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Sons & Daughters of God - Chapter 2

            Chapter 2:    We Obey the Father's Law of Love

                                   The Commandments are Sure  
All his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. Ps. 111:7, 8

   Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God. It was printed on their hearts, and they understood its claims upon them. The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. 
  Our duty to obey this law is to be the burden of this last message of mercy to the world. God's law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man.  
 The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love--service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service. 
 "All His commandments are sure...." Whatever is built upon the authority of man will be overthrown; but that which is founded upon the rock of God's immutable word shall stand forever.  
  The sacred statutes which Satan has hated and sought to destroy, will be honored throughout a sinless universe.  {SD 38.6}

                                      The Law of God is Perfect 
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Psalm 19:7       

   The laws which God gave His ancient people were wiser, better, and more humane than those of the most civilized nations of the earth. The laws of the nations bear marks of the infirmities and passions of the unrenewed heart; but God's law bears the stamp of the divine.  
   Says the psalmist, "The law of the Lord is perfect." How wonderful in its simplicity, its comprehensiveness and perfection, is the law of Jehovah! It is so brief that we can easily commit every precept to memory, and yet so far-reaching as to express the whole will of God, and to take cognizance not only of the outward actions, but of the thoughts and intents, the desires and emotions, of the heart. Human laws can not do this. They can deal with the outward actions only. A man may be a transgressor, and yet conceal his misdeeds from human eyes; he may be a criminal,--a thief, a murderer, or an adulterer,-- but so long as he is not discovered, the law can not condemn him as guilty. . . .  
     The law of God is simple, and easily understood. If the children of men would, to the best of their ability, obey this law, they would gain strength of mind and power of discernment to comprehend still more of God's purposes and plans. And this advancement would be continued, not only during the present life, but during eternal ages; for however far he may advance in the knowledge of God's wisdom and power, there is always an infinity beyond.  
     Since "the law of the Lord is perfect," every variation from it must be evil.       Obedience was the only condition upon which ancient Israel was to receive the fulfilment of the promises that made them the highly favored people of God; and obedience to that law will bring as great blessings to individuals and nations now as it would have brought to the Hebrews.   {SD 39.6}

                                      The Law is Holy, Just, and Good 
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Rom. 7:12  
   As the Supreme Ruler of the universe, God has ordained laws for the government not only of all living beings, but of all the operations of nature. Everything, whether great or small, animate or inanimate, is under fixed laws which cannot be disregarded. There are no exceptions to this rule; for nothing that the divine hand has made has been forgotten by the divine mind.... To man alone, the crowning work of His creation, God has given a conscience to realize the sacred claims of the divine law, and a heart capable of loving it as holy, just, and good; and of man prompt and perfect obedience is required. 
   This rule forbids all oppression from parents and all disobedience from children. The Lord is full of lovingkindness, mercy, and truth. His law is holy, just, and good, and must be obeyed by parents and children. The rules which should regulate the lives of parents and children flow from a heart of infinite love, and God's rich blessing will rest upon those parents who administer His law in their homes, and upon the children who obey this law. The combined influence of mercy and justice is to be felt. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Households under this discipline will walk in the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.  
   Let the youth look upon the divine standard, and never be content with a low aim.... Walk not hesitatingly, but firmly in the strength and grace of Jesus Christ. Unto Him is committed all power in heaven and in earth. Take refuge in Jesus Christ, and enter into a firm covenant with Him in faith, to love and serve Him. 
   Since the law of God is "holy, and just, and good," a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is the perfect example of such a character.  {SD 40.5}

                                   The Law is Truth and Righteousness
  Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. 
Psalm 119:142  
   God sent truth into our world in untarnished glory, beauty, and perfection, and placed it in contrast with error. Neither men nor devils were able to detect a flaw in the character of Christ; but the revelation of the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, placed darkness in such contrast, that men would not receive the light. . . . There is no natural enmity between evil angels and evil men; both are evil through transgression of the law of God, and evil will always league against God. Fallen men and fallen angels enter into a desperate companionship. . . .     
   The purity and holiness of the character of Christ stirred up the very worst passions of the human heart. . . . His perfect obedience to the commandments of God was a continual rebuke to a sensual and perverse generation. His spotless character was shedding light into the midst of the moral darkness of the world....  
   Those who become the sons of God cannot avoid coming into conflict with the hosts of apostasy. . . . Through the merits of the Redeemer, God accepts the efforts of sinful man in keeping His law, which is holy, just, and good. 
  Those who truly unite with Christ will be found doing the same work that Christ did while on the earth,--they will be found magnifying the law and making it honorable. . . . When the advocates of truth reveal the efficiency of truth in their life and character, a blow is struck against the kingdom of Satan.      The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist, "Thy law is the truth;" "all thy commandments are righteousness." . . . Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.   {SD 41.6}

