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BV 46 5T~7S3 4 l^^l 
Schenck, Ferdinand 

Schureman, 1845-1925. 
The ten commandments and 

Lord's prayer 









Ferdinand S. Schenck, D.D. 

Professor of Practical Theology, Theological Seminary of the Reformed 
{Dutch) Church in America, New Brunswick, New Jersey 



Copyright, 1889, by FUNK & WAGNAI,I.S 

Copyright, 1902, uv 


[printed in the united states of America] 

Published in September, 1902 


A great philosopher has said that the mind must 
be filled with awe when one contemplates either 
the universe or the moral law. The psalmist saw 
the glory of God alike in the heavens and in the 
law. Given in the early dawn of civilization, this 
law of the Ten Commandments has not been left 
behind in the advance of the race, but still stands 
far ahead, beckoning on the centuries. Its perfec- 
tion is a sufiicient evidence of its Divine origin. 
Each commandment is an authoritative statement 
of a fundamental principle of human nature. 

The Lord's Prayer voices forth the response of 
human nature as moved by the Divine Savior ; it 
recognizes its deep need and lofty possibilities. 

The Law and the Prayer together describe the 
individual man in God's sight, the grandeur and 
loneliness of personality. But they are not content 
with God and the individual man ; there must be 
other men. And thus they provide for the ideal 
Society, when all men shall regard God as their 
Father and their fellow men as brothers. 

I send forth this book with the great design of 
helping men to see the glory of God and our own 
nobility, as set forth in this Law and Prayer of our 


The Ten^ Commandments: page. 

The Law-Giver 5 

The First Commandment 15 

The Second Commandment 26 

The Third Commandment 38 

The Fourth Commandment 48 

The Fifth Commandment 61 

The Sixth Commandment 75 

The Seventh Commandment 87 

The Eighth Commandment 102 

The Ninth Commandment 118 

The Tenth Commandment 129 

The Lord's Prayer: 

From Law to Prayer 143 

" Our Father which art in Heaven " .... 146 

"Hallowed be Thy name" 158 

"Thy Kingdom come" 174 

" Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven " 187 

" Give us this day our daily bread " 201 

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 

debtors" 215 

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver 

us from evil " 229 

" For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and 

the glory, for ever. Amen " 242 




** And God spake all these words, saying : I am the Lord thy 
God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the 
house of bondage."— Ex. 20: 1,2. 

There is a law by which the earth revolves, and light 
follows darkness. There is a law by which the earth 
sweeps round the sun, and the seasons follow each other 
in endless procession ; spring with its flowers, summer 
with its harvests, autumn with its fruits, and winter 
with its snows. There is a law by which fishes swim in 
the sea, birds fly in the air, and the lion roams through 
the forest ; by which man goes forth to his labor with 
the morning light and returns to his rest with the even- 
ing shades. Wherever we look, over our heads, beneath 
our feet, on every side, within our bodies, there is the 
working of law. Nature teaches us that her mysterious 
force is regulated and so manifests an established order 
of events ; that she produces the harmony of the whole 
and the well-being of each part by obedience to law. 
We can imagine a particular thing casting off the law 
of its being, but only to its own ruin. A stone flies 
from the earth and is consumed ; a plant refuses the rain 
and languishes ; an animal resists the craving of appetite 
and starves. We can imagine a combined breaking of 
the law — an organized rebellion — and the earth throws 
off the power of the sun and rushes out into space, only 
to find the chill darkness of death. The only conceiva- 
ble way of escape from the evils of such rebellion would 
be by a restoration to obedience. 



The highest well-being of nature in whole or in any 
particular part can be attained only by operation of 
law. The law does not arise from this well-being, for it 
is its source. There can be only one source of law, the 
will of the Law-giver. All nature is as Mount Sinai, the 
throne of the Law-giver. All law being the expression 
of His will is the manifestation of His character, and 
with reference to the creature subject to it is the 
description of its highest possible well-being, the ideal 
of God for it. All the well-being we can see in nature 
comes through the operation of law whose source is 
God's good will. 

Let us recognize at the beginning of our study of the 
Ten Commandments that this law has its source in God. 
It comes to us from His will whose authority is beyond 
question and our obligation to obey is complete. 

We will be able to see with various degrees of clear- 
ness, according to the powers of soul which God has 
bestowed upon us and according to the attention we 
give to the subject, that the law prescribes a "general 
fitness of things," that it aims to promote the general 
happiness, and that it describes the nature of man 
according to the design of his Creator, so setting forth 
the unchanging principles of his being. But our obli- 
gation to obey could never be complete if it rested upon 
our seeing these things, for the most gifted of mankind 
are incompetent to judge of the "general fitness of 
things," have at best a limited view of the general good, 
and have not yet fully discovered all the unchanging 
principles of our being. Neither could these things in 
themselves, if fully seen, bind the conscience ; to awaken 
the "I ought not" of conscience against an aroused 


desire, there is needed further the voice of God. If we 
weigh the general good or even an acknowledged prin- 
ciple of our nature against an intense desire, the act is 
one of the judgment, and the desire will have a controll- 
ing influence upon it ; but at the bar of conscience the 
voice of God saying, " Thou shalt not," concludes the 
case, and desire can have no standing. 

When, however, we regard the unchanging principles 
of our nature as wrought into the constitution of the 
creature by the Creator, they become the expression of 
his will and so a law binding upon the conscience. A 
godless evolution can never devise a law binding on 
the conscience, but an evolution searching for the 
Creator finds in these principles of man's nature the 
voice of God. These principles and the Ten Command- 
ments comiug from the same source confirm and illus- 
trate each other. The giving of the law at Sinai is not 
to be regarded therefore as the institution of a new law, 
only as the publication in a new way of the original 
law of our being. The terrible circumstances attending 
its issuing, and the fact that it is issued largely in a 
prohibitory form, indicate that it is issued to a race who 
have already broken, and whose strong tendency is to 
continue to break, the unchanging principles of their 
being — to fall from the ideal of God. Their fall gives 
the reason for the issuing of the law. God does not 
lower his ideal for the race, but since they have lost 
sight of it, He sets it before them in a new and striking 
form. He chooses a time in the history of the race for 
issuing his law which precludes all thought of its hav- 
ing a human origin. The world would never look for its 
highest code of religion and morals to the Egyptian 


civilization, nor to a race of slaves. He stamps upon it 
the seal of His work, perfection. 

We shall see as we pursue our study that each com- 
mand states a great principle of our nature ; that highest 
manliness can only be attained in recognizing and follow- 
ing this principle. The highest civilization the world 
has yet reached has not gone beyond, has not even 
attained to the carrying out of these principles. No 
reason has been discovered for. setting aside a single 
command as unworthy of God or man. Neither is there 
any prospect that man will ever become conscious, dur- 
ing this earthly stage of his existence, of a principle of 
his being which is not covered by the law of God, nor 
of a " fitness of things " not provided for, nor of a way 
of securing happiness other than obedience to it. 

The Ten Commandments are the authentic state- 
ments by the Creator of the great general principles of 
the constitution of man and of human society, since they 
are the statutes issued by the Supreme Law-giver. The 
voice teaching man of his own nature and relationships 
has the tone of rightful authority, is the voice of God. 

Since " God spake all these words " we find in them 
the law of our being. The conscience hears his voice, 
acknowledges his rightful authority and bows before 

There is great need of the " I ought " power being 
developed in our nature so that it controls our lives ; 
a need at least as great in this advanced age and in 
rich America as it was in that early age and in the 
wilderness of Sinai. To be swayed not by impulse, nor 
by intense desire, nor by aroused willfulness, but by a 
sense of obligation to God, insures a manhood which is 


a success in itself. What better start in life can the 
young have than a firm determination to obey God / 
Can there be a better guide in life, in the perplexities 
of society, of business or of politics, than this same 
principle of obedience to God ? Will not the character 
of steadfast obedience to God be the only kind of 
character we will care to take with us when we pass 
beyond this life ? We may well be very diligent in our 
study of the Ten Commandments, with the strong pur- 
pose to make them the rule of our lives. 

While this law coming from God binds the conscience, 
it at the same time secures true liberty of conscience. 
Nothing can bind the conscience beyond or contrary 
to this law. It is the comprehensive and only law of 
the conscience. All moral and religious duties are 
covered by it ; there can be none beyond or contrary to 
it. It provides for obedience to State and Church and 
regard for public opinion, and sets limits also to such 
regard and obedience. Our obligation to obey human 
enactments rests upon this law. They therefore must 
never be contrary to it. We are not called to obey but 
rather to resist the usurpations of men, in whatever 
position and however well meaning, who would make 
that to be sin which God does not forbid, and that 
obligatory which God does not command. The spirit 
of obeying God rather than man has led martyrs to the 
stake and patriots to the battle-tield, and to it we are 
largely indebted for the civil and religious liberty we 
possess in this land of the free. 

This law coming from God repels many of the as- 
saults of infidelity upon the Bible. Infidelity finds it 
impossible to account for the existence of this law in the 


Bible. It is too absurd to claim that this consummate 
moral and religious code arose from the religious and 
moral condition of the race at that time. The law, and 
the life of Jesus Christ, perfect according to the law, 
these are in the Bible — its exclusive possession — and all 
the criticisms and witticisms of infidels fall from them 
as arrows shot against a fortress, broken, and leaving no 
mark. Besides, infidelity is forced to honor the moral 
law in making it its standard of criticism. Much of its 
fault-finding of lives and measures is an unintended 
tribute to the law of God. They forget that the 
Bible, like any historical record, does not commend all 
it records ; but it does contain the highest standard of 
judgment, the revealed will of God, before which they 
instinctively bow. Their criticism of the civil law, that 
it upheld polygamy, established slavery, inflicted the 
death-penalty for many offenses, is virtually a com- 
parison of it with the moral law, and shows only their 
own lack of discrimination as to the different realms of 
these laws. The civil law was to be enforced by the 
nation itself, and was evidently designed for the de- 
velopment of the nation, and was the best possible that 
could be self-applied by a low condition to elevate to a 
higher. The result shows this. Only about a dozen 
offenses were punishable by death, a far less number 
than a few years ago were sanctioned by the laws of 
England, when she had left the barbarous stage already 
far behind. Slavery and polygamy were already exist- 
ing institutions, and were so restricted by the civil law 
that at the time of Christ there were few if any 
polygamous or slaveholding Jews in Palestine. The 
civil law was the best possible law for that nation in 


that day, and was wisely designed to lift up towards 
the moral law. 

Infidelity has a great deal to say concerning the 
ceremonial law, and especially concerning the sacrificial 
element in it. They forget that they look upon it from 
a Christian condition where no bloody sacrifices are 
known, a condition that has grown out of that same 
ceremonial law, and is a fulfilment of it. If they would 
look at it from the stand-point of that day and of sur- 
rounding religions, they would see that God restricted 
sacrifices to one place, and prescribed such regulations as 
gave them deep meaning. The ceremonial law taught 
of the holiness of God and of a coming Savior, and was 
designed to provide for restored obedience to the moral 
law. In condemning some of the terrible events in the 
Bible as immoral, infidelity forgets that it is within the 
province of a Law-giver to define and provide for the in- 
fliction of the penalty for the disobedience of the law, 
and so these terrible events set forth the importance of 
the moral law as the law of man's being. 

The fact that this law comes from God, carries with 
it another lesson and one of the utmost importance to 
us — B.i% authority runs through all the divisions of the 
law. This one law is arranged in ten sections, and 
these sections are grouped into two classes. Whatever 
may be said of the relative importance of each table or 
of each commandment in itself, the truth should be 
kept in mind that the authority of God is the same in 

There is a tendency to separate the two tables. 
Some men seem to rely upon observing the first table 
without much regard to the second, and otliers claim to 


keep the second while they ignore the first. No such 
separation can be made. Both must be fully observed 
or the whole law is broken. / We cannot be devoted to 
God, correct in matters of faith and zealous in his 
worship, while we neglect charity of feeling, word and 
act toward our neighbor. If God is our Father, man is 
our brother. Neither can we truly love our neighbor 
while we neglect God, for we cannot keep any part of 
the law without supreme reverence for Him who com- 
mands. Neither can we truly love our neighbor with- 
out recognizing that we are both and equally creatures 
of God. If man is our brother, it is because God is our 
Father. Duties to man flow from and are a part of 
duties to God. No worship of God will satisfy his law — 
not even the first table, which is lacking in love to our 
neighbor; and no love to our neighbor will satisfy God's 
law — not even the second table, which is lacking in 
love to Him. Much that goes under the names of piety 
and morality in our day is seen at a glance to be terribly 
defective in the light of this self-evident principle. 

There is a tendency also to separate the command- 
ments, and to claim virtue for keeping some while we 
make light of breaking others. One says: " I sometimes 
swear, when excited, but no man ever could charge me 
with dishonesty." Another says : " I do not make a 
practice of observing the Sabbath, but all men will tell 
you that my word can be relied upon." Now the 
violation of one precept is not an actual violation of 
another, but it is the breaking of the whole law in that 
it sets aside the authority of God. He who breaks one 
command disregards the authority of God. If he keeps 
other commandments, it must be from other considera- 


tions. If it was the autljority of God which kept him 
from stealing or lying, that same authority would restrain 
him from swearing or Sabbath-breaking. Thus by 
breaking one commandment he shows he has the spirit 
of breaking them all, for he does not submit to the 
authority of God. It is true, the more precepts we keep 
the more valuable men and women we are to the society 
in which we dwell. He who steals is an injury to 
society. He who is honest is so far a blessing. But a 
man may have a kind of honesty without the least 
regard to God, and hence cannot be said to obey even the 
commandment requiring honesty. Such an one, how- 
ever, is not only a better citizen but he honors God to 
this extent, that he approves of that which God com- 
mands. Still he should recognize that he has at heart 
no respect for the authority of God. 

In the preface to the law, God describes himself not 
only as the self-existing Creator, but as having entered 
into close personal relation with the Israelites through 
promises made to their fathers, some of which had just 
been faithfully fulfilled in conferring great blessings 
upon them. So he appeals not only to their respect for 
his authority, but to the relation to him which they 
had inherited and accepted, and to the gratitude they 
should have for such benefits received. This preface 
does not limit the following law to the Israelites, but 
makes a special appeal to them. The law is general, 
for all mankind, the original law of their being, since 
it appeals to and aro6ses the universal conscience ; but 
a special revelation of God and rich favors bestowed 
form a strong appeal for the most hearty obedience. 
God describes himself to the full extent in which he 


had at that time revealed himself. Whatever increase 
of revelation we have received strengthens the appeal. 
This shows the kind of obedience we should give ; not 
reluctant, but eager ; not forced, but spontaneous ; not 
irksome, but with delight ; not heartless, but with the 
enthusiasm of love. Created things obey the laws of 
their being joyously. Stars shine, flowers bloom, birds 
sing. Surely intelligent beings, recognizing the law of 
their being, should joyously obey it, especially when 
God reveals himself fully and confers richest blessings 
upon them. 

As we enter upon the study of each separate com- 
mand, let it be with a firm purpose to seek for the whole 
truth, and with an honest resolution to apply it to our 
own hearts and lives. A knowledge of the revelation 
of God made through Jesus Christ, and a reception of 
the blessings bestowed through him strengthen God's 
claim upon us. The newness of life in Christ is sub- 
ject to this law. The love we bear him, is not an aim- 
less rapture, but the spirit of new obedience, to mani- 
fest itself in keeping his commandments. If we shall 
find that we have in any respect broken this law of 
God, or are prone to break it, let us at once seek for- 
giveness and new life in Jesus Christ. He came to 
save sinners from their sins, to restore them to complete 
and hearty obedience. 


" Thou shalt have no other gods before me." — Ex, 20 : 3. 

There is a marked difference between the laws of 
man, though moral, and this law of God. Human laws 
govern outward conduct alone. Man can only take 
notice of the action of his fellow-man, and infer the 
intention from it. But God searches the heart of man. 
His law applies directl}^ to the inner life, the feelings 
and purposes, the disposition and character. This fea- 
ture of the whole law is particularly prominent in this 
first commandment, where no outward act whatever is 
commanded or prohibited, but the soul purely and 
simply is the subject of the law. 

This commandment like many others has the prohib- 
itory form. Wherever this is the case the opposite of 
the thing forbidden is commanded, being guarded by 
the prohibition. Hence we are here commanded to 
give supreme allegiance to and find our highest good in 
God alone. When we give supreme allegiance to and 
find our highest good in any person or thing other than 
God, we make that person or thing our god, and we do 
this of necessity in the presence of God, before his face. 
This idolatry is forbidden. 

It is quite evident without further study that this 
commandment prescribes a general " fitness of things," 
the proper relation of man to God ; aims to promote the 
highest happiness, directing man to seek his good in 
the highest source — God himself; and describes the 



nature of man, setting forth a great principle of his 
being, that he is capable of giving allegiance to God, 
has faculties and powers capable of knowing and lov- 
ing God. 

This commandment at once arouses the conscience 
with the claim that our first duty is not to ourselves, 
not even to our neighbors, but to our God. The awak- 
ened conscience says : " That is right. He made me 
and continues me in being. My chief duty is not to 
myself but to Him. He made and continues my fellow- 
men in being. He places us in these relations of life. 
My first duty is not to them, but to Him." It is not 
then a little thing to neglect God, as so many seem to 
think. It violates and degrades a foundation principle 
of our nature — it is failure in the principal duty of 

The Egyptians and the neighboring nations, when this 
law was given, worshiped many diverse imaginary 
beings, the creations of their own fancy, as gods. This 
commandment was directly opposed to this prevailing 
practice, strictly prohibited it, and commanded the 
worship of the one true God. Wherever it has been 
generally received the worship of such imaginary beings 
has ceased, and with us is entirely unknown. To this 
extent the commandment seems to have accomplished 
its purpose. It is generally conceded now that there 
are not more gods than one, the true and living God. 
That He exists is the only explanation of our own exist- 
ence. Conscious of the one, we are sure of the other. 

Our power of knowing and loving Him is the dis- 
tinguishing power of man, separating him from the 
brutes with whom he is in many other respects allied. 


Not to exercise this power is to cast away the crown of 
our manhood. God dignified man in the highest degree 
when he gave him this commandment. He calls him to 
the highest realm of knowledge, the knowledge of Him- 
self. Of course we cannot know God fully. Our weak, 
limited minds cannot comprehend the Infinite One. 
Shall we therefore claim He is unknowable, and refuse to 
affirm or deny anything concerning his existence and 
character ? As well might the child, who fails to put the 
ocean into the hole he has dug in the sand, look wise 
and say, " Well then, there is no ocean." The truths 
above and beyond us, whose greatness may not be 
understood but can be acknowledged, sway and elevate 
us. Not that which we can comprehend, but that which 
comprehends us ; not that which our little minds can 
hold, but that which fills them and holds them — the 
height of the mountain beyond where we can climb ; the 
expanse of the ocean beyond our power of vision ; the 
distance of the stars beyond the flight of our imagina- 
tion — these fill the mind with awe ; we are in the pres- 
ence of the sublime. If we could comprehend God we 
would be greater than He. The unknowable in God 
leads us to worship the God we know. This command 
calls us to a constant advance in the knowledge of God, 
so securing the activity and development of our power 
of knowing, and making it our duty to carefully attend 
to the revelation He has made of Himself. 

This certainly commends the study of Nature ; not 
only the poetic listening to its subtile teachings, but 
the scientific research for its great truths. While it 
cannot be claimed that some scientific theories have any 
respect for this commandment, it is certainly to be 


acknowledged that the earnest search of science for 
truth is to that extent a keeping of the law. To 
neglect this great realm where God has expressed so 
many of His great thoughts, where He has so clearly 
revealed "His eternal power and God-head," is con- 
demned as indifference to the knowledge of Himself. 

This certainly commends the study of the Scriptures. 
These claim to contain a special revelation of God. To 
give a fair investigation to this claim, and an earnest 
effort to understand this special revelation, is to that 
extent a keeping of the law. Every neglected Bible 
should thrill the conscience with the charge, " You have 
not yet taken the first step towards obeying this com- 

God's revelation of Himself in the Holy Scriptures is 
progressive. It had reached a certain stage at the time 
the law was given at Sinai, sufficiently clear and full to 
make man's duty plain. But it did not stop there. It 
unfolded through succeeding ages until it culminated in 
the Lord Jesus Christ. So this first commandment 
makes it our duty to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
To reject Christ is not merely to reject an offer of 
mercy. It is to refuse to receive the complete revela- 
tion of God made in His Son. It is to say, "We will 
not have this God revealed in Christ as our God." But 
there is no other God. We are to know God as 
revealed in Nature, in His Law, in the Holy Scriptures, 
and in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the one living 
and true God. 

Now, man is capable of closer relationship to God 
than mere knowledge of His existence and character. 
He has powers of loving God, of coming into the closest 


personal fellowship with God. This will in its exercise 
make more intimate and full our knowledge of Him. 
You know of the existence of the president of the 
nation and something of his character by his acts and 
general reputation. The knowledge you have of the 
man you are well acquainted with is more full and 
accurate. But this knowledge is surpassed by that you 
have of your friend. Your love for him clearly dis- 
cerns qualities which his love for you frankly reveals. 
You know his real worth and highly value your rela- 
tionship to him. It is to such intimate knowledge of 
love, to such fellowship of love, that God calls us by the 
power He has given us, and by this commandment. 
He reveals Himself as a person, in personal relationship 
with man, as possessing in Himself qualities of charac- 
ter worthy of our love, and as being desirous of our 
love, a revelation shining in this commandment as it 
does in all nature and in Scripture, and especially in 
him "who is the image of the invisible God." Our 
highest duty and real nobility are to give Him supreme 
allegiance and find our highest good in Him alone, the 
love recognizing and responding to the loveliness of 
God, the love that completely trusts Him, and finds its 
highest delight in Him. 

The prohibitory form of the commandment further 
shows that there are tendencies in our nature to break 
this law of our being. We are prone to give supreme 
allegiance to and find our highest good in some person 
or thing other than God. Humiliating as it may be, a 
little reflection will force us to confess that the com- 
mandment is right in taking this form, that these ten- 
dencies exist, and that they are so strong that they have 


often led us and do still lead us to break the law 
Wherever this written commandment is not known in the 
world to-day men are worshiping imaginary beings as 
their gods. The principle of oui- nature as God created 
it, the power of knowing and loving Him, has been 
overruled by these tendencies, which from some source 
or other, certainly not from God, have come upon us. 

Neither are we free from these tendencies thougli we 
have the knowledge of His law. Are we not prone to 
ignore God, or to rest with an insufficient knowledge of 
Him, or to imagine Him other than he has revealed him- 
self? Do not the fields of even religious controversy 
afford sad evidence of the tendency to magnify some 
one or more features of His character out of proportion 
with all the others, so making a caricature of Him ? 
The superstition of worshiping imaginary gods has 
passed away, but that of attributing effects to things 
with which there is not the slightest evidence of their 
having any connection, still lingers. There is quite a 
prevalent opinion that Friday is an unlucky day, and 
that it is unlucky to see the new moon over the left 
shoulder, and many who speak light of it still are 
influenced by it. How a horse-shoe became a symbol 
of good luck, I do not know. Perhaps from the old 
belief that a hot horse-shoe would drive a witch out of 
a churn, and now this symbol is nailed to the masts of 
many vessels sailing our rivers, and over the doors of 
mnny of our houses, and many young people are very 
careful to stand directly under a floral horse-shoe as 
they enter the married life. Of course all fear of ill 
luck and all hope of good luck as dependent upon any 


such things are the opposite of trusting in God, "our 
Sun and Shield." 

Fortune-tellers still live, and live off their victims 
whom they torment with foolish hopes or causeless 
fears. What reason is there to believe that the devil 
knows anything about our future, or that God who 
hides it from us would reveal it to a fortune-teller ? 
Those who are sick with complicated diseases or 
involved in perplexing troubles sometimes consult clair- 
voyants, whose astounding claim of possessing a sense 
other than the senses and reasoning power of ordinary 
men is sustained alone by a few happy conjectures and 
a great amount of clap-trap. Surely to consult them is 
a belief in their possessing supernatural power without 
a particle of evidence — to that extent a kindred super- 
stition with the belief in imaginary gods. Spiritualism, 
too, in our day enchains many dupes, an attempt to 
learn of the spirit world by communication with 
departed spirits, brought about by the aid of mediums 
whose base tricks have been so often exposed. God 
gives us present duty and all the light we need about 
the future, about the nature of present trouble and the 
conditions of the spirit world. Obedience to Him and 
complete trust in His wisdom and love will free us from 
all fortune-telling, clairvoyance and spiritualism ; they 
would have no more influence upon us than do the 
almost forgotten gods of high Olympus. That these 
superstitions still linger in our da}^, and are present to 
some extent in our minds, shows that the prohibitory 
form of this commandment is still needed by us. 

But even if we had full and accurate knowledge of 
the one true God, and were free from all debasing 


superstitions, we would still have tendencies drawing 
us away from entire consecration to Him. Alas ! there 
are other idolatries besides trust in imaginary gods, or 
in false conceptions of the true God. Whatever we 
value more than God, and delight in more than we 
delight in Him, is our god. Wherever a man makes 
the gratification of himself his chief aim, he takes the 
crown belonging to God and crowns himself. He is his 
own god — a kind of idolatry to which, I fear, we will 
all have to confess a great proneness. 

There is a strong tendency to make the gratification 
of even the lowest portion of our nature our chief aim 
and greatest delight. We are not yet free from the 
danger of belonging to the class the Apostle describes 
in such plain words, " whose god is their belly," which 
includes not only gluttons and drunkards, but all those 
who, however refined the way, make sensual enjoyment 
their highest good. It is obvious this not only dishon- 
ors God but degrades man, and deprives him of the 
highest happiness even in his lower nature. He only 
can have the highest animal enjoyment who remembers 
that he is more than an animal, and, honoring God, 
seeks to discover and obey His laws of healthful living. 

One would think that the exercise of our reasoning 
powers would lead the soul to God, yet there is a very 
strong tendency to make this exercise end in itself. 
Many of the great thinkers of the world have been 
worshipers of their own powers of thinking, and Ave 
who can with difficulty follow their great thoughts are 
prone to worship our own intellectual culture and 
acquirements, and to claim a considerable amount of 
incense from our fellow men. Centering in itself — mak' 


ing the intellectual life our highest good — debars the 
intellect from its highest attainment, which can only 
come from following the thoughts of God up to the 
knowledge of Himself. 

How prone we are to make our loved ones idols ! 
Now the idolatry of loved ones does not consist in lov- 
ing them too much, but 'n not loving them enough. 
God gives us our home, '^the dearest spot on earth," he 
gives us our loved ones and U3 to them and continues 
us to each other, and he makes us spiritual beings hav- 
ing the power of loving and being worthy of the love 
of each other. Loving each other truly we are learn- 
ing to love God. It is safe to say that the father who 
allows his child to so absorb his love that he has no 
thought of or love for God, does not Iv^^ve his child as an 
immortal spiritual being, nor does he regard himself as 
such. His idolatry degrades himself and his child as 
well as dishonors God. 

Above the animal, the intellectual Ritjd the social 
nature in man, is the spiritual. To ignore this nature 
or dwarf it is to degrade man To have this nature in 
healthful control and giving supreme allegiaiice to God, 
is to bring the whole man into obedience to this com- 
mandment; is to ennoble his social, inspire hM intellec- 
tual, and elevate his animal natures; is to reach vne noble 
manhood God designs for us. Lovers of perennal dis- 
play, of fine dress and jewels, lovers of mone3% little or 
much, the grasping to have or to hold, lovers of our- 
selves in whatever direction — how wide the contrast 
between all such and lovers of God ! Alas, my broth- 
ers, to which of these contrasted classes are we most 
prone? See, too, the greatness of the sin. God, who 


made us, and continues us in being, and constantly 
blesses us, and who has a right to our service — God, 
who is the best of beings, who is worthy of our service 
— God, who commands and so greatly desires our serv- 
ice, is neglected, and some object which has no right, 
is not worthy and cannot appreciate our service, is ele- 
vated to his throne. And although we may not fully 
recognize the greatness of our sin, God knows wliat 
unworthy object has taken His rightful ph^ce in our 
affections. It is obvious likewise that the only possi- 
ble way of being freed from the degradation and misery 
of such sin is to have the proper relation of man to 
God full}^ re-established. 

It is claimed by some that the Lord Jesus Christ has 
abolished the Ten Commandments. On the contrary 
Christ claims that he came not to destroy but to fulfill the 
law. The law can give no ability to keep it— that is not 
its province. It shows the rule of duty, awakens the con- 
science, holds before us God's lofty ideal, incites all the 
power within us to highest action ; but here its mission 
ends. It evokes all the power within, but confers no 
power from without. The same thing is true of the 
teaching and example of Christ. However high and 
noble they are, even perfect, they are limited in their 
effect by the capacity of the disciple. They incite, 
they draw out all the power within, but they give no 
ability to attain, they confer no power from without. 
Now Christ brings to us power from without, the power 
we need. " The law was given by Moses, but grace and 
truth came by Jesus Christ." Christ reveals and brings 
to us the true nature of God, the grace we need, for- 
giving sin and conferring new life. The teaching and 


example of Christ and the law they so clearly set forth 
should lead us to see our smfulness and to seek forgive- 
ness and new life in Christ ; and this new life in Christ 
follows his teaching and example to the complete keep- 
ing of the law. That it obeys the law not reluctantly 
but heartily so much the more honors the law. The 
skilled carpenter loving his work does not havo to be 
told how to hold his plane as does the obstinate appren- 
tice, but nevertheless he holds it according to the rule, 
and the more thoroughly since he does not regard it a 
hardship but a pleasure. Christ abolish this command- 
ment ! and God no longer claim the highest place in 
man's thoughts and affections ! No, never ! Man may 
degrade himself, but God will never degrade him. 
Christ came bringing divine power to restore man from 
degradation to the high nobility of keeping this com- 
mandment. His glorious work is not to set it aside, 
but to reestablish it as the rule of life to all his follow- 
ers. Now we shall see that the remaining command- 
ments of the first table not merely follow this first one, 
but so flow from it and are so vitally related with it, 
that what is so obviously true of it is true also of them, 
and that Christ instead of abolishing any of them has 
glorified them all. May we so believe in Christ and so 
regard the law that it shall become more and more our 
delight to do the will of God ! 

Now as we separate from one another, let us 
each one take with us the impressive truth that God 
speaks in this commandment not only to the race of 
men, but to each member of the race ; that He selects 
each one us, and addresses us personally, " Thou shalt 
have no other gods before me." It is as if each one of 
us stood alone before God. 


" Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any like- 
ness 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 showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that 
love me and keep my commandments." — Ex. 20 : 4 — 6. 

Inscriptions in hieroglyphics and pictures on the mon- 
uments and tombs of Egypt, recently discovered and 
deciphered, confirm the Bible history that the ancient 
Egyptians were idolaters. Surrounding nations were 
also idolaters. There was a strong tendency in the 
Israelites, by their own confession, to idolatry. This 
religious condition was not local and temporary, we 
may rather say it was constant and universal. History 
tells but one story, that in former times all the tribes 
and nations of men were idolaters, that they worshiped 
imaginary gods by means of images, and to a great 
extent the images themselves. This religious condition 
prevailing in former times prevails as well to-day. With 
the exception of three large classes our fellow men have 
been in all the past and are to-day idolaters. 

How can this strong tendency to idolatry be ex- 
plained? One class of thinkers, rejecting the Bible 
account, say that man's original condition was dense 
ignorance, and that the various systems of idolatry are 
his groping after the idea of God, until at length he 
reaches the idea of a supreme spiritual Being. Some 


of these thinkers say there is such a Being, whom man 
has at length discovered : others hold that there is no 
such Being, that man has only obtained by all his feeble 
groping an idea. These evolution thinkers have 
evolved their theories out of their own brains without 
the slightest basis of fact. There is no evidence that 
such a process is going on among the heathen nations 
to-day. Some of these nations are highly gifted intel- 
lectually, and on this theory ought to have come to the 
worship of one God long before this. Neither is there 
any evidence of any people ever having lifted themselves 
out of idolatry. Nations have grafted other systems on 
to their own, their intellectual leaders have become 
skeptical with regard to the whole matter, here and 
there an individual has seemed to grasp the idea of one 
God, but no large class of men — certainly no nation — 
has ever cast aside idolatry for the worship of one God. 
The three large classes of men, some embracing nations, 
who in the past and now worship one God without the 
use of images, the Jews, the Christians, and the 
Mohammedans,, all trace this distinguishing trait to 
these Ten Commandments. This commandment shows 
no trace of feeling its way to the true God and grad- 
ually casting off features of idolatry, but existing in 
that early age of dense idolatry it with the utmost pre- 
cision prohibits the whole system. The worship of the 
one God is not therefore a growth from within, but a 
lifting up from without ; not an evolution from idolatry, 
but a revelation from heaven. 

The only other conceivable explanation of the uni- 
versal tendency of the race to idolatry is that of the 
Bible. It teaches that idolatry is the willful departure 


of a sinful race from the worship and knowledge of the 
true God ; that having the knowledge of the true God 
from nature they refused to honor him, but changed 
the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of 
an image of corruptible man, and of birds and four- 
footed beasts and creeping things ; they refused to 
retain God in their knowledge and made this base ex- 
change. The tendency reveals the effort of the sinful 
heart to get rid of the moral excellencies of a spiritual 
God. Men were held in restraint by the thought of a 
spiritual Being infinitely above the appetites and 
passions of a sensual life, so they put him out of their 
minds. They could not banish the thought of the 
divine power, nor was there much reason for such an 
effort, but they succeeded largely in banishing 
the thought of the divine holiness. The gods 
they worshiped had like appetites and passions 
with themselves. The fleshly nature in man could 
degrade the spiritual but one degree further, compel it 
to bow down to objects of sense, to images. The edu- 
cated among idolaters claim that they do not worship 
the image or thing but the being or power dwelling 
in the thing or represented by the image, but the mass 
of the people worship the image itself. While idolatry 
thus expresses the moral condition of the people, and 
confirms it, the various systems also show the intel- 
lectual endowment of the different nations. In some 
of these systems there are distinct traces of the idea of 
a Supreme Being, though he is not perfect, nor is the 
highest worship given to him ; but these traces grow 
faint in other systems, showing greater intellectual and 
moral degradation. But the spiritual in man still 


exists. It is not destroyed by sin, only degraded. It 
cannot get rid of the truth inwrought in its nature, 
" There is a God whom I must worship." The fleshly 
nature may say, " Well, then worship through me, and 
in the way I dictate," but can go no further. Man is 
a spiritual being, he has gods of some kind, the most 
degraded people still have their idols : he is a moral 
being, the effort to throw off restraint shows it. The 
commingling voices of the tribes and nations of men in 
all ages speak the clear and distinct confession, " There 
is a God," though it can be heard only as an undertone 
to the tumultuous and sullen roar of the race, " We 
will not have the true God to reign over us." 

That idolatry arises from the sinful nature of man, 
explains the fact also that those people who have had 
a revelation of the true God long continued to them 
have constantly manifested a tendency to fall back into 
it. The Israelites corrupted themselves with idolatry 
at the foot of Mount Sinai, and after they were settled 
in their own land they frequently fell into the worship 
of the idols of the neighboring nations. The Christian 
Church also showed the same tendency very early in 
her history. She brought images and pictures to orna- 
ment her church buildings, to instruct the ignorant, and 
to incite the devout spirit in the worship of the true 
God. The images of Christ and the Apostles, of the 
Virgin Mary and the Saints, are now so used in the 
Roman Catholic Church. But while this use of the 
images may be claimed by the intelligent and by the 
councils of the Church, and while the worship given to 
the Saints may in their view and practice be far inferior 
to that given to God, still this practice so explained is 


a decided drift perilously near to the verge of idolatry, 
and it is to be feared that large n^ ambers of the less 
intelligent and devout have gone over the verge and 
that the constant tendency is in that direction. 

This commandment is expressed in the prohibitory 
form. We have seen the decided tendency in fallen 
human nature it is designed to check. Now turn to 
the positive command. We find it expressed clearly 
and concisely by our Savior : " God is a Spirit, and 
they that worship him must worship in spirit and in 
truth." Prohibiting bodily prostration to a visible idol, 
it commands spiritual worship of the invisible God. 
Our old English word, " worship," brings out the idea 
of the spirit's attitude to God strongly and beautifully. 
It is a combination of the words "worth" and "ship" 
or " shape." Man, a spiritual being, is to be brought 
into a shape worthy of God, the Spirit. Two highly 
important truths are embraced in this statement. The 
first is that the spirit in man is to be in a shape worthy 
of God. This can only be when it is in full harmony 
with God, when it possesses moral likeness to him. 
The second is that the whole man is to be in a shape 
worthy of God, that his spirit possessing moral likeness 
to God is to be in full and constant command of the 
whole man. The man is not to be ruled by his animal 
nature, nor by his intellectual nature, nor even by his 
social and domestic nature, but by his spiritual nature : 
and this enthroned spiritual nature is to shine in the 
likeness to God. 

Surely here is a great commandment. It describes 
the nature of man as coming pure from the Creator's 
hand, and as the Redeemer designs to restore it. It 


shows the noble ideal God still holds before man and 
tne high happiness he desires for him, when all his 
varied powers shall be in full and harmonious exercise 
in the worship of himself, a spirit possessing the highest 
moral excellence. We are commanded to ever hold 
aloft the thought of God in our minds ; infinitely above 
all the things our senses behold, which are the creations 
of his power. He exists, a pure spirit, of absolutely 
perfect character. We are to so reverence, adore and 
love Him that we give Him the highest honor possible 
from created spirits, that of growing like Him in char- 
acter. We are to give Him this worship so thoroughly 
that all our lower powers are enlisted in it and con- 
stantly under its control and so become spiritually 
ennobled. The man in shape worthy of God ; this is 
the highest "fitness of things " among the powers within 
the man, his highest blessedness, his noblest being, and 
this God requires of us. It is obvious that the ten- 
dency to have the fleshly nature assume the ascendency 
over the spiritual, is not confined to heathen lands. To 
be inconstant in the worship of God, confining our 
attempted adoration of Him to stated times, to be con- 
tented with the formal acts of his worship, and to neg- 
lect His worship altogether, are some of the ways in 
which it manifests itself. 

The commandment is of such vital importance, and 
the tendency to transgress it is so strong, that God has 
added to it a most solemn appeal which demands our 
careful attention. God declares himself a jealous God. 
We are to leave out of consideration all low features 
frequently associated with human jealousy — there can 
be no envy, nor unjust suspicion, nor selfishness, nor 


anything unworthy in the jealousy of God. A father 
has with great love and care trained his children in 
virtue, and a corrupt and fascinating youth seeks com- 
panionship with them. The father guards his children 
with jealousy against such influence. A husband loves 
his wife, and a corrupt and fascinating man seeks her 
society. The husband guards with jealous care the wife 
he loves. Not only, or even mainly does the father, or 
husband, think of his own honor, but mainly of the 
welfare of dear ones. Jealousy seeks to guard the 
children and the wife from degradation and ruin. So 
God, the great Father, the loving Husband of his peo- 
ple, guards not his own honor only, but therein and 
mainly the welfare of those he loves against a fascinat- 
ing corruption which would degrade and ruin them. 
" I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." 

