Archive for the ‘Ridgeley’ Category

Thomas Ridgley on the Second Commandment

August 30, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Thomas Ridgley’s, “A Body of Divinity, wherein the doctrines of the Christian religion are explained and defended: being the substance of several lectures on the Assembly’s Larger catechism” (pp. 328-335 of Volume 2 of the 1855 edition)


Question CVII. Which is the second commandment?

Answer. The second commandment is, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”

Question CVIII. What are the duties required in the second commandment?

Answer. The duties required in the second commandment are the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religions worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in bis word, particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ, the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments, church government and discipline, the ministry and maintenance thereof, religious fasting, swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him; as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship, and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Question CIX. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer. The sins forbidden in the second commandment, are all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and any ways approving any religious worship not instituted by God himself, tolerating a false religion, the making any representation of God, of all, or of any of the three Persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly, in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever, all worshipping of it, or God in it, or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others; though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever, simony, sacrilege, all neglect, contempt, hindering and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Question CX. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment the more to enforce it?

Answer. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, “For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments,” are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom, accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations, and esteeming the observers of it, such as love him, and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

Difference between the First and the Second Commandment.

Before we proceed to consider the matter of this commandment, we shall premise something, in general, concerning the difference between it and the first commandment. The first commandment respects the object of worship; the second, the manner in which it is to be performed. Accordingly, the former forbids our not owning God to be such an one as he has revealed himself to be in his word, and also the substituting of any creature in his room, or acknowledging it, either directly or by consequence, to be our chief good and happiness; the latter obliges us to worship God, in such a way as he has prescribed, in opposition to that which takes its rise from our own invention. These two commandments, therefore, being so distinct, we cannot but think the Papists to be chargeable with a very great absurdity, in making the second to be only an appendix to the first, or an explanation of it. The design of their doing so seems to be, that they may exculpate themselves from the charge of idolatry, in setting up image-worship, which they think to be no crime; because they are not so stupid as to style the image a god, or make it a supreme object of worship. This commandment, however, in forbidding false worship, is directly contrary to their practice of worshiping God by images.

The method in which this commandment is laid down, is the same with that of several others; we have an account of the duties required, the sins forbidden, and the reasons annexed to enforce it.

The Duties Enjoined in the Second Commandment.

We shall first consider the duties commanded. These are contained in two Heads.

1. We are under an obligation to observe, or attend upon, such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed. Religious worship is that whereby we address ourselves to God, as a God of infinite perfection; profess an entire subjection and devotedness to him as our God; put our trust in him for a supply of all our wants; and ascribe to him that praise and glory which is his due, as our chief good, most bountiful benefactor, and only portion and happiness. As for the ordinances, our attendance on them depends on a divine command, to which God has annexed a promise of his gracious presence, whereby our expectations are raised that we shall obtain some blessings from him, when we engage in them in a right manner. In this respect they are instituted means of grace, and pledges of that special favor which he designs to bestow on his people. This is that which more especially renders a duty enjoined an ordinance. Accordingly, our Savior says, ‘ Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ [Matthew 18:20] Now, these ordinances are either solitary or social; such as we are obliged to perform, either in our closets, [Matthew 6:6] in our families, or in those public assemblies where God is worshiped. They are particularly mentioned in this Answer; and they are prayer, thanksgiving, reading, preaching and hearing the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments, to which we may add, praising God by singing. All these will be insisted on in a following Answer, and therefore we pass by them at present.

Now, as these are duties which are daily incumbent on us, so there are other duties or ordinances, which are to be performed only as the necessity of affairs requires. One of these is religious fasting, whereby we express public tokens of mourning and humiliation, and perform other duties corresponding with these, when God is provoked by crying sins, or when his judgments are upon us and our families, or the church of God in general. Thus the prophet Joel, when speaking concerning several desolating judgments to which Israel was exposed, commands them ‘to sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; and to weep between the porch and the altar; and say, Spare thy people, 0 Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.’ [Joel 2: 15, 17] This is not to be done at all times; but only when the providence of God calls for it. Hence, we have no warrant for the observance of annual fasts, when that which was the first occasion of them is removed; much less for those weeks of fasting which the Papists observe, which they call Lent. No sufficient reason can be assigned why Lent should be observed at the season fixed on by the Papists, rather than at any other time of the year. Nor can their fasting on certain days of the week be vindicated, much less their doing so without joining other religious duties to it; or their abstaining from some kinds of food, while they indulge themselves in eating others which are equally grateful to the appetite. This is a ludicrous and superstitious way of fasting.—Again, another occasional duty or ordinance, is our setting apart time for thanksgiving to God for deliverances from public or national calamities, or those which more immediately respect ourselves and families. In observing this ordinance, those religious duties are to be performed which tend to express our spiritual joy and thankfulness to God, who is the Author of our deliverances; and, at the same time, we are to pray that he would enable us to walk as those who are hereby laid under renewed engagements to be his. Thus the Jews observed some days of thanksgiving for their deliverance from Haman’s conspiracy. [Esther 9:20, et seq.] Such public thanksgiving for providential deliverances, is to be religiously observed ; and so it differs from that carnal joy which is generally expressed by those who receive mercies, but do not give glory to God, the sole author of them.

But besides these occasional ordinances, there is another mentioned in this Answer, namely, vowing to God. Thus the psalmist says, ‘ Vow and pay unto the Lord.’ [Psalm 76:11] This language either, more especially, respects God’s ancient people entering into a solemn obligation or promise to give something which was to be applied to the support of the public and costly worship which was performed under the ceremonial law, on which account it is said, in the following words,’ Bring presents unto him;’ or it may be considered as to the moral reason of the tiling, as including our resolution to set apart or apply some portion of our worldly substance, as God has prospered us in our secular affairs, to the maintaining and promoting of his cause and interest in the world. But we ought, at the same time, to devote ourselves to him, whereby we acknowledge his right to us, and all that we have. Thus the apostle says, concerning the churches of Macedonia, not only that they devoted their substance to God, but that they ‘ gave themselves’ also ‘unto the Lord.'[2 Corinthians 8:5] This duty does not include our resolving to do those things which are out of our own power, or that we will exercise those graces which are the special gift of the Spirit of God; but it is rather a dedication of ourselves to him, in hope of obtaining that grace from him which will enable us to perform those duties which are indispensably necessary to salvation, and inseparably connected with it. This is such a vowing to God, as will not have a tendency to ensnare our consciences, or detract from his glory who is alone the Author of all grace. Nor does it contain the least instance of presumption; but is a duty which we ought to perform by faith, to his glory and our own edification.