                       Hasty Obedience Brings Rich Blessings    
   I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.  
Psalm 119:60
   Obedience to the laws of God develops in man a beautiful character that is in harmony with all that is pure and holy and undefiled. In the life of such a man the message of the gospel of Christ is made clear. Accepting the mercy of Christ and His healing from the power of sin, he is brought into right relation with God. His life, cleansed from vanity and selfishness, is filled with the love of God. His daily obedience to the law of God obtains for him a character that assures him eternal life in the kingdom of God.  
   In His earthly life the Saviour gives us an example of the hallowed lives that may be ours if we will devote our days to doing good to the souls that need our help. It is our privilege to bring joy to the sorrowful, light to the darkened, and life to the perishing. The Lord's message comes to us, "Why stand ye here all the day idle; work while it is day; for the night cometh when no man can work." Every word we speak, every act we perform, that conduces to the happiness of others, will conduce to our own happiness, and make our lives like the life of Christ.  
   Our daily duties are to be cheerfully accepted and cheerfully performed. Our chief duty is to reveal in words and deportment a life which will make manifest the attributes of heaven. The Word of life is given to us to study and practice. Our actions are to be in strict conformity to the laws of the kingdom of heaven. Then heaven can approve our work; and the talents we employ in His service will multiply for greater usefulness. The consecrated life will shine amid the moral darkness of the world, guiding perishing souls to the truth of the Word. . . .      
   In His Gift to the world the Lord has revealed how solicitous He is that we bear in our lives the marks of our heavenly citizenship by letting every ray of light we have received shine forth in good works to our fellow-men.  {SD 42.4}

                                                In the Home    
    And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deut. 6:9.  
   From the earliest times the faithful in Israel had given much attention to the matter of education. The Lord had directed that the children, even from babyhood, should be taught of His goodness and His greatness, especially as revealed in His law and shown in the history of Israel. Through song and prayer, and lessons from the Scriptures, adapted to the opening mind, fathers and mothers were to instruct their children that the law of God is an expression of His character, and that as they received the principles of the law into the heart, the image of God was traced on mind and soul.  
   If it was essential for Moses to embody the commandments in sacred song, so that as they marched in the wilderness, the children could learn to sing the law verse by verse, how essential it is at this time to teach our children God's Word!  
   True happiness in this life and in the future life depends upon obedience to a "Thus saith the Lord." . . . Let Christ's life be the pattern. Satan will devise every possible means to break down this high standard of piety as one altogether too strict. It is your work to impress upon your children in their early years the thought that they are formed in the image of God. Christ came to this world to give them a living example of what they all must be, and parents who claim to believe the truth for this time are to teach their children to love God and to obey His law. This is the greatest and most important work that fathers and mothers can do.  
   The great reformative movement must begin in the home. Obedience to God's law is the great incentive to industry, economy, truthfulness, and just dealing between man and man.     
  A noble, all-round manhood does not come by chance. It is the result of the molding process of character building in the early years of youth, and a practice of the law of God in the home. {SD 43.6}

                                  To be a Strength to All Nations    
Thy God hath commanded thy strength; strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Psalm 68:28
   His {God's} laws were not alone for the Jewish nation. The moral law was given before the people called Jews were in existence. The law of ten commandments was of universal obligation. The sacrificial ordinances were devised to represent the one great Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, that was to take away the sin of the world, and in behalf of the transgressor meet the requirements of divine justice.  
   The Lord would not have His people exclusive. Christ's delegated messengers are to proclaim the gospel of His grace to all nations, tongues, and people. We are to make it known that the Great Advocate is giving audience to the whole world. The Jewish church was called to be God's representative to an apostate world, and in order to fulfill this mission the Jewish people were to maintain their own existence as a nation distinct from all the idolatrous nations upon the earth. They were to stand in the world maintaining their peculiar and holy character. They could maintain their own spirituality by doing that which Adam and Eve failed to do,-- by rendering obedience to all the commandments of God, and in their characters representing God's mercy, goodness, compassion, and love. Thus in excellence of character they could stand above every other nation; for through a pure and obedient people the Lord would manifest His rich blessings. Thus the principles of the laws governing His kingdom were to be exalted throughout the world. Just as surely as they responded to the mercy, the light, the grace given, they would become the light of the world. They would be constantly directing attention to God, as a wise, faultless, Supreme Ruler, and the praise of God would be in all the earth. . . . The Lord is our God, and He has the same purpose in regard to His believing, loyal people today.  (SD 44.3)

