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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 49.What is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shall 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 shall 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.

1. Does the second commandment concern the ordinances of God's worship, as the first object of it? Yes: Therefore ye shall keep mine ordinances, Lev. 18:10. Was it requisite there should be a law concerning them? Yes: Lest ye say, How did these nations serve their gods? so will I do likewise, Deut. 12:30. Is this binding to us now? Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry, 1 Cor. 10:14. Are we Christians forbidden to worship images? Yes: That they should not worship idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, Rev. 9:20.

2. Does this commandment forbid the making of images for a religious use? Yes: Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image, Deut. 27:15. Does it forbid the making an image of what is in heaven above? Yes: Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, shouldst be driven to worship them, Deut. 4:19. Or on earth, beneath? Yes: As they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox, Ps. 106:20. Or in the waters under the earth? Yes: As they made the likeness of creeping things, Rom. 1:23.

3. Does it forbid us to bow down to them? Yes: Shall I bow down to the stock of a tree? Isa. 44:19. Or to worship them? Yes: Thou shall worship no other God, Exod. 34:14. Or to show any respect to them? I will take away the names of Baalim out of their mouth, Hos. 2:17. Was it requisite this commandment should be thus enlarged? Yes: Precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, Isa. 28:10. And that it should be backed with many reasons? Yes: for they are mad upon their idols, Jer. 50:38.

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