negligence in their prayers and studies for them, and in their preaching the word to them. “Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine: neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” — 1 Tim. 4:13, 14.
3. Unwatchfulness over them, unprofitableness in their discourse among them, unsuitableness of conversation unto their doctrine and profession, unteaching that by their lives which they teach in their pulpits.
4. Corrupting the word they preach, and infecting the minds of their people with erroneous opinions. “We are not as many, which corrupt the word of God.” — 2 Cor. 2:17.
Q. 10. What are the sins of subjects against their magistrates?
A. The sins of subjects against their magistrates are —
1. Rebellion against them, and any treasonable seeking their overthrow and ruin. “An evil man seeketh only rebellion, therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.” — Prov. 17:11.
2. Unsubjection and disobedience unto their good and righteous laws. “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” — Rom. 13:5.
3. Neglecting of prayer for them, and, instead thereof, speaking evil of them. “Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” — 2 Pet. 2:10.
4. Reviling speeches unto them, and irreverent behaviour before them. “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.” — Exod. 22:28. “And Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king.” — 2 Sam. 24:20.
5. Denial of their just dues, and anywise defrauding of them. “Owe no man any thing.” — Rom. 12:8.
Q. 11. What are the sins of magistrates against their subjects?
A. The sins of magistrates against their subjects are —
1. Making laws which are contrary to the laws of God. “Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, 0 king, shall be cast into the den of lions ?” — Dan. 6:12.
2. Oppression, tyranny, and cruelty in their government. “As a roaring lion and a raging bear, so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor; but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.” — Prov. 28:15, 16.
3. Seeking their own interest, rather than the interest of the commonwealth.
4. Discountenance and discouragement of the good and righteous, together with encouragement and preferment of the wicked and unrighteous.
5. Unsubjection to the laws of God themselves, and, by their evil example, encouraging others to do the like. “The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.” — Ps. 12:8.
Q. 12. What are the sins of the younger and weaker in gifts and graces against them that are aged and stronger?
A. The sins of the younger and weaker in gifts and graces, against them which are aged and stronger, are —
1. A proud conceitedness of wisdom and worth in themselves, beyond their elders and betters, together with a despising of them in their hearts, and judging of them for making use of their known liberty. “Not a novice, lest, being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” — 1 Tim. 3:6. “Let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth.” — Rom. 14:3.
2. A rude and indecent taking place of them, or anywise irreverent carriage towards them. “Sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden, and he say, Give this man place.” — Luke 14:8, 9.
3. A masterly spirit and stiff will, which will not yield to their wise counsels, and advice for their good.
Q. 13. What are the sins of the aged and stronger in gifts and graces against the younger and weaker?
A. The sins of the aged and stronger in gifts and graces, against the younger and weaker, are —
1. Giving them evil examples of unholiness, covetousness, unrighteousness, intemperance, or any wickedness.
2. Contemptuous carriage towards them, or not giving due encouragement unto good beginnings.
3. Not bearing with their weakness, and despising of them because of their infinities. “We, then, that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” — Rom. 15:1. “Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not.” — Rom. 14:3.
Q. 14. What are the sins of equals against one another?
A. The sins of equals, one against another, are —
1. Hatred, envy, malice, inordinate anger towards, and evil speaking either to or of; one another, and any way injuring, defaming, and dishonouring each other. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another.” — Eph. 4:31, 32.
2. Instead of provoking one another unto love and good works, enticing one another, or yielding unto one another’s enticements unto sin. “Let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works.” — Heb. 10:24. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” — Prov. 1:10.
3. A private, contracted, selfish Spirit, which keepeth them from any cordial and diligent seeking of one another’s good, unless their own private carnal interest be promoted thereby. ” Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” — 1 Cor. 10:24.
Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good), to all such as keep this commandment.
Q. 1. What is the promise itself, which is annexed for the encouragement of those that keep this fifth commandment?
A. The promise itself which is annexed for the encouragement of them that keep this fifth commandment, is the promise of long life; and this is the first particular commandment with promise. “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” — Exod. 20:12. “Honour thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise.” — Eph. 6:2.
Q. 2. How is the fifth commandment the first commandment with promise, when there is a promise of God’s showing mercy unto thousands, annexed unto the second commandment?
A. The promise of God’s showing mercy unto thousands, annexed unto the second commandment, hath not respect unto that commandment only, but is made to those that love God, and, with that, keep all his other commandments; whereas this promise of long life is particularly applied unto the keepers of this fifth commandment.
Q. 3. What is included in this promise of long life?
A. This promise of long life doth include, not only the continuance of life for a long time, which may be so accompanied with miseries that death may be more desirable; but also, it includeth the blessing and prosperity of life. “Honour thy father and thy mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth.” — Eph. 6:2, 3.
Q. 4. Do all those, then, that honour their parents live long and prosper upon the earth?
A. 1. Many that honour their parents, and are faithful in all relative duties, do now attain long life and prosperity in the world, and that by virtue of this promise; and those that do otherwise, are many of them cut off in their youth, or in the midst of their days, and bring the curse of poverty and want upon themselves whilst they live: yet withal, we may observe that temporal promises and judgments were fulfilled more in the letter formerly in the Old Testament times, than in the latter gospel-days, wherein they are often exchanged into spiritual.
2. This promise is to be understood with this exception — so far as it may serve for God’s glory and the real good of all those that keep this commandment; and oftentimes God is glorified, and they are benefited, when they are exercised with affliction, and God sees it best to take some of them home in their youth, or strength of their years, to himself; to hide them from the miseries that befall them that survive, and, instead of long life on the earth, he giveth them eternal life in heaven. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes.” — Ps. 119:71. ” The righteous perisheth, and merciful men are taken away from the evil to come.” — Isa. 57:1. “This is the promise he hath promised us, even eternal life.” — 1 John 2:25.