                            Rejoices the Heart and Enlightens the Eyes  
   The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. Psalm 19:8
   We have only glimmering light in regard to the exceeding breadth of the law of God.... Many of those who claim to believe the testing truths for these last days, act as though God took no note of their disrespect of, and manifest disobedience to, the principles of His holy law. The law is the expression of His will, and it is through obedience to that law that God proposes to accept the children of men as His sons and daughters.... An infinite sacrifice has been made that the moral image of God may be restored to man, through willing obedience to all the commandments of God. Exceeding great is our salvation for ample provision has been made through the righteousness of Christ, that we may be pure, entire, wanting nothing.... If man will keep God's law through faith in Christ, the treasures of heaven will be at his disposal.  
   Open the eyes of your understanding; see the beautiful harmony in the laws of God in nature, and be awed, and reverence your Creator, the Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. See Him, by the eye of faith, bending over you in love.... Your faith in Jesus will give strength to every purpose, consistency to the character. All your happiness, peace, joy, and success in this life are dependent upon genuine, trusting faith in God. This faith will prompt true obedience to the commandments of God. Your knowledge and faith in God is the strongest restraint from every evil practice, and the motive to all good. Believe in Jesus as one who pardons your sins, one who wants you to be happy in the mansions He has gone to prepare for you. He wants you to live in His presence; to have eternal life and a crown of glory.     
  In keeping God's commandments there is great reward, even in this life. Our conscience does not condemn us. Our hearts are not at enmity with God, but at peace with Him.  {SD 45.4}

                         Statutes Given for Our Good Always    
   And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. Deut. 6:24  
     As the youth go out into the world, to encounter its allurements to sin,--the passion for money-getting, for amusement and indulgence, for display, luxury, and extravagance, the overreaching, fraud, robbery and ruin,--what are the teachings there to be met?  
   Spiritualism asserts that men are unfallen demigods; that "each mind will judge itself"; that "true knowledge places men above all law"; that "all sins committed are innocent"; for "whatever is, is right," and "God doth not condemn." The basest of human beings it represents as in heaven, and highly exalted there.... Multitudes are thus led to believe that desire is the highest law, that license is liberty, and that man is accountable only to himself.  
   With such teaching given at the very outset of life, when impulse is strongest, and the demand for self-restraint and purity is most urgent, where are the safeguards of virtue? . . . At the same time anarchy is seeking to sweep away all law, not only divine, but human....  
   Such are the influences to be met by the youth of today. To stand amidst such upheavals they are now to lay the foundations of character. In every generation and in every land the true foundation and pattern for character-building have been the same. The divine law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, . . . and thy neighbour as thyself," the great principle made manifest in the character and life of our Saviour, is the only secure foundation and the only sure guide. . . .     
  Here is the only safeguard for individual integrity, for the purity of the home, the well-being of society, or the stability of the nation. Amidst all life's perplexities and dangers and conflicting claims, the one safe and sure rule is to do what God says. {SD 46.6}

                             We Are Assured of Life Everlasting   
   Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14  
   The affections of the pleasure lover are drawn away from heavenly to earthly things. He subordinates the glories of eternity to the engrossing interests of time. In his desire to possess earthly riches, the heavenly treasure is lost from view. The claims of the future life are disregarded, and the interests of this life hold sway. . . .  
   Christ brings the nobler world to view. He presents the advantages of citizenship in that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. He takes us to the threshold of infinity, and shows us its glories, declaring them to be within the reach of all who will live in harmony with the laws of God. Through obedience to the laws of Jehovah, the human family may become a united, happy family in the city of God; but there is no room there for those who have no regard for the will of the Lord. All who will may gain everlasting life, but they must gain it by accepting the law of God as their guide in this life instead of seeking to follow their own laws. . . . To those who will live a life that is in harmony with the Father, Christ will impart the virtues of His life. 
   Think ye that the commandment-keepers will be sorry, and mourn when the pearly gates of the Golden City of God are swung back upon their glittering hinges, and they are welcomed in? No, never. They will then rejoice, that they are not under the bondage of the law, but that they have kept God's law, and therefore are free from it. They will have right to the tree of life, a right to its healing leaves.  
   The God of heaven has placed a benediction upon them that keep the commandments of God.    
   He who has been faithful over the "few things" of earth, will be made ruler over "many things" in the eternal world of glory. {SD 47.6}

