A. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, [a] am not my own, [b] but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; [c] who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, [d] and delivered me from all the power of the devil; [e] and so preserves me [f] that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; [g] yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, [h] and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, [i] and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. [j]
A. Three; [a] the first, how great my sins and miseries are; [b] the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; [c] the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance. [d]
A. Out of the law of God. [a]
A. Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt. 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” [a]
A. By no means; but God created man good, [a] and after his own image, [b] in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. [c]
A. Not at all; [a] for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, [b] and his own wilful disobedience, [c] deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.
A. By no means; but is terribly displeased [a] with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, [b] as he has declared, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” [c]
A. God is indeed merciful, [a] but also just; [b] therefore his justice requires, that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment of body and soul.
A. By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt. [a]
A. None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; [a] and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it. [b]
A. From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; [a] and afterwards published by the patriarchs [b] and prophets, [c] and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; [d] and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. [e]
A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, [a] but also an assured confidence, [b] which the Holy Ghost [c] works by the gospel in my heart; [d] that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, [e] are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. [f]
A. All things promised us in the gospel, [a] which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith briefly teach us.
A. 1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: 2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: 3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary: 4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell: 5. The third day he rose again from the dead: 6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: 7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead: 8. I believe in the Holy Ghost: 9. I believe a holy catholic church: the communion of saints: 10. The forgiveness of sins: 11. The resurrection of the body: 12. And the life everlasting.
A. Into three parts; the first is of God the Father, and our creation; the second of God the Son, and our redemption; the third of God the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification.
Q. 25. Since there is but one only divine essence, [a] why speakest thou of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
A. Because God has so revealed himself in his word, [b] that these three distinct persons are the one only true and eternal God.
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; [a] who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) [b] is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; [c] on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body [d] and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; [e] for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, [f] and willing, being a faithful Father. [g]
A. The almighty and everywhere present power of God; [a] whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs [b] heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, [c] fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, [d] riches and poverty, [e] yea, and all things come, not by chance, but be his fatherly hand. [f]
A. That we may be patient in adversity; [a] thankful in prosperity; [b] and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, [c] that nothing shall separate us from his love; [d] since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move. [e]
A. They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour; [a] for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Saviour, must find all things in him necessary to their salvation. [b]
A. Because he is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost, [a] to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, [b] who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; [c] and to be our only High Priest, [d] who by the one sacrifice of his body, has redeemed us, [e] and makes continual intercession with the Father for us; [f] and also to be our eternal King, who governs us by his word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in that salvation, he has purchased for us. [g]
Q. 32. But why art thou called a Christian? [a]
A. Because I am a member of Christ by faith, [b] and thus am partaker of his anointing; [c] that so I may confess his name, [d] and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: [e] and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life [f] and afterwards I reign with him eternally, over all creatures. [g]
A. Because he hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with silver or gold, but with his precious blood, and has delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus has made us his own property. [a]
A. That God’s eternal Son, who is, and continues [a] true and eternal God, [b] took upon him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, [c] by the operation of the Holy Ghost; [d] that he might also be the true seed of David, [e] like unto his brethren in all things, [f] sin excepted. [g]
A. That he, all the time that he lived on earth, but especially at the end of his life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind: [a] that so by his passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, [b] he might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, [c] and obtain for us the favour of God, righteousness and eternal life. [d]
A. Thereby to prove that he was really dead. [a]
A. That by virtue thereof, our old man is crucified, dead and buried with him; [a] that so the corrupt inclinations of the flesh may no more reign in us; [b] but that we may offer ourselves unto him a sacrifice of thanksgiving. [c]
A. That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, [a] but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell. [b]
A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; [a] secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; [b] and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. [c]
A. Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his human nature, he is no more on earth; but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is at no time absent from us. Matt.28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Heb.8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Matt.26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Matt.28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Eph.4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Eph.4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
A. Not as all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, [a] it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature he assumed, [b] and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it.