This feature of his character is seen in his visiting 
punishment for disobedience and rewards for obe- 
dience through successive generations. The appeal is 
to one of the strongest and noblest emotions in man, 
his love for his children. Fathers, guard against the 
tendency to idolatry ! It will degrade you not only, 
but your children. Fathers, bring yourselves into a 
shape worthy of God ! Worship Him in spirit and in 
truth I It will ennoble you not only, but your children. 
Under the government of God the race of man exists 
in successive generations, and one generation receives 
from those that have passed not merely its being, but 
largely its character and conditions. The character is 
not received, however, to such a degree as to interfere 
with responsibility nor to preclude great changes, nor 
are the conditions fixed. Each generation may reject 


the evil and retain the good of its inheritance, may- 
advance to greater good, and may then transmit its 
improved character and conditions to its successor. 
Under this feature of the divine government the race 
of man is distinguished from animals and may make 
progress. The beaver builds his dam as at the first, so 
the bee builds the cell for honey ; both are marvels of 
construction, but no progress, no improvement is ever 
made. While if our fathers of but two generations 
back should return and visit our harvest fields and 
barns, astonishment at new methods of gathering and 
storing harvests would fill their minds, an astonishment 
which would vastly increase as they learned of railroads 
and steamships, of telegraph and telephone. The gen- 
eration to-day enjoys the inheritance of liberty and free 
government won by our fathers on the battle-fields of 
the Revolution. The generation just taking the lead in 
the nation's life rejoices in a united and prosperous 
country, the inheritance which the generation fast pass- 
ing away secured by toil and heroic self-sacrifice. 
Should great dangers threaten us now, what would be 
a strong appeal to patriotism? Let us defend the 
inheritance we have received from heroic fathers and 
transmit it unimpaired and greatly improved to our 
children — an appeal against low and selfish ease to 
noble manhood in a virtuous cause. This is the appeal 
of this commandment on the highest plane of man's 

This feature of the divine government embraces indi- 
viduals as well as great classes of men, and should be very 
solemnly considered by each one of us. A man chooses 
a vicious life. He therein impairs his constitution, 


ruins his reputation and squanders his property. The 
awful consequences of his sin do not end with himself. 
The wife and mother, while she shares them to some 
extent, may be of reverse character and so counteract 
largely the evil among the children. But she may be 
weak, or possibly of the same character. The strong 
tendency will be for the children to have the same 
vicious character, the impaired constitution, certainly the 
ruined reputation and the poverty. Certainly if there 
remains a spark of love in that man's heart for his wife 
and children, the appeal of this law is that he should 
reconsider his choice of a vicious life. There seem to 
be three great principles in steady action in the race and 
among individuals : the principle of heredity^ of physi- 
cal and mental and moral qualities of parents — the prin- 
ciple of influence^ by the example and teaching accord- 
ing to the character of the parents — and the principle of in- 
heritance of the conditions and surroundings made by the 
parents in the society where they dwell. Whether these 
great principles shall work disastrously or benefically, is 
for us to choose. Consider the two classes described in 
the commandment : '' Them that hate me." Sin is no 
light thing. In its essence it is hatred of God, and so 
has terrible consequences. " Them that love me and 
keep my commandments." Love him who has highest 
excellence. Keep his commandments which are good 
and lead to noble well-being. It is for us to choose, and 
we choose not only for ourselves, but largely for our 

Look carefully now at a very important feature of the 
appeal which is not brought out clearly in our English 
translation. He visits iniquity ''unto the third and 


fourth " and shows mercy " unto the thousandth," the 
commandment reads. Our translators have supplied 
the word " generation " in italics to the first numeral, 
and evidently they were right in doing so, but they 
should have supplied for the same reasons the same word 
to the second numeral : " He visits iniquity unto the 
third and fourth generation^' " He shows mercy unto 
the thousandth generation.'''' The third and fourth show 
an indefinite number, the thousandth is also an indefi- 
nite number, but it is a much larger number. The prin- 
ciple of the divine government has a very decided lean- 
ing to the side of mercy. 

Now perhaps you will say ; " I see that this feature 
of the divine government works with absolute imparti- 
ality, with strict justice, but I can see no indication of 
its leaning to the side of mercy." Then look again and 
more closely at the race and the individual. Look at 
the individual first. A child inherits an impaired con- 
stitution. Two features of the divine government 
respond at once. First, the restorative forces within the 
child, the recuperative powers of man's nature ; and 
second, the restorative forces without, the whole realm 
of remedies and skill awakened in others in their appli- 
cation. The child of ignorant parents is ignorant. Two 
features here also are on the side of mercy. The innate 
thirst of the mind for knowledge, present though weak 
in the child ; and the intelligence of the community in 
which the child lives, the atmosphere of enlightenment 
which he must breathe while he lives. The child of 
irreligious parents is irreligious. Here, too, there are 
two principles on the side of mercy. However corrupt 
he may be there is something in the soul of the child 


at unrest for God Avhich may be touched into power ; 
and the surrounding Christianity — the Christ who has 
loved and died to save — lives in many believing hearts 
through whom he seeks to save the child. 

Now, concerning the race it may be said that the limit 
of degradation seems to be fixed, but the limit of progress 
cannot be even imagined. How far man will advance 
in the control and use of the powers of nature, we who 
witness to-day the stupendous achievements of Chris- 
tian civilization will not even dare to conjecture. And 
how far man will be lifted up, in the knowledge and fel- 
lowship of God, the Bible tells us that we cannot even 
imagine. In the whole race also the two principles we 
have seen working in individuals on the side of mercy 
exist. However corrupted in idolatry men may become, 
however great the ascendency of the flesh over the spirit 
in man, the spirit still exists and in its very nature 
cannot be satisfied until it finds and laj^s hold upon the 
living God. There is something within men that can- 
not be satisfied with idolatry, or with sensual corrup- 
tion, something that may be touched into strong aud 
glorious life. And there is something to touch it. God 
makes the appeal of his infinite love in Jesus Christ, 
who has at infinite cost taken away sin and brought in 
new life to all who receive him. And we who receive 
him, as he lives in us, will touch all the dark souls we 
can reach with his light and life. Our fathers were idol- 
ators under tlie gloomy German forests and on the 
stormy shores of England. Their spirits were touched 
by the love of God in Christ and they turned from idols to 
the worship of the true God. We have received from them 
the elevation and happiness of our Christian land. Let 


us cherish and transmit to our children the glorious 
inheritance, and let us send the light into the whole 
earth. Let us, receiving forgiveness and new life in our 
Savior, bring our whole being into a shape worthy of 
God in moral likeness. This will be for the highest wel- 
faifcj of our own souls, of our children, of our land, and 
of the world. 


** 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.'* — 
Ex. 20 : 7 

The law of God is designed to exercise control over 
the whole man. It would be very imperfect if it did 
not govern his speech. By speech man expresses the 
condition of his mind and heart, and such expression 
generally tends to strengthen that condition. By 
speech he influences his fellow man. The command- 
ments not merely follow one the other, but are closely 
related with each, other. One flows from the other and 
leads on to the next until we see the whole nature of 
man under the reign of one law. The first precept 
commands us to have the true God alone for our God. 
The second precept commands us to worship the true 
God who is a spirit in spirit and in truth. These two 
commands tell us how we ought to think and feel to- 
ward God. If there was but one individual man in 
existence, and he was speechless, these commands would 
describe his nature and make plain his duty. It would 
be right for him to hold God supreme, and to have his 
spirit in a shape worthy of God in moral likeness and 
in control of all his powers. Now the third command 
shows man at the head of the material creation with the 
crowning glory of intelligent speech, and as a social 
being possessing the power of speech as the highest 
instrument of his social nature. God reveals himself to 



him by word, by name, as to a speaking being, making 
language a bond of union between Him and man. God 
commands him to use this great gift in his worship, in 
honoring Him. 

The tongue is the glory of man, and the glory of the 
tongue is to voice the praises of God. All nature praises 
God as it obeys his laws. The sun and the stars in 
their courses praise Him in notes of light — music our 
dull ears may not hear. The earth with her myriad 
voices praises Him; the deep-toned ocean, the quiet 
music of the streams, the gentle notes of the winds, the 
storms with thunder peals, unite in a grand hymn of 
praise ; but it is unintelligent. The birds with sweet 
songs greet the morning light, and all the creatures of 
God lift up their voices to Him ; but this praise of 
animate creation lacks intelligence. Man stands at the 
head of creation to take up its many notes of praise and 
give them intelligent utterance. He stands thus not as 
a single individual, a great High Priest, but as a race 
whose myriad voices are to join and mingle in a vast 
chorus of intelligent and harmonious praise. We are 
to speak of Him and to Him with adoration. He is our 
Creator, Preserver, Governor and Judge. We are to 
speak of Him and to Him with love and praise. Our 
lips should quiver with emotion when we speak of Him 
who is our Father, and our Savior. We are to speak to 
Him in His worship, and of Him to each other only in 
such a way as shall promote His worship in our own hearts 
and in the hearts of others. These three commands 
show God's ideal of man unfolding as they advance. 
Man is to give his allegience to God alone, is to be in 
character worthy of God, and this character is to ex- 


press itself in such speech as shall praise God, confirm 
itself and foster the same character among one's fellows. 

The command is in the prohibition form. Man has 
broken this law, and is prone to break it. His voice is 
silent often when it should be praising God. Alas ! it 
is often used to speak lightly of God. All irreverent 
or vain use of God's name is forbidden. 

A name is that word which calls to mind the thing or 
person named. The name " stone " sets apart a certain 
kind of thing from all other things. When we use it or 
hear it we do not think of a tree or of anything else but 
that single kind of thing. So the name " man " calls 
to mind a particular kind of being, and no other. So 
the name of an individual calls to mind a person 
separate from all others. The name of God therefore 
is that word or those descriptive words which call to 
mind the Being named. So I cannot speak the name 
of God without referring directly to the person who 
bears it ; and if others hear me I bring before their 
thought that one person, and no other. Hence the 
Bible usage is that the name of God equals Himself — 
to call upon the name of the Lord is to call upon the 

One vain use of God's name is calling Him to bear 
witness to a falsehood ; and a reverent use of His name 
is calling Him to witness to the truth in an important 
matter. Oaths on proper occasions are commanded in 
the Scripture and sanctioned by the example of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, who when put under oath by the 
High Priest declared that he was the Son of God. 
Oaths are demanded in courts of law, that the witness 
will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the 


truth. He calls upon God who knows the truth and 
who hears what he says to judge him as he speaks. He 
declares that he testifies not merely before the human 
court, but before the great Judge of all. If he lies he lies 
not only to man but to God. It is an act therefore of the 
greatest solemnity. The oath should be administered 
reverently. I have often heard the clerk of the court 
run over the form hastily and slightingly as if it was 
of no consequence, a meaningless ceremony. Such con- 
duct is insulting to God and calculated to defeat the 
aims of justice. However administered when we are 
placed under oath we should feel all the solemnity of an 
act of worship of God. Oaths are often required by 
law in connection with a promise, as of an officer enter- 
ing upon his office. The officer promises to faithfully 
discharge the duties of his office, and then calls upon 
God who win witness every act of his life to be the 
Judge of his faithfulness. 

An appeal to God to bear witness to the truth of our 
declarations and to the faithful performance of our 
promises may be made not only when required by law 
but when justified by the importance of the case. But 
of this we should be very cautious. The matter should 
be of such great importance to the glory of God and to 
the welfare of man, that the appeal to God is made an 
act of solemn worship. Of course the promise must be 
for something lawful. A man making a promise con- 
firmed by an oatli to do something wrong, is in no way 
bound to do that thing, for the simple reason that no 
man can bring himself under an obligation to do wrong. 
The making of the promise was wrong and calls for 
jcepentance; the taking of an oath upon such a promise, 


important as it may be, even if it extends to the half of 
Herod's kingdom, is wrong, and calls for repentance. 
It is taking God's name in vain to ask Him to witness 
our wrong doing. It is not likely that the importance 
of a private matter will ever make it our duty to appeal 
to God, but we are at any time liable to be called as 
witnesses in courts of law, or to serve on juries, or in 
some public office. We should have clear views of the 
oaths we may be required to take. They are solemn 
acts wherein we appeal to God to hold us to a strict 
account. We call upon Him to witness that we will 
be truthful and faithful, and to judge us according to 
our action in His sight. 

While it is clear that the taking of the name of God in 
vain applies to false swearing in important matters, it is 
as clear that it applies to the whole awful field of 'pro- 
fanity — the trivial, rash, and cursing use of the name of 
God in ordinary conversation, which is the reverse of 
honoring God in our speech. The minister probably 
hears less swearing than any man in the community. 
Profane persons seem to have more respect for him than 
they have for God, and if they venture on an oath it is 
with bated breath ; and yet the minister hears enough 
of it to know that the sin is terribly prevalent even in 
this Christian community. A man uses the name of 
God as an exclamation of surprise at some trivial thing 
or assertion of another, or to sustain some unimportant 
statement of his own. Generally he is a frequenter of 
rum-shops; sometimes he is otherwise respectable. 
Sometimes a story is dull and the story-teller seasons it 
with a few oaths, or some joke is without point and so 
a curse is used to awaken a laugh. Man calls God to 


make sport for him. A man has become accustomed to 
exaggerate or to speak falsely, and conscious that others 
hesitate to believe him he continually calls upon the 
truth-loving God to witness to his lies. Sometimes one 
becomes heated in argument or angry under contradic- 
tion or in a quarrel, and he calls upon God to curse him 
if he is not right, or in his anger he calls upon God to 
curse the one who irritates him. Sometimes he so loses 
control of himself that curses pour out of his lips as dense 
smoke out of a chimney. 

But the swearer tries to excuse himself: "I did not 
mean it. I was only in fun." There are some things 
not the proper subjects of fun. Surely a man ought 
not to make fun of God, or of invoking the wrath of 
God upon himself or others. But the swearer says: 
"It is a relief for me to swear. It cools off my heated 
spirits." Often it is the reverse, added fuel to the 
flame, not only to himself but to others, especially those 
he curses. But if it is a relief, what is it a relief of? 
It is a relief to the storm-cloud to throw out its light- 
nings, because it is over-charged with electricity. So 
it is a relief for you to throw out your cursing because 
you are over-charged with cursing. Your heart is so 
full of hatred that when stirred in anger it overflows in 
curses. My brother, you had far better bring such a heart 
to God with a strong cry for mercy. Again the swearer 
says: " I know it is wrong, but it is a habit I have fallen 
into to such an extent that I often swear without know- 
ing it." Do you not see that habit does not excuse but 
rather aggravates the offense? No one can become 
wicked at once. Your habit only shows how often you 
have sinned, how far you have gone down in this kind 


of wickedness. Again the swearer says : " I may as 
well say it as to think it." You should not think' an 
oath or curse. But it is worse to speak it. The letter 
of the law forbids the word, and so checks the evil in 
the heart, and at any rate prevents its injuring others. 
You gain inward control by outward control. Come 
toward the spirit of the law, checking the thought by 
obeying the letter. You keep yourself also from being 
a curse. The swearer is a moral blight in a community, 
his oath-speaking is a spreading infection, he is himself 
a curse to others. Few, if any, ever began swearing 
but from imitation. Profanity is a contagion in the 
sound waves of the air. By checking the oath at the 
lips you prevent the spread of the evil. 

We should be on our guard against the insidious 
beginnings of this sin. There are bj^^ words we are apt 
to use thoughtlessly, which are on the verge of swear- 
ing, are apt to lead us over it, and certainly influence 
others, especially the young, in that direction. The 
words "goodness," "gracious," "mercy," are often used 
as by- words. Now goodness, grace, and mercy, while 
attributes of God, are also qualities found in man. 
Neither the one using them nor the one hearing them 
may have the thought of God brought to rnind, and so 
we cannot say that their careless use is taking the name 
of God in vain, and we certainly should not burden our 
consciences unnecessarily. Our reverence for God 
should so fill our souls that our lips should have but one 
message, that of reverence, and should instinctively 
avoid the slighting use of any word which might bring 
Him irreverently to mind. 

Our Savior teaches us that we are not to swear at 


all in our ordinary conversation, either by the name of 
God, or by any person or thing, for all are related to 
Him. He teaches us that our statements should be 
always in accordance with the exact truth, that each 
one of his disciples should have a character of such pure 
truthfulness that his word needed no affirmation. '•'- But 
can I not use by-words at all ? " you say. Your speech 
would have more strength and elegance without them, 
would be more acceptable in good society, and what is 
of far greater importance, would be more pleasing to 

We should also have such reverence and love for our 
God that we could not bear to hear others take his name 
in vain. If any one should in your presence speak 
slightingly or unkindly or insultingly of your father, 
mother, husband, wife or friend, you would feel hurt 
and your feeling would probably be so deep that you 
would show him in some way, without sharing his im- 
politeness, that you valued highly the one he dishon- 
ored. Our love for God should lead us to cherish his 
honor to the extent of our influence. 

This commandment is distinguished from all the 
others by having a threat connected with it. The former 
command had an appeal. This has a menace. The 
Judge by whose laws and sentences our eternal state is 
to be fixed, from whose sentence there can be no appeal, 
says He will not hold guiltless — a strong way of declaring 
He will pronounce guilty — the one who takes his name 
in vain. The swearer is apt to think his offence a slight 
one. God says He regards it a grievous one. The 
swearer thinks God will not punish the use of a few tri- 
fling words. This is only another instance of the sinner 


underestimating the enormity of his sin. God declares 
He will punish the guilty. My brother, my sister, if you 
ever swear you should take warning from this solemn 
threatening of God. 

What is the reason that you swear ? Answer this 
question faithfully and you may see some little of the 
greatness of your sin, may confess that God is right in 
His estimate of it. You gain nothing by it, but lose 
much. Swearing is not regarded by men as a mark of 
intellect, or learning, or truthfulness, or refinement, or 
honor, but very generally the reverse. Nor are you 
seeking future good. You are preparing yourself for 
some place and for some companionship in the future. 
But you are not preparing yourself for heaven, for that 
is the place of adoration of God. Swearing, so far as it 
can, is preparing you for hell, the place of blasphemy. 
There must be some strong reason which leads you to 
swear in spite of such loss, present and future. You 
know right well that swearing demoralizes the com- 
munity. It directly opposes religion, which is honoring 
God, for it dishonors him. It directly opposes respect 
for law, faithfulness in office, the administration of jus- 
tice, undermining respect for God and the sanctity of 
an oath. And though it is so demoralizing to the best 
interests of the community, you still swear. There must 
be some strong reason controlling you. There is noth- 
ing noble about it. On the contrary, it is mean and 
cowardly to say behind one's back what we dare not say 
to his face. Would you swear if you were conscious of 
God's presence and holiness, swear to his face ? You 
know also that it is a vulgar practice. A gentleman is 
always considerate of the feelings of others. But you 


despise the feelings of those who honor God when you 
nse His name in vain. There must be some strong rea- 
son leading you to this vulgar, cowardly practice. You 
know also that the wickedness of an act depends largely 
upon the character of the person against whom it is 
committed. You contemn God's authority and insult 
his person. The name which all heaven adores, which 
all the universe praises, which all hell fears, you despise. 
Now, my dear friend, faithfully bring forth and examine 
the cause of this wicked act. Is it any other than this, 
" The wickedness of my heart is so great that it flows 
over my lips." God, the Holy One — your Creator, Pre- 
server and Judge — you hold in contempt, and out 
of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh. Jesus 
Christ, the loving Savior, suffered and died for sinners, 
and offers you forgiveness and his gracious help and 
love. You reject him not only — that were bad enough — 
but you despise him so much that your lips tell the feel- 
ing of your heart. We cannot sufficiently estimate the 
extreme wickedness of profanity. Let me solemnly 
charge all profane persons to consider this guilt in God's 
sight according to this commandment, and to repent 
and seek forgiveness in Christ, the forgiveness you so 
greatly need, and without which you must be forever 


" Eemember the Sabbath dity 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 it."— Ex. 20: 8—11. 

Three things at once arouse our attention. The open- 
ing word, '' Remember," suggests that we are specially 
liable to forget this commandment. The descending 
into particulars intimates the possibility of some trying 
to keep the law themselves, while they allow their work 
in the hands of others to go on. The giving a reason 
for the law, found in this instance alone, foretells a ten- 
dency to set aside this commandment and provides 
against it. Modern times were evidently within the 
vision of the Law-giver on Sinai. 

We can easily see what this commandment, if obeyed, 
would do for our busy lives. It would give us needed 
rest and spiritual uplift. The world is toiling for daily 
bread, on farm and in factory, in shop and store and 
office, day after day, from early morn until the shades 
of night close over the scene. Then comes the dawn 
of the Sabbath. Rest and quiet cover the country and 
the town. Soon the church bells fill the air with their 
solemn tones. Parents and children go together to the 
house of God for praise and meditation and prayer. 
The home is filled with hallowed joy as the hours roll 


on, and the still evening crowns the day with peace. 
Look ! the outstretched hands of Christ are bestowing 
a benediction on the nations. Listen ! through the 
blessed stillness come his words : " The Sabbath was 
made for man." 

That man in our day and land is in danger of losing 
the Sabbath which God made for him, has already lost 
much of the spiritual uplift and is fast losing much of 
the needed rest of the day, is due entirely to his dis- 
obedience of this commandment. Very important it is 
for him to return to first principles and base his observ- 
ance of the day upon the right foundation, the authority 
of God. Some confusion of mind exists regarding this 
commandment, since there were also enactments in the 
civil and ceremonial laws of the Jews concerning the 
observance of the Sabbath, and from this condition 
also arose many traditional laws which made the day a 
burden. These civil and ceremonial laws have no bind- 
ing power upon us, and the traditional laws never had 
any rightful power upon any one. Our Savior swept 
the traditional away by his word and the others by his 
life and death, only to bring into greater clearness the 
commandment of the moral law by his saying, " The 
Sabbath was made for man." 

This we see in the commandment itself as we reflect 
upon the reason God gives for the law. This shows 
that the commandment is not local and temporary, 
is not ceremonial, but is universal and perpetual; 
that the holy rest day is God's gift to man. 
It manifests the nature of the Giver. It meets the 
needs of the nature of man and defines his nature. God 
rested — therefore man should rest. The Sabbath is a 


memorial of creation, and of much more. It is a 
memorial of God's resting from the work of creation, 
and it in that fact shows a principle which is in God's 
nature not only, but also in man's. Whether we regard 
the days of creation as of twenty-four hours each, or 
rather as vast periods of time — the rest day of God as 
extending over the present reign of life upon the earth — 
the reason is the same. God rested and therein blessed 
and hallowed the Sabbath day for man. 

Meditate as we may, we will not be able to exhaust 
the grand truth carried in the bosom of this command- 
ment — God is a Spirit. He manifested his character, 
his wisdom, power and goodness in the work of creation. 
These attributes belong to him before, during, and after 
his work. As He rests from His work the truth is 
made prominent — God the spirit is separate from and 
above His work. So with man. Work is not sinful, 
but noble. The commandment calls him to labor. 
Man's character should manifest itself in his work, his 
truthfulness and goodness. His spiritual nature should 
be noble and enter into his work. He, too, is a spirit, 
separate from and above his work. 

This is a truth man greatly needs to keep in mind. 
We have to work so much for our daily bread, and 
sometimes our work becomes so fascinating and profit- 
able, and sometimes so burdensome and discouraging, 
that it absorbs us. Then God's voice comes to us with 
authority. We are beings capable of hearing and un- 
derstanding His commands. He addresses us as spirits 
separate from and above our work, calls us to lay our 
work aside and hold communion with Him. The 
Hebrew sitting with crossed hands in the door of his 


tent, looking over the camp at rest and the desert 
beyond, was forced to think of his relation to the Holy- 
One who had freed him from Egypt and was leading 
him through the desert to the promised land. In the 
rush of our modern life the need is not less that man 
should at times stop his work lest he come to think that 
the work is part, even the whole of himself. He strains 
every nerve to improve his farm, to pay off the mort- 
gage, to increase his income, to accumulate wealth. 
God calls him to stop and think, " What am I ? 
Where am I going ? What am I to be when this is all 
over ? " What mole hills are mortgage, and farm, and 
wealth! You are a spirit, separate from and above 
your work. Rest awhile and commune with me and 
you will be ennobled for the work that remains for you 
on the earth. This reason for the law takes hold of the 
nature of God and of the nature of man and binds 
them together with the golden clasp of the Sabbath. 

We see also that this commandment not merely 
follows but carries on the requirement of the Third 
Commandment. Man is to reverence God with his 
speech, as a social being, among his fellows. The 
highest reverence to be given in this way must be in 
the public worship of God. In order to this men 
must agree to assemble at certain times, which should 
occur with suitable frequency. Without such an 
arrangement the public worship of God must necessarily 
cease in any community, and upon the whole earth. 
God meets this need of man and sets apart a suitable 
portion of time both for individual spiritual culture, 
and for the social public worship of Himself. If we ask 
why He should have set apart one seventh rather than 


one tenth or any other portion, it is a sufficient answer 
that some portion is necessary, and God is the best and 
rightful judge of what portion is best. Those who 
observe it do not fall behind in the world's work, rather 
are more efficient in it. In heathen lands toil is unin- 
terrupted: the rest day prevails among the most 
enlightened, energetic and wealthy nations. 

Our Savior, whom we recognize as Lord of the Sab- 
bath, leaving the commandment in full force, changed 
the day to be observed from the last day of the week 
to the first, which we delight to call the Lord's Day. 
This he did by rising from the dead on that day, by 
appearing to His disciples on that day specially, and 
through his Apostles in their usage of that day. When 
the Apostle Paul speaks slightingly of the Sabbath he 
speaks of the Seventh day which the Jewish disciples 
thought they ought to keep in addition to the Lord's 
Day, and to keep it with all the restrictions of the cere- 
monial law. The day comes to us therefore on the 
authority of God, his gift to us, with the added value 
as a memorial of the victory of our Savior over sin and 

The observance of the day is to be based therefore 
upon the authority of God in this commandment. To 
the further question. How shall we observe the day? 
the commandment gives clear general directions, while 
it allows great liberty of judgment and conscience in 
particular applications. 

We are very plainly directed to observe it as a rest 
day. The word " Sabbath " is simply the Hebrew word 
meaning " rest " transferred to our language. We are 
to remember the Rest Day. We are to do all our work 


in six days. We are not to do any work in the Rest 
Day. Whatever more the day may be grows out of 
the primal element of rest. Natural science stands by 
Revelation in bearing witness to the beneficence of this 
provision. It aflSrms from the observation of facts that 
man needs one day's rest in seven, that physical deteri- 
oration, and mental as well, and shortening of life, 
result from the disobedience of this law. The employ- 
ers of labor are specially commanded not only to rest 
themselves, but to have those they employ rest also. It 
is quite obvious that this applies not only to individuals 
but also to companies and corporations. It is quite 
obvious also that it not only gives the employed the 
right to rest if they choose, a priceless right, but it 
commands them to exercise it — to rest. 

We all recognize that State laws have neither right 
nor power to force men to be religious — a truth men 
have been slow to learn — but clearly taught by God in 
his word, and in the experience of the race. For other 
reasons it is clearly within the province of State laws to 
command the observance of the Rest Day. For in the 
first place, a wide observation proves that such a day is 
necessary for the welfare of all the people. The God- 
given right of the Rest Day is written in the nature of 
man as well as in the commandments, and the State 
should recognize and secure it. In the next place, a 
large proportion of the citizens of the State, and the 
larger the better for the State, deem it wrong to work 
on the Rest Day. Their right of conscience should be 
protected. In the last place, those devoting the day to 
a religious use should not be hindered therefrom, nor 
disturbed therein. The State should to that extent 


encourage the religious observance of the day. But 
whatever the State laws may enact or fail to enact our 
obligation to God is not affected by them, they cannot 
excuse us from our duty to Him. The State allows 
railroad corporations to force their large companies of 
men to work on the Rest Day, but that does not make 
it right for us to begin or continue our journey on that 
day, and the directors of these railways are not excused 
by the State laws from their responsibility to God. 

But we are not only directed to remember the Rest 
Day, but to remember to keep it holy. God not only 
rested^ but he hallowed the day, and commands us to 
keep it holy, a day set apart for his worship. Here also 
is a very clear general direction, while great liberty is 
allowed in particular application. For observe, God 
does not say in the commandment how we shall keep 
the day holy. He leaves that to the judgment and con- 
science of each one. Each one is to have the design to 
keep the day holy, and to make such rules for himself 
as seem best adapted to that end. But he is to be care- 
ful that he does not try to force these rules upon others 
or to judge tliem thereby. That was the spirit of the 
Pharisee in the traditions which Christ rebuked and set 
aside, and we should guard against cherishing the same 

There are several questions prominent with us which 
should be solved by this principle. What shall I read 
on the Holy Day and commend to my children ? That 
which tends to keep the day holy, to lift up your spirit 
and the spirits of your children into fellowship with 
God, and only that. The question of Sunday news- 
papers as it concerns us is not the question of printing 


and distributing the papers, (it is easy to condemn 
others,) but of our reading them. Our sin is not in the 
supply but in the demand, and in the fact that the 
demand is the cause of the supply and regulates it. 
Shall I visit my friends on the Holy Day and invite 
them to visit me ? Will such visiting tend to keep the 
day holy in your family, and in theirs, and in the com- 
munity as your example has influence ? Will it tend to 
lift up your spirit and the spirits of others into fellow- 
ship with God? The observance of the Holy Day in 
private and in the family is the difficult part of the 
duty, but a very important part. Whatever freedom 
there may be from strict rules, however large the appeal 
to the individual conscience, even of young children, if 
the design of the day is kept clearly in view with earn- 
est purpose of attaining it, the spirit of obedience to 
the commandment will fill heart and home with the 
deep and purifying joy of the Lord's Day. 

We have already seen that the day is set apart and 
hallowed to the social public worship of God. The 
maintaining of such worship by our personal attendance 
upon it is obviously required in the commandment to 
keep the day holy. The public prayer and praise and 
meditation upon the noblest truths will bring our spirits 
into fellowship with God. The Sabbath was made for 
man, and the highest possible benefit we can receive 
from it is to have our spirits brought into a shape 
worthy of God. 

There are many perplexing features of the observ- 
ance of the Lord's Day in our modern civilization which 
God's people who lived before the age of steam and 
iron never dreamed of. Our Savior's teaching that 


works of necessity and of mercy are not violations of the 
holy rest day should be applied to these perplexities ; 
and should be applied in the spirit he inculcated of 
judging ourselves rather than others. Keeping up 
the fires of an ocean steamship and of an iron furnace 
are plain cases of necessity. Perhaps there are other 
cases in your homes which are not so plain, of which 
you must be the judges. The running of a milk train to 
New York and your shipping milk by that train comes 
under the head of works of mercy if you do it to min- 
ister to the well-being of men, women and little chil- 
dren in the crowded city ; but it is a violation of the 
law if done simply to make money. What is your 
intention, a holy or a sordid one ? Judge yourselves 
faithfully, but do not judge your neighbor. 

There is a growing tendency to make the day one of 
mere amusement, and a strong plea is made for those 
who toil through the week on such poor wages that 
their only home is a crowded room or two in a tene- 
ment house, to give them a chance to see the ocean and 
the green fields. Perhaps a more Christian solution of 
the grave problem would be better wages and better 
homes, rather than facilities for pleasures which diminish 
already scant earnings and give but a poor return — 
obedience to the eighth commandment rather than vio- 
lation of the fourth. The amusement of pleasure 
resorts does not give the rest from labor nor does it 
yield the spiritual uplift which God designs. It is 
generally accompanied by fatigue and in many cases by 
dissipation. It is safe to say that God is a truer and 
wiser friend of laboring men than are the proprietors 
of railways and pleasure resorts, and his gift of a holy 


rest day they will find a rich blessing if they use it as 
he directs. But surely if the pleasure-seeking of the 
poor on God's holy day cannot be justified, the pleasure- 
seeking of the rich must be utterly condemned. 

In order that we may have clear views on this com- 
mandment let us not fail to call things by their right 
names. This commandment is more than the setting 
forth of a need of our nature, more than advice for our 
own good. It is a command of God. Breaking the 
Sabbath is therefore more than an error, more than a 
mistake. It is a sin. It is a sin because it contemns 
the authority of God, and that is the essence of all sin. 
God commands us to remember his rest day, to keep it 
holy. If we have no design to keep it holy, or make no 
effort to do so, we set aside the authority of God as of 
no account to us. It is a sin further against the love 
of God shining in this commandment. As a father 
invites his children home to a family gathering because 
he loves to have them in his presence, so God would 
have us. His children, come to Him on the Sabbath 
day because He loves us. If we have no desire to come 
or make no effort to do so we set aside the love of God 
as of no account to us. It is a sin further against our 
higher nature. God calls us to remember our spiritual 
nature and to guard against degrading ourselves to 
mere sensual beings. He places the Sabbath as a fence 
upon the edge of a precipice. We deliberately break 
down the fence in order that we may throw ourselves 
down into the sensualism of constant work or unhal- 
lowed pleasure. Call Sabbath-breaking by the right 
name — it is a sin. 

We are to keep the rest day holy because God com- 


mands it, out of our deep regard for the authority of 
God. Our design is to keep it holy «.nd we are to 
make every earnest effort our judgment and conscience 
commend to the accomplishment of that design. Here, 
as everywhere, in keeping God's commandments there 
is great reward. There is great blessedness that comes 
from keeping the rest day holy to the one keeping it 
so, and to his fellow men. 

Consider the blessings to our fellow men. The holy 
or religious observance of the day bestows the rest day 
upon mankind. The civil rest day is but the shadow 
of God's holy day, a grateful shadow, as of a tree in a 
sultry land. Take the tree away and the shadow 
departs. The cupidity of employers, if unrestrained by 
the law of God, would soon grasp the rest day. The 
license of pleasure, if unrestrained by the law of God, 
would soon yield the rest day to cupidity, is fast doing 
so now. Multitudes have to work on the rest day that 
other multitudes may have pleasure ; and further, such 
unrestrained pleasure-seeking one day in seven would 
become such a nuisance that society in self defense 
would be compelled to abolish the day. The unbeliev- 
ing world may rail against God and His Church, but 
while it does so it is receiving from Him through the 
Church the rich gift of the only rest day it has from 
grinding labor. 

The religious observance of the day also preaches a 
powerful though silent sermon to the non-church-goer, 
telling him he is a man, not a beast of burden ; that there 
is a God whom he should worship ; that there is an 
eternal life beyond this fleeting one for which he should 
prepare. The assembling of God's people for His wor- 


ship on His Holy Day preaches the Gospel to those who 
never enter the church doors. 

The religious observance of the day does much also 
to educate. the conscience of a community. Only two 
kinds of government are possible, the strong arm of a 
king or the moral power of a people governing them- 
selves. The cultivation of this moral power is needed 
for the maintenance of our free institutions. It is safe 
to say that no existing agency can compare in efficiency 
in this direction Avith the public worship of God, and 
we may well call His Holy Day the bulwark of cur 

The religious observance of the day further secures 
the continuance and progress of Christianity in the 
world. The day is a memorial of creation and redemp- 
tion. Its memories, its hallowed associations, its influ- 
ences, its teachings, its worship, all speak eloquently of 
God, his love for us and our relation to him, and 
strongly bind our sinful world to His Holy Throne. It 
is difficult to conceive how Christianity would remain 
after His Holy Day had departed. The procession of 
secular days bears rich material gifts to man. The 
Holy Day spreads heaven's glories over the earth. 

The religious observance of the day brings also rich 
blessing to the one so observing it. However crushing 
may be the burden of toil and care we carry during all 
the week, when the Holy Day^dawns God himself takes 
it from our spirits that we may have free and full com- 
munion with him. In such communion our spirits are 
refreshed and strengthened. As the river Nile flows 
over Egypt at certain times bringing therein the bless- 
ing of fruitful seasons, so this river from the Throne o^ 


God flows regularly over our parched lives, bringing 
therein to our souls friiitfulness in heavenly graces. 
Our week is like the school-boy's writing page. On 
the first day our Savior sets before us his holy example. 
We try to copy it in our busy lives, but how imperfect 
is our work ! Too often the page is straggling and 
blotted. We have cause to weep bitter tears of disap- 
pointment and sorrow. Then comes the Lord's Day, 
and our Savior gently cheering us to new courage turns 
over the leaf and gives us again his clear example. 
One day for teaching, six days for practice, and our 
patient loving teacher always with us helping and 
inspiring. Surely as the weeks roll on we should con- 
stantly improve until at length when the book of life is 
finished He may say to each one of us; " Well done." 
The Holy Day also gives us a clear view of our 
heavenly home, the eternal holy rest from all this world's 
toil and care. A nobleman in England showing a friend 
through his palace, when they reached the highest win- 
dow in the tower, said : " From this window on a Sun- 
day we can see the cathedral spires of Durham." " Why 
on Sunday ? " the friend asked. " Because on that day 
the factories do not pour forth their smoke, and through 
the clear air the spires are seen." So the fumes and 
smoke of earth often cloud our vision of heaven. Then 
comes the Holy Day with its rest from worldly toil and 
its heavenly breeze, and as the smoke clears away we 
see the far off spires of our eternal home. How the 
sight thrills our hearts with bright hopes and firm 
courage for the remaining journey till we shall reach 
the Rest at last ! 


** Honor thy father and thy mother : that thy days may be long 
upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." — Ex. 20 : 12. 

A human law-giver, in enacting an important code, 
might consider it beneath his dignity to take notice of 
children, but God manifests his divine wisdom and love 
in directly addressing them in this commandment. We 
recognize at once that the early training of children is 
considered by God of the greatest importance to their 
own welfare, to the welfare of the race, and to the honor 
of Himself. We see also that the command is expressed 
in such a way that the duty remains long after the child- 
hood stage of our existence is passed, as long as the 
parental relation exists ; even longer, for some of us can 
only honor father and mother now in our memory. We 
may well notice also that however low an estimate may 
have been placed upon woman in the far east and in 
that ancient day, or may be placed upon her now any- 
where, God commands that the mother shall be held in 
equal honor with the father. He who learns truly to 
honor his mother at home learns to honor womanhood 

The position of this commandment among the others 
has important teachings. It is the center, the heart of 
the whole law. Our Savior gives us this summary of 
the law : " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. 
This is the first and great commandment. And the 



second is like unto it : Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself." Not only has God given us the power to love, 
but he has placed us in relationships which call this 
power into exercise and give it right direction, espec- 
ially the relationship of parents and children. The 
deep, strong, pure parental love — Others may hear 
about it, may have the power to love, but cannot expe- 
rience it. Only parents feel it, and only a child, their 
child, can awaken it into powerful life. Not only do 
they love their child, they soon find a yearning for the 
child's love. They rejoice in the first signs of intelli- 
gence. How unspeakably precious are the first signs 
of recognition and responsive love — the brightening 
of the eye as father enters the room, the crowing laugh 
as mother takes the child in her arms ! Growing from 
this is the parent's desire for the child's obedience, an 
obedience not of fear but of love. How much the parents 
will sacrifice, not regarding it as sacrifice, to secure the 
child from evil ! How great is their love and their 
yearning for the child's love I These are beyond esti- 
mate. This continues not for a few days or months 
only, but for years, even for life ; for although man is 
the most finely organized of the animal creation his off- 
spring is the most helpless, requiring the most tender 
and constant care for years, and his love for his children 
never dies. Gpd surely in this relationship cultivates 
love. In the child's heart also a deep true love for the 
parents is implanted by the Creator, to grow and 
strengthen as the years roll on. The commandments 
we have seen reveal both the nature of God and the 
nature of man, and this commandment in the center of 
the law enters the relationship God has established 


among men and gives the natural affection He there 
cultivates its noblest possible exercise and meaning. 
God says in it to parents, " As you love your children, 
so I love you. As you yearn for their responsive love, 
so I yearn for yours. I am your Father." God says 
in it to children, " Love your parents, and therein learn 
to love me, your Father.' ' The supreme love for God 
required in the first and great commandment is to 
find in this relationship its cultivation. So also the love 
for our neighbor required in the second command of our 
Savior is like the love of children for each other. God, 
my Father ; man, my brother. 