                      Christ Magnified the Law and Made It Honorable   
   The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. Isaiah 42:21  
     The law of God's government was to be magnified by the death of God's only begotten Son. Christ bore the guilt of the sins of the world. Our sufficiency is found only in the incarnation and death of the Son of God. He could suffer, because sustained by divinity. He could endure, because He was without one taint of disloyalty or sin. Christ triumphed in man's behalf in thus bearing the justice of punishment. He secured eternal life to men, while He exalted the law, and made it honorable.  
     Every soul is under obligation to follow in the footsteps of Christ, the great example for the human family. He said, "I have kept my Father's commandments." The Pharisees thought that He was seeking to lessen the claims of the law of God, but His voice rang out upon their ears saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."    
   Christ came to magnify the law and to make it honorable; He came to extol the old commandment which ye had from the beginning. Then we need the law and the prophets. We need the Old Testament to bring us down along the line to the New Testament, which does not take the place of the Old Testament, but more distinctly reveals to us the plan of salvation, giving significance to the whole system of sacrifices and offerings, and to the word which we had from the beginning. Perfect obedience is enjoined upon every soul, and obedience to the expressed will of God will make you one with Christ. . . . Of Him it is written, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."  {SD 48.4}

                                  Love to Be Fulfilled in Our Lives   
   Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  Romans 13:10
     How many are deficient in love! O, that love might eradicate from the heart hatred, emulation, and strife, and the root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. Never can the love of Jesus be received and shed abroad in the heart until envious feelings, hatred, jealousies, and evil surmisings are put away. . . . 
     Many are deceiving themselves; for the principle of love does not dwell in their hearts. They may close their eyes to their own errors and defects; but they cannot deceive God. There must be a reformation. The plowshare of truth must plow deep furrows in our proud hearts, and tear up the sod of our unsanctified natures, that the Spirit and love of Jesus may be planted in our hearts. Time is fast hastening on, and every work will soon be brought into judgment, and either our sins or our names will be blotted out of the Book of Life. . . .  
     Pure love is simple in its operations, and separate from every other principle of action. When combined with earthly motives and selfish interests, it ceases to be pure. God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do. Love is a heavenly attribute. The natural heart cannot originate it. This heavenly plant only flourishes where Christ reigns supreme. Where love exists, there is power and truth in the life. Love does good, and nothing but good. Those who have love bear fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life.    
  It was the same Jesus who commanded that love should be the ruling principle in the old dispensation, that commanded that love should be the ruling principle in the hearts of His followers in the New Testament. The working out of the principle of love is true sanctification.  {SD 49.5}

                          Law of Love Written in Our Hearts   
  After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. . . . I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jer. 31:33, 34
   The work Christianity is designed to achieve in the world is not to depreciate the law of God, not to detract from its sacred dignity in the slightest degree, but it is to write that law in the mind and heart. When the law of God is thus implanted in the soul of the believer, he is approaching eternal life through the merits of Jesus. . . .  
   The object of the gospel is met when this great end is achieved. Its work from age to age is to unite the hearts of His followers in a spirit of universal brotherhood, through belief of the truth, and thus establish heaven's system of order and harmony in the family of God on earth, that they may be accounted worthy to become members of the royal family above. God, in His wisdom and mercy, tests men and women here, to see if they will obey His voice and respect His law, or rebel as Satan did. . . . 
   God's object in giving the law to the fallen race was that man might, through Jesus, rise from his low estate to be one with God, that the greatest moral changes might be manifested in his nature and character. This moral transformation must take place, or man would not be a safe subject in the kingdom of God; for he would raise a revolt. . . .  
   Here in this life is the testing, trying time. The angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The whole question is settled in this, Is he obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God? has the sinner been transformed in this world, through the merits of Christ, to an obedient servant, so that he is fitted to join the heavenly society?
 The law of God in our hearts will bring our own interests in subordination to high and eternal considerations.   {SD 50.6}

                              We are to Love the Lord with All Our Hearts    
  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Matthew 22:37
   He who has the love of God shed abroad in his heart, will reflect the purity and love which exist in Jehovah, and which Christ represented in our world. He who has the love of God in his heart has no enmity against the law of God, but renders willing obedience to all His commandments, and this constitutes Christianity. He who has supreme love to God will reveal love to his fellow-men, who belong to God both by creation and redemption. Love is the fulfilling of the law; and it is the duty of every child of God to render obedience to His commandments. . . . 
   The law of God, which is perfect holiness, is the only true standard of character. Love is expressed in obedience, and perfect love casteth out all fear. Those who love God, have the seal of God in their foreheads, and work the works of God. Would that all who profess Christianity knew what it means to love God practically. . . . They would have some realization of the infinite holiness of God, knowing that He is high and lifted up, and the train of His glory fills the temple. They would have a powerful influence upon the life and character of those around them, which would work as leaven amid the mass of humanity, transforming others through the power of Jesus Christ. Connected with the Source of power, they would never lose their vital influence, but would ever increase in efficiency.     
   Love to God must be a living principle, underlying every act and word and thought. If in the strength of Christ we are seeking to maintain such a consecration, we shall be daily holding communion with God. . . . The principles of God's law will dwell in the heart, and control the actions. It will then be as natural for us to seek purity and holiness, to shun the spirit and example of the world, and to seek to benefit all around us, as it is for the angels of glory to execute the mission of love assigned them. {SD 51.4}