We might notice another ordinance, mentioned in this Answer; namely, swearing by the name of God. This, as we have elsewhere expressed it, includes a swearing fealty to him, and our consecrating and devoting ourselves to him. [See more of this in the Section ‘The Covenant of Grace as made with Man,’ under Question 31] As to swearing, as a religious duty to be performed in subservience to civil duties, we shall have occasion to speak of it under the third commandment; and therefore we pass it over at present.

2. We proceed to observe that the religious duties or ordinances which we have noticed, and all others which God has enjoined, are to be kept pure and entire. As we are not to cast off the ordinances of God in general, so we must take heed that we do not, while we perform some, live in the neglect of others; for that is not to keep them entire. Thus private duties are not to shut out those which are social in our families or the public assemblies, nor intrench on that time which ought to be allotted for them; and, on the other hand, it is not sufficient for us to worship God in public, and, at the same time, cast off all secret duties. This reproves the practice of some modern enthusiasts, who pray not, unless moved by the Spirit, as they pretend; and deny their obligation to observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper. Moreover, as we are to keep the ordinances of God entire, we are also to keep them pure, that is, to allow, or practice nothing but what is warranted by the rules which God has given us in his word; in opposition to those who corrupt his worship, by intruding those ordinances into it which are of their own invention, and pretending that, though God has not commanded these, yet the service which we perform, which can be no other than will-worship, will be acceptable to him.

The Sins Forbidden in the Second Commandment.

We now proceed to consider the sins forbidden in this commandment. The general scope and design of the commandment, as to the negative part of it, is God’s prohibiting all false worship, either in our hearts, or in our outward actions or gestures, whereby we adhere to our own imaginations rather than his revealed will, which is the only rule of instituted worship. The things forbidden in this commandment may be reduced to three Heads.

1. A not attending on the ordinances of God with that holy, humble, and becoming frame of spirit which the solemnity of the duties themselves, or the authority of God enjoining them, or the advantages which we may expect to receive by them, call for. When we do not seriously think what we are going about before we engage in holy duties, or watch over our hearts and affections, or when we worship God in a careless and indifferent manner; we may be said to draw nigh to him with our lips, while our hearts are far from him.

2. We farther break this commandment, when we invent ordinances which God has nowhere in his word commanded; or think to recommend ourselves to him by gestures, or modes of worship, which we have no precedent or example for in the New Testament. This is what is generally called superstition and will-worship. Thus we read in the degenerate age of the church, that ‘ the statutes of Omri were kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab; [Micah 6:16] referring to that false worship which was practiced by them. Here we cannot but observe, that there are many things in which the Papists are chargeable with superstition and will-worship, if not with idolatry. For example, they worship the bread in the sacrament, supposing it to be the real body and blood of Christ, and not merely the sign of him. They understand the words of our Savior when instituting this ordinance, ‘This is my body,’ [Matthew 26:26] in a literal sense, though they ought to be understood in a figurative sense.—Again, they lift up the bread in the sacrament, pretending that their doing so is a real offering of Christ; and, at the same time, the people are obliged to show all possible marks of sorrow, such as beating their breasts, shaking their heads, &c, as though they really saw Christ on the cross. But it is a profaning of the Lord’s supper, to say that Christ is really and visibly offered in it by the hands of the priest; and is contrary to what the apostle says of his having been but ‘once offered to bear the sins of many.’ [Hebrews 10:28] —Moreover, they use several superstitious ceremonies in baptism, which have, indeed, a show of religion, but want a divine sanction, and are no other than an addition to Christ’s institution. Thus they use spittle, salt, and cream, besides the water with which the child is to be baptized; and anoint it with oil, and use exorcism, commanding the unclean spirit to depart out of it, and signing it with the sign of the cross; at which they suppose the devil to be so terrified, that he is obliged to leave it, being by this means, as it were, frightened away. The principal reason, however, which they give for their adding this ceremony to Christ’s institution, is to signify that the child is hereby obliged to fight manfully under Christ’s banner. But this ceremony neither increases nor diminishes the child’s obligation; and it is a sign which Christ makes no mention of.—We may mention also their frequent crossing of themselves, as a preservative against sin, and as a means to keep them from the power of the devil, and to render their prayers acceptable in the sight of God; the splendor and magnificence of their churches, and especially the shape and figure of them, as accommodated to that of Solomon’s temple, and their situation east and west; also their bowing to the altar, which is placed in the east,—a practice for which there is not the least shadow of argument in scripture, or example in the purest ages of the Church; the ludicrous and unwarrantable ceremonies used in the consecration of churches, and the reverence which every one must show to places thus consecrated, even at other times than that of divine worship. We may add, that there are many superstitious ceremonies in consecrating all the vessels and utensils which are used in their churches. Yea, the very bells are baptized, or, as they express it, consecrated, in order that the devil may be afraid of the sound of them, and keep his distance from those places of worship in which they are fixed. But such charms can be reckoned only the sport of the powers of darkness, or looked on by them with contempt.—Again, the Papists ascribe a divine, yea, a meritorious virtue, to the frequent repeating of the Lord’s prayer in Latin, commonly called ‘ Pater noster,’ and the angel’s salutation of the Virgin Mary, [Mentioned in Luke 1:28] called ‘Ave Maria.’ The words of this salutation they put a corrupt sense upon, contrary to their proper meaning and the recitation of them; and whether they be understood or not, it is reckoned acceptable service.—We may mention likewise the distinction of garments, and the relative holiness of the persons who wear them, as signified by that distinction. We may mention, too, the canonical hours which are appointed for the performing of divine service; especially if we consider the reason which they allege for the practice, namely, that there was something remarkable done or suffered by Christ at those hours in the day. These things argue them guilty of superstition.—We might take notice also of the many things which they make merchandise of, as consecrated bread, wax-candles, &c. They ascribe to these a spiritual virtue, or some advantage to be received by those who purchase them; and so they advance the price of them. There are also the relics which they call the church’s treasure, or those rarities which they purchase at a great rate; though some of the wiser Papists have made but a jest of them.— We pass by, for brevity’s sake, many other superstitious ceremonies used by them, and observe only their bowing at the name of Jesus. This practice can hardly be vindicated from the charge of superstition, especially as no extraordinary expression of reverence is made at the mention of those incommunicable attributes of God which are ascribed to him; nor, indeed, do they bow the knee at the mentioning of the word ‘Savior,’ ‘Christ,’ or ‘Emmanuel,’ or when any other divine characters are given him. The only scripture they make use of to vindicate this practice, is Philippians 2:10, ‘That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.’ But it is plain that this ‘bowing the knee’ does not signify a bodily gesture, but only a subjection of soul to Christ, as ‘angels, authorities, and powers’ are said to be ‘made subject unto him.’ [1 Peter 3:22] These, indeed, are a very considerable part of the inhabitants of heaven, but they have no knees to bow; and as for ‘things under the earth,’ that is, the powers of darkness, they do not bow to him in a way of worship, but are subjected to him as conquered enemies.