The position of this commandment among the others 
has a further teaching of great importance. The place 
of division into the two Tables of the Law is somewhat 
indistinct. It is in this commandment : but whether it 
belongs to the First Table, or to the Second, is not quite 
clear. It certainly treats of duties to man, and so must 
belong to the Second Table. But hold ! May not the 
parents be regarded as the representatives of God? 
Then it belongs to the First Table. There is certainly 
a strong analogy in the relationships. The parents are 
the nearest cause to the child of its being, its continued 
existence and its welfare, and this through that wonder- 
ful thing God has given them, parental love, which 
allies them so closely to Himself. We need not try to 
determine what God seems to have purposely left indis- 
tinct. In the indistinctness is the lesson. We are apt 
to consider duties to man separately, but God joins them 
indissolubly with duties to Himself. The two tables 
are not parts of the same law, separate and distinct from 
each other, but parts God has so joined together that no 


man can tell where the one ends and the other begins. 
The morality required in this law must have religion in 
it, and the religion required is indissolubly joined with 

The position of the commandment in this indistinct- 
ness also shows its great importance. Considering it as 
the last of the First Table, we see that in order that 
children shall become men and women worshiping God 
in spirit and in truth, they are to be taught and trained 
by honoring their parents. Considering it as the first 
of the Second Table, we see that in order that children 
shall become men and women fulfilling their duties in 
the various relations of life, they are to be taught and 
trained by honoring their parents. Both religion and 
morality have their foundations laid in the home life of 

The charge of cruelty to and neglect of children may 
be brought against the religion and morality of pagan 
Rome. Christianity has taught the world the interest 
God has in children. She can never forget that her Lord 
was once a babe, that He commended to his disciples the 
childlike spirit, and that He took little children in His 
arms and blessed them, welcoming them into the king- 
dom of heaven. In this Christian land and age great 
attention is being paid to children, in our homes and in 
our schools. Great advance has been made in this 
direction within less than a century, and is still being 
made. We are beginning to follow the divine wisdom 
and love of the Supreme Law-giver who in joining the 
two Tables of His Law speaks especially to the chil- 

In this interest of God in them there is a strong 


appeal to children. As soon as this commandment comes 
to their attention they should respond to this love of 
God for them and at once strive to keep His law. Here 
as in the first commandment no outward act is com- 
manded, but our inward spirit or disposition, from which 
will flow acts of its own character. We are not to allow 
the natural affection in our hearts for our parents to 
become cooled or displaced, but we are to cultivate it 
in obedience to God. We are also to have in our love 
for our parents a large element of reverence due to them 
to whom we owe so much and whom God has placed in 
authority over us. 

There are some plain duties embraced in this com- 
mandment which we, children of all ages, may profitably 
consider. We are to honor our parents in our thoughts. 
Boys and girls, when they begin to go to school and to 
find associates beyond the home circle and to catch 
their first view of the great world, are quite apt to 
indulge the conclusion that they know more and have 
rather better judgment than their fathers and mothers. 
It is because you know so little that you think you 
know so much. When you have passed through this 
stage of your being, when you have lived a little longer 
and learned a little more, 3^ou will conclude that your 
parents' views of your studies and the conduct proper 
for you were much better than your own. To adopt 
their views now, cheerfully and firmly, will be more 
modest and wise and certainly more in harmony with 
this commandment. 

We are to honor our parents in our speech. When we 
speak to them we are to cultivate the respectful tone of 
voice and use such words as shall give them honor. 


The sullen tone and the cross word are absolutely for- 
bidden. When we speak of them, in their presence or 
in their absence, we are to use terms of honor and love. 
It is certainly far from right for a young man to speak 
of his father as " the old man," or " the governor." 
The bad taste is, here as generally, bad morals. We are 
to honor our parents in our conduct. A young man 
will tip his hat to a young lady, and to an aged 
honorable man, and on the street and in company will 
be very attentive to their wants. Excellent conduct, 
provided the young man gives at least equal attention 
and honor to his father and his mother. 

Of course children are to obey their parents. Dis- 
obedience breaks the command of God at the same time 
it breaks the command of the parents. Obedience 
should flow from the honor in which the parents are 
held. It should be prompt, cheerful and loving ; not 
full of excuses, not coaxing off, not delaying until a 
stern command is required, not seeing how little honor 
it can give — which is giving no honor at all — but loyally 
consulting the slightest wish of the parents and promptly 
and lovingly fulfilling it. Obedience should also be 
faithful, just as complete in the absence of the parents 
as in their presence. The boy has taken a dangerous 
position who will do in his father's absence what he 
knows his father would not approve, and the girl is not 
safe who has anything to hide from her mother. We 
are to honor our parents also in working for them, and 
in need supporting them. Not only is this the prompt- 
ing of natural affection, not only is it our honor and 
privilege often to care for those who have so greatly 


cared for us, but it is a part of the duty we owe to God 
in obedience to His commandment. 

Much of this, some may say, implies that our parents 
are perfect. It is easier to fulfill these duties when the 
parents are worthy, still when we cannot help seeing 
great defects in them the duties remain. The honor we 
should give them will lead us to bear with their infirmi- 
ties, and to conceal their defects as far as possible from 
others, while we place a high estimate upon their vir- 
tues. There is one case which may possibly arise — the 
parent commands what God forbids. We are then to 
obey God. He is above all. All the authority the parent 
possesses is from God, and therefore can never be 
used against Him. 

We may now consider a few reasons why we should 
honor our parents. The first and greatest is because 
God commands. His command is written in our own 
natures and in this holy law. This reason is above all 
others and embraces all. 

Such conduct gives the greatest pleasure to our 
parents, as the reverse conduct brings to their hearts 
the keenest suffering. We can never fully appreciate 
all the care and love father and mother have bestowed 
upon us in infancy and youth, in sickness and in health, 
and the yearning of their hearts for our love. Surely 
we should respond to their love — we should seek their 

Such conduct is itself excellent. There is something 
within us that approves it, and condemns the reverse. 
When we see children honoring their parents we can 
not help feeling, " that is good." When we see them 
disobedient and disrespectful we can not help feeling, 


" that is wrong." Many noble examples appeal to this 
feeling and incite us to a like excellency. When you, 
boys and girls, go to High School and College you will 
read Latin and Greek. The greatest poet in each of 
these languages, each in his greatest poem, gives a 
glowing account of a man who was a hero. One of the 
noblest things written of this hero is this : He was one 
of the warriors of Troy, and when the Greeks captured 
and destroyed that city he made his escape from the 
ruins. He fled through the burning streets bearing a 
heavy burden upon his bended back which greatly 
hindered his flight, but he never ofl'ered to lay it down, 
it was so valuable to him. It was not money or jewels 
or any valuable property. He would not have en- 
dangered his life for that. The heavy load he carried 
was his aged and infirm father, and he bore him safely 
through. His name is and ever will be held in highest 
honor, and the noblest thing that can be said of him is 
this : " ^neas saved his father from burning Troy." 
You remember a decisive point in the life of Washing- 
ton. He wanted to be a sailor, and his mother gave a 
reluctant consent. All things were ready. The ship 
lay off in the river. His trunk was in the little boat 
which waited to take him to the ship, and he went to 
bid good-bye to his mother. He found her in tears. 
He at once ordered his trunk to be returned to the 
house and sent word to the ship that he would not go. 
" I will not break my mother's heart to gratify myself," 
he said, and his mother replied : " George, God has 
promised to bless those who honor their parents. He 
will bless 3^ou." We all remember that one of the 
recent presidents of the United States, when he had 


taken the oath of office in the presence of the assembled 
multitude, in that proud and solemn moment, 
the supreme moment of his life, turned from 
the people and kissed his aged mother. But 
why mention lesser examples? The greatest of all 
beings, the glorious Son of God, our Savior, when he 
was on earth, honored his parents. It is said " he was 
subject to them." For many years he labored for them, 
and when he endured the shame and agony of the cross he 
honored his mother and made provision for her welfare. 
When you find it difficult to obey your parents it will 
help 3^ou to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ 
obeyed his. When you find it hard to labor for and sup- 
port them it will nerve you with new courage to think 
that He even on the cross provided for His mother. 
Copy the great example here as always, and honor your 
father and mother. 

The commandment itself contains a reason for 
obedience in that it gives a promise, an assurance 
that in the providence of God obedience to this com- 
mandment will result in long life and prosperity. This 
sets forth a general rule in the divine government of the 
race, promoting stability in social welfare. The child 
honoring his parents learns self control, obedience to 
law, submission hearty and prompt to rightly consti- 
tuted authority as a principle of action. Such a child 
will in all probability become a man of like character. 
He will obey the laws of health. Entering business 
he will obey the laws of success, industry, perseverance, 
economy, enterprise. His powers under full control, 
he will be also a law-abiding citizen in society. Such 
character tends to long life and the enjoyment of the 


gifts of God. A good citizen enjoys the protection of 
the State not only, but helps to form a condition of 
social well-being. The child on the other hand who is 
disobedient and disrespectful to his parents, who sets 
aside their authority and God's authority, is cultivating 
a law-breaking character. He will in all probability 
become a self-willed man, setting at defiance the laws of 
God and man. Such a life tends to the undermining of 
health by excesses, to the waste of property by abuse, to 
the running into dangers recklessly, and to the over- 
throw of social well-being. Such a character tends to 
shorten life and to forfeit the gifts of God. A bad 
citizen throws away the protection of the State and is 
an element threatening the stability of social welfare. 
Honoring parents tends to long life and prosperity in 
the individual, and as this becomes general, it tends to the 
long life and prosperity of the nation. There is a wide 
and rich blessing visibly bestowed in this life on 
obedience to this commandment. 

Of course parents have correspondingly great duties 
resting upon them, since God places them in such an 
honorable position and clothes them with such great 
authority. They are to remember whence the authority 
comes and why it is given to them. They are to use it 
in the fear of God and for the welfare of their children 
and of the community. They should neither lay it aside 
nor abuse it. They are to govern their children if they 
would have their children learn to govern themselves. 
They should also endeavor to be worthy of the honor 
God commands their children to give them. The in- 
fluence of their teaching and example upon their children 
will of necessity be great. It is within their power that it 


should also be good. If they are worthy of the honor 
their children give them, if they rightly estimate and 
are faithful to the great trust God places in them, their 
children honoring them and together with them will 
give God the worship which is His due and will faith- 
fully discharge their duties to men as they arise in the 
varied relations of life. Blessed indeed are those homes 
where family worship is established and cherished. 
Their practice has caught the spirit of this command- 
ment. Parents and children may well meditate 
together upon the word of God, their rule of living ; 
may well praise Him for the blessed relationship He has 
established, for that sweetest, dearest place on earth, a 
Christian home ; and may well seek from Him the 
guidance and grace they need in their duties that the 
home may be the center and source of pure religion and 
true morality. 

It is quite evident that this commandment covers all 
those relationships which naturally grow out of the 
relationship of parents and children. Children are to 
honor their teachers who stand in the place of their 
parents to them for certain well defined purposes. The 
young are to honor the aged. The advancing genera- 
tion is to honor the departing one, inheriting its 
achievements, with due appreciation of its worth. The 
family naturally widens into the tribe and the nation., 
In the on-flowing stream of human life governments 
arise and become established. God is the author, in the 
social nature of man and in the course of his provi- 
dence, of order, not of confusion ; of government, not 
of anarchy. " The powers that be are ordained of 
God." Men are born into national inheritances. Few 


generations are called upon to create a government : it 
is generally a growth according to the condition and 
needs of society, a slow growth extending through 
ages, changes being wrought gradually by the develop- 
ing of principles and forces beyond the plan or life of 
any single man or generation of men. The form of 
government and its character will be the outgrowth of 
the intellectual and moral development of the people. 
Christianity does not propose to make the people better 
by revolutionizing the government, but to make the 
government better b}^ revolutionizing the people. With 
this design she entered the Roman Empire. It was far 
from being a perfect government, but it was the expres- 
sion of the moral condition of the existing social life. 
It was far better than anarchy, and it was her noble 
and fruitful mission to maintain order in society while 
she lifted society to a higher moral plane, which would 
gradually secure a better order of government. 

Our noble form of self government is our rich inher- 
itance from the generations past who have lived in this 
land and in the father-lands, as Christianity has fos- 
tered the love of liberty and the power of self control 
and the principles of righteousness in their social life. 
Whatever of fruitful struggle there has been, has been 
for a better government within the reach of the better 
social condition. To confess that our government to- 
day is not perfect is simply to confess that the moral 
condition of societ}^ is not perfect. Christianity does 
not therefore call up the red flames of anarchy and bid 
them hasten to destroy, but she sets up her school 
houses and her churches and conserves the present 
order while she prepares for all needed advance. 


We may regard government therefore as a human 
institution, but of divine appointment. Since the 
authority of government is from God, rulers should 
have a high sense of the dignity of their position as His 
representatives, and should rule in His fear for the wel- 
fare of the people. " Public office is a public trust," is 
not a new truth or even a whole truth. Though prom- 
inent now, it is part of a higher truth. Public office 
is a divine trust. Rulers should excel in the likeness 
of Him they represent in true righteousness and in 
unselfish devotion to the highest interest of man. 

Hence also citizens should give their rulers the honor 
due their high office, and due obedience to the laws of 
the land. This is a religious duty. The authority of 
God gives stability to the nation. None but a law- 
abiding people can be free. 

Hence also it is evident that since the authority of 
the State comes from God it can never be used against 
Him, can never make it our duty to disobey God. True 
freedom is obedience to God. Honoring rulers and 
submission to human laws are enjoined in this command- 
ment. These duties and their limitation by our obliga- 
tion to God are the foundation of social stabilit}'- and 
of all civil and religious liberty. 

Citizens in this self-governing nation should give 
great attention to the affairs of government, from the 
smallest town office up through the several grades to 
the highest office in the land. We should elect only 
such rulers as we will be able to honor, and who will 
enact only righteous laws. It is certainly very difficult 
often to respect all the officers of city, state and 
nation. It is our own fault that it is so. We should 


be more careful to elect men worthy of respect. But, 
whoever is elected, we should give him the respect due 
the office. It is our right and duty to freely and fully 
investigate the private character and record of a candi- 
date for office. But the truth should alone be sought. 
To slander one is base always, specially base when done 
for political effect. When the election is over the duty 
of investigating gives place to the duty of honoring 
the elected ruler, and this rests upon those who have 
opposed his election as well as upon those who have 
favored it. He is no longer a private citizen but ele- 
vated to office. The honor due the office belongs to 

Children, honor your parents — citizens, honor your 
rulers — all men, honor God. 


"Thou Shalt not kill."— Ex. 20:13. 

The most mysterious and valuable of all God's crea- 
tions is life. Man cannot imitate even its lowest forms. 
He may paint the rose, showing its form and color, but 
cannot imitate its life. God seems to have carefully 
guarded this creation so that it may always be recog- 
nized that He is its direct source, the Life-giver. Scien- 
tific research and discussion seem to have reached the 
firm conclusion that life never springs of itself from 
dead matter, that it only comes into being from the 
touch of pre-existing life. It is also one of God's most 
bountiful creations. The earth teems with myriad 
forms, rising grade upon grade until the highest life on 
earth, that of man, is reached. These myriad forms are 
closely related, the great variety being produced by 
slight deviations from a few general plans. Through 
this whole realm of life we see the working of a strange 
law. Life is sustained by death. In its ceaseless round 
it largely lives upon itself. Vegetable lives upon vege- 
table. The trees of the forest enrich the soil they grow 
in by falling leaves and decaying branches. Vegetables 
give food to animals, the cattle browse upon the grass 
of the meadows and man lives upon the wheat of the 
field, animals feed upon animals, fishes upon fishes, 
birds upon insects, while the lion roams the forest for 
its prey. All vegetable and animal life alike minister 
to the higher life of man.. If this commandment applied 



to all killing, man would soon starve, for his life is 
sustained by the death of vegetable and animal. 

But we are not therefore to conclude that man has an 
unlimited right to destroy the lower grades of life. God 
has written in the constitution of man and in his 
revealed word that man may kill the lower animals 
when necessary to defend or sustain his higher life. 
Beyond these exceptions which God himself makes He 
guards in this commandment his great creation, life, 
from the hand of man. The prohibition is expressed in 
the most absolute and general way possible, and should 
be so considered. God commands us to have a high 
regard for life, even in its lower forms. Hunting, while 
it develops manhood, strength, quickness, courage, 
cannot be justified by the mere pleasure of the hunt, 
only by seeking food. So with fishing. We have no 
right to take the life of bird or fish merely for our own 
sport. We should give our domestic animals kind 
treatment, sufficient food and but moderate labor. We 
are to take good care of the life God entrusts to us, and 
are not to abuse or waste it. All cruelty to animals is 
forbidden. Children should not be permitted to torment 
pet animals, certainly not to torture and kill flies. What 
right have we to take away the life even of a worm ? or 
to cause it the slightest suffering ? Man's abuse of his 
power over lower forms of life in this earth is cruel. 
Let us recognize that all cruelty is in violation of this 
commandment, and call it sin. 

While the commandment in its absoluteness includes 
all life, it evidently specially applies to human life. 
Man is not only the highest of the animals, allied with 
them in his creation from " the dust of the ground," 


but he is distinct from them in that he was created in 
the image of God, so possessing a spiritual nature, and 
as such God places him in dominion over the earth. 
We are to hold all life in high regard, and hence this 
human life, higher than all other with which it is related, 
and differing from all other in possessing the likeness 
of God, and also clothed with His delegated authority 
over the earth, is to be held by us as sacred. 

Our Savior in his exposition of this commandment 
teaches us that it forbids not only the act of killing, 
but as well all those feelings which have a tendency to 
lead to that act. He also teaches us in his summary of 
the Second Table of the law, "Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself," that this commandment directs us 
to cherish the lives both of our neighbors and of our- 
selves. It is certainly an intimation of the deep de- 
pravity into which man has fallen that God finds it 
necessary to command us not to kill ourselves or our 
fellow men. The prohibitory form here as elsewhere 
indicates tendencies that need restraint. 

The commandment is addressed to each man and 
applies to his own life and to the life of his neighbor. 

To his own life. He is forbidden to take it. He is 
commanded to care for it. Man does not own himself, 
_has no title in his own life as before God, has no right 
to destroy it, but should take good care of it, for it 
belongs to God. However great troubles may come 
upon us we are to bear them, not fly from them ; how- 
ever great the consequences of our mistakes and sins 
we are to endure them, not rebel against them. Man 
is never to come before God, the Judge of his life, un- 
called of him and with the guilt of his own blood on his 


soul. We are in this commandment forbidden to brood 
over our troubles. It is wrong to cultivate a melan- 
choly spirit, or a rebellious one. We should strive 
against these natural tendencies which threaten life and 
dishonor God. 

God requires us further to have that high regard for 
our lives which shall lead us to guard and maintain 
them in the best possible condition. We are to become 
familiar with the laws of health and obedient to them. 
All practices shortening life are forbidden, and practices 
tending to good health and long life are commanded. 
This commandment enters our homes with the pure air 
of heaven, with plenty of sunlight, and with all health- 
ful surroundings. The law of God sits down with us 
at our tables. Appetites are means to an end, not ends 
in themselves. They are to sustain the system, not to 
seek simply their own gratification. When a food 
is unwholesome it is to be refused, no matter how the 
appetite craves it; nor must appetite ever lead us 
to eat too much of wholesome food ; and the law of God 
should govern our drinking as well as our eating. It 
applies also to the manners of the table, to eating fast 
or slow, in sullen mood or cheerful. 

The commandment tells us how we shall dress. 
Clothing has two purposes, adornment and comfort. 
These need never conflict. Certainly, adornment should 
be subordinate to comfort. Fashion often says : " Thin 
slippers and a small waist." The law of God says: 
''Follow nature and care for good health." Students 
of the subject say that in an average well dressed audi- 
ence not one lady in ten can take a full breath. The 
lungs, the heart and other vital organs are compressed 


in unhealthy ways by tight dressing, often leading to 
debility and suffering in themselves and in their chil- 
dren. It is to be presumed that our ladies who excel 
in piety have not seriously considered the subject of 
their dress as being covered by this commandment. 
Thin shoes and bare arms venture out to a late party 
on a winter's night, a severe cold sometimes follows 
and a speedy death. We say, What a mysterious prov- 
idence to take one so young! Do we not know that the 
laws of providence are in favor of good health and long 
life, and that sickness and death often come directly 
from our disobedience of these laws. 

This commandment directs us in the conduct of our 
business. In gaining our living we are not needlessly 
to risk our lives. We are to be masters of our business, 
not mastered by it. There is a reckless pursuit of busi- 
ness as well as of pleasure. Both are forbidden. Many 
a business man breaks down under the strain he had no 
right to assume. The feverish excitement and danger- 
ous rush of our American life may build up fortunes 
and advance the general material prosperity, but do not 
have the highest regard for human life. " Better wear 
out than rust out," is probably true, but neither is good. 
God commands us to cherish our lives. 

The question of health and life is not one of mere 
expediency and choice but of duty. We are not to make 
light of this life, but to value it properly. We are not 
to take care of it for mere enjoyment, but for the 
earnest service of God to whom it belongs, and of our 
fellow men who also belong to God. We are to keep 
the life in good condition by use and for use. The time 
may come when the life God calls us to guard so care- 


fully he will call us to give as freely, to lay it down 
upon the altar of our country, or in the care of other 
lives committed to our charge, or as His witnesses at 
the martyr's stake. Such calls make heroes. The three 
hundred who defended Greece were heroes. He was a 
hero as well who a few days ago on Long Island Sound 
stood in the pilot house, with the flames around him 
blistering his hands and face and endangering his life, 
and firmly guided the vessel till it struck the shore. 
Such calls may never come to us. But the call of duty 
is now upon us to take the best care of the life God has 
given us and use it in His service. 

God requires further in this commandment that each 
one shall hold the life of others sacred as well as his 
own. He is forbidden to take it. He is commanded to 
care for it. In our law-abiding land where the State 
enforces this commandment, the need of self-defense 
seldom arises, though the right clearl}^ remains. In en- 
forcing this commandment the State inflicts the death- 
penalty for murder not because she has any inherent 
right over the lives of her citizens, but since God has 
made this her duty in the law given to Noah, which con- 
firms the instinct of justice in our natures. The growing 
sentiment in Christian lands that nations should live 
together peacefully, that they have no more right to 
fight and kill than individuals have, and consequently 
that war generally is a stupendous crime, is in clear 
harmony with this commandment. The right to defend 
the national existence clearly exists, as does the right of 
individual self-defense, but international law in our 
Christian civilization should prevent all call for the exer- 
cise of this right. 


We are to have such high regard for human life, our 
own and our neighbors', as belonging to God that we will 
neither neglect, injure nor destroy it, nor harbor any feel- 
ings leading that way, but will guard and cherish it and 
will cultivate those views and feelings which recognize 
its sacredness. All malice and hatred are clearly for- 
bidden. We are to guard our hearts against their 
entrance. If they are already there they must be 
expelled at once, they must not be harbored or in any 
way gratified. Not only by blow or weapon is it pos- 
sible to mar or shorten life. Hateful treatment and 
malicious words may give sensitive spirits deep and 
deadly wounds. While we are not to cherish malicious 
feelings in any degree, we are to carefully guard against 
awakening such feelings in others. The contentious 
spirit is to be checked in its small beginnings, for its 
natural tendency is to hard feelings and deadly hatred. 
Our pride is not to be cultivated, for an over-estimate of 
our own importance is sure to be cut to the quick by 
the slights of others, and arousing into anger will cherish 
the desire for revenge. High temper quickly flies into 
anger when provoked and often acts and speaks in the 
heat of passion, adding fuel to its own flame and 
striking fire into other hearts. It is said that Julius 
Caesar won many victories over bis own spirit by the 
simple rule never to speak or act when provoked until 
he had repeated slowly the Roman alphabet. As we 
have that alphabet in use now-a-days we can all be like 
great Cgesar in that respect, and the more fiery our tem- 
per the greater our need to follow his example. It is 
a question which is Avorse, " Quick to anger and quick 


to cool," or " Slow to anger and slow to cool." Cher- 
ished enmity and quick hatred are alike forbidden. 

Not all anger is wrong. When a sense of justice 
exists with any strength anger will be aroused by the 
sight of wrong. Our Lord Jesus Christ was angry with 
the Pharisees who murmured against his cures on the 
Sabbath day, and was filled with moral indignation 
when he drove the money-changers from the Temple. 
But our anger must be of a judicial nature to be justi- 
fied. Selfishness, which blinds a judge, should not enter 
into it, and it should never be immoderate in degree or 
continuance, taking on the hue of hatred. Neither is 
it possible that we should be insulted and not feel it. 
Christian manhood may feel the insult and keenly make 
known its feeling without flaming into resentment. So 
our Savior felt the insult when smitten on the face and 
made known his feelings in the keen rebuke, "If I have 
spoken evil bear witness of the evil ; but if well why 
smitest thou me ? " 

We are to beware of having any prejudice against 
our neighbor. We are to think of him kindly and 
speak of him and to him kindly, no matter what he 
thinks of us, or how he speaks of us or to us, or even if 
he will not speak to us at all. We are to cherish no 
enmity in our hearts though he may have enmity in his, 
but are to cultivate a loving and forgiving spirit, and 
to seek in wise and loving ways to win his respect and 
good will. All private grudges and neighborhood feuds 
if they stand at all must stand under the frowning face 
of this commandment. Neither can cool indifference 
to our neighbors' welfare find any place in our hearts 
under this law of God. The rich, the learned and the 


socialJy distinguished, while they must have special 
enjoyment with their own class, are never to forget that 
man is man wherever found, that human life is sacred, 
however unadorned it may be, and that they are to cher- 
ish the lives of their neighbors as their own, seeking 
their highest well-being, since all alike belong to God. 

In the social arrangements of the day lives are often 
placed in the charge of others. Those having this 
charge should pay special attention to this command- 
ment. Those ^vho have the management of the great 
forces of civilization, steam power and electricity, are 
responsible to God for the use of the power with which 
He has clothed them. Lives are under their care in 
crowded factory, stately vessel or rushing train. If in 
caring for and serving these lives they can earn a fair 
money reward, who can question their right to enjoy it ? 
But if, seeking simply money, they are carelessly indif- 
ferent to their charge, and lives are lost, the largest 
dividends will be powerless to cleanse their souls from 
the guilt of blood. The owner of a tenement house, if 
he regards this commandment at all, will seek the 
health, comfort and welfare of his tenants. Builders 
of roads, bridges and houses, if they regard this com- 
mandment at all, will seek not only good wages but 
mainly to do good work, that men's lives may be safe. 
Employers of labor, if they regard this commandment 
at all, will not mar and shorten the lives under their 
care by excessive work and insufficient wages. They 
will remember that they are employing men, and they 
are to cherish the lives of all men, especially of those 
under their care. 

Our personal responsibility to God is not lost in our 


being members of a community. This commandment 
directs us to be good citizens and to seek the health 
and welfare of all the members of the community where 
we dwell. The sanitary arrangements of city, town 
and village are commended to our attention. We may 
not neglect them without guilt. One is not to be so 
absorbed in his own comforts and the guards he has 
placed about his own life, and his family's, that he 
neglects the general health and welfare. The com- 
mandment enjoins upon us that public spirit which 
seeks the best drainage, the purest water supply, and all 
those arrangements which tend to make the community- 
life both pleasant and safe. The sanitary condition of 
a country home is also to be considered by the owner, 
not only for its inmates but for its neighbors also. 

We have lived together in this community for now 
nearly a dozen years, and you and I can think on the 
instant of several men who have beyond question died 
from the effects of intoxicating drinks during that time. 
It was their own fault, j^ou say. True, but not the 
whole truth. The liquor seller is to blame, you say. 
He ought not to have sold to drunkards, or to those 
intoxicated. True. I have not one word to say in his 
excuse ; but again, not the whole truth. These men 
who died, when they were boys saw respectable men go 
into bar-rooms and drink. When they became young 
men they began to drink, treated often by these respect- 
able men, and treating one another ; and so they con- 
tinued drinking. The sale of liquor was open, almost 
free, and patronized by men they respected. Evidently 
the system in which they lived had something to do 
with their deaths. Now the laws of the State in which 


we live give us in this community full power to stop 
this system, if we so choose, and will take the trouble 
to do it. It exists to-day, and has existed all these 
years because we do not choose and will not take the 
trouble to stop it. And these ten or a dozen men who 
have died are to blame for their deaths. Yes. The liquor 
seller is also to blame. Yes — and something more. We 
are to blame ! Our garments are not free from their 
blood. That which has been will be. Within the next 
few years a few more men will come to untimely deaths. 
Some wlio are near and dear to us and who would in a 
different social system live noble and useful lives. You 
and I know it will be so, and that it will be so because 
we do not choose and will not take the trouble to stop 
the almost free and somewhat respectable and attract- 
ive sale of liquor on our streets. Our indifference to 
the matter is in direct violation of this commandment. 
We ought to face our responsibility now rather than 
put it off into eternity, for face it some time we must. 

The sacredness of life enjoined in the commandment 
covers not merely the bodily life, it lies specially in our 
spiritual life, in the image of God. Is life worth living? 
asks the worldly philosopher, as if there was some doubt 
about it. Worth living ? Surely it is, since our spiritual 
life though fallen may be brought into a shape worthy 
of God, our Father. Herein we see the highest realm 
of this commandment, the true sacredness of life. We 
are carefully to avoid in ourselves and in our influence 
all those things which would have any tendency to 
destroy the soul. We are to diligently cultivate in our- 
selves and in our influence all those things which have 
any tendency to ennoble the soul. The value of the 


soul, the sacredness of life, who can estimate it aright I 
" Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." 
He died upon the cross giving " His life a ransom for 
many." The mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, His life 
and death, show the estimate God places upon our lives, 
the love of God for us. The more clear and controlling 
our faith in the Savior, the more fully we live a Chris- 
tian life and put forth a Christian influence over our 
fellowmen, the more in harmony we will be with the 
requirement of this commandment. Praise God, that he 
created us in his image ! Praise God, for the glorious 
salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ I 


Thou shalt not commit adultery." — Ex. 20 : 14. 

Morality is an essential part of religion. God can- 
not be truly honored without it. Neither can there be 
true morality without honoring God. This character- 
istic of the law elevates duty to man to the highest pos- 
sible plane, makes it a part of duty to God — hence there 
is a sacredness in it. We found in the sixth command- 
ment a sacredness of human life. We are forbidden to 
destroy it. We are commanded to cherish it. In the 
seventh commandment we see the sacredness of mar- 
riage. Now marriage is the crown of the relationship 
between the sexes, hence there is a sacredness in that 
whole relationship. We are forbidden to destroy it. 
We are commanded to cherish it. 

We see at once that this precept, as in the former 
instances, is joined to and advances from the preceding 
one. The life guarded in the sixth commandment 
exists in sexes, and so exists for the purpose of perpetuat- 
ing itself in successive generations. Hence the marriage 
relation has that main end in view. There are other 
important ends, but they are subordinate to this main 
one. That therefore is a healthful and holy way of 
looking at marriage, of entering it and of living in it, 
which desires and cherishes children as the gift of God, 
his rich blessing upon it. Any other view must fall 
far short of being either healthful or holy. It is said 
that American families are becoming very small, and 



that many exist without a single child. Where this is 
the case from human desire and purpose, rejecting 
God's offered gifts, it must be clearly seen as contrary 
to the divine law of marriagCo I can only touch upon 
the subject at this time and in this place, but I wish to 
make the point in such a way that it cannot be mis- 

This commandment, as it covers the whole relation- 
ship between men and women, brings before us a most 
important and delicate subject which beyond question 
ought to receive proper attention from the Christian 
pulpit. Happily our Savior has thrown the delicacy 
and sanctity of his teachings upon the subject, and we 
will now select two passages from these to direct our 
further study. The first directs how men and women 
should regard each other outside of the marriage rela- 
tionship, and the second speaks of the marriage relation 

The first passage is found in Matt. 5 : 27, 28. The 
tradition taught that the commandment forbade simply 
the act of adultery. More, says Christ, it forbids all 
impure thoughts and desires. Our Savior here teaches 
us very plainly that impure thoughts and desires are 
forbidden not merely as leading to sin, but as sin in 

Let us be as practical as possible about guarding 
against the beginnings of this sin. We who are parents 
should guard against its beginning in our children. We 
are prone to neglect them at a particular point in their 
lives when they most need our guidance, the point when 
a boy becomes a man, when a girl becomes a woman. 
We all agree that ignorance is not the mother of devo- 


tion, and yet act as if ignorance was the mother of 
purity. Knowledge is the basis of true religion and the 
safe-guard of virture. Our children will learn concern- 
ing the new-born passions which fire their imagination, 
either from impure companions or from you, the pure 
teachers God appoints: and it is a matter of tremendous 
importance whether they learn purely or impurely. If 
a father will take his boy aside and give him full in- 
struction concerning his new life, it may save the father 
many a heart-ache and the boy untold woe and wretch- 
edness. If a mother will in like manner instruct her 
daughter, it will win her confidence and prove a safe- 
guard of purity of inestimable value. These new-born 
passions have a wise purpose in the will of God, and 
governed by his law they become the source of the 
purest and richest blessings. They are as God's gift of 
fire to us. Controlled, it makes our firesides places of 
comfort and cheer ; uncontrolled, it consumes our homes 
and leaves us miserable wanderers over a wintry waste. 
They are, like fire, excellent servants but terrible 
masters. It is well to know their nature and God's law 
for their control. 

We will all do well, and especially the young, to cul- 
tivate a taste for purity, so keen and sensitive that it 
will instinctively turn from the suggestion of impurity 
with loathing. We can do this in selecting our read- 
ing, and there is much need of it. We are in little 
danger from the boldly and openly impure, from vile 
pictures and books. Such are for the already vile, and 
plainly marked " poison " to all others. But men of 
great genius are not always men of pure morals, and 
their works often throw the fascinating glamour of 


genius around impurity. There are many novels and 
poems of insinuating vice and suggestive impurity. It 
is wise to let our novel reading be a very small propor- 
tion of the whole, simply for needed recreation, and 
then only the very best, of noble characters and heroic 
deeds ; and our poetry, of fair ideals and beautiful scenes. 
The nude in art, the immoral in the drama, the lewd in 
literature, however true to nature, though the highest 
specimens of the realistic school — the spirit looking out 
from these is the hideous spirit of lust. A bright 
imagination under the control of conscience is an en- 
nobling possession. An impure imagination is an ever 
present curse. Soar among the stars, dwell among the 
flowers if you will, but when so many beautiful and 
grand subjects invite you, do not degrade your noble 
powers by diving into filthy pools. The selection of a 
newspaper is not always an easy matter from this point 
of view. However ably conducted, and however cheap, 
that paper is a dangerous visitor to our homes which 
slurs virtue and revels in vice. Let it go to its own 
company, while we welcome the one which tells of vice 
with shame and of virtue with delight. 

We should cultivate the taste for purity in the choice 
of our companionship. Associate with those who tol- 
erate sensual manners, undue familiarity, broad speech, 
unclean stories, and we will speedily lower our ideas of 
propriety, and dangerously wound our faith in the honor 
of woman and in the virtue of man. Let our acquaint- 
anceship even, as far as it is a matter of our choice, be 
of those whose delight is in pure thinking and feeling, 
in clean speaking and living, and let our friendship, 
which is altogether a matter of choice, be only with the 


pure. There are men, and, alas! some women, who 
deliberately prefer vice to virtue, the excitement of 
animal passions to the testimony of a good conscience 
and a pure heart, who sneer at chastity and modesty 
and purity, who have none of these in themselves, but 
the reverse, the devil's look in the eye, and the devil's 
lust in the heart. Such should awaken our thorough 
contempt, and oftentimes the most faithful and kindly 
treatment we can give them is to let them see very 
plainly how much we despise them. Christian public 
opinion should always seek to awaken repentance and 
restoration, but this it can never do by appearing to 
approve in the slightest degree of the bold and impeni- 
tent slayer of virtue. 

Good books and pure friends delight the mind and 
cultivate the heart. We cannot over-estimate their 
importance. We strive to have in our gardens the 
most beautiful flowers and the finest flavored fruit, but 
we are careful to have no poison vine however brilliant 
its colors trail over the flowers, no poison berries how- 
ever tempting to the sight hang side by side with the 
fruit. Let us take at least as good care of our minds 
and hearts as we do of our gardens. 

Now we may approach the subject of marriage. A 
high ideal of marriage is a great incentive to purity of 
heart. If young people anticipate a pure marriage 
every step towards it must be in the way of virtue. If 
you wish to win a pure white soul for your life-long 
companion you will be unwilling to give less than you 
wish to receive. You will keep your own soul sweet 
and clean. 

Supreme affection adequately tested, and an oppor- 


tunity to marry, you may regard as the call of God to 
the pure state of marriage ; not a passing fancy, but a 
well tried affection ; not mere admiration for beauty of 
person, but deep regard for beauty of character. This 
may arise suddenly, ''love at first sight," or it may be 
the growth of a long and intimate friendship, only be 
sure it is a supreme and worthy affection. Not mar- 
riage from heedless impulse without thought, not mar- 
riage from convenience without heart, not marriage 
simply to be married because one has a chance and it 
may be now or never. Such motives may seem angelic 
beings beckoning on to a happy life, but may prove to 
be demons leading to wretchedness. Better wait until 
God calls you to enter marriage by giving you a deep 
true love to lead the way. And the opportunity to 
marry should be not merely responsive love, but a clear 
intimation in His providence as seen in bodily health 
and surrounding conditions, that you will be able to 
form that sweetest of all places on earth, a Christian 
home. Now in your courtship and engagement cherish 
pure thoughts and noble purposes. Let no thought, 
word or action undermine your own high self-respect 
or the pure regard you should hold for the one you 
love. These you should have now, and when in after 
married life you look back in memory to your courtship 

Let us now consider the second passage selected from 
the teachings of our Savior which sets forth the nature 
of the marriage relation. This is found in the 10th 
chapter of Mark, from the second to the twelfth verse. 
He clearly teaches that since God hath made them male 
and female a man will leave all other ties and cleave to 


his wife, and that these twain are no more twain but 
one flesh, for God hath joined them together. 

Marriage is therefore a divine institution founded in 
the nature of man as created by God. There is no 
higher mode of living for man and woman than to be 
husband and wife. It is the most intimate and sacred 
union that can exist on earth, to which all other rela- 
tions are to give place. It is the union of one man 
and one woman for life, whose duties are not only to 
each other and to society, but to God. The legitimate 
power of the State is simply to enforce the law of God. 
If the State attempts to separate those whom God hath 
joined together, or to unite those whom God forbids to 
unite, her laws are nullities at the bar of conscience. 
The polygamy and divorce among the Jews did not 
arise from God's will, but from the hardness of men's 
hearts. They were contrary to God's law and were 
restrained and almost eradicated by it. Here as every- 
where the teaching of nature is in harmony with the 
Ten Commandments. Men and women are existing 
to-day, and always have been, the wide world over, in 
nearly equal numbers, making provision for such mar- 
riages and for such alone. Besides, the supreme affec- 
tion, which we have seen is the only natural basis of 
marriage, can exist only between two, and is life-long. 

We have an organized system of polygamy within 
the bounds of our land, and the nation is not much dis- 
turbed in conscience by the corrupting abomination. 
Neither of the political parties in the present presiden- 
tial campaign are demanding with any earnestness that 
the laws of God and of the United States against 
polygamy should be enforced in the Territories. They 


evidently do not believe that the presentation of such 
a moral issue would secure many votes. The abomina- 
tion goes on, and we, the people, do not much care. 

But there is a worse feature still in our national life. 
The law of God recognizes but one ground of divorce, 
adultery. This is emphatically taught by our Savior. 
The divorce laws of many States are in open conflict 
with this law of God. Cruelty, desertion, drunkenness 
and lesser causes are grounds of divorce, and in a few 
States the power to grant divorce is left largely to the 
discretion of the courts who frequently can hear but 
one side of the case. So incompatibility of temper is 
deemed a sufficient cause for man to put asunder what 
God has joined together. Our own State keeps close 
to the Christian standard, but she is beginning to feel 
the corrupting influence of bad neighbors. These lax 
divorce laws lower the estimate of marriage : they cul- 
tivate heedlessness in entering marriage : they foster a 
spirit of restlessness in marriage, for many frivolous 
quarrels would be quenched by the permanency of the 
relation which are inflamed by the prospect of an easy 
separation : and they encourage and make light of infi- 
delity in marriage. Their whole tendency is to disin- 
tegrate the home and degrade womanhood. 

God's institution of marriage is the foundation of the 
family, and the family is the foundation of Society, the 
State, and the Church. Rome rose by the sanctity of 
her family life, and fell when it was undermined, as any 
fabric however stately will fall when the foundation is 
removed. Her rise was through the courage of her 
men and the virtue of her women. The perpetual fire 
on the altar of the Temple of Vesta tended by a chosen 


band of white-robed virgins was a true symbol of her 
strength. But the days of degeneration came and the 
fire flickered and went out. There were no divorces in 
the early years of her history. There were many easily 
obtained divorces in the years of her luxury. Mutual 
consent was all that was needed to break the tie. Now 
the Roman laws in their later laxness are at the basis 
of much of our divorce legislation, and have displaced 
the law of God. We should be aroused from indiffer- 
ence by her experience. Like cause will produce like 
effect. Beyond love of our country Christian sentiment 
should arouse in its strength and impress God's law of 
marriage upon the statute books of our States. 

