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Re: Lord's Day 34—Heidelberg Catechism [Re: chestnutmare] #47242
Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:35 PM
Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:35 PM
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IV. THE LOVE OF GOD consists in acknowledging him to be good and merciful in the highest degree, and that not only in himself, but also towards us, and therefore to love him supremely to desire more earnestly to be united and conformed to him, and to have his will accomplished in us, than to enjoy all things beside, and to be willing to suffer the loss of all things, which we have, sooner than be deprived of his favor. Or, it is from a knowledge of the infinite goodness of God, so to love him, that we would rather suffer the loss of all things, than to be deprived of communion with him, or offend him in anything. True love comprehends two things. First, a desire of the safety and preservation of that which we love; and secondly, a desire to be united with the object of our love, or to have it united to us. In reference to this it is said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” “If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and sisters; yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Deut. 6:5. Luke 14:26.)

There is opposed to the love of God, on the side of want, 1. A rejection of the love of God, or a contempt and hatred to God, which is to flee from God, who accuses and punishes the wicked for their sins, and to indulge enmity towards him, arising from the aversion which our nature has to God and his justice, and the propensity which it has to sin. It is said of this sin: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 7: T.) 2. An inordinate love of self, and of other creatures, which is to prefer our own lusts, pleasures, life, honor and other things to God, and his will and glory, and to disregard and offend him rather than to suffer the loss of those things which we love. “Whosoever loveth father, or mother, more than me, is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37.) 3. A feigned, hypocritical love of God. In regard to this virtue there can be no excess, for the reason that we never love God as strongly as we ought.

Re: Lord's Day 34—Heidelberg Catechism [Re: chestnutmare] #47243
Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:52 PM
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V. THE FEAR OF GOD is to acknowledge his infinite wrath against sin, his power to punish it, and to regard an offence against God, accompanied with aversion to him, the greatest evil, and for this reason to hate and detest sin; and to be willing to suffer all other things sooner than offend God in the smallest matter. Or it is an unwillingness to offend God, resulting from submission to God and a knowledge of his wisdom, power, justice, and the right which he has over all creatures. “Thou shalt fear thy God; I am the Lord.” “Who would not fear thee, King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain; forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nation and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.” (Lev. 19:14. Jer. 10:7.)

Obj. The highest good cannot be feared, because fear includes the shunning of evil. God is the highest good. Therefore, he cannot be feared. Ans. The highest good cannot be feared in as far as it is such; but in this respect, as it is also something else. So God is feared, not as he is the highest good, for in this respect he is loved; but as he is just, and able to punish; or he is feared in respect to the evil and punishment of destruction which he is able to inflict.

The love and fear of God differ from each other in the following respects:

1. Love follows the good, even God, and desires to be united to him. Fear turns away from the evil, even the displeasure and wrath of God, and dreads a separation from him. Or we may express it thus: Love is unwilling to be deprived of the highest good; whilst fear dreads to offend the highest good.
2. Love arises from a knowledge of the goodness of God; fear from a knowledge of the power and justice of God, and from the right which he has over all creatures.

The fear of God which man had before the fall was different from that which is now in the regenerate in this life. The fear of God as it was in man in his state of original holiness, or as it now is, and will be in the blessed angels and man in eternal life, is a strong aversion to sin and to the punishment of sin, which, however, is without grief or pain; because they neither have sin in them nor experience the punishment of it; and have the assurance that they never will sin, or be punished of God. “He will swallow up death in victory; the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.” (Is. 25:8.) The fear of God which is in the regenerate in this life is an acknowledgment of sin and the wrath of God, and a sincere sorrow arising from a view of the sins we have committed, from the offence we have offered God by our sins, and from the miseries we and others endure in consequence of sin, accompanied with a fear of future sins and punishment, and an ardent desire to escape these evils, by reason of the knowledge of the mercy of God made known to us in Christ. It is said in reference to this fear: “Dost not thou fear God?” “Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Luke 23:40. Matt. 10:28.) This fear is usually called filial fear, because it is such as children cherish towards their parents, who are sorry on account of a father’s anger and displeasure, and fear lest they should again offend him and be punished; and are, nevertheless, continually assured of the love, and good will of the father towards them. Hence they love him, and are more deeply grieved on account of the love which they cherish towards him, whom they have offended. Thus it is said of Peter that “he went out and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:75.)

Servile fear, such as the slave has for his master, which consists in fleeing punishment without faith and without a desire and purpose of changing the life, being accompanied with despair, flight and separation from God such a servile fear differs greatly from that which is filial. 1. Filial fear arises from confidence and love to God; that which is servile arises from a knowledge and conviction of sin, and from a sense of the judgment and displeasure of God. 2. Filial fear does not turn away from God, but hates sin above everything else, and fears to offend God: servile fear is a flight and hatred, not of sin, but of punishment and of the divine judgment, and so of God himself. 3. Filial fear is connected with the certainty of salvation and of eternal life: servile fear is a fear and expectation of eternal condemnation and rejection of God, and is great in proportion to the doubt and despair which it entertains of the grace and mercy of God. This is the fear of devils and wicked men, and is the commencement of eternal death, which the ungodly experience already in this life. “I heard thy voice in the garden and I was afraid.” “The devils believe and tremble.” (Gen. 3:10. James 2:19.)

We must here observe that the love and fear of God are frequently taken in the Scriptures for the whole worship of God, or for universal obedience to all the commandments of God. “By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God, and keep his commandments.” “Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” (1 John 5:2. 1 Tim. 1:5. Prov. 1:7.) The reason of this arises from the fact, that the love and fear of God constitute the cause of our entire obedience, inasmuch as they spring from faith and hope; for those who truly love and fear God will not willingly offend him in anything, but will endeavor to do whatever will be pleasing to him. There is opposed to the fear of God on the side of want, profanity, carnal security and contempt of God. And on the side of excess servile fear and despair, of which we have already spoken.

