« PreviousContinue »
spring from a pure motive—from love in the
heart. 60 Q. By whom, and to whom, was the law.of the
ten commandments spoken of old time?
A. By God, and to the Jews.
A. “ Thou shalt do no murder.”
more than the act of taking away a fellow
creature's life? A. It forbids anger, hatred, and every evil
temper, which might lead to the commission
of actual murder... - 63 Q. Does Jesus Christ thus explain this com
mandment? A. Yes:-He tells us that “ whosoever is an
gry with his brother, without a cause, or more properly, so as to yield to the influence of this sinful affection, shall be in danger of
the judgment." - 64 Q. Do you remember a similar declaration
made by St. John? A. “ He that hateth his brother is a murderer,
and ye know that no murderer hath eternal
· life abiding in him.” 65 Q. But if there is so much sin and danger in
cherishing an angry temper, is there not much more when this temper breaks out into angry
words? A. Yes:— For our Lord declares, that, “who
soever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire.”
66 Q. What is the meaning of the word “ Raca?"
A. It is a term of reproach, signifying a vain, ; silly fellow. 67 Q. What are we to understand by a man's
saying to his brother, “ Thou fool ?". A. His reviling, or maliciously reproaching
any other man. Q. What did the Jews mean by saying, that
they who committed these three sins should be in danger of the judgment, of the council,
and of hell-fire? A. By the judgment, they meant the Jewish
court of 23 men, which could sentence criminals to be strangled. By the council, they meant the Sanhedrim, consisting of 72 men, which could sentence offenders to be stoned. By hell-fire, they meant an accursed and horrible place where it was once customary among
the Israelites to burn their children alive. 69 Q. But does Jesus mean, that they who com
mit these three degrees of murder, shall only be in danger of suffering three propor
tionable degrees of punishment from men? A. No:-He means, that they shall be expos
ed to the just judgment of God, and to three degrees of punishment from him; each of which will be as much more dreadful than the other, as stoning is more dreadful than strangling, or being burnt alive than being
stoned. 70 Q. Will God accept the offerings of those who
come before him with guilty consciences, and impenitent hearts?
A. No:-“ The sacrifice of the wicked is an
abomination to the Lord.” 71 Q. Suppose then you have wronged your bro
ther by word or deed, what step must you take before you can offer an acceptable sacri
fice to God?
A. I must“ first be reconciled to my brother." 72 Q. How?
A. By asking his pardon, and making the best amerds in my power for the fault which
I have committed. 73 Q. Must this be done immediately as oppor
tunity occurs, and without loss of time? A. Yes :-For Christ commands us to “ agree with our adversary quickly, while we are in
the way with him." 74 Q. What ill consequences may arise from our
neglecting this duty? A. Our “ adversary may deliver us to the
judge.” 175 Q. What do you understand by this expression?
A. That he, whom we have injured may com
mit his cause to God, the judge of all. 76 Q. And will God undertake the cause of those
who call upon him to interpose in their be
half? A. Yes:-And he will avenge them, by deliver
ing their enemy to the officer, who will cast
him into prison. . 77 Q. Who is the officer, of whom Jesus speaks?
A. Satan, who is employed as the executioner
of divine vengeance. 78 Q. What is the prison?
A. Some state of discipline or correction, such
as sickness, or, as St. Paul terms it, “ the destruction of the flesh," to which Satan is. permitted to subject the individual, for the pur
pose of bringing him to repentance. 79 Q. And how long will the exercise of this dis
cipline be continued ? A. Till the offender shall have “ paid the utteri most farthing," or have made all the reparation
di due from him to his injured neighbour. 80 Q. What is the seventh commandment? * A. “ Thou shalt not commit adultery." 81 Q. Was this commandment thoroughly under
stood by the Jews?'. - A. No:--The Scribes and Pharisees in par
ticular supposed and taught that none were in guilty of breaking it, but such as were actu
ally and outwardly adulterers. 82 Q. Does our Lord expose their error? . · A. Yes:-He tells them that it is very possi
ble for a man to be an adulterer in his heart. 83 Q. How so?
A. By cherishing an unchaste desire, or“ look
ing on a woman to lust after her.” 84 Q. But why is an unchaste desire so criminal
as to constitute a man an adulterer in the
judgment of God? A. Because he who suffers such a desire to
dwell in his heart is only withheld from ac
complishing it by the want of opportunity. 85 Q. But can any human being detect this sin
in another when it proceeds no further than
a desire or intention formed in the heart? . A. No:-For man can only look on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the
heart. 86 Q. And will men be judged by God according
to the sins of their heart, as well as according
to their outward deeds? A. Yes:-For in the day of judgment God will
bring to light the hidden things of darkness,
and make manifest the counsels of all hearts. 87 Q. Are we to infer from our Lord's words, that
it can, under any circumstances, become our duty literally to “ cut off our right hand," or to * pluck out our right eye,” to restrain us from sinning? A. No :-Our bodies as well as our spirits are God's, and therefore we have no right to destroy any part of them; but, on the contrary, should endeavour to preserve and to use them
to his glory. 88 Q. What then must our Lord be understood
to mean by the directions that he gives in
these terms? A. He means, that if any thing or person as
dear or useful to us as a right hand or eye should be an unavoidable occasion of our falling into sin, we must renounce it, rather than forfeit the favour of God, and lose our souls
by retaining it. 89 Q. Was a Jew permitted by the law to " put
away his wife?!" A. Yes:- Under certain circumstances, and provided he wrote a bill of divorcement, and
gave it into her hand. 90 Q. Was this permission abused by the Jews?
A. Yes:-Especially by the Scribes and Pha