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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

1. Is every sin done in God's sight? Yes: I did this evil in thy sight, Ps. 51:4. Is it heinous in God's sight? Yes: for he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, Hab. 1:13. But is every sin alike heinous? No: He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin, John 19:11. Are some sins in themselves more heinous than others? Yes: If a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? 1 Sam. 2:25. Are presumptuous sins more heinous than others? Yes: the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, that soul reproacheth the Lord, Num. 15:30. Was ever any sin so heinous as not to be forgiven? Yes: the Pharisees' blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was so, Matt. 12:32.

2. Are sins against knowledge aggravated sins? Yes: that servant that knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, Luke 12:47. And sins against mercies? Yes: Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and unwise, Deut. 32:6. Especially against spiritual mercies? Yes: As Solomon, who turned from the Lord God of Israel which had appeared unto him twice, 1 Kings 11:9. Are sins against reproof aggravated sins? Yes: he that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, and shall suddenly be destroyed, Prov. 21:1. And sins against our vows and covenants? Yes: Thou saidst, I will not transgress, Jer. 2:20.

3. Are the sins of great professors aggravated sins? Yes: for the name of God is blasphemed through them, Rom. 2:24. And the sins of ministers? Yes: Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Rom. 2:21. May the place be an aggravation of the sin? Yes: They provoked him at the sea, even the Red Sea, Ps. 106:7. And the time? Yes: They turned aside quickly, Exod. 32:8.

4. Is it an aggravation of sin, if it be done with contrivance? Yes: Woe to them that devise iniquity, Micah 2:1. And if it be done with delight? Yes: They rejoice to do evil, Prov. 2:14. And without blushing? Yes: They declare their sin as Sodom, Isa. 3:9. And if it be boasted of? Yes: Whose glory is in their shame, Phil. 3:19. And if it be often repeated? Yes: They have tempted me now these ten times, Num. 14:22. Should we take notice of these aggravations in our confessions? Yes: Aaron shall confess the iniquity of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, Lev. 16:21.

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