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Inside the Ten Commandments

69

their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins re- spect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority.

This, says the apostle, “is the first command- ment with promise.” Ephesians 6:2. To Israel, ex- pecting soon to enter Canaan, it was a pledge to the obedient, of long life in that good land; but it has a wider meaning, including all the Israel of God, and promises eternal life upon the earth when it shall be freed from the curse of sin.

“Thou shalt not kill.”

All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life, the spirit of hatred and revenge, the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts to- ward others or causes us even to wish them harm (for “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer”), a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suf- fering, all self-indulgence or unnecessary depri- vation or excessive labor that tends to injure health—all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed.

“Thou shalt not steal.”

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