3. We now proceed to consider that they are guilty of the breach of this commandment, who frame an image of any of the persons of the Godhead, or of any creature in heaven or earth, as a means or help made use of in order to their worshiping God. Here it must be inquired whether the making of images, absolutely or in all respects, be unlawful. It is generally answered that, if pictures representing creatures, either in heaven or earth, be made with no other design but, in an historical way, to propagate the memory of persons and their actions to posterity, the making of them seems not to be a breach of this commandment. But the sin forbidden in it, expressed in those words, ‘Making to ourselves the image or likeness of creatures in heaven or earth,’ is committed when we design to worship God by the images. Accordingly, the using of bodily gestures to them, such as those which were used in the worship of God, as bowing, uncovering the head, &c, wherein a person designs an act of worship, is idolatry. Even if nothing else is intended but the worshiping of God by the images, the use of them can hardly be excused from at least the appearance of idolatry; so that, according to one of the rules before laid down for understanding the ten commandments, it is to be reckoned a breach of the second commandment; which is what we are now considering. [see page 312] —Again, it must be inquired whether it be unlawful to represent any of the persons in the Godhead, by pictures or carved images? We answer, that, God being infinite and incomprehensible, it is impossible to frame any image like him. [Isaiah 40:18; 46:5; Acts 17:29] Moreover, he assigns as a reason why Israel should make no image of him, that ‘they saw no manner of similitude when he spake to them in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire;’ and adds, ‘lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image.’ [Deuteronomy 4:15, 16] And the apostle styles the representing of God by an image, an offering the highest affront to him, when he speaks of some who ‘changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.’ [Romans 1:23] But there are some who, though they do not much care to defend the practice of making pictures of God, yet plead for describing an emblem of the Trinity, such as a triangle, with the name Jehovah in the midst of it. Now, I would observe concerning this practice, that if the design of it be to worship God by the emblem, it is idolatry; but if not, it is unwarrantable, and, indeed, unnecessary; since a Trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence, is to be understood as revealed in scripture, and not brought to our remembrance by an emblem, which is an ordinance of our own invention. It is farther inquired whether we may not describe our Saviour, as he sometimes is by the Papists, in those things which respect his human nature? whether we may not portray him as an infant in his mother’s arms, or as conversing on earth, or hanging on the cross? The Papists not only describe him thus, but adore the image or representation of Christ crucified, which they call a crucifix. But whatever of Christ comes within the reach of the art of man to delineate or describe, is only his human nature, which is not the object of divine adoration; so that the practice of describing him in the way mentioned tends rather to debase, than to give us raised and becoming conceptions of him as such.

As God is sometimes represented as having a body or bodily parts, and as the prophet Daniel describes God the Father as ‘the Ancient of days;’ [Daniel 7:9] some suppose that it is not unlawful for them to make such representations of him by images. But God’s being described by the parts of human bodies, is in condescension to the weakness of our capacities, or agreeable to human modes of speaking; according to which the eye signifies wisdom, the arm power, the heart love, &c. We are, notwithstanding these modes of expression, to abstract, in our thoughts, every thing which is carnal or applicable to the creature, when conceiving of God; and therefore not to give occasion to any to think that he is like ourselves, by describing him in such a way. The Papists not only plead for making such images, but set them up in churches, calling them the laymen’s books, with a design to instruct them in those things which the images represent. But such a method of instruction is without any warrant from scripture, as well as contrary to the practice of the purest ages of the church; who always thought that the word of God was sufficient to lead them into the knowledge of himself, without making use of a picture for that purpose.— Yet though this color is put on the practice of setting up such images in churches, there are some of the Papists who plead for the worship of images only with this distinction, that it is a subordinate or a relative worship which they give to them, while, at the same time, the highest worship is given to God only. But they cannot thus exculpate themselves from the charge of idolatry. Indeed, in some of their books of devotion, we find the same expressions used when they address themselves to the creature, as if they were paying divine adoration to God; particularly in the book, which is well known among them, called the Virgin Mary’s Psalter, in which her name is often inserted instead of the name of God, which is the highest strain of blasphemy. Thus when it is said,’O come let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,’ [Psalm 95:6] instead of ‘the Lord,’ they put ‘the Virgin Mary;’ and when it is said, ‘Have mercy upon me, 0 God,’ [Psalm 51:1] they pray, ‘Have mercy upon me, O Lady,’ &c. These expressions cannot be read without detestation ; and there are in that book many more of a similar kind. When this has been objected against them as a specimen of their idolatry, all the reply they make is, that the book was written by a private person as an help to devotion, but not established by the authority of the church, which is not to be charged with every absurdity which some of their communion may advance. We reply, that the church of Rome has been very ready to condemn better books, written by those who were not in her communion; while she has never publicly condemned this book, but rather commended it as written with a good design. Besides, there are many blasphemous expressions given to the Virgin Mary, in their Breviaries and Missals, which are used by public authority. Thus she is often addressed in such characters as these,—’the mother of mercy,’ ‘the gate of heaven,’ ‘the queen of heaven,’ ‘the empress of the world;’ and sometimes she is desired not only to pray her son to help them, but, by the authority of a mother, to command him to do it. At other times, they desire her to help and save them herself; and accordingly they give her the title of Redeemer and Savior, as well as our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes also they profess to put their trust and confidence in her. Now, if this be not idolatry, where is there any to be found in the world?

