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Q.5. Is the word effectual unto salvation by any virtue or power in itself?.
Ā. The word is not effectual unto salvation by any virtue or power in itself, but by the operation of the Spirit of God, in and by the word. 2 Cor. ii. 6, Who; also hath made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth,. but the spirit giveth life.
Q. 6. How doth the word work effectually unto salya-. tion?
A. The word cloth work effectualy unto salvation through faith. 1 Thess. ii. 13, Ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. Rom. i. 16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth.
Q. 90. How is the word to be read and heard that it may become effectual unto salvation ?
A. That the word may become effectual unto salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, prepara.. tion, and prayer, receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.
Q. 1. What is required before the hearing of the word, that it may become effectual unto salvation ?
A. Before the hearing of the word, that it may become effectual unto salvation, two things are required : 1. Preparation. 2. Prayer.
Q. 2. What is that preparation that is required before the hearing of the word ?
A. The preparation which is required before the hear ing of the word is, 1. That we consider the majesty c. God, in whuse, presence we are to appear, and whose word we are to hear. Acts x. 33, We are all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 2. That we examine ourselves, to find out, and lay aside, whatever may hinder the saving operation of the word of God upon us. Psal. xxvi. 6, I will wash mine hands in innocency, so will I compass thine
altar, O Lord. James i. 21, Wherefore lay apart all superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 1 Pet. ii. 1, 2, Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.
Q. 3. What is that prayer which is required before hearing the word?
A. The prayer which is required before hearing the word, is prayer in secret, and in our families, for God's assistance of his ministers in preaching the word to us, and for his blessing the word, and making it effectual to us by his Spirit in our hearing of it. 2 Thess. iii. 1, Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may hare free course, and be glorified.
Q. 4. What is required in reading and hearing the word, to make it effectual unto salvation ?
A. In reading and hearing the word, that it may become effectual unto salvation three things are required: 1. Attention. 2. Faith. 3. Love.
Q. 5. What is that attention which is required in reading and hearing the word ?
A. The attention which is required in reading and hearing the word, is a diligent inclining the ear, and bending the mind, that we may understand what we read and hear. Prov. ii. 1, 2, 5, My son, if thou wilt receive my words and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart unto understanding: then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Q. 6. What is that faith which is required in reading and hearing the word?
A. The faith which is required in reading and heara ing the word, doth imply, 1. In general a believing assent unto the divine authority of the whole scripture, that it is indeed the word of God; and however it were penned by divers holy men, in divers ages, that yet the whele was indited, and they wrote nothing but as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. I Thess. ii. 13, We thank God, because wben ye receiyed the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God. 2 Tim.iii. 16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God. 2 Pet. i. 21, For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2. The faith required in reading and hearing the word, doth imply in particular, 1. A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all scripture-history, as that which most certainly was : especially the history of our Lord Jesus Christ, in his birth, life, death, resurrection and ascensiun. 2. A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all scripture prophecy, as that (so far as it is not yet fulfilled) which most certainly will be; especially the prophecy concerning the consummation of all things, and the general judgment of the world by Jesus Christ at the last day. 3. A believing assent unto the truth and excellency of all scripturedoctrine, as that which is most high, and most worthy of understanding; especially the doctrine of the Trinity, and Christ's incarnation, and the way of man's redemption. 4. A believing assent unto the truth and righteousness, of all scripture-threatenings, whether in the law or gospel, and that in the most severe executions of them. 5. A believing assent unto the holiness, righteousness, and goodness of all scripture-precepts; as also to the perfection of the scripture-rule for all things which concern our practice. 6. A fiducial application of all scripture-promises, so far as they have a general reference unto all believers, as most firm, true, precious, and such as contain in them whatever is really for our good and happiness, both in this, and in the other world.
Q. 7. What is that love which is required in reading and hearing the word of God?
A. The love which is required in reading and hearing the word of God, is love of the word, because it is the word of God. Psalm cxix. 159, 167, Consider how I love thy precepts. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
Q. 8. Wherein should our love to the word of God show itself?
A. Qur love to the word of God should show itself, 1.
In our high prizing the word of God above things which are most necessary and precious in the world. Job xxiii. 12, I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Psalm cxix. 72, The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and sil.
2. In our earnest desires after the word. Psalm cxix, 20, 131, My soul breaketh for the longing it hath unto thy judgments at all times. I opened my mouth and panted; for I longed for thy commandments. 3. In our delighting ourselves in the word. Psalm cxix. 24, 111, 162, Thy testimonic are my delight and my counsellors. Thy testimonies have s taken as an heritage forever ; for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I ree joice at thy word, as one that findeih great spoil.
Q. 9. What is required after the reading and hearing of the word, that it may become effectual unto salvation ?
A. There is required after the reading and hearing of the word, that it may become effectual unto salvation, 1. That we lay it up in our hearts, making our hearts and memories store-houses of this heavenly treasure. Psal. cxix. 11, Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. 2. That we practice it in our lives, being ready to obey and do whatever we read or hear out of the word to be our duty. James i. 22, 25, Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Q. 91, How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation ?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth ada minister them, but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.
Q. 1. How negatively are the sacraments not effectual means of salvation ?
A. The sacraments negatively, 1. Are not effectuak means of salvation, by any virtue in themselves to confer
grace and salvation upon all the receivers, and by the work done, or bare receiving of them : for many may, and do partake of the sacraments, who are without true grace, and have no share in the salvation of the gospel. Acts viií. 13, 20, 21, 23, And Simon himself was baptized. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee: thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God: for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Cor. xi. 27, Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 2. The sacraments are not effectual means of salvation through the intention of, or by any virtue in them that do administer them, there being no power in the most holy ministers thenselves to give grace, and to bring salvation unto any by their administration of the sacraments, or any other ordi
1 Cor. iii. 7, So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase
Q. 2. How positively are the sacraments effectual means of salvation ?
A. The sacraments positively are effectual means of salvation, 1. By the blessing and presence of Christ, which doth accompany the sacraments and other ordinances of his own institution. Matth. xviii. 20, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matth. xxxviii. 20, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 2. By the working of the spirit (the effect and evidence of Christ's blessing and presence) whereby Christ doth put life, and virtue, and efficacy into his sacraments and ordinances, without which they would be wholly dead, and altogether ineffectual. 1 Cor. xii. 13, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free : and have been all made to drink into one Spirit ?
Q. 3. In whom doth the Spirit by the sacraments work effectually unto salvation ?
A. The Spirit by the sacraments doth not work efs