תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

where it is not read in your families, that you often read it over alone. How profitable this will prove, experience (through God's blessing) in a short time will show. Whereby you may be able to look over the heads of the most of your years in knowledge : which that you may be filled with, as with every grace, is the prayer for you to the Father of lights from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, of,

Your's in the sincerest bonds,

THOMAS VINCENT.

naman

AN

EXPLANATION

OF THE

Assembly's Shorter Catechism.

I. QUESTION. What is the chief end of man?

Answer. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

Q. 1. What is meant by the chief end of man?

A. The chief end of man is that which man ought chiefly to aim at, or design, to desire, seek after, and endeavour to obtain, as his chief good and happiness : unto which his life and his actions ought to be referred and directed; which is the glorifying of God, and the enjoyment of God for ever.

Q. May men have no other chief end, than the glorifying and enjoying of God?

A. Men ought to have no other chief end, than the glorifying of God; but they may have subordinate ends. For 1. Men ought to be diligent in their particular callings for this end, that they may provide for themselves and their families, 1. Thess. iv. ll, 12. Do your own business and work with your hands, that you may have lack of nothing. 2. Men may eat and drink, and sleep, for this end, that they may nourish; and refresh their bodies : It is lawful to design, and desire, and seek these in such actions subordinately or less principally : but in these and all actions men ought principally' and chiefly to design and seek the glory of God, i Cor. x. 31. Whether there. fore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. 3. Men may moderately desire and endeavour after the enjoyment of such a portion of the good things of the world as are needful and useful : but they ought to make choice of God for their chief good and desire the eternal enjoyment of him as their chief portion, Psalm 1xxii. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee, or in comparison with thee, my flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Q. 3. What is it to glorify God? A. 1. Negatively, to glorify God is not to give any additional glory to God; it is not io make God more glorious than he is : for God is uncapable of receive ing the least addition to his essential glory, he being eternally and infinitely perfect and glorious, Psalm v. 48. Your Father which is in heaven is perfect, Mat. xvi. 2. Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee. 2. Affirmatively, to glorify God, is to manifest God's glory, not only passively, as all creatures do which have neither religion nor reason, but also actively. Men giorify God, when the design of their life and actions is the glory and honour of God 1 Pet. ii. 9. That he should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you, &c. 1. When inwardly they have the highest estimation of him, the greatest confidence in him, and the strongest affections to him, this is glorifying of God in your spirit, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your spirits, which are God's. 2. When outwardly they acknowledge God according to the revelations he hath made of himself, when with their lips they shew forth God's prạise. Psalm 1. 23. He that offereth praise, glorifieth me. When they sins cerely endeavour in their actions, the exalting of God's name, the promotion of the interest of bis kingdom in the world, and to yield that worship and obedience to him which he hath prescribed in his word, Psalm

xxxiv. 4. O'magnify the Lord with me: and let us exalt his name together. Rev. xiv. 7. Fear God and give glory to him, and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the foundation of waters.

Q. 4... What is it to enjoy God?

A. To enjoy God, is to acquiesce or rest in God, as the chief good, with complacency and delight, Psalm cxix. 7. Return unto thy rest, O my soul.

Q. 5. How is God enjoyed here? A. God is enjoyed here, when people do settle themselves upon and cleave to the Lord by faith, Joshua xxiii. 8. But cleave to the Lord your God. 2. When they taste the Lord's goodness, and delight themselves in the gracious presence, and sensible manifestations of God's special love unto them. Psalm xxxiv. 8. O taste and see that the Lord is good, Rom. v. 5. Because the love of God is shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost.

Q. 6. How will God be enjoyed by his people hereafter?

A. God will be enjoyed hereafter by his people, when they shall be admitted into his glorious presence have an immediate sight of his face, and full sense of his love in heaven, and there fully and eternally acquiesce and rest in him, with perfect and inconceivable delight and joy, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. Now we see through a glass darkly ; but then face to face, Heh. iy. 9. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of. God, Psalm xvi. 1). In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore,

Q. 7. Why is the glorifying of God and enjoying of God joined together as one chief end of man?

A. Because God hath inseparably joined them together, so that men cannot truly design and seek the one without the other; they which enjoy God most in his house on earth do most glorify and enjoy him, Psalm lxxxiv. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be still praising thee. And when God shall be most fully enjoyed by the saints in heaven, he shall be most highly glorified, 2 Thes. i. 10. He will come to be glorified in his saints.

B

Q. 8. Why ought men chiefly to design the glorifying of God in all their actions ?

A. l. Because God hath made them, and made them for this end, and given them a soul capable of doing it, beyond irrational creatures, Psalm'c. 3. Know ye that the Lord is God, it is he that made us and not we ourselves. Prov. xv. 4. The Lord made all things for himself. Psalm cii. 1. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his boly name. 2. Because God doth preserve them and make provison for them, that they might glorify him, Psalm lxvi. 8. 9. 0. bless our God, o ye people! which holdeth our soul in life. Psalm xcv. 6, 7. 0 come, let us worship before the LORD, for we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. 3. Because God hath redeemed them, and bought them with his precious blood, that they may glorify him, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price : Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 4. Because he hath given them his word to direct, his Spirit to assist, and promiseth his kingdom to encourage them to glorify him, Psalm cxlvij. 19, 20. He shew. eth his word unto Jacob; his statutes and his judg. ments unto Israel: He hath not dealt so with any nation. Praise ye the Lord. Rom. viii. 26. Likewise the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, James ii. 5. Heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised unto them that love him.

Q. 9. Why ought men chiefly to desire' and seek the enjoyment of God for ever?

A. Because God is the chiefest good, and in the enjoy ment of God doth consist man's chiefest happiDess, Matth. xix. 17. There is none good but one and that is God. Psalm iv. 6, 7. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good ? LORD lift thou, up the light of thy countenance upon us.

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 2. Because God is but imperfectly and inconstantly enjoyed here : and men cannot be perfectly happy until they come to the

« הקודםהמשך »