We may notice, likewise, that idolatry which is practiced by them in their devotion to the images of other saints. Every saint in their calendar is called upon in his turn. Among those, indeed, some were good men, as the martyrs, who refused to be worshiped while on earth; how much soever the Papists worship them now that they are in heaven. But there are others whom the Popes have canonized as saints, who were little better than devils incarnate, while they were upon earth; and others were rebels and traitors to their king and country, and suffered the just reward of their wickedness. Such as these are found among those whom they pay this worship to. There are also others whom they worship as saints, concerning whom it may be much questioned whether there ever were such persons in the world. These may be called fabulous saints; yet images are made to their honor, and prayers directed to them. There are also things worshiped by them which never had life, as the picture of the cross, and many pretended relics of the saints. Upon the whole, therefore, we cannot but think that we have, in this mode of worship, a notorious instance of the breach of the second commandment; and we cannot but conclude that, in rendering this worship, they have apostatized or turned aside from the purity of the gospel.

It may be observed, that the church, for the first three hundred years after Christ, had comparatively but little superstition and no idolatry. But in the fourth century, superstition began to insinuate itself into it. Then it was that the pictures of the martyrs, who had suffered in Christ’s cause, were first set up in churches, though without any design of worshiping them; and the setting of them up was not universally approved of. As for image-worship, it was not brought into the church till above seven hundred years after Christ; and then there was a considerable opposition made to it by some. This kind of worship was set up in one reign, and prohibited in another; but afterwards it universally prevailed in the Romish church, when arrived at that height of impiety and idolatry, without opposition, which it maintains at this day.

The Reasons annexed to the Second Commandment.

We now proceed to observe the reasons annexed to this Commandment. These are taken from the consideration of what God is in himself: ‘I am the Lord,’ or ‘Jehovah.’ This being a name never given to any creature, is expressive of all his divine perfections, which render him the object of worship, and oblige us to perform that worship which he requires, in such a way as is agreeable to his character. He also styles himself a God to his people: ‘I am thy God.’ Hence, to set up strange gods, or to worship him in a way not prescribed by him, is a violation of his covenant, as well as not performing the duty we owe to him, and would render us unfit to be owned by him as his people. Moreover, they who thus corrupt themselves, and pervert his worship, are styled haters of him, and therefore can expect nothing but to be dealt with as enemies. This he gives them to understand, in his styling himself ‘a jealous,’ or sin-revenging God, ‘visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children.’ For understanding this language, let it be considered that, though God does not punish children with eternal destruction for the sins of their immediate parents, yet these often bring temporal judgments on families. Thus all the children of Israel who murmured and despised the good land, so far bare their fathers’ iniquity, that they wandered in the wilderness nearly forty years. Again, these judgments fall more heavily on those children who make their parents’ sins their own. This was the case of the Jews. Hence, our Savior tells them that ‘all the blood that was shed upon the earth, should come upon them, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, whom they slew between the temple and the altar.’ [Matthew 23:35] They approved and committed the same sins which their fathers were guilty of, and consequently are said to have ‘filled up the measure of their sins.’ Hence, the judgments of God which they exposed themselves to, were most terrible. Further, whatever temporal judgments may bo inflicted on children for their parents’ sins, shall be sanctified, and redound to their spiritual advantage, as well as end in their everlasting happiness, if they do not follow their bad example. Accordingly, it is farther observed that God ‘shows mercy unto thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments.’ These are very great motives and inducements to enforce the observance of all God’s commandments, and this in particular.

Temporary Faith – Thomas Ridgley

February 15, 2010

There is another kind of faith, which has some things in common with saving faith, and is sometimes mistaken for it, but is vastly different from it. This, in some, is called an historical faith; and in others, by reason of the short continuance thereof, a temporary faith. An historical faith is that whereby persons are convinced of the truth of what is revealed in the gospel, though this has very little influence on their conversation: such have right notions of divine things, but do not entertain a suitable regard to them; religion with them is little more than a matter of speculation; they do not doubt concerning any of the important doctrines of the gospel, but are able and ready to defend them by proper arguments: nevertheless, though, in words, they profess their faith in Christ, in works they deny him: such as these the apostle intends when he says; Thou believest that there is one God, thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble, James ii. 19. And he charges them with a vain presumption, in that they expected to be justified hereby; whereas their faith was without works, or those fruits which were necessary to justify, or evince its sincerity; or to prove that it was such a grace as accompanies salvation; and therefore he gives it no better a character than that of a dead faith.