It is enough to enshrine marriage in our regard that 
it is ordained by God and governed by his law. Now 
all God's laws are for the highest good of man, and 
hence we find many inestimable blessings flowing from 

It confers happiness upon the married. True, there 
are unhappy marriages. Those who marry for property 
will be very apt to find the husband or wife an incum- 
brance. Those who marry heedlessly will find here as 
everywhere that heedlessness brings disaster. But the 
great majority of married people are happier for the 
marriage, as happy as their circumstances and character 
will allow. Poverty can never have the pleasures of 
wealth, but can have more pleasure in a loving marriage 
than in single loneliness. Love makes many a cottage 
happy. Covetousness can never have the pleasure of 
generosity, but in a loving marriage it finds dwarfing 
influences, and so becomes a smaller barrier to happi- 
ness. Selfishness in whatever form can never have real 


happiness, but true love in marriage tends to destroy 


Marriage is God's grand institution for cultivating 
love in human hearts. What would this sin-stricken 
world be without the affections of the family circle, the 
love of husband and wife, parents and children, brothers 
and sisters ? What refining influences come into this 
world with a little child ! What delightful and elevat- 
ing feelings are awakened by a babe ! Oh, mothers ! 
rocking the cradle, you may well look up to God with 
eyes filled with happy tears. He has bestowed upon 
you a most precious gift. You may well look down 
upon your babe with unspeakable love. You may well 
look out into the future picturing for your child a noble 
life on earth, and an eternal blessedness in heaven. 
Happiest of women ! you have an immortal soul akin 
to yours in your loving care. How selfish and narrow 
and hard our hearts and lives would become were it not 
for God's gift of cliildren, awakening gratitude to him, 
self-sacrificing love for them and all the sweet sym- 
pathies and tender patient ministries of the home ! What 
more helpless than a babe ? God in marriage secures 
the might of love for its helplessness. What more 
ignorant ? God secures teachers whose patience is well 
nigh inexhaustible. Is there danger the child may 
become rough and selfish? In the required yielding to 
one another of brothers and sisters of different ages is 
found an antidote of selfishness and the cultivation 
of gentle manners. Certainly the child will need 
government. The family is God's place for cultivating 
obedience to law from the earlest hours of childhood. 


Submission to right authority is the spirit of a good 
child, of a good citizen, of a good Christian. 

Is there any wonder then that God guards this blessed 
institution of marriage against all that would pollute and 
destroy it ? If the frequency and earnestness of the 
warnings of the Holy Scripture against any sin measure 
the tendency of man to commit that sin, then impurity 
is one of the most fearfully prevalent and dreadful sins 
of the race ; and so the history of the past and of to-day 
plainly teaches. The lurking places of this sin exist in 
every large city. " Dead Seas," some one has called 
them, whose vapors even are deadly, and these seas 
have their bays and inlets in every town and village of 
our land. The Proverbs speak in warning of the strange 
woman. She uses all her charms to corrupt and destroy 
men, especially young men. As she passes along the 
streets she awakens the laugh of bad men, the pity of 
good men, and the horror of the pure. She sinks down 
into the hell of misery and despair. But she sinks not 
alone ; she drags down with her many whom she has 
corrupted. Well may her house be called the gate-way 
of hell ! Once she was a babe in her mother's arms. 
Once she was a beautiful maiden, the pride of her 
brother's heart. But thoughts of evil entered her heart, 
"she forsook the guide of her youth," her footsteps 
took the pathway to hell, and she soon became the 
tempter of others. 

And surely there must be in hell a place still lower 
than hers which belongs to him who first instilled those 
thoughts of evil into her heart, and who led her by the 
hand when her footsteps were first directed in the path- 
way of vice. How will he quail when he stands before 



the pure white throne of the Judge of all ! And if 
there is a still lower place in hell it must belong to the 
viper, who, crawling into the family, fastens his glitter- 
ing eyes upon the cherished wife and fascinates her to 
her ruin. The lightning of God's wrath will flash its 
hot cuttings of remorse through his heart, and though 
hers, forevermore. And surely there must be a still 
lower place in hell for the married man who leaves a 
confiding wife, betraying her trust and love, proves 
false to his most solemn vows, and in his sensual lust 
revels with the impure only to make them more impure, 
damning both himself and them. 

Our laws are lax here too. They do not regard 
adultery and its hideous kindred as crimes. To steal 
ten dollars sends a man to prison. To steal happiness 
and honor only gives a right to sue for damages. And 
has Society, the State, no interest in such things ? Surely 
adultery is a crime. It should be so pronounced by the 
State — a crime next in penalty to murder. Public 
opinion has some healthfulness in it, but is unjust in 
giving its severest condemnation to the woman. Even 
when she is the tempter, the man should be at least 
equally condemned ; and it is too weak to demand laws 
making the offense criminal. The more of delicacy and 
sanctity there is thrown around the relation of the 
sexes, and the more of personal honor there is secured 
to woman, the more elevated and strong will be the 
character of the State ; and her laws should be framed 
like to God's law, to secure these ends. If Tacitus is 
to be believed our forefathers, when they lived under 
the German forests, were comparatively free from the 


common leprosy of barbarism. They considered there 
was something divine in woman. They reverenced a 
pure family life. They taught the young the spirit of 
purity. It was their custom to bury the adulterer 
alive in the mud. The Anglo-Saxons are the most 
powerful race on earth to-day. One secret of their 
power is that from the first they have reverenced virtue. 
Our hold on power depends largely upon our hold on 
purity. May it not be, with us, as it was with the 
ancient Romans, that our virtue becomes corrupted by 
the power and luxury it has gained. However silent 
our laws may be, let us never forget that God is not 
silent. The Bible does not whisper, it thunders peal on 
peal the hot denunciations of divine wrath against the 

Marriage is further ennobled in our thought since 
God has chosen this most intimate and sacred union to 
illustrate the union between Christ and His Church. 
The union illustrated throws its clear light back upon 
the illustration, and shows married people the spirit 
which should rule their lives. Whatever motives have 
led the way, and however well or poorly suited to each 
other they may be, they have entered the relationship, 
they have assumed its duties, and now let them cultivate 
that spirit which alone can secure blessing in marriage 
and honor God. " Wives, submit yourselves unto your 
own husbands, as unto the Lord." Love and honor 
him. Cherish this spirit, for God hath made him head 
of the family. " He is the head of the wife even as 
Christ is head of the Church." " Husbands, love your 
wives, even as Christ also loved the Church." Cherish 


that self-sacrificiiig, peculiar, ever-faithful love for her 
which shall more and more resemble the love Christ 
bears His Church. Know you not that of you twain 
God hath made one flesh ? that you are joined to each 
other by his holy and blessed institution of marriage ? 
Whatever mistakes yoa may have made, do not try to 
correct them by making still others, but cultivate the 
spirit God directs and you will find the blessedness he 

Turn our thoughts now to the union between God 
and His people. On the plains of Northern Italy there 
stands an ancient and beautiful city. Near its center 
rises a building of pure white marble, wonderful for its 
grandeur and beauty, seeming more like a dream from 
heaven than a creation of the earth. As one stands 
upon the roof of this cathedral of Milan, surrounded by 
the multitude of its dazzling pinnacles and spires, he may 
look far off to the north, over the plains and hills, until 
his eye rests upon the snow-clad summits of the Alps, 
those other pinnacles and spires which God himself 
created, and clothed with the ever pure white garments 
of the skies. So, from this purest of earth's relation- 
ship we lift our thoughts to the mystical union of life 
and love, between the heaven and the earth, the 
marriage of the Church to her Divine Lord. Who 
shall speak of the love and faithfulness of this Divine 
Bridegroom, the love which knows no changing, which 
led Him to lay down His life for His Church ? How 
steadily and warmly should her love go out to Him ! 
Let her never listen to the whispers of the false world. 
Let coldness never chill her heart, but may she be 


always heavenly minded and clothed in the spotless 
robe of His righteousness, adorned as a Bride for her 
Husband. Let us all remember we are living in the pres- 
ence of God, under the pure eyes of our Savior. Let 
us have our thoughts consciously open to His inspec- 
tion and our lives pure in His sight. 


" Thou Shalt not steal."— Ex. 20 : 15. 

This globe upon which we live belongs to God. He 
made it. His creative power brought it through various 
stages to its present condition. He clothed it with 
beauty over mountain and plain and sea, and He has 
endowed it with all its fruitfulness. It is His. He has 
given a life interest in it to man, made it his home 
during the first, the material stage of his existence. 
With regard to the earth itself and all it contains man 
is simply God's tenant. He owes homage and obedience 
to the owner. The money we give to sustain the public 
worship of God and to advance His cause is not charity 
in the usual sense of that word, but justice. His due. 
That we are left judges of the amount and the direction 
of our contributions, only increases our obligation ; as if 
a landlord should say to his tenant, " Make all you can 
from the farm and give me what you think is a just 
rent." And the appeal to our honor is greater than it 
could be in any such case, since all we are as well as all 
we have comes from God. 

As with our general right in the earth, so with our 
particular property among each other. The right of 
individual property comes from God. This important 
truth should be clearly seen and firmly held, especially 
in our land and day. It does not arise from the useful- 
ness of the arrangement to the well-being of society. 
The expediency of any arrangement is a matter of 



opinion, and the opinion of even the great majority has 
no control over the conscience of those who think 
differently. But God has written on the conscience, 
" Thou shalt not steal," and reason as he may, man 
cannot entirely destroy the writing. It does not arise 
from any social agreement or compact, expressed or 
implied. Common consent does not create the right of 
property. It can neither give it, nor take it away. All 
it can do is simply to recognize the fact that man has a 
right to the results of his enterprise and labor. A man 
takes a cup of water from a flowing river. It is his. If 
all men should combine to take it away from him, they 
would have to disobey the still small voice of quiet 
authority speaking in their souls, " Thou shalt not 
steal." Neither does the right of individual property 
arise from the law of the State or Nation. It exists 
prior to such law and entirely independent of it. The 
law cannot ignore the right, cannot deprive a man of 
his right. Neither can an unjust law give a moral title 
to property. It cannot justify a conscientious man in 
entering upon its possession. The saying, " I will take 
all the law gives me," is either immoral or thoughtless. 
It amounts to saying, " I will make the law of the land 
rather than the law of God my rule of conduct in 
matters of property." The province of the State is 
simply to define and enforce the law of God, to guard 
the right, provide for its transfer and for its descent 
through the generations. 

The only possible source of the individual right of 
property is the will of God, and he has written his will 
very clearly in the nature of property itself, and upon 
the conscience of man. This commandment guards a 


God-given right. As we have seen a sacredness in 
human life, and in the relationship of the sexes, so here 
we see there is a sacredness in the right of individual 
property. We are commanded to cherish it. We are 
forbidden to destroy it. 

What is property? Look again at the globe, and 
there are some things upon it now which did not exist 
when it was prepared for man's home. There are ships 
upon the sea, opulent cities upon the coasts and rivers, 
towns, villages and country homes widely scattered 
over many lands, cultivated farms where forests waved, 
great highways, crossing plains and piercing mountains, 
and waving over all the plume of factory smoke. Not 
a single one of these things or a single element of them 
has been brought to the earth from any other realm. 
All these things have come from the earth itself, and 
they have all come forth at the bidding of a single 
agency, the labor of man. Property is the creature of 
man's toil. It is the material of the earth changed in 
form or position by man's labor. The cup of water 
taken from the river, the apple picked or cultivated, the 
stone cut from the mountain, whether builded into a 
wall or carved into a statue, wherever the material of 
the earth is changed by human labor there is the right 
of property. A recent writer claims that he owns the 
pen with which he writes, for labor has brought the 
material of the earth into the shape of the pen, and he 
has purchased this result of labor with the result of his 
labors in other directions ; and undoubtedly he is right. 
Then he denies man's right to individual property in 
land, says he has no more right to the land than he has 
to the air or the sky. But man cannot change the air 


or sky by his labor, while he does change the land as 
radically as the material of the pen. The main thing 
in land values with us to-day is not the land, strange as 
it may seem, but the labor that has been expended upon 
the land and its surroundings, the nearness and high- 
ways to markets, the generous tillage of generations 
and the accumulation of improvements, and these are 
inseparable from the land. 

God's will written upon the nature of property and 
upon the conscience of man is simply this — that every 
man has the individual right to the results of his own 
labor. Social compacts and State laws have but one 
legitimate province, to guard this divinely given right. 
They should protect every man in the production and 
holding of property, the result of his own labor. In 
proportion as they do this they cultivate in man high 
and noble qualities, industry, energy, enterprise, fore- 
sight, economy, integrity, honesty — qualities of great 
value to the individual and society — while they check 
qualities injurious to both, as idleness, prodigality, 
avarice and dishonesty. They foster comfort and true 
culture, while they check luxury and guard against the 
want of the necessities of life. That State laws have 
not always had this aim, is a matter of history. In some 
lands they have assuredly fostered an aristocracy of 
wealth. That State laws do not fully secure these 
results, is a matter of fact, seen in our own land and in all 
lands to-day. Even if they were perfect it would require 
complete and universal obedience to them to secure 
their full results ; and that they are human laws, con- 
fesses their imperfection. Wherever intense selfishness 
exists, wedded in some cases to energy and enterprise, 


and in other cases to idleness and prodigality, there 
immense fortunes will exist by the side of abject poverty. 
It is possible also that State laws and social conditions 
may give opportunities and approval to unscrupulous 
selfish energy, while they also encourage selfish idleness, 
and so help build the palace on the avenue where 
luxury revels, and the tenement house on the back 
street where men, women and children are crowded in 
misery and starvation. 

But while social institutions may be unjust and in 
effect foster stealing, the law of God forbids stealing 
and is always just. This precept sends forth justice to 
solve the great problem of poverty. It gives every man 
a right to the results of his labor. Individual obedience 
and the uplift of social conditions and State laws to this 
standard will secure a just distribution of the accumu- 
lated property of the world. There are loud cries of 
grasping unrest in the world to-day. " Monopoly and 
Trusts," cries Wealth. "Combination and strikes," 
shouts Labor. Competition is the pass-word of political 
economy. Amid the warring sounds our Christian 
civilization is beginning to hear the quiet voice of this 
commandment commending just arbitration and hearty 
co-operation to solve her difficult problems. 

Beneath these loud cries are the deep mutterings of 
social unrest. In Europe there have arisen societies 
whose common object is social revolution, and we do 
well to have more than a general far-off interest in the 
matter, since there is a large immigration of these 
societies into our nation, embracing many of their ablest 
and most radical leaders, who make this land their 
refuge when they dare no longer remain in their own. 


There are many grades of Socialists and Communists, 
and comparatively few probably deserve the name of 
Anarchists, but certainly this name may be given to 
many of their most radical leaders. Their base demand 
is that marriage and private property shall be abolished. 
They cast off the authority of God. *' There is no 
God," " There is no right nor wrong," " There is no 
future life," " Man is an animal, though of a high order 
— let him live as an animal." Shall we say that these are 
the hot outbreathings of a sinful nature ? Yes, but the 
sin is not all on their side. It is sinful nature ground 
down into a mass of suffering and degradation by the 
heel of oppression, until, aroused by the consciousness 
of bitter wrong and rank injustice, it flames up in wrath 
and clamors to destroy and to enjoy. Shall we shut 
them out from our land ? What ! shut out the oppressed 
because they are not angels ! Let them find a refuge, 
but let it be a refuge in a religion and an education 
which live justly, in obedience to this commandment. 
Their wild and angry opinions can never even touch the 
secure foundation upon which our Christian society is 
builded. Marriage and the right of private property 
are not civil institutions, to be changed or abolished by 
the caprice of the people, but divine institutions based 
upon the authority of God. 

Let us now direct our attention to some particulars in 
which this commandment guards the right of private 
property. Of course outright robbery and theft are for- 
bidden. These vices like all others are not fully formed 
at once. They grow from small beginnings. A boy 
may begin to steal at his mother's cake basket or sugar 
bowl when he takes what he knows is not his, what his 


mother would not give him if he asked, and because 
his mother does not see him. That course of action 
carried out a little further may bring him to the state- 
prison. Sometimes a boy at school stronger than his 
fellow takes from him something he wants, and laughs 
in his face when he complains. Such a boy is called a 
bully, and there is hardly a more contemptible charac- 
ter on the face of the earth than a grown up bully. He 
uses his strength to oppress when he ought to protect 
the weak. He is a robber, and whether he gets there or 
not he ought to go to state-prison. Boys and girls, 
never take anything that does not belong to you, not 
even a pin. Be honest. 

But this commandment, like all the others, in for- 
bidding the greatest offense forbids all lesser ones of 
kindred character, and the spirit which prompts to such, 
and it commands the reverse spirit and action. A very 
little study will probably show that if we were to be 
judged simply by this commandment, leaving all the 
others out of view, the very best of us would have to 
plead "guilty" before the throne of God. There are 
many ways of breaking the law which are so common 
that even good people practice them without suspecting 
themselves of transgressing. They have not thought 
carefully of the matter. I have heard these expositions 
called " eye-openers." I intend that they shall deserve 
the name, for only in this way can they be of any profit 
to us. Let me speak plainly, since I am speaking to 
myself as well as to you, and since we are trying to- 
gether simply to find out the important truth, how the 
law of God in all its precepts applies to our hearts and 


Where a transfer of property is made we are com- 
manded to make an honest bargain, to see that an 
equivalent is given and received. Instead of each think- 
ing and planning only for himself, he is to think and 
plan for the other man as well. Each is to secure the 
other in his rights. Yet there are several maxims 
familiar in a Christian community which indicate a pre- 
vailing opinion and practice opposed to this law. " It 
is better to cheat than to be cheated." "Let the 
buyer take care of himself," "The buyer is at the 
mercy of the seller." The seller generally has the 
weights and measures in his care, in store and on 
farm. If you have any suspicion your's are just a little 
short, rest not until they are known to be absolutely 
correct. Think not this is a little thing. God calls it 
by a very strong name, saying that a false balance is an 
abomination to him. The seller also has the best 
means of knowing of the quality of the article sold. A 
lady buys a piece of silk in the city and at home finds 
a flaw in the middle. We all condemn the merchant in 
New York. But if he comes to us to buy a horse, that 
is a different matter. Let him keep his eyes open. In 
selling horses as in selling silks all flaws should be 

There is a large class of offenses committed against 
the general public which would not be committed be- 
tween individuals, but it is evident that a large number 
on one side makes no difference in the rule of right. 
This applies to all adulterations. Probably there is great 
adulteration of liquors, there may be some adulteration 
of sugars, but we are not engaged in these lines and 
the matter though interesting does not concern our 


honesty. But we are quite generally engaged in the 
milk business. There is a certain kind of feed used 
for cows which produces large quantities of milk. It 
is claimed also that the quality of this milk is good. 
Still the fact remains that those who raise milk for 
butter-making never use this kind of feed, only those 
who raise milk for sale. The only way the milk busi- 
ness can be defended from the charge of Sabbath 
desecration is that it affords a needed article of diet to 
multitudes, especially the children, in the great city. 
That this is so should lead a conscientious man to be 
very careful that this important article of diet is pure 
and wholesome. Feed the children of others as you 
would feed your own. A certain chemical preparation 
is sold in large quanties in this community whose sole 
use is to give butter a fine yellow appearance, increas- 
ing its value for sale. It is not the rich yellow butter 
it sells for, but poor white butter colored, and the in- 
creased price must be called the wages of fraud. It is 
frequently said and perhaps it is sometimes true, but it 
can never be honest, that the best apples and potatoes 
are in the top of the barrel. 

The buyer too should regard the rights of the other 
man. The seller surely has a right to the value of the 
article and to a proper return for his enterprise in bring- 
ing it to the hand of the buyer, and also to be considered 
honest. What means then this almost universal custom 
of beating down the price ? Is it to give the seller his 
just dues, to get the article at its just price ; or is it to 
get it at its lowest possible price, taking advantage of 
the weaker will or ignorance or necessity of the seller ? 

The labor problem is one of the perplexing questions 


of the day, made so largely by the vast corporations and 
combinations engaged in it. We have the simple ele- 
ments of it in our experience in hiring labor on our 
farms, and the principles of this commandment easily 
applied to these would, if faithfully applied to the 
larger and more complex problem, fully solve it. 
Some of us sell our labor. We should be very care- 
ful to give what we sell in quality and in quantity. 
Whether the buyer is present or absent we should 
take care of his interest in our labor, and see that it is 
fully satisfied. To get all the wages we can and give 
as little labor as possible is not being in harmony with 
this law. On the other hand the buyer of labor has a 
very clear duty. It is often all a poor man has to 
sell. He is often so situated that he must have work or 
starve, and he is often almost entirely dependent upon 
us for work, and we need his labor. Now we are to 
give him a just price for his labor, that is of course what 
it is worth to us. We are not to take advantage of his 
situation and hire him at starvation wages. We are not 
to withhold his wages a moment after they are due. 
We are to so deal with others that they have no cause 
to complain of us to God. And if Labor and Capital, 
whether on a small or large scale, would each think of 
its obligation to the other under God's law, the problem 
would be solved. The supply and demand theory of 
political economy is not so wise as the " Thou shalt not 
steal " of God. 

The commandment covers that large field of business 
where property is not transferred, but intrusted. Some- 
times men are paid for caring for money or other 
property, and rules for its care are expressed or implied, 


as in the case of a public ofBcer or treasurer, the cashier 
of a bank, the trustee or executor of an estate. In all 
such cases the right is not to use, the duty is to care 
for and guard. When such a one uses the property in 
his own business or in speculation, he steals. He prob- 
ably intends to return it, nevertheless the act is stealing. 
He takes that which does not belong to him without 
the consent of the owner and uses it for himself. If he 
returns it, he returns stolen property, and is not dis- 
covered. If he does not return it he is discovered. That 
is all the difference. He keeps that which he had no 
right to have. His having it in his own use was steal- 
ing. Keeping it is only continued stealing. Embezzle- 
ment, defalcation, breach of trust, are fine words we 
have invented to make light of a serious offense. Even 
with these words it needs to be said, that it is not the 
discovery that deserves them so much, as the thing that 
is discovered. It is not the failure to return that is 
the embezzlement. It is the taking, in the first stage of 

The borrower of anything does not own it. He only 
has the right to use. He should be sure he has the 
power to keep before he borrows, should take the best 
possible care of it while he has it, and should be careful 
to return it at the proper time. This certainly applies 
to an umbrella, and it applies also to money. The 
borrower of money, while he has the right to use it for 
himself, has no right to unduly risk it. He should take 
extra care of it, that he may make a full return. It is 
not his. The lender of money has a right to seek 
security and a proper interest for the use of his money, 
but he has no right to take advantage of the necessity 


of the borrower. The rule, " Think of the other man — 
do not steal from him," applies here too, and to the 
lender as much as to the borrower. Fair Credit is the 
inspiring spirit of much of the business activity in 
Christian lands. She can only remain fair as she stands 
radiant in the light of this commandment. The pay- 
ment of a debt is a religious obligation. 

There are cases where a transfer of property is made 
but nothing is returned. This is a very clear case, you 
will say at once. It is stealing. By some standard or 
other the parties maybe in agreement, yet it is stealing. 
Then all betting is stealing, whether it be about a horse 
race or a presidential election, whether for a pair of 
gloves or for a thousand dollars. The subject and amount 
have no effect upon the nature of the transaction. So 
also with lottery and gambling — the place and object 
do not change the nature of the act. It is just as much 
stealing at a church-fair for some trifling thing as it is 
in a low bar-room for drinks, or in a gambling palace 
for large amounts of money. True, all are agreed who 
bet or gamble ; each would win if he could, and feels in 
honor bound to give when the other wins. But that 
only puts this color on it % One steals from those who 
would steal from him, if they could, that is, one is not 
only a thief, but is associating with thieves. 

There are certain transactions in the Stock and 
Produce Exchanges of our great cities which it would 
be hard to find more proper names for than betting and 
gambling. The advance in material prosperity so 
marvelous in our civilization is largely due to those 
energetic and courageous men who risk their fortunes 
in great enterprises. These exchanges give a wide field 


of legitimate business to such men in whom often splendid 
honesty is combined with great business ability. Large 
fortunes are frequently and quickly and honorably 
made by giving a just equivalent in management and 

But, on the other hand, that is a very significant word 
heard sometimes in exchanges, " a corner." One man 
or set of men quietly buys nearly all the stock of a 
certain railroad that is in the market. Intimations are 
now thrown out and offers to sell made in such a way 
that the stock is depressed, and other dealers and their 
clients, thinking it is going still lower, sell stock they do 
not possess, promising to deliver it at a certain time, 
believing that they will be able to buy before that time 
at a still lower figure, and so make money. Those who 
already hold nearly all the stock purchase these prom- 
ises to deliver stock, well knowing that such stock can- 
not be obtained except from themselves. They have 
the sellers now in a corner and begin to squeeze them 
to deliver the promised stock. This they can only do 
by buying it of the men who have them in the corner, at 
their own prices, and this they must do, or fail in busi- 
ness. So they pay double or thribble the price for which 
they promised to sell, and the holder of the stock both 
keeps it and pockets the money. In the recent wheat 
" corner " in Chicago in the last two days of September 
the price of wheat rose from less than a dollar to over 
two dollars a bushel, because one man held nearly all 
the wheat in the city and also many promises to deliver 
wheat on those days, which the promisors could only 
fulfill by buying of him on his own terms. Thus he 
made a large fortune in a few days, while others lost a 


like amount, and he made it without giving an equiva- 

Suppose now the " corner " was one of force instead 
of deceit, and one man had a dozen men in a corner of 
a room and at the point of a revolver threatened their 
lives unless they bought their way out at his price. 
That would be robbery, and it would make no differ- 
ence in principle if all those men had just been engaged 
in a desperate struggle each to get all the others in the 
corner. One man has succeeded, that is all, but it is 
success in robbery. Yet our sympathies do not go out 
very warmly to the robbed, since they were trying to 
rob, though their families perhaps are brought down 
from luxury to need in an instant. But our sympathies 
must go out to the poor who must feel sooner or later 
the effects of the growth of immense fortunes by specu- 
lative robbery. The following week in Chicago the 
bakers put up the price of bread one cent a loaf. That 
means suffering to many poor. This was done, not 
because wheat was scarce in the country — there is 
plenty ; not because there are no facilities to bring it 
to the centers of population — there are the best ; but 
because a fictitious value is given to it by " cornering " 
it. Now, it is quite evident that not only are the men 
engaged in such robbery at fault, but the laws are at 
fault that provide for and permit it, and the social con- 
dition is at fault that applauds and welcomes such a 
robber to its highest ranks. Large " corners " occur 
but seldom, but much of the buying and selling stocks 
and produce is not dealing in the articles themselves, in 
either present or future values, but simply amounts to 
betting on the rise or fall of prices. Some system 


ought to be devised to prevent this, and at the same 
time provide for the legitimate trade on a large scale 
and the fostering of large and daring enterprises. 
Until this is devised and carried out some of the best 
places in the land on which to write this commandment 
of God, " Thou shalt not steal," are the doors of the 
Stock and Produce Exchanges. 

This commandment applies of course to corporations 
and communities and to individual relations to these, 
in membership or in dealings. It is quite obvious that 
when individuals combine in companies, they neither 
lose their rights nor lay aside their duties. Corpora- 
tions have no right to take advantage of the necessity 
of men, no right to crush the poor, no right to make 
slaves of their employees. Each member, though he 
tries to shield himself in the crowd, is seen by the 
Great Judge. Churches should be examples of honor- 
able dealing. On the other hand, the prevalent opinion 
that one may take advantage of a corporation without 
sin, is wrong. A jury sometimes gives a heavy verdict 
against a corporation, not so much from the justice of 
the case as because it is a corporation. They in effect 
steal from the corporation, for, though they do not put 
the money in their own pockets, giving stolen property 
away does not lessen guilt. There are some who do 
not seem to think it wrong to steal from the nation or 
the community. They try to evade their taxes, or seek 
not a just assessment but the lowest possible assessment 
of their property. So men working for a corporation 
or community often fail to give the full time and labor 
they would give if their employer was looking on. 
Many are conscientious, but some are not. It is hardly 


worth while to go to Albany or Washington for 
instances. Working out the road tax is a sufficient 

Our consciences should be sensitive on this whole 
subject. Honesty to one another is a duty we owe to 

There is one feature of this commandment which 
does not belong to the others so fully and clearly, that 
is the possibility and duty of restitution. If any are con- 
scious that you have wronged others in this matter there 
is but one thing for you to do, if it is in your power. 
Make full restitution. No matter how much it may be 
to your shame, no matter how much it may cost you. 
There can be no true repentance while you remain in 
possession of the fruits of wrong doing. That is not 
leaving sin, but continuing in it. You cannot hope to 
have forgiveness in Christ or any interest in him until 
full restitution is made. 

The heart of honesty to our fellowmen is honesty to 
God. It is because we have withheld from Him his 
due, the consecration of our hearts and lives ; because 
we have been dishonest to Him, that we are prone to be 
dishonest with each other. God in Christ is providing 
for and calling for the restitution of our hearts and lives 
to him. 


" Thou shalt not bea^ false witness against thy neighbor." — Ex. 
20: 16. 

We at once think of a court of justice and of bear- 
ing witness there. The great Law-giver and Judge 
comes by this commandment into these courts, His rep- 
resentatives on earth, and directs that all their rules 
and practices shall be administered in the interest of 
truth, and that judges and lawyers shall devote all their 
energies to this end. Lawyers, in managing the causes 
of their clients and in the examination and cross exam- 
ination of witnesses, are here commanded to seek only 
the truth and to seek the whole truth, and judges on 
the bench are to see that the truth is discovered and 

To bear false witness before such courts, to take away 
the property, reputation, liberty or life of our neighbor, 
is the highest offense against this commandment. As 
the less is included in the greater, all lesser offenses of 
kindred nature and all feelings and dispositions natu- 
rally leading to them are included in the prohibition, 
and the reverse feelings and acts are commanded. 

Among the dispositions forbidden, a very important 
and controlling one is want of loyalty to truth. The 
commandment therefore checks all propensities to lying, 
and commands truthfulness of speech to and about our 
neighbor. It is very difficult to over-estimate the value 
of truth or the importance of being truthful in char- 


acter and speech. There is a reality to the things and 
the laws which surround us and are within us which we 
call truth. When our thoughts exactly correspond 
with this reality we have apprehended truth. When 
we conform ourselves to this we are true. The knowl- 
edge of truth is of great value to us if it leads us to be 
true, to be in harmony with nature and to obey her 
laws. If our thought does not exactly correspond with 
this reality we are in error, and error is a mischief to 
us. We disobey the laws, we abuse the things about 
us, we are like blind men striking against obstacles, 
falling into pits. The nature of things remains 
unchanged, the laws are immutable, but we are false to 
them. Truth is not merely to be known, it is to be 
transmuted into life. Man is to be so hearty in his 
allegiance to the truth he knows that he lives it and 
speaks it. The man who knows the truth and disobeys 
it is false in his nature. He may not deceive his neigh- 
bors as to himself. Every one may know he is a false 
man, but his whole life is bearing false witness as to 
the truth, and as to it may deceive many. The greater 
part of the truth we possess we have derived from 
others. A man deprived of all communication with 
his fellows would gain but little knowledge by his own 
unaided observation. There is an exchange of truth. 
Men who search in one realm give the truth they find 
to their fellows who are searching in other realms, and 
receive truth from them in return, and each generation 
leaves its rich legacy of inherited and acquired truth 
to the following, and thus the race advances in the 
knowledge of truth. 

Wide is the realm of truth, in earth and sky, in matter 


and spirit, in time and eternity. Man should not shut 
himself or his fellow out from any portion of it. Upon 
the truth in nature and her laws our existence depends. 
We reap what we sow. Bread is food. Effect follows 
cause. We know upon what to depend. Truth is just 
as essential to man's intellectual, moral and spiritual 
well-being. We are to search for it, we are to yield our- 
selves to it in loyal obedience, and we are to faithfully 
communicate it. If any one bears false witness to any 
part of the wide realm of truth it is always against his 
neighbor, depriving him wrongfully of that which is of 
the greatest importance to his well-being. 

Great is the difference between truth and falsehood. 
Infinity and eternity cannot measure it. Of God it is 
said ; " He is light. He is the truth." Of the Devil it 
is said : " There is no truth in him. He is a liar and 
the father of it." Hell is the home of universal false- 
hood and distrust. Each one there is alone in the midst 
of others, deceiving and being deceived, distrusting and 
being distrusted. Heaven is the home of universal 
truth and confidence. Each one there is a member of a 
blessed society, trusting and being trusted, a society of 
clear eyes and bright faces, of true tongues and loving 
hearts. Oh, radiant Truth ! we yield thee our alle- 
giance. Lead thou us on to ever higher and more 
shining heights, even up to heaven and God ! The 
more worthy we become of confidence and the more 
confidence we have in each other the more will the 
society on earth resemble that of heaven. The whole 
influence of falsehood is to disorganize society. It brings 
suspicion and distrust into the community, even into the 
family, and, alas ! makes one deserving only of distrust. 


False witness is always against our neighbor, against 

The more we follow truth the nearer we advance to 
God. The truths in nature are His thoughts, written 
on the heavens in light, on the earth in beauty, on our 
souls in virtue. As we express truth we help others 
advance to him, by small steps or large, according to 
the importance of the truths we speak. But false wit- 
ness is ahvays against our neighbor, since it leads him 
to wander away from God. 

Other commandments have taught us the sacredness 
of human life, of the relation between the sexes, of 
property. This teaches us the sacredness of truth. 
The world itself is a great court. God is the ever-pres- 
ent Judge. Whenever we speak we speak as witnesses 
about some person or thing. The third commandment 
directs that speech, the crowning glory of man, shall be 
used in the praise of God. This commandment further 
directs us to use this noble gift of intelligent speech in 
conveying truth to our fellow man. We are to speak 
truth to our neighbor in all matters of common concern ; 
and we are to speak truth of our neighbor whenever 
we speak of him. 

The commandment requires truth in 'ordinary conver- 
sation. Loyalty to truth will put us on" our guard 
against certain tendencies in describing things or nar- 
rating events which would leave a false impression. 
Conjecture and partial information will be spoken of as 
such, not made to pass for complete knowledge. We 
will strive to know fully that we may speak clearly. 
Vividness, sprightliness and color will be einploj^ed to 
interest in and set forth the truth, not to gain applause. 


and all exaggeration will be avoided. Our aim will not 
be selfish, to be considered as Laving had a wonderful 
experience, or as having fine descriptive powers, or as 
being well informed, but will be simply to convey truth 
to our neighbor. Some subjects are pleasant, others are 
unpleasant. Christian courtesy and gentleness will 
always have due consideration for the tastes and feel- 
ings of others. This commandment commends the 
choice of pleasing and wholesome subjects of conversa- 
tion, and also the truthful expression of personal approval 
and commendation, but it frowns upon flattery, insin- 
cerity and deceit. 

In all those cases in which we speak to our neighbor 
with intent to lead him to a desired line of conduct, our 
self-interest may be aroused against our loyalty to truth. 
It is in such cases that much of the casuistry upon this 
subject has arisen. The mind of man has been active 
in devising ways of avoiding this rule of ti'uth-telling 
when it stood in the way of his selfish interests, and has 
often succeeded in deceiving his own conscience. The 
subtleties of casuistry, instead of clearing, are apt to 
cloud our views of right and wrong. When a man 
allows himself to consider whether it is ever right for 
him to do wrong, he has already become so confused in 
mind and conscience that he is quite apt to decide that 
his self-interest is more important than God's eternal 
laws, or at least that he may exercise his ingenuity in 
evading them. Mental reservation, double meaning, 
significant silence, the end justifies the means, and all 
kindred evasions, may quiet a confused conscience, but 
will never do to plead before a truth-loving God. 

But, says the business man, must I reveal the defects 


in the property I am trying to sell ? Must I reveal the 
fact I have skillfully acquired, that prices in the market 
will be much lower to-morrow ? Certainly you must, or 
you will both lie and steal in one act. But, says the 
Jesuit, is not a lie justified if thereby I greatly advance 
the cause of the Church ? Ask the business man what 
he thinks about it. His conscience will probably have 
clear and strong views where his interests are not so 
strong. The plea of the detective is that he may lie to 
the criminal since he has no right to the truth. But the 
criminal's right is not the only right involved. That 
advance of justice which causes justice herself to blush, 
and at the same time undermines the truthful character 
of the people, is an advance in the wrong direction. 
Political managers, speakers and papers are not exempt 
from this commandment, though many of them seem to 
act as if they were. The conscience of some politicians 
must be a very queer kind of thing, or else they have 
never heard of this commandment. The fair discussion 
of great issues, and a deliberate and careful decision upon 
them, afford a training of national intellect and charac- 
ter of great value. But in proportion as pretense and 
sophistry, false declarations and false promises, deceit 
and fraud enter political campaigns, they destroy the 
truthfulness of the national character. In the whole 
realm of influencing the conduct of others we will do 
better to go directly to the commandment for our rule 
of life than to the teachings of the Jesuits. Truth is 
sacred. A lie is abominable in God's sight. Better 
far be defeated by adherence to the right than triumph 
by the practice of wrong. There is a success that is not 
worth what it costs. 

124 ^-^^ ^^-^ COMMANDMENTS. 

In the training of children both at home and in school 
we should constantly recognize that truthfulness is 
absolutely essential to their intellectual and moral well- 
being. It is an honor to have it said of man or cbild, 
" He always speaks the truth. You can depend upon 
him. There is no deceit in him." Truthfulness of 
character enables a man to pass with uplifted liead 
among his fellows, frankly looking- them in the face. A 
false character has either a downcast, sneaking look, or 
a brazen boldness which repels. A true man walks 
uprightly before God, having His approval. A false 
man skulks away from God, conscious of His condem- 

We are to speak truth not only to our neighbor but 
about him. This commandment guards a man's repu- 

" Good name in man or woman 
Is the immediate jewel of their souls." 

Reputation is one of our most valuable possessions, but 
it is unlike all the others in a striking respect. Man 
has his other precious possessions largely in his own 
keeping, his life, his wife, his property, his character, 
but his reputation is entirely in the keeping of his 
neighbors. A man's character no one can touch but 
himself. A man's reputation any one can touch except 
himself. To wound a reputation is to betray a sacred 
trust God has placed in our hands. We are our 
brother's keeper in all respects to some extent. We are 
the keeper of his reputation to the full extent. We 
should guard it as we have a right to desire him to gunrd 


This commandment gives each man a right to have 
his reputation the exact expression of his character. It 
is evident it does not guard hypocrisy. It upholds 
truth, not falsehood. It is for the interest of all to 
have hypocrisy unmasked, even of the hypocrite him- 
self, and it may become our solemn duty to unmask it. 
In detecting a hypocrite we should be very sure of the 
detection. We should not allow the confidence a life 
should win to be undermined by a single action, or even 
by several separate actions, but be sure that the whole 
course of life is wilfully in the opposite direction from 
the appearance. Having made the detection we should 
reveal it only from a sense of duty, for the interest of 
our neighbors when concealing it would be false to 
them, never from revenge or any evil feeling to the 
hypocrite, but Irying to win him to a true life. Christ 
unmasked the Pharisees, but it was to awaken them to 
a sense of their sin and especially to defend the multi- 
tude against their false influence. 

The invention of evil reports about our neighbor is 
of course the highest offense against his reputation, but 
it is of infrequent occurrence. Such a slanderer is a 
foul compound of falsehood and malice, and is odious in 
God's sight and contemptible in man's. Some men's 
minds are quickened in controversy to remember all the 
evil things they have ever heard about their neighbors, 
even years ago, and without any restraint or regard for 
truth their angry tongues pour forth the bitter tale. 
But such offenses also are rare— the culmination of anger 
and malice with reckless indifference to truth. It is for 
us to guard against the small beginnings of propensities 
whose culmination is so hideous. 


