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The eighth Question of the HEIDELBERG
capable of doing any Good, and inclined to all Manner of Wickedness?
“ A. Yes; unless we are regenerated by the Spirit c of God.”
Q. Of what Good are we incapable ?
A. Of all spiritual Good ; of which St. Paul (peaks, Gal. v. 22. The Fruits of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith.
Ở How doth it appear that you are incapable of doing such Good?
A. From the Teftimony of Christ, John xv. 4, 5. As the Branch cannot bear Fruit of itself, except it abide in the Vine ; no mare can ye, except ye abide in me, &c. And Paul, 2 Cor. iii. 5.
Q. Are we then inclined to all Evil ?
A. Yes; by Nature we are, Gen. vi. 5. God faw that the Wickedness of Man was great in the Earth ; and that every Imagination of the Thought of his Heart, was only Evil continually. And Tit. iii. 3. We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, serving divers Lusts, 10 and Pleasures ; living in Malice and Envy, hateful, and hating one another.
l. Doth then every Man practise nothing but Evil?
A. No. For by Nature he is inclined to it; the Seed of all Sin is in us. Jer. vi. 7. As a Fountain cafteth out her Waters,
so me casteth out her Wickedness, &c. Matt. xv. 19. For out of the Heart proceed evil Thoughts, Murders, Adulteries, Fornication, Thefts, False Witness, Blasphemies.
Q. Hath not Man free Will?
A. No; not to do Good. Because he is a bond Slave to Satan ; and a Servant of Sin. John viii. 34. and 2d Tim. ii. 26. That they may recover themselves
out of the Snare of the Devil, who are taken Captive by him at his Will.
Q. How long are we unable to do any Good, and inclined to do Evil?
4. Until we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. Q. What is it to be regenerated ?
A. It is to be renewed in the Spirit of our: Mind, so as to be turned from Darkness to Light; and from the Power of Satan, unto God, Eph. iv. 23. and Aets, xxvi. 18.
Q. By what Means may we be thus regenerated?
A. The Spirit of God regenerates us by his Word, as well by the Law as by the Gospel, John iii. 5. and James i. 18.
Q. Is this Regeneration necessary to our Salvation ?
1. Yes. For without that no Man can see God, John iii. 5. Except a Man be born of Water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
Q. What was the Intention of the Catechist to give fuch a Description of our corrupt Nature?
A. That we may thereby discover how miserable, hateful and loathsome we are in the Sight of God, and how incapable to do good și and that as long as we continue in that State, we need not expect any Consolation in Jesus Christ.
Q. How doth it appear that this is the pure Doctrine?
A. Because all its Instructions are conformable to the Spirit and Word of God, who humbleth a Man, and brings him to understand his own Nothingness.
Q. What Use do you make of this Doctrine ?
A. That we, with the greatest Calmness, ought to consider our corrupt Nature, what horrible Creatures and Generation of Vipers we are, having the least Reason of all Creatures to be proud or haughty ; but that we may humble ourselves, and endeavour to be regenerated ; Aying to Jesus Christ, our Saviour; praying with all Prayers and Supplication in the Spirit, for his Mercy, until we find by and in ourselves an
Averfion to all Evil; and on the contrary, a longing
Things of him, according to the Law, which Le enorus he cannot perform?
A. « No. For God created Man in a State of
Ability of doing Good ; but Man, by the Inftiga66 tion of the Devil and his own Rebellion, deprived s himself and his Pofterity of those Divine Gifts,
wherewith he was endowed.
A. Yes. God never can do any unjust Thing, fob xxxiv. 10. Rom. iii. 5. Man, as a rational Creature, in what State foever he finds himself, is always depending on God, and is obliged to obey
the supreme Being, as his Creator and Sustainer. Jer. x. 6, 7. And the willfull Disobedience of Man cannot take away God's Justice, in demanding a continual and perfect Obedience of Man, even as a Creditor has a just Right to Payment, altho' his Debtor should become Insolvent.
Q. Is it net in vain to require from a Man that, which is impossible for him to perform?
Å. It would be in vain, when God should only require to perform Things which were absolutely impoffible, but not now, because God requires a perfect Obedience of Man, to that End, that he should be humbled and convinced of his Incapacity and Misery, By the Law is the Knowledge of Sin, Rom. iii. 20. In order to cause him to fly for Help to Jesus Christ, who is all and in all, Col. iii. 11. That is All-sufficient, and All-meritarious to them, that believe in him. And that God may be justified in punishing the Wicked. Luke xii. 47.
The roth Question of the HEIDELBERG
CATECHISM. Q. BUT
Will God suffer this Disobedience and Re
bellion to go unpunished? « A. By no Means ; but on the contrary beholds “ Sin, whether original or actual, with Indignation “ and Abhorrence; and is resolved to punish by the “ Effect of his just Judgment, both with temporal « and eternal Pains, as he hath declared, saying, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all Things, " which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them."
Q. Having spoke of the Wrath and Curse of God, under which all Men lie by their Fall, in the third Question, tell me why you call tbe Wrath of God horrible
A. Because of its being compared to Things the most horrible, Deut. xxxii. 22. For a Fire is kindled in my Anger, and all burn unto the lowest Hell, and hall consume the Earth with her Increase, and set on Firethe Foundations of the Mountains. And fer.xxiii
. 19. l. But is it not hard that Sinners fould suffer eternally for the Sins of a few Years?
4. No. For the Evil of Sin is not to be measured by the Length of Time; but by the Object against which it is committed, Pf. li. 4, 5. Against Thee only have I finned, and done this Evil in thy Sight. The 11th Question of the HEIDELBERG 1.
Q. Is in . ,
“ A. Yes, doubtless. But he is also just, « and for that Reason, his Justice requires, that the « Sins which have been committed against the infinite “ Majesty of God, should be punished with infinite " Punishment; that is to say, eternal Torments, “ which Man is to endure both in his Body and Soul."
Q. What is, in Brief, the Substance of this Answer?
Ā. That God cannot have Mercy upon us, by darkening his Righteousness, as we fee, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. That he will by no Means clear the Guilty. All his Mercy spoken of (differing from his common Goodness) supposes an Evidence of his Justice in exacting full Satisfaction for our Sins; and unless God is obliged, according to the perfect Rectitude and Equity of his Nature and Government, to punish, and that eternally. Sinners, (except they come by Faith to Christ) would never forsake their Sins; therefore consequently, according to his Justice, God can never leave off punishing the Sinner.
Means whereby we may avoid such Punishment, and return unto God's Grace and Favour?
66 A. As God will have his Justice fatisfied, we “ muft therefore make a full and entire Payment, “ either by ourselves, or by fome ocher, as is menti“ oned in the sith Question."
Q. Wherein dath this Satisfa&tion confia?
1. In Obedience to the Law, Rom. v. 19. And suffering all the Punishment which we have deserved, 2 Cor. v.21,
Q. Is fuch Satisfaction for our Sins, necessary ?
A. Yes. Not only because it is the eternal Will of God, but also for the Honour of his Justice, Rom. iii
. 25, 26. Whom God hath fet forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in his Blood, to declare his Righteousness for the Remision of Sins that are past, through the For