As for that which is called a temporary faith, this differs little from the former, unless we consider it, as having a tendency, in some measure, to excite the affections; and so far to regulate the conversation, as that which is attended with a form of godliness, which continues as long as this comports with, or is subservient to their secular interest: but it is not such a faith as will enable them to pass through fiery trials, or part with all things for Christ’s sake, or to rejoice in him, as their portion, when they meet with little but tribulation and persecution, in the world, for the sake of the gospel. This will evidently discover the insincerity thereof; for it will wither like a plant that is without a root: our Saviour speaks of it in the parable, of the seed that fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away; which he explains of him, who heareth the word, and anon with joy, receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of thy word, by and by he is offended, Matt. xiii. 5, 6. compared with ver. 20, 21. This parable had a particular relation to the Jews, who heard John the Baptist gladly, rejoicing in his light for a season; and seemed to be convinced, by his doctrine, concerning the Messiah, who was shortly to appear; but when they apprehended that his kingdom, instead of advancing them to great honors in the world, was like to expose them to tribulations and persecutions they were offended in him; and this is also applicable to all those who think themselves something, and are thought so by others, as to the profession they make of Christ and his gospel; but afterwards appear to be nothing, deceiving their own souls.

– Thomas Ridgley, A Body of Divinity, Volume 3, p. 124

Thomas Ridgley on the Sixth Commandment

July 1, 2008

The following in Thomas Ridgeley’s commentary on the Westminster Larger Catechism’s Questions relating to the Sixth Commandment. I have omitted the footnotes and a rather lengthy editors note that appeared in the 1855 edition. Hopefully this commentary will prove to supplement Dr. White’s timely response to John Piper’s apparent denial of the Christians right and duty of defense of self and family. (link to Dr. White’s article).


QUESTION CXXXIV. Which is the sixth commandment?
ANSWER. The sixth commandment is, “Thou shalt not kill.”

QUESTION CXXXV. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

ANSWER. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavours to preserve the life of ourselves, and others, by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence, patient hearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit, a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreations, by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness, peaceable, mild, and courteous speeches and behaviour, forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil, comforting and succouring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.

QUESTION CXXXVI. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?

ANSWER. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge, all excessive passions, distracting cares, immoderate use of meat, drink, labour, and recreations; provoking words, oppressing, quarrelling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.

The Duties Enjoined in the Sixth Commandment.

IN explaining this commandment, we shall first consider the positive part of it, or the duties required in it. We should use all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others; and consequently we should avoid all those passions, and other things, which may afford an occasion to take it away, and live in the constant exercise of the duties of temperance and sobriety, as to what respects ourselves, and of meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness of injuries, as to what concerns others. In this commandment it is supposed that life is the most valuable blessing of nature. Hence, to take it away, is to do the utmost injury which can be attempted against us. The valuableness of the life of man appears in four things. First, it is the result of the union of the soul with the body; which is the principle of those actions that are put forth by us as intelligent creatures. Hence, life is to be esteemed in proportion to the excellency of the soul; which is the noblest part of the creation, angels excepted. Again, nothing can compensate or satisfy for the taking away of the life of man, how much satisfaction soever may be given for the loss of other things. Further, man is the subject of the divine image; which supposes us to have a more excellent life than any other creatures in this lower world, and is assigned as a reason of our obligation to preserve life. Finally life is given and continued to us, in order that the most valuable ends may be attained, conducive to the glory of God, the advancement of religion in the world, and the promoting of our everlasting happiness. We may hence take an estimate of its excellency; and it contains the highest motive to us, to yield obedience to this commandment.

This leads us to consider the means which we are to use, to preserve our own lives, and the lives of others. As to the preservation of our own lives, we are not to rush presumptuously into danger of death, without a divine warrant; for to do so is to be prodigal of life. We are also to exercise sobriety and temperance, avoiding gluttony, drunkenness, lust, and all exorbitant passions; which tend to impair the health, as well as defile the conscience. Moreover, when occasion requires it, we are to have recourse to the skill of physicians, and make use of those medicines which may conduce to repair the weakness and decays of nature. As to our endeavours to preserve the lives of others, we are to caution them against those things which would tend to destroy their health, and, by degrees, their lives. We must also discover and detect all secret plots and contrivances which may be directed against them; and we are to support and relieve those who are ready to perish by extreme poverty, yea, though they were our enemies. We are also to defend those who are in imminent danger of death. Nevertheless, we must not use unwarrantable means, though it were to save our own lives. In times of persecution, for example, we are not to renounce the truths of God, or give occasion to the common enemy to revile them, or speak evil of them, by avoiding to suffer for the cause of Christ. Preferring a profession of the truth to the preservation of life, was that noble principle by which the martyrs whom the apostle speaks of were actuated. ‘They were tortured, not accepting deliverance;’ that is, when they were exposed to the most exquisite torments, and their lives offered them if they would deny Christ, they would not accept of deliverance on so dishonourable terms. Neither are we, at any time, to tell a lie, or do that which is contrary to truth, though it were to save our lives.

The Sins Forbidden in the Sixth Commandment.

We shall now consider the sins forbidden in this commandment. These are either the taking away of life, or the doing of that which has a tendency to take it away.

1. It is unlawful to take away the life of another. But this is to be considered with some exceptions or limitations. Life may be taken away in lawful wars. Thus we read of many wars begun and carried on, and much blood shed in them, by God’s direction, and with his approbation and blessing; on which account, it is said that ‘the war was of God.’ Yet, when wars are proclaimed merely to satisfy the pride and avarice of princes, as in Benhadad’s war against Ahab, or in the war of the Romans on the countries round about them, merely to enlarge their own dominions by ruining others, or in those which the devil excites and antichrist carries on against the church, for their faithfulness to the truth; the law of God is broken, and all the blood shed in them is a breach of this commandment. Again, it is no violation of this commandment, to take away the life of offenders, guilty of capital crimes, by the hand of the civil magistrate; for the doing of this is elsewhere commanded, and magistrates are appointed for that end. Further, it is no breach of this commandment, when a person kills another without design, or the least degree of premeditated malice. Yet the utmost caution ought to be used, that persons may not lose their lives through the carelessness and inadvertency of others. Moreover, in some instances, a person may kill another in his own defence, without being guilty of the breach of this commandment. But this is to be considered with certain limitations. If there be only a design or conspiracy against our lives, but no immediate attempt made to take them away; we are to defend ourselves, by endeavouring to put him who designed the execrable act out of a capacity of hurting us; and we are to do this by having recourse to the protection of the law, whereby he may be restrained, or we secured. This was the method which Paul took, when the Jews had bound themselves with an oath to slay him. He informed the chief captain of their conspiracy, and had recourse to the law for his safety. If, again, there be a present attempt made against our lives, we should rather choose to disarm the enemy, or flee from him, than take away his life. But if this cannot be done, so that we must either lose our own life or take away his, we do not incur the least guilt, or break this commandment, if we take away his life to preserve our own; especially if we were not first in the quarrel, nor gave occasion to it by any injurious or unlawful practices.

