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writing in the books of the Old and New Teltament; which though it be ministered by men, yet is no other than the very word of God, and as such to be received ; i Thell. ii. 13. For this cause also thaok we God without ceasing, because wheo ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men ; but (as it is in truth) the word of God, &c.
Ri 2. Whence is the efficacy of this word ?
A. It is wholly from the Spirit of God that it becomes effectual to any man's falvation; 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7. I have planted, and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So theo, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increafe.
O. 3. Is the readiag of the scripture an ordinance of God for men's salvation ?
A. Yes, it is; Deut. xvii. 19. And it shall be with him, and he shall feed therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes to do them. Aod in reading of it, God fometimes comes in by his Spirit to mens conversion ; Acts viii. 27, 28, 29. And he arose and went, and behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and listing in bis chariot, read Isaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join thyfelf to this chariot, doc.
Is the hearing of the word a means of salvation ?
Q. 5. To what end is the word useful to meo?
A. The first eod and use of the word is to convince men of their sin and misery out of Chrift; i Cor. xiv, 24, 25. But if all prophely, and there come in one that believeth not, or one uolearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, doc.
Q. 6. What is it useful for, besides conviction ?
A. It is useful for conversion, as well as conviction; Psalm xix. 7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the foul, &c. Acts xxvi. 18. To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, &c.
Q. 7. Doth the word convince and convert all that hear it?
A. No, but those only that are ordained to eternal life; Acts xiii, 48. As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Q. 8. What else is the word useful for ?
A. To build up the faints to perfection in Chrift; Eph. ir. 11, 12, 13. And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and fome evangelists, and some paltors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Chrilt: till we all come io the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, upto a perfect man; up to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, Acts XX. 32. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give yon an inheritance among all them that are laoctified.
R. 9. May the common people read the scriptures ?
A. Yes, it is a duty commanded by Christ; Johd v. 39. Search the scriptures, &c. And commended by the apostle; Acts xvii. 11. These were more aoble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were fo.
Q 10. Is it their duty or liberty also to preach it?
A. No, it is not ; for besides abilities for that work, there must be a call; Rom. x. 14, 15. How shall they hear without a preacher ? aod how shall they preach, except they be fent, &c.
Q. 11. What is the first iästruction from hence?
A. That the enjoyments of the scriptures, and an able faithful ministry to expound and apply them, is a special mercy to any people; Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and judgments unto Ifrael; he hath not dealt so with any nation ; aod as for his judgments they have Qot koowo them.
R 12. What is the second instruction ?
A. That men cannot expect special and spiritual bleffings from God in the wilful neglect of the ordinances ; Prov. xxviii. 9. He that turoeth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
Q. 13. What is the third inference ?
A. That fad is their condition, who fit all their day's under the word to no purpose at all ; 2 Cor. iv. 3. 4. If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are loft : ia whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, left the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them.
Q. 14. What is the lalt inference ?
A, That Christ's ordinances and ministers fhould be most wel come to the people to whom God leads them; Ila. lü. 7. How
tife it in our lives.
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringet ki good tidings, that publisbeth peace, that publisheth falvation, that faith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.
Of the Manner of Hearing. Queft. 90.
ow is the word to be read and heard, that
it may become effectual to salvation ? A. That the word may become effettual to salvation, we muft attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and prac.
Q.1. If the matter we read or hear be good, is not that enough for our salvation ?
A. No, God requires that the word be read and heard in a due manner, and the manner of hearing is of special regard with God; Luke viii. 18. Take heed therefore how ye hear, &c.
Q. 2. How many things belong to the due manner of hearing?
A. Three forts of duties belong to it; some antecedent, as preparation and prayer; some concomitant, as due diligence and retention ; and some subsequent, as practice.
Q. 3. What is due preparation for hearing?
A. It confifts in serious confideration of the greatness and holiness of that God whom we approach in hearing the word; Acts x. 33. Now therefore we are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. And awing the heart even to a degree of holy trembling thereby ; Ifa. lxvi. 2. To him will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite fpirit, and trembleth at my word.
Q. 4. What is the principal consideration thus to awe the heart?
A. The word is in its own nature an heart-searching word ; Heb. iv. 12. For the word of God is quick and powerful, and fharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the divida ing afunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a difcerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And that eventually it will be the favour of life or death to us; 2 Cor. ii. 16. To the one we are the favour of death unto death ; and to the other the favour of life unto life, doc.
Q. 5. What else belongs to due preparation to hear ?
À The discharging of the heart from worldly cares ; Matth. xiii. 7. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang op and choaked them. And carnal lufts; James i. 21. Where.
fore lay apart all filthiness and fuperfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to fave your souls.
Q. 6. What is the third act of due preparation ?
A. Longing after the word for further communications of grace by it; i Pet. ii. 2. As new-born babes desire the line cere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Ifa. ii. 3. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths : for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerufalem.
Q. 7. What is the second antecedent duty of hearing ?
A. Prayer is an antecedent duty to hearing the word, and that both for the assistance of the minister ; 2 Theff. iii. 1. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you. And our own illumination ; Psalm cxix. 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Q. 8. What else should we pray for ?
A. That God would pour out his Spirit with the word, according to that promise, Prov. i. 23. I will pour out my Spirit upon you, I will make known
words unto you, Q. 9. Doth unpreparedness for the word always hinder its efficacy on the heart?
A. No, God sometimes is found of them that fought him not; Isa. Ixv. 1. I was found of them that fought me not, &c. But it is a fin to neglect it, and needs a pardon of God.
Q. 10. What is the first motive to prepare for solemn duties?
A. That it argues the lincerity of the heart, and in that cafe God will be merciful to infirmities ; 2 Chron. xxx. 18, 19. For a multitude of the people, even a multitude of Ephraim and Manaffeh, Ifiachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did eat the paffover, but not as it is written; wherefore Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord be merciful towards him that prepareth his whole heart to seek the Lord God, the God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the fanctuary.
Q. 11. What is the second motive ?
fuccessful for which the heart is prepared ; Psalm x. 17. Thou preparest their heart; thou bendest thine ear to them.
12. What is the third motive to preparation ? A The majesty and jealousy of God, to whom we approach, obliges us to folemn perparation ; Heb. xii. 28, 29. Whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear; for our God is a consuming fire.
R. 13. But must a man neglect the duty, if his heart be not duly prepared for it ?
A. No; for that would be to add a new sin to a former, and aggravate it the more.
Q. 14. In what manner must the prepared heart go to the word?
A. Not in dependance on its own preparations, but upon the Spirit's affiftance; Psalm 1xxi. 16. I will go forward in the strength of the Lord God, &c.
Q. 15. What is the first act of faith due to the word ?
A. The affenting act of faith is required to the word read or preached, whereby we acknowledge it to be of divine authority; 2 Tim. iii. io. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instructiori in righteousness; 2 Peter i. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man : but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Ghost. • Q. 16. What is the fecond act of faith required of us?
A. An applying act of faith is also required of us; Rom. XV. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the fcriptures might have hope.
Q. 17. What is the first end in applying the word ? A. It is first to be applied to our conviction both of fin and misery; Acts ii. 37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
l. 18. What is the fecond end, or use of applying it? A. It must be applied for our guidance and direction to Christ; John vi. 45. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me.
l. 19. What is the third use to which it must be applied ?
A. We must apply it for our direction through the whole course of Christian duties ; 2 Pet. i. 19. We have also a more fure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your
hearts. 0. 20. What other use must we apply it to?
A. It must be applied for our comfort in all inward and outward troubles; Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were writ.