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Q. 17. Are those persons who worship Christ idolaters if He is not God?
A. They certainly are, and to as great a degree as the Papists, who worship the Virgin Mary and canonized Saints, or the Heathen, who worship departed heroes and graven images. No being but God is, or can be, a proper object of religious worship. (k)
Q. 18. Are the three Persons in the Godhead, distinctly, proper objects of religious worship?
A. They are. This arises from the fact, 1. That each Person is truly Divine, and 2. That worship is represented as paid to Them, distinctly, in the Scriptures. God should be worshipped according to His personal distinction, because in this mode of existence much of His essential and peculiar glory consists, as in this way He differs from all other beings, and claims a superiority to them;-and because to each Person we are indebted for the part They take in the accomplishment of the great work of human redemption. (1)
Q. 19. Is the doctrine of the Trinity of great importance?
A. It is; for it relates to, and has a vastly important bearing upon, the whole scheme of salvation. The Gospel is wholly built upon it. It is, therefore, the fundamental, and an essential, article of the Christian religion.
(k) Exod. xx. 3-5. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.-Matt. iv. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
(1) 2 Cor. 13, 14. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.-1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Q. 1. What is meant by the purposes of God? A. By His purposes is meant His eternal and immutable pleasure, will, or choice, concerning all creatures and events, or whatever comes to pass in time or eternity.
Q. 2. Do God's purposes respect particular parts of the system separately; or the whole as connected together?
A. God does not purpose by parts. He does not purpose effects without causes, ends without means, or volitions without motives. But his purposes extend to all things in the natural and moral worlds, as one great and harmonious whole.
Q3. What is meant by the purposes of God in relation to what is usually called Election?
A. It means, simply, His pleasure, will, or choice, in reference to the eternal salvation of a part of mankind, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, in distinction from the remaining part, who, by reason of their continuing in their own chosen ways of sin, and their voluntary rejection of the salvation, freely and sincerely offered to them in the Gospel, will be justly destroyed, Those who are saved are saved through holiness and faith; and those who are lost are lost through sin and unbelief. None are saved simply because they were elected ; but in consequence of their embracing the Saviour, and conforming to the requisitions of the Gospel, None perish simply because they were not elected; but in consequence of their voluntarily persisting in sin, and rejecting the Saviour. The wicked are punished on account of their sins, which render them de. serving of punishment.
Q. In reference to man's salvation, are the purposes of God conditional, or unconditional and abso, lute? or do they have any respect to the atonement of Christ, or good works in men ?
A. They are in a sense conditional; not, however, as grounded on God's foreknowledge of the good works of those who are saved; but as grounded on the interposition and atonement of Christ, and as involving the repentance, faith, and obedience of the subjects of salvation. The conditions performed on the part of man are to be viewed in no degree in the sense of merit, and, therefore, detract not at all from the riches of Divine grace in man's salvation. God's purposes are not founded upon the good actions of believers, but lay a foundation for them.
Q. 5. How does it appear, that God has a purpose in reference to the existence of all creatures and events, and especially in reference to the future condition of man?
A. 1. From the fact that God is the Creator, Preserver, Governor, and Disposer of all things, and must have had a purpose in reference to His own conduct; 2. From the fact that he must have had some ultimate end in all His works, which supposes design, and, consequently, an arrangement of all the parts included in the whole; 3. From the fact of His foreknowledge, for He cannot foreknow what is not certain, and nothing can be certain which is not according to His pleasure, will, or choice, all things considered; and 4. From the Sacred Scriptures. (a)
(a) Acts xv. 18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.-Isaiah xiv. 24. 26, 27. The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back ?—Isaiah xlvi 10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.-Prov. xix. 21. There are many devices in a man's heart, nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.-Job xiv. 5. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee; thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.-Aets xvii. 26. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all
Q. 6. How does God execute His purposes? A. In giving existence to all things, and in preserving, governing, and disposing of them. All crea
the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.-Ps. xxxiii. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.-Acts ii. 23. Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.Acts xiii. 48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.-Eph. i. 4, 5. 9. 11. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame, before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of His will. Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.-Eph. ii. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.-Eph. iii. 11. According to the eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.-Rom. viii. 28. 30. And we know, that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born, among many brethren Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.-Rom. ix. 11-16. For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. Rom. xi. 5. 7. Even so then at the present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.-2 Tim. i. 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.-2 Tim.
tures, things, and events, exist in exact accordance with the pleasure, win, or caoice of God, aïi tnings considered. (b)
ii. 19. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.-1 Thess. v. 9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.-2 Thess. ii. 13. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.-1 Pet. i. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.-1 Pet. ii. 8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.-2 Pet. i. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.—John xiii. 18. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. -John xv. 16. 19. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
(b) Acts iv. 27, 28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel deter mined before to be done.-Luke xxii. 22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but wo unto that man by whom he is betrayed!-John xvii. 2. 6. 9. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.-Is. xiv. 24. 27. The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as have purposed, so shall it stand. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?-Psalm cxv. 3. But our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased.