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´╗┐Title: Weighed and Wanting - Addresses on the Ten Commandments
Author: Moody, Dwight Lyman, 1837-1899
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Weighed and Wanting

on the Ten Commandments



"Tekel: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."

Fleming H. Revell Company

Chicago : New York : Toronto

Publishers of Evangelical Literature

_Copyright, 1898, by The Bible Institute Colportage Association_.


The Ten Commandments

Weighed in the Balances

The First Commandment

The Second Commandment

The Third Commandment

The Fourth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment

The Sixth Commandment

The Seventh Commandment

The Eighth Commandment

The Ninth Commandment

The Tenth Commandment

The Handwriting Blotted Out


_EXODUS 20: 3-17_.

I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of
any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto
thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the
Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.

IV. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou
labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the
Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor
thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor
thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the
seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed

V. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon
the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

VI. Thou shalt not kill.

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

VIII. Thou shalt not steal.

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet
thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his
ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Weighed in the Balances

In the fifth chapter of Daniel we read the history of King Belshazzar.
One chapter tells us all we know about him. One short sight of his
career is all we have. He bursts in upon the scene and then


We are told that he made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and
drank wine before them. In those days a feast would sometimes last for
six months in Eastern countries. How long this feast had been going on
we are not told, but in the midst of it, he "commanded to bring the
golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken
out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his
princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they
brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the
house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes,
his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and
praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood,
and of stone."

While this impious act was being committed, "in the same hour came
forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick
upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw
the part of the hand that wrote." We are not told at what hour of the
day or the night it happened. Perhaps it was midnight. Perhaps nearly
all the guests were more or less under the influence of drink; but
they were not so drunk but that they suddenly became sober as they saw
something that was supernatural--a handwriting on the wall, right over
the golden candlestick.

Every face turned deathly pale. "The king's countenance was changed,
and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were
loosed, and his knees smote one against another." In haste he sent for
his wisest men to come and read that handwriting on the wall. They
came in one after another, and tried to make it out; but they could
not interpret it. The king promised that whoever could read it should
be made the third ruler in the kingdom; that he should have gifts, and
that a gold chain should be put round his neck. But the wise men tried
in vain. The king was greatly troubled.

At last, in the midst of the consternation, the queen came in, and she
told the monarch, if he would only send for one who used to interpret
the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, he could read the writing and tell him
the interpretation thereof. So Daniel was sent for. He was very
familiar with it. He knew his Father's handwriting.

"This is the writing that was written, _Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin_.
This is the interpretation of the thing: _Mene_--God hath numbered thy
kingdom and finished it. _Tekel_--Thou art weighed in the balances,
and art found wanting. _Peres_--Thy kingdom is divided, and given to
the Medes and Persians."

If some one had told the king an hour before that the time had come
when he must step into the balances and be weighed, he would have
laughed at the thought. But the vital hour had come.

The weighing was soon over. The verdict was announced, and the
sentence carried out. "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the
Chaldeans slain, and Darius the Median took the kingdom." Darius and
his army came marching down those streets. There was a clash of arms.
Shouts of war and victory rent the air. That night the king's blood
mingled with the wine of the banquet hall. Judgment came upon him
unexpectedly, suddenly: and probably ninety-nine out of every hundred
judgments come in this way. Death comes upon us unexpectedly; it comes
upon us suddenly.

Perhaps you say: "I hope Mr. Moody is not going to compare me with
that heathen king."

I tell you that a man who does evil in these Gospel days is far worse
than that king. We live in a land of Bibles. You can get the New
Testament for a nickel, and if you haven't got a nickel you can get it
for nothing. Many societies will be glad to give it to you free. We
live in the full blaze of Calvary. We live on this side of the cross,
but Belshazzar lived more than five hundred years on the other side.
He never heard of Jesus Christ. He never heard about the Son of God.
He never heard about God except, perhaps, in connection with his
father's remarkable vision. He probably had no portion of the Bible,
and if he had, probably he didn't believe it. He had no godly minister
to point him to the Lamb of God.

Don't tell me that you are better than that king. I believe that he
will rise in judgment and condemn many of us.

All this happened long centuries ago. Let us get down to this century,
to this year, to ourselves. We will come to the present time. Let us
imagine that now, while I am preaching, down come some balances from
the throne of God. They are fastened to the very throne itself. It is
a throne of equity, of justice. You and I must be weighed. I venture
to say this would be a very solemn audience. There would be no
trifling. There would be no indifference. No one would be thoughtless.

Some people have their own balances. A great many are making balances
to be weighed in. But after all we must be weighed in God's balances,
the balances of the sanctuary. It is a favorite thing with infidels to
set their own standard, to measure themselves by other people. But
that will not do in the Day of Judgment. Now we will use God's law as
a balance weight. When men find fault with the lives of professing
Christians, it is a tribute to the law of God.

"Tekel." It is a very short text. It is so short I am sure you will
remember it: and that is my object, just to get people to remember
God's own Word.


Let me call your attention to the fact that God wrote on the tables of
stone at Sinai as well as on the wall of Belshazzar's palace.

These are the only messages to men that God has written with His own
hand. He wrote the commandments out twice, and spoke them aloud in the
hearing of Israel.

If it were known that God Himself was going to speak once again to
man, what eagerness and excitement there would be. For nearly nineteen
hundred years He has been silent. No inspired message has been added
to the Bible for nearly nineteen hundred years. How eagerly all men
would listen if God should speak once more. Yet men forget that the
Bible is God's own Word, and that it is as truly His message to-day as
when it was delivered of old. The law that was given at Sinai has lost
none of its solemnity. Time cannot wear out its authority or the fact
of its authorship.

I can imagine some one saying--"I won't be weighed by that law. I
don't believe in it."

Now men may cavil as much as they like about other parts of the Bible,
but I have never met an honest man that found fault with the Ten
Commandments. Infidels may mock the Lawgiver and reject Him who has
delivered us from the curse of the law, but they can't help admitting
that the commandments are right. Renan said that they are for all
nations, and will remain the commandments of God during all the

If God created this world, He must make some laws to govern it. In
order to make life safe we must have good laws; there is not a country
the sun shines upon that does not possess laws. Now this is God's law.
It has come from on high, and infidels and skeptics have to admit that
it is pure. Legislatures nearly all over the world adopt it as the
foundation of their legal systems.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of
the Lord is pure, making wise the simple: the statutes of the Lord are
right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes."

Now the question for you and me is--are we keeping these commandments?
Have we fulfilled all the requirements of the law? If God made us, as
we know He did, He had a right to make that law; and if we don't use
it aright it would have been better for us if we had never had it, for
it will condemn us. We shall be found wanting. The law is all right,
but are we right?


It is related of a clever infidel that he sought an acquaintance with
the truths of the Bible, and began to read at the books of Moses. He
had been in the habit of sneering at the Bible, and in order to be
able to refute arguments brought by Christian men, he made up his
mind, as he knew nothing about it, to read the Bible and get some idea
of its contents. After he had reached the Ten Commandments, he said to
a friend:

"I will tell you what I _used_ to think. I supposed that Moses was the
leader of a horde of banditti; that, having a strong mind, he acquired
great influence over a superstitious people; and that on Mount Sinai
he played off some sort of fireworks to the amazement of his ignorant
followers, who imagined in their fear and superstition that the
exhibition was supernatural. I have been looking into the _nature_ of
that law. I have been trying to see whether I could add anything to
it, or take anything from it, so as to make it better. Sir, I cannot!
It is perfect!

The first commandment directs us to make the Creator the object of our
supreme love and reverence. That is right. If He be our Creator,
Preserver, and Supreme Benefactor, we ought to treat Him, and _none
other_, as such. The second forbids idolatry. That certainly is right.
The third forbids profanity. The fourth fixes a time for religious
worship. If there be a God, He ought surely to be worshipped. It is
suitable that there should be an outward homage significant of our
inward regard. If God be worshipped, it is proper that some _time_
should be set apart for that purpose, when all may worship Him
harmoniously, and without interruption. One day in seven is certainly
not too much, and I do not know that it is too little.

The fifth commandment defines the peculiar duties arising from family
relations. Injuries to our neighbor are then _classified_ by the moral
law. They are divided into offences against life, chastity, property,
and character; and I notice that the greatest offence in each class is
expressly forbidden. Thus the greatest injury to life is murder; to
chastity, adultery; to property, theft; to character, perjury. Now the
greatest offence must include the least of the same kind. Murder must
include every injury to life; adultery every injury to purity; and so
of the rest. And the moral code is closed and perfected by a command
forbidding every improper _desire_ in regard to our neighbors.

I have been thinking, Where did Moses get that law? I have read
history. The Egyptians and the adjacent nations were idolaters; so
were the Greeks and Romans; and the wisest or best Greeks or Romans
never gave a code of morals like this. Where did Moses obtain that
law, which surpasses the wisdom and philosophy of the most enlightened
ages? He lived at a period comparatively barbarous; but he has given a
law in which the learning and sagacity of all subsequent time can
detect no flaw. Where did he obtain it? He could not have soared so
far above his age as to have devised it himself. I am satisfied where
he obtained it. It came down from heaven. It has convinced me of the
truth of the religion of the Bible."

The infidel, (now an infidel no longer), remained to his death a firm
believer in the truth of Christianity.

We call it the "Mosaic" Law, but it has been well said that the
commandments did not originate with Moses, nor were they done away
with when the Mosaic Law was fulfilled in Christ, and many of its
ceremonies and regulations abolished. We can find no trace of the
existence of any lawmaking body in those early times, no parliament or
congress that built up a system of laws. It has come down to us
complete and finished, and the only satisfactory account is that which
tells us that God Himself wrote the commandments on tables of stone.


Some people seem to think we have got beyond the commandments. What
did Christ say? "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the
prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say
unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall
in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." The commandments
of God given to Moses in the Mount at Horeb are as binding to-day as
ever they have been since the time when they were proclaimed in the
hearing of the people. The Jews said the law was not given in
Palestine, (which belonged to Israel), but in the wilderness, because
the law was for all nations.

Jesus never condemned the law and the prophets, but He did condemn
those who did not obey them. Because He gave new commandments it does
not follow that He abolished the old. Christ's explanation of them
made them all the more searching. In His Sermon on the Mount He
carried the principles of the commandments beyond the mere letter. He
unfolded them and showed that they embraced more, that they are
positive as well as prohibitive. The Old Testament closes with these
words: "Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded
unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the
great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the
fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their
fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

Does that look as if the law of Moses was becoming obsolete?

The conviction deepens in me with the years that the old truths of the
Bible must be stated and restated in the plainest possible language. I
do not remember ever to have heard a sermon preached on the
commandments. I have an index of two thousand five hundred sermons
preached by Spurgeon, and not one of them selects its text from the
first seventeen verses of Exodus xx. The people must be made to
understand that the Ten Commandments are still binding, and that there
is a penalty attached to their violation. We do not want a gospel of
mere sentiment. The Sermon on the Mount did not blot out the Ten

When Christ came He condensed the statement of the law into this form:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy
soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor
as thyself." Paul said: "Love is the fulfilling of the law." But does
this mean that the detailed precepts of the Decalogue are superseded,
and have become back numbers? Does a father cease to give children
rules to obey because they love him? Does a nation burn its statute
books because the people have become patriotic? Not at all. And yet
people speak as if the Commandments do not hold for Christians because
they have come to love God. Paul said: "Do we then make void the law
through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law." It still holds
good. The commandments are necessary. So long as we obey, they do not
rest heavy upon us; but as soon as we try to break away, we find they
are like fences to keep us within bounds. Horses need bridles even
after they have been properly broken in.

"We know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully; knowing this,
that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and
disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane,
for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for
whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for
menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any
other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine."

Now, my friend, are you ready to be weighed by this law of God? A
great many people say that if they keep the commandments, they do not
need to be forgiven and saved through Christ. But have you kept them?
I will admit that if you perfectly keep the commandments, you do not
need to be saved by Christ; but is there a man in the wide world who
can truly say that he has done this? Young lady, can you say: "I am
ready to be weighed by the law?" Can you, young man? Will you step
into the scales and be weighed one by one by the Ten Commandments?

Now face these Ten Commandments honestly and prayerfully. See if your
life is right, and if you are treating God fairly. God's statutes are
just, are they not? If they are right, let us see if we are right. Let
us pray that the Holy Ghost may search each one of us. Let us get
alone with God and read His law--read it carefully and prayerfully,
and ask Him to show us our sins and what He would have us to do.

First Commandment

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

My friend, are you ready to be weighed against this commandment? Have
you fulfilled, or are you willing to fulfil, all the requirements of
this law? Put it into one of the scales, and step into the other. Is
your heart set upon God alone? Have you no other God? Do you love Him
above father or mother, the wife of your bosom, your children, home or
land, wealth or pleasure?

If men were true to this commandment, obedience to the remaining nine
would follow naturally. It is because they are unsound in this that
they break the others.


Philosophers are agreed that even the most primitive races of mankind
reach out beyond the world of matter to a superior Being. It is as
natural for man to feel after God as it is for the ivy to feel after a
support. Hunger and thirst drive him to seek for food, and there is a
hunger of the soul that needs satisfying, too. Man does not need to be
commanded to worship, as there is not a race so high or so low in the
scale of civilization but has some kind of a god. What he needs is to
be directed aright.

This is what the first commandment is for. Before we can worship
intelligently, we must know what or whom to worship. God does not
leave us in ignorance. When Paul vent to Athens, he found an altar
dedicated to "An Unknown God," and he proceeded to tell of Him whom we
worship. When God gave the commandments to Moses, He commenced with a
declaration of His own character, and demanded exclusive recognition.
"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of
Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods
before me."

The Rev. Dr. Dale says these words have great significance. "The Jews
knew Jehovah as the God who had held back the waves like a wall while
they fled across the sea to escape the vengeance of their enemies;
they knew him as the God who had sent thunder, and lightning, and
hail, plagues on cattle, and plagues on men, to punish the Egyptians
and to compel them to let the children of Israel go; they knew Him as
the God whose angel had slain the firstborn of their oppressors, and
filled the land from end to end with death, and agony, and terror. He
was the same God, so Moses and Aaron told them, who by visions and
voices, in promises and precepts, had revealed Himself long before to
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We learn what men are from what they say
and from what they do. A biography of Luther gives a more vivid and
trustworthy knowledge of the man than the most philosophical essay on
his character and creed. The story of his imprisonment and of his
journey to Worms, his Letters, his Sermons, and his Table-Talk, are
worth more than the most elaborate speculations about him. The Jews
learned what God is, not from theological dissertations on the Divine
attributes, but from the facts of a Divine history. They knew Him for
themselves in His own acts and His own words."

Some one asked an Arab: "How do you know that there is a God?" "How do
I know whether a man or a camel passed my tent last night?" he
replied. God's footprints in nature and in our own experience are the
best evidence of His existence and character.


Remember to whom this commandment was given, and we shall see further
how necessary it was. The forefathers of the Israelites had worshipped
idols, not many generations back. They had recently been delivered out
of Egypt, a land of many gods. The Egyptians worshipped the sun, the
moon, insects, animals, etc. The ten plagues were undoubtedly meant by
God to bring confusion upon many of their sacred objects. The children
of Israel were going up to take possession of a land that was
inhabited by heathen, who also worshipped idols. There was therefore
great need of such a commandment as this. There could be no right
relationship between God and man in those days any more than to-day,
until man understood that he must recognize God alone, and not offer
Him a divided heart.

If He created us, He certainly ought to have our homage. Is it not
right that He should have the first and only place in our affections?


This is one matter in which no toleration can be shown. Religious
liberty is a good thing, within certain limits. But it is one thing to
show toleration to those who agree on essentials, and another, to
those who differ on fundamental beliefs. They were willing to admit
any god to the Roman Pantheon. One reason why the early Christians
were persecuted was that they would not accept a place for Jesus
Christ there. Napoleon is said to have entertained the idea of having
separate temples in Paris for every known religion, so that every
stranger should have a place of worship when attracted toward that
city. Such plans are directly opposed to the Divine one. God sounded
no uncertain note in this commandment. It is plain, unmistakable,

We may learn a lesson from the way a farmer deals with the little
shoots that spring up around the trunk of an apple tree. They look
promising, and one who has not learned better might welcome their
growth. But the farmer knows that they will draw the life-sap from the
main tree, injuring its prospects so that it will produce inferior
fruit. He therefore takes his axe and his hoe, and cuts away these
suckers. The tree then gives a more plentiful and a finer crop.


"Thou shalt not" is the pruning-knife that God uses. From beginning to
end, the Bible calls for wholehearted allegiance to Him. There is to
be no compromise with other gods.

It took long years for God to impress this lesson upon the Israelites.
He called them to be a chosen nation. He made them a peculiar people.
But you will notice in Bible history that they turned away from Him
continually, and were punished with plague, pestilence, war and
famine. Their sin was not that they renounced God altogether, but that
they wanted to worship other gods beside Him. Take the case of Solomon
as an example of the whole nation. He married heathen wives who turned
away his heart after other gods, and built high places for their
idols, and lent countenance to their worship. That was the history of
frequent turnings of the whole nation away from God, until finally He
sent them into captivity in Babylon and kept them there for seventy
years. Since then the Jews have never turned to other gods.

Hasn't the church to contend with the same difficulty to-day? There
are very few who in their hearts do not believe in God, but what they
will not do is give Him exclusive right of way. Missionaries tell us
that they could easily get converts if they did not require them to be
baptized, thus publicly renouncing their idols. Many a person in our
land would become a Christian if the gate was not so strait.
Christianity is too strict for them. They are not ready to promise
full allegiance to God alone. Many a professing Christian is a
stumbling-block because his worship is divided. On Sunday he worships
God; on week days God has little or no place in his thoughts.


You don't have to go to heathen lands to-day to find false gods.
America is full of them. Whatever you make most of is your god.
Whatever you love more than God is your idol. Many a mans heart is
like some Kaffirs' huts, so full of idols that there is hardly room to
turn around. Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, all classes of men
and women are guilty of this sin. "The mean man boweth down, and the
great man humbled himself."

A man may make a god of himself, of a child, of a mother, of some
precious gift that God has bestowed upon him. He may forget the Giver,
and let his heart go out in adoration toward the gift.

Many make a god of pleasure; that is what their hearts are set on. If
some old Greek or Roman came to life again and saw men in a drunken
debauch, would he believe that the worship of Bacchus had died out? If
he saw the streets of our large cities filled with harlots, would he
believe that the worship of Venus had ceased?

Others take fashion as their god. They give their time and thought to
dress. They fear what others will think of them. Do not let us flatter
ourselves that all idolaters are in heathen countries.

With many it is the god of money. We haven't got through worshipping
the golden calf yet. If a man will sell his principles for gold, isn't
he making it a god? If he trusts in his wealth to keep him from want
and to supply his needs, are not riches his god? Many a man says,
"Give me money, and I will give you heaven. What care I for all the
glories and treasures of heaven? Give me treasures here! I don't care
for heaven! I want to be a successful business man." How true are the
words of Job: "If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine
gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was
great, and because mine hand had begotten much; if I beheld the sun
when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath
been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were
an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the
God that is above."

But all false gods are not as gross as these. There is _the atheist_.
He says that he does not believe in God; he denies His existence, but
he can't help setting up some other god in His place. Voltaire said,
"If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent one." So the
atheist speaks of the Great Unknown, the First Cause, the Infinite
Mind, etc. Then there is _the deist_. He is a man who believes in one
God who caused all things: but he doesn't believe in revelation. He
only accepts such truths as can be discovered by reason. He doesn't
believe in Jesus Christ, or in the inspiration of the Bible. Then
there is _the pantheist_, who says: "I believe that the whole universe
is God. He is in the air, the water, the sun, the stars."; the liar
and the thief included.


Let me call your attention to a verse in the thirty-second chapter of
Deuteronomy, thirty-first verse: "For their rock is not as our Rock,
even our enemies themselves being judges."

These words were uttered by Moses, in his farewell address to Israel.
He had been with them forty years. He was their leader and instructor.
All the blessings of heaven came to them through him. And now the old
man is about to leave them. If you have never read his speech, do so.
It is one of the best sermons in print. I know few sermons in the Old
or New Testament that compare with it.

I can see Moses as he delivers this address. His natural activity has
not abated. He still has the vigor of youth. His long white hair flows
over his shoulders, and his venerable beard covers his breast. He
throws down the challenge: "Their rock is not as our Rock, even our
enemies themselves being judges."

Has the human heart ever been satisfied with these false gods? Can
pleasure or riches fill the soul that is empty of God? How about the
atheist, the deist, the pantheist? What do they look forward to?
Nothing! Man's life is full of trouble; but when the billows of
affliction and disappointment are rising and rolling over them, they
have no God to call upon. "They shall cry unto the gods unto whom they
offer incense; but they shall not save them at all in the time of
their trouble." Therefore I contend "their rock is not as our Rock."

My friends, when the hour of affliction comes, they call in a minister
to give consolation. When I was settled in Chicago, I used to be
called out to attend many funerals. I would inquire what the man was
in his belief. If I found out he was an atheist, or a deist, or a
pantheist, when I went to the funeral and in the presence of his
friends said one word about that man's doctrine, they would feel
insulted. Why is it that in a trying hour, when they have been talking
all the time against God--why is it that in the darkness of affliction
they call in believers in that God to administer consolation? Why
doesn't the atheist preach no hereafter, no heaven, no God, in the
hour of affliction? This very fact is an admission that "their rock is
not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."

The deist says there is no use in praying, because nothing can change
the decrees of deity; God never answers prayer. Is his rock as our

The Bible is true. There is only one God. How many men have said to
me: "Mr. Moody, I would give the world if I had your faith, your
consolation, the hope you have with your religion."

Isn't that a proof that their rock is not as our Rock?

Some years ago I went into a man's house, and when I commenced to talk
about religion he turned to his daughter and said: "You had better
leave the room. I want to say a few words to Mr. Moody." When she had
gone, he opened a perfect torrent of infidelity upon me. "Why did you
send your daughter out of the room before you said this?" I asked.
"Well," he replied, "I did not think it would do her any good to hear
what I said."

Is his rock as our Rock? Would he have sent his daughter out if he
really believed what he said?


No. There is no satisfaction for the soul except in the God of the
Bible. We come back to Paul's words, and get consolation for time and
eternity:--"We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that
there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called
gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords
many,) yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all
things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all
things, and we by Him."

My friend, can you say that sincerely? Is all your hope centred on God
in Christ? Are you trusting Him alone? Are you ready to step into the
scales and be weighed against this first commandment?


God will not accept a divided heart. He must be absolute monarch.
There is not room in your heart for two thrones. Christ said: "No man
can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye
cannot serve God and Mammon." Mark you, He did not say--"No man
_shall_ serve. . . . Ye _shall_ not serve. . . .", but "No man _can_
serve. . . . Ye _can_ not serve. . . ." That means more than a
command; it means that you cannot mix the worship of the true God with
the worship of another god any more than you can mix oil and water. It
cannot be done. There is not room for any other throne in the heart if
Christ is there. If worldliness should come in, godliness would go

The road to heaven and the road to hell lead in different directions.
Which master will you choose to follow? Be an out-and-out Christian.
"Him only shalt thou serve." Only thus can you be well pleasing to
God. The Jews were punished with seventy years of captivity because
they worshipped false gods. They have suffered nearly nineteen hundred
years because they rejected the Messiah. Will you incur God's
displeasure by rejecting Christ too? He died to save you. Trust him
with your whole heart, for with the heart man believeth unto

I believe that when Christ has the first place in our hearts--when the
kingdom of God is first in everything--we shall have power, and we
shall not have power until we give Him His rightful place. If we let
some false god come in and steal our love away from the God of heaven,
we shall have no peace or power.

Second Commandment

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of
any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third
and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto
thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments."

The first commandment, which we have just considered, points out the
one true object of worship; this commandment is to tell us the right
way in which to worship. The former commands us to worship God alone;
this calls for purity and spirituality as we approach Him. The former
condemns the worship of false gods; this prohibits false forms. It
relates more especially to outward acts of worship; but these are only
the expression of what is in the heart.

Perhaps you will say that there is no trouble about this weight. We
might go off to other ages or other lands, and find people who make
images and bow down to them; but we have none here. Let us see if this
is true. Let us step into the scales and see if we can turn them when
weighed against this commandment.

I believe this is where the battle is fought. Satan tries to keep us
from worshipping God aright, and from making Him first in everything.
If I let some image made by man get into my heart and take the place
of God the Creator, it is a sin. I believe that Satan is willing to
have us worship anything, however sacred,--the Bible, the crucifix,
the church,--if only we do not worship God Himself.

You cannot find a place in the Bible where a man has been allowed to
bow down and worship any one but the God of heaven and Jesus Christ
His Son. In the Book of Revelation, when an angel came down to John,
he was about to fall down and worship him, but the angel would not let
him. If an angel from heaven is not to be worshipped, when you find
people bowing down to pictures, to images, even when they bow down to
worship the cross, _it is a sin_. There are a great many who seem to
be carried away with these things. "Thou shalt have no other gods
before Me." "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to any graven image." God
wants us to worship Him only, and if we do not believe that Jesus
Christ is God manifest in the flesh we should not worship Him. I have
no more doubt about the divinity of Christ than I have that I exist.

Worship involves two things: the internal belief, and the external
act. We transgress in our hearts by having a wrong conception of God
and of Jesus Christ before ever we give public expression in action.
As some one has said, it is wrong to have loose opinions as well as to
be guilty of loose practices. That is what Paul meant when he said:
"We ought not to _think_ that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver
or stone, graven by art or man's device." The opinions that some
people hold about Christ are not in accordance with the Bible, and are
real violations of this second commandment.


The question at once arises--is this commandment intended to forbid
the use of drawings and pictures of created things altogether? Some
contend that it does. They point to the Jews and the Mohammedans as a
proof. The Jews have never been much given to art. The Mohammedans to
this day do not use designs of animals, etc., in patterns. But I do
not agree with them. I think God only meant to forbid images and other
representations when these were intended to be used as objects of
religious veneration. "Thou shalt not make _unto thee_. . . . Thou
shalt not _bow down thyself_ to them, nor _serve_ them." In Exodus we
are told that God ordered the bowls of the golden candlestick for the
tabernacle to be made "like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower;"
and the robe of the ephod had a hem on which they were to put a bell
and a pomegranate alternately. How could God order something that
broke this second commandment?

I believe that this commandment is a call for spiritual worship. It is
in line with Christ's declaration to that Samaritan woman--"God is a
spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in _spirit_ and in

This is precisely what is difficult for men to do. The apostles were
hardly in their graves before they began to put up images of them, and
to worship relics. People have a desire for something tangible,
something that they can see. It is so much easier to live in the sense
than in the spirit. That is why there is a demand for ritualism. Some
people are born Puritans; they want a simple form of worship. Others
think they cannot get along without forms and ceremonies that appeal
to the senses. And many a one whose heart is not sincere before God
takes refuge in these forms, and eases his conscience by making an
outward show of religion.

The second commandment is to restrain this desire and tendency.

God is grieved when we are untrue to Him. God is Love, and He is
wounded when our affections are transferred to anything else. The
penalty attached to this commandment teaches us that man has to reap
what he sows, whether good or bad; and not only that, but his children
have to reap with him. Notice that punishment is visited upon the
children unto the _third_ or the _fourth_ generation, while mercy is
shown unto thousands, or (as it is more correctly) unto the
_thousandth_ generation.


Think for a moment, and you will see how idle it is to try to make any
representation of God. Christians have tried to paint the Trinity, but
how can you depict the Invisible? Can you draw a picture of your own
soul or spirit or will? Moses impressed it upon Israel that when God
spake to them out of the midst of the fire they saw no manner of
similitude, but only heard His voice.

A picture or image of God must degrade our conception of Him. It
fastens us down to one idea, whereas we ought to grow in grace and in
knowledge. It makes God finite. It brings him down to our level. It
has given rise to the horrible idols of India and China, because they
fashion these images according to their own notions. How would the
president feel if Americans made such hideous objects to resemble him
as they make of their gods in heathen countries? Isaiah bore down with
tremendous irony upon the folly of idol makers: upon the smith who
fashioned gods with tongs and hammers; and upon the carpenter who took
a tree, and used part of it for a fire to warm himself and roast his
meat, and made part of it in the figure of a man with his rule and
plane and compass, and called it his god and worshipped it. "A
deceived heart hath turned him aside."

A man must be greater than anything he is able to make or manufacture.
What folly then to think of worshipping such things!

The tendency of the human heart to represent God by something that
appeals to the senses is the origin of all idolatry. It leads directly
to image-worship. At first there may be no desire to worship the thing
itself, but it inevitably ends in that. As Dr. MacLaren says:
"Enlisting the senses as allies of the spirit is risky work. They are
apt to fight for their own band when they once begin, and the history
of all symbolical and ceremonial worship shows that the experiment is
much more likely to end in sensualizing religion than in
spiritualizing sense."


But some one says--"I find pictures are a great help to me, and
images. I know that they are not themselves sacred, but they help me
in my devotions to fix my thoughts on God."

When Dr. Trumbull was in Northfield, he used an illustration that is a
good answer to this. He said, "Suppose a young man were watching from
a window for his absent mother's return, with a wish to catch the
first glimpse of her approaching face. Would he be wise or foolish in
putting up a photograph of her on the window-frame before him, as a
help to bear her in as he looks for her coming? As there can be no
doubt about the answer to that question, so there can be no doubt that
we can best come into communion with God by closing our eyes to
everything that can be seen with the natural eye, and opening the eyes
of our spirit to the sight of God the Spirit."

I would a great deal sooner have five minutes communion with Christ
than spend years before pictures and images of Him. Whatever comes
between my soul and my Maker is not a help to me, but a hindrance. God
has given different means of grace by which we can approach Him. Let
us use these, and not seek for other things that He has distinctly

Dr. Dale says that in his college days he had an engraving of our Lord
hanging over his mantlepiece. "The calmness, the dignity, the
gentleness, and the sadness of the face represented the highest
conceptions which I had in those days of the human presence of Christ.
I often looked at it, and seldom without being touched by it. I
discovered in the course of a few mouths that the superstitious
sentiments were gradually clustering about it, which are always
created by the visible representations of the Divine. The engraving
was becoming to me the shrine of God manifest in the flesh, and I
understood the growth of idolatry. The visible symbol is at first a
symbol and nothing more; it assists thought; it stirs passion. At last
it is identified with the God whom it represents. If, every day, I bow
before a crucifix in prayer, if I address it as though it were Christ,
though I know it is not, I shall come to feel for it a reverence and
love which are of the very essence of idolatry."

