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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel

Of Joy in the Holy Ghost.

Q. 1. How many sorts of joy are there among men?
A. There is a sensitive joy; Acts 14:17. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. A sinful joy; Proverbs 15:21. Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom. And a spiritual joy; Romans 5:11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q. 2. Why is spiritual joy called joy in the Holy Ghost?
A. Because the Holy Ghost is the author of it; Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, &c.

Q. 3. What is the first thing begets joy in the saints?
A. The first thing they joy in is, their justification before God; Isaiah 61:10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he bath covered me with the robes of righteousness; Romans 5:11. And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Q. 4. What is the second thing that breeds this joy?
A. Hope of glory breeds joy in the saints; Romans 5:2. And rejoice, in hope of the glory of God.

Q. 5. What is the instrument by which the Spirit conveys this joy?
A. Faith is the instrument of it; Philippians 1:25. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith.

Q. 6. What is the first property of this joy?
A. it is joy unspeakable, and full of glory; 1 Peter 1:8. Believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.

Q. 7. What is the second property of it?
A. That it is not in the power of men to deprive the saints of it; John 16:22. And your joy no man taketh from you.

Q. 8. What is the third property of it?
A. It makes the soul free and cheerful in the ways of obedience; Psalm 119:32. I will run the ways of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Q. 9. What is most destructive to a Christianís joy?
A. Sin, especially sin against light; Psalm 51:8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Q. 10. What should be the main care of a Christian in this world?
A. To maintain his joy in God to the last; Acts 20:24. But none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.

Q. 11. Have not hypocrites their joys as well as real Christians?
A. Yes; but the joy of the hypocrite is not grounded upon scripture-warrant, and will vanish away, and will come to nothing at last; John 5:35. He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.

Q. 12. What is the first inference from hence?
A. Let all that expect joy in the Holy Ghost, see that they preserve purity of conscience and conversation; 2 Corinthians 1:12. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards.

Q. 13. What is the last inference?
A. That religion is no melancholy thing, but the fountain of all joy and pleasure; Proverbs 3:1 7. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

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