It is certainly not wrong to speak about our neigh- 
bors. Ordinary conversation may and should be about 
persons as well as things. Men and women, their lives, 
their affairs, their characters, are the most interesting and 
often the most profitable subjects of conversation. But 
we should be so true to them and to ourselves that we 
only speak of them in their absence as we would in 
their presence, and as we have a right to desire them to 
speak of us. It may often be our duty to warn against 
the evil propensities of others, but the duty should be 
clear and the warning truthful and kindly, and should 
be accompanied with a full acknowledgment of good 
qualities when possible. We should guard against 
secret prejudice against our neighbor, or envy of him, 
and should cultivate such love for him that we will 
rejoice in his good qualities and in his good name, that 
we will sorrow over the faults in him we cannot help 
seeing, and throw over them the garment of Christian 
charity, rather than exulting to proclaim them to the 
world. We should have the " charity that thinketh no 
evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoicethin the truth." 
If we cannot speak truthfully in favor of our neighbor, 
and no need of warning others exists, it is generally our 
duty not to speak at all. 

Some try to ease their conscience in repeating a bad 
story by saying they "do not believe it." This is 
abominable. Refute it, then, when it comes to your 
ears, but do not let your tongue spread it. To say that 
" they are sorry for it," is very little better. We can 
not justify our speaking of another's fall by our allegiance 
to the particular virtue from which he fell. Our hearty 
love for honesty and purity will lead us to be pure and 


honest, not to talk about it, certainly not to speak of the 
impurity and dishonesty of others. We will cherish the 
virtue in the holy of holies of our hearts and not gloat 
over the one who has fallen — telling it with smooth 
tongue as good news — but look upon him with tear- 
dimmed eyes, and speak of him only when needed to 
warn the purity and honesty of others. 

This commandment should govern not only our 
tongues but our hearts and ears as well. It forbids an 
appetite for gossip, a desire to hear detraction and a 
tendency to form unfavorable opinions of others. By 
holding our peace when we have it in our power to defend, 
by failing to mention the good when the evil is spoken 
of, by encouraging the telling of evil by eager listening, 
we assault the reputation of our neighbor by the assent 
of our silence. 

There is a modern statue of Truth, instinct with the 
fire of genius, which strongly incites an opposite spirit 
and action. A stately woman in pure white marble, 
with beautiful and firni face, wears on her head a helmet 
and carries a sword in her hand. At her feet lies a 
mask touched by the point of her sword. She has just 
smitten it from the face of Slander, and now she 
proudly draws her robe away from its polluting touch. 

It is wonderful but true that some men seem to place 
their whole religion in detraction. They strive to dis- 
cover the evil in professing Christians and are blind to 
the good. They think and say the worst possible of the 
evil they find. They judge the whole class by the few 
they have so unjustly treated, and they place great 
value upon their own comparative goodness. The re- 
ligious hope that is based upon the failure of others, 


and the holiness that is keen eyed to see only it, can 
neither of them be regarded as of the very finest quality, 
nor can a practice in direct violation of this command- 
ment be regarded as commending one to God. 

In Spencer's Fairy Queen the Red Cross hero, Holi- 
ness, defends fair Una, Truth, against all the assaults 
of the evil knights, Error and Falsehood. So the Chris- 
tian knight should be devoted in his allegiance to Truth 
and should chivalrously defend it against all assailants 
however mighty, and only in this way can he ever hope 
to merit the name of Holiness. Our Lord Jesus Christ 
is himself the Truth. In His teaching and life and 
death he fulfills the law and the promises of God, and 
fully reveals the Father to us. Yielding ourselves to 
Him in loyal devotion, He will lead us in the true and 
living way to heaven and God, and as we pass along 
our lives and lips will speak the truth of greatest value 
to our neighbor. 



" Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet 
thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor 
his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." — Ex. 20: 17. 

The first commandment directs the spirit in its rela- 
tion to God, without mentioning a single outward act. 
In the following commands the spirit is directed in its 
outward acts, of worship of God, reverence for His name, 
observance of His Sabbath, and honoring His represent- 
atives. With the fifth command duty to man beginso 
The spirit is still the subject of the law and is directed 
in its outward manifestations of honoring superiors, 
giving due regard to the sacredness of human life, of. 
.the right of property, of the relationship between man 
and woman, of truth to and about our neighbor, until in 
this last commandment the spirit emerges from all out- 
ward actions and, as in the first commandment, is itself 
purely and simply the subject of the law, only now 
specially in its duty to its neighbor. " Thou shalt not 
covet ! " The positive command under the prohibitory 
form of the first precept, as our Savior teaches, is, "Love 
God supremely." This love is required by all the com- 
mandments of outward duty to God and man until in 
this last precept, as Christ again teaches, its positive 
form is like unto the first, " Love thy neighbor as thy- 
self." Thus the whole law is seen to be spiritual. If 
any have thought that I have made too much of some of 
these commandments, if they will reflect carefully upon 
9 129 


the spiritual nature of the law they will soon share with 
me the conviction that I have not made and cannot 
make one half enough of a single one of them. There 
is a depth and comprehensiveness about the law 
that cannot be fully measured. There is no virtue 
within the range of human duty but is comprehended 
here. There is no vice within the reach of human 
action but is directly forbidden here. 

This commandment, " Thou shalt not covet," is fol- 
lowed by several specifications, closing \n ith an all-em 
bracing one. This striking feature indicates a tendency 
in our nature needing restraint which is so strong that 
it would evade a general prohibition, and so the Law- 
giver specifies objects in such a way that it is absolutely 
impossible for the most ingenious man to discover any- 
thing belonging to his neighbor that he is permitted to 

While the emphasis is upon the coveting, not upon 
the objects, the nature of the objects specified further 
indicates that the domestic mode of life of man is pleas- 
ing to God and is specially guarded by him. The house 
as the seat of the home-life, the wife — the soul of that 
life — and all the surroundings of that life are specially 
mentioned. What protects our homes ? The bolts and 
bars as we lock them up at night, the precautions we take 
against intrusion ? Certainly these have their proper 
effect. More than this, the State lifts its shield over 
every home, places the invisible watchman of its law 
before each door. In this the State is simply endeavor- 
ing to enforce the outward observance of God's law. 
Back of all these agencies the real protection of our 


homes is the voice of supreme authority speaking to the 
conscience of every man — "Thou shaltnot covet." 

In the fact that the property of our neighbor is 
guarded from our coveting, we are further instructed 
that those qualities of character which are needed to 
the acquisition of property are not forbidden but are 
commended in this commandment. How can one have 
a home at all or any thing rightfully unless it be by the 
exercise of industry, economy, good management, thrift 
and perseverance, of carefulness and energy ? The re- 
sults of these economic virtues in their proper exercise 
are guarded in the commandment; but we are to be 
watchful against making the virtues vicious in their 
action by degrading them into the slaves of covetous- 
ness. A fair exchange of property is also needed to a 
proper enjoyment of it, and is therefore commended, 
not prohibited, in this precept. When our neighbor 
desires us to have what he has a right to convey upon 
one giving him a fair equivalent for it, our desire to 
have what he desires to give does not injure but benefits 
him. But if our desire to have what he is willing to 
give is such that it will take advantage of his ignor- 
ance or necessity, or make such use of our superior 
skill that we fail to give a just equivalent, such desire 
is clearly forbidden. Many a good bargain, as we call 
it, and many a fine fortune, have been made by the ex- 
ercise of such desires, by failure to give just equiva- 
lents, and what we call good and fine are pronounced 
by this precept covetousness, abhored by God. Our 
desire to have must respect our neighbor's interests as 
much as our own, must recognize his equal right and 


the equal right of all men to have and to hold their 
own. All other desire is forbidden. 

If we consider the commandment as simply forbid- 
ding the coveting of a particular thing belonging to a 
particular neighbor, each one of us will probably plead 
" not guilty." We consider it mean to entice a man's 
servant from him by the offer of better wages or easier 
work, and a man's claim upon his servant is less now-a- 
days than of old, and we do not cast covetous eyes upon 
any of his possessions. But even here we may possibly 
deceive ourselves. This is an insidious vice and it has 
many degrees and related emotions. We sometimes 
hear the expression, "I wish I had that," spoken of 
some particular thing belonging to our neighbor, often 
corrected at once by, " I mean I wish I had something 
just like it." The first expression shows often the 
nature of the desire, and gives us reason to fear that 
the incipient vice forbidden may be lurking in our 
hearts, while the second is the rebuke of conscience 
which such desire deserves. 

Besides, coveting is closely related to envy, a regret 
that others have what we do not; and akin to this is 
secret satisfaction at the misfortunes of others. Per- 
haps there may be more of these feelings in our hearts 
than we are willing to acknowledge. It sometimes 
happens that when we are in trouble we find ourselves 
taking a kind of comfort from the thought that others 
are in such trouble too, and perhaps worse off than we 
are, when this reflection should rather increase our dis- 
comfort. Besides, pride is generally a satisfaction that 
we are better than our neighbors, or have something 
they have not ; and anger is often awakened by our 


neighbor's rights standing in the way opposing our 
desires, and discontentment with God's dealings is fre- 
quently a matter of comparison, a feeling against God 
because He made our neighbor's lot better than ours. 
All these, and many others, are vices closely related 
to covetousness — the tie seems to be that of parent- 
age, and if the children are in our hearts we may infer 
that the hideous mother is not far off. 

Turning now to the positive feature of this com- 
mandment, we are to delight in our neighbor's good, to 
rejoice in his prosperity, and we are to strive to pro- 
mote it. In advancing our own interests we are not to 
neglect his, but are to seek them as we seek our own. 
We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is the 
direct opposite of seeking the whole world for ourselves 
and letting our neighbor take care of himself as best 
he can, forcing him to spend a large amount of his 
energy in guarding against our encroachments. 

The commandment is generally regarded as inculca- 
ting a spirit of contentment with our lot in God's provi- 
dence. We are to remember that not all contentment 
is commended to us. There is a contentment which is 
the most miserable selfishness, a satisfaction with our 
good fortune wedded with careless indifference to the 
lot of others. There is a contentment which is un- 
manly, arising from laziness. Alas I also a content- 
ment that is akin to despair, a listless spirit crushed by 
adversity. " Godliness with contentment is great gain." 
This commandment commends this kind of content- 
ment, that which arises from godliness, from obeying 
His commandments, loving God supremely and our 
neighbor as ourselves. The servants of Mammon are 


ever filled with a restless discontent, ever striving to 
grasp each for himself the greatest possible amount of 
earthly goods. The servants of God have all their 
powers in highest exercise in honoring Him and in pro- 
moting the general welfare, and are filled with cheerful 
contentment in the powers God has given them, in the 
field of their exercise, the lot in life He has assigned 
them, and in the result of their labors, the care the 
Father takes of them. This kind of contentment the 
commandment enjoins upon us. 

But you may say, " Is not the spirit of discontent, 
the restless seeking to acquire, the moving power of 
our high civilization, of the material advancement of 
the nation and the world? To make money moves 
the rushing train, flashes its commands over the electric 
wire, drives the machinery of the factor}^, fills the store- 
houses of the busy city, and spreads the sails of ships 
on every sea. Would not the world settle down into 
stagnation, would not man's fine powers rust in idleness, 
if it were not for selfish ambition? " There may be lurk- 
ing in our minds the thought that the spirit of love is 
very fine in theory but is impracticable, that our plan 
of life is better than God's plan, at any rate that striv- 
ing to acquire for one's self has produced the present 
material prosperity in our nation and in the world. 

Human activity may be aroused by wrong motives 
and conducted by wrong rules ; the activity itself, of 
brain and hand, will produce much good, but so aroused 
and conducted will likewise produce much evil. Look 
again at the world's great prosperity. There are dark 
places in it as well as bright. Here are palaces in the 
fair and noble city, filled with luxury and happiness. 


Alas ! here also are tenement houses filled with squalor 
and misery. There is the great factory turning out 
beautiful goods in rich profusion, and, alas ! also turn- 
ing out stunted manhood, men, women and children, 
who have slaved themselves to death through long 
hours on small pay. Here is a great railroad corpora- 
tion stretching its lines in all directions and bringing 
inestimable blessings wherever it goesc Alas ! also, it 
is gorging itself with the hard earnings of those who 
are dependent upon it to carry their goods to market 
and with the ill requited service of those who endanger 
their lives in its employ in order that it may pay large 
dividends upon watered stock. There is a tendency in 
the world's activity to place immense wealth in the 
hands of a few to the detriment of the many, a ten- 
dency upon which we may well look with apprehension 
for the welfare of our free institutions. The civiliza- 
tion of the age brings material prosperity to the race, 
great blessings to all classes of society, even to the very 
poor. Far better is it than the stagnation of barbar- 
ism. But is it the highest conceivable civilization ? Is 
it God's ideal of man's welfare on earth ? Are we 
dwelling in the millennium ? Is there no possible ad- 
vance, no good to aspire to, no evil to destroy ? 

Man's great powers may be aroused to a fuller 
activity than any yet reached. Material prosperity may 
be gained in richer amounts than any yet dreamed of, 
and better still, may be made the hand-maid of spiritual 
welfare ; and evils now raging may be checked and 
destroyed by bringing a new motive to bear on man's 
activities, love of God and man, by guiding them by a 
new rule, the law of God. Wiiich is nobler — to have a 


great factory governed by the principle, " Make all the 
money I can," or by the reverse principle, " The wel- 
fare of my employees and the good of my customers " ? 
Which is nobler — the Statesman whose motto is, '' The 
nation must honor and serve my great abilities," or one 
whose rule is to devote all his energies to the welfare 
of the nation ? Which is nobler — Napoleon or Washing- 
ton? There is much already in our high civilization of 
enthusiastic love for humanity, and of supreme love for 
God, and it is the very best part of it. And a far 
higher and richer civilization will be brought about when 
the spirit of love shall hold universal sway. The more 
our lives are taken from the selfish grasping principle 
and become ruled by the spirit of love, the nobler they 
will be and the more useful in hastening on the higher 

It is evident, therefore, that the commandment not 
merely forbids the coveting of a particular thing from a 
particular neighbor, but that general coveting of material 
things which ignores our neighbor's interests, and which 
leads one to be absorbed in grasping little or much for 
himself. No wonder God pronounces such a covetous 
man an idolater and declares that he cannot enter 
heaven. His heart is empty of God, is empty of his 
brother man, and is filled with self. As well try to 
satisfy a fire with dry wood as a covetous man with 
gold. The more you pile on the fiercer will burn the 
flaming passion. We look with condescending amuse- 
ment upon our children intently engaged with their 
toys, real to them they are so young and ignorant, and 
our amusement changes to reproof when they begin to 
quarrel over tljcuj ;u)d fight for them. How must a 


higher order of beings look upon us intensely interested 
in the things of time and sense, so foolish are we and 
ignorant with our toys, even struggling and fighting 
for them, while as spiritual beings we are capable of 
serving God and loving one another ! There is a fable 
of a covetous man who found his way one moonlight 
night into a fairy's palace. There was a rich profusion 
of rare beauty on every side, and many bars of solid 
gold were scattered freely about. The beauty he did 
not see, so intent was he in gathering up the bars of 
gold, and he took away a heavy load, all he could carry. 
In the morning he found the golden bars were only 
worthless sticks, and the air was filled with the scorn- 
ful laughter of the invisible fairies. When we awake 
upon the realities of eternity we will find much we 
value highly now as golden bars worthless as useless 
sticks, and the angels will be too sorrowful to laugh at 

This commandment, as the first and all the others, is 
addressed to the race of man by being addressed to each 
member of the race. It singles each one of us out from 
the multitude and speaks to us personally, '^ Thou shalt 
not covet." When we examine our hearts alone with 
God, does not conscience compel each one to say, " I 
think more of myself than I do of my neighbor"? Or 
even force us to say, with bowed head, " I think more 
of myself than I do of my God " ? 

This commandment seeks to control the nature back 
of the thought and desire — that which thinks and 
desires. It seeks to control the involuntary movement 
of this nature, when an object presents itself and desire 
is awakened without the consent of the will. Though 


these desires never result in action, though they are not 
only held in check but are driven back, they are sin. 
They are not forbidden lest they may result in action, 
but because they are in themselves sinful in God's 
sight. They do not injure our neighbor, but they 
show our own corrupt nature. The Apostle Paul knew 
that cherished desire was sin, but thought he was free 
from sin when he held desire in check. But this com- 
mandment taught him that lust itself was sin, that 
involuntary coveting could spring only from a corrupt 
nature, sinful in God's sight. 

Meditation upon the spiritual nature of the command- 
ments and a faithful application of them to our hearts 
and lives will convince us that we can never be justified 
under the law. No man can believe that God, the just 
Judge, will ever say of him, "The law has nothing 
against him. He is entitled to all the rewards of 
obedience." No man's conscience can say this of him- 
self now, but must say of his record, " I am guilty," and 
of his nature, " I am sinful." We recognize that the 
law is right, but are compelled to confess that we have 
not kept it, that we do not keep it, and that we are 
so corrupt that we are unable to keep it perfectly. 

This must be said of every man who has ever lived, of 
whom we have any knowledge, with a single exception. 
Judged by this law we cannot find a single defect in the 
life of Jesus Christ. He kept it in its letter and in its 
spirit, in its First Table and in its Second ; kept it per- 
fectly from the beginning of his life until its close. The 
perfectness of this law, among all other laws, shows that 
it is divine. The perfectness of this life, among all 
other lives, shows that He is divine. This is also the 


claim of the perfect man, Jesus Christ, that he is the 
Son of God. He claims there is no sin in him, the 
Bible states there is no sin in him, we can find no trace 
of sin in him ; yet this sinless one dies upon the cross, 
an accursed death under the law. This glorious Son of 
God, the perfect man, who has kept the law and has 
borne its curse, promises that whosoever believes in Him 
shall be saved from sin. All the promises of God, 
promises of grace and glory, are in the Son of God, 
Jesus Christ, accomplished and proclaimed. 

Now the Christian differs from ail other men in three 
respects. All are alike guilty under the law, but the 
Christian acknowledges his guilt, and seeks forgiveness 
from God through Jesus Christ. All are alike sinful, 
but the Christian acknowledges his sinfulness and seeks 
the complete renewal of his nature from God, through 
Jesus Christ. All are alike unable to keep the law of 
God perfectly, but the Christian acknowledges his weak- 
ness and relies upon God through Jesus Christ for needed 
daily grace. So relying, his earnest purpose and con- 
stant endeavor are to keep all the commandments of 
God. The law is the rule of his life. Thus he serves 
the Savior whom he loves. Thus he constantly advances 
toward perfection. His present attainment is the 
measure of his Christ-likeness. It should constantly 
become more clear and full, until he shall see Him as 
He is and be like Him. 




It is God's law for the human race — the authoritative 
statement of the fundamental principles in the constitu- 
tion of man and human society — the law of man's being. 

It is the Lord's Prayer, the prayer in which the 
Divine wisdom, descending upon us in perfect love, has 
condensed and enshrined for us all that can possibly 
ascend from human hearts to the Divine heart. 

As the law, so the prayer is for humanity, the single 
prayer the human race, if enlightened by the Divine law 
and renewed in nature according to it, would utter, 
being sure it would be fulfilled. 

It is the prayer for the lonely closet, where the single 
soul renewed in the nature of his Savior meets God face 
to face. It is the prayer for the Church, the body of 
Christ, beyond which nothing can be expressed even in 
her most sublime moods, her loftiest and holiest assem- 
blies. But it is also the prayer not peculiar to any man 
or set of men, or tribe or race, but for humanity. Christ 
taught it to the multitudes when He was proclaiming the 
principles of His kingdom, just after He had brought out 
the spiritual nature of the law of God ; and He taught 
the same prayer to His disciples when they asked Him to 
teach them a prayer peculiar to them, as John had taught 


144 ^^^ LORD'S PRAYER. 

His disciples — tlie universal prayer is the peculiar prayer. 
It is the prayer, however, not of universal human wants 
but of human needs. Sinful human wants; what a 
prayer that would be, and how its fuliilling would curse 
mankind ! But human needs as revealed by the law of 
our being and as voiced for us by the longing, loving 
heart of our Savior — this is the Lord's Prayer; its ful- 
filling reestablishes the law and makes it a delight — fills 
the heart and life of mankind with blessing. Wherever 
there is a human heart the wide world over, there the 
law describes its nature and the prayer voices forth its 
need; whenever such a soul recognizes its nature and 
becomes conscious of its need, there the need becomes a 
hopeful, prayerful desire in the spirit and name of 
Christ, and prays as the Lord has taught him. If under 
the teaching of the Holy Spirit we learn to make it our 
prayer, it will bear us up as on angel wings into the 
presence of the Eternal God. Yery important is it that 
we should know its meaning and have its spirit, lest we 
should use the words alone, which is mere formality — 
lest we should use the prayer and contradict it in our 
lives, which is hypocrisy; both are displeasing to God 
and destructive to us. The longing of the Savior's heart 
for mankind must become the longing of our hearts if 
we would be sincere in our prayers. Yery brief is the 
prayer; the youngest memory will not find it a burden. 
Yery distinct is each petition, as if issuing forth from a 
reverent, thouglitful silence, the preparation of the heart 
in the presence of God. Yery full is the prayer. It is 
comprehensive ; in its six petitions the whole woi'ld wide 
round of human need is gathered up and clearly pre- 
sented to the heavenly Father. 



Yery suggestive is the order of the petitions. The 
succession is that of the commandments. As the law 
lias two tables, so the prayer has two clearly marked 
divisions. The law shows us the first place in our duty 
belongs to God. The prayer gives the first place in our 
desire to God. Looking now more intently, we can see 
that the order in which the fundamental principles of 
human nature are stated in the commandments is the 
order in which tliese awakened into desires express them- 
selves in the petitions. 

The address of the prayer, " Our Father which art in 
Heaven," covers the first commandment, the oneness of 
God, and the second as well — His spirituality. The 
Hallowed E"ame of the prayer is the Holy IS^ame of the 
third commandment. The "Thy Kingdom come" 
covers the fourth commandment, in which we are taught 
to regard ourselves as of heavenly spirit and relationship 
while we labor upon the earth. Some one has said " the 
Sabbath is the banner of the Kingdom." "Thy will be 
done " covers the source of authority as set forth in the 
fifth commandment. Then in the second division of the 
prayer the petitions follow the order of the command- 
ments. The life and property guarded by the sixth, 
seventh, and eighth commandments voice themselves in 
the "daily bread," the property needed to sustain life. 
The daily forgiveness of ourselves by God and of our 
neighbors by us, speaks of the truth in relation to God's 
judgment and human judgment. The covetousness for- 
bidden in the tenth commandment finds its antidote in 
the last petition. 

Reverently and thoughtfully we have studied the law; 
in like spirit we now turn to the prayer. 


Matt, vi : 9. 

This is the simple though grand beginning of a grand 
though simple prayer. The prayer is so simple that the 
child at the mother's knee may lisp the words and 
understand much of their meaning. It is so grand that 
the noblest man of the whole race, of strongest intellect 
and purest heart, his whole nature breathed upon by the 
spirit of God, cannot fathom its meaning. However 
much we may enter upon the spirit of this simple address, 
it is so grand that there will still be room for the " groan- 
ings of the Spirit which cannot be uttered." 

In it we find that Jesus Christ reveals God as our 
Father, and awakens in human hearts the child spirit. 
Fatherhood, as denoting origin and government, was 
vaguely attributed to the Supreme God by some of the 
heathen nations of antiquity, as seen in the names of 
their gods — as Jupiter, the Jove-father of gods and men ; 
but the idea of affectionate fatherhood seems never to 
have entered their thought. So the thought of God as a 
loving Father is entirely absent from the heathen relig- 
ions prevailing in the world to-day. It is confessed that 
the Jews had clearer ideas of God than other nations. 
There was but one God to them; He was a Person, 
supreme over all His works, the Lord of Hosts, their 
God Jehovah ; but the thought of Him as their loving 
Father was not familiar to them. There are many pray- 
ers recorded in the Old Testament in which holy men 
call upon God by the names they best knew Him by, but 



there is not one in which they address Him as their 
Father. Among the many references to the Supreme 
Being crowding the various books of the Old Testament 
the name Father is applied to God only seven times — ^five 
times as father of the Hebrew people, and twice as 
father of individuals. One of these is a prediction that 
men will one day pray to God, calling Him Father. That 
which was dim in the Old Testament becomes bright in 
the E'ew. Jesus Christ calls God by the name of Father 
quite generally, and this not only as the Son of God, but 
as the Son of Man — the ideal man — and He not only 
gives His disciples permission, he bids them " when ye 
pray, say Our Father." He takes us into the presence of 
the Great Jehovah, and says to us: "He who is my 
Father is your Father too. When you come with me 
into His presence, say ' Our Father.' " This was a strik- 
ing innovation, and must have startled the most pious 
souls — those most familiar with the Scriptures. 

But it is more than a teaching Christ gives ; it is a reve- 
lation He makes. He is the manifestation of the Father. 
Christ's self-sacrifice, in His atoning life and death, is the 
Father's declaration of Himself by the Son. Jehovah, 
the Holy One of Israel, the Law-giver, the Judge, the 
King, is the Father, and the infinite love of His fatherly 
heart makes provision in greatest self-sacrifice for the 
salvation of men from the guilt and power of sin. He 
who came forth from God has revealed the Divine heart 
to us, and, lo ! it is a father's heart; the darkened, blood- 
stained cross shines with the glory of infinite love over 
the sin-cursed world. 

This is the grandest, tenderest, most inspiring thought 
of God that has ever come to man — the Father revealed 


in Christ. We are so familiar with it that we can hardly 
realize the wondrous change it has wrought in the relig- 
ious thought and life of the race. The heathen world 
stands before the thought of God as we sometimes stand 
before a summer thunder-storm — black, flashing with 
lightning, terrible — and with fear and awe they bow in 
the dust. With us the glorious sun has broken through 
and driven away the cloud, the heart of nature rejoices, 
the grass is jeweled with rain-drops, the flowers are bright 
with beautiful colors, there is a burst of melody from 
singing birds, and with trust and love we look up into 
the face of our Father revealed in Jesus Christ. God is 
not the cloud, but the sun. 

In order to have the child spirit awakened in our 
hearts we must believe this revelation of God, we must 
receive the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we can truthfully 
call God our Father we must receive the Gospel of His 
Son into our minds and hearts. He is still a father, but 
we are wayward, ignorant, and rebellious children, until 
we can with penitence and faith in the Savior call Him 
our Father. This is clear the moment it is stated, and 
the Bible emphasizes it. Jesus says, " I am the way, the 
truth, and the life ; no man cometli unto the Father but 
by Me." John says, "As many as received Him, to 
them gave He power to become the sons of God." Paul 
says, " If any man has not the spirit of Christ he is none 
of His ; as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they 
are the sons of God — they have received the spirit of 
adoption, whereby they cry, Abba Father." When we 
turn to Him in trust and love we can truthfully call Him 
our Father. 

Along all our coasts to-day the tides of the ocean arc 


rising, lilling bay and inlet and river, because tlie revolv- 
ing earth is turning tlieni to the heavenly bodies, whose 
unseen but powerful influence is silently drawing them. 
So when w^e turn to our Father, all tlie channels of our 
nature are filled with the inflowing tide of childlike 
affection and confidence, aspiration and devotion, drawn 
by His unseen, silent, but all-prevailing power. 

These two companion thoughts may well be impressed 
upon us : Jesus Christ reveals God as our Father. We, 
receiving Jesus Christ, can say " Our Father." 

Our Lord seems to have anticipated many of our 
modern perplexities and the objections to prayer, and 
gives them a suflicient answer when He bids us call God 
our Father. Among the earliest lessons a mother teaches 
the dear child God has given her is to lisp His name in 
prayer. This teaching of childhood lasts often through 
life, but as we advance in age and thought it is no longer 
simply an instinct of childhood, fostered by a mother's 
teaching ; it becomes a confirmed faith. To reach this 
it often passes through a stage of questioning and doubt ; 
no longer can one rely upon the instinct, though a true 
one, but must see that it is in harmony with reason. In 
our day many facts and theories assail the instinct of 
prayer, so if one remains prayerful it must be on account 
of reasons superior to these assailing ones. As many of 
these facts and theories were but little known, if at all, to 
patriarchs and even apostles, one readily sees that faith 
in prayer may be a more intelligent and better estab- 
lished virtue in a modern saint than in Abraham or even 
in Paul, since it meets and overcomes difiiculties they 
never even dreamed of. 

One of these difficulties is that aroused by science. 


Science declares the laws and forces of nature are fixed, 
that there is nothing corresponding to the acts and chang- 
ing moods of a person, that even the clouds and storms 
and lightning flash are governed by law. 

There are three ways of looking at the course of 
nature, the regular sequence of cause and effect, with 
regard to prayer. The first is that of the godless scien- 
tists, and there are few such ; they regard nature some- 
what as an iron barrier. God may be on the other side 
of it, they cannot tell, but if He is He cannot change it. 
Prayers directed to Him strike against the barrier and 
fall — they cannot reach Him ; and if they did. He could 
not work any change. How this barrier came to exist, 
and how the prayerful being this side of it, they cannot 

The second view is that of superstitious faith in prayer 
which regards the fixed form of nature as a background 
and counts as answer to prayer only the extraordinary 
and unusual, something in the nature of a miracle. The 
miracle has evidential value as out of the usual course, 
so must be rare, and also there must be some message 
and messenger that need this evidence. So the prophets 
and leaders of the Old Testament, and so Christ and His 
apostles worked miracles. The need no longer exists, 
and such answers to prayer are not to be expected. 
Besides, answers to prayer are not rare. 

The third view is that of reasonable faith in prayer. 
"We see and recognize tiie regular course of nature, and 
do not expect any answer to prayer outside or beyond it. 
Still we do not regard God as shut out by that course of 
nature but as revealed by it, showing us His character 
therein and teaching us upon what to depend and how to 


obey Him. We are not to expect to be exempt from 
obedience to law by prayer or from the consequences of 
disobedience ; else prayer would counteract one of the 
chief lessons taught both in natm-e and revelation, that 
of obedience to law. 

But God is not less than man, but greater. Our knowl- 
edge of the laws and forces of nature does not shut us 
behind an ii-on barrier, but gives us some little control 
over these flexible forces. ^N^ow if our three-year-old 
child prays to us the fixed course of nature is not a bar- 
rier against our answering the child's prayer, but gives 
us all the power we have of answering it. We know a 
desired effect will be produced by a certain cause ; the 
cause is within our reach, we start it, the effect surely 
follows, and the prayer is answered. 

But our knowledge is small ; we know only a few 
things and those imperfectly. We can lay hold of only 
a few forces and those isolated ones, and we can lay 
hold of them only from without, as we take the hand of 
our brother and lift it up. God knows all things, all 
laws and forces, and knows them perfectly. God can lay 
hold not only upon a few forces, but upon the whole vast 
and complicated system at once, or upon any portion of 
it. And God has closer relationship wdth nature than we 
have. He works not from without but from within, as 
we lift not our brother's hand but our own hand. God's 
power of answering prayer, therefore, must be greater 
than ours — not contrary to nature but through it. The 
most learned scientists hold to the Christian belief in 
prayer, that God is master of nature, not mastered by it. 
Only a few are conceited enough to believe that they 
know more and have more power than God, for it 


amounts to that. This little man who has lived some 
hfty years, perhaps, and has studied one or two depart- 
ments of nature, and has gained a little control over 
them, stands up in the great universe of God and tells us 
tliat the Eternal, Almighty, All-wise, and All-loving 
Creator and Upholder of it has after all less power over 
it than he has — rather a ridiculous position for him to 

The only question now is, not can God answer prayer, 
but will He. This Christ answers in revealing Him as 
our Father. The father nature always answers the 
prayer of his child if it is in his power, and for the 
child's good. Here also we see the deep meaning of the 
instinct of prayer ; it is the child spirit casting itself upon 
the wisdom and love of a father. 

E^ature is a fine organization, and among men tlie liner 
the organization the more completely is it under the con- 
trol of the governing mind. Close observers at a certain 
place on the Pennsylvania Railroad recently saw a 
strange sight. The fastest express train, the Chicago Lim- 
ited, took the freight track, and then a special passed it — 
both running at great speed — a swift engine with two 
cars, and in one of these a young girl and her attendants 
the only passengers ; then all went as usual on the finely 
organized road. It was in answer to prayer. Up in the 
Allegheny Mountains, in a summer cottage, a woman lay 
sick, and supposed to be dying. A man bended over her 
bed to catch her faint whisper. She said, " I want to see 
Mary before I die." He stepped to the telegraph instru- 
ment and flashed the command to the proper officer — 
" Bring Mary at utmost speed to see her dying mother," 
and the flying special brought Mary from New York 


Citj to the cottage bed, for the sick woman had whis- 
pered her prayer in her husband's ear, tlie father of her 
daughter Mary, and he was the President of tlie Penn- 
sylvania Railroad. What great power he possessed and 
how quickly he used it; but what little power compared 
with God's power in His finely organized universe. And 
shall not the far more loving Father use it for the good 
of His child? 

Your child is taken sick, and you send for the wise 
physician ; you virtually pray to him to use his superior 
knowledge of nature for your child's good — and you do 
well. Is it not also well to pray to God for your child, 
that He will bless the physician in his work, and beyond 
this in ways we may not know but in ways well known 
to God, to restore the child to health. But still the child 
may die. His superior wisdom and love may see that it 
is the greatest good for the child and for you. And in 
all our prayers we must say to God, as we teach our chil- 
dren to say to us, "If you please," in submission to His 
infinitely wise and good will. The third petition of this 
wonderful prayer throws some light upon this and a 
great many more of this life's mysteries. We know so 
little of the mystery of life and its issues that we can 
hardly tell what is a calamity or a blessing while we are 
passing through it. 

Another great thought demands attention in this sim- 
ple address of prayer. How many do we take with us 
when we say " Our Father ? " Surely the walls of this 
church recede and we take in all the churches. Do not 
all church walls recede, and we take in all this city, and 
all the world? The brotherhood of the race is in the 
word "our," for all men are the children of the Father; 


and tliongh as wayward and rebellions tliej do not pray 
for themselves, we wlio pray may not tlierefore leave 
them out of onr prayers. More deeply the brotherhood 
of all those having the child spirit is in the word "our." 
We send onr money to carry the Gospel to heathen 
lands, and the moment a heathen is converted and prays 
"Onr Father," we have an interest in his prayers, 
another agency is enlisted in onr behalf — yes, in behalf 
of all mankind at the throne of God. Here, then, all race 
distinctions vanish, all ranks and titles fade, the rich and 
the poor, the learned and the unlearned are brothers. A 
poor man kneeled by the side of the Prime Minister of 
England, and when he recognized him was moving away, 
when Gladstone detained him and said, "We are all 
equal here." The fatherhood of God, the child spirit in 
Christlikeness, the brotherhood of the race, are some of 
the great truths in these simple words. 

Some light is thrown by this word "our" upon the 
perplexing subject of conflicting prayers. Two Christian 
nations are to-day at war in South Africa, and both are 
earnestly praying for success. There is obviously some- 
thing the matter with the word " our," for they are not 
praying for each other but against each other, not as 
brothers but as enemies. Tlie proper spirit in the word 
" our " would settle the difficulty in some other way than 
by war. So in our Christian land to-day a great labor 
strike is raging. Through the cabin door of the coal-miner 
grim famine walks while the family are on bended knee 
saying " Our Father." In the splendid mansion on the 
Avenue, supported by coal dividends, another family is 
beginning the day with prayer — " Our Father." Here, 
too, there is obviously something the matter with the 


word "our" — the real brotherly spirit which should 
thrill through that word would quickly settle the labor 
dispute without a strike. 

Wlien the glad time comes, as come it will, when wars 
and strikes shall cease, it will be when all men possess 
the child spirit and dwell together as brothers, and can 
say in all truthfulness, " Our Father," praying for each 
other and with each other. 

Our Savior, when He bids us call God our Father, 
tells us to add, " which art in Heaven," or, as the Ameri- 
can revisers suggest, " who art in Heaven," for there is 
no good reason to have bad English in the Lord's Prayer, 
however ancient the usage. 

Where Heaven is we are not taught. Some have fan- 
cied a central sun around which the universe revolves — 
the throne of the Almighty ; but the stars, the myriad 
suns of space, seem to be moving in straight or wavering 
lines. The common thought of Heaven, though vague, 
is even more inspiring. We lift up our eyes and see 
beyond the sun and stars that in which they float, the 
unchanging, clear blue sky, the boundless firmament of 
Heaven. Clouds and storms roll across it but change it 
not ; the bustle of this noisy world rises up into it and is 
lost in its solemn stillness, the sky is pure and calm as 

In that bright, pure, boundless, unchanging Heaven, 
of which the countless orbs of night are but the sentinel 
fires upon its borders, there is the throne of God, the 
Eternal — " Our Father who art in Heaven." And, glori- 
ous truth, this boundless Heaven comes down to and 
enrapts our little earth ! Our Father in Heaven is lifted 
up beyond comparison with earthly fathers, and still is 


nearer to us than any earthly father. The telescope tells 
of His vast works and power. Just as truly, the micro- 
scope tells the wonders of His skill in insect wing and 
growing flower, as if God had nothing else to do in this 
wide universe than paint the rose leaf. So it is not 
beyond our thought that the hand that holds creation up 
should wipe the tear from our weeping eyes, since He is 
our Father in Heaven. 

Another thought dawns u]3on our waiting souls. If 
our Father is in Heaven, then we, through Him, are 
children of Heaven. This is not our liome ; Heaven, the 
Father's house. Heaven, is our liome. We are children 
being educated and trained by our wise and loving 
Father, under His teaching on this earth. We cannot 
tell from anything we are now what we shall be when 
His glorious purpose is fully accomplished, when the 
redemption is completed, when with glorified body and 
spirits we are acknowledged before the assembled uni- 
verse as His children, and with outbursts of praise are 
brought by our Father to His heavenly home ; we only 
know we children of the earth shall be meet for Heaven, 
for we shall be like Christ, our elder brother. 

It is possible, of course, to turn away from this prayer, 
as from all prayer, to turn away from this revelation of 
God as our Father, in a cold and disdainful spirit. You 
fathers know something of God, since all that is good in 
your nature is enlarged and freed from all infirmities in 
Him. Now the better a father is the more he will long 
for the responsive love of his child — unspeakable is his 
yearning for his child's trust and affection. Surely this 
too must exist in enlarged measure in the heart of our 
heavenly Father. So we are sure of His welcoming the 



child spirit in prayer, and also that turning away from 
prayer, in indifference or dislike, grieves His father heart. 
Shakespeare, in one of his greatest tragedies, depicts an 
aged king giving his kingdom to his children. As soon 
as the j)Ower was in their hands rivalry took possession 
of their hearts ; they thrust their aged father from one 
to the other, coldly slighting and scorning him in their 
seliish pride, until their cruel disdain forced from King 
Lear's heart the cry of anguish, "How worse than ser- 
pent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." " A thank- 
less child ! " Is that my nature as God looks upon my open 
soul? To have such a Father, to be constantly receiving 
blessings from His love and yet never pray — a thankless 
child. Rather we should constantly cultivate the child 
spirit; that spirit that makes childhood so happy — 
trust, obedience, love — that brings children so confidently 
to us fathers, with their delights and desires. The more 
of this spirit we can cultivate toward " Our Father who 
art in Heaven," the more noble and blessed our lives will 
be, and the more pleased our Father will be with us. 

Having this spirit, we may truthfully say, "Our 
Father"; for He, looking upon our souls, will say, "It 
is true, they are my children." 


Matt, vi : 9. 

The more civilization advances the more complicated 
are the relations and duties of our lives. Many of our 
most perplexing problems would be solved if we knew 
what was of first importance, the most pressing duty, and 
at ODce had a strong desire to do it. 

In astronomy it used to be thought that the earth was 
the center of the universe, and that the sun, moon, and 
stars revolved around it. So man often regards himself 
of supreme importance in false religion, in no religion, 
and often in the true religion. Selfishness often usurps 
the first place even in a Christian's prayers. Our Lord, 
in this first petition, deals a most effective blow at this 
conceit of man — He teaches liim plainly that his little 
personality is not the center around which the universe 
revolves. But not only does our Lord teach us what is 
our first duty, as in the Commandments, He inspires us 
with the desire to do it — a longing which makes the first 
petition of the prayer. 