A. First, that he is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; [a] secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members; [b] thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit as an earnest, [c] by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.” [d]
A. That in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head I look for the very same person, who before offered himself for my sake, to the tribunal of God, and has removed all curse from me, to come as judge from heaven: [a] who shall cast all his and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, [b] but shall translate me with all his chosen ones to himself, into heavenly joys and glory. [c]
A. First, that he is true and coeternal God with the Father and the Son; [a] secondly, that he is also given me, [b] to make me by a true faith, partaker of Christ and all his benefits, [c] that he may comfort me [d] and abide with me for ever. [e]
A. That the Son of God [a] from the beginning to the end of the world, [b] gathers, defends, and preserves [c] to himself by his Spirit and word, [d] out of the whole human race, [e] a church chosen to everlasting life, [f] agreeing in true faith; [g] and that I am and forever shall remain, [h] a living member thereof. [i]
A. First, that all and every one, who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of him, and of all his riches and gifts; [a] secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members. [b]
A. That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long; [a] but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ, [b] that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God. [c]
A. That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its head; [a] but also, that this my body, being raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ. [b]
A. That since I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, [a] after this life, I shall inherit perfect salvation, which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man” to conceive, and that to praise God therein for ever. [b]
A. That I am righteous in Christ, before God, and an heir of eternal life. [a]
A. Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ; [a] so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them, [b] and am still inclined to all evil; [c] notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine, [d] but only of mere grace, [e] grants and imputes to me, [f] the perfect satisfaction, [g] righteousness and holiness of Christ; [h] even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me; [i] inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with a believing heart. [j]
A. Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness of my faith; but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God; [a] and that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only. [b]
A. Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, [a] and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin. [b]
A. This reward is not of merit, but of grace. [a]
A. By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness. [a]
A. The sacraments are holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof, he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz., that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross. [a]
Q. 67. Are both word and sacraments, then, ordained and appointed for this end, that they may direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the only ground of our salvation? [a]
A. Yes, indeed: for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the whole of our salvation depends upon that one sacrifice of Christ which he offered for us on the cross.
A. Two: namely, holy baptism, and the holy supper.
A. Thus: That Christ appointed this external washing with water, [a] adding thereto this promise, [b] that I am as certainly washed by his blood and Spirit from all the pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, [c] as I am washed externally with water, by which the filthiness of the body is commonly washed away.
A. It is to receive of God the remission of sins, freely, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which he shed for us by his sacrifice upon the cross; [a] and also to be renewed by the Holy Ghost, and sanctified to be members of Christ, that so we may more and more die unto sin, and lead holy and unblamable lives. [b]
A. In the institution of baptism, which is thus expressed: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”, Matt.28:19. And “he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.”, Mark 16:16. This promise is also repeated, where the scripture calls baptism “the washing of regenerations” and the washing away of sins. Tit.3:5, Acts 22:16. [a]
A. God speaks thus not without great cause, to-wit, not only thereby to teach us, that as the filth of the body is purged away by water, so our sins are removed by the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ; [a] but especially that by this divine pledge and sign he may assure us, that we are spiritually cleansed from our sins as really, as we are externally washed with water. [b]
A. Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant and church of God; [a] and since redemption from sin [b] by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; [c] they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers [d] as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision, [e] instead of which baptism is instituted [f] in the new covenant.
A. Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: [a] first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.
A. It is not only to embrace with believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; [a] but also, besides that, to become more and more united to his sacred body, [b] by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, though Christ is in heaven [c] and we on earth, are notwithstanding “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone” [d] and that we live, and are governed forever by one spirit, [e] as members of the same body are by one soul.
A. In the institution of the supper, which is thus expressed: [a] “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and: said: eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: this cup is the new testament in my blood; this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Cor.11:23-26. This promise is repeated by the holy apostle Paul, where he says “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Cor.10:16,17.
A. Not at all: [a] but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; [b] so the bread in the Lord’s supper is not changed into the very body of Christ; [c] though agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, [d] it is called the body of Christ Jesus.
A. Christ speaks thus, not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink, whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; [a] but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood by the operation of the Holy Ghost as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him; [b] and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.
A. The Lord’s supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; [a] and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, [b] who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, [c] and will there be worshipped by us. [d] But the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry. [e]
A. For those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, and yet trust that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves. [a]
A. No; for by this, the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole congregation; [a] therefore it is the duty of the christian church, according to the appointment of Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons, by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, till they show amendment of life.
A. The preaching of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.
A. Thus: when according to the command of Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ’s merits; and on the contrary, when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent, that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal condemnation, so long as they are unconverted: [a] according to which testimony of the gospel, God will judge them, both in this, and in the life to come.
