Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Church is the Sole Property of Jesus Christ


The Church is Solely the Property of Jesus Christ

I have been approached by church members who are troubled by events at the St John's Episcopal Church of Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C.  It is distressing to see damage caused to places of worship that are built and maintained by faith and sacrifice over generations. It is also distressing to see church buildings used without authorized consent in ways that co-opt symbols of faith for purposes other than the full expression of the Christian Gospel.

St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.
What is troubling so many Christians in America is the treatment of the symbolism of the church building and the scriptures that guide its people. Friends, with other believers, I affirm that the Christian Church is the sole posession of Jesus Christ, the crucified Savior and Lord. And like other Presbyterians, I am guided in my reading of Holy Scripture by the testimony of confessions such as "The Brief Statement of Faith." That particular confession identifies authority in the Church as belonging to one who was "unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition," and that this same Lord "Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain ... giving his life for the sins of the world."

Ethiopian Christian Icon of the Crucified Jesus

In these days, Americans are confronted in fresh and shocking ways by the impact of racism that has driven its roots deep into our structures and our psyche. The violent death of George Floyd brings to the surface emotional memories and including a legacy of tragic lynchings in our land. The raw emotion of these days brought events in Lafayette Park to a head. It causes us to reflect on our symbols. Such emotion causes me to reflect anew on the central Christian symbol of the cross. I believe that when a Christian considers the cross, it is challenge to recognize the depth of our sin - of comission and omission alike. 

These are days of lament. I commend the Religious News Service (RNS) to you as an independent and unbiased source of information about religious life in the United States and around the world. There you may find an article about protest and a symbolic demonstration by the President at the St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square.  There also, you will find the opinion commentary of an author and sociologist of religion who writes about these events in light of research into the phenomenon of Christian Nationalism and its impact on America.  

The leadership of St. John's and the Episcopal Church has spoken and they are best able to address their own witness and perspective. But as members of the Body of Christ, it is important to remember the guidance of the confession of the "Theological Declaration of Barmen."  It guides and instructs our own witness as a church in challenging times.

"The Christian Church is the congregation of the brethren in which Jesus Christ acts presently as the Lord in Word and Sacrament through the Holy Spirit. As the Church of pardoned sinners, it has to testify in the midst of a sinful world, with its faith as with its obedience, with its message as with its order, that it is solely his property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance."

"We reject the false doctrine, as though the church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions."


There are days when I think my creaky old knees have fallen in prayer enough. But it seems every day is bringing its own deep spiritual challenge. My prayer is that each one of us will keep using the Bible sincerely to read and guide our life and our witness. As I have been preaching of late, the Church is more than just a building. But all we have and all we are - even our buildings - are at the sole discretion and authority of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ - The Crucified One.

The Rev. Dr. Brian R. Paulson

Saturday, May 30, 2020

A Word of Pastoral Concern



May 30, 2020



Dear Friends:
Along with our Associate Pastors, I am writing as Pastor to offer a word of concern and consolation in light of tragic events in the news this week. Yesterday, the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA) issued a statement encouraging us as Christians to foster efforts that will overcome the sin of societal division and racism. He presented a challenge for us to work locally tackling inequities of justice and opportunity. 

(Art - Gerhard Richter "Two Candles")
I grieve the death of George Floyd. Not only do I grieve for his family and his community that is burning, I also grieve for people whose names we do not know that are living with constant indignities as a consequence of racism that runs deep in our society – even afflicting our neighbors here in Lake County. As you may know, we record our worship days ahead of Sunday during these times of Covid-19. And when recording this week, I offered a prayer for Minnesota in the early hours of the tragedy unfolding in Minneapolis.

But in the days following our recording of Sunday worship, peaceful protests - alongside destructive uprisings - have impacted cities around our nation. The sequence of dramatic events is cause for deep prayer and serious reflection. These events are even more distressing on the weekend that recorded deaths due to Covid-19 crossing the 100,000 mark.


Amid all of this, Sunday is Pentecost. Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit on that day. It defines the truth that the Apostle Paul later described, writing there “is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) So a great sorrow for Christians in America is the recognition that despite our highest aspirations, all do not experience a sense of equity in opportunity or justice. We are deeply afflicted in America by the sin of racism.

Jesus taught, that “much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much.” (Luke 12:48) I believe that living in Lake County offers so very much for which I am grateful. Consequently I have a deep sense of responsibility to engage the wider world with humility and service. We belong to the Presbytery of Chicago which maintains a Commission on Anti-Racism and Equity. With that commission, Chicago Presbyterians work to seek “community where all are recognized as those created in the image of God, having unique and common dignity and worth.” We “work to build compassionate relationships that facilitate honest and courageous conversations about our racial identities and experiences.” First Pres has built this work into our ministry of Faith Formation in recent years. But in light of this week’s event, I ask you to join me now.



