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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbids the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, profaning the day by idleness: or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about worldly employments or recreations.

1. Do we profane the sabbath if we neglect the sabbath work? Yes: I came seeking fruit, but found none, Luke 13:7. Or if we perform carelessly? Yes: Ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick, Mal. 1:13. Or if we be weary of it? Yes: They say, When will the sabbath be gone? Amos 8:5. Or if we idle away sabbath time? Yes: Why stead ye here all the day idle? Matt. 20:6. And much more if we do that which is in itself sinful? Yes: They have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths, Ezek. 23: 38.

2. Do we profane the sabbath by violating the sabbath rest? Yes: What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Neh. 13:17. May we not buy and sell on that day? No: Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise, John 2:16. May we not work harvest-work on that day? No: In earing-time, and in harvest, thou shall rest, Exod. 34:21. May we not however think and speak at our pleasure on that day? No: Not doing thine own ways, nor speaking thine own words, Isa. 58:13.

3. Was he punished that gathered sticks on the sabbath? Yes: they stoned him with stones that he died, Numb. 15:36. Are nations sometimes punished for sabbath profanation? Yes: If ye will not hallow the sabbath day, I will kindle a fire in the gates of Jerusalem Jer. 17:27. Is the contempt of the sabbath a contempt of God? Yes: This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day, John 9:16.

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