We are now about to read that solemn epitome of the law of God, which is contained in Exodus 20:1-17; but, before we read a line, let us beseech the Lord to forgive our offences against his holy name, and to accept us in the Son of his love, by whom this law has been magnified and made honourable. We are now to read a code of law in which there is no omission and no redundancy. It is the only perfect law in the universe. None of us have kept it, and therefore it were folly to look for salvation by it, since nothing but perfect obedience can be accepted by the justice of God.
There is but one God, and we must not dare to worship or obey another. Beware of making gold or your self, or your dearest relation into a god. “Little children keep yourselves from idols.”
We are in the second commandment forbidden to worship God under any visible symbol, or after any other fashion than he has commanded. How great are the crimes of those who worship crosses, pictures, and bread, and even attach the idea of holiness to enclosures and buildings.
Any unhallowed use of the divine name is exceedingly sinful. Beware of flippantly saying, “O Lord,” and such like irreverent speeches.
One day in seven is the Lord’s, and to rob him of it is to injure ourselves as well as to disobey our Maker. Rest and worship are two of our sweetest blessings, and to them the day should be sacredly given.
Respect, love, and obedience are our parents’ due. This is the first commandment with promise.
Anger, and the doing of anything injurious to the health of ourselves or others, are here forbidden.
This forbids lust of heart, thought, and look, as well as actual uncleanness.
This forbids pilfering, cheating, and every kind of wrong.
All lying is herein condemned.
This touches a heart sin, and shews that the precept is exceeding broad, and reaches thoughts and imaginations. Who can read it and then hope to be saved by his own doings? Lord have mercy upon us, and forgive us our transgressions of this thy holy law.
Lord, make me understand thy law;
Show what my faults have been;
And from thy gospel let me draw
The pardon of my sin.
Not one can e’er be just with God
By works his hands have wrought;
For thy command’s exceeding broad,
And reaches every thought.
My God, ’tis through thy Son I wait
For thy salvation still;
While thy whole law is my delight,
And I revere thy will.