Very remarkable, in another respect, is this first peti- 
tion: not only does the first place in a child's desire 
belong to God, but the first desire of a child with refer- 
ence to God is that His name may be held as holy. 
" Holy" is the first word the Lord teaches us to pray — 
" Holy be Thy name among men." 

Holiness is something more than a mere negative 
character, free from defilement ; it is positive, the very 
opposite of defilement. An innocent being is pure, but 



may be very weak. A holy being is strong in the quality 
opposite of impurity. Man the sinner has often wor- 
shiped the idols of his impure imagination, and so has 
confirmed himself in his own impurity. When God 
taught the Israelites concerning Himself it was most 
ditficult, from the nature of the scholars, to teach them 
concerning His moral purity. His holiness. The idea of 
purity pervaded all the ceremonial worship of the taber- 
nacle and temple; each ordinance was designed to reflect 
purity upon the rest until the idea, rendered intense by 
so many rays, was referred to God. Take, for instance, 
the single line of sacrifices. The animals of the land 
were divided into clean and unclean ; from the pure class 
the purest was selected, one without spot or blemish ; 
this was to be offered in sacrifice by a class of men set 
apart as purified — the priests ; this pure class must wash 
the pure sacrifice in clean water. Even tliis highest possi- 
ble degree of earthly purity could not be brought into 
God's presence ; the sacrifice was offered in the court of 
the temple, outside the holy place, still further removed 
from the Holy of Holies, and was to be offered on an 
altar by purifying fire, while the worshipers stood afar off. 

By giving the Commandments, by the worship He 
instituted, by all His dealings with them, by His proi)hets, 
God taught His people that He was the Holy One of 
Israel. The evangelic prophet describes his most en- 
raptured vision of the seraphim, who cried one to another, 
" Holy ! holy ! holy ! is the Lord of Hosts ! " 

Travelers in Eastern Switzerland tell us that Mount 
Blanc dominates the scene. One bids a lingering farewell 
to the grand mountain, thinks he will never see it again ; 
but a turn is made in the road, a hill is reached, a break 


in a ridge is passed, and, lo ! there is the monarch of 
mountains lifting high its diadem of snow. So the rever- 
ent reader of the Bible, passing through its many scenes, 
can never lose sight of the holiness of God ; it recedes, 
it comes near, it frowns, it smiles, but it is everywhere 

Missionaries often find great difficulty in conveying to 
the heathen mind the idea of holiness; in many lan- 
guages there is no word expressing the thought. Even 
om* English thought grows from the Scripture revelation, 
and is forced to adapt a word of wholeness to express it. 
God is a Being whose nature is not only free from, but 
the strong opposite of, moral defilement. 

God was known by several names in the Old Testa- 
ment, and there are indications of a progressive revela- 
tion of God by His names, the words bringing to our 
thought the person to whom they belong. A name ex- 
pressive of power, " the Almighty," seems to have prevailed 
in the earlier times, as seen in the names of places and 
general usage ; this is usually translated in our English 
Old Testament by the word " God." The name expressive 
of self -existence, "Jehovah," usually translated by our word 
"LoKD," in small capitals, prevailed afterwards, when the 
chosen people became a nation. In the late years of the 
nation's life the name "Jehovah" was regarded as so holy 
that it was never pronounced even in the synagogue 
readings on the Sabbath day, but another name of God 
expressive of majesty was pronounced in its stead; so 
the correct pronunciation of "Jehovah " is now unknown. 
With these names, words descriptive of His character and 
works were frequently joined : "the Creator," "King," 
"Law-giver," "Judge,"' "Lord of Hosts," "the Holy 


One of Israel." But whatever stage of the revelation of 
God was reached His holiness was ever more brightly 

At length the crowning revelation is made. The Son 
of God reveals God to us by the name " Father " — a name 
dimly seen in the Old Testament, for it is doubtful if 
Abraham, Moses, David, or Isaiah ever ventured to call 
God by the name of Father, even in prayer — a name of 
inexpressible nearness, tenderness, and love ; and, lo ! in 
that name shines forth with still brighter rays the holi- 
ness of God. " Our Father who art in Heaven, holy be 
Thy name." 

In the teachings and in the life of the Son of God in 
the flesh shines forth holiness — tlie opposite of moral 
defilement, free from the slightest touch of sin, and 
strong in purity — a holiness filled with infinite love, liv- 
ing among sinners tliat He might save them from their 
sins, yet unsullied by their sin. In the atoning death of 
the Savior the infinite love of our Father in self-sacrifice 
provides for our coming to Him freed from the guilt and 
power of sin and possessing a new life of holiness in 
Christ. The holy love of the infinite God shines from 
the cross; the fire of love burns away the guilt, the chains 
and the dross of sin, and kindles in the penitent disciple 
a new holiness of life. The earlier revelation of God is 
not set aside or in any way corrected ; it advances, as the 
dawn to a noonday brightness. The name '' Father" is not 
opposed to His other names, doing away with them, but 
combines them all, with added wealth of revelation ; and 
the holiness which adhered to them shines with full 
splendor in this last, best name of God. 

How prone, on the contrary, is the sinful heart to 


attribute to God the lowest idea of fatherhood ; to think 
of Him as a good-natured, weakly indulgent father, who 
does not really care whether His children do right or 
wrong, but whose sole anxiety is to preserve them from 
the sufferings they court by their misdeeds. But if we 
are taught by Christ, if we receive the revelation He 
makes, and truly believe in Him, we are constantly re- 
minded that our Father is holy, and that the great long- 
ing of His infinite love is to save His children from their 

With this view of the meaning of the petition we 
begin to see why our Lord gave it the first place in the 
prayer He taught us. 

The man who lives in a narrow valley, hemmed in by 
high mountains, may think himself and his home of 
greatest importance; even the sky, the small patch of 
blue between the mountain tops, is but the covering 
of his head. But as he climbs the mountain side his 
views expand, and when he reaches the highest mountain 
peak the whole world lies at his feet, and his valley 
home is but a little speck hardly to be seen and the blue 
sky is boundless. So when we are lifted up by the great 
Teacher into the lofty realm of clear truth and pure relig- 
ious emotion, when as children we stand in the presence 
of our holy Father, recognize His glorious character, 
and come into sympathy with His glorious designs, our 
lower wants, which before were so important, take their 
proper subordinate place, and the one supreme and all- 
embracing desire is that everywhere among men the 
loving, holy Father may be regarded as holy, with rever- 
ence and love. The first utterance of the child's voice 
takes the keynote from the praises of the heavens. 


" Holy ! holy ! holy ! " cry the seraphim before His throne. 
"Holy be Thy name," prays the child upon his footstool. 

Thus our Savior teaches us that the matter of supreme 
importance is to have right feelings toward God. 

As we reflect we see that it must be of supreme impor- 
tance to God Himself, and that this first longing of the 
child heart meets the first desire of the Father's. 

There is, of course, a sense in which it is perfectly 
clear that what we think of God can make no difference 
to Him. Our opinion of Him can in no way affect His 
position ; that is assured. He is the Supreme Ruler of 
the wide universe. 

"God doth not need either man's work or His own 
gifts — His state is kingly; thousands at His bidding 
speed and post on land and ocean without rest." Our 
opinion of Him can in no way affect His character. That 
is infinite in all perfections and absolutely unchangeable. 
Our opinion can in no way affect His reputation. The 
opinion others beside our race hold of Him will not be 
changed at all by what man thinks or says. We cannot 
diminish a single note of the praises of the angels ; w^hat- 
ever man may say, the seraphim will still cry, " Holy ! 
holy! holy!" " 

But there is also a sense in which what man thinks of 
God is of the greatest importance to Him. We may 
imagine a case that will make this clear. The Emperor 
of Germany is the great ruler of a strong nation and 
highly honored by the world. He is riding with his 
escort through the streets of Berlin, amid the acclama- 
tions of his loyal people. Here are three little boys in 
the crowd who have no word of acclaim for him, who 
even frown upon him and speak harshly of him. What 


does lie care what the Httle boys think and speak of him ? 
I can conceive that he cares more for the good opinion of 
those little boys than he does for all the plaudits of the 
nation and of the world. Under the uniform of the 
Emperor is the heart of a father, and those boys are his 
own sons. We also see that while the opinion of the 
boys cannot affect the Emj)eror's position, character, and 
reputation, it must have a very large effect upon their 
own. Not honoring their father indicates a bad charac- 
ter, insures them a poor reputation among all right-think- 
ing men, and they will find, though a king's sons, that 
reputation and character will have a great deal to do with 
their own position in life, with their destiny. It is also 
clear that while the Emperor father knows all this, and 
desires the good opinion of the boys for the boys' sake, to 
insure their well-being, the deeper reason, after all, is the 
heart hunger of the father. Nothing can satisfy this 
but the esteem and love of his sons. If we ask how great 
this hunger is in the heart of our heavenly Father, we 
shall have to understand all the life and death of our 
Lord Jesus Christ before we can fathom it. All the 
revelation of Himself God has made, culminating in His 
sending His Son, is the expression of His desire that we 
should have worthy thoughts and right feelings toward 
Him. All His dealings with us, culminating in the 
Savior's grace, prompt this first petition. The greatest 
honor and pleasure a father can have is to be rightly 
appreciated and loved by his child, and the greatest desire 
of a true child is to please and honor his father. How- 
ever His child may have misunderstood and disliked the 
heavenly Father up till this time, the Lord Jesus Christ 
has so taught and renewed him that now he turns to the 


Father with love and longing. The child has now the 
true child spirit, and this first petition shows his recogni- 
tion of his Father's worthiness and his desire to please 
and honor Him. We recognize also in this teaching of 
onr Savior that however the Father may have been 
grieved by the former misunderstanding and dislike, He 
is now pleased and honored by His child's prayer. 

Here, then, in this petition is a complete answer to one 
of the most terrible objections unbelief can ever bring 
against prayer. All your reasons for the prayer of 
children, it may say, are strong, provided you are good 
children ; but when you are confessedly rebellious and 
disobedient, how dare you j)ray to the holy God ? It is 
true, faith answers, that the prayers of the wicked must 
be an abomination to the Lord. For a wicked man, con- 
tinuing in his wickedness, to ask God to favor him in any 
way is virtually to ask God to approve of his wicked- 
ness, and must be revolting to the holy One. But 
prayer is an entirely different thing ; it is the desire 
awakened in one who turns from sin to the holy God, 
and it embraces an appreciation of the beauty of holiness 
in God. The revelation of the holy Father through 
Jesus Christ has driven away the misunderstanding and 
waywardness from the heart, and the child now looks up 
with loving gaze into the face of God and prays. 

As we reflect still further, w^e see that this first petition 
is intensely practical — that it craves the greatest good 
mankind can receive. Should the question be asked, 
"What is the deepest need of mankind to-day?" the 
first blush answer of any one of us would hardly be 
"To hold God's name as holy." But we are not to give 
a hasty answer ; we are standing on the mountain top of 


clear truth and pure religious feeling, where our Savior 
has led us ; we have been looking off into the heavens to 
the throne of eternal holiness, and now, as we look down 
upon the earth, upon our fellow men, deep sympathy 
with our Savior takes possession of us, we look with 
His eyes upon the deepest need of mankind, and He 
inspires this first petition. May all mankind regard God 
as holy ! 

As we look upon the race of man we see that while 
there is much happiness, there is also much misery. If 
all men knew of the heavenly Father, with His yearning 
love^and His guidance to a better life, what addition to 
their happiness, what comfort in their misery, that would 
bring ! As we look more intently we see that underneath 
the misery there often lies sinfulness, that smoldering 
passions in the heart often send forth fumes of misery in 
the life; and that our lives are so linked together, that the 
present generation has inherited so much from former 
generations that one cannot find the limit of the persist- 
ency and spreading power of both sin and misery. Still, 
the case is plain that if the smoldering passions could be 
removed from the human heart ; if lust, jealousy, anger, 
injustice could be expelled, and holiness in thought and 
feeling take their place, that the fumes of misery now 
enveloping human life so heavily would become less 
poisonous and might fade away. It is also plain that 
the adoration of the holy Father, the admiring His 
character with intense longing and the spirit of loving 
obedience, the worshiping of the holy God would, by 
the laws of our nature, have a strong tendency to expel 
evil from the heart, and to make the worshiper grow 
holy, like the God he worships. 


He who has sympathy with the Lord Jesus Christ 
will do all in his power to relieve the suffering of his 
fellow men, as his Savior did while dwelling upon earth, 
and also will recognize the deep meaning of the Savior's 
mission here, and that the greatest good he can bring to 
his fellow men is to lead them to worship the holy 

Man is lost in sin, and Jesus Christ came to seek and 
save the lost. The holy God is the Savior ; He re- 
news man in His own likeness. This is the greatest 
good, and includes all lesser good, and this is the petition 
of the renewed heart for his fellow man, for the greatest 
blessing he can receive. We may and should strive to 
better the condition of our fellow men ; we may and 
should strive to enforce laws just to all ; we may and 
should strive to educate and elevate all men ; but all 
this and far more is included in this prayer, that sin- 
ful men may be brought back to the holy God. 

On a cold winter's night you lind a child sobbing on 
the street. You ask, " What is the matter % " and she can 
only sob, " I am lost ! I am lost ! " At once you wrap 
your greatcoat around her ; you take her to a store and 
buy something for her to eat ; you, to quiet her, tell her 
stories, and you are doing a great kindness to her. If 
her father in the mansion on the Avenue knew it, he 
would be thankful for your goodness to his lost child. 

But you can do more and better. You are doing all 
this in order that you may confer the one all-including 
blessing. As soon as the child is quieted from her panic 
you ask her, " Where do you live ? " She gives you her 
name and the number on the Avenue where she lives. 
You carry her with all haste, you ring the door-beli 


eagerly, and you place the lost child in the father's arms. 
]^ow you have done the all-embracing good, brought the 
lost child home — the highest good for child and parents, 
too ; warmth, food, and all home good follows. So this 
petition is that all men may be brought from the dark- 
ness and misery of sin to the loving adoration of the 
heavenly Father — ^the lost brought home. 

To-day the world stands aghast at the uprising of 
the great Chinese people to expel the hated foreigners, at 
the massacre of women and children, and at the fierce- 
ness of the cruelty and treachery of which the human 
heart is capable. Has all this rage of a great nation been 
aroused against missionaries ? Is this something to be ex- 
pected at the introduction of our religion into a foreign 
land ? So some would have us beheve, and so would dis- 
credit the missionary work. We should remember that 
three classes of Christians have had marked dealings 
with China, and she judges them together, as one. 

First, there has been the Christian with the scales and 
machinery. It is to be feared that the scales have not always 
been justly balanced, and that may have awakened some 
hard feelings in the heathen mind. It is also evident that 
the introduction of machinery, while in the long run a great 
blessing, at first awakens opposition, as it disturbs exist- 
ing conditions, and creates an industrial revolution in 
which many lose their former means of gaining a living. 
Among an ignorant people, whose conditions from time 
immemorial are thus disturbed, a great hard feeling 
would arise against those bringing in and setting up the 
hated machines. 

Secondly, there has been the Christian with the sword. 
Some of the missionaries may have appealed too quickly 


for the protection of themselves and their converts to the 
great nations in treaty with China. In protecting the 
converts against persecution, and in claiming privileges 
for them, the missionaries may have been abused by 
their own converts, and have awakened prejudice against 
themselves and the religion they sought to commend. 

While the missionaries may have appealed too easily 
to the sword for protection and compensation for dam- 
ages done, that after all has been a very small part of the 
impression "the Christian with the sword" has made 
upon the heathen mind. This Christian with the sword 
has too often seemed like a robber with a sword. The 
great nations, in rivalry with each other to extend their 
commerce and their ''spheres of influence," have quite 
naturally awakened in the Chinese nation the fear that 
they would take all they conld get, even to the extent of 
dividing up the whole nation between them. Kow that 
the Christian nations have been brought to face this 
heathen view of their conduct, we believe they will dis- 
avow siich intention, and wdll treat that great heathen 
nation with Christian justice and generosity. Surely 
such should be the attitude of our own country. But 
it is not to be wondered at that China, holding the 
fear that she was in danger of being dismembered, 
should have risen in her might against the foreigner, 
and the intensity of her cruel rage is due to her heathen 

Thirdly, there has been the Christian with the Bible. 
It is quite evident that, being human, he may have erred 
in some of his methods, but as evident that tlie message 
he bears is for the highest good of the Chinese nation. 
Higher and purer than tlie morals taught by Confucius 



are those of the Bible ; but this is only saying that they 
are of the same kind, differing only in degree. 

The Bible has a message of an entirely different kind 
from any Confucius gave his people. He taught them 
about their relations with each other, but was silent about 
God. He gave them a system of morals, but brought to 
them no power to keep even the morals he taught. The 
Bible brings better morals and also a power to lead men 
to keep them, for its distinctive message is the revelation 
of God as our holy Father. The system of morals 
shows us how the holy Father would have us live among 
each other, and then He assures us that He is with us 
always to inspire and help us. To bring this message to 
that ancient people is to bring the greatest blessing to 
their lives. Surely we should not suffer hatred of the 
Chinese to be awakened in our hearts by the present out- 
break of their patriotism, though it fails to discriminate 
between provocation and blessing. Rather there should 
be a yearning love for that misguided and cruel people, 
and a desire to bless them with the enlightenment and 
love of the Gospel. Thus we shall more fully enter into 
the spirit of this first petition. May the whole world 
learn of the holy ISTame, so as to recognize its own sinful- 
ness and turn in penitence to the worship and service of 
our holy Father in Heaven! 

The darkness of sin and misery will alike be driven 
away when all men worship the holy God. If you 
should reach Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn, in 
the evening, you would probably, after tea, stroll out to 
see the great mountain. How forbidding and terrible it 
appears in the growing darkness! what terrors it awakens! 
what awful tragedies it recalls! In the morning, called 



early, you stand again at the same spot and look off at tlie 
same mountain. Your eye follows the dim outline upward 
until you gaze upon a wonderful transformation being 
wrought in its loftiest heights. A great angel from the 
lieavens seems standing on the mountain top, clothed in 
white samite — mystic, wonderful. What is working the 
marvelous change ? The mountain peak, with open face, 
is looking upon the rising sun, no cloud or mist between, 
and soon the whole mountain will be one glittering mass 
of white light — like another sun upon the earth. So 
may the whole race of man look with open face, with no 
cloud between, upon the holy God, and become holy, 
like Him. 

We may now consider a third element of great desire 
entering into this petition ; it comes last, since we are 
being taught by Christ, but it is no less strong. Stand- 
ing upon the mountain top with our Savior, we have 
looked up into the heavens and prayed "for the Father's 
sake ;" we have looked down upon the inhabitants of the 
earth and prayed "for our brothers' sake." ]^ow we 
look into our own hearts and pray, for our own sake, 
*' Hallowed be Thy name." The child, even in the pres- 
ence of the Father, is conscious that there are still some 
misconceptions of his sinful mind that dim and distort 
his views of the holiness of God. He is also conscious 
that selfishness and sinful passions remaining in his 
heart chill his love for the holy God. He is further 
conscious that though he has turned to God in true 
penitence and faith, he is still far from being holy as 
God is holy. All this consciousness of glaring defects 
awakens in his heart a growing desire to be free from 
them : " May I constantly have clearer views of the 


holiness of God ; may I ever have a warmer love for the 
holy God; may I continually become more like the 
holy God. ' Hallowed be Thy name ' in my mind and 
heart and life." 

"Whatever plans the Christian may devise to grow in 
holiness, whatever efforts he may make to remove evil 
from his nature and cultivate the good, he will find his 
Savior has given him in this petition the secret of success. 
If he looks up to God the Holy One with adoring gaze, if 
he opens his heart with earnest longing for the indwelling 
of the holy Spirit, he will be "changed into the same 
image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the 
Lord." Astronomy has made great discoveries recently 
by means of sidereal photography. "What is called a 
slow-process plate is so arranged by a clockwork contri- 
vance that it does not feel the motion of the earth, but 
remains exposed to a particular part of the heavens for 
several hours. On a clear night, when there is not a film 
of cloud in the sky, this plate steadily gazes at a single 
part of the heavens, and thus a wondrous change is 
wrought upon it ; for when it is now examined it is found 
crowded with specks of light. It has photographed the 
stars ! — not only the stars that could be seen through the 
telescope, but many others beyond the vision of the best 
instruments man has been able to devise — its long and 
steady gaze has caught the flashings of the most distant 
suns in the universe of God ! There is a kind of spiritual 
photography more wonderful than this sidereal photog- 
raphy. When the enraptured, sensitive soul, not carried 
away by the earth motion, the spirit of worldliness, looks 
long and steadily off to the holv God, when there is no 
earth mist or cloud that comes between the adoring soul 


and the heavenly Father, then there is wrought upon the 
soul, through the laws of its being, the likeness of the 
Father in the child nature, and the child becomes holy, 
even as God Himself is holy. 


Matt, vi . 10, 

This gospel, by St. Matthew, is called by some the Gos- 
pel of the Kingdom, as distinguishing it from the other 
gospels. It is linked with the Old Testament by its 
many quotations applying to the King and the Kingdom. 
In the opening chapters the lineage of the King is given, 
the wise men from the East inquire for the One born 
King of the Jews, and His herald announces the King- 
dom of Heaven at hand. In the Sermon on the Mount 
the King proclaims the principles of His Kingdom. In 
the earlier grouping of the parables, Christ describes His 
Kingdom ; in the later group. He describes Himself as 
King. Coming near to the end of His life, the King gives 
the principles of self-government to his subjects, proclaims 
the honors and rewards of His Kingdom, and enters the 
Capital City as King. There he denounces usurpers, 
suffers and dies for His people ; then, triumphing over 
death. He directs the conquest of the world. In this 
single short gospel there are at least fifty references to 
the Kingdom. But when we turn to the other gospels we 
find the same prominence given to the Kingdom, though 
in somewhat different form. There are almost as many 
references to the Kingdom in Luke as in Matthew, while 
Mark may be called the gospel of the great deeds of the 
King, and John, though having few direct references to 
the Kingdom, teaches concerning it in the great allegories 
of the Shepherd and His flock, the vine and its branches, 
the bread and water of life, and Christ, the light of the 




world. In all His life and teachings we find Christ 
gives great prominence to the Kingdom of God. He 
came to establish it ; He is the King of it ; He calls the 
glad tidings " the Gospel of the Kingdom." The great 
Teacher would have His disciples give the same promi- 
nence to the Kingdom in their thought, desire, and effort, 
and so instructs them to pray daily " Thy Kingdom 
come." So the disciple, renewed in the spirit of a child 
of God, recognizes that the government of His holy 
Father is the best conceivable for himself and his fellow 
men, and voices the conviction and desire of his soul in 
this petition. 

We can never overestimate the value of a single soul. 
Our Lord shows us this in many striking teachings and in 
His treatment of individuals. Neither can we overesti- 
mate the importance of the life after death. As Christ 
turns from His apostles to the cross. He bids them think 
of Him as preparing mansions for them and waiting to 
bring them again to Himself. Our tendency, rather, is 
to underestimate the value of the present life upon the 
earth and the importance of the social relations ; but this 
tendency runs directly counter to the life and teachings 
of our Lord. The salvation of an individual, as Christ 
holds the glorious ideal before us, does not consist in his 
living a detached life, separate from others, either in this 
world or the world to come. The perfection which is at 
all Christlike is not isolation, but the ideal relationship 
with God and man begun here and now, and reaching out 
into eternity. Man, as he left the hand of his Creator, 
was in his nature a social being. Sin has not destroyed 
his nature, though it has fearfully marred it, leading him 
often to war against his father and his brother. The 


Savior restores and ennobles man as a social being. His 
Kingdom is the reverse of the disintegration into insu- 
lated and conflicting lives wrought by sin ; it is the com- 
bining together of helj^ful and loving lives under the rule 
of his righteous law. The eternal life is begun now on 
earth. Christ is a present Savior of individuals not only, 
but, through these, of Society. His conception of what 
Society may become, and of the means and processes of 
attaining it, forms a large part of His teaching. He shows 
us His plan ; He stirs us with His spirit ; He awakens in 
us confidence in His power and grace ; He calls us to be 
coworkers with Him ; He bids us pray " Thy Kingdom 

The two characteristic terms in the teaching of our 
Lord seem the " Son of Man," with reference to Him- 
self, and the " Kingdom of God," with reference to His 
work. The underlying thought unites them. He was 
the ideal, the complete man, in all the relations of life. 
His followers are to become like Him. The Kingdom of 
God is the social order where men live out their complete 
lives, their relations to God being those of sons, their 
relations to one another being those of brothers. Any- 
thing that brings in this, that progresses toward this, is 
the coming of the Kingdom. 

In Christ's teaching, this Kingdom is the highest good 
for mankind, the goal of effort, the reward of consecra- 
tion, the abode of blessedness. In the Gospels, we have 
the life of Christ giving us the example and impulses of 
the Kingdom, and His teachings setting forth fully and 
clearly its principles and laws. In the Acts and the 
Epistles we have, by the apostles and immediate followers 
of our Lord, the application of these impulses and prin- 


ciples to the then existing conditions of human life. In 
our day the great duty and vast privilege rests upon us, 
His followers, to apply His impulses and principles to 
the conditions of Society prevailing now in the whole 
earth. The subject grows upon us when we begin 
thoughtfully to pray " Thy Kingdom come." 

What low views man may take of a lofty subject finds 
an instance in the ideas of the Kingdom prevailing in the 
time of Christ and lingering in some forms even to our 
day. The Jews thought of a visible material kingdom, 
like that of David ; righteousness was to characterize it, 
but it was to be enthroned in power and ruled by force, 
attended with great prosperity and extended over all the 
earth. Some of the views of the second coming of 
Christ to establish his Kingdom in person on the earth 
partake largely of this view. This view voiced itself in 
the eager question to Christ : '' When will the Kingdom 
come?" He answered clearly: "It cometh not with 
observation ; it does not come with the tread of armies, 
with the pomp of courts, with the retinue of a king ; it is 
not such a Kingdom as you suppose ; it is within you — a 
spiritual Kingdom already begun in the heart, and to 
spread from heart to heart among mankind." 

This inner spiritual Kingdom has, however, its appro- 
priate outward form, and tlirough this will exert its influ- 
ence for good upon the race of man. The petition, " Thy 
Kingdom come," includes, therefore, its establishment in 
individual souls; its moulding the society of such souls; 
its extending through such society until it revolutionizes 
all Society into itself. 

The entrance into this Kingdom can only be by the 
new birth. Christ taught Nicodemus, a good man and 


an earnest seeker of truth, that one must be born again 
before he could enter the Kingdom of God. It is pos- 
sible to take two views of the universal sinfulness of man, 
which is generally acknowledged. The one is that this 
sinfulness is a defect incident to development, like the 
tottering steps of a child learning to walk; that it co- 
exists in the best men, with many virtues so shining that 
they make a large balance to the credit of such men, and 
that men generally possess such inherent strength that 
they can save themselves from sinfulness ; that their only 
need is a reformation which they can institute and com- 
plete whenever they arouse to the effort; that good 
counsel and influence, education and culture, are all they 
need to become good. The other view is that sin vitiates 
the whole nature of man ; that it clouds even the virtues 
of comparatively good men, and that all men are abso- 
lutely unable to free themselves from it. True, any man 
may reform from some particular sin, but no man can 
reform from all sinfulness, just as a man may keep out 
the tide of the ocean from some particular inlet by build- 
ing a dam across it, but all men combined cannot stop 
the rising of the tide along the coast. Man needs more 
than a reformation he can accomplish himself ; he needs 
a change of nature he is utterly powerless to work. 
Without much meditation we can see at the first glance 
that Christ's words to Nicodemus favor this latter view 
of man's sinfulness. 

It is possible also to take two views of the religion of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. The one is that He w^as a mere 
man, richly gifted, and especially having a keen insight 
in religious and moral themes, also deep love for his fel- 
low men and a pure soul and life. He was like other 


religious teachers, only far better, having richer gifts and 
purer love. Taking this vievr of Christ, there are many 
things about His life, teaching, and claims which seem 
to require a great deal of impossible explanation. 

The other view is that He is Divine ; that He came to 
the earth to teach the things man could not otherwise 
learn, and to do the work man could not do — to bring 
the help man needed, even the Divine power to save man 
from sin, and his religion to-day still brings the present 
Savior, the Divine power to save. We can see here also 
at a glance that Christ's words to Mcodemus favor this 
latter view of His mission. Combine these two views of 
man's sinfulness and the rehgion of Christ, and the one 
fits the other. If sin is but a slight defect a human de- 
vised religion will answer our purpose ; all we need is 
culture. If sin is an awful deflection of the whole man, 
bringing guilt and pollution to the whole nature, then a 
human devised rehgion is of no avail — we need a Divine 
power to save. This great need of man for renewal is 
met by the present Savior having power to renew. The 
great Teacher not only shows Nicodemus the need, but 
freely offers him the supply, in His own saving power. 
This new life issues into the Kingdom of God — the be- 
liever in Christ becomes at once the loyal subject of the 
King, having the new life of obedience and love. 

The petition, "Thy Kingdom come," includes, then, first 
of all, that men may be converted to God ; that, renowned 
by the Spirit of God, they may enter the Kingdom of 
God ; that the Kingdom may be constantly enlarged by 
an ever-increasing number of willing subjects. 

These willing subjects are not withdrawn from Society, 
from the relationships of life, but by the rule of the King 


are now to become sucli citizens of the State, such mem- 
bers of the family and of the whole social order as He 
directs. For this and other high purposes our Lord made 
provision for the formation of His followers into a Society 
which should acknowledge Him as the Christ and be 
governed by His spirit. He is the Christ, the Anointed 
One, predicted in the Old Testament, and foreshadowed 
by the Old Testament lines of anointed prophets, priests, 
and kings. As Prophet, He teaches heavenly truth, the 
reality worth living for ; as Priest, He reveals the 
infinite love and righteousness of God, bearing the burden 
of man's sin ; as King, He rules His people. Believers 
in Him learn of Him, are His disciples, trust Him for 
forgiveness and the title to life, the results of His sacri- 
fice ; but all this that, enjoying the new life, they may 
obey Him as their King. The Kingdom is the ultimate 
aim of all His saving work. He is Jesus Christ, the 
Anointed Savior ; He saves to rule in the lives of His 
subjects. The Kingdom of God is the salvation He 
brings us, and men are made willing, even enthusiastic, 
subjects of the glorious King. 

The Society Christ establishes is of His followers, and in 
it they are to be trained in the development of the new 
life of love to God and love to man. It is the coming 
kingdom of God, growing in numbers and growing in the 
sway of the King over His willing subjects. 

But this is a Society within a society ; the followers of 
Christ are not removed from the family, or the State, or 
industrial conditions, or any form of the social order. 
The Society of Christ is, therefore, to live in the society 
of nature, to enter all its relations with its new spirit, to 
influence the old social order, not by destroying any of 


its essential forms, but by renovating tliem, to give to 
tlie social order a new example of life as it should be, a 
new force of life as it shall be. The self -centered life led 
to separation and conflict. The Christ-centered life leads to 
union and to love. As men come nearer to Christ, they 
are nearer to each other ; as they yield to His teaching and 
influence, they begin to trust and love God as sons should 
a father, and to help each other as brothers should. The 
coming Kingdom of the petition is, therefore, the grow- 
ing of Christ's society not only, but the growing of its 
influence in the social order, the lifting up of man, the 
social being, toward itself. This does not do away with 
the new birth, but prepares for it, even for the glad time 
when " A nation shall be born in a day." 

The petition includes the Church — the Society whose 
distinct avowal is " Christ is our King." She may be slow 
sometimes in seeing and obeying His laws, still her avowed 
purpose is to be loyal to Him. 

The petition also includes Christian civilization, the 
institutions and customs of Society gradually coming into 
greater harmony with the commands of the King. In 
Christian lands those who do not acknowledge Christ as 
their King are still somewhat influenced by Him, live better 
lives, even bad men, than they would without the elevating 
and restraining power of the King, and men generally are 
better citizens, purer and truer men and women, than they 
would be without Christ. Thus the Kingdom comes in 
the uplift of generation after generation, in the deepen- 
ing and spreading of Christ's power among men, in the 
enlarging number of those acknowledging Him as King, 
giving promise of the time, or when human Society shall 
be the Kingdom of God. In the order of development 


the salvation of individuals precedes the salvation of 
Society and is in order to it. 

Christ's immediate aim is the conversion of the indi- 
vidual ; His ultimate aim is the conversion of Society. 
The salvation is not separation from man, but union with 
him, and love is the law. The ideal manhood of Christ 
is the ideal individual in the ideal Society. The law of 
love is not an individual sentiment, but the law of rela- 
tionship ; it enters the relation of employee and employer, 
the business transaction, the production and distribution 
of wealthy the family, and all the conditions of social life. 
The Kingdom of God is a Society knit together in all its 
relations by righteousness and love, but these ties, binding 
together in mutual service the highest and the lowest, the 
strongest and the weakest, bind all in enthusiastic loyalty 
to the King whose infinite greatness is ever engaged in 
the lowest service of true love. Christ's teaching of the 
value of the individual makes the lowest man a brother 
of the King, and makes the service done to the lowest a 
service done to the King, and makes the King's spirit the 
ruling power in all His subjects. 

This petition gives tlie social side of religion a very 
prominent place in the thought and purpose of the 
Church, as it has in her Lord. Social interest rather 
than self-interest should rule in the Church among the 
members in their relations to each other, and in all their 
relations in the world ; they are not only saved to serve, 
their salvation is the new spirit of service. With this 
prayer in her heart the Church must lift up her voice of 
persuasive love in i)leading that the teachings of Christ 
shall govern the internal laws and social conditions of 
Christian states and their relations with each other. 


With this prayer on her lips and shining in her loving 
life, the Christian Church must seek to bind together 
labor and capital in mutual justice and love, the rich and 
the poor in respecting and helping each other ; nmst lift 
up the ignorant and downtrodden and fallen; must min- 
ister to the sick and the prisoner, and must give each 
child a chance and a training to be a good man or woman. 
With this prayer on her lips, the Church shows in her 
life, as well as in her teachings, that the first need of 
Society is the right relation of man to God ; the very act 
of establishing this brings men into right relations with 
one another ; loyalty to her King is loyalty to One who 
is at the same time Son of God and Son of Man. Her 
worship of God and her service of man interblend and 
strengthen each other. 

But this great petition sweeps beyond the bounds of 
Christian civilization and takes in all the pagan lands. 
The world is now very small. The power of steam and 
the electric current have made nations on the opposite 
side of the earth near neighbors ; they know each other's 
needs and influence each other's lives. So, by the influ- 
ence of Christian civilization, there has come a marvelous 
turning to the light in heathen lands. The spring comes 
even to our cellars, and roots stored there begin to sprout ; 
so we bring them out and plant them in the warm sun- 
light, and they feel the full springtide of life. Besides, 
the Christian Church, loyal to her Lord, sends the light of 
His Gospel into the darkest parts of heathendom, where 
the imaided glimmer of civilization has not penetrated. 
On the map of the world we mark Christian lands in 
bright colors and heathen lands in dark, both of various 
shadings. Much still remains very dark, but here and 


there are spots of light, where missionaries have estab- 
lislied the Kingdom of God, and all along the borders 
and coasts and spreading inward there is a lessening of 
the darkness, a dawning of the light of the Kingdom. 
Prophecy speaks of a coming day when the knowledge 
of the Lord shall cover the earth, when all men shall 
serve Him, when His Kingdom shall be over all. This 
petition is for this coming Kingdom, that missionaries of 
the cross may establish the Kingdom over the whole 
earth, and that Christian nations shall be so Christian in 
all their acts and influence that human Society in all lands 
shall be swayed by the spirit of the King. 

The Christian Church has not yet put forth all her 
strength in the missionary work, and, alas! Christian 
nations do not yet put forth a purely Christian influence. 
]S"ot only in the heat of warfare, as recently in China, 
have cruelty, lust, and greed been occasionally thrust into 
prominence, but in the pursuits of peaceful commerce 
greed and thoughtless cruelty have sent opium and rum 
and firearms steadily wherever profit could be gained for 
the merchant, without a thought of the welfare of nations 
having little self-control. 

But there is a growing public opinion in the Church 
and in the State in line with the petition of the prayer — 
an enlightened Christian sentiment gathering force to 
restrain and expel the vices remaining in Christian civili- 
zation, and to fill the Church with the spirit of her Lord, 
yearning to save. 

Thus when we pray "Thy Kingdom come," as in- 
structed by our Lord, we have something of His vision of 
the coming Society over all the earth when all men shall 
regard God as their Father and themselves as brothers. 


The vision of our Lord lias ever been larger than that 
of His praying people, since He sees farther and loves 
wider than they. The prayer has ascended to the throne 
from the heart of every child of God, and from the whole 
Church in all ages, and the answer has been in the line 
of the Savior's vision. 

The early disciples prayed " Thy Kingdom come " as 
they preached the Gospel in the heathenism of Greece 
and Rome, but they could not have seen the conditions 
prevailing to-day, which must have been open to our 
Savior's vision, the results of generation after generation 
of gradual but blessed change, in lifting up womanhood 
and childhood, in caring for the poor and unfortunate, in 
destroying slavery, in mitigating the horrors of war, and 
frowning upon war itself, in promoting peace among 
nations, and righteousness and a growing generosity 
among all classes of men. 

"Thy Kingdom come" prayed Augustin as he carried 
the Gospel to England, Willebord in Holland, Boniface 
in Germany ; and their lives of self-sacrificing labors 
were in the line of their prayer, but they could never 
have foreseen, what must have been clear to the Savior's 
vision, the results of generation after generation of 
gradual but blessed change, as those nations, having 
many strong native qualities, have emerged from cruel 
barbarism until they now stand in the van of the world's 
Christian civilization. 

With the experience of nineteen centuries to illumine 
the meaning of Christ's teachings of His Kingdom, we 
now take up this petition, " Thy Kingdom come," and 
our vision widens as we pray. 

May Thy Kingdom come to the individuals, to my 


heart and life, and my neighbors'. May its principles 
rule in our homes, displacing selfishness ; in our business, 
making it a service of our fellow men ; in our social life, 
making it the culture of general well-being. 

May Thy Kingdom come to the Church, making it 
pure in worshiping God, the ideal brotherhood among 
men, and having an enthusiastic love for humanity. 

May Thy Kingdom come to our E'ation. May she 
entertain no policy that will not bear the light of the 
Kingdom. May slie give herself up not to self-aggran- 
dizement, but to the service of the world. 

May Thy Kingdom come to the world. May the 
Church send out her missionaries into all lands, and may 
Christian nations lift up the weak nations into the obe- 
dience to Christ, until "righteousness, peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost " shall j)revail in all the earth. 


Matt, vi : 10 

The province of the will is to choose the good, as the 
province of the intellect is to discern the true. Man has 
made so many mistakes in both respects, has found that 
false which he thought was true, and that evil which he 
chose as good, that the conclusion arises, some disorder 
has possession of his faculties. The worst feature of 
this disorder of the will is that man often persists in 
choosing as good that which he has found to be evil ; 
this we call wilfulness. When a wise father finds this in 
his child he endeavors to correct it ; w^ien he finds it in 
his own nature he may well bring it to his heavenly 
Father for His correction. Though limited in our 
powders, we have the conception of a being of unlimited 
excellencies. Our Father in Heaven never makes mis- 
takes. He always discerns the true. He always chooses 
the good. The will of God, as revealed to us, makes* 
known what infinite wisdom, and goodness choose for us. 
It is proper that He who made the world should govern 
it ; His interest in His creatures is the greatest conceiv- 
able ; His choice for them is the best possible law of 
their existence. 

The child of the heavenly Father, the reverent wor- 
shiper of the holy God, the loyal subject of the great 
King, may well pray, " Thy will be done." 

The will of God, as we contemplate it, has at least 



three distinct manifestations, expressed by the phrases, 
" It must be," " It can be," and " It onght to be." These 
distinctions are in our own minds rather than in the will 
of God itself, in our finite way of looking at an infinite 
subject. The burden of this petition has reference to 
the " It ought to be," though it fully acquiesces in the 
" It must be," and seeks to follow the '' It can be," confi- 
dent that in all respects the will of the holy heavenly 
Father is always good, and that its great design is the 
establishment of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of 
Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost. 