A. Thus: when according to the command of Christ, those, who under the name of christians, maintain doctrines, or practices inconsistent therewith, and will not, after having been often brotherly admonished, renounce their errors and wicked course of life, are complained of to the church, or to those, who are thereunto appointed by the church; and if they despise their admonition, are by them forbidden the use of the sacraments; whereby they are excluded from the christian church, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ; and when they promise and show real amendment, are again received as members of Christ and his church. [a]
A. Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, [a] and that he may be praised by us; [b] also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, [c] by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ. [d]
A. By no means; for the holy scripture declares that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [a]
A. Of two parts; of the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man. [a]
A. It is a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them. [a]
A. Only those which proceed from a true faith, [a] are performed according to the law of God, [b] and to his glory; [c] and not such as are founded on our imaginations, or the institutions of men. [d]
A. God spake all these words, Exodus 20:1-17 and Denteronomy 5:6-21, saying: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
A. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, [a] sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, [b] invocation of saints, or any other creatures; [c] and learn rightly to know the only true God; [d] trust in him alone, [e] with humility [f] and patience submit to him; [g] expect all good things from him only; [h] love, [i] fear, [j] and glorify him with my whole heart; [k] so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will. [l]
A. Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. [a]
A. God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: [a] but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. [b]
A. That we, not only by cursing [a] or perjury, [b] but also by rash swearing, [c] must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; [d] and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; [e] so that he may be rightly confessed [f] and worshipped by us, [g] and be glorified in all our words and works. [h]
Q. 100. Is then the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do not endeavour, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such cursing and swearing?
A. Yes: either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm a fidelity and truth to the glory of God, and the safety of our neighbour: for such an oath is founded on God’s word, [a] and therefore was justly used by the saints, both in the Old and New Testament. [b]
A. No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows the heart, that he will bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely; [a] which honour is due to no creature. [b]
A. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; [a] and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, [b] to hear his word, [c] to use the sacraments, [d] publicly to call upon the Lord, [e] and contribute to the relief of the poor. [f] Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath. [g]
A. That I show all honour, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience; [a] and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities, [b] since it pleases God to govern us by their hand. [c]
A. That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonour, hate, wound, or kill my neighbour, by myself or by another: [a] but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: [b] also, that I hurt not myself, nor wilfully expose myself to any danger. [c] Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. [d]
A. No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves; [a] to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, [b] and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; [c] and that we do good, even to our enemies. [d]
A. That all uncleanness is accursed of God: [a] and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, [b] and live chastely and temperately, [c] whether in holy wedlock, or in single life. [d]
A. Since both our body and soul are temples of the holy Ghost, he commands us to preserve them pure and holy: therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, [a] thoughts, desires, [b] and whatever can entice men thereto. [c]
A. God forbids not only those thefts, [a] and robberies, [b] which are punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbour: [c] whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, [d] false coins, usury, [e] or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, [f] all abuse and waste of his gifts. [g]
A. That I promote the advantage of my neighbour in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: [a] further also that I faithfully labour, so that I may be able to relieve the needy. [b]
A. That I bear false witness against no man, [a] nor falsify any man’s words; [b] that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; [c] that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; [d] but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, [e] unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; [f] likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; [g] also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbour. [h]
A. That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness. [a]
A. No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; [a] yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God. [b]
A. First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know [a] our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin, and righteousness in Christ; [b] likewise, that we constantly endeavour and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come. [c]
A. Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: [a] and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them. [b]
A. First, that we from the heart pray [a] to the one true God only, who has manifested himself in his word, [b] for all things, he has commanded us to ask of him; [c] secondly, that we rightly and thoroughly know our need and misery, [d] that so we may deeply humble ourselves in the presence of his divine majesty; [e] thirdly, that we be fully persuaded that he, notwithstanding that we are unworthy of it, will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer, [f] as he has promised us in his word. [g]
A. All things necessary for soul and body; which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer he himself has taught us. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Matt.6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Q. 119. What are the words of that prayer? [a]
A. Our Father which art in heaven, 1 Hallowed be thy name. 2 Thy kingdom come. 3 Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 4 Give us this day our daily bread. 5 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 6 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
A. That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things. [a]
A. “Hallowed be thy name”; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee, [a] and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, [b] in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account. [c]
A. “Thy kingdom come”; that is, rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; [a] preserve and increase thy church; [b] destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; [c] till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, [d] wherein thou shalt be all in all. [e]
A. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, [a] and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; [b] that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, [c] as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven. [d]
A. “Give us this day our daily bread”; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, [a] that we may thereby acknowledge thee to be the only fountain of all good, [b] and that neither our care nor industry, nor even thy gifts, can profit us without thy blessing; [c] and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in thee. [d]
A. “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; [a] even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour. [b]
A. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; [a] and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, [b] the world, [c] and our own flesh, [d] cease not to assault us, do thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, [e] but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory. [f]
A. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever”; that is, all these we ask of thee, because thou, being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good; [a] and all this we pray for, that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified for ever. [b]
A. “Amen” signifies, it shall truly and certainly be: for my prayer is more assuredly heard of God, than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him. 2 Cor.1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Tim.2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.