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Q. 7. How do the scriptures teach matters of faith and practice?
A. The scriptures teach the matters of faith and practice, by revealing these things externally; but it is the Spirit of God only, in the scriptures, which can teach them internally and effectually unto salvation.
Q. 8. Why are the scriptures said principally to teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man?
A. Because though all things taught in the scriptures are alike true, having the stamp of divine authority upon them; yet all things in the scriptures are not alike necessary and useful. Those things which man is bound to believe and do, as necessary to salvation, are the things, which the scriptures do principally teach.
Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Q. 1. What kind of substance is God?
A. God is a Spirit. John iv. 24, God is a Sprit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truih.
Q. 2. What is a spirit ?
A. A spirit is an immaterial substance, without flesh or bones, or bodily parts. Luke xxiv. 39, Behold
my hands, and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Q. 3. How is God said then in scripture to have eyes, and ears, and mouth and hands, and other parts. Psalm xxxiv, 15, The eyes of the Lord are upon the rightcous, and his ears are open unto their cry. Isa. i. 20, The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Heb. x. 31, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God?
Ą. These and the like bodily parts are not in God properly, as they be in men ; but figuratively, and after the manner of men, he is pleased to condescend (in exa
pressing himself thereby) to our weak capacities, that we might the more easily conceive of him by such resemblances.
Q. 4. How doth God differ from angels and the souls of men, who also are spiritual and immaterial substances ?
A. 1. .Angels and the souls of men are created spirits, and depend in their being upon God; but God is an uncreated spirit, and dependeth in his being upon none. 2. Angels and the souls of men are finite spirits ; but God is an infinite spirit.
Q. 5. What is it to be infiriite?
A. To be infinite, is to be without measure, bounds, or limits. Q. 6. In what regard is God infinite ?
A. 1. God is infinite, or without bounds, in regard of his being and perfection ; and therefore is incomprehensible. Job. xi. 7, Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ? 2. God is infinite, and without measure and bounds, in regard of place; and therefore he is every where present. Jer. xxiii. 24, Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him, saith the Lord : Do not I fill heaven and earth? And yet neither the earth, northe heavens, nor the heavens of heavens, is able to contain him, 1 Kings viii. 27. 3. God is infinite, or without measure and bounds, in regard of time; and therefore he is eternal. 1. Tim. i. 17, Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen. 4. God is infinite, or without measure and bounds, in regard of all his communicable attributes.
Q. 7. What is it to be eternal ?
A. To be eternal, is to have neither beginning nor ending.
Q. 8. How doth it appear that God is eternal ? A. 1. From scripture. Psal. xc. 2, Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. 2. From reason.
1. God gave a being to the world
and all things therein, at the beginning of time; there. fore he must needs be before the world, and before time, and therefore from everlasting. 2. God is an absolutely necessary being, because the first being, because altogether independent, and beyond the reach of any power to put an end to him ; therefore he is unchangeable ; therefore to everlasting he is God.
Q. 9. How doth God differ from his creatures, in regard of his eternity?
A. 1. Some creatures have their beginning with time, and their ending with time; as the heavens and the foundations of the earth. 2. Some creatures have their beginning in time, and their ending also in time ;- as those creatures upon the earth, which are generated and corrupted, which are born, and live for a while, and then die. 3. Some creatures have their beginning in time, yet do not end with or in time, but endure forever; as angels and the souls of men. 4. But God differeih from all, in that he was from everlasting, before time, and will remain unto everlasting, when time shall be no more.
Q. 10. What is it to be unchangeable ?
A. To be unchangeable, is to be always the same, without any alteration.
Q. 11. In what regard is God unchangeable ?
Psal. cii. 25, 26, 27, Of old thou hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure : they shall be changed, but thou art the same. 2. God is unchangeable in regard of his counsel and purpose. Isa. xlvi. 10, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Heb. vi. 17, Wherein God willing to shew the immutability of his counsel. 3. God is unchangeable in regard of his love and special favors. Rom. xi. 29, The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. James i. 17, Every good gist, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Q. 12. How is God said to be infinite, eternal, un-,
changeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, yoodness and truth?
A. 1. In that being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, which are communicable unto, and may be in some degree and measure found in the creatures, they are in God, infinitely, eternally and unchangeably, and so altogether in an incommunicable
d. Creatures have a being, but it is a finite being; a being in time, a changeable being: God's being is infinite, eternal and unchangeable.
2. Creatures may have wisdom, but it is finite and imperfect wisdom : God's wisdom is infinite and absolutely perfect. 3. Creatures may have some power, but it is finite anil limited power, such as may be taken away ; they may have power to do something dependingly upon God: but God is infinite in power, he is omnipotent, and can do all things independently, without the help of any. 4. Creatures may have some holiness, and justice, and goodness, and truth ; but all these are qualities in them; they are finite, and in an inferior degree, and they are subject to change: but these things are essence in God, they are infinite and perfect in him ; his holiness is infinite, his justice is infinite, his goodness in infinite, his truth is infinite; and all these are eternally in him, without any variableness or possibility of change.
Q. 13. What is the wisdom of God?
A. The wisdom of God is his essential property, whereby by one simple and eternal act, be knoweth both himself and all possible things perfectly, and according to which he maketh, directeth, and ordereth all future things for his own glory.
Q. 14. Wherein doth the wisdom of God appear?
A. 1. God's wisdom doth appear in his perfect knowledge of all possible things, all past things, all present things, all future things, in their natures, causes, virtues, and operations; and that not by relation, observation, or induction of reason, as men know some things; but by one simple and eternal act of his understanding. Psalm cxlvii. 5, His understanding is infinite. Psalm cxxxix. 1, 6, O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me:
such knowledge is too wonderful for me : it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Heb. iv. 13, Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
2. God's wisdom doth appear in the beautiful variety of creatures which he hath made above and below. Psal. civ. 24, O Lord, how 'manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.
3. God's wisdom doth appear in his admirable contrivance of our redemption through his Son, whereby his justice is fully satisfied, and his people are gracious. ly saved.
I Cor. ii. 6, 7, Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect : 'the wisdom of God in a mystery, &c.
This is that wisdom which was made known by the church unto the angels. Eph. iii. 10; To the intent that unto the principalities might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
4. God's wisdom doth appear in his excellent governinent of all his creatures. 1. In his government of unreasonable creatures, directing them unto their ends, though they have no reason to guide them. 2. In his government of reasonable creatures that are wicked, overruling all their actions for his own glory, though they be intended by them for his dishonour. Psal. Ixxvi. 10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee. 3. In his government of his charch and people; the disposal of his special favours to the most unworthy, that he might reap all the glory; his qualifying and making use of instruments in great works, beyond their own thoughts and designs; his seasonable provisions for his people; his strange preservation of them from the malice of subtle : and powerful enemies; his promoting his own interest in the world, by the means which men use to subvert it, and the like, đo evidently declare the infinite wisdom of God.
Q. 15. What is the power of God?
A. The power of God is his essential property; whereby he can do all things. Gen. xvij. 1, I am the almighty God.
Q. 16. Wherein doth the power of God show itself?