Did you ever stop to think that the world has not a single picture of
Christ that has been handed down to us from His disciples? Who knows
what He was like? The Bible does not tell us how He looked, except in
one or two isolated general expressions as when it says--"His visage
was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of
men." We don't know anything definite about His features, the color of
His hair and eyes, and the other details that would help to give a
true representation. What artist can tell us? He left no keepsakes to
His disciples. His clothes were seized by the Roman soldiers who
crucified Him. Not a solitary thing was left to be handed down among
His followers. Doesn't it look as if Christ left no relics lest they
should be held sacred and worshipped?

History tells us further that the early Christians shrank from making
pictures and statues of any kind of Christ. They knew Him as they had
seen Him after His resurrection, and had promises of His continued
presence that pictures could not make any more real.

I have seen very few pictures of Christ that do not repel me more or
less. I sometimes think that it is wrong to have pictures of Him at

Speaking of the crucifix Dr. Dale says; "It makes our worship and
prayer unreal. We are adoring a Christ who does not exist. He is not
on the cross now, but on the throne. His agonies are passed forever.
He has risen from the dead. He is at the right hand of God. If we pray
to a dying Christ, we are praying not to Christ Himself, but to a mere
remembrance of Him. The injury which the crucifix has inflicted on the
religious life of Christendom, in encouraging a morbid and unreal
devotion, is absolutely incalculable. It has given us a dying Christ
instead of a living Christ, a Christ separated from us by many
centuries instead of a Christ nigh at hand."


No one can say that we have nowadays any need of such things. "Behold
I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the
door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
If Christ is in our hearts, why need we set Him before our eyes?
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in
the midst of them." If we take hold of that promise by faith, what
need is there of outward symbols and reminders? If the King Himself is
present, why need we bow down before statues supposed to represent
Him? To fill His place with an image (some one has said,) is like
blotting the sun out of the heavens and substituting some other light
in its place. "You cannot see Him through chinks of ceremonialism; or
through the blind eyes of erring man; or by images graven with art and
man's device; or in cunningly devised fables of artificial and
perverted theology. Nay, seek Him in His own Word, in the revelation
of Himself which He gives to all who walk in His ways. So you will be
able to keep that admonition of the last word of all the New Testament
revelation: 'Little children, keep yourselves from idols.'"

I believe many an earnest Christian would be found wanting if put in
the balances against this commandment. "Tekel" is the sentence that
would be written against them, because their worship of God and of
Christ is not pure. May God open our eyes to the danger that is
creeping more and more into public worship throughout Christendom! Let
us ever bear in mind Christ's words in the fourth chapter of John's
gospel, which show that true spiritual worship is not a matter of
special times and special places because it is of all times and all

"Believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain,
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now
is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and
in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit:
and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

Third Commandment

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the
Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain."

I was greatly amazed not long ago in talking to a man who thought he
was a Christian, to find that once in a while, when he got angry, he
would swear. I said: "My friend, I don't see how you can tear down
with one hand what you are trying to build up with the other. I don't
see how you can profess to be a child of God and let those words come
out of your lips."

He replied: "Mr. Moody, if you knew me you would understand. I have a
very quick temper. I inherited it from my father and mother, and it is
uncontrollable; but my swearing comes only from the lips."

When God said, "I will not hold him guiltless that takes My name in
vain," He meant what He said, and I don't believe any one can be a
true child of God who takes the name of God in vain. What is the grace
of God for, if it is not to give me control of my temper so that I
shall not lose control and bring down the curse of God upon myself?
When a man is born of God, God takes the "swear" out of him. Make the
fountain good, and the stream will be good. Let the heart be right;
then the language will be right; the whole life will be right. But no
man can serve God and keep His law until he is born of God. There we
see the necessity of the new birth.

To take God's name "in vain" means either (1) lightly, without
thinking, flippantly; or (2) profanely, deceitfully.


I think it is shocking to use God's name with so little reverence as
is common nowadays, even among professing Christians. We are told that
the Jews held it so sacred that the covenant name of God was never
mentioned amongst them except once a year by the high priest on the
Day of Atonement, when he went into the holy of holies. What a
contrast that is to the familiar use Christians make of it in public
and private worship! We are apt to rush into God's presence, and rush
out again, without any real sense of the reverence and awe that is due
Him. We forget that we are on holy ground.

Do you know how often the word "reverend" occurs in the Bible? Only
once. And what is it used in connection with? God's name. Psalm cxi.
9: "Holy and reverend is His name." So important did the Jewish rabbis
consider this commandment that they said the whole world trembled when
it was first proclaimed on Sinai.


But though there is far too much of this frivolous, familiar use of
God's name, the commandment is broken a great deal more by profanity.
Taking the name of God in vain is blasphemy. Is there a swearing man
who reads this? What would you do if you were put into the balances of
the sanctuary, if you had to step in opposite to this third
commandment? Think a moment. Have you been taking God's name in vain

I do not believe men would ever have been guilty of swearing unless
God had forbidden it. They do not swear by their friends, their
fathers or mothers, their wives or children. They want to show how
they despise God's law.

A great many men think there is nothing in swearing. Bear in mind that
God sees something wrong in it, and He says He will not hold men
guiltless, even though society does.

I met a man sometime ago who told me he had never sinned in his life.
He was the first perfect man I had ever met. I thought I would
question him, and began to measure him by the law. I asked him: "Do
you ever get angry?" "Well," he said, "sometimes I do; but I have a
right to do so. It is righteous indignation." "Do you swear when you
get angry?" He admitted he did sometimes. "Then," I asked, "are you
ready to meet God?" "Yes," he replied, "because I never mean anything
when I swear."

Suppose I steal a man's watch and he comes after me.

"Yes," I say, "I stole your watch and pawned it, but _I did not mean
anything by it_. I pawned it and spent the money, but _I did not mean
anything by it_."

You would smile at and deride such a statement.

Ah, friends! You cannot trifle with God in that way. Even if you swear
without meaning it, it is forbidden by God. Christ said: "Every idle
word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the
day of judgment; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy
words thou shalt be condemned." You will be held accountable whether
your words are _idle_ or _blasphemous_.


The habit of swearing is condemned by all sensible persons. It has
been called "the most gratuitous of all sins," because no one gains by
it; it is "not only sinful, but useless." An old writer said that when
the accusing angel, who records men's words, flies up to heaven with
an oath, he blushes as he hands it in.

When a man blasphemes, he shows an utter contempt for God. I was in
the army during the war, and heard men cursing and swearing. Some
godly woman would pass along the ranks looking for her wounded son,
and not an oath would be heard. They would not swear before their
mothers, or their wives, or their sisters; they had more respect for
them than they had for God!

Isn't it a terrible condemnation that swearing held its own until it
came to be recognized as a vulgar thing, a sin against society? Men
dropped it then, who never thought of its being a sin against God.

There will be no swearing men in the kingdom of God. They will have to
drop that sin, and repent of it, before they see the kingdom of God.


Men often ask: "How can I keep from swearing?" I will tell you. If God
puts His love into your heart, you will have no desire to curse Him.
If you have much regard for God, you will no more think of cursing Him
than you would think of speaking lightly or disparagingly of a mother
whom you love. But the natural man is at enmity with God, and has
utter contempt for His law. When that law is written on his heart,
there will be no trouble in obeying it.

When I was out west about thirty years ago, I was preaching one day in
the open air, when a man drove up in a fine turn-out, and after
listening a little while to what I was saying, he put the whip to his
fine-looking Steed, and away he went. I never expected to see him
again, but the next night he came back, and he kept on coming
regularly night after night.

I noticed that his forehead itched--you have noticed people who keep
putting their hands to their foreheads?--he didn't want any one to see
him shedding tears--of course not! It is not a manly thing to shed
tears in a religions meeting, of course!

After the meeting I said to a gentleman: "Who is that man who drives
up here every night? Is he interested?" "Interested! I should think
not! You should have heard the way he talked about you today." "Well,"
I said, "that is a sign he is interested."

If no man ever has anything to say against you, your Christianity
isn't worth much. Men said of the Master, "He has a devil," and Jesus
said that if they had called the master of the house Beelzebub, how
much more them of his household.

I asked where this man lived, but my friend told me not to go to see
him, for he would only curse me. I said: "It takes God to curse a man;
man can only bring curses on his own head." I found out where he
lived, and went to see him. He was the wealthiest man within a hundred
miles of that place, and had a wife and seven beautiful children. Just
as I got to his gate I saw him coming out of the front door. I stepped
up to him and said: "This is Mr.--, I believe?" He said: "Yes, sir;
that is my name." Then he straightened up and asked--"What do you
want?" "Well," I said, "I would like to ask you a question, if you
won't be angry." "Well, what is it?" "I am told that God has blessed
you above all men in this part of the country; that He has given you
wealth, a beautiful Christian wife, and seven lovely children. I do
not know if it is true, but I hear that all He gets in return is
cursing and blasphemy." He said, "Come in; come in." I went in. "Now,"
he said, "what you said out there is true. If any man has a fine wife
I am the man, and I have a lovely family of children, and God has been
good to me. But do you know, we had company here the other night, and
I cursed my wife at the table, and did not know it till after the
company had gone. I never felt so mean and contemptible in my life as
when my wife told me of it. She said she wanted the floor to open and
let her down out of her seat. If I have tried once, I have tried a
hundred times to stop swearing. You preachers don't know anything
about it." "Yes," I said, "I know all about it; I have been a
drummer." "But," he said, "you don't know anything about a
business-man's troubles. When he is harassed and tormented the whole
time, he can't help swearing." "Oh, yes," I said, "he can. I know
something about it. I used to swear myself." "What! You used to
swear?" he asked; "how did you stop?" "I never stopped." "Why, you
don't swear now, do you?" "No; I have not sworn for years." "How did
you stop?" "I never stopped. It stopped itself." He said, "I don't
understand this." "No," I said, "I know you don't. But I came up to
talk to you, so that you will never want to swear again as long as you

I began to tell him about Christ in the heart; how that would take the
temptation to swear out of a man,

"Well," he said, "how am I to get Christ?" "Get right down here and
tell Him what you want." "But," he said, "I was never on my knees in
my life. I have been cursing all the day, and I don't know how to pray
or what to pray for." "Well," I said, "it is mortifying to have to
call on God for mercy when you have never used His name except in
oaths; but He will not turn you away. Ask God to forgive you if you
want to be forgiven."

Then the man got down and prayed--only a few sentences, but thank God,
it is the short prayers, after all, which bring the quickest answers.
After he prayed he got up and said: "What shall I do now?" I said, "Go
down to the church and tell the people there that you want to be an
out-and-out Christian." "I cannot do that," he said; "I never go to
church except to some funeral." "Then it is high time for you to go
for something else," I said.

After a while he promised to go, but did not know what the people
would say. At the next church prayer-meeting, the man was there, and I
sat right in front of him. He stood up and put his hands on the
settee, and he trembled so much that I could feel the settee shake. He

"My friends, you know all about me. If God can save a wretch like me,
I want to have you pray for my salvation."

That was thirty odd years ago. Sometime ago I was back in that town,
and did not see him; but when I was in California, a man asked me to
take dinner with him. I told him that I could not do so, for I had
another engagement. Then he asked if I remembered him, and told me his
name. "Oh," I said, "tell me, have you ever sworn since that night you
knelt in your drawing-room, and asked God to forgive you?" "No," he
replied, "I have never had a desire to swear since then. It was all
taken away."

He was not only converted, but became an earnest, active Christian,
and all these years has been serving God. That is what will take place
when a man is born of the divine nature.

Is there a swearing man ready to put this commandment into the scales,
and step in to be weighed? Suppose you swear only once in six months
or a year--suppose you swear only once in ten years--do you think God
will hold you guiltless for that act? It shows that your heart is not
clean in God's sight. What are you going to do, blasphemer? Would you
not be found wanting? You would be like a feather in the balance.

Fourth Commandment

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor,
and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord
thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy
daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy
stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the
seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed

There has been an awful letting-down in this country regarding the
sabbath during the last twenty-five years, and many a man has been
shorn of spiritual power, like Samson, because he is not straight on
this question. Can _you_ say that you observe the sabbath properly?
You may be a professed Christian: are you obeying this commandment? Or
do you neglect the house of God on the sabbath day, and spend your
time drinking and carousing in places of vice and crime, showing
contempt for God and His law? Are you ready to step into the scales?
Where were you last sabbath? How did you spend it?

I honestly believe that this commandment is just as binding to-day as
it ever was. I have talked with men who have said that it has been
abrogated, but they have never been able to point to any place in the
Bible where God repealed it. When Christ was on earth, He did nothing
to set it aside; He freed it from the traces under which the scribes
and Pharisees had put it, and gave it its true place. "The sabbath was
made for man, not man for the sabbath." It is just as practicable and
as necessary for men to-day as it ever was--in fact, more than ever,
because we live in such an intense age.

The sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since.
This fourth commandment begins with the word "remember," showing that
the sabbath already existed when God wrote this law on the tables of
stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been
done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still

I believe that the sabbath question to-day is a vital one for the
whole country. It is the burning question of the present time. If you
give up the sabbath the church goes; if you give up the church the
home goes; and if the home goes the nation goes. That is the direction
in which we are traveling.

The church of God is losing its power on account of so many people
giving up the sabbath, and using it to promote selfishness.


"Sabbath" means "rest," and the meaning of the word gives a hint as to
the true way to observe the day. God rested after creation, and
ordained the sabbath as a rest for man. He blessed it and hallowed it.
"Remember _the rest-day_ to keep it _holy_." It is the day when the
body may be refreshed and strengthened after six days of labor, and
the soul drawn into closer fellowship with its Maker.

True observance of the sabbath may be considered under two general
heads: cessation from ordinary secular work, and religious exercises.


A man ought to turn aside from his ordinary employment one day in
seven. There are many whose occupation will not permit them to observe
Sunday, but they should observe some other day as a sabbath. Saturday
is my day of rest because I generally preach on Sunday, and I look
forward to it as a boy does to a holiday. God knows what we need.

Ministers and missionaries often tell me that they take no rest-day;
they do not need it because they are in the Lord's work. That is a
mistake. When God was giving Moses instructions about the building of
the tabernacle, He referred especially to the sabbath, and gave
injunctions for its strict observance; and later, when Moses was
conveying the words of the Lord to the children of Israel, he
interpreted them by saying that not even were sticks to be gathered on
the sabbath to kindle fires for smelting or other purposes. In spite
of their zeal and haste to erect the tabernacle, the workmen were to
have their day of rest. The command applies to ministers and others
engaged in Christian work to-day as much as to those Israelite workmen
of old.


In judging whether any work may or may not be lawfully done on the
sabbath, find out the reason and object for doing it. Exceptions are
to be made for works of necessity and works of emergency. By "_works
of necessity_" I mean those acts that Christ justified when He
approved of leading one's ox or ass to water. Watchmen, police,
stokers on board steamers, and many others have engagements that
necessitate their working on the sabbath. By "_works of emergency_" I
mean those referred to by Christ when He approved of pulling an ox or
an ass out of a pit on the sabbath day. In case of fire or sickness a
man is often called on to do things that would not otherwise be

A Christian man was once urged by his employer to work on Sunday.
"Does not your Bible say that if your ass falls into a pit on the
sabbath, you may pull him out?" "Yes," replied the other; "but if the
ass had the habit of falling into the same pit every sabbath, I would
either fill up the pit or sell the ass."

Every man must settle the question as it effects unnecessary work,
with his own conscience.