Here it may be inquired whether it be lawful for two persons to fight a duel, upon a set challenge or provocation given. Now, when a war between two armies may be terminated, and the shedding of much blood prevented by a duel, it is not unlawful; provided it be by mutual consent, and with the approbation of those on both sides who have a right of making war and peace; and if the matter in controversy may be thus decided, without tempting providence. We have a remarkable instance of this, in the duel fought between David and Goliah. It is unlawful, however, for two persons, each seeming too prodigal of his life, to give and accept a challenge, and in prosecution of it to endeavour to put an end to each other’s life, merely to gratify their own passion or pride. This, though falsely called honour, will, in reality, render them vile in the eyes of God, and notoriously guilty of the breach of this commandment.

Here we may consider the wicked practice of those who have obliged the poor wretches, who were under their command, to murder one another for their diversion. This Joab and Abner did, when they said, ‘Let the young men arise and play before us; and every one thrust his sword in his fellow’s side.’ There is also an unlawful diversion, which, though not altogether so barbarous and cruel, is, in some respects, a breach of this commandment, namely, when persons fight with and wound one another, without design of killing, merely to get a little money, while entertaining a number of unthinking persons with their folly. In this case they that fight, and they that look on, are equally guilty. Thus concerning the sin of killing one another.

We shall now explain two or three difficulties which occur in scripture, relating to the actions of some good men, who seem to have been guilty of the breach of this commandment, but really were not so. It is inquired, whether Elijah was chargeable with the breach of it in destroying Baal’s prophets, when ‘he ordered that none of them should escape; and he brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.’ Now, it may be observed that it was not a small inoffensive error which these prophets of Baal were punished for; but apostacy from God. That the persons deserved the punishment they received appears from various considerations. They were the advisers and ringleaders of all Israel’s idolatry, and the abettors and principal occasion of the violent persecution which then raged against the Lord’s prophets and true worshippers. Again, had they only been false prophets, and not persecutors, they were, according to the law of God, to be put to death. Further, their punishment was inflicted after a solemn appeal to God, and an answer from heaven by fire, which determined, not only who was the true God, but who were his prophets, and consequently whether Elijah deserved death as an impostor, or Baal’s prophets. Moreover, Ahab himself was present, and all his ministers of state, who had a right to execute justice on false prophets; and, it is highly probable, that they consented to their death, and that many of them had an immediate hand in it. Their acting thus might be occasioned by a sudden conviction in their consciences, proceeding from the miracle which they had just before observed, or from the universal cry of the people against the false prophets. The occurrence, therefore, was plainly of the Lord, to whom Elijah brought a great deal of honour, and was far from being chargeable with the breach of this commandment.

It is farther inquired whether Abraham’s offering Isaac was a breach of this commandment. This is proposed as a difficulty by those who do not pay that deference to divine revelation which they ought, nor consider that God cannot command any thing which is contrary to his perfections, and that his people do not sin in obeying any command which is given by him. However, that this matter may be set in a just light, let it be considered that God, who is the sovereign Lord of life, may take it away when and by whom he pleases. Hence, Isaac had no more reason to complain of any wrong or injury done him by God, in ordering his father to sacrifice him, than any one else has who dies by his immediate hand, in the common course of providence. Again, Abraham could not be said to act with the temper and disposition of a murderer; which those have who are guilty of the breach of this commandment, who kill persons in a passion or out of envy or malice, being void of all natural affection and brotherly love. Abraham acted plainly in obedience to God’s command. His hand was lifted up against one whom he loved as well as his own life, and it may be better; and, doubtless, he would rather have been, had God so ordered it, the sacrifice than the offerer. Further, he acted, as is more than probable, with Isaac’s full consent. Hence some think that Isaac’s faith was no less remarkable in the affair than that of Abraham. His willingness to be offered, evidently appears, from the fact that Abraham was in his feeble and declining age, and Isaac in his full strength; for it was not a little strength which was sufficient to carry wood enough to answer this occasion, which we read Isaac did. Besides, if Isaac had resisted, none was at hand to assist Abraham against him; and, doubtless, he would have striven in this matter as one who desired to be overcome. We must suppose, therefore, that the transaction was so far from being a breach of this commandment, that it was one of the most remarkable instances of faith in scripture; and that God’s design in ordering it was, that it might be a type whereby he would lead Abraham into the glorious mystery of his not sparing his own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of Christ’s willingness to lay down his life a ransom for his people.

Some charge Moses with having been guilty of the breach of this commandment, in killing the Egyptian. But to vindicate him from this charge, let it be considered that the Egyptian whom he slew, not only smote an Hebrew, but did so wrongfully. As is observed in Acts vii. 24, there was no offence given or just reason for this injurious treatment; and to oppress or abuse one who is in a miserable condition, as the Hebrews were at that time, is an heinous crime in God’s account. Moreover, to ‘smite,’ in scripture, is often taken for to ‘slay;’ so that it is not improbable, that the Egyptian slew the Hebrew; or if he did not, the injury he inflicted might be such as deserved death. Now, this punishment would have been executed in another manner, had not Israel been denied, at that time, the protection of the law. Again, Moses was, at this time, raised up and called by God, to be a ruler and a judge, to defend the cause of his oppressed people; and in this action he first began to fulfil his commission. The people, indeed, refused to own him, and seemed to join with those who designed him evil for his interference; but for this reason their deliverance was put off forty years longer, while he was an exile in the land of Midian. Now, to slay a public enemy and oppressor, and, as is probable, one who had forfeited his life, and to do this with a commission from God to act as a ruler and a judge over his people, cannot be reckoned a breach of this commandment. Thus concerning the violation of this commandment, as including the murdering of our neighbour.