                           We Will Love Our Neighbors as Ourselves     
       Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  Matthew 22:39
   The divine law requires us to love God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. Without the exercise of this love, the highest profession of faith is mere hypocrisy.  
   The worshiper of God will find that he cannot cherish one fiber of the root of selfishness. He cannot do his duty to his God and practice oppression toward his fellow men. The second principle of the law is like unto the first, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." "This do and thou shalt live." These are the words of Jesus Christ from which there can be no departure on the part of any man, woman, or youth who would be a true Christian. It is obedience to the principles of the commandments of God, that molds the character after the divine similitude. . . .  
   To leave a suffering neighbor unrelieved is a breach of the law of God. . . . He who loves God will not only love his fellow men, but will regard with tender compassion the creatures which God has made. When the Spirit of God is in man it leads him to relieve rather than to create suffering. . . . We are to care for every case of suffering, and to look upon ourselves as God's agents to relieve the needy to the very uttermost of our ability. We are to be laborers together with God. There are some who manifest great affection for their relatives, for their friends and favorites, who yet fail to be kind and considerate to those who need tender sympathy, who need kindness and love. With earnest heart, let us inquire, Who is my neighbor? Our neighbors are not merely our neighbors and special friends, are not simply those who belong to our church or who think as we do. Our neighbors are the whole human family. We are to do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. We are to give to the world an exhibition of what it means to carry out the law of God. We are to love God supremely and our neighbors as ourselves.  (SD 52.4)

                            Mercy Shown to Thousands Who Love God's Law   
  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:6
   The ten holy precepts spoken by Christ upon Sinai's mount were the revelation of the character of God, and made known to the world the fact that He had jurisdiction over the whole human heritage. That law of ten precepts of the greatest love that can be presented to man is the voice of God from heaven speaking to the soul in promise. "This do, and you will not come under the dominion and control of Satan." There is not a negative in that law, although it may appear thus. It is DO, and Live. . . . The Lord has given His holy commandments to be a wall of protection around His created beings.  
   Everything that God could do, He has done to manifest His great love and mercy to you. He "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Then rest in the assurance of the love of God. . . . Not because we first loved Him did God love us; but "while we were yet sinners," Christ died for us, making full and abundant provision for our redemption. Although by our disobedience we have merited God's displeasure and condemnation, yet He has not forsaken us, leaving us to grapple with the power of the enemy in our own finite strength. Heavenly angels fight our battles for us, and cooperating with them, we may be victorious over the powers of evil. . . . As we draw nigh to Him by faith, He draws nigh to us, adopting us into His family, and making us His sons and daughters.  
   To those who are faithful in His service, mercy is promised, not merely to the third and fourth generation . . . but to thousands of generations.  
   The tender mercies of God are unmeasured, and those who appreciate the love of Christ will be renewed in true holiness, and brought into Christ, their living Head. They will be followers of God as dear children.   (SD 53.5)

                     We Love God's Commandments More Than Gold     
   Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Psalm 119: 127
   In these days of peril shall we show less devotion to the truth of God, and less fervent attachment to His law, than in former years? The very condition of things exists which Christ declared would be, prior to His second coming in power and glory. The prevailing ungodliness tends to paralyze and even to destroy true faith and piety. But this is the very time when the gold of Christian integrity will shine brightest, in contrast to the dross of hypocrisy and corruption. Now is the time for Christ's chosen to show their devotion to His service,-- the time for all His followers to bear the noblest testimony for their Master by standing firm against the prevailing current of evil.  
   As we see the results which have followed a disregard of God's law,--dishonesty, theft, licentiousness, drunkenness, and murder,-- we are prepared to say with the psalmist, "I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold"; "in keeping of them, there is great reward." When the divine law is set aside, the greatest misery will result, both to families and to society. Our only hope of better things is to be found in a faithful adherence to the precepts of Jehovah. Infidel France once tried the experiment of rejecting the authority of God. What scenes of horror followed! Men cast aside the divine law as a yoke of bondage, and in their boasted liberty they placed themselves under the rule of the veriest tyrant. Anarchy and bloodshed ruled that terrible day. It was then demonstrated to the world that the surest way to undermine the foundation of order and government, is to set at naught the law of God. . . .  
   Instead of feeling that we are now in the slightest degree excusable in further transgression, we shall realize as never before the justice of God's claims upon us, and the sacred character of His law, since Christ must die to maintain its authority. Ere long the obedient will see the blessed results that follow the keeping of all God's commandments.   (SD 54.4)