No man should make another work seven days in the week. One day is
demanded for rest. A man who has to work the seven days has nothing to
look forward to, and life becomes humdrum. Many Christians are guilty
in this respect.


Take, for instance, the question of sabbath traveling. I believe we
are breaking God's laws by using the cars on Sunday and depriving
conductors and others of their sabbath. Remember the fourth
commandment expressly refers to "the stranger that is within thy
gates." Doesn't that touch sabbath travel?

But you ask, "What are we to do? How are we to get to church?"

I reply, on foot. It will be better for you. Once when I was holding
meetings in London, in my ignorance I made arrangements to preach four
times in different places one sabbath. After I had made the
appointments I found I had to walk sixteen miles; but I walked it, and
I slept that night with a clear conscience. I have made it a rule
never to use the cars, and if I have a private carriage, I insist that
horse and man shall rest on Monday. I want no hackman to rise up in
judgment against me.

My friends, if we want to help the sabbath, let business men and
Christians never patronize cars on the sabbath. I would hate to own
stock in those companies, to be the means of taking the sabbath from
these men, and have to answer for it at the day of judgment. Let those
who are Christians at any rate endeavor to keep a conscience void of
offence on this point.


There are many who are inclined to use the sabbath in order to make
money faster. This is no new sin. The prophet Amos hurled his
invectives against oppressors who said, "When will the new moon be
gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth

Covetous men have always chafed under the restraint, but not until the
present time do we find that they have openly counted on sabbath trade
to make money. We are told that many street car companies would not
pay if it were not for the sabbath traffic, and the sabbath edition of
newspapers is also counted upon as the most profitable.

The railroad men of this country are breaking down with softening of
the brain, and die at the age of fifty or sixty. They think their
business is so important that they must run their trains seven days in
the week. Business men travel on the sabbath so as to be on hand for
business Monday morning. But if they do so God will not prosper them.

Work is good for man and is commanded, "Six days shalt thou labor;"
but overwork and work on the sabbath takes away the best thing he has.


The good effect on a nation's health and happiness produced by the
return of the sabbath, with its cessation from work, cannot be
overestimated. It is needed to repair and restore the body after six
days of work. It is proved that a man can do more in six days than in
seven. Lord Beaconsfield. said: "Of all divine institutions, the most
divine is that which secures a day of rest for man. I hold it to be
the most valuable blessing conceded to man. It is the corner-stone of
all civilization, and its removal might affect even the health of the
people." Mr. Gladstone recently told a friend that the secret of his
long life is that amid all the pressure of public cares he never
forgot the sabbath, with its rest for the body and the soul. The
constitution of the United States protects the president in his weekly
day of rest. He has ten days, "Sundays excepted," in which to consider
a bill that has been sent to him for signature. Every workingman in
the republic ought to be as thoroughly protected as the president. If
workingmen got up a strike against unnecessary work on the sabbath,
they would have the sympathy of a good many.

"Our bodies are seven-day clocks," says Talmage, "and they need to be
wound up, and if they are not wound up they run down into the grave.
No man can continuously break the sabbath and keep his physical and
mental health. Ask aged men, and they will tell you they never knew
men who continuously broke the sabbath, who did not fail in mind,
body, or moral principles."

All that has been said about rest for man is true for working animals.
God didn't forget them in this commandment, and man should not forget
them either.


But "rest" does not mean idleness. No man enjoys idleness for any
length of time. When one goes on a vacation, one does not lie around
doing nothing all the time. Hard work at tennis, hunting, and other
pursuits fills the hours. A healthy mind must find something to do.

Hence the sabbath rest does not mean inactivity. "Satan finds some
mischief still for idle hands to do." The best way to keep off bad
thoughts and to avoid temptation is to engage in active religious

As regards these, we should avoid extremes. On the one hand we find a
rigor in sabbath observance that is nowhere commanded in Scripture,
and that reminds one of the formalism of the Pharisees more than of
the spirit of the gospel. Such strictness does more harm than good. It
repels people and makes the sabbath a burden. On the other hand we
should jealously guard against a loose way of keeping the sabbath.
Already in many cities it is profaned openly.

When I was a boy the sabbath lasted from sundown on Saturday to
sundown on Sunday, and I remember how we boys used to shout when it
was over. It was the worst day in the week to us. I believe it can be
made the brightest day in the week. Every child ought to be reared so
that he shall be able to say, with a friend, that he would rather have
the other six days weeded out of his memory than the sabbath of his


Make the sabbath a day of religious activity. First of all, of course,
is attendance at public worship. "There is a discrepancy," says John
McNeill, "between our creed about the sabbath day and our actual
conduct. In many families, at ten o'clock on the sabbath, attendance
at church is still an open question. There is no open question on
Monday morning--'John, will you go to work to-day?'"

A minister rebuked a farmer for not attending church, and said, "You
know John you are never absent from market."

"O," was the reply, "we _must_ go to market."

Some one has said that without the sabbath the church of Christ could
not, as a visible organization, exist on earth. Another has said that
"we need to be in the drill of observance as well as in the liberty of
faith." Human nature is so treacherous that we are apt to omit things
altogether unless there is some special reason for doing them. A man
is not likely to worship at all unless he has regularly appointed
times and means for worship. Family and private devotions are almost
certain to be omitted altogether unless one gets into the habit, and
has a special time set apart daily.


I remember blaming my mother for sending me to church on the sabbath.
On one occasion the preacher had to send some one into the gallery to
wake me up. I thought it was hard to have to work in the field all the
week, and then to be obliged to go to church and hear a sermon I
didn't understand. I thought I wouldn't go to church any more when I
got away from home; but I had got so in the habit of going that I
couldn't stay away. After one or two sabbaths, back again to the house
of God I went. There I first found Christ, and I have often said

"Mother, I thank you for making me go to the house of God when I
didn't want to go."

Parents, if you want your children to grow up and honor you, have them
honor the sabbath day. Don't let them go off fishing, and getting into
bad company, or it won't be long before they will come home and curse
you. I know few things more beautiful than to see a father and mother
coming up the aisle with their daughters and sons, and sitting down
together to hear the Word of God. It is a good thing to have the
children, not in some remote loft or gallery, but in a good place,
well in sight. Though they cannot understand the sermon now, when they
get older they won't desire to break away, they will continue
attending public worship in the house of God.

But we must not mistake the means for the end. We must not think that
the sabbath is just for the sake of being able to attend meetings.
There are some people who think they must spend the whole day at
meetings or private devotions. The result is that at nightfall they
are tired out, and the day has brought them no rest. The number of
church services attended ought to be measured by the person's ability
to enjoy them and get good from them, without being wearied. Attending
meetings is not the only way to observe the sabbath. The Israelites
were commanded to keep it in their dwellings as well as in holy
convocation. The home, that centre of so great influence over the life
and character of the people, ought to be made the scene of true
sabbath observance.


Jeremiah classified godless families with the heathen: "Pour out thy
fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that
call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, devoured him, and
consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate."

Many mothers have written to me at one time or another to know what to
do to entertain their children on the sabbath. The boys say, "I do
wish 'twas Night," or, "I do hate the sabbath," or, "I do wish the
sabbath was over." It ought to be the happiest day in the week to
them, one to be looked forward to with pleasure. In order to this end,
many suggestions might be followed. Make family prayers especially
attractive by having the children learn some verse or story from the
Bible. Give more time to your children than you can give on week days,
reading to them and perhaps taking them to walk in the afternoon or
evening. Show by your conduct that the sabbath is a delight, and they
will soon catch your spirit. Set aside some time for religious
instruction, without making this a task. You can make it interesting
for the children by telling Bible stories and asking them to guess the
names of the characters. Have Sunday games for the younger children.
Picture books, puzzle maps of Palestine, etc., can be easily obtained.
Sunday albums and Sunday clocks are other devices. Set aside
attractive books for the sabbath, not letting the children have these
during the week. By doing this, the children can be brought to look
forward to the day with eagerness and pleasure.


Apart from public and family observance, the individual ought to
devote a portion of the time to his own edification. Prayer,
meditation, reading, ought not to be forgotten. Think of men devoting
six days a week to their body, which will soon pass away, and
begrudging one day to the soul which will live on and on forever: Is
it too much for God to ask for one day to be devoted to the growth and
training of the spiritual senses, when the other senses are kept busy
the other six days?

If your circumstances permit, engage in some definite Christian
work--such as teaching in Sunder school, or visiting the sick. Do all
the good you can Sin keeps no sabbath, and no more should good deeds.
There is plenty of opportunity in this fallen world to perform works
of mercy and religion. Make your sabbath down here a foretaste of the
eternal sabbath that is in store for believers.

You want power in your Christian life, do you? You want Holy Ghost
power? You want the dew of heaven on your brow? You want to see men
convicted and converted? I don't believe we shall ever have genuine
conversions until we get straight on this law of God.


Men seem to think they have a right to change the holy day into a
_holiday_. The young have more temptations to break the sabbath than
we had forty years ago. There are three great temptations: first, the
trolley car, that will take you off into the country for a nickel to
have a day of recreation; second, the bicycle, which is leading a good
many Christian men to give up their sabbath and spend the day on
excursions; and the third, the Sunday newspaper.

Twenty years ago Christian people in Chicago would have been horrified
if any one had prophesied that all the theatres would be open every
sabbath; but that is what has come to pass. If it had been prophesied
twenty years ago that Christian men would take a wheel and go off on
Sunday morning and be gone all day on an excursion, Christians would
have been horrified and would have said it was impossible; but that is
what is going on to-day all over the country.


With regard to the Sunday newspaper, I know all the arguments that are
brought in its favor--that the work on it is done during the week,
that it is the Monday paper that causes Sunday work, and so on. But
there are two hundred thousand newsboys selling the paper on Sunday.
Would you like to have your boy one of them? Men are kept running
trains in order to distribute the papers. Would you like your sabbath
taken away from you? If not, then practise the Golden Rule, and don't
touch the papers.

Their contents make them unfit for reading any day, not to say Sunday.
Some New York dailies advertise Sunday editions of sixty pages. Many
dirty pieces of scandal in this and other countries are raked up and
put into them. "Eight pages of fun!"--that is splendid reading for
Sunday, isn't it? Even when a so-called sermon is printed, it is
completely buried by the fiction and news matter. It is time that
ministers went into their pulpits and preached against Sunday
newspapers if they haven't done it already. Put the man in the scales
that buys and reads Sunday papers. After reading them for two or three
hours he might go and hear the best sermon in the world, but you
couldn't preach anything into him. His mind is filled up with what he
has read, and there is no room for thoughts of God. I believe that the
archangel Gabriel himself could not make an impression on an audience
that has its head full of such trash. If you bored a hole into a man's
head, you could not inject any thoughts of God and heaven.

I don't believe that the publishers would allow their own children to
read them. Why then should they give them to my children and to yours?

A merchant who advertises in Sunday papers is not keeping the sabbath.
It is a master-stroke of the devil to induce Christian men to do this
in order to make trade for Monday. But if a man makes money, and yet
his sons are ruined and his home broken up, what has he gained?

Ladies buy the Sunday papers and read the advertisements of Monday
bargains to see what they can buy cheap. Just so with their religion.
They are willing to have it if it doesn't cost anything.

If Christian men and women refused to buy them, if Christian merchants
refused to advertise in them, they would soon die out, because that is
where they get most of their support.

They tell me the Sunday paper has come to stay, and I may as well let
it alone. Never! I believe it is a great evil, and I shall fight it
while I live. I never read a Sunday paper, and wouldn't have one in my
house. They are often sent me, but I tear them up without reading
them. I will have nothing to do with them. They do more harm to
religion than any other one agency I know. Their whole influence is
against keeping the sabbath holy. They are an unnecessary evil. Can't
a man read enough news on week days without desecrating the sabbath?
We had no Sunday papers till the war came, and we got along very well
without them. They have been increasing in size and in number ever
since then, and I think they have been lowering their tone ever since.
If you believe that, help to fight them too. Stamp them out, beginning
with yourself.


No nation has ever prospered that has trampled the sabbath in the
dust. Show me a nation that has done this, and I will show you a
nation that has got in it the seeds of ruin and decay. I believe that
sabbath desecration will carry a nation down quicker than anything
else. Adam brought marriage and the sabbath with him out of Eden, and
neither can be disregarded without suffering. When the children of
Israel went into the Promised Land God told them to let their land
rest every seven years, and He would give them as much in six years as
in seven. For four hundred and ninety years they disregarded that law.
But mark you, Nebuchadnezzar came and took them off into Babylon, and
kept them seventy years in captivity, and the land had its seventy
sabbaths of rest. Seven times seventy is four hundred and ninety. So
they did not gain much by breaking this law. You can give God His day,
or He will take it.

On the other hand, honoring the fourth commandment brings blessing.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure
on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord,
honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding
thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words ('thine own' as
contrasted with what God enjoins), then shalt thou delight thyself in
the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the
earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

I do not know what will become of this republic if we give up our
Christian sabbath. If Satan can break the conscience down on one
point, he can break it down on all. When I was in France in 1867, I
could not tell one day from the other. On Sunday stores were open and
buildings were erected, the same as on other days. See how quickly
that country went down. One hundred years ago France and England stood
abreast in the march of nations. Where do they stand to-day? France
undertook to wipe out the sabbath, and has pretty nearly wiped itself
out, while England belts the globe.


We have a fighting chance to save this nation, and what we want is men
and women who have moral courage to stand up and say:

"No, I will not touch the Sunday paper, and all the influence I have I
will throw dead against it. I will not go away on Saturday evening if
I have to travel on Sunday to get back. I will not do unnecessary work
on the sabbath. I will do all I can to keep it holy as God commanded."

But some one says: "Mr. Moody, what are you going to do? I have to
work seven days a week or starve."

Then starve! Wouldn't it be a grand thing to have a martyr in the
nineteenth century? "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the
church." Some one says the seed is getting very low; it has been a
long time since we have had any seed. I would give something to erect
a monument to such a martyr to his fidelity to God's law. I would go
around the world to attend his funeral.

We want to-day men who will make up their minds to do what is right,
and stand by it if the heavens tumble on their heads. What is to
become of Christian Associations and Sunday Schools, of churches and
Christian Endeavor Societies, if the Christian sabbath is given up to
recreation, and made a holiday? Hasn't the time come to call a halt if
men want power with God? Let men call you narrow and bigoted, but be
man enough to stand by God's law, and you will have power and
blessing. That is the kind of Christianity we want just now in this
country. Any man can go with the crowd, but we want men who will go
against the current.

Sabbath-breaker, are you ready to step into the scales?

Fifth Commandment

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

We are living in dark days on this question too. It really seems as if
the days the apostle Paul wrote about are upon us: "In the last days
perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their own
selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, _disobedient to
parents, unthankful_, unholy, _without natural affection_, despisers
of those that are good, . . . ." If Paul was alive to-day, could he
have described the present state of affairs more truly? There are
perhaps more men in this country that are breaking the hearts of their
fathers and mothers, and trampling on the law of God, than in any
other civilized country in the world. How many sons treat their
parents with contempt, and make light of their entreaties? A young man
will have the kindest care from parents; they will watch over him, and
care for all his wants; and some bad companion will come in and sweep
him away from them in a few weeks. How many young ladies have married
against their parents' wishes, and have gone off and made their own
life bitter! I never knew one case that did not turn out badly. They
invariably bring ruin upon themselves, unless they repent.


