Richard Greenham On The Nature And Use Of The Law

Q. How shall we come to the right sight of our sins and a sound persuasion of the greatness of them?

A: By the Spirit of God leading us into the true understanding of the law and a due examination of ourselves thereby.

Q: Where is the law set down?

A: it is written in many places of the Scriptures but the sum thereof is contained in the Ten Commandments.

Q: Rehearse them

A: I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods but me…

Q: How are they divided?

A: Into two principal heads or tables as they are called.

Q: What does the first table teach us?

A: It teaches us our duties toward God and is contained in the first four commandments.

Q: What does the second teach?

A: Our duty toward our neighbor and is contained in the last six commandments.

Q: Why are the duties towards God set down before the duties toward our neighbor?

A: Because the love of God is the ground of our love of neighbor.

Q: What follows hereof?

A: That no one can rightly love his neighbor except he first love God.

Q: Why are the duties towards our neighbor joined to our duty towards God?

A: Because of the love of our neighbor is the proof of our love towards God.

Q: What ensues hereof?

A: That no one can love God aright except he also love his neighbor.

— Richard Greenham (c.1535–c.94), A Short Form Of Catechizing (1599).

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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One comment

  1. Hmm… It would seem that the last six commandments are the basis for the first four in the mind of many believers. They seem to turn the two tables on their head. Many believe that loving our neighbor is the basis for our love for God. It turns people into approval-seeking Christians instead of loving other because they are already “approved” in Christ.

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