                                 Christ Came to Earth to Fulfill the Law  
   Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.   Matthew  5:17 
   God chose Israel as the depositary of priceless treasure of truth for all nations, and He gave them His law as the standard of the character they were to develop before the world, before angels, and before the unfallen worlds. . . . Through disobedience and disloyalty God's chosen nation developed a character exactly opposite to the character God designed them to develop by obeying His law. They placed their own mold and superscription upon the truth, removing from it the superscription of God. . . . The law of God was being buried beneath the minutiae of outward forms,--such as the frequent washing of the hands before eating, and the washing of pots and cups. Tithes were exacted on simple garden herbs. To those who made so much of these minor things, Christ said, ". . .these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." . . .  
  Amid all this confusing din of voices there was need of a teacher direct from the heavenly universe to speak from inspired lips to human hearts, and to proclaim the testing truths so important to every one. . . 
  As a Teacher sent from God, Christ's work was to explain the true significance of the laws of God's government. . . . Resetting truth in the framework of God's own law, He caused it to shine in its original, heavenly luster. . . . He enthroned the divine precepts in companionship with the royalty of eternal, uncorrupted truth bearing the sanction of God, the Source of all truth. . . .  
  Christ came not only to vindicate the law before the inhabitants of this world, but by His life to settle forever the immutability of God's law. . . . He {God} never lets go one who commits the keeping of the soul to His care. Having loved them because of their love of Jesus, He loves them to the end. (SD 55.5)

                                  We Shall Have No Other Gods    
    Thou shalt have no other gods before me.   Exodus 20:3
   The ten commandments, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not, are ten promises assured to us if we render obedience to the law governing the universe. 
   There is not a moral precept enjoined in any part of the Bible which is not engraved with the finger of God in His holy law on the two tables of stone. A copy was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The first four commandments enjoined upon man his duty to serve the Lord our God with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the mind, and with all the strength. This takes the whole man. This requires a love so fervent, so intense, that man can cherish nothing in his mind or affections in rivalry with God; and his works will bear the signature of heaven. Everything is secondary to the glory of God. Our heavenly Father is to be ever cherished as the first, the joy and prosperity, the light and sufficiency of our life, and our portion forever.  
   Let men worship and serve the Lord God, and Him only. Let not selfish pride be lifted up and served as a god. Let not money be made a god. If sensuality is not kept under the control of the higher powers of the mind, base passion will rule the being. Anything that is made the subject of undue thought and admiration, absorbing the mind, is a god chosen before the Lord.  
   Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, Himself the source and sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god.  (SD 56.5)

                                  We Shall Not Serve Any Graven Images       
   Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. Exodus 20:4, 5
   Our Creator demands our supreme devotion, our first allegiance. Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols. Business enterprises are prosecuted with zeal and energy, while the service of God is made a secondary consideration. Family worship is neglected, secret prayer forgotten. Many claim to deal justly with their fellow-men, and seem to feel that in so doing they discharge their whole duty. But it is not enough to keep the last six commandments of the Decalogue. We are to love the Lord our God with all the heart. Nothing short of obedience to every precept . . . can satisfy the claims of the divine law.  
   There are many whose hearts have been so hardened by prosperity that they forget God, and forget the wants of their fellow-men. Professed Christians adorn themselves with jewelry, laces, costly apparel, while the Lord's poor suffer for the necessaries of life. Men and women who claim redemption through a Saviour's blood will squander the means intrusted to them for the saving of other souls, and then grudging dole out their offerings for religion, giving liberally only when it will bring honor to themselves. These are idolaters.  
   Anything that diverts the mind from God assumes the form of an idol, and that is why there is so little power in the church today.  
   The second commandment forbids the worship of the true God by images or similitudes. . . . The mind, turned away from the infinite perfection of Jehovah, would be attracted to the creature rather than to the Creator.  God is a searcher of the heart. He distinguishes between true heart-service and idolatry. {SD 57.5}

                    We Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain      
   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. Exodus 20:7
  The reason for this command is given: we are not to swear "by the heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black." All things come of God. We have nothing that we have not received; and, more than this, we have nothing that has not been purchased for us by the blood of Christ.  
  Burning words of passion should never be spoken, for in the sight of God and holy angels they are as a species of swearing.  
  This commandment not only prohibits false oaths and common swearing, but it forbids us to use the name of God in a light or careless manner, without regard to its awful significance. By the thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals to Him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and thoughtless repetition of His name, we dishonor Him. "Holy and reverend in his name." All should meditate upon His majesty, His purity and holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of His exalted character; and His holy name should be uttered with reverence and solemnity.  
  It is not men whom we are to exalt and worship; it is God, the only true and living God, to whom our worship and reverence are due. According to the teaching of the Scriptures, it dishonors God to address ministers as "reverend." No mortal has any right to attach this to his own name, or to the name of any other human being. It belongs only to God, to distinguish Him from every other being. . . . "Holy and reverend is his name." We dishonor God when we use this word where it does not belong. . . . The Father and the Son alone are to be exalted. (SD 58.5)