The first four commandments deal with our relations to God. They tell
us how to worship and when to worship; they forbid irreverence and
impiety in word and act. Now God turns to our relations with each
other, and isn't it significant that He deals first with family life?
"God is going to show us our duty to our neighbor. How does He begin?
Not by telling us how kings ought to reign, or how soldiers ought to
fight, or how merchants ought to conduct their business, but how boys
and girls ought to behave at home."

We can see that if their home life is all right, they are almost sure
to fulfil the law both in regard to God and man. Parents stand in the
place of God to their children in a great many ways until the children
arrive at years of discretion. If the children are true to their
parents, it will be easier for them to be true to God. He used the
human relationship as a symbol of our relationship to Him both by
creation and by grace. God is our Father in heaven. We are His

On the other hand, if they have not learned to be obedient and
respectful at home, they are likely to have little respect for the law
of the land. It is all in the heart; and the heart is prepared at home
for good or bad conduct outside. The tree grows the way the twig is

"Honor thy father and thy mother." That word "honor" means more than
mere obedience--a child may obey through fear. It means love and
affection, gratitude, respect. We are told that in the east the words
"father" and "mother" include those who are "superiors in age, wisdom
and in civil or religious station," so that when the Jews were taught
to honor their father and mother it included all who were placed over
them in these relations, as well as their parents. Isn't there a
crying need for that same feeling to-day? The lawlessness of the
present time is a natural consequence of the growing absence of a
feeling of respect for those in authority.


It has been pointed out as worthy of notice that this commandment
enjoins honor for _the mother_, and yet in eastern countries to the
present day woman is held of little account. When I was in Palestine a
few years ago, the prettiest girl in Jericho was sold by her father in
exchange for a donkey. In many ancient nations, just as in certain
parts of heathendom today, the parents are killed off as soon as they
become old and feeble. Can't we see the hand of God here, raising the
woman to her rightful position of honor out of the degradation into
which she had been dragged by heathenism?

"Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." I believe that we must get
back to the old truths. You may make light of it, and laugh at it,
young man, but remember that God has given this commandment, and you
cannot set it aside. If we get back to this law, we shall have power
and blessing.


I believe it to be literally true that our temporal condition depends
on the way we act upon this commandment. "Honor thy father and mother,
(which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well
with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth." "Honor thy
father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that
thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the
land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." "Cursed is he that setteth
light by his father or mother." "Whoso curseth his father or mother,
his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness." It would be easy to
multiply texts from the Bible to prove this truth. Experience teaches
the same thing. A good, loving son generally turns out better than a
refractory son. Obedience and respect at home prepare the way for
obedience to the employer, and are joined with other virtues that help
toward a prosperous career, crowned with a ripe, honored old age.
Disobedience and disrespect for parents are often the first steps in
the downward track. Many a criminal has testified that this is the
point where he first went astray. I have lived over sixty years, and I
have learned one thing if I have learned nothing else--that no man or
woman who dishonors father or mother ever prospers.

Young man, young woman, how do you treat your parents? Tell me that,
and I will tell you how you are going to get on in life. When I hear a
young man speaking contemptuously of his grey-haired father or mother,
I say he has sunk very low indeed. When I see a young man as polite as
any gentleman can be when he is out in society, but who snaps up his
mother and speaks unkindly to his father, I would not give the snap of
my finger for his religion. If there is any man or woman on earth that
ought to be treated kindly and tenderly, it is that loving mother or
that loving father. If they cannot have your regard through life, what
reward are they to have for all their care and anxiety? Think how they
loved you and provided for you in your early days.


Let your mind go back to the time when you were ill. Did your mother
neglect you? When a neighbor came in and said, "Now, mother, you go
and lie down; you have been up for a week; I will take your place for
a night"--did she do it? No; and if the poor worn body forced her to
it at last, she lay watching, and if she heard your voice, she was at
your side directly, anticipating all your wants, wiping the
perspiration away from your brow. If you wanted water, how soon you
got it! She would gladly have taken the disease into her own body to
save you. Her love for you would drive her to any lengths. No matter
to what depths of vice and misery you have sunk, no matter how
profligate you have grown, she has not turned you out of her heart.
Perhaps she loves you all the more because you are wayward. She would
draw you back by the bands of a love that never dies.


When I was in England, I read of a man who professed to be a
Christian, who was brought before the magistrate for not supporting
his aged father. He had let him go to the workhouse. My friends, I'd
rather be content with a crust of bread and a drink of water than let
my father or mother go to the workhouse. The idea of a professing
Christian doing such a thing! God have mercy on such a godless
Christianity as that! It is a withered up thing, and the breath of
heaven will drive it away. Don't profess to love God and do a thing
like that.

A friend of mine told me of a poor man who had sent his son to school
in the city. One day the father was hauling some wood into the city,
perhaps to pay his boy's bills. The young man was walking down the
street with two of his school friends, all dressed in the very height
of fashion. His father saw him, and was so glad that he left his wood,
and went to the sidewalk to speak to him. But the boy was ashamed of
his father, who had on his old working clothes, and spurned him, and

"I don't know you."

Will such a young man ever amount to anything? Never!

I remember a very promising young man whom I had in the Sunday school
in Chicago. His father was a confirmed drunkard, and his mother took
in washing to educate her four children. This was her eldest son, and
I thought that he was going to redeem the whole family. But one day a
thing happened that made him go down in my estimation.

The boy was in the high school, and was a very bright scholar. One day
he stood with his mother at the cottage door--it was a poor house, but
she could not pay for their schooling, and feed and clothe her
children, and hire a very good house too, out of her earnings. When
they were talking a young man from the high school came up the street,
and this boy walked away from his mother. Next day the young man said:

"Who was that I saw you talking to yesterday?"

"Oh, that was my washerwoman."

I said: "Poor fellow! He will never amount to anything."

That was a good many years ago. I have kept my eye on him. He has gone
down, down, down, and now he is just a miserable wreck. Of course he
would go down. Ashamed of his mother that loved him and toiled for
him, and bore so much hardship for him! I cannot tell you the contempt
I had for that one act.

Let us look at


Some years ago I heard of a poor woman who sent her boy to school and
college. When he was to graduate, he wrote his mother to come, but she
sent back word that she could not because her only skirt had already
been turned once. She was so shabby that she was afraid he would be
ashamed of her. He wrote back that he didn't care how she was dressed,
and urged so strongly that she went. He met her at the station, and
took her to a nice place to stay. The day came for his graduation, and
he walked down the broad aisle with that poor mother dressed very
shabbily, and put her into one of the best seats in the house. To her
great surprise he was the valedictorian of the class, and he carried
everything before him. He won a prize, and when it was given to him,
he stepped down before the whole audience, and kissed his mother, and

"Here, mother, here is the prize. It is yours. I would not have had it
if it had not been for you."

Thank God for such a man!

The one glimpse the Bible gives us of thirty out of the thirty-three
years of Christ's life on earth shows that He did not come to destroy
this fifth commandment. The secret of all those silent years is
embodied in that verse in Luke's Gospel--"And He went down with them
and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them." Did He not set an
example of true filial love and care when in the midst of the agonies
of the cross He mode provision for His mother? Did He not condemn the
miserable evasions of this law by the Pharisees of His own day:

"Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This
people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the
precepts of men. . . . Full well do ye reject the commandment of God,
that ye may keep your tradition. For Moses said, Honor thy father and
thy mother; and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him
die the death; but ye say, If a man shall say to his father or his
mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me, is
Corban, (that is to say, Given to God), ye no longer suffer him to do
aught for his father or his mother: making void the word of God by
your tradition, which ye have delivered."

I have read of one heathen custom in China, which would do us credit
in this so-called Christian country. On every New Year's morning each
man and boy, from the emperor to the lowest peasant, is said to pay a
visit to his mother, carrying her a present varying in value according
to his station in life. He thanks her for all she has done for him,
and asks a continuance of her favor another year. Abraham Lincoln used
to say: "All I have I owe to my mother."

I would rather die a hundred deaths than have my children grow up to
treat me with scorn and contempt. I would rather have them honor me a
thousand times over than have the world honor me. I would rather have
their esteem and favor than the esteem of the whole world. And any man
who seeks the honor and esteem of the world, and doesn't treat his
parents right, is sure to be disappointed:


Young man, if your parents are still living treat them kindly. Do all
you can to make their declining years sweet and happy. Bear in mind
that this is the only commandment that you may not always be able to
obey. As long as you live, you will be able to serve God, to keep the
sabbath, to obey all the other commandments, but the day comes to most
men when father and mother die. What bitter feelings you will have
when the opportunity has gone by, if you fail to show them the respect
and love that is their due! How long is it since you wrote to your
mother? Perhaps you have not written home for months, or it may be for
years. How often I get letters from mothers urging me to try and
influence their sons!

Which would you rather be--a Joseph or an Absalom? Joseph wasn't
satisfied until he had brought his old father down into Egypt. He was
the greatest man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh; he was arrayed in the
finest garments; he had Pharaoh's ring on his hand, and a gold chain
about his neck, and they cried before him, "Bow the knee." Yet when he
heard Jacob was coming, he hurried out to meet him. He wasn't ashamed
of the old man, with his shepherds clothes. What a contrast we see in
Absalom. That young man broke his father's heart by his rebellion, and
the Jews are said to throw a stone at Absalom's pillar to the present
day, whenever they pass it, as a token of their horror of Absalom's
unnatural conduct.

Come, now, are you ready to be weighed? If you have been dishonoring
your father and mother, step into the scales and see how quickly you
will be found wanting. See how quickly you will strike the beam. I
don't know any man who is much lighter than one who treats his parents
with contempt. Do you disobey them just as much as you dare? Do you
try to deceive them? Do you call them old-fashioned, and sneer at
their advice? How do you treat that venerable father and praying

You may be a professing Christian, but I wouldn't give much for your
religion unless it gets into your life and teaches you how to live. I
wouldn't give a snap of my finger for a religion that doesn't begin at
home and regulate your conduct toward your parents.

Sixth Commandment

"Thou shalt not kill."

I used to say: "What is the use of taking up a law like this in an
audience where, probably, there isn't a man who ever thought of, or
ever will commit murder?" But as one gets on in years, he sees many a
murder that is not outright killing. I need not kill a person to be a
murderer. If I get so angry that I wish a man dead, I am a murderer in
God's sight. God looks at the heart and says he that hateth his
brother is a murderer.

First let us see what this commandment does not mean.

It does not forbid the killing of animals for food and for other
reasons. Millions of rams and lambs and turtle-doves must have been
killed every year for sacrifices under the Mosaic system. Christ
Himself ate of the Passover lamb, and we are told definitely of cases
where He ate fish Himself and provided it for His disciples and the
people to eat.

It does not forbid the killing of burglars, etc., in self-defence.
Directly after the giving of the Ten Commandments, God laid down the
ordinance that if a thief be found breaking in and be smitten that he
die, it was pardonable. Did not Christ justify this idea of
self-defence when He said: "If the goodman of the house had known in
what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not
have suffered his house to be broken up?"

It does not forbid capital punishment. God Himself set the death
penalty upon violations of each of the first seven commandments, as
well as for other crimes. God said to Noah after the deluge--"Whoso
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed;" and the reason
given is just as true to-day as it was then--"for in the image of God
made He man."

What it does forbid is the wanton, intentional taking of human life
under wrong motives and circumstances. Man is made in God's image. He
is built for eternity. He is more than a mere animal. His life ought
therefore to be held sacred. Once taken, it can never be restored. In
heathen lands human life is no more sacred than the life of animals;
even in Christian lands there are heartless and selfish men who hold
it cheap; but God has invested it with a high value. An infidel
philosopher of the eighteenth century said: "In the sight of God every
event is alike important; and the life of a man is of no greater
importance to the universe than that of an oyster." "Where is the
crime," he asked, "of turning a few ounces of blood out of their
channel?" Such language needs no answer.


Let me give you a passage from H. L. Hastings: "A friend of mine
visited the Fiji Islands in 1844, and what do you suppose an infidel
was worth there then? You could buy a man for a musket, or if you paid
money, for seven dollars, and after you had bought him you could feed
him, starve him, work him, whip him, or eat him--they generally ate
them, unless they were so full of tobacco they could not stomach them!
But if you go there to-day you could not buy a man for seven million
dollars. There are no men for sale there now. What has made the
difference in the price of humanity? The twelve hundred Christian
chapels scattered over that Island tell the story. The people have
learned to read that Book which says: 'Ye were not redeemed with
corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of
Christ'; and since they learned that lesson, no man is for sale

Men tell me that the world is getting so much better. We talk of our
American civilization. We forget the alarming increase of crime in our
midst. It is said that there is no civilized country on the globe
where murder is so frequently committed and so seldom punished.


There is that other kind of murder that is increasing at an appalling
rate among us--suicide. There have been infidels in all ages who have
advocated it as a justifiable means of release from trial and
difficulty; yet thinking men, as far back as Aristotle, have generally
condemned it as cowardly and unjustifiable under any conditions. No
man has a right to take his own life from such motives any more than
the life of another.

It has been pointed out that the Jewish race, the people of God,
always counted length of days as a blessing. The Bible does not
mention one single instance of a good man committing suicide. In the
four thousand years of Old Testament history it records only four
suicides, and only one suicide in the New Testament. Saul, king of
Israel, and his armor-bearer, Ahithophel, Zimri and Judas Iscariot are
the five cases. Look at the references in the Bible to see what kind
of men they were.


But I want to speak of other classes of murderers that are very
numerous in this country, although they are not classified as
murderers. The man who is the cause of the death of another through
criminal carelessness is guilty. The man who sells diseased meat; the
saloon-keeper whose drink has maddened the brain of a criminal; those
who adulterate food; the employer who jeopardizes the lives of
employees and others by unsafe surroundings and conditions in harmful
occupations,--they are all guilty of blood where life is lost as a

When I was in England in 1892, I met a gentleman who claimed that they
were ahead of us in the respect they had for the law. "We hang our
murderers," he said, "but there isn't one out of twenty in your
country that is hung." I said, "You are greatly mistaken, for they
walk about these two countries unhung." "What do you mean?" "I will
tell you what I mean," I said; "the man that comes into my house and
runs a dagger into my heart for my money, is a prince compared with a
son that takes five years to kill me and the wife of my bosom. A young
man who comes home night after night drunk, and when his mother
remonstrates, curses her grey hairs and kills her by inches, is the
blackest kind of a murderer."

That kind of thing is going on constantly all around us. One young man
at college, an only son, whose mother wrote to him remonstrating
against his gambling and drinking habits, took the letters out of the
post-office, and when he found that they were from her, he tore them
up without reading them. She said,

"I thought I would die when I found I had lost my hold on that son."

If a boy kills his mother by his conduct, you can't call it anything
else than _murder_, and he is as truly guilty of breaking this sixth
commandment as if he drove a dagger to her heart. If all young men in
this country who are killing their parents and their wives by inches,
should be hung this next week, there would be a great many funerals.

How are you treating your parents? Come, are you killing them? This
sixth commandment follows very naturally after the fifth,--"Honor thy
father and thy mother." Don't put any thorns in their pillows and make
their last days miserable. Bear in mind that the commandment refers
not only to shooting a man down in cold blood; but he is the worst
murderer who goes on, month after month, year after year, until he has
crowded the life out of a sainted mother and put a godly father under
the sod.