Join me this Sunday an hour before worship at 9 a.m. I will share this video from Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson and will guide a time of conversation. I write to encourage you and exhort us all into reflection, prayer, and action. Today I wrote to our Mayor, Police Chief, County Board leaders and Sheriff offering assistance to address the concerns of systemic injustice that are being lamented this week. I hope that you will pray for justice, peace, reconciliation and a constructive future. 

At Pentecost, the fire we seek is what Isaiah calls the “Refiner’s fire” (Isaiah 48:10) of holiness. The winds we seek are the very breath of God for these days in which so many of us are without words, filled with grief, unable to breathe. I pray that God will watch over each one of you – that you will be blessed – and that we all will take those blessings and offer them with humility in the service of God’s abundant love for all our neighbors in Lake County and beyond.

Faithfully,

Brian Paulson, Pastor
Amy Heinrich, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life
Kara Smith-Laubenstein, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry
Ryan Wallace, Associate Pastor for Faith Formation

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Resources for New Officers

Here are some resources for New Officers of the First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville


Video invitation to consider what we believe:

Take a moment to watch this conversation. Dave Tomlinson, the man being interviewed is a priest in the Church of England who is actively working and writing with agnostics and various non-believers as his church seeks to connect with our increasingly secular society. Use this conversation as a place to ponder what you believe and why. The video is not meant as an affirmation of our congregation, but as a prompt for your own exploration within the context of our faith tradition.




Presbyterian Church (USA) Constitutional Links

Here is a link where you can download a pdf version of the Book of Confessions -


A pdf version of the Book of Order has been emailed to all new officers.

Here is a link to a searchable web version of both the Book of Confessions and the Book of Order -






Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday - The Tomb and The Light



“Our favorite place is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.” That was the response of Arab Lutheran friends that my wife and I visited many years ago in Jerusalem. We asked which holy site was the most meaningful for them. They knew it all. They were lifelong residents of East Jerusalem. My father-in-law was an executive for Pan American Airways and was friends with Samir, a travel agent, and his wife, Mary.



Jill and I were more impressed by the garden tomb that is maintained near the Jerusalem bus station. It has the look and feel of the tomb that artists have represented throughout the centuries. Whereas the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jesus’ tomb according to legend) is in a crowded part of town.

There are layers of church built upon the site. Each part of Christianity has claimed a portion. The Ethiopian Orthodox church maintains a community on the roof of the place. It seemed like a grand aggregation. We wondered what the fascination for our local friends was.



They told us they marveled to see all the world gathering in one spot to show veneration for the one who demonstrated love and followed that love to the point of death. I wonder, have we stopped on this Holy Saturday to offer thanks to Christ for his great love?



What I appreciate about this place, is an event that happens in the Orthodox tradition. It is the tradition of Holy Fire that claims the light of God enters the tomb and a holy fire is lit as we remember Jesus’ resurrection. I wonder, are we ready to come aflame with the light of resurrection hope?



I understand that Covid-19 has closed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre this year. Are you ready for the light of resurrection to flood your life?

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Work of Love



The work of Jesus was love. On this day, we consider the depths of that love. It is steadfast, never-ending. It conquers death and the deepest sense of abandonment.


Detail of a painting by Eustache Le Sueur

I have been thinking about this reading from Mark all morning. It tells us Jesus was crucified at 9 in the morning. I have been thinking about the memories that would have been in the heart of the women and other onlookers who watched him suffer the depths of abandonment.

John writes about Jesus in his gospel saying, “in him was Life, and the Life was the light of all people.” (John 1:4) When I gaze at the cross, I see a continuation of love. I consider the work Jesus undertook with outcasts and sinners. I see him sit at table with the privileged and the marginalized. I witness him teaching and healing. He gave it all away – and he did not come down from the cross.


Marc Chagall - "Jesus in the Night"

I remember reading Bonhoeffer say that when the worst was done to Jesus, thrusting him onto the cross, the powerful good news is that Jesus went through the cross and into the arms of God. I want to have that trust. I am teaching myself to lean on the steadfast love and mercy of God.

In these days of Covid-19 pandemic, we all feel thrust into a state of abandonment. I pray that you will do the work of love. Jesus did the work to the end so that we might begin anew.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

150th Anniversary Guest Preacher, The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes - Sermon Clip

Here is a portion of a video by Dr. Craig Barnes, our preacher for the 150th Charter Day worship.



You can see the whole sermon, and view all of his sermons at Princeton Theological Seminary, where the Rev. Barnes serves as President, by clicking here.

See you in church!