The "It must be" is revealed to us in the material 
universe. The will of God is the force working in nat- 
ural laws. Material elements, wherever we find tliem, 
act in their mutual relations according to well-defined 
and fixed laws. Science, by its faithful reading of the 
Book of Nature, is ever widening its knowledge of law, 
and has detected its presence where the unlearned saw 
only caprice, and where the pious unlearned saw God 
acting independently. God is still acting more majestic- 
ally through law, determining every fitful breeze and 
every forming cloud. God is the author of law; His 
will endows matter with force and ordains the mode of 
its operation. He says " It must be" to every atom that 
exists, whether in the farthest fixed star or in the ground 
under our feet. It is a remarkable fact, however, that 
these forces and laws become more complicated in their 
relations and operations the closer they come to man. 
His power of foreseeing events is smallest where he has 
most interest and control, where the "It can be" meets 
and blends with " It must be." He can tell in what con- 
stellation of the heavens the sun will be a thousand years 


lience to the hour, but he caunot tell in what condition 
the human being dearest to Hiui will be to-morrow, or 
what will be His own healtli an hour hence. 

The ''It must be" is also manifest in the history of 
the human race. The atom in tlie material universe has 
no powder to disobey the will of God. God has willed 
that man, His creature, should be a free moral agent, 
that he should have the power of will in his own nature ; 
but He has not willed that man, by antagonizing his will 
to God's will, should thereby pass beyond God's control. 
Herein lies a mystery to our limited powers. God over- 
rules man's sinful will to carry out His ow^n good will. 
In the history of mankind, within the horizon of our 
view, we see much wrong and misery with many signs of 
growing righteousness and happiness. Good has a ten- 
dency to overcome evil ; there is an evolution from the 
low to a higher condition ; there are throes and struggles, 
but a general passing on and up. There is a general 
advance toward the good, gradual it often is, subject fre- 
quently to decline, but all the more wonderful that the 
current is ever forward. One is glad he lives to-day 
rather than in any past age. One is confident the future 
will be still better. There are bright foregleams of the 
coming Kingdom. Wicked nations drink the cup of 
retribution, wliile nations learning righteousness prosper 
according to their virtues. The nation that lives for 
luxury and power, dies. The nation that lives to minister 
to the weaker nations, flourishes. There is a philosophy 
of history. Througli war and peace, famine and plenty, 
pestilence and health, order and confusion, in the preser- 
vation and advance of the race, there is abundant evi- 
dence of a presiding will. There is a hand upon the 


helm of this world's affairs. There is an "It must be" 
ill the life of mankind. 

The hand that rules is all powerful. If all men should 
combine to resist His purpose it would be in vain. He 
makes rebellion itself an instrument to accomplish His 
will. While we cannot hopefully resist, there is no need 
that we should fear. It is not blind, relentless fate, but 
the hand of infinite wisdom and love that is upon the 
helm. Our heavenly Father, our holy God, our great 
King wills, and we may trustingly say, " Thy will be 

Now the subject comes very close to each one of us, 
for it is quite evident there is a very large " It must be " 
in each individual life. We see it in our heredity ; not 
only our parentage for several generations back, but our 
race parentage, determines very largely our physical 
form, mental qualities, moral dispositions, and general 
welfare. We see it in our environment. It makes a 
great difference in the life whether one was born in 
Peking or in ]N"ew York ; in the dying civilization of 
pagan Rome or in the growing light of our present 
Christian civilization ; in the country or in the city ; on 
the Avenue or in the slums. But here, too, the indi- 
vidual will is to be considered ; for God has blended for 
the race and the individual the " It can be " with the 
" It must be " when He gave man a will in the constitu- 
tion of his nature. Heredity and environment, while 
powerful, are not controlling factors when man's will, 
acting with God's will, chooses the " It can be." 

Here, too, our petition has reverent submission blended 
with glad aspiration. The nature and circumstances of 
our lives are accepted as the will of our heavenly Father, 



while we strive to catch His plan for us and to attain to 
what He would have us become, cheerfully and faithfully 
fulfilling the conditions in life, and allying ourselves 
heartily with the good in the advance of mankind, and 
praying that all men may take this course. 

Within the limits marked out by the " It must be " of 
God there is a very large sphere of the " It can be," 
in which He gives to the human will the opportunity 
and incentive of enlarging its powers and improving 
its conditions. Four hundred years ago the Indians 
possessed this land. The " It must be " seemed to limit 
their lives to hunting and fishing, giving them much 
happiness and developing many noble traits, but still 
affording only a low and narrow life. But the land 
and the climate were the same then as now — the same 
fertile prairies and hillsides, the same mountains, rich 
with coal and iron and gold, the same broad streams and 
great lakes. The " It must be " was not so narrow as it 
seemed to the Indian mind ; it contained all the " It can 
be " which has led on the white man through three cen- 
turies of progress to the present richness and fulness of 

We find it impossible to take in all the details of God's 
plans in our dim vision, but we see enough to know that 
both in our limitations and in our opportunities, both in 
the " It must be" and in the " It can be," there is the 
wisdom and goodness of our heavenly Father seeking 
our welfare. Sometimes it is true great hardships fall 
upon a few, and the will of God seems heartless ; but 
looking out and afar off, taking in the greatest scope 
our thoughts can compass, we see that the will of 
God is good, and beyond our horizon, we believe, is the 


infinity of His wisdom and love. In a still niglit of fog 
the great steamship City of Paris crashed upon a sharp 
ledge of rock on the coast of England. The captain 
thought he was out in the deep channel ; he had not 
made sufficient allowance for the drifting of a current 
toward the rock. Fog, currents, rocks, and the loss of a 
great steamship, and many precious lives endangered. 
How hard is nature ! But, hold ! See the seamanship, 
the noble British and American manhood, that has been 
developed by battling with the dangers of the deep. 
Hold, again ! There is but a little fog in a great world 
of sunshine, but a small current toward the rocks in a 
wide ocean. Hold, again ! This little fog and small 
current are themselves slight incidents in the great cur- 
rent of the Gulf Stream, which brings the warmth of 
the tropics to make pleasant and fruitful the north of 
Europe. Take away the cause of the fog and the cur- 
rent, and you take away the summer from England and 
leave only a frozen, barren isle. God's will is not so 
much the wreck of the City of Paris as the fruitfulness 
of England and its strong manhood. 

The spirit of this petition includes both a patient sub- 
mission to our limitations and a cheerful facing of our 
opportunities. We are often called to suffer with resig- 
nation, we are more often called to discover the cause of 
our sufferings and to remove it. We bow to the " It 
must be," we listen intently to hear the " It can be," as 
we pray " Thy will be done." 

A few years ago, at the close of the summer, several 
fair Southern cities suffered from the scourge of the yel- 
low fever ; it had been brought to them from Cuba, and 
it threatened to spread over the land. There was a great 


wave of charity awakened among all the people, and phy- 
sicians and nurses, with all the help that poured-out 
wealth could give, were drawn to the stricken cities. 
Christian charity not only ministered freely, but Christian 
faith prayed that God would send the frost to check the 
fever. Some ridiculed the prayer; a godless scientist 
said, " One might as well pray to God to build a saw- 
mill." Of course the small schoolboy could answer that 
scoif: "God never builds sawmills, but He does send 
frosts." And at length the frost came and checked the 
fever. Then Christian wisdom sought to learn the cause 
of the scourge and to destroy it, and now the fair South- 
ern cities have a better sewer system ; and during our 
occupation of Cuba the sanitary sewer system has been 
applied to Havana, and now, with a quickened intelli- 
gence and watchfulness among the people, we expect to 
be exempt from yellow fever. We have tried to adapt 
ourselves to the " It can be " of God's will, and we know 
that His will is for health, not for sickness. 

The scourge in the city was not God's first choice ; His 
first choice is health, conditioned on obedience to the 
laws of nature — His will. The petition, therefore, is 
that God will help us to do His will rather than make us 
suffer it. The traveler in the Alps hears a noise above 
him, and, looking up, sees the rush of the avalanche. 
Shall he say, " It is the will of God," and stand still in its 
path ? No ; the noise is His warning — the will of God 
telling him to seek safety in the cleft of the rock. God's 
will in the laws of health is evidently the well-being of 
obedience. If dyspepsia threatens we are not languidly 
to submit, but to correct our diet and habits, and so come 
into harmony with God's will. To find the "It can be" 


is in the spirit of tliis petition as well as to submit to the 
" It must be," to cultivate more grit and less resignation, 
to honor God by striving to learn and do, as much as by 
bearing. His holy will. 

While we should never substitute a submissive spirit 
for an obedient one, it is still a blessed truth that in our 
lot of limitation, disease, and death we may honor God 
as much by bearing as by doing His holy will. The 
blind Milton could sing " They also serve who only stand 
and wait." From many a bed of suffering, by many an 
open grave, with tear-filled eyes and choking voice, we 
pray, " Thy will be done." Our hopes and plans are 
broken, the fair castles we have builded along the avenue 
of our future come down with a crash, and from the 
ruins we pray, "Thy will be done." Our plans are 
broken, but not our spirits. We are the children of God, 
and His plans are better than ours ; let us find them and 
rejoice in them. The sharpest sting in many a " disap- 
pointment" is taken away by the change of a single let- 
ter in the word, making it "His appointment." 

The will of God is one. The distinctions in our 
thought, as we have already seen, interblend, and we 
have now reached the stage where we can see that the 
"It must be" and the "It can be" are but parts of the 
" It ought to be," that the limitations and possibilities of 
our lot are conditioned upon our moral character. Man, 
\\\Q being with a will, has a tendency to ignore and resist 
God's will ; the evils of his lot come largely from this 
tendency, and the remedy for sin and misery is the com- 
plete establishment of God's will. The petition, "Thy 
will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," means the 
banishment of sin and misery from this earthly existence. 


and the complete enthronement of the " It ought to be" 
in the wilUng hearts of mankind. 

There is this quality about the "It ought to be": it 
demands a hearing of the soul, it is the voice of God, and 
is recognized as such. This shows the dignity and worth 
of man ; there is that in him that hears the " It ought to 
be" of God, the soul that recognizes the voice of God. 
Material atoms respond to the "It must be," even to the 
" It can be," and come out from chaos through successive 
stages of order, until the fair earth, teeming with many 
forms of life, comes into existence ; but it is only the 
being created in His own likeness that can respond to 
the "It ought to be" of God's voice. Order is Heaven's 
first law, and man looks out from the little dark ball of 
the earth upon the constellations of countless blazing 
suns in the immensity of space, seeing everywhere the 
"It must be" pulsating from the throne of the Eternal, 
and bows in awe, feeling his littleness. Then he hears a 
voice in his soul which all the world cannot hear, the " It 
ought to be" of God, and man, who walks the earth, is 
lifted at once into a dignity and worth greater than all 
earths and all stars. 

He recognizes, also, that he only walks worthy of his 
being when he follows that voice, when his will agrees 
with God's will; then he walks with God. The highest 
possible for him is to choose the choice of God. In the 
scales of choice, in the supreme hours of his soul, only 
one thing should have any weight. Not place, or power, 
or pleasure, or riches, or learning — only the " It ought to 
be." If this sways him, he is kingly; aught else, or all 
else, makes him mean. The great command, " Love 
God supremely and your fellow as yourself;" the great 


call, "Kepent;" the great invitation, "Trust in Christ, 
love Him and grow like Him" — tliese have the force of 
the "It ought to be'' to the listening soul. One may 
answer, "It is too exacting and difficult," or "I am as 
good as others," or "I do not want to;" but no one can 
ever say, "I ought not to be a Christian." 

There is this further quality about the " It ought to 
be " : when it is disobeyed by the free choice of the soul, 
it at once calls the " It must be " to deal with that soul. 
The first feature of its dealing is tliat by the nature of 
the case the soul is at once separated from God. By its 
own free act it goes away from Him — the choice is not to 
walk with God, but in its own way ; the will of man 
separates itself from the will of God. The " It ought not 
to be," chosen by man, separates him from God, who 
always chooses the " It ought to be." 

The second result of disobedience enforced by the " It 
must be," in the nature of the case, is wilfulness; the 
man's heart is hardened. There are two striking cases of 
hardening of the heart in the Scri^Dtures. It is said of 
Pliaraoh, God hardened his heart. Pharaoh hardened 
his heart, and the fact is simply stated — his heart was 
hardened. When we read the account we find God's 
action fully described. He gave him just commands, 
He threatened punishment ; upon his repentance He 
extended mercy. We find Pharaoh's action fully de- 
scribed. He disobeyed tlie commands ; when punished, 
he repented and promised obedience ; when mercy was 
extended, he abused that mercy by renewed disobe- 
dience. By the laws of his nature, by such action, abus- 
ing the goodness of God, Pharaoh hardened his heart. 
But these laws were the "It must be" of God. By 


their action God hardened liis heart — his heart was 

The second case fully described in the Scriptures is 
that of the Jews. Here, too, Ave find God's action fully 
described. He gave righteous commands ; He threatened 
and inflicted punishment. Upon repentance He extended 
mercy; this w^as continued tln^ough ages. He sent 
proj^hets; He sent His own Sou. We find the action of 
the Jews fully described. They disobeyed the com- 
mands, abused the mercy, rejected the j)rophets, at length 
crucified the Son of God. By such action, according to 
the laws of human nature, abusing the goodness of God, 
they hardened their hearts. But these laws are the " It 
must be" of God. It is inevitable; by the laws of our 
nature, by the "It must be" of God, disobedience to the 
"It ought to be" hardens the heart. 

The third result of disobedience to the " It ought to 
be" is that man thereby opposes himself to the whole 
framework and constitution of things. He is in God's 
universe and out of harmony with it, since he is out of 
harmony with God. The "It ought to be" being 
broken, the "It must be" in his own nature and in all 
nature weighs heavily upon man. This punishment of 
sin exists in time, and must exist while the laws of man's 
being and the universe continue to exist. A man may 
break the law of a college, even be expelled from it, and 
still recover himself in life. He may break the law of a 
nation, and, flying beyond its borders, still have much of 
the world to live in, with many avenues of life open to 
him. He may even break a law of humanity, the will of 
mankind, and, flying to some lone isle of the sea, still 
have much of life left to him. But he who breaks the 


law of his being, the will of God, cannot fly, either in 
time or space, beyond the "It must be" of God. 

It at once becomes plain that the only rescue of man 
from the "It must be" bearing heavily upon his disobe- 
dience is the reestablishment of the "It ought to be" in 
his heart and life. The Christian religion is not seeking 
to be saved from the consequences of disobedience merely 
or even mainly; it aims at the true salvation from sin, it 
seeks to understand and obey the will of God. He who 
trusts the Savior and lovingly follows Him has more and 
more of His spirit, which delights in the will of God ; he 
grows in harmony with his lot in life and his opportuni- 
ties. His soul becomes more sensitive and responsive to 
the indications of God's will, and thus he comes into fel- 
lowship with God — walks with Him. That which is the 
hope of the individual believer in Christ is the only hope 
of the race of mankind. We may not clearly understand 
many things about the "It must be" and the "It can 
be," but there is no need to disagree or fail to under- 
stand the "It ought to be;" the line of our duty lies 
plainly open to our feet. 

A very high standard of obedience is lifted up by our 
Savior in this petition : " Thy will be done on earth as it 
is in Heaven." "How do the angels obey?" asked a 
mother of her child. " Without asking questions," was 
the wise answer. Tlie strong angels and the glorified 
saints have such confidence in God's good- will that they 
obey without question or fear of consequence — promptly, 
heartily, constantly, universally. Introduce this spirit on 
the earth, and you have the heroism of godly contentment. 
We are in God's hands, and have utmost confidence in 
Him. We will obey Him, as they obey in Heaven, If 


God's will is done by us we may cheerfully cousent that 
it shall be done in us and upon us. Paul, Luther, and 
many a heroic sufferer on a sick-bed, as well as leader in 
the world's activities, have thus prayed and lived. What 
are our positions in life and our tasks compared with the 
spirit of doing God's will? If God w^ere to send two 
angels to earth, one to occupy a throne, the other to clean 
a road, the will of God would be the sole thought in each 

Brow^ning makes the Archangel Gabriel take the poor 
boy's place, and we instinctively feel the truth of his 
description : 

"Then to his poor trade he turned 
By which the daily bread was earned, 
And ever o'er the trade he bent, 
And ever lived on earth content. 
He did (Jod's will: to him all one 
If on the earth or in the sun." 

Not only this, but the mysteries and hardships of our 
lot are taken up and made a part of God's great plan for 
the world, and we are praying the best possible prayer 
for our race of mankind when we say " Thy will bo 
done" unchecked, unburdened — as it is done in Heaven. 

At night, in a great storm on the ocean, the passenger 
lies in his narrow berth, sleepless, sick, and fearful, hear- 
ing the surge of the water, the roar of the wind, the 
creaking of the vessel. Then he hears the watchman o;i 
deck shout out "All's well ! " There is a higher realm 
than his pain and fear. The captain is in command ; all 
is in good order ; the ship is triumphing over wind and 
wave, and is making good progress homeward. So this 
earth, with its race of mankind, is surging through storm 


and stress ; but be of good cheer, there is a hand upon 
the hehn. " All's well ! " It is the hand of God. The 
ideal of doing God's will is in Heaven. This reveals the 
nature of the heavenly life to ns ; it is not passive enjoy- 
ment, but active blessedness — the doing of God's will. 
The design of our Savior in His blessed Gospel is to give 
new life, the life of obedience, to write the law upon our 
heart. Thus He introduces the heavenly spirit into our 
earthly life, and thus He prepares us for Heaven. They 
only can hope to reach Heaven who are learning to do 
God's will here, and they only would be happy there 
where that spirit prevails ; for Heaven is only a possible 
and a desirable place for those who are learning to do 
God's will, who sincerely make this prayer. 


Matt, vi : 11. 

Whence come the harvests of golden grain? From 
the rain and tlie sunshine, from the soil and the air, and 
from that mysterious thing we call ''life" in the seed of 
wheat. Yes; and through these from some One back of 
them. Back of the days of sunlight and the nights of 
darkness, beyond the rain and the dew, the storm and 
the calm, the soil beneath, the air around, and the over- 
hanging heavens, beyond the life treasured up in the 
seed, is the great God of the harvests ; these second causes 
are the first emergence into sight of His unseen power 
and purpose. The rich and the poor are alike dependent 
upon the harvest for daily bread. The rich man in his 
palace on the Avenue, the owner of lands and stocks and 
ships, surrounded by all that is beautiful and rare, is as 
dependent for daily bread upon the harvests of the earth 
as the poorest man that tills the soil. His money itself 
cannot feed him; like tlie Oriental story of the man 
searching for mines and meeting the Goddess of the 
Mountains. She offered him whatever he wished. The 
rash man said, "Let everything I touch turn to gold." 
He was rich in an instant beyond compare, but soon died 
of starvation, for the food he touched turned to gold. 
So the rich man in his palace and the poor man in his 
cottage are brothers at the table God spreads. The care 
of poverty and the anxiety of riches may alike dissolve 
in this daily prayer. 

We have thus far found great depth of meaning in 



each petition. We shall find a surprising depth in this; 
each short word is charged with thought and feeling as 
we breathe it forth in prayer. 

Consider the place of the petition in the Lord's Prayer. 
It has a place, and a prominent one. Proper regard is 
paid to bodily wants in the prayer the Son of Man taught 
His brother man. We are not to ignore the bodily life. 
The highest spiritual life, even in prayer, does not neg- 
lect the body. But while it has a prominent place, it has 
but one place. It is the only petition of its kind among 
several petitions; it follows important spiritual wants, and 
leads to such again. We are not to idolize the body. 
The materialism and sensualism to which we are prone 
are silently rebuked. The spirit that makes the one 
object of life to secure temporal good is quietly ignored 
by the True Man. 

The first place in a child's desire belongs to God Him- 
self, and now as the child brings his personal wants to 
tlie Divine heart in this second part of the prayer his love 
for and confidence in God voice themselves in the first 
word, " Give," and in the following petitions in the kin- 
dred words, "Forgive" and "Deliver." The holy God, 
the great King, the ruling Will, our Father in Heaven, 
may be confidently asked to give, to forgive, and to 

The Savior teaches us to regard God as the giver ; this 
is His nature and His relation to us. Man would never 
have supposed this to be the nature of God ; he is ever 
prone to imagine Him as altogether such an one as him- 
self. The greatest being will be the most exacting. He 
will require the service of all inferior beings, the mere 
creatures of his hand. Wherever nations have imagined 


gods for themselves, sucli has been their character : selfish 
gods, like unto the selfish men who worshiped them. 
Jesus Christ shows us that God is just the reverse of 
this. True, our God, revealed in Jesus Christ, demands 
tlie supreme love of man, that we would bring all our 
powers into His service, that we should live in His glorj. 
But the glory of the Lord is not grasping to Himself — the 
glory of the whirlpool, drawing in and swallowing down 
all within its reach ; rather it is the glory of the sun, ever 
pouring forth light and warmth and blessing. The glory 
of God is giving. All our powers are gifts from the 
great Giver ; His enactments simply require us to use 
His gifts in the best way. As He uses all His powers in 
blessing others, living to His glory, we become givers, as 
He is the great Giver. Even His restrictive laws are rich 
gifts to us, restraining us from falling into the depths of 
selfishness, like the railing along the edge of a precipice. 
Even the adoration and worship we give Him, our pray- 
ers ascending to Him, return in rich blessings upon wait- 
ing souls, as the vapors of the earth drawn up by the sun 
are soon poured back again in refreshing dews and fruit- 
ful showers. 

The few simple words in this petition teach that God 
is not only the great Giver, but that He gives in such a 
way that He develops manly qualities in His children, 
and cultivates also in them the spirit of ministering to the 
needs of their fellow men. 

The child spirit voiced and cultivated in this petition 
is that of cheerful and trustful dependence upon God. 
Man is an animal among animals. He may eat his food, 
as they do, without a thought of its source. But man is 
more than an animal ; he may be consciously dependent 


upon the great God for the food that sustains him in liv- 
ing. This is his true nobihty, tliis lifts him above the 
animals. All are dependent upon God for food, he alone 
can be conscious of it; and, more, he can be cheerfully 
and trustfully dependent upon God the heavenly Father, 
and in this he recognizes his obligation to use his gifts 
in serving, and feels the uplift of gratitude to the great 

We pray for " daily bread," such food as we need for 
the sustaining of our lives from day to day, for the main- 
tenance of our bodily powers in their highest condition 
for the service of God. In the simple terms of the peti- 
tion there is the cultivation of the child spirit, of careful 
attention and faithful obedience to the laws of health, of 
temperance in the use of the fruits of the earth, of the 
practice of a simple and wholesome diet. We are to eat 
to live, not live to eat. We are to use the appetites in 
the spirit of the prayer, for the welfare of our bodily life 
in the service of God in its highest efficiency. The epi- 
cure who eats to give pleasure to his palate tliat which 
he knows will injure his health cannot use this petition — 
it is not a prayer for poison, but for bread. The glutton 
who eats so much that his body is sluggish — fit for sleep, 
but not for work — cannot use this prayer, which is for 
daily — that is, for sustaining — bread. On the other 
hand, the ascetic who starves his body to the verge of 
life, thinking to please God by keeping down his appe- 
tites and passions thereby, is out of harmony with the 
prayer, which is for the food to sustain the full life in 
the service of God. 

The time this bread is asked for is to-day. In the 
"this day" there is a hint of the uncertainty of life. 


To-day may be the limit of our earthly life ; we may not 
need bread to-morrow. There is more than a hint here 
of the need of daily prayer. We are taught we might 
as well go a day without food as a day without prayer, 
and surely our souls are in as great and as constant need 
as our bodies. If " daily bread " taught us moderation 
in use, " this day " teaches us moderation in desire, the 
godly contentment, which is the true riches of the child 
of God. The lust for things of sense, for the wealth of 
the world, leads a man to enlist all his thoughts and time 
in their eager pursuit. Translate such a life into prayer, 
and its only petition would be "Give me a fortune." 
Christ says to him, "Go into your closet and pray to 
your heavenly Father for the sustaining bread you need 
for this day, that your time and energy may be spent in 
the service of God for the well-being of man." 

Forethought and thrift are not forbidden but com- 
mended in the prayer for bread, and nature confirms the 
commendation. We gather the golden grain in the har- 
vest time or we starve in the winter. The harvests of 
wheat the wide earth over are each year only sufficient to 
feed the population of the whole earth for about one 
year, and a third, the " daily bread," and the seed for the 
next harvest, with a small provision for variation of 
fruitfulness, and time and energy must be given for 
transportation from harvest-fields to hungry centers of 
population. But even these virtues of forethought and 
thrift are liable to degenerate into the vices of anxious 
and selfish hoarding, and so we are reminded that man's 
life consisteth, not in the abundance of his possessions, 
but in the cheerful and trustful service of his God. 
Christ's warning against anxiety for the morrow is here 


expressed in the constant trust of the child in the great 
Giver, the heavenly Father. 

Two very important words remain for us to consider, 
but even thus far this concise and comprehensive petition 
makes provision for a rich and full life of man upon 
earth from day to day. Bread is the main part put for 
the whole of the food he needs for the sustenance of his 
life in highest efficiency. Fruits and flowers, as w^ell as 
grain, are the gifts of God. This beautiful and fruitful 
earth is God's way of sustaining and ministering to the 
life of His children ; the table He spreads is bountiful 
with food and adorned with beauty, is wholesome and 
charming. The children at the table know it is spread 
for them by their Father in Heaven ; that it speaks of 
His constant care and boundless love ; they look up to 
Him with answering love, with gratitude and cheerful 
trust. Thus they come into fellowship with Him, and 
every daily meal becomes a table of companionship of 
children with each other and their Father. Thus, also, 
receiving strength from the provision of His bounty, 
they strive to use it in a way which shall honor the great 
Giver, and in this spirit become themselves givers, minis- 
tering to the welfare of their fellow men. " Life abun- 
dantly " is here, the fulness of the earthly bodily life, and 
the highest culture of this life in trust toward God and 
in service of man. 

There is one word in this petition some of us may 
have passed over without much meditation, still it has a 
most important meaning — the word "our." Why did 
not Christ say, "Give us this day daily bread?" Why 
did He insert " our ? " In what sense can God's gifts be 
ours ? It can only be in the way He gives it. God gives 



US bread in a different way from that in which He be- 
stows His other general gifts — air, light, and water. 

He requires us to labor for our bread. Wheat does not 
grow as weeds do ; it must be cultivated. Fruits respond 
to man's culture with finer quality and flavor. Labor for 
bread is the ordinance of God from Adam down, and the 
Apostle Paul states it boldly, " If a man will not work, 
neither should he eat," and he exhorts men to work, that 
they may eat "their own bread." Bread, then, becomes 
"ours," with reference to our fellow men and to God, 
only when we earn it. Unless we labor for it in some 
way or other, we eat not our own but our neighbor's 

In this single word of the petition, then, we ask God 
to bless us in earning our daily bread. But it is "our," 
not "my;" so each one prays, not only for himself, 
but for all other men — not only "Give me the oppor- 
tunity to earn my daily bread, but give all other men 
the same." This single word, sincerely and devoutly 
used by all men daily, would soon work the most wonder- 
ful change in our manner of living in this the highest age 
of the world's civilization, making it far more worthy the 
name of Christian. Idlers by choice would be stimulated 
to labor, and idlers by force would find abundant oppor- 
tunity to labor, and the earth would respond in fruitful- 
ness as never dreamed of, except by the prophets inspired 
of God. 

The word "our" cultivates the sentiment of seK-sup- 
port. The young, the aged, and the sick may thankfully 
take the food the love of others provides. All others 
should earn theirs by some useful labor of muscle, brain, 
or soul. The tendency of the children of the wealthy to 


look upon all kinds of work as ignoble and to live in idle- 
ness is rebuked by this petition. Many wealthy people 
are captains of industry, or almoners of God's bounty, or 
ministering angels of mercy, and have the satisfaction of 
eating " their own bread ; " but those living in idle lux- 
ury eat the bread of others. 

The word "our" encourages us to live within our 
means. If to emulate our neighbors or gratify our tastes 
we incur debts for luxurious living we have little pros- 
pect of paying, we virtually pray, " Give me the bread of 
the butcher, and the storekeeper, and of all others where 
I can run up bills." The whole spirit of getting some- 
thing for nothing debars one from using this petition. 
Gambling, whether in fun or in earnest, cannot well be 
imagined as being frequently in the closet on its knees. 
To bring bread from the harvest-field to the consumer is 
a useful calling ; but to use these avenues to control the 
market and force the price of bread above all reasonable 
profit for raising and transporting, to corner wheat, which 
people must have at any price, or the means of transport- 
ing wheat, is not earning one's daily bread, but stealing 
it. Much of what is known as speculation in stocks and 
breadstuffs may be sanctioned in Society and legalized 
by the State, but is rather an awkward subject to bring 
into our prayers. 

In this petition we ask God to bless our ordinary call- 
ing and our method of conducting it ; the calling itself 
must, then, be such that God can bless it — one of benefit 
to our fellow men. All preying upon the vices of our 
fellow men is utterly inconsistent with the prayer. To 
take breadstuff and make from it a drink which fosters 
the vices of men and destroys the well-being, or in any 


way to make money by its sale, seems to be hardly a 
proper subject to bring before God for his blessing. It 
is suspected that some Christians live upon rents from 
saloons, or, worse still, from brothels. They may have 
been deceived by their agents, or have liesitated to in- 
quire concerning their tenants, but the suspicion is incon- 
sistent with Christian praying. 

To-day there are strikes raging in our Christian land; 
labor and capital are in conflict, in some cases, on a stu- 
pendous scale. Our minds can easily see the principles 
at issue if we reduce the scale to one we are familiar 
with — hired labor in house or store, in factory or farm. 
The one who works for hire sometimes thinks more of 
his wages than of his work, and w^hen the eye of the 
master is away he shirks and slights it. He evidently 
does not consider the interest of his employer, only is 
intent on drawing his pay. If his life voiced itself in 
prayer it would be " Give me the daily bread of my 

On the other hand, the employer is sometimes a hard 
taskmaster ; he takes advantage of the necessity of the 
laboring man to hire him at the lowest possible wages, 
and then stands over him, to drive to the utmost through 
the longest possible day. He does not consider the 
interest of his employee, only his interest in getting as 
much out of him as possible for as little pay as possible. 
If his life voiced itself in prayer it would be " Give me 
the daily bread of my hired man." So it is in the 
kitchen, in the small factory, or in the great steel indus- 
try. On the large scale the land over, labor demands 
few hours and large pay. " Wages ! wages ! " is its cry. 
On the other hand, capital tries to build itself up with 


little thought of the interests of labor it employs. " Divi- 
dends! dividends!" is its cry. When labor seeks to 
give a fair day's work, and capital seeks to give a fair 
day's wages, the question will be solved, and solved in 
God' s way ; for then both labor and capital may con- 
sistently use this prayer, praying for each other, " Give 
us this day our daily bread." 

The whole question of wealth production and wealth 
distribution comes within the province of this petition. 
Political economy has too often made man revolve 
around wealth — wealth the main thing; man the mere 
producer of wealth. This prayer — God's political econ- 
omy — makes wealth revolve around the man ; manhood 
is the main thing — the manhood, too, that can pray about 
his wealth. 

The nineteenth century was a great wealth-producer, 
producing, it is claimed, more wealth that can be handed 
down to the next generation than all the centuries that 
have gone before. The century also, in its closing years, 
has witnessed the accunmlation of stupendous fortunes in 
the hands of individuals and stupendous combinations of 
wealth in the hands of corporations. Another vast 
change in wealth-producing conditions has been evoked 
during the century. Man is distinguished from the ani- 
mals in many ways — markedly in this : that he is the 
being who uses tools. Y ery largely by the use of tools 
he has changed his environment and accumulated wealth. 
But in this country a great change has come in the use of 
tools. They used to be comparatively simple, now by 
modern invention they are wonderfully complex; they 
used to be driven almost altogether by manual labor, now 
they are driven by steam and electrical power ; they used 


to belong almost entirely to the laborer, now tliej belong 
almost entirely to the capitalist. The laws used to pro- 
tect the laborer in the possession of his tools ; they could 
not be taken away from liim ; they were his means of 
earning his daily bread. Now the capitalist may shut up 
his factory whenever he chooses, and the laborer loses his 
means of earning his daily bread. It is a terrible power 
to be in the hands of a small class of men, to deprive a 
multitude of the means of earning daily bread ; but this 
is one of the marked features of our modern civilization. 
On the other hand, it is a wonderful privilege to give a 
multitude the means of earning their daily bread ; if exer- 
cised rightly, it brings one very near to the great Giver. 
Surely this should be a Christian civilization, demanding 
the exercise of this power, not in the old heathen, selfish 
spirit, but in the modern Christian spirit of brotherly 

There are evidently three elements entering into 
wealth production and wealth distribution. The first is 
labor ; it must change the things of the earth into things 
of beauty and use. The second is capital, giving labor 
the material and the tools to work with. The third is 
business management ; the skill to work the combination 
of labor and capital to the greatest advantage in the fac- 
tory, in transportation, and in the markets of the world. 
The distribution of the results must largely be in the 
hands of this third element. The accumulation of the 
vast fortunes seems to indicate that the managers have 
taken to themselves rather more than their just propor- 
tion of these results. How the results shall be justly 
distributed between the three elements — what is just 
wages for laborers, what is just interest for capital, what 


is just reward for business enterprise and skill — it must 
be confessed is a difficult problem. But this petition 
of the Lord's Prayer solves it. When the tliree pray 
together and for each other, ''' Give us this day our daily 
bread," the equitable portion will fall into the hands of 

There is one more small word of vast meaning in this 
petition — the word " us." You cannot make it contain 
less than the race of mankind. If I wish to pray for 
myself alone, or for my family, or for my friends alone, I 
shall have to make my own prayer. It is imj^ossible to 
make the Lord's Prayer in any way favor selfishness. 
We cannot ask even for our daily bread, but, as interced- 
ing priests, for the wants of all men ; many may not 
pray for themselves, but that does not hinder us from 
praying for them. Before the Father's throne we are 
brothers ; the rich pray for the poor, and the poor pray 
for the rich, that all may have rich and full life for tlie 
worship of God and the service of mankind. We cannot 
hold anything we receive exclusively for ourselves alone, 
nor are we to allow position and wealth to remove our 
brother from our loving interest. 

The great Giver of the harvests has made this a boun- 
tiful earth, producing grain and fruits in abundance for 
all the needs of the children of men, and capable of 
producing still greater abundance. The E"ew World 
alone, our own continent, if all thoroughly cultivated, 
could feed three times the present population of the 
world. New varieties of grain and fruits are being 
brought into existence by careful culture, so that the 
wheat production to the acre may Ije largely increased. 

But something is wrong, for there are multitudes in 



Christian lands and vast multitudes in lieatlien lands who 
do not know what it is to have a full meal of healthy 
food. The spirit of this petition looks upon these with 
charity, longing to feed them, and, more tlian this, seeks 
to discover the cause of this sad condition, with eager 
desire to correct it. This cause is certainly not in the 
great Giver of the harvests, but in the way men treat 
one another in the matter of earning their daily bread. 
As we pray and meditate together upon the word " us," 
we see the squalid poor in the great cities, the famine- 
stricken in foreign lands, the sick and needy at our doors, 
and, behold ! we are all kneeling together \ntli the 
prayer, " Give us this day our daily bread.'' Then, if we 
are sincere, we w^ill do the best we can to answer our 
prayer ; with liberal hand we will help the poor, with 
earnest thought seek to help them to earn their own liv- 
ing, with loving and equitable spirit seek to bring about 
such conditions that each member of the whole race, our 
brother man, shall have as fair an opportunity to earn his 
daily bread as we desire for ourselves. 

This petition, while simply for the needed food for the 
body, is intensely spiritual. Bodily need has its highest 
significance to the thoughtful as a figure of the spiritual. 
So Christ speaks of the blessedness of those who hunger 
and thirst after righteousness. So our daily bread, as the 
gift of God, has its teaching of the true bread which 
came down from heaven — the bread of life, the supreme 
gift of God to the children of men. The child spirit 
awakened by our Savior and sustained by Him prays in 
this petition. The wants of the soul are hinted at rather 
than expressed. We pray that all men may be sustained 
in this earthly life. But we have already prayed for 



the hallowed Name, the coming Kingdom, and the reg- 
nant Will. Linking this petition with these, and seeing 
the full significance of the bodily life, and having the 
child spirit, we pray that all men may have the bread of 


Matt. \i : 12. 

When our Savior inserted this petition in the prayer 
He taught His disciples He debarred Himself from ever 
using it. 'No one ever found sin in Him. He never 
confessed sin, never seemed conscious of it. He was 
sinless, and never could pray for forgiveness. It is the 
Lord's Prayer not because He used it, but because He 
taught His disciples to use it. Still, He could not have 
taught them a prayer suitable to their needs and left this 
clause out. The petition differs from the others in that 
it alone has a qualifying clause, and, further, that Christ 
commented upon this petition alone of all the prayer. 

This second part of the prayer connects the petition 
with the word "and," thus distinguishing it from the 
first part. Each of the petitions concerning God is com- 
plete and comprehensive. One great subject is consid- 
ered from different points of view. If the name of G.od 
is hallowed, then the Kingdom of God is come and the 
will of God is done. The realization of each petition 
realizes the others. In tlie second part each petition 
covers only a part of man's comjDlex needs. If the first 
petition is realized, and we have our daily bread, only a 
part of our need is filled. The "and " here very strongly 
impresses upon us the important truth that as much as 
the child of God needs daily bread, so much he needs 
daily forgiveness. The sentimentalist may tell us that 
we ought not to mention our sins so frequently to God, 



that any earthly father does not wish such confession 
from his child, that it is not a high ideal of the cliild 
character. Yery true ; but we are far from ideal chil- 
dren. To speak to God as if we were, would be false to 
our real condition. Christ teaches us to pray for daily 
forgiveness. It is very important that we clearly under- 
stand this petition, in order that we may sincerely use it. 
There is a great difference between pardon and for- 
giveness. Pardon is a matter of law, of legal conditions; 
it frees one from penalty, with some restoration of stand- 
ing. Forgiveness is a matter of heart, of personal rela- 
tions ; it frees from estrangement, and restores to 
conlidence and affection. The governor of a State may, 
for reasons of State, pardon a man he has no interest in ; 
he does not even know him, or he may know him and 
thoroughly detest him. He frees him from prison and 
restores him to citizenship. The man pardoned may not 
know the governor, have no interest in him, or may hate 
him ; besides, he may be the same kind of man after his 
pardon as before — as bad a character, or even a worse 
one. Some of the popular thinking on forgiveness of 
sin has almost exclusive reference to pardon. There is a 
popular theory that God will not punish sin in the life to 
come. This is poor reasoning in itself, for in all the 
spheres of being of which we have any knowledge, phys- 
ical, mental, or spiritual, there is penalty of violated law, 
and it seems probable this will last while being lasts. 
But the theory has reference only to release from penalty, 
to pardon. It does not take into account the real nature 
of sin and the need of forgiveness. So with the other 
popular theory. God will not punish those w^ho do the 
best they can. This, too, is poor reasoning in itself. God 



does not require us to fly, but to love Him supremely. 
We certainly have the power of loving. Now if God 
said to the drunkard, "Love Me as much as you can," 
He would leave him forever a drunkard, requiring only 
the little love left after he had loved liquor supremely. 
God never lowers his law to the condition of the creature 
who has become unable to keep that law, else there would 
be no possibility of restoration. The laws of flight rest 
upon all birds alike, though some have weak or broken 
wings, and in this is the only hope for such wings. But 
this tlieory also has reference only to release from pen- 
alty, to pardon, which, we have seen, might be a bad 
thing ; it does not take into consideration the nature of 
sin and the need of forgiveness. 