Let us look once again at the Sermon on the Mount, that men think so
much of, and see what Christ had to say: "Ye have heard that it has
been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever
shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you,
that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in
danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,
(an expression of contempt), shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, (an expression of condemnation), shall
be in danger of hell fire." "Three degrees of murderous guilt," as has
been said, "all of which can be manifested without a blow being
struck; secret anger--the spiteful jeer--the open, unrestrained
outburst of violent abusive speech."

Again, what does John say? "Whosoever hateth his brother is a
murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in

Did you ever in your heart wish a man dead? That was murder. Did you
ever get so angry that you wished any one harm? Then you are guilty. I
may be addressing some one who is cultivating an unforgiving spirit.
That is the spirit of the murderer, and needs to be rooted out of your

We can only read man's acts--what they have done. God looks down into
the heart. That is the birthplace and home of the evil desires and
intentions that lead to the transgression of all God's laws.

Listen once more to the words of Jesus: "From within, out of the heart
of men, proceed evil thoughts--adulteries--fornications--murders
--thefts--covetousness--wickedness--deceit--lasciviousness--an evil
eye--blasphemy--pride--foolishness. . . ."

May God purge our hearts of these evil things, if we are harboring
them! Ah, if many of us were weighed now, we should find Belshazzar's
doom written against us--"Tekel--wanting!"

Seventh Commandment

"Thou shalt not commit adultery."

An English army-officer in India who had been living an impure life
went around one evening to argue religion with the chaplain. During
their talk the officer said:

"Religion is all very well, but you must admit that there are
difficulties--about the miracles, for instance."

The chaplain knew the man and his besetting sin, and quietly looking
him in the face, answered:

"Yes, there are some things in the Bible not very plain, I admit; but
the seventh commandment is very plain."


I would to God I could pass over this commandment, but I feel that the
time has come to cry aloud and spare not. Plain speaking about it is
not very fashionable nowadays. "Teachers of religion have by common
consent banished from their public teaching all advice, warning or
allusion in regard to love between the sexes," says Dr. Stalker. These
themes are left to poets and novelists to handle. In an autobiography
recently published in England, the writer attributed no small share of
the follies and vices of his earlier years to his never having heard a
plain, outspoken sermon on this seventh commandment.

But though men are inclined to pass it by, God is not silent or
indifferent in regard to it. When I hear any one make light of
adultery and licentiousness, I take the Bible and see how God has let
his curse and wrath come down upon it.

"Thou shalt not commit adultery. . . . For this is a heinous crime;
yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is
a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine
increase. . . . By means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece
of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man
take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon
hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his
neighbor's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. . . .
Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that
doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get;
and his reproach shall not be wiped away. . . . Know ye not that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of
themselves with mankind shall inherit the kingdom of God. . . . But
fornication, and all uncleanness, let it not be once named among you,
as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor
jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving thanks. For
this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person hath any
inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive
you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of
God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers
with them. . . . Whoremongers shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. . . . For
without are whoremongers. . . ."

These are a few of the threatenings and warnings contained in the old
Book, up to its closing chapter. It speaks plainly, without


This commandment is God's bulwark around marriage and the home.
Marriage is one of the institutions that existed in Eden; it is older
than the fall. It is the most sacred relationship that can exist
between human beings, taking precedence even of the relationship of
the parent and child. Some one has pointed out that as in the
beginning God created one man and one woman, this is the true order
for all ages. Where family ties are disregarded and dishonored, the
results are always fatal. The home existed before the church, and
unless the home is kept pure and undefiled, there can be no family
religion and the church is in danger. Adultery and licentiousness have
swept nation after nation out of existence. Did it not bring fire and
brimstone from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah? What carried Rome into
ruin? The obscene frescoes and statues at Pompeii and Naples tell the
tale. Where there is no sacredness around the home, population
dwindles; family virtues disappear; the children are corrupt from
their very birth; the seeds of sure decay are already planted. In 1895
there were twenty-five thousand divorces in this country. I was on one
of the fashionable streets of a prominent city some time ago, where
every family except two in the whole street had either a son or a
daughter that had been divorced. Divorce and debauchery go hand in
hand. We are not gaining much in turning away from this old law, are


Lust is the devil's counterfeit of love. There is nothing more
beautiful on earth than a pure love, and there is nothing so blighting
as lust. I do not know of a quicker, shorter way down to hell than by
adultery and the kindred sins condemned by this commandment. The Bible
says that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, but
"whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart." Lust will drive
all natural affection out of a man's heart. For the sake of some vile
harlot he will trample on the feelings and entreaties of a sainted
mother and beautiful wife and godly sister.

Young man, are you leading an impure life? Suppose God's scales should
drop down before you, what would you do? Are you fit for the kingdom
of heaven? You know very well that you are not. You loathe yourself.
When you look upon that pure wife or mother, you say,

"What a vile wretch I am! The harlot is bringing me down to an
untimely and dishonored grave."

May God show us what a fearful sin it is! The idea of making light of
it! I do not know of any sin that will make a man run down to ruin
more quickly. I am appalled when I think of what is going on in the
world; of so many young men living impure lives, and talking about the
virtue of women as if it didn't amount to anything. This sin is coming
in upon us like a flood at the present day. In every city there is an
army of prostitutes. Young men by hundreds are being utterly ruined by
this accursed sin.


I think that the most infernal thing the sun shines on in America is
the way woman is treated after she has been ruined by a man, often
under fair promises of marriage. Some one said that when the prodigal
son came home he had the best robe and the fatted calf, but what does
the prodigal daughter get? Although she may have been more sinned
against than sinning, she is cast out and ostracized by society. She
is condemned to an almost hopeless life of degradation and shame,
sinking step by step into a loathsome grave, unless she hurries her
doom by suicide. But the wretch who has ruined her in body and soul,
holds his head as high as ever, and society attaches no stain to him.
If he had failed to pay his gambling debts or was detected cheating at
cards, he would promptly be dropped by society; but he may boast of
his impure life, and his companions will think nothing of it. Parents
who would not allow their daughters to become acquainted with a man
who is rude in manners, sometimes do not hesitate to accept the
society of men who are known to be impure.

Talk about stealing--a man who steals the virtue of a woman is the
meanest thief that ever was on the face of the earth! One who goes
into your house and steals your money is a prince compared with a vile
libertine who takes the virtue of your sister, or steals the affection
of your wife, and robs you of her; no sneakthief that ever walked the
earth is so mean as he. How men pass laws to protect their property,
but when that which is far nearer and dearer to them than money is
taken, it is made light of! If a man should push a young lady into the
river and she should be drowned, the law would lay hold of him, and he
would be tried for murder and hung. But if he wins her affection and
ruins her, and then casts her off, isn't he worse, than a murderer?
There are some sins that are worse than murder, and that is one of
them. If some one should treat your wife or sister so, you would want
to shoot him as you would a dog. Why do you not respect all women as
you do your mother and sister? "What law of justice forgives the
obscene bird of prey, while it kicks out of its path the soiled and
bleeding dove?"


God has appointed a day when this matter will be set right. "Be not
deceived: God is not mocked: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he
also reap." He will render to every man according to his deeds. You
may walk down the aisle of the church and take your seat, thinking
that no one knows of your sin. But God is on the throne, and He will
surely bring you to judgment. Do you believe that God will allow this
infernal thing to go on,--women bearing all the blame while guilty men
go unpunished? God has appointed a day when He will judge this world
in righteousness, and the day is fast approaching.

If you are guilty of this sin, do not let the day pass until you
repent. If you are living in some secret sin, or are fostering impure
thoughts, make up your mind that by the grace of God you will be
delivered. I don't believe a man who is guilty of this sin is ever
going to see the kingdom of God unless he repents in sackcloth and
ashes, and does all he can to make restitution.


Even in this life adultery and uncleanness bring their awful results,
both physical and mental. The pleasure and excitement that lead so
many astray at the beginning soon pass away, and only the evil
remains. Vice carries a sting in its tail, like the scorpion. The body
is sinned against, and the body sooner or later suffers. "Every sin
that a man doeth is without the body: but he that committeth
fornication sinneth against his own body," said Paul. Nature herself
punishes with nameless diseases, and the man goes down to the grave
rotten, leaving the effects of his sin to blight his posterity. There
are nations whose manhood has been eaten out by this awful scourge.

It drags a man lower than the beasts. It stains the memory. I believe
that memory is "the worm that never dies," and the memory is never
cleansed of obscene stories and unclean acts. Even if a man repents
and reforms he often has to fight the past.

Lust gave Samson into the power of Delilah, who robbed him of his
strength. It led David to commit murder and called down upon him the
wrath of God, and if he had not repented he would have lost heaven. I
believe that if Joseph had responded to the enticement of Potiphar's
wife, his light would have gone out in darkness.

It ends in one or other of two ways: either in remorse and shame
because of the realization of the loss of purity, with a terrible
struggle against a hard taskmaster; or in hardness of heart,
brutalizing of the finer senses, which is a more dreadful condition.

We hear a good deal about intemperance nowadays. That sin advertises
itself; it shows its marks upon the face and in the conduct. But this
hides itself away under the shadow of the night. A man who tampers
with this evil goes on step by step until his character is blasted,
his reputation ruined, his health gone, and his life made as dark as
hell. May God wake up the nation to see how this awful sin is

Will any one deny that the house of the strange woman is "the way to
hell, going down to the chambers of death," as the Bible says? Are
there not men whose characters have been utterly ruined for this life
through this accursed sin? Are there not wives who would rather sink
into their graves than live? Many a man went with a pure woman to the
altar a few years ago, and promised to love and cherish her. Now he
has given his affections to some vile harlot, and brought ruin on his
wife and children!


Young man, young woman, are you guilty, even in thought? Bear in mind
what Christ said: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time,
Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever
looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her
already in his heart." How many would repent but that they are tied
hand and foot, and some vile harlot, whose feet are fastened in hell,
clings to him and says: "If you give me up, I will expose you!" Can
you step on the scales and take that harlot with you?

If you are guilty of this awful sin, escape for your life. Hear God's
voice while there is yet time. Confess your sin to Him. Ask Him to
snap the fetters that bind you. Ask Him to give you victory over your
passions. If your right eye offends, pluck it out. If your right hand
offends, cut it off. Shake yourself like Samson, and say:

"By the grace of God I will not go down to an adulterer's grave."

There is hope for you, adulterer. There is hope for you, adulteress.
God will not turn you away if you truly repent. No matter how low down
in vice and misery you may have sunk, you may be washed, you may be
sanctified, you may be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by
the Spirit of our God. Remember what Christ said to that woman which
was a sinner--"Thy sins are forgiven thee; thy faith hath saved thee;
go in peace;" and to that woman that was taken in adultery--"Go, and
sin no more."

Eighth Commandment

"Thou shalt not steal."

During the time of slavery, a slave was preaching with great power.
His master heard of it, and sent for him, and said:

"I understand you are preaching?"

"Yes," said the slave,

"Well, now," said the master, "I will give you all the time you need,
and I want you to prepare a sermon on the Ten Commandments, and to
bear down especially on stealing, because there is a great deal of
stealing on the plantation."

The slave's countenance fell at once. He said he wouldn't like to do
that; there wasn't the warmth in that subject there was in others.

I have noticed that people are satisfied when you preach about the
sins of the patriarchs, but they don't like it when you touch upon the
sins of to-day. That is coming too near home. But we need to have
these old doctrines stated over and over again in our churches.
Perhaps it is not necessary to speak here about the grosser violations
of this eighth commandment, because the law of the land looks after
these; but a man or woman can steal without cracking safes and picking
pockets. Many a person who would shrink from taking what belongs to
another person, thinks nothing of stealing from the government or from
large public corporations, such as streetcar companies. If you steal
from a rich man it is as much a sin as stealing from a poor man. If
you lie about the value of things you buy, are you not trying to
defraud the storekeeper? "It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer:
but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth."

On the other hand, many a person who would not steal himself, holds
stock in companies that make dishonest profits; but "though hand join
in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished."

A young man in our Bible Institute in Chicago got on the grip-car, and
before the conductor came around to take the fare, they reached the
Institute and he jumped off without paying his fare. In thinking over
that act he said: "That was not just right. I had my ride and I ought
to pay the fare."

He remembered the face of the conductor, and he went to the car barns
and paid him the five cents.

"Well," the conductor said, "you are a fool not to keep it." "No," the
young man said, "I am not. I got the ride, and I ought to have paid
for it." "But it was my business to collect it." "No, it was my
business to hand it to you." The conductor said, "I think you must
belong to that Bible Institute."

I have heard few things said of the Institute that pleased me so much
as that one thing. Not long after that the conductor came to the
Institute and asked the student to come to see him. A cottage-meeting
was started in his house; and not only himself but a number of others
around there were converted as a result of that one act.

You can hardly take up a paper now without reading of some cashier of
a bank who has become a defaulter, or of some large swindling
operation that has ruined scores, or of some breach of trust, or
fraudulent failure in business. These things are going on all over the

I would to God that we could have all gambling swept away. If
Christian men take the right stand, they can check it and break it up
in a great many places. It leads to stealing.


The stream generally starts at home and in the school. Parents are
woefully lax in their condemnation and punishment of the sin of
stealing. The child begins by taking sugar, it may be. The mother
makes light of it at first, and the child's conscience is violated
without any sense of wrong. By and by it is not an easy matter to
check the habit, because it grows and multiplies with every new

The value of the thing that is stolen has nothing to say to the guilt
of the act. Two people were once arguing upon this point, and one
said: "Well, you will not contend that a theft of a pin and of a
dollar are the same to God?" "When you tell me the difference between
the value of a pin and of a dollar to God," said the other, "I will
answer your question."

The value or amount is not what is to be considered, but whether the
act is _right_ or _wrong_. Partial obedience is not enough: obedience
must be entire. The little indulgences, the small transgressions are
what drive religion out of the soul. They lay the foundation for the
grosser sins. If you give way to little temptations, you will not be
able to resist when great temptations come to you.


_Extortioner_, are you ready to step into the scales? What will you do
with the condemnation of God--"Thou has taken usury and increase, and
thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbor's by extortion, and hast
forgotten me, saith the Lord God?"

_Employer_, are you guilty of sweating your employees? Have you
defrauded the hireling of his wages? Have you paid starvation wages?
"Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy,
whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy
land within thy gates. . . . What mean ye that ye beat my people to
pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.
. . . Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your
fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of
them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of

And you, _employee_, have you been honest with your employer? Have you
robbed him of his due by wasting your time when he was not looking? If
God should summon you into His presence now, what would you say?

Let the _merchant_ step into the scales. See if you will prove light
when weighed against the law of God. Are you guilty of adulterating
what you sell? Do you substitute inferior grades of goods? Are your
advertisements deceptive? Are your cheap prices made possible by
defrauding your customers either in quantity or in quality? Do you
teach your clerks to put a French or an English tag on domestic
manufactures, and then sell them as imported goods? Do you tell them
to say that the goods are all wool when you know they are half cotton?
Do you give short weight or measure? See what God says in His Word:
"Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of
deceitful weights? Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a
great and a small: thou shalt not have in thy house divers measures, a
great and a small: but thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a
perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be
lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. . . . Ye
shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in
measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just hin,
shall ye have." Are you like those who said: "When will the new moon
be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth
wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying
the balances by deceit? that we may buy the poor for silver, and the
needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?"

"Show me a people whose trade is dishonest," said Fronde, "and I will
show you a people whose religion is a sham." Unless your religion can
keep you honest in your business, it isn't worth much; it isn't the
right kind. God is a God of righteousness, and no true follower of his
can swerve one inch to the right or left without disobeying Him.