                         We Shall Keep the Sabbath Day Holy     
         Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.  Exodus  20:8
   God said, "The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God." He placed His sanctity upon this day and blessed it and hallowed it as a day of rest. . . .It is the only commandment in the whole Decalogue that tells who God is. It places God in distinction with every other god. It says the God that made the heaven and the earth, the God that made the trees and the flowers and that created man; this is the God that you are to keep before your children, and you have only to point to the flowers and tell them that He made these and that He rested on the seventh day from all His labors. . . . The seventh day is a God-given memorial.  
   Pointing to God as the maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day, signify by this act that they are worshippers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man's allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. . . . 
   God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided. . . . And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy days.  
   So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator's power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God's holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. "From one sabbath to another" the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up "to worship before me, saith the Lord."  (SD 59.5)

                                Long Life Promised for Honoring Parents   
  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.  Exodus  20:12
  Those who would truly follow Christ must let Him abide in the heart, and enthrone Him there as supreme. They must represent His spirit and character in their home life, and show courtesy and kindness to those with whom they come in contact. There are many children who profess to know the truth, who do not render to their parents the honor and affection that are due to them, who manifest but little love to father and mother, and fail to honor them in deferring to their wishes, or in seeking to relieve them of anxiety. Many who profess to be Christians do not know what it means to "honour thy father and thy mother," and consequently will know just as little what it means, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." . . . The Heart-searcher knows what is your attitude toward your parents; for He is weighing moral character in the golden scales of the heavenly sanctuary. O, confess your neglect of your parents, confess your indifference toward them, and your contempt of God's holy commandment.  
  Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents, is rejecting the authority of God. The fifth commandment requires the children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age.  
  The fifth commandment is binding upon children as long as their own lives and the lives of their parents are spared.  (SD 60.4)

                                       We Shall Not Kill       
                     Thou shalt not kill.     Exodus  20:13
   All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for "whoso hateth his brother is a murderer"); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health,--all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.  
   Some sacrifice physical and moral obligations, thinking to find happiness, and they lose both soul and body. Others will seek their happiness in indulgence of an unnatural appetite, and consider the indulgence of taste more desirable than health and life. Many suffer themselves to be enchained by sensual passions, and will sacrifice physical strength, intellect, and moral powers, to the gratification of lust. They will bring themselves to untimely graves, and in the Judgment will be charged with self-murder.  
   The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan; and it led him to put to death the Son of God. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit; and its fruit will be unto death. In the revengeful thought the evil deed lies enfolded, as the plant in the seed.  
   The law of God takes note of the jealousy, envy, hatred, malignity, revenge, lust, and ambition that surge through the soul, but have not found expression in outward action, because the opportunity, not the will, has been wanting. And these sinful emotions will be brought into the account in the day when "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing." 
   Christ is righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to those who believe in Him. . . . He set before us a perfect example of holy obedience to God's law.   (SD 61.6)

                                         We Shall Be Pure       
                 Thou shalt not commit adultery.   Exodus 20:14
  This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sensual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life, but in the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed.  
  When the thought of evil is loved and cherished, however secretly, said Jesus, it shows that sin still reigns in the heart. The soul is still in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. He who finds pleasure in dwelling upon scenes of impurity, who indulges the evil thought, the lustful look, may behold in the open sin, with its burden of shame and heartbreaking grief, the true nature of the evil which he has hidden in the chambers of the soul. The season of temptation, under which, it may be, one falls into grievous sin, does not create the evil that is revealed, but only develops or makes manifest that which was hidden and latent in the heart. As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he"; for out of the heart "are the issues of life." The heart in which Christ dwells, will be so filled, so satisfied, with His love that it will not be consumed with longing to attract sympathy and attention to itself. And through the surrender of the soul to God, His wisdom can accomplish what human wisdom fails to do. 
  So long as life shall last, there will be need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. Not one moment can we be secure except as we rely upon God, the life hidden with Christ.  
  The nearer we live to Jesus, the more will we partake of His pure and holy character; and the more offensive sin appears to us, the more exalted and desirable will appear the purity and brightness of Christ. (SD 62.5) 