2. This commandment is notoriously broken by those who lay violent hands on themselves. We have in scripture an account of no good man who was ever suffered to do this, but only of men of the most infamous character, such as Saul, Ahithophel, Judas, and others. This is a sin which is attended with many aggravations. It is to act as though our lives were at our own disposal. But they are to be considered as a talent which we are intrusted with by God to improve for his glory; and he alone has a right to dispose of them at his pleasure. Again, self-murder argues, and arises from, the highest discontent and impatience under the hand of God; which is contrary to that temper which we ought to exercise as Christians, who profess subjection to him. Further, it is contrary to nature and that principle of self-preservation which God has implanted in us. Indeed, he who does it, not only acts below the reason of a man, but does that which even brutes themselves are not inclined to. Moreover, it is a giving place to and a gratifying of the devil, who acts agreeably to his character, as a murderer from the beginning, when he tempts men to destroy both soul and body at once. Again, it is a presumptuous and bold resolving that, whatever measure of duty God has prescribed for us to fill up in this world, we will serve him no longer. If martial law punishes deserters with death, is there not a severe punishment due to those who do, as it were, desert the service of God by self-murder? Nothing is more certain than this, that if duty be enjoined by God, the time in which it is to be performed is also fixed by him, and not left to our own determination. Further, self-murder is a rushing hastily into eternity, not considering the consequence, nor the awful tribunal of Christ, before which they must immediately appear, and give an account of this, as well as other sinful actions of life. Finally, self-murder is done with such a frame of spirit, that a person cannot by faith commit his soul into the hands of Jesus Christ; for to do so requires a better temper of mind than any one can be supposed to have who murders himself.

Here it may be inquired, since, as was before observed, no good man was ever guilty of this crime, whether Samson did not break this commandment in pulling down the house upon his own head, as well as upon the Philistines. Now, Samson’s life, at this time, was a burden to himself, useless to his brethren, a scorn to the open enemy, and an occasion of their ascribing their deliverance to their idol, and probably would soon have been taken away by them. These circumstances, though they would not, in themselves, have been sufficient to justify this action; yet might justify his desire that God would put an end to his life, and release him out of this miserable world; especially if the event would redound more to his glory than anything he could do for the future, or had done in the former part of his life. Besides, it plainly appears that God, in answer to his prayer, not only gave him leave to take away his own life, together with the lives of his enemies, but also wrought a miracle to enable him to do it. It was therefore a justifiable action, and no breach of this commandment.

3. We shall now consider the heinous aggravation of the sin of taking away the life of another unjustly, and the terrible judgments which those who are guilty of it have ground to expect. According to the divine law, this sin is to be punished with death, by the hand of the civil magistrate. Thus Joab, who had deserved to die for murders formerly committed, was slain according to David’s order by Solomon; though he sought protection by taking hold of the horns of the altar. Many other crimes might be expiated by sacrifices, which God ordained should be offered for that end; but no satisfaction was to be accepted for this sin but the blood of the murderer. And it is a matter of dispute with some whether kings, who may pardon many crimes by virtue of their prerogative, can, according to the laws of God, pardon murder, without being supposed to extend their clemency beyond its due bounds? Again, God often gives up those who are guilty of the sin of murder to the terrors of a guilty conscience, which is a kind of hell upon earth; as in the instances of Cain, Lamech, and others. Further, such are followed with many remarkable instances of divine vengeance; so that the blast of providence attends all their undertakings. Thus David, after he had killed Uriah, was followed with such rebukes of providence, that the latter part of his life was rendered very uneasy; and what the prophet foretold was fulfilled, that ‘the sword should never depart from his house,’ that is, as long as he lived. Again, the judgments of God for this sin are often transmitted to posterity. Thus Simeon and Levi’s murder of the Shechemites was punished in the tribes that descended from them; who, according to the patriarch’s prediction, were ‘divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel.’ Saul’s slaying the Gibeonites was punished in David’s time by a famine which it occasioned. “And the murders which the Jews had committed on the prophets in former ages, were punished in the destruction of their state and nation; when ‘all the righteous blood that had been shed upon the earth, came upon them.’ Further, the lives of murderers are often shortened, and they brought to the grave with blood. Thus Absalom perished by the just judgment of God, for the murder of his brother, as well as his other crimes. And in this the psalmist’s observation holds true, that ‘bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.’

4. This commandment may be broken otherwise than by the taking away of the life of our neighbour. A breach of it may be committed by a person in his heart, when he has not an opportunity to execute his malicious designs, or is afraid to execute them on account of the punishment from men which will follow. Thus the apostle says, ‘Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.’ Of this we have an instance in wicked Ahab, who ‘hated Micaiah, because he prophesied not good concerning him, but evil.’ It is more than probable that his hatred would have broken forth into murder, could he have laid hold on the least shadow of pretence which might have put a colour on so vile an action. Jezebel also was guilty of this sin, who threatened to murder the prophet Elijah. The Jews, likewise, were guilty of it who were filled with malice against our Saviour; for which reason, they would have put him to death at that time, but they feared the people.

Moreover, while this sin reigns in wicked men, there are some instances of it even in good men. Thus David carried his resentment too far against Nabal, though a churlish and ungrateful man, when he resolved in his passion, not only to take away his life, which was an unjustifiable action, but to destroy the whole family, the innocent with the guilty. He was afterwards sensible of his sin in this passionate resolution; and blessed God for his preventing it, by Abigail’s prudent management. There is another instance of sinful and unaccountable passion which cannot be excused from a degree of heart-murder, in Jonah; who was very angry because God was gracious, and spared Nineveh, on their repentance. In this fit of passion he desires that God would take away his life, justifies his anger, and, as it were, dares him to cut him off; which was as bad a frame as ever any good man was in. All this, too, took its rise from pride, lest some should think him a false prophet, who did not rightly distinguish between what God might do and would have done had they not repented, and what he determined to do, namely, to give them repentance, and so to spare them: I say, rather than be counted a false prophet, which it may be was a groundless surmise, he was angry with God for sparing it.