We can easily see the distinction between pardon and 
forgiveness among ourselves, if we take an instance in 
the family. A mother gives her boy a dog, tells him to 
treat it kindly, and tlireatens a particular punishment if 
he torments the pet. All goes well for a time, but one 
day the boy cruelly torments the pet ; he is found out, 
and brought to an account. He pleads with the mother 
not to inflict the punishment (it is all he cares about), he 
pleads for pardon. The mother may weakly pardon 
him, and he probably will become a worse boy — more 
cruel, more disobedient — for such treatment. On tlie 
other hand, the mother may wisely and lovingly show 
him his wrong; that he has inflicted pain upon the pet; 
that he hag hardened his own nature by cruelty ; that the 
mother has sympathy for the pet and love for her boy, 
and so he has hurt her; that he has wronged the pet, 
himself, and his mother in disobeying her commands, 
and so deserves the punishment. The sensitive boy now 


feels sorry for tlie pet, for himself, for his mother, and 
with tears he asks her to forgive him. You who are 
mothers know the result. The two hearts are brought 
together again, the mother freely forgives her repentant 
boy. What becomes of the punishment ? The mother 
now exercises her wisdom ; she may inflict it in whole or 
in part, or she may remit it altogether, as she thinks will 
be best for the boy. In this case forgiveness may include 
or be independent of pardon ; the forgiveness is the main 
thing, the pardon is a comparatively small affair. 

So when man breaks a law of God he incurs the 
penalty, but that is not all or even the main thing in sin. 
There is a Person back of the law who has deep love for 
us, and the law is the expression of that love seeking our 
good. On our side, to break the law is not an impersonal 
tiling ; there is feeling in it. We go through the law 
to the Person back of the law, and wrong Him in our 
disrespect for or dislike of Him. A little creature, de- 
pendent absolutely upon God, arrays himself against 
Him, and, through the broken law, strikes a blow upon 
the infinite, loving heart of God. He may not realize 
this fully, as the child did not realize that he hurt his 
mother when he hurt the pet; but he did — that was in 
the nature of his disobedience. This, then, is the essence 
of sin : it is a personal wrong against God. The sinner 
wrongs God. An instance which we may not consider 
much of a sin may make this plain. I entertain a harsh, 
uncharitable judgment of my neighbor, putting a bad 
construction upon his character and conduct when a better 
was supposable. I have sinned against myself — been 
unkind ; against him — been unjust ; against the neighbor- 
hood — been unfair ; against the Church — I have wronged 



one of its members ; and this though I have not allowed 
my uncharitable judgment to express itself in word or 
deed. But this is not all, or even the main part of my 
sin. We are both redeemed children of God. He made 
and loves us both. I have wronged God in my uncharit- 
able thought, have cherished that which one child of God 
should never have of another. It is so with the greatest 
sins ; the kind is one, the difference is only in degree ; 
the smallest fragment of ice has all the essential properties 
of the iceberg. David, when he awoke to the nature of 
his sin, thought doubtless of his wrong to Uriah, to Bath- 
sheba, to his family, to his kingdom ; but these w^ere all 
lesser parts of the great wrong to God, so He said, 
"Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done this 
evil in Thy sight." The essence of sin is the wrong 
done to God. Pardon from penalty does not go to the 
deptli of the case ; it is only a matter of law, does not 
touch the personal element in the sin. 

I would not have you think I make light of law and 
penalty. I magnify them. By breaking law one loses 
standing as an obedient subject of God. It is often a 
terrible thing to lose one's standing. A business man 
loses his standing on the Stock Exchange. A lawyer loses 
his standing at the Bar. A man or woman loses standing 
in Society. Penalty is the frown of the law ; it overrides 
all questions but justice. A judge is on the bench, and 
his personal friend is brought before him convicted of 
crime ; the friendship must give way or the foundations 
of Society are destroyed, and the stern sentence to the 
state prison issues. So in the last day of the general 
judgment the sentence of the just Judge will be a terri- 
ble thing. But there is one thing more terrible still : 


the sin is still there. You can think of pardon, freedom 
from penalty, a restoration of standing, and the more 
terrible thing, the wrong done to God, still existing ! 

The soul needs forgiveness, the remission of sin, the 
taking awaj of the sin itself. How is this brought 
about? Let us think again of the mother and her boy; 
he sought forgiveness when he saw his real offense, and 
she at once took him back to her heart. When did the 
mother forgive her boy ? When he asked forgiveness ? 
Was that the time ? You who are mothers know better 
than tliat. She had forgiven him from the beginning, 
from the first knowledge she had of the offense. It is 
the nature of the mother's heart, though wronged, to for- 
give. It w^as because she had this forgiving love that 
she tried to bring him to see and learn his oifense; with- 
out this deep love it would have been easy for her to 
inflict the punishment at once. When was the boy for- 
given ? This, though it seems the same, is a far different 
question. When he hurt the pet ? No. When he 
sought to be relieved from the penalty ? Ko. He was 
forgiven only when he felt his sin and sought forgive- 
ness. The mother's forgiving love brought him to see 
his need, and then supplied that reed. How plain it is 
in the case of the mother. Is it not as plain in the case 
of God? 

There are many hints in nature of God's readiness to 
forgive. The whole sphere of remedies, of restorative 
agencies waiting to heal the moment one ceases to break 
the laws of health, affords such a suggestion. Besides, a 
still clearer hint is in the nature of a mother's heart. We 
instinctively feel the mother's wealth of forgiving love is 
but a faint reflection of God's infinite heart of forgiving 


love. Still, we need something clearer than many hints 
in such a vitally important matter. Here the Bible 
meets our need in one of its most important proclama- 
tions: "Through Jesus Christ is proclaimed to you the 
forgiveness of sins." 

When does God forgive sins ? Consider that question 
first. Is it when we repent ? Is He less rich in forgive- 
ness than the mother ? No ! no ! richer, far richer ! He 
forgives from the first. He forgives from all eternity, it 
is His nature to forgive. Oh ! the hardness of our sinful 
hearts that can strike the forgiving heart of God blow 
after blow ! From this forgiving heart of God comes 
forth the Divine Son to reveal God to us. The gift of 
Forgiving Love is Forgiving Love Himself. He takes 
all the barriers out of the way to the full exercise of for- 
giveness. By breaking the law of our being we had lost 
standing. He takes His place with us — the sinless one 
standing with sinners, in the sinner's place. By breaking 
law we are under its penalty. The sentence of death 
fills all our future. How can God be just and save the 
guilty? Just! He cannot be otherwise; His nature is 
perfectly just and absolutely unchangeable. Just! He 
must be just ; the welfare of the whole intelligent, moral 
universe is based upon the justice of God. But the in- 
finite, forgiving love of God provides a way in infinite 
self-sacrifice by which he may remain just, and still foi-- 
give. He bears in His own person all the just claims of 
violated law ; He not only stands in the sinner's place, 
He dies in the sinner's stead. It is God's nature to for- 
give ; the whole mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, His 
atoning death upon the cross and all His witness bearing 
among men, is a revelation of the forgiving love of God. 


When is a man forgiven ? Is it when he seeks pardon 
only ? Ko ; for liis heart may still cherish the wrong 
done to God and shed off the rich, forgiving love of God 
as a stone sheds off the abundance of rain. It is when he 
recognizes his sin, that he has wronged God, when he 
penitently seeks God's forgiveness, then, that forgiveness 
with all its wealth of life enters his heart ; this saves him 
from the penalty not only, but from his sin — brings back 
his heart to God. There can be no help for the sinful 
soul from mere pardon, pardon from penalty ; the heart is 
unchanged, the hard, cruel sin is still there. But if that 
shall be removed, if the hard heart shall be melted and 
receive into it the forgiving love of God, the greatest 
sinner may he made a saint. The warmth of summer 
melts the iceberg as well as the fragment of ice. The 
forgiveness in Christ, the forgiveness that costs so much, 
the love that leads the son of God to come to the sinner 
and show him his wrong, this aw^akens in the soul the 
desire to be forgiven, the desire that voices itself in this 
petition of the Lord's Prayer. 

I have somewhere read this story. A father did much 
for his son, sent him to college, and started him in busi- 
ness. But the son was untrue, wronged his father terri- 
bly, wasted time and money, gambled, and at last forged 
a note on his father' s friend. He was discovered, tried, 
convicted, and sent to the state prison. After awhile he 
escaped from prison, and became lost from the knowledge 
of all his friends. But his father still loved him. He 
paid the forged note, and got a receipt in full ; he ap- 
pealed to the governer and secured his pardon ; he hired 
a detective to find his son and bring him back home, 
giving the detective the receipted note, the governor's 



pardon, and a personal letter. The detective at length 
found the son in a gambling den in a large city. He 
gave liim the receipted note. " What care I for that ? " 
he said, and threw it away. He gave him the pardon. 
"I care not for it," and he tore it in pieces; "go, and 
leave me to my course." " But I liave a letter to you 
from your father." The young man looked upon the 
familiar writing and read this letter : 

"Dear Boy, — The miserable debt is paid. The governor has 
pardoned you Your father has never ceased to love you, and to 
long for you, and freely forgives you. Come home to me." 

That broke the boy's hard heart, and he returned home 
to his father. Forgiven, it meant a new life of love to 
him. So God comes to us with His forgiveness. Shall 
we reject it, remain under the penalty — worse, far worse, 
remain hard in sin, wronging still more the yearning, 
infinite love of God ? Shall we not rather drink in for- 
giveness, as a parched land drinks in the rain, that a new 
life of loving obedience may bloom and bear fruitage to 
the praise of God's forgiving love? Thus the Savior 
teaches us to pray for daily forgiveness, thus He awakens 
in all hearts yielding to Him the child's spirit of peni- 
tence, leaving sin and seeking forgiveness. 

The two things follow, as found in this petition. 
Whenever this child spirit exists there is a sensitiveness 
to the nature of sin that j)rays for the forgiveness of 
debts. In using the word "debts" Christ gives us an 
important teaching concerning sin. So in His represen- 
tation of the last judgment the duties left undone rather 
than offenses committed indicate the character of the 
person and furnish tlie ground for his condemnation. 



We are prone to tliink oiil}' of trespasses as sins. These 
are included in seeking forgiveness, as Christ has taught 
us elsewhere; but not only trespasses against duty hut 
omissions of duty ai'e in the nature of debt — perhaps the 
greater part of our sin. In a Christian society the cir- 
cumstances and tenor of our lives are away from overt 
acts of sin ; there are few open violations of the law of 
God, few. trespasses. We are to be true, we are not to 
confess to a sinfulness of which we are not conscious. 
God meant us to be sincere in our prayers. Have I de- 
frauded my neighbor to-day in deed, or even in desire ? 
Have I hated him at all ? No. Have 1 profaned God's 
holy Name to-day, in sj^eech or even in thought? No. 
Do not think you ought to say you have when you have 
not. Do not tliink you ought to say, " I have sinned in 
these respects," because you are sinful by nature. You 
are also renewed in your nature. You are a child of 
God, having the child spirit. You ought to be true in 
God's sight. But have you, then, no sin, or very little, 
if you have not trespassed against God's law ? If your 
heart has been free from hatred of your neighbor, has it 
been full of love, or only with cold indifference, to him ? 
If you have not defrauded him, have you served him ? 
Have you sought his interests as your own ? If you have 
not profaned God's name, has His love filled all your 
powers with adoration ? Have you been entirely conse- 
crated to Him ? Have you been fully, heartily, con- 
stantly engaged in His service ? They \vould be very 
poor soldiers w^ho, after a day's battle, could only say, 
" We did not desert to the enemy. We did not fight 
against our country." Were you full of courage? 
Did you strike blow^s for your country ? Did you risk 


your lives ? Did you do your full duty ? So asks the 
nation of its soldiers. So, at the close of the day, 
God asks of His children, "Have you done your whole 
duty ? " We may not find many trespasses, but we are 
amazed at our omissions, and we pray, " Father, forgive 
us our debts." The more impressed we are with the 
forgiving love of God, revealed in the life and death of 
our Savior, the more the spirit of Christ rules in our 
hearts, the more we shall see the trespasses we pre- 
sume to commit in their real nature ; and, beyond this, 
how far short we come of loving God and our fellow men 
as we should ! The sensitiveness to the nature of sin 
that prays for the forgiveness of debts is the spirit of 
true penitence and aspiration, the spirit that constantly 
seeks God's help in coming out of the low condition of 
weak faith and lukewarm love into complete devotion to 
God. So Christ's teaching His disciples to pray for 
daily forgiveness is His method of bringing them out of 
their sins. 

The second thing following from the awakened child 
spirit seeking forgiveness is the forgiving spirit. So im- 
portant is this that Christ makes it the standard of the 
forgiveness we seek, and afterward assures us that its 
presence in our hearts is absolutely necessary before we 
can receive the foro-iveness of God. One seekino- for- 
giveness of God as His child reflects God's forgiving love 
upon his brother. The self-righteous S23irit not conscious 
of its need of forgiveness is a most exacting spirit in its 
claims upon others. But the penitent spirit, conscious of 
the wrong done to God and of the freeness and fulness 
of His forgiving love, will see how small in proportion is 
his brother's wrong to him, like the hundred pence in the 


parable to the ten thousand talents, and will cheerfully 
forgive. The one not having this forgiving spirit shows 
thereby that he is not praying this prayer at all, that 
whatever else he may be seeking he is not seeking for- 

"We are, therefore, to possess and cultivate a forgiving 
spirit according to the forgiveness we seek — as we hope 
to be forgiven. This is opposed to the old sinful nature, 
very difficult in practice, and often neglected by profess- 
ing Christians; but it is a characteristic feature of the 
new nature of one turning from sin to the forgiving love 
of God. It finds a ready answer to many of the popular 
objections to this great claim of our Lord. One says, 
"There is a just resentment, a righteous indignation; 
one of the noblest feelings of the soul, God implanted, is 
to frown upon a wrong deed. And does it make any 
difference because the wrong deed happens to be against 
me? Why should I forgive?" The answer is ready. 
We are to be very sure, in the pure exercise of this 
righteous anger, that our skirts are entirely free from 
blame. This is the case with our offenses against God, 
you know; absolutely no provocation on his part. But 
it is seldom the case with our brother's offense against 
us. But even if this is the case, should this pure, right- 
eous indignation rule or forgiving love ? Which do you 
want to rule with God in your case of unprovoked 
offense ? Who are you that you want to stand on a better 
footing before God than you will have your brother 
stand before you? This, supposing the offenses are the 
same in degree; but his is a hundred pence, yours ten 
thousand talents. 

Another says, " I will forgive, but I cannot forget." 


Of course we have notliing to do with the involuntary 
hold of memory. But concerning the voluntary mem- 
ory ; that calls up and turns over the subject again and 
again ; that keeps on fire the sense of injury, and leads to 
the cold though courteous treatment of our brother ; we 
all know that this is no forgiveness at all. It may satisfy 
cold hearts to give this to otliers, but it can never satisfy 
the penitent heart either to receive this from God or to 
give it to a brother. We want God to blot out our debts 
f i-om the book of His remembrance, to cast them into the 
sea of forgetfulness, to love us freely. So we are to 
forgive our brother. 

Another says, "I will forgive him when he repents — 
^vhen he acknowledges his fault and asks my forgive- 
ness. This God requires of me. This I require of him." 
The answer is ready from the child spirit of forgiving 
love. Toward what have you repented, my friend — 
toward stern, exacting justice? What brought you to 
repentance ? If it has been with you as it has been with 
the rest of us, it was the forgiving love of God that 
showed you your sin and lovingly constrained you to 
repent — a forgiving love manifested in the utmost 
patience with you ; more than this, manifested in the 
costliest self-sacrifice the universe has ever known — the 
cross of Christ. True, your brother cannot be recon- 
ciled to you, cannot receive your forgiveness until he 
repents; but your forgiving love should go before to 
bring your brother to a better mind and heart, for so 
God forgives you. It is beyond our powers to estimate 
the refining, civilizing influence that has been exerted 
upon human life by the teaching and spirit of Christ in 
this single petition. The old Latin maxim is true : " We 


liate those whom we have injured." It oiiglit to be the 
reverse ; but injuring another feeds itself upon its wrong 
deeds. It is just as true that we resent injuries ; the 
spirit of hard feeling and of retaliation is awakened by 
receiving injuries, and so our sin goes on increasing by 

Then Christ teaches us to pray for forgiveness, to pray 
for each other, and to forgive one another, and retalia- 
tion and resentment give place to brotherly, forgiving 
love. There is no selfishness in the Lord's Prayer, even 
in such a personal matter as the forgiveness of sins. The 
"us" and the " our" include all men. We cannot pray 
for ourselves but we pray for our debtors too — for their 
debts to God, which include their small debts to us ; and 
we pray also for the same kind of forgiveness for our- 
selves as we give to them. The story of the middle 
ages illustrates how this petition has civilized life. A 
baron had received an injury from a neighboring baron, 
and, inflamed with wrath, determined to avenge it, and 
called his retainers to his castle to go out with him in 
deadly warfare. His chaplain had vainly endeavored to 
dissuade him from revenge, and so, as a last resort, per- 
suaded him to go with him into the chapel and pray. 
There, kneeling before the altar, he and the baron repeated, 
sentence by sentence, the Lord's Prayer, and when this 
petition was reached the baron, with cruel revenge in his 
heart, could not repeat it. It was a question whether he 
should pray or fight. He saw he could not do both, and 
at length the prayer conquered. Wars between nations, 
as well as feuds between men, would generally cease if 
both parties would thoughtfully and penitently pray w^ith 
and for one another. 


Matt, vi : 13. 

The child of God has prayed to his heavenly Father to 
be sustained in his life and to be forgiven of his sins. 
What more can he need? He needs to be saved from 
sinning again; he needs to be delivered from the evil, 
the whole domain and sphere of the evil, from all the 
power and influence of the evil one. How shall this be 
accomplished? We can conceive of his being at once 
taken out of this world ; this would be deliverance, but 
of a low kind; he would be freed from the evil, but not 
made strong against the evil. He has fallen into sin, has 
become penitent, has turned from sin and been forgiven, 
and at once he is taken out of the sphere of the evil ; we 
cannot conceive of his being other than very weak. On 
the other hand, if he is left in this world he can only 
become strong by bearing its trials and facing its tempta- 
tions successfully. There is very poor prospect of his 
being successful if he ignorantly and rashly and in his 
own strength faces the evil. The child of God has 
learned enough of himself to be sure of this ; he has also 
learned so much of his heavenly Father that with the 
utmost confidence he prays: "So govern me in this life 
of trial and temptation that I may daily be delivered 
from the evil." The salvation he seeks is to-day — a 
present deliverance; but it is, of course, a deliverance 
that grows in strength by exercise, and culminates in the 
complete deliverance, the final redemption of the sons of 



God. The Divine insight of human sinfulness and 
frailty teaches us to voice our need in this the greatest 
and best of the personal petitions. In His last prayer for 
His disciples our Savior makes this His own petition for 
them : " I pray not that Thou shouldst take them from 
the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the 

When we look carefully at the form of the petition we 
find present that which we are already familiar with in 
the other petitions: the child spirit is also the brother 
spirit in the " us," the word " and " joins this need with 
the other needs of man, making the whole need of man- 
kind covered by the three petitions, and besides these we 
find the peculiar and striking word ''but." In the 
nature of the case this word brings out the burden of the 
petition. Temptations are incident to this life. They 
give an opportunity for the culture of moral strength, for 
choosing the right, for decision and persistence in de- 
cision, for firmly adhering to the choice of the right 
through all snares and hardships. Temptations in our 
thought include trials or tests, and in these there may be 
excellent training, but they generally mean solicitations 
to sin. While God never solicits man to sin, He leaves 
him in a world where such solicitations are common, and 
one grows strong by the conflict with them, quick to 
detect and prompt to resist the evil. Xow, with refer- 
ence to both meanings of temptation, we have inherent 
weakness and a history of failure ; we may not rush into 
either ; neither as children of God, renewed in His like- 
ness, may we shrink from either. Our main desire is : 
" Deliver us from the evil. We are weak and sinful ; it 
is difficult for us to bear trial, to resist temptation, but 


Thou knowest us altogether, and we Thy children have 
utmost confidence in Thy wisdom and love, so we follow 
Thy lead — only deliver us from the evil. Lead us not 
into trials ; ' but ' if trial is Thy way of delivering from 
the evil, we follow Tliy lead. Lead us not into tempta- 
tion. We know Thou dost never solicit to sin — that is 
always the work of the evil one ; still, we would not be 
led where we would meet him; 'but' if facing Satan 
himself is Thy way of delivering from the evil, we follow 
Thy lead." 

The "and" also has its cheering suggestion. The 
petition follows that for the forgiveness of sins, already 
granted to the believing child, whatever then may be the 
fierceness of the trials or the temptations awaiting him, 
he faces them not burdened by the guilt of his sins, but 
with the loyal and thankful heart of the forgiven and 
accepted child. 

Let us confine our thought, at first, to the trials of life. 
These seem to stand in the way of our getting good, to 
hinder us. James, in his epistle, startles us by a widely 
different view : " My brethren, count it all joy when ye 
fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trial of 
your faith worketh patience." God tries his people now 
as of old, the humblest and weakest, as he tried Abraham 
and Job ; some with little trials, the many annoyances of 
life ; some with great trials, the heavy troubles of life. 
He puts their faith and patience to the test, not to dis- 
cover to Himself, for He knows, but to exercise and 
strengthen tliese graces, and to discover them to others, 
to rebuke the evil and to encourage the good. So a wise 
and loving father brings out the latent powers of his 
child and strengthens them by giving him difficult tasks 


to do — by calling liim to labor and to conquer obstacles. 
The trials are in their nature hard to bear ; they render 
the performance of our duties more difficult ; they even 
have a tendency to awaken hard feelings toward our fel- 
lows or discontent with our lot. We are not called to 
make light of them, either singly or as a whole ; still, we 
can see they have their gracious design, their blessed use. 

Some Christian virtues are natives only of this earth ; 
they may adorn Heaven when transplanted there, but 
they can never be born or cultivated in that land where 
darkness and storm never enter. " Patience." The very 
name is of the earth ; here we are called to wait, to hold 
fast, to endure, where wind and tide and darkness and 
storm are all against us. "A forgiving spirit." How 
can it ever be awakened in Heaven, or even on the earth, 
unless by the trial of cruel wrong or careless indifference ? 
Then, too, there is an element of faith, a kind of trust 
which is not of the light but of the darkness, which feels 
God's presence, takes hold of His hand, and clings to 
Him when one is sinking in the wide sea and there is 
none else to cling to — "Lord, save, or T perish." 

Not only are many virtues natives of the earth, but here 
also there is particular call for their exercise for the good 
of mankind. Christ said of His disciples, as He said of 
Himself, "Ye are the light of the world." He called 
men to believe in Him, that they might be " children of 
light," shining ones in this dark earth. Doing the diffi- 
cult duties, bearing the many trials of life in a loving, 
trustful spirit, showing confidence in and obedience to 
the heavenly Father, growing more like the noble Savior, 
facing and pressing on steadily to the heavenly life — this 
is a kind of living this dark earth particularly needs. 



When we reach Heaven we may look back with great 
interest upon the scenes of this earth — at least, we may 
conjecture this ; but no one can even imagine that he w^ill 
be able to send back a single ray of light into its dark- 
ness. Whatever shining on earth we are to do, we are 
to do now. When God tests us here it is not only for 
our good, but for the good of the world. 

Beyond ourselves and the circle of human witnesses is 
the intelligent universe. God shows them that His saved 
ones are indeed saved from sin, are delivered from the 
evil, as they emerge from the trials He appoints them. 
There is no one in Heaven, earth, or hell that will ever 
dare question the integrity of Job. Paul will stand un- 
challenged in the wide universe throughout eternity as 
having loved and served the Savior through all trials to 
the end. No one will question the justice of the Re- 
deemer when in the day of His revelation He gives the 
crown of life to those who have endured temptation. 

Trials thus have their great uses. But what shall be 
our attitude toward them ? Shall we rush headlong into 
them? Shall we pray, and act as we pray, ''Lead us 
into trials " % We cannot have this self-confident spirit 
when we remember our past with its weakness, its neg- 
lect, and its transgressions. Shall we, then, rush to the 
other extreme, and pray, " Lead us not into temptation," 
and stop there? That is cowardly, that looks only at 
one's own weakness, and closes our eyes to our heavenly 
Father's love and wisdom and abundant grace. Now 
especially, as we stand facing the heavy, black, myste- 
rious cloud of earth's trials, we need to consult not our 
fears alone, but mainly our faith in God. We need to 
use the whole petition our Savior taught us. We need 



to look at the presence of God with us in the trial, and 
at the design of God for us through the trial. "Our 
Father, remember our weakness, but we want to be 
strong ; we. Thy children, take hold of Thy hand. Lead 
us not into trials, 'but' deliver us from the evil." 

Now when trials come, as come they will in this world 
of trial, the child of God has two great elements of 
strength. He has not sought them recklessly, he has not 
brought them upon himself by disobedience, but in serv- 
ing God he has entered trials. God is leading him, 
God is with him, and God will bring him through ; let 
him call up all his strength to bear and to do God's will. 
At the battle of Wagram, Napoleon ordered McDonald 
and his division to charge and break the center of the 
enemy. As the division marched on, the enemy closed in 
on all sides upon it, pouring shot and shell into the ranks; 
they were enveloped in the smoke of battle, they were in 
the midst of blazing cannon, many fell by the way, the 
ranks became thin — still they marched on. At length 
McDonald halted an instant ; he looked back upon his 
brave and almost shattered division, and a dreadful 
thought came into his mind : "Napoleon is not sustaining 
us, we are deserted." Just at that moment the wind 
lifted the smoke from the battle-field, and he saw Napo- 
leon on a near hilltop watching them ; behind him the 
ranks of the Old Guard were advancing, and that instant 
he heard the cannon in the rear of the enemy. He saw 
it all now. Napoleon had given them the honor of strik- 
ing the decisive blow; he was watching them, he was 
sustaining them. With the wild cry, "Long live the 
emperor ! " he again led the charge, and the victory was 
won, Oh, man I in the smoke and din of your life 


battle, never let the thought that your Father has for- 
saken you fill your soul with weakness ! It is impossible. 
He has given you your work to do, it is part of His great 
plan of deliverance for yourself and your fellow men. 
He is watching you. He will sustain you. Be brave, be 
strong, for victory is sure ! 

The second element of strength is the assurance that 
the presence of the trial is an indication of God's faith- 
fulness and love. Infinite love, we know, designs the 
highest possible development and blessedness of the 
trusting soul. The severity of the trial, the special 
trouble impending and dreaded, or already come and 
almost crushing in its weight, is not an indication of 
God's displeasure, but of His glorious design, and of the 
faithful love that holds steadfast this design to its glori- 
ous accomplishment. The Emperor Moth has a painful 
struggle to break forth from the cocoon. If in pity one 
tries to help it and cuts the strong threads holding it, the 
moth comes forth undeveloped, with small wings of dull 
color. The severe pressure and struggle are needed to 
cause the flow of the fluids which create the marvelous 
hues. If it passes through the struggle fully it spreads 
wide wings of brilliant colors. God is with us, and God 
is faithful in His love; He will make the very best pos- 
sible of us. Let us not shrink or murmur ; the glorious 
design of God is far better than relief from present trial. 
A great writer has said of the rainbow that which is true 
also of the skies of the soul : " The brightest scarf that 
Heaven weaves is thrown across the shoulders of the 

Let us now confine our thought to those temptations 
which are solicitations to sin. There is often much of 



this nature in trials, tlioiigli perhaps it may be more in 
the way of pressing one into sin rather than drawing 
him ; but our thoughts now turn to the allurements of 
sin. A good father, while he may often train his child 
with hard tasks, never strives to lead him into wrong- 
doing. So here God never tempts any one to sin. In 
no sense, in no way, at no time, does He solicit or allure 
any one to sin. There is no evil in Him, and none can 
come from Him. This is a conviction, clearly and firmly 
held by the trusting, praying child. All our prayers are 
based upon our knowledge of God's character. The rev- 
elation of Himself and His promises are our incentives to 
prayer. Our Father in Heaven is better than any earthly 
father ; He is holy, the absolute reverse of sin in infinite 
strength. We have no need to pray that He will not 
solicit us to sin ; we could not pray to Him at all if we 
thought there was the slightest danger of His ever doing 
that. Such a petition could not be in a prayer to our 
Father, whose name is holy. "Hallowed be Thy name" 
and "Allure us not to sin" could not be in the same 

As we look more intently, we see that while a good 
father never strives to lead his child into wrong-doing, he 
also wisely recognizes that in this sinful world his child 
will never be made strong by being entirely shielded from 
temptation — that seclusion from all allurements to sin is 
not only impossible, but would be disastrous to all manly 
growth in virtue. He does not now recklessly leave 
his child alone; he simply recognizes the conditions of 
life, and tries by his teaching, example, and his whole 
influence to warn his child ; to cultivate a love of the 
good, and an instinctive recognition and hatred of the 


wrong; to develop the strength and self-control in his 
child to say "Ko " instantly and firmly to all the beset- 
ting allurements of sin. !Now, an earthly father, however 
wise and good, is not infallible ; and still that is a wise 
child who admires his father's noble character, his stand- 
ard of manly virtue, and who follows his lead with 
reference to all the allurements of sin. Our heavenly 
Father is infinitely wise as well as good ; while we know 
that He will never allure us to sin, we have equal confi- 
dence that He will bring us into the allurements to sin 
only as the best possible way to deliver us from the evil. 
This confidence of the child voices itself in this petition. 

We have now two important truths upon which we 
may base our conduct. When facing temptation we 
know its source; it always comes from the devil. A 
solicitation to sin has only one source — it comes from a 
sinful being. Satan may clothe himself as an angel of 
light, but whatever his disguise we know from the nature 
of his act that back of it is the malignant being, hideous 
in every feature and aim, our deadly foe. But we not 
only know its source, we know also our weakness. Satan, 
whatever his allurements, could not tempt a being con- 
firmed in virtue ; there are sinful propensities within our 
hearts, and we are tempted when we are " drawn away 
by our own lust and enticed." 

Warned, therefore, and on our guard, we pray, " De- 
liver us from the evil," and act accordingly. The skilful 
captain does not see how close he can sail to the breakers, 
his skill gives them a wide berth. A good warrior 
throws out his pickets before he pitches his camp on the 
boi-ders of the enemy's country. One stands on the edge 
of a dangerous precipice when he looks over at a wrong 


thinff ; his fancied security may end in a dizzy head and a 
lost balance. Contact with evil is not to be sought but 
shunned. We are to shun the company of the corrupt, 
no matter how brilliant it may seem — corrupt books as 
well as corrupt persons. There is one ignorance of 
which we may be proud — ignorance of sinful ways. The 
time to nip sin is in the bud, and we are not to take the 
lirst look lest it awaken desire, and desire ends in choice. 
We are not to allow ourselves to be drawn away and 
caught in Satan's net. We have the utmost trust in 
God. He never in the least solicits to sin ; He would 
make us strong and on our guard against sin. So we 
know that every solicitation to sin is from Satan, and we 
will not follow his lead in the smallest particular. 

The second important truth is that virtue is acquired 
by meeting and conquering solicitations to sin. Inno- 
cence is a beautiful thing. We should keep our minds 
and hearts free from every contact with sin as far as 
possible, instinctively turning away from the presence of 
sill. But virtue is a strong and noble thing, and can only 
come from battling bravely against the assaults of sin. 
Blessed is he who has both as his lifelong companions — 
Innocence, the fair, clear eyed, white-robed maiden, 
whose thoughts are heavenly, and Yirtue, the brave and 
fully armed warrior, the victor in many a hard battle 
with sin! The annals of chivalry tell us of the Prince of 
Navarre, whose white plume led the brave and true in 
the thickest of every battle. How can he keep it white 
amid the carnage of the battle? He wears it on his 
helmet, lifts it out of reach of his foes, and guards it with 
his own good sword. So Yirtue should guard Innocence 
in the battles of life. Now, in order that we may be 



delivered from evil, our heavenly Father may lead us 
into the presence of temptation, though the temptation 
itself is always from Satan. So in the beginning of our 
Savior's mission it is said, " He was led by the Spirit into 
the wilderness to be tempted by tlie devil." It is quite 
clear the leading was by the Spirit, but the temptation 
was only from the devil, and in this great battle the 
Captain of our salvation came off victorious. 

The further truth becomes clear to us that we can be 
strong to resist temptation only when our Father leads 
us. If we rush recklessly or carelessly wander into temp- 
tation, if we are attracted by its charms or think we are 
beyond its reach, we may incur shame or even become 
shameful. But if walking in the clear path of duty, or 
if filled with love and longing to save the sinful, thus 
following the lead of God and in the spirit of our Savior, 
we meet the solicitations of Satan, we will come off as 
Christ did — victorious. The courage of Christ's soldiers 
comes from fear of temptation and confidence in their 
leader. The brave soldier sees the danger and does not 
rush into it, but at the command of his Captain he defies 
it. William of Orange, in a battle, said to a friend who 
stood near him : " Sir, do you know that every moment 
you stand here is at the risk of your life ? " "I run no 
more risk than your highness," was the reply. "Yes," 
said the prince, " but my duty brings me here and your's 
does not." "There goes a brave man," said the general 
to his staff. "When I gave him the order he saw the 
danger and turned pale, but instantly obeyed." When 
one faces Satan at the command of his Lord, though he 
knows Satan's malignant power, he can defy him, for he 
is in the path of duty. The careless pleasure-seeker and 


the ardent follower of Christ may be in the same immoral 
surroundings, the one to watch and enjoy them, the other 
to save others from sinful living, and they will very 
prol)ably come out with very different records and char- 
acters and destinies. By the association of the good with 
the evil the evil are to be saved, the having this motive 
effectual guards the good from being enslaved. Bad 
characters, associations, and influences will not be con- 
genial to the one led by the path of duty among them or 
by the desire to save from them ; this duty, this love, is 
the leading of his heavenly Father, and at the same time 
his safeguard against temptation. One may be in the 
world, but this heavenly Spirit keeps him from being 
worldly, and he grows brigliter as he passes through the 
world, and he wins others to follow him. 

This last petition, "Deliver us from the evil," as taught 
by our Savior, shows us not only our great need, but His 
gracious design. Deliverance the most complete, from 
evil the most comprehensive, is not only the summary of 
the prayer, but of our Lord's purpose. Evil! IIow 
broad a mark it has made upon the earth and its history, 
and how strong a hold it has upon man to-day ! We are 
under its power, and yet we are separate from it ; there 
is an "us" to be delivered from the evil. Man is ever 
struggling with outward evil. Every stroke of hammer 
and pick, every school, every hospital, is man's endeavor 
to deliver himself from the evil of poverty, ignorance, 
and disease. The simple words of the petition in their 
lowest meaning translate the longing of restless humanity 
for freedom from the many-shaped and hideous evil. 
But man's struggle is more with outward evil than with 
inward — with the evil of conditions more than with 


the evil of character. Christ our Lord awakens the 
desire to be freed from the inward evil; He holds before 
us no end short of deliverance from the whole sphere of 
the evil. This desire of the child runs through all the 
petitions. Deliver us from the evil that alienates from 
the heavenly Father, that dishonors His holy name, that 
opposes His kingdom, that resists His will, that misuses 
this daily life, that incurs guilt, that yields to tempta- 

What a sweep the petition takes, and what a blessed 
thing that it is a prayer ! How could we hope to deliver 
ourselves from such a comprehensive evil 1 There is still 
an " us," we recognize that, but we are so under the power 
of the evil that only God can deliver us. He by His 
grace and forgiving love in Jesus Christ has implanted 
His spirit in our hearts, and so this desire calls upon Him 
in the utmost confidence. We stand not as criminals 
before a judge, not as slaves before a throne, but as 
children before the heavenly Father. And we stand not 
alone, but He who taught us to pray prays for us and 
with us. "I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out 
of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the 
evil. As Thou hast sent Me into the w^orld, even so have 
I also sent them into the world. Father, I w^ill tliat they 
also Avhoni Thou hast given Me be with me where I am, 
that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given 
Me ; for Thou lovest Me before the foundation of the 
world." Thus we see a glorious social deliverance, wide, 
complete, and final, arising within the horizon of our 
Savior's vision — a perfect Society, fully appreciating and 
realizing Christ's gracious designs. 




Matt, vi : 18. 

There is grave reason to doubt whether this clause of 
adoration, which is enslirined in the hearts of all be- 
lievers as the fitting crown of the prayer, was made a part 
of it by our Lord Himself. Before we can give up that 
which is so dear to us in itself and in its associations we 
must have good evidence that our Savior did not teach 
it. The Eevised Yersion places it in the margin, giving 
the great weight of its reverent scholarship to the con- 
clusion that it is not a part of our Lord's Prayer as 
taught by Him to His disciples. Among the many 
ancient manuscripts of the New Testament now existing, 
three are generally conceded as being more ancient than 
the others. Of these the one now in the British Museum 
in London is defective, in not having the first few chap- 
ters in Matthew. The one in the Yatican Museum, 
Eome, has no doxology. The one in the charge of the 
Greek Church at St. Petersburg is also without the dox- 
ology. So the most ancient manuscripts sustain the 
Eevised Yersion. Also some ancient manuscripts have 
the doxology in the margin, while others have it as a part 
of the text, but in brackets. Besides, most of the ancient 
fathers, both of the Latin and Greek branches of the 
Church, in their writings commenting on the Lord's 
Prayer, make no mention of the doxology, though some 
of the Greek fathers comment on it. When we consult 



the ancient versions, the burden of the evidence is also 
against the doxology as having been added by our Lord. 
The Syric and Coptic versions mention it but defectively, 
while the old Latin and the Yulgate make no mention of 
it at all. On the other hand, the more recent manu- 
scripts contain it, and these in growing numbers, until at 
length it is contained in all. 

The question now arises. If our Lord did not teach the 
doxology, how did it become added to His prayer until 
it has been universally received as part of it ? 

The prayer as recorded in Matthew was probably 
used in the public worship of the Church, and in such 
use a doxology bringing it to fitting conclusion would 
seem to be needed. There are many doxologies in Scrip- 
ture, and the one used in the Temple I, Chron. xxix: 11, 
was adopted in some churches, and then quite generally, 
as appropriate. The copyists of the manuscripts noted 
this fact upon the margin in some cases, and more fre- 
quently as the custom of its use in public worship became 
more general. The next copyists familiar with a usage 
now generally established, and already regarding the dox- 
ology as part of the prayer, inserted it in the text itself. 
So the doxology may have been added by the Church 
from the Scripture. Its very appropriateness accounting 
for its introduction thus becomes an evidence against its 
having been taught by our Lord. This, too, accounts for 
its not being found in the prayer as recorded in Luke ; 
that prayer was taught under other circumstances, and is 
not quite as well adapted to public worship, and so, not 
being used in such worship, did not have the doxology 

The question now becomes one of probability. Which 

244 ^^^ LORD'S PRAYER. 

is more probable — that our Lord added tlie doxology, and 
tliat the most ancient copyists dropped it out, so that the 
most ancient manuscripts, church fathers, and versions 
are without it, or tliat the Church added it to the prayer 
in lier worship, and so it became a part of the prayer in 
the later manuscripts, church fathers, and versions ? It is 
very improbable that the early copyists would have 
dropped out a doxology so appropriate and the Avork of 
our Lord. Carelessness would not account for it ; besides, 
tliey were very careful, and they would not have ven- 
tured, or been permitted to do it, from design. Our 
allegiance to Christ compels us, as it compelled the 
revisers, to give up that which is exceedingly dear to our 
hearts, in our devotions, as the work of our Lord. But 
this need not compel us to give it up as a part of the 
prayer, only fully understanding that the doxology, with 
its " amen," has been added by the Church, or, if we 
choose, is added by ourselves to the prayer the Lord 
taught us. 

Such ascriptions of praise are purely scriptural. IN^ot 
only do we find them arising from the hearts of the 
devout in the Old Testament, but the writers of the IS^ew 
Testament abound in them, and there are assurances that 
the heavenly life will frequently voice itself in a great 
doxology. Whenever we contemplate God's greatness 
and goodness and glorious designs in any department of 
His work, in the creation, in the wide universe, in the 
redemption of sinful man, i)i the glory of the future life, 
we may well lift up our hearts and voices in an ascription 
of praise. 

So as we close this prayer at the throne of Divine 
majesty and grace, as we children, led by our Savior into 



the presence of our heavenly Father, bring the desires He 
has awakened in our hearts before Him — desires for the 
glory of God and the highest welfare of man — we recog- 
nize that our privilege to pray, and the prayer we make, 
and the assurance of its full and gracious answer, all 
come from God. " For Thine is the kingdom, and the 
power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." 







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