I heard of a boy who stole a cannon-ball from a navy-yard. He watched
his opportunity, sneaked into the yard, and secured it. But when he
had it, he hardly knew what to do with it. It was heavy, and too large
to conceal in his pocket, so he had to put it under his hat. When he
got home with it, he dared not show it to his parents, because it
would have led at once to his detection. He said in after years it was
the last thing he ever stole. The story is told that one of Queen
Victoria's diamonds valued at $600,000 was stolen from a jeweler's
window, to whom it had been given to set. A few months afterward a
miserable man died a miserable death in a poor lodging-house. In his
pocket was found the diamond and a letter telling how he had not dared
to sell it lest it should lead to his discovery and imprisonment. It
never brought him anything but anxiety and pain.

Everything you steal is a curse to you in that way. The sin
overreaches itself. A man who takes money that does not belong to him
never gets any lasting comfort. He has no real pleasure, for he has a
guilty conscience. He cannot look an honest man in the face. He loses
peace of mind here, and all hope of heaven hereafter. "As the
partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth
riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days,
and at his end shall be a fool. . . . Let no man go beyond and defraud
his brother in any matter; because that the Lord is the avenger of all

I may be speaking to some clerk who perhaps took five cents to-day out
of his employer's drawer to buy a cigar; perhaps he took ten cents to
get a shave, and thinks he will put it back to-morrow--no one will
ever know it. If you have taken a cent, you are a thief. Do you ever
think how those little stealings may bring you to ruin? Let your
employer find it out. If he doesn't take you into court, he will
discharge you. Your hopes will be blasted, and it will be hard work to
get up again. Whatever condition you are in, do not take a cent that
does not belong to you. Rather than steal, go up to heaven in
poverty--go up to heaven from the poor-house. Be honest rather than go
through the world in a gilded chariot of stolen riches.


If you have ever taken money dishonestly, you need not pray God to
forgive you and fill you with the Holy Ghost until you make
restitution. If you have not got the money now to pay back, will to do
it, and God accepts the willing mind.

Many a man is kept in darkness and unrest because he fails to obey God
on this point. If the plough has gone deep, if the repentance is true,
it will bring forth fruit. What use is there in my coming to God until
I am willing to make it good, like Zacchaeus, if I have done any man
wrong or have taken anything from him falsely? "If the wicked restore
the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of
life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not
die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto
him." Confession and restitution are the steps that lead up to
forgiveness. Until you tread those steps, you may expect your
conscience to be troubled, your sin to haunt you.

I was preaching in British Columbia some years ago, and a young man
came to me, and wanted to become a Christian. He had been smuggling
opium into the States.

"Well, my friend," I said, "I don't think there is any chance for you
to become a Christian until you make restitution." He said, "If I
attempt to do that, I will fall into the clutches of the law, and I
will go to the penitentiary." "Well," I replied, "you had better do
that than go to the judgment-seat of God with that sin upon your soul,
and have eternal punishment. The Lord will be very merciful if you set
your face to do right."

He went away sorrowful, but came back the next day, and said: "I have
a young wife and child, and all the furniture in my house I have
bought with money I have got in this dishonest way. If I become a
Christian, that furniture will have to go, and my wife will know it."
"Better let your wife know it, and better let your home and furniture
go." "Would you come up and see my wife?" he asked; "I don't know what
she will say."

I went up to see her, and when I told her, the tears trickled down her
cheeks, and she said: "Mr. Moody, I will gladly give everything if my
husband can become a true Christian."

She took out her pocketbook, and handed over her last penny. He had a
piece of land in the United States, which he deeded over to the
government. I do not know in all my backward track of any living man
who has had a better testimony for Jesus Christ than that man. He had
been dishonest, but when the truth came to him that he must make it
right before God would help him, he made it right and then God used
him wonderfully.

No amount of weeping over sin, and saying that you feel sorry, is
going to help it unless you are willing to confess, and make

Ninth Commandment

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Two out of the Ten Commandments deal with sins that find expression by
the tongue--the third commandment, which forbids taking God's name in
vain, and this ninth commandment, which forbids false witness against
our neighbor. This two-fold prohibition ought to impress us as a
solemn warning, especially as we find that the pages of Scripture are
full of condemnation of sins of the tongue. The Psalms, Proverbs and
the epistle of James deal largely with the subject.


Organized society of a degree higher than that of the herding of
animals and flocking of birds depends so much upon the power of
speech, that without it we may say society would be impossible.
Language is an essential element in the social fabric. To its purpose
it must be trustworthy. Words must command confidence. Anything which
undermines the truth takes (as it were) the mortar out of the building
and if general, must mean ruin. Paul said--"Wherefore putting away
lying, speak every man truth to his neighbor: for we are members one
of another." Note the reason given--"we are members one of another."
All community, all union and fellowship would be shattered if a man
did not know whether to believe his neighbor or not.

The transgressions of this commandment are very varied in form, and
very frequent. Men and women of all ages have to guard against them.
They include some of the most besetting sins. David said in his
haste--"All men are liars." Some one has remarked that if he had been
living nowadays, he might say it without haste and not be very far
wide of the truth.


The bearing of false witness is forbidden, but this must not be
limited merely to testimony given in the law court or under oath.
Isn't it a condemnation that men have to be put under oath in order to
make sure of their speaking the truth? As a legal offence,
_perjury_--the bearing of false witness when under oath--is one of the
most serious crimes that can be committed. Nearly every civilized
nation visits it with heavy punishment. Unless promptly checked, it
would shake the very foundations of justice.

_Lying_--uttering or acting falsehood--and _slander_--the spreading of
false reports tending to destroy the reputation of another--are two of
the most common violations of this commandment.


We have got nowadays so that we divide lies into white lies and black
lies, society lies, business lies, etc. The Word of God knows no such
letting-down of the standard. A lie is a lie, no matter what are the
circumstances under which it is uttered, or by whom. I have heard that
in Siam they sew up the mouth of a confirmed liar. I am afraid if that
was the custom in America, a good many would suffer. Parents should
begin with their children while they are young and teach them to be
strictly truthful at all times. There is a proverb: "A lie has no
legs." It requires other lies to support it. Tell one lie and you are
forced to tell others to back it up.


You don't like to have any one bear false witness against you, or help
to ruin your character or reputation: then why should you do it to
others? How public men are slandered in this country! None escape,
whether good or bad. Judgment is passed upon them, their family, their
character, by the press and by individuals who know little or nothing
about them. If one tenth that is said and written about our public men
was true, half of them should be hung. Slander has been called "tongue
murder." Slanderers are compared to flies that always settle on sores,
but do not touch a man's good parts.

If the archangel Gabriel should come down to earth and mix in human
affairs, I believe his character would be assailed inside of
forty-eight hours. Slander called Christ a gluttonous man and a
winebibber. He claimed to be the Truth, but instead of worshipping
Him, men took Him and crucified Him.

When any one spoke evil of another in the presence of Peter the Great,
he used promptly to stop him, and say:

"Well, now, has he not got a bright side? Tell me what you know good
of him. It is easy to splash mud, but I would rather help a man to
keep his coat clean."

I need not stop to run through the whole catalogue of sins that are
related to these three. Falserumor--exaggeration--misrepresentation
--insinuation--gossip--equivocation--holding back of the truth when
it is due and right to tell it--disparagement--perversion of meaning:
these are common transgressions of this ninth commandment, differing
in form and degree of guilt according to the motive or manner of their
expression. They bear false witness against a man before the tribunal
of public opinion--a court whose judgment none of us escape. As so
much of our life is passed in public view, any untruth that leads to
a false judgment is a grievous wrong.


Government of the tongue is made the test of true religion by James.
"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue,
but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. . . . For
in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the
same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body:" Just
as a doctor looks at the tongue and can tell the condition of the
bodily health, so a man's words are an index of what is within. Truth
will spring from a good heart: falsehood and deceit from a corrupt
heart. When Ananias kept back part of the price of the land, Peter
asked him--"Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy
Ghost?" Satan is the father of lies and the promoter of lies:


The tongue can be an instrument of untold good or incalculable evil.
Some one has said that a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that
grows keener with constant use. "Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a
sharp razor, working deceitfully. . . . They have sharpened their
tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. . . . The
mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the
mouth of the wicked. . . . A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but
perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit, . . ." Bishop Hall
said that the tongues of busybodies are like the tails of Samson's
foxes--they carry firebrands and are enough to set the whole field of
the world in a flame. "Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths that
they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the
ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds,
yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the
governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth
great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And
the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our
members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the
course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of
beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is
tamed and hath been tamed by mankind: but the tongue can no man tame;
it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God,
even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the
similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and
cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain
send forth at the same time sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree,
my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine figs? so can no
fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued
with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his
works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and
strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth."

Blighted hopes and blasted reputations are witness to its awful power.
In many cases the tongue has murdered its victims. Can we not all
recall cases where men and women have died under the wounds of calumny
and misrepresentation? History is full of such cases.


The most dangerous thing about it is that a word once uttered can
never be obliterated. Some one has said that lying is a worse crime
than counterfeiting. There is some hope of following up bad coins
until they are all recovered; but an evil word can never be overtaken.
The mind of the hearer or reader has been poisoned, and human devices
cannot reach in and cleanse it. Lies can never be called back.

A woman who was well known as a scandal-monger, went and confessed to
the priest. He gave her a ripe thistle-top, and told her to go out and
scatter the seeds one by one. She wondered at the penance, but obeyed;
then she came and told the priest. He next told her to go and gather
again the scattered seeds. Of course she saw that it was impossible.
The priest used it as an object-lesson to cure her of the sin of
scandalous talk.


These sins are devilish, and the Bible is severe in its denunciations
of them. It contains many solemn warnings. "Thou shalt destroy them
that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
. . . The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. Whoso
privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off. . . . Lying lips
are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His
delight. . . . By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words
thou shalt be condemned. . . . All liars shall have their part in the
lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second
death." Whoso loveth and maketh a lie shall in no wise enter into the
new Jerusalem.


"But, Mr. Moody," you say, "how can I check myself? how can I overcome
the habit of lying and gossip?" A lady once said to me that she had
got so into the habit of exaggerating that her friends said they could
never understand her.

The cure is simple, but not very pleasant. Treat it as a sin, and
confess it to God and the man whom you have wronged. As soon as you
catch yourself lying, go straight to the person and confess you have
lied. Let your confession be as wide as your transgression. If you
have slandered or lied about any one in public, let your confession be
public. Many a person says some mean, false thing about another in the
presence of others, and then tries to patch it up by going to that
person alone. That is not making restitution. I need not go to God
with confession until I have made it right with that person, if it is
in my power to do so; He will not hear me.

Hannah Moore's method was a sure cure for scandal. Whenever she was
told anything derogatory of another, her invariable reply was:

"Come, we will go and ask if it be true."

The effect was sometimes ludicrously painful. The talebearer was taken
aback, stammered out a qualification, or begged that no notice might
be taken of the statement. But the good lady was inexorable. Off she
took the scandal-monger to the scandalized to make inquiry and compare

It is not likely that anybody ventured a second time to repeat a
gossipy story to Hannah Moore.

My friend, how is it? If God should weigh you against this
commandment, would you be found wanting? "Thou shalt not bear false
witness." Are you innocent or guilty?

Tenth Commandment

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox,
nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."

In the twelfth chapter of Luke our Saviour lifted two danger signals.
"Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. . . .
Take heed and beware of covetousness."

The greatest dupe the devil has in the world is the hypocrite; but the
next greatest is the covetous man, "for a man's life consisteth not in
the abundance of the things which he possesseth."

I believe this sin is much stronger now than ever before in the
world's history. We are not in the habit of condemning it as a sin. In
his epistle to the Thessalonians Paul speaks of "the cloke of
covetousness." Covetous men use it as a cloke, and call it prudence,
and foresight. Who ever heard it confessed as a sin? I have heard many
confessions, in public and private, during the past forty years, but
never have I heard a man confess that he was guilty of this sin. The
Bible does not tell of one man who ever recovered from it, and in all
my experience I do not recall many who have been able to shake it off
after it had fastened on them. A covetous man or woman generally
remains covetous to the very end.

We may say that covetous desire plunged the human race into sin. We
can trace the river back from age to age until we get to its rise in
Eden. When Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was good for food and that
it was desirable to the eyes, she partook of it, and Adam with her.
They were not satisfied with all that God had showered upon them, but
coveted the wisdom of gods which Satan deceitfully told them might be
obtained by eating the fruit. She saw,--she desired--then she took!
Three steps from innocence into sin.


It would be absurd for such a law as this to be placed upon any human
statute book. It could never be enforced. The officers of the law
would be powerless to detect infractions. The outward conduct may be
regulated, but the thoughts and intents of a man are beyond the reach
of human law.

But God can see behind outward actions. He can read the thoughts of
the heart. Our innermost life, invisible to mortal eye, is laid bare
before Him. We cannot deceive Him by external conformity. He is able
to detect the least transgression and shortcoming, so that no man can
shirk detection. God cannot be imposed upon by the cleanness of the
outside of the cup and the platter.

Surely we have here another proof that the Ten Commandments are not of
human origin, but must be divine.

This commandment, then, did not, even on the surface, confine itself
to visible actions as did the preceding commandments. Even before
Christ came and showed their spiritual sweep, men had a commandment
that went beneath public-conduct and touched the very springs of
action. It directly prohibited--not the wrong act, but the wicked
desire that prompted the act. It forbade the evil thought, the
unlawful wish. It sought to prevent--not only sin, but the desire to
sin. In God's sight it is as wicked to set covetous eyes, as it is to
lay thieving hands, upon anything that is not ours.

And why? Because if the evil desire can be controlled, there will be
no outbreak in conduct. Desires have been called "actions in the egg."
The desire in the heart is the first step in the series that ends in
action. Kill the evil desire, and you successfully avoid the ill
results that would follow upon its hatching and development.
Prevention is better than cure.

We must not limit covetousness to the matter of money. The commandment
is not thus limited; it reads, "Thou shalt not covet. . . anything. . . ."
That word "anything" is what will condemn us. Though we do not
join in the race for wealth, have we not sometimes a hungry longing
for our neighbor's goodly lands--fine houses,--beautiful
clothes,--brilliant reputation,--personal accomplishments,--easy
circumstances,--comfortable surroundings? Have we not had the desire
to increase our possessions or to change our lot in accordance with
what we see in others? If so, we are guilty of having broken this law.


Let us examine a few of the Bible passages that bear down on this sin,
and see what are God's thoughts about it.

"_Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of
God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
nor thieves,_ nor covetous, _nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor
extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God_."

Notice that the covetous are named between thieves and drunkards. We
lock up thieves, and have no mercy on them. We loathe drunkards, and
consider them great sinners against the law of God as well as the law
of the land. Yet there is far more said in the Bible against
covetousness than against either stealing or drunkenness.

Covetousness and stealing are almost like Siamese twins--they go
together so often. In fact we might add lying, and make them triplets.
"The covetous person is a thief _in_ the shell. The thief is a
covetous person _out of_ the shell. Let a covetous person see
something that he desires very much; let an opportunity of taking it
be offered; how very soon he will break through the shell and come out
in his true character as a thief." The Greek word translated
"covetousness" means--an inordinate desire of getting. When the Gauls
tasted the sweet wines of Italy, they asked where they came from, and
never rested until they had overrun Italy.

"_For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor
covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom
of Christ and God_."

There we have the same truth repeated; but notice that covetousness is
called idolatry. The covetous man worships Mammon, not God.

