« AnteriorContinuar »
propounded to us in the history of Ananias and Sapphira : and let us rightly meditate thereon, so that we may duly and practically be impressed with the value and importance of maintaining and speaking the truth at all times and on all occasions. Let an honourable frankness, a godly simplicity, and a perfect sincerity, govern and regulate the utterances of our lips. “Let your communication,” said our Saviour, in his teaching, “be yea, yea; nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these, cometh of evil.”3
Let us abhor to say the thing that is not: let us avoid and put away from us every species of deceit, the remotest approach to fraud and double dealing with our tongue. Although a world could be gained thereby, though for the term of our life impunity from the just consequences of crime should thereby be obtained; yea, although riches and pleasures and luxury and rank should thereby be at our command ; let us “consider the end,” let us remember that into the holy and blessed habitations above, “ eternal in the heavens,” shall in no wise enter any thing that “ defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.”
3 Matt. v. 37.
Exodus xx. 15.
“ Thou shalt not steal.”
The ten commandments, originally delivered from mount Sinai, were made known to the people with all those awful tokens of the presence of the Deity, which were so well calculated to strike awe into the hearts of the assembled multitude, and to impress upon their minds the infinite importance of the words which were then audibly uttered. We read, that “the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai,” amidst “ thunder and lightnings, and earthquake, and that the voice of the trumpet was exceeding loud, so that all the people that was in the camp trembled !”1 And unlike the manner in which the judicial and ceremonial law was made known, through the instrumentality, that is, of Moses, the ten commandments were delivered by the Almighty himself audibly in the hearing of the people—“God spake all these words.”9
The people heard, and feared greatly. And so hearing, they could not fail to understand the importance of what they had thus heard, and that it was their required duty seriously to fulfil all the words of this law. It could evidently be no light or indifferent matter whether they were obedient or not: and that they had already come to that just conclusion, that they had pledged themselves to be obedient unto God's words, we read in their previous answer to Moses, “ All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.”3
1 Exod. xix. 16. 2 Exod. ii. 1. 3 Exod. xix. 8,
It is thus, my brethren, whenever we turn our thoughts to the consideration of any one of these ten commandments, that we are to perceive the weight and importance which ought to be attached to them to commandments thus awfully and solemnly issued. And these are the self-same words, the same holy precepts, which, with strict propriety and admirable wisdom, the christian fathers of our church have appointed to be distinctly and repeatedly rehearsed in the hearing of our public congregations, so that even the lowest and most ignorant among us may be clearly advertised, and become acquainted with, those great points of duty which belong either to the honour and service of God, or to the general welfare, the good order and quiet of the community among whom his lot is cast.
Whilst the first four of these ten commandments refer to the duty we owe unto God, the last six distinctly teach what is due from one man to another, even