- Brian Paulson


Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Ten Commandments Described in the Larger Catechism of the Westminster Confession of 1647

For centuries, Presbyterians had one guide for understanding scripture. That was the Westminster Confession of faith that was adopted by the Scottish Presbyterians in 1647. It is encyclopedic in its approach and for that reason it is powerful to read this legacy (although in many ways archaic) of faith. Powerfully, it not only lists the things which are prohibited, but also the positive duties of love that are required of us to faithfully follow the "Law of God."

I am not suggesting that we slavishly follow every interpretation of the Ten Commandments in this 17th century affirmation. But I am suggesting that there are few guides in the church that so carefully reflect on the nuances of God's Law. Remember that Jesus named the summary of God's law as the path to eternity - it is instruction to Love God and Love our Neighbor day by day. Take a look below and consider what insight you can find from our brothers and sisters in faith who learned from this extensive catechism over the course of many generations.


"Moses Receiving the Ten Commandments" by Marc Chagall

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Question 102: What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?
Answer: The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.


Question 103: Which is the first commandment?
Answer: The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.


Question 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him; trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended; and walking humbly with him.


Question 105: What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying or not having a God; idolatry, in having or worshiping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and curious searching into his secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; all compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.


Question 106: What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
Answer: These words before me, or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who sees all things, takes special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation: as also to persuade us to do as in his sight,: Whatever we do in his service.


Question 107: Which is the second commandment?
Answer: The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything 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 thyself 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 108: 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 religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his 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 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise 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 worshiping 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, or 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 pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.


Question 110: 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 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; 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.


Question 111: Which is the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.


Question 112: What is required in the third commandment?
Answer: The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the Word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and: Whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and
Answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.


Question 113: What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God's name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning, or otherwise using his titles, attributes, ordinances, or works, by blasphemy, perjury; all sinful cursings, oaths, vows, and lots; violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful; and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful; murmuring and quarreling at, curious prying into, and misapplying of God's decrees and providences; misinterpreting, misapplying, or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it, to profane jests, curious or unprofitable

Questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines; abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms, or sinful lusts and practices; the maligning, scorning, reviling, or anywise opposing of God's truth, grace, and ways; making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends; being ashamed of it, or a shame to it, by unconformable, unwise, unfruitful, and offensive walking, or backsliding from it.

Question 114: What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain, are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us; especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment, albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.


Question 115: Which is the fourth commandment?
Answer: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.


Question 116: What is required in the fourth commandment?
Answer: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath, and in the New Testament called the Lord's day.


Question 117: How is the sabbath or the Lord's day to be sanctified?
Answer: The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God's worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.


Question 118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
Answer: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.


Question 119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.


Question 120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
Answer: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: from God's challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it;Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.


Question 121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
Answer: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment, partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it, and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments, and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion; and partly, because we are very ready to forget it, for that there is less light of nature for it, and yet it restrains our natural liberty in things at other times lawful; that it comes but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.


Question 122: What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man?
Answer: The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man is, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to do to others: What we would have them to do to us.


Question 123: Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer: The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.


Question 124: Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
Answer: By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God's ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.


Question 125: Why are superiors styled father and mother?
Answer: Superiors are styled father and mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations; and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.


Question 126: What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
Answer: The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.


Question 127: What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors.?
Answer: The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their government.


Question 128: What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
Answer: The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against, their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.


Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
Answer: It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God has put upon them.


Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?
Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.


Question 131: What are the duties of equals?
Answer: The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each other's gifts and advancement, as their own.


Question 132: What are the sins of equals?
Answer: The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.


Question 133: What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?
Answer: The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee, is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God's glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.


Question 134: Which is the sixth commandment?
Answer: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.


Question 135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, 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 defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.


Question 136: 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 defense; 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, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.


Question 137: Which is the seventh commandment?
Answer: The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.


Question 138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.


Question 139: What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.


Question 140: Which is the eighth commandment?
Answer: The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.


Question 141: What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to everyone his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof; giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others; moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods; a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition; a lawful calling, and diligence in it; frugality; avoiding unnecessary lawsuits and suretyship, or other like engagements; and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.


Question 142: What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, man_stealing, and receiving anything that is stolen; fraudulent dealing, false weights and measures, removing land marks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man, or in matters of trust; oppression, extortion, usury, bribery, vexatious lawsuits, unjust enclosures and depopulations; engrossing commodities to enhance the price; unlawful callings, and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbor: What belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves; covetousness; inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods; distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them; envying at the prosperity of others; as likewise idleness, prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate, and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God has given us.


Question 143: Which is the ninth commandment?
Answer: The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.


Question 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things: Whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requires; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of: Whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.


Question 145: What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calls for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, tale bearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults;hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession;unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any, endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering: What we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.


Question 146: Which is the tenth commandment?
Answer: The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.


Question 147: What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment with our own condition, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.


Question 148: What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor, together with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.