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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 90. How is the word to be read and heard that it may become effectual to salvation?
A. That the word may become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practise it in our lives.

1. Must we read the Word of God with seriousness? Yes: we must give attendance to reading, 1 Tim. 4:13. And not read it as a common book? No: It is not a vain thing, for it is your life, Deut. 32:47.

2. Must we be diligent to hear the word? Yes: Watching daily at Wisdom's gates, waiting at the posts of her doors, Prov. 8:34. Must we prepare for hearing it? Yes: Lay aside all malice, and guile, and hypocrisy, and filthiness, and superfluity of naughtiness, 1 Pet. 2:1. Must we come to it with a spiritual appetite? Yes: as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, 1 Pet. 2:2. Must we set ourselves to receive it? Yes: as Mary sat at Jesus' feet to hear his word, Luke 10: 39. Must we bow our souls before it? Yes: Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears, 1 Sam. 3:9. Must we diligently hearken to it? Yes: Be swift to hear, Jam. 1:19.

3. Must we hear the word with reverence? Yes: When Ezra opened the book all the people stood up, Neh. 8:5. Must we hear it with care? Yes: Take heed how ye hear, Luke 8:18. And with meekness? Yes: Receive with meekness the engrafted word, Jam. 1:21.And with delight? Yes: How sweet are thy words unto my taste: Ps. 119:103. And with a holy fear? Yes: we must tremble at the word, Isa. 66:2. Must we receive it as the word of men? No: but as it is in truth, the Word of God, 1 Thess. 2:13.

4. Must we take heed of sleeping under the word? Yes: Could ye not watch with me one hour? Matt. 26:40. Must we pray for a blessing upon the word? Yes: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law, Ps. 119:18. Must we receive the word with faith? Yes: for it will not profit if it be not mixed with faith, Heb. 4:2. Must we receive men's words with an implicit faith? No: Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, 1 John 4:1. But must we receive God's word with an implicit faith? Yes: for every word of God is pure, Prov. 30:5. Must we receive it with love? Yes: I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food, Job 23:12.

5. Must we remember the word we read and hear? Yes: lest at any time we let it slip, Heb. 2:1. Must we lay it up in our hearts? Yes: Thy word have I hid in my heart, Ps. 119:11. Must we meditate on it? Yes: In that law doth he meditate day and night, Ps. 1:2. Must we practise it in our lives? Yes: be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, James 1:22. Will it suffice to hear, though we do not practise? No: If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them, John 13:17.

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