"_Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as
fear God, men of truth,_ hating covetousness; _and place such over
them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of
fifties, and rulers of tens_."

Isn't it extraordinary that Jethro, the man of the desert, should have
given this advice to Moses? How did he learn to beware of
covetousness? We honor men to-day if they are wealthy and covetous. We
elect them to office in church and state. We often say that they will
make better treasurers just because we know them to be covetous. But
in God's sight a covetous man is as vile and black as any thief or
drunkard. David said: "The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and
blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth." I am afraid that many
who profess to have put away wickedness also speak well of the


"_He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he
that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods
increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to
the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The
sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but
the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a
sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the
owners thereof to their hurt_."

Isn't that true? Is the covetous man ever satisfied with his
possessions? Aren't they vanity? Does he have peace of mind? Don't
selfish riches always bring hurt?

The folly of covetousness is well shown in the following extract: "If
you should see a man that had a large pond of water, yet living in
continual thirst, nor suffering himself to drink half a draught for
fear of lessening his pond; if you should see him wasting his time and
strength in fetching more water to his pond, always thirsty, yet
always carrying a bucket of water in his hand, watching early and late
to catch the drops of rain, gaping after every cloud, and running
greedily into every mire and mud in hopes of water, and always
studying how to make every ditch empty itself into the pond; if you
should see him grow grey in these anxious labors, and at last end a
thirsty life by falling into his own pond, would you not say that such
a one was not only the author of his own disquiet, but was foolish
enough to be reckoned among madmen? But foolish and absurd as this
character is, it does not represent half the follies and absurd
disquiets of the covetous man."

I have read of a millionaire in France, who was a miser. In order to
make sure of his wealth, he dug a cave in his wine cellar so large and
deep that he could go down into it with a ladder. The entrance had a
door with a spring lock. After a time, he was missing. Search was
made, but they could find no trace of him. At last his house was sold,
and the purchaser discovered this door in the cellar. He opened it,
went down, and found the miser lying dead on the ground, in the midst
of his riches. The door must have shut accidentally after him, and he
perished miserably.


"_They that will be_, (that is, desire to be), _rich fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which
drown men in destruction and perdition_."

The Bible speaks of the deceitfulness of two things--"the
deceitfulness of _sin_" and "the deceitfulness of _riches_." Riches
are like a mirage in the desert, which has all the appearance of
satisfying, and lures on the traveler with the promise of water and
shade; but he only wastes his strength in the effort to reach it. So
riches never satisfy: the pursuit of them always turns out a snare.

Lot coveted the rich plains of Sodom, and what did he gain? After
twenty years spent in that wicked city, he had to escape for his life,
leaving all his wealth behind him.

What did the thirty pieces of silver do for Judas? Weren't they a

Think of Balaam. He is generally regarded as a false prophet, but I do
not find that any of his prophecies that are recorded are not true;
they have been literally fulfilled. Up to a certain point his
character shone magnificently, but the devil finally overcame him by
the bait of covetousness. He stepped over a heavenly crown for the
riches and honors that Balak promised him. He went to perdition
backwards. His face was set toward God, but he backed into hell. He
wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he did not live the life
of the righteous. It is sad to see so many who know God, miss
everything for riches.

Then consider the case of Gehazi. There is another man who was drowned
in destruction and perdition by covetousness. He got more out of
Naaman than he asked for, but he also got Naaman's leprosy. Think how
he forfeited the friendship of his master Elisha, the man of God! So
to-day lifelong friends are separated by this accursed desire. Homes
are broken up. Men are willing to sell out peace and happiness for the
sake of a few dollars.

Didn't David fall into foolish and hurtful lusts? He saw Bathsheba,
Uriah's wife, and she was "very beautiful to look upon," and David
became a murderer and an adulterer. The guilty longing hurled him into
the deepest pit of sin. He had to reap bitterly as he had sowed.

I heard of a wealthy German out west, who owned a lumber mill. He was
worth nearly two millions of dollars, but his covetousness was so
great that he once worked as a common laborer carrying railroad ties
all day. It was the cause of his death.

"_And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against
the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw
among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels
of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I_
coveted them,_and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in
the midst of my tent, and the silver under it_."

He saw--he coveted--he took--he hid! The covetous eye was what led
Achan up to the wicked deed that brought sorrow and defeat upon the
camp of Israel.

We know the terrible punishment that was meted out to Achan. God seems
to have set danger signals at the threshold of each new age. It is
remarkable how soon the first outbreaks of covetousness occurred.
Think of Eve in Eden, Achan just after Israel had entered the Promised
Land, Ananias and Sapphira in the early Christian Church.


"_For the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some
coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves
through with many sorrows_."

The Revised Version translates it--"_a root of all kinds of evil_."
This tenth commandment has therefore been aptly called a
"root-extractor," because it would tear up and destroy this root. Deep
down in our corrupt nature it has spread. No one but God can rid us of

Matthew tells us that the deceitfulness of riches chokes the Word of
God. Like the Mississippi river, which chokes up its mouth by the
amount of soil it carries down. Isn't that true of many business-men
to day? They are so engrossed with their affairs that they have not
time for religion. They lose sight of their soul and its eternal
welfare in their desire to amass wealth. They do not even hesitate to
sell their souls to the devil. How many a man says, "We must make
money, and if God's law stands in the way, brush it aside."

The word "lucre" occurs five times in the New Testament, and each time
it is called "_filthy_ lucre."

"A root of all kinds of evil." Yes, because what will not men be
guilty of when prompted by the desire to be rich? Greed for gold leads
men to commit violence and murder, to cheat and deceive and steal. It
turns the heart to stone, devoid of all natural affection, cruel,
unkind. How many families are wrecked over the father's will! The
scramble for a share of the wealth smashes them to pieces. Covetous of
rank and position in society, parents barter sons and daughters in
ungodly marriage. Bodily health is no consideration. The
uncontrollable fever for gold makes men renounce all their settled
prospects, and undertake hazardous journeys--no peril can drive them
back. It destroys faith and spirituality, turning men's minds and
hearts away from God. It disturbs the peace of the community by
prompting to acts of wrong. Covetousness has more than once led nation
to war against nation for the sake of gaining territory or other
material resources. It is said that when the Spaniards came over to
conquer Peru, they sent a message to the king, saying, "Give us gold,
for we Spaniards have a disease that can only be cured by gold."

Dr. Boardman has shown how covetousness leads to the transgression of
every one of the commandments, and I cannot do better than quote his
words: "Coveting tempts us into the violation of the first
commandment, worshipping Mammon in addition to Jehovah. Coveting
tempts us into a violation of the second commandment, or idolatry. The
apostle Paul expressly identifies the covetous man with an idolater:
'Covetousness, which is idolatry.' Again: Coveting tempts us into
violation of the third commandment, or sacrilegious falsehood: for
instance, Gehazi, lying in the matter of his interview with Naaman the
Syrian, and Ananias and Sapphira, perjuring themselves in the matter
of the community of goods. Again: Coveting tempts us into the
violation of the fourth commandment, or Sabbath-breaking. It is
covetousness which encroaches on God's appointed day of sacred rest,
tempting us to run trains for merely secular purposes, to vend tobacco
and liquors, to hawk newspapers. Again: Coveting tempts us into the
violation of the fifth commandment, or disrespect for authority;
tempting the young man to deride his early parental counsels, the
citizen to trample on civic enactments. Again: Covetousness tempts us
into violation of the sixth commandment, or murder. Recall how Judas'
love of money lured him into the betrayal of his Divine Friend into
the hand of His murderers, his lure being the paltry sum
of--say--fifteen dollars. Again: Covetousness tempts us into the
violation of the seventh commandment, or adultery. Observe how
Scripture combines greed and lust. Again: Covetousness tempts us into
the violation of the eighth commandment, or theft. Recall how it
tempted Achan to steal a goodly Babylonish mantle, and two hundred
shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight. Again:
Covetousness tempts us into the violation of the ninth commandment, or
bearing false witness against our neighbor. Recall how the
covetousness of Ahab instigated his wife Jezebel to employ sons of
Belial to bear blasphemous and fatal testimony against Naboth, saying,
'Thou didst curse God and the king.'"


You ask me how you are to cast this unclean spirit out of your heart?
I think I can tell you.

In the first place, make up your mind that by the grace of God you
will overcome the spirit of selfishness. You must overcome it, or it
will overcome you. Paul said: "Mortify therefore your members which
are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection,
evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which
things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience."

I heard of a rich man who was asked to make a contribution on behalf
of some charitable object. The text was quoted to him--"He that hath
pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given
will He pay him again." He said that the security might be good
enough, but the credit was too long. He was dead within two weeks. The
wrath of God rested upon him as he never expected.

If you find yourself getting very miserly, begin to scatter, like a
wealthy farmer in New York state I heard of. He was a noted miser, but
he was converted. Soon after, a poor man who had been burned out and
had no provisions, came to him for help. The farmer thought he would
be liberal and give the man a ham from his smoke-house. On his way to
get it, the tempter whispered to him:

"Give him the smallest one you have."

He had a struggle whether he would give a large or a small ham, but
finally he took down the largest he could find.

"You are a fool," the devil said.

"If you don't keep still," the farmer replied, "I will give him every
ham I have in the smoke house."

Mr. Durant told me he woke up one morning to find that he was a rich
man, and he said that the greatest struggle of his life then took
place as to whether he would let money be his master, or he be master
of money, whether he would be its slave, or make it a slave to him. At
last he got the victory, and that was how Wellesley College came to be

In the next place, cultivate the spirit of contentment. "Let your
conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things
as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake
thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not
fear what man shall do unto me."

Contentment is the very opposite of covetousness, which is continually
craving for something it does not possess. "Be content with such
things as ye have," not worrying about the future, because God has
promised never to leave or forsake you. What does the child of God
want more than this? I would rather have that promise than all the
gold of the earth.

Would to God we might all be able to say with Paul--"I have coveted no
man's silver, or gold, or apparel." The Lord had made him partaker of
His grace, and he was soon to be a partaker of His glory, and earthly
things looked very small. "Godliness with contentment is great gain,"
he wrote to Timothy; "having food and raiment, therewith let us be
content." Observe that he puts godliness first. No worldly gain can
satisfy the human heart. Roll the whole world in, and still there
would be room.

May God tear the scales off our eyes if we are blinded by this sin.
Oh, the folly of it, that we should set our heart's affections upon
anything below! "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is
certain we can carry nothing out. . . . Be thou not afraid when one is
made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dieth
he shall take nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him."

The Handwriting Blotted Out

We have now considered the Ten Commandments, and the question for each
one of us is--are we keeping them? If God should weigh us by them,
would we be found wanting or not wanting? Do we keep the law, the
_whole_ law? Are we obeying God with all our heart? Do we render Him a
full and willing obedience?


These ten commandments are not ten different laws; they are one law.
If I am being held up in the air by a chain with ten links and I break
one of them, down I come, just as surely as if I break the whole ten.
If I am forbidden to go out of an enclosure, it makes no difference at
what point I break through the fence. "Whosoever shall keep the whole
law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." "The golden
chain of obedience is broken if one link is missing."

We sometimes hear people pray to be preserved from certain sins, as if
they were in no danger of committing others. I firmly believe that if
a man begins by wilfully breaking one of these commandments it is much
easier for him to break the others. I know of a gentleman who had a
confidential clerk, and insisted on his going down Sunday morning to
work on his books. The young man had a good deal of principle, and at
first refused, but he was anxious to keep in the good graces of his
employer and finally yielded. He had not done that a great while
before he speculated in stocks, and became a defaulter for $120,000.
The employer had him arrested and put in the penitentiary for ten
years, but I believe he was just as guilty in the sight of God as that
young man, for he led him to take the first step on the downward road.
You remember the story of a soldier who was smuggled into a fortress
in a load of hay, and opened the gates to his comrades. Every sin we
commit opens the door for other sins.


For fifteen hundred years man was under the law, and no one was equal
to it. Christ came and showed that the commandments went beyond the
mere letter; and can any one since say that he has been able to keep
them in his own strength? As the plummet is held up, we see how much
we are out of the perpendicular. As we measure ourselves by that holy
standard, we find how much we are lacking. As a child said, when
reproved by her mother and told that she ought to do right: "How can I
do right when there is no 'right' in me?" All have sinned and come
short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no, not one.

I do not say that all are equally guilty of gross violations of the
commandments. It needs a certain amount of reckless courage openly to
break a law, human or divine; but it is easy to _crack_ them, as the
child said. It has been remarked that the life of many professors of
religion is full of fractures that result from little sins, little
acts of temper and selfishness. It is possible to crack a costly vase
so finely that it cannot be noticed by the observer; but let this be
done again and again in different directions, and some day the vase
will go to pieces at a touch. When we hear of some one who has had a
lifelong reputation for good character and consistent living, suddenly
falling into some shameful sin, we are shocked and puzzled. If we knew
all, we would find that only the fall has been sudden, that he has
been sliding toward it for years. Away back in his life we should find
numerous _cracked_ commandments. His exposure is only the falling of
the vase to pieces.


Men have all sorts of weights that they think are going to satisfy,
but they will find that they are altogether vanity, and lighter than

The moral man is as guilty as the rest. His morality cannot save him.
"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. . . . Except ye be
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the
kingdom of heaven." I have often heard good people say that our
meetings were doing good, they were reaching the drunkards, and
gamblers, and harlots; but they never realized that they needed the
grace of God for themselves.

Nicodemus was probably one of the most moral men of his day. He was a
teacher of the law. Yet Christ said to him: "Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." It is much easier to reach
was a Lamb without spot or blemish, His atoning death is efficacious
for you and me. He had no sin of His own to atone for, and so God
accepted His sacrifice. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness
to every one that believeth. We are righteous in God's sight because
the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ is unto all
and upon all them that believe.

If we had to live forever with our sins in the handwriting of God on
the wall, it would be hell on earth. But thank God for the gospel we
preach! If we repent, our sins will all be blotted out. "You, being
dead in your sins, hath He quickened together with Him, having
forgiven you all your trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it
out of the way, nailing it to His cross."


If the love of God is shed abroad in your heart, you will be able to
fulfil the law. Paul reduced the commandments to one: "Love is the
fulfilling of the law." Some one has written the following:

   "Love to God will admit no other God.
   Love resents everything that debases its object by representing it
by an image.
   Love to God will never dishonor His name.
   Love to God will reverence His day.
   Love to parents makes one honor them.
   Hate, not love, is a murderer.
   Lust, not love, commits adultery.
   Love will give, but never steal.
   Love will not slander or lie.
   Love's eye is not covetous."


It is the height of madness to turn away and run the risk of being
called by God to judgment and have no hope in Christ. Now is the day
and hour to accept salvation, and then He will be with you. Do you
step aside and say: "I'm not ready yet. I want a little more time to
prepare, to turn the matter over in my mind?" Well, you have time, but
bear in mind it is only the present; you do not know that you will
have to-morrow. Wasn't Belshazzar cut off suddenly? Would he have
believed that that was going to be his last night, that he would never
see the light of another sun? That banquet of sin didn't close as he
expected. As long as you delay you are in danger. If you don't enter
into the kingdom of heaven by God's way, you cannot enter at all. You
must accept Christ as your Savior, or you will never be fit to be

My friend, have you got Him? Will you remain as you are and be found
wanting, or will you accept Christ and be ready for the summons? "This
is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life
is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not
the Son of God hath not life."

May God open your heart to receive His Son now!


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