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The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture (Puritan Paperbacks) Paperback – June 1, 1980
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About the Author
Thomas Vincent (1634 1678) was born in Hertford, England and educated at Westminster School, and Felsted School in Essex before being elected in 1648 to Christ s College, Oxford (BA, 1652; MA, 1654). Both his father and brother were prominent ministers. He served as catechist to John Owen, and as chaplain to Robert Sidney, second earl of Leicester.
In 1657 he succeeded Thomas Case as rector of St Mary Magdalen, Milk Street, London, from where he was ejected in 1662 under the Act of Uniformity. He then assisted Thomas Doolittle at his Nonconformist Academy in Islington.
When the Great Plague came in 1665 Vincent became the friend of the afflicted, offering comfort and assistance to the diseased and dying. Sixty-eight thousand died of the plague in London alone that year, seven in his own household. The following year he was eyewitness to the Great Fire of London dreadful...a fearful spectacle .
For the last twelve years of his life Vincent preached to a congregation in Hand Alley, London, devoting himself to educating young people. His The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture is published by the Trust in the Puritan Paperbacks series.
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After quoting a particular Q&A, Vincent will then ask several follow up questions and most of his answers are quotes from Scripture. He is particularly strong on the doctrine of God, 5th, 6th, and 7th commandments, and the sacraments. Some examples:
God’s substance is spirit. A spirit is an immaterial substance. God’s knowledge: “The wisdom of God is his essential property, whereby, by one simple and eternal act, he knoweth both himself and all possible things perfectly, and according to which he maketh, directeth, and ordereth all future things for his own glory” (29).
“A covenant is a mutual agreement and engagement, between two or more parties, to give or to do something” (51). Vincent’s definition of covenant is superior to accoutns that try to define covenant as “a bond in blood.” The Pactum Salutis made in eternity is bloodless, for example.
“God doth bring his elect into an estate of salvation in the way of his covenant” (68). The covenant of grace was made with Christ and the elect as his seed (68). Vincent rightly notes this is not the same covenant God made with Christ in eternity.
While the prose reflects the 17th century, Vincent’s writing is clear and to the point (though he never matches Watson). This is a fine all-around volume to the catechism.
Thus, this is great resource to use for family worship, for discipling, for "quiet times," for teaching children, and teaching corporately.