Re: Lord's Day 34—Heidelberg Catechism [Re: chestnutmare] #47244
Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:59 PM
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VI. HUMILITY is to acknowledge that all the good which is in us, and done by us does not proceed from any worthiness or excellency which we possess, but from the free goodness of God, and so by an acknowledgment of the divine majesty, and our own weakness and unworthiness, to submit ourselves to God, to ascribe the glory of all the good which is in us to him alone, and so to fear God, to acknowledge and deplore our imperfections and faults, and not to desire any higher position for ourselves than that which God has assigned to us, nor to be dissatisfied with our gifts, but by the help of God to remain contented and satisfied with our calling and position in life, and not to despise others who are placed in more desirable situations than ourselves, nor to hinder them in the discharge of their duty, but to acknowledge that others are, and may also become profitable instruments of God; and therefore to attribute and yield to them willingly the place and honor due them, and not to attribute to ourselves, or attempt that which it is not in our power to accomplish, nor claim for ourselves a higher degree of excellence than others possess, but to be contented with the gifts and position which God has assigned us, and so to devote all our gifts and endeavors to the glory of God and the salvation of our fellow men, even of those who are of the lower and more unworthy class, and not to murmur against God, if our hopes are disappointed, or we are despised, but in all things to attribute to God the praise of wisdom and righteousness. “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it.” “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” “Whosoever, therefore, shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (1 Cor. 4:7. 1 Pet. 5:5. Matt. 18:4. Phil. 2:3.)

The opposite of humility, as it respects the want of this virtue is pride or arrogance. Pride consists in attributing the gifts which we possess, not to God, but to our own worthiness, and natural powers, and so includes an admiration of self and of our gifts. He who is possessed of pride does not fear God, neither does he acknowledge or deplore his imperfections he is continually aspiring after a more elevated position and calling in life, and attributes to himself not in the strength of God, but in that of his own powers, what he does not possess attempts things beyond his strength, and foreign to his calling despises those who are above him in life, yields to none, but desires to go before and excel others, and directs his gifts and counsels to his own praise and glory is displeased with God and man, and frets and speaks against God when his desires and projects are not realized, and even accuses God of error and injustice when the divine arrangements do not fall in with the opinions and wishes of men. Or to express it more briefly, we may say, that pride consists in an admiration of self and of one’s own gifts and attainments, attributing these gifts to itself, attempting things that do not properly fall within its sphere, and fretting against God, when disappointed in the gratification of its own wishes and desires. Of this vice it is said: “God resisteth the proud.” “Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” (1 Pet. 5:5 Prov. 16:5.)

A feigned modesty or humility is the opposite of this virtue as it respects the other extreme. This affected modesty consists in courting the praise of humility by denying those things which anyone in his own mind attributes to himself, whether he really possess them or not, and by refusing those things which he desires and endeavors to obtain secretly. “Moreover, when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matt. 6:16.) Aristotle terms it affected niceness, as though he would call it a feigned fastidiousness. Some translate the words used by Aristotle, vain glorious dissemblers.

The words of Aristotle (Ethic, lib. 4. cap. 7.) may be rendered thus: “Those who dissemble in things that are small and manifest, are called skilful dissemblers, and are generally despised; and sometimes it consists in pride, as the wearing of a Lacedemonian attire.” This counterfeit humility is, therefore, a pride that is two-fold.

Re: Lord's Day 34—Heidelberg Catechism [Re: chestnutmare] #47245
Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:03 PM
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VII. PATIENCE consists in obeying God and submitting to him under the various evils and adversities which he sends upon us, and desires us to endure, arising from a knowledge of the wisdom, providence, justness and goodness of God does not murmur against God on account of the sufferings to which these evils expose us, and does nothing contrary to his commands; but in the midst of our sufferings retains confidence and hope in God that he will afford us his grace and help seeks deliverance from God, and by this knowledge and confidence mitigates the griefs and sufferings to which we are exposed. Or, we may define it more briefly thus: Patience is to obey God in submissively enduring the various evils which he sends upon us, from a knowledge of the divine majesty, and from an assurance of God’s assistance and deliverance, according as it is said: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” “Wait on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee.” (Ps. 37:7, 84.)

Humility and patience belong to the first commandment, not only because they are parts of that internal obedience which God requires us to render immediately to him, but also because they follow, or grow out of the true knowledge, confidence, love and fear of God, as necessary effects. The opposite of patience, on the side of want is impatience, which is an unwillingness, arising from an ignorance and distrust of the divine wisdom, providence, justice and goodness, to obey God by enduring the evils and adversities which he requires us to suffer, and to speak against God on account of the suffering to which we are subject, or to violate his commands, and not to seek or expect help and deliverance from God, and so not to assuage or moderate our grief by the knowledge and assurance which we have of the divine will, but to indulge in it, and being broken thereby to be driven to despair. Saul and Judas are examples of this impatience; Job, also, gave evidence of it in the complaints which he uttered in his distress, which may also be true of the godly in their sufferings.

We may here remark, that often in this and other commandments the same vices are opposed to many and different virtues. So in this commandment carnal security stands opposed to faith, hope and the fear of God; tempting God is opposed to hope, the love of God, humility and patience; whilst idolatry is utterly at variance with a true knowledge of God and faith. The same thing may be seen, and should be observed in the virtues and vices of other commandments.

L D34—Idolatry [Re: chestnutmare] #47246
Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:36 PM
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Question 95: What is idolatry?

Answer: Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. (a)

(a) Eph.5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
1 Chron.16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
Philip.3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Gal.4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Eph.2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

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