Here it will be inquired whether all anger is sinful, or a breach of this commandment ? Now, as the apostle says, ‘Be angry and sin not;’ the words imply that there may be anger which is not sinful, but which, on the other hand, may rather be styled a zeal for God. Of this kind was that anger which our Saviour expressed against the Scribes and Pharisees, when he calls them ‘serpents, a generation of vipers;’ and when he whipped the buyers and sellers out of the temple, on which occasion it is said, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’ The apostle also reproved Elymas the sorcerer, who endeavoured to ‘turn away the deputy from the faith,’ with words that seemed full of anger, when he addressed himself to him in this manner, ‘full of all subtilty, and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?’ And Peter could not reprove that vile hypocrite, Simon Magus, when he offered to purchase the conferring of the Holy Ghost, without expressing some anger and resentment, as the cause required, when he said, ‘Thy money perish with thee,’ &c. Yet, that he might let him know that it was only zeal for God that provoked his anger, he gave him friendly advice to repent of his wickedness.

We may hence take occasion to inquire what the difference is between sinful anger or passion, and an holy zeal for God. Now, an holy zeal for God leads us rightly to distinguish between the person reproved, and his actions which give us occasion for reproof; so that we hate the sin, but not the person who commits it. Thus the psalmist says, ‘I hate the work of them that turn aside.’ But sinful anger is principally directed against the person with whom we are offended. Again, the honour of God is the only motive which excites holy zeal; but pride or evil surmise is generally the occasion of sinful anger. Thus Jehu’s executing the vengeance of God in cutting off Ahab’s wicked family, was right, as to the matter of it; yet it had a great mixture of ambition, pride, and private hatred of them, as those who he thought would stand in competition with him for the crown. Besides, he desired the applause and esteem of the people for the action, and therefore said to Jonadab, ‘Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.’ Hence, true zeal for God is attended with many other graces; and sinful anger with many sins. Further, holy zeal for God inclines us to express anger against his enemies with sorrow and reluctance, being grieved for their sin, and at the same time desiring their reformation and salvation; but sinful anger meditates revenge, is restless till it has accomplished it, and is pleased with having opportunities of executing it. Moreover, holy zeal sets aside or is not much concerned about injuries, as directed against ourselves; but considers them as they reflect dishonour on the name of God, or are prejudicial to his interest in the world. Thus David said concerning Edom, ‘Happy shall he be that dasheth thy little ones against the stones;’ when, at the same time, he professed that it was for Jerusalem’s sake that he desired the ruin of his enemies, and not his own; for he says, that he ‘preferred Jerusalem above his chief joy.’ Sinful anger, however, designs or wishes evil to others, to promote our own interest and advantage.

We shall now consider the aggravations of sinful passion. It unfits a soul for holy duties. Accordingly, our Saviour advises his people, first to ‘be reconciled to their brethren, and then come and offer their gift.’ If we attempt to reprove sin, or persuade to duty, in a passion, it will tend to take away the force and hinder the success of the arguments we use. Sinful anger will occasion sorrow and shame, when reflected on in our most serious thoughts. It will expose us to Satan’s temptations, and occasion a multitude of sins; and accordingly is called by the apostle, a ‘giving place to the devil.’ It magnifies the smallest injuries, and excites our resentments beyond their due bounds. We do not consider, as we ought to do, that the injuries done against us are very small when compared with the sins we commit, whereby we dishonour God. Further, sinful anger is opposite to a Christian temper, very much unlike that frame of spirit which our Saviour has recommended concerning loving our enemies, and is also contrary to his example, ‘who when he was reviled, reviled not again,’ Finally, as it is a stirring up of our own corruptions; so it tends to stir up the corruptions of others, and provoke them to sin, as one flame kindleth another, and so increaseth itself.

We shall further inquire how we are to deal with those whom we converse with, who are addicted to passion or anger. We are to exercise a calm, meek, and humble disposition, bearing reflections with patience, and replying to them with gentleness; especially when it is more immediately our own cause, and not the cause of God, which is concerned. ‘A soft answer turneth away wrath.’ ‘He that is slow to wrath, is of great understanding.’ Let us take heed, also, that we do nothing which tends to stir up the passions of any. If a superior is disposed to be angry, let us prudently withdraw from him. If it be an inferior, let us reprove him with faithfulness. If it be an equal, let us take away the edge of his anger, by meekness, love, and tenderness towards him, having compassion on his weakness. Let us bear injuries without revenging them, and ‘overcome evil with good.’

Old but Good Books from Google

April 26, 2008

There are a remarkable number of good old books available in whole or in part at Google Books. Here is a list of a few that I have come across recently.

I’ll begin with the what seems to me to be the gem of the collection (links are to Google Books except as noted otherwise):

Ridgley, Thomas – A Body of Divinity, being the substance of Lectures on the Larger Catechism (vol. 1)(vol. 1 – second copy); (vol 2)(vol. 2 – second copy) (pdf/txt/main from Archive); (vol. 3); and (vol. 4)(vol. 4 – second copy)

Watson, Thomas – A Body of Practical Divinity, Consisting of more than 170 Sermons on the Shorter Catechism, 4th Edition (link)

Tenison, Thomas – Popery Not Founded on Scripture (vol. 2)

Usher, James – Eighteen Sermons Preached in Oxford (link)

Gillespie, George – Treatise of Miscellany Questions (link)

Charnock, Stephen – Two Discourse: Of Man’s Emnity to God; and Of the Salvation of Sinners (link)

Sedgwick, Obadiah – Humbled Sinner Resolved what he should do to be Saved (link)

Beveridge, William – Theological Thesaurus (link)

Mather, Samuel – The Figures or Types of the Old Testament by which Christ and the Heavenly Things of the Gospel were Preached and Shadowed to the People of God of Old (link)

I cannot vouch for every word of each book, but they are generally books that have proven their worth over time.

Sola Deo Gloria!


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