                                           We Shall Not Steal    
                           Thou shalt not steal.   Exodus 20:15
  Both public and private sins are included in this prohibition. The eighth commandment condemns man-stealing and slave-dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage one's self by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another, is registered as fraud in the books of heaven.  
  The eighth commandment is to barricade the soul, and hedge man in, so that he shall make no injurious encroachment--which his self-love and desire for gain would make on his neighbor's rights. It forbids every species of dishonesty, injustice, or fraud, however prevalent, however palliated by plausible pretenses.  
  "Thou shalt not steal" was written by the finger of God upon the tables of stone, yet how much underhand stealing of affections is practiced and excused. A deceptive courtship is maintained, private communications are kept up, until the affections of one who is inexperienced and knows not whereunto these things may grow, are in a measure withdrawn from her parents and placed upon him who shows by the very course he pursues that he is unworthy of her love. The Bible condemns every species of dishonesty.  
  To trifle with hearts is a crime of no small magnitude in the sight of a holy God.  
  As we deal with our fellow men in petty dishonesty or in more daring fraud, so will we deal with God. Men who persist in a course of dishonesty will carry out their principles until they cheat their own souls and lose heaven and eternal life.  
  So long as heaven and earth continue, the holy principles of God's law will . . . continue, a source of blessing, sending forth streams to refresh the earth.   (SD 63.7)

                                     We Shall Not Lie, or Bear False Witness  
     Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.   Exodus 20:16
  The ninth commandment requires of us an inviolable regard for exact truth in every declaration by which the character of our fellow men may be affected. The tongue, which is kept so little under the control of the human agent, is to be bridled by strong conscientious principles, by the law of love toward God and man.  
  False-speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to deceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the countenance, as falsehood may be told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort to injure our neighbor's reputation by misrepresentation or evil surmising, by slander or tale-bearing. Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment. 
  He {Jesus} teaches that the exact truth should be the law of speech. "Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay." . . . These words condemn all those meaningless phrases and expletives that border on profanity. They condemn the deceptive compliments, the evasion of truth, the flattering phrases, the exaggerations, the misrepresentations in trade, that are current in society and in the business world. They teach that no one who tries to appear what he is not, or whose words do not convey the real sentiment of his heart, can be called truthful. . . .  
  Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight. Truth is of God; deception, in every one of its myriad forms, is of Satan. . . . We can not speak the truth unless our minds are continually guided by Him who is truth.  (SD 64.5)

                                         We Shall Not Be Covetous    
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.  Exodus 20:17
  The last commandment condemns covetousness. Every selfish desire, every degree of discontent, every act of overreaching, every selfish gratification works to the strengthening and developing of a character which will destroy the Christlikeness of the human agent, and close the gates of the city of God against him.  
  When . . . angels come to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, and witness the exhibition of selfishness, of covetousness, of overreaching, and benefiting self at others' disadvantage, they turn away in grief. . . . In no way could the Lord be better glorified and the truth more highly honored, than for unbelievers to see that the truth has wrought a great and good work upon the lives of naturally covetous and penurious men. If it could be seen that the faith of such had an influence to mold their characters, to change them from close, selfish, overreaching, money-loving men, to men who love to do good, who seek opportunities to use their means to bless those who need to be blessed, who visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and who keep themselves unspotted from the world, it would be an evidence that their religion was genuine. . . . Those who profess to be waiting and watching for the appearing of their Lord should not disgrace their profession by bantering in deal and standing for the last penny. Such fruit does not grow upon the Christian tree.  
  The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God's law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another, will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow-creatures. (SD 65.4)

                                  It Shall Be Our Righteousness  
   And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.  Deut.  6:25  
   The happiness of man is found in obedience to the laws of God. In obedience to God's law he is surrounded as with a hedge and kept from the evil.  
   The tempter's voice will be heard on every side, telling you that you are not now required to keep the law of God. This is a device of Satan. God has a law, and men must keep it. If they disregard these rules, they will not have that perfection of character . . . required to become members of the royal family . . . for God wrote these ten holy rules on tables of stone and kept them in the ark of God's testimony. The cover of this ark . . . was called the mercy-seat, to signify that although death was the penalty for transgressing the law, mercy came through Jesus Christ to pardon the repentant, believing sinner.  
   The only hope of any man lies through Jesus Christ, who brought the robe of His righteousness to put upon the sinner who would lay off his filthy garments. . . . The pure and holy garments are not prepared to be put on by any one after he has entered the gate of the city. All who enter will have on the robe of Christ's righteousness. . . . There will be no covering up of sins and faults to hide the deformity of character; no robes will be half washed; but all will be pure and spotless. 
   When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, the clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righteousness of faith. . . . The commandments of God diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven, and distinguish for us the true from the false. This obedience works out for us the divine will, bringing into our lives the righteousness and perfection that was seen in the life of Christ.  {SD 66.5}

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