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COMMANDMENT X.


Evan. Well, then, I pray you consider, that in the tenth commandment there is a

negative part expressed in these words, "Thou shalt not covet," &c.: that is, thou

shalt not inwardly think on, nor long after, that which belongs to another, though

it be without consent of will, or purpose of heart to seek after it; and an

affirmative part included in these words, "But thou shalt be well contented with

thine own outward condition, and heartily desire the good of thy neighbours."


Neo. Well, sir, I pray you, begin with the negative part; and first tell us what the

Lord forbids in this commandment.


Evan. I pray you take notice, and consider, that this tenth commandment was

given to be a rule and level, according to the which we must take and measure

our inward obedience to all the other commandments contained in the second

table of God's law. For the Lawgiver having, in the rest of the commandments,

dealt with those sins especially which stand in deeds, and are done of purpose, or

with an advised consent of will, although there is no doubt but that the law of

restraining concupiscence is implied and included in all the former

commandments; now, last of all, in this last commandment deals with those sins

which are called only concupiscences, and do contain all inward stirring and

conceit in the understanding and affections against every commandment of the

law, and are, as it were, rivers boiling out of the fountain of that original sin; for

to covet, in this place, signifies to have a motion of the heart without any settled

consent of will. Briefly, then, in this commandment is forbidden, not only the evil

act and evil thought settled, and with full and deliberate consent of will, as in the

former commandments, but here also is forbidden the very first motions and

inclinations to every evil that is forbidden in any of the former commandments, as

it is evident, (Rom 7:7, 13:9); for it is not said in this commandment, Thou shalt

not consent to lust, but "Thou shalt not lust." It does not only command the

binding of lust, but it also forbids the being of lust; which being so, who sees not

that in this commandment is contained the perfect obedience to the whole law?

for how comes it to pass, that we sin against every commandment, but because

this corrupt concupiscence is in us, without which we should of our own accord,

with our whole mind and body, be apt to do only good without any thought or

desire at all to the contrary? And this is all I have to say touching the negative part

of this commandment.


Neo. Well, then, sir, I pray you to proceed to the affirmative, and tell us what the

Lord requires in this commandment.


Evan. Why, original justice or righteousness is required in this commandment,

which is a disposition and an inclination and a desire to perform unto God, and to

our neighbour, for God's sake, all the duties which are contained both in the first

and second table of the law; whence it does evidently appear, that it is not

sufficient, though we forbear the evil, and do the good which is contained in

every commandment, except we do it readily and willingly, and for the Lord's

sake. As for example, to give you a few instances, it is not sufficient though we

abstain from making images, or worshipping God by an image; no, though we

perform all the parts of his true worship, as praying, reading, hearing, receiving

the sacraments, and the like, if we do it unwillingly or in obedience to any law or

commandment of man, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though

we abstain from the works of our callings on the Lord's day, and perform never

so many religious exercises, if it be unwillingly, and for form and custom's sake,

or in mere obedience to any superior, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it

sufficient though a child show never so much honour, love, and respect to his

parents, if he do it by constraint and unwillingly, or to gain the praise of men, and

not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a servant do his duty, and

carry himself never so well, if it be for fear of correction, or for his own profit

and gain, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a wife carry

herself never so dutifully and respectfully towards her husband, both in word and

deed, if it be unwillingly, for fear of his frowns, or to gain the applause of them

that behold it, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a

husband show much love and respect to his wife, if it be because she is amiable

or profitable, or to gain the praise of men, and not for the Lord's sake. In a word,

it is not sufficient, though any man or woman do all their duties, in all their

relations, if they do them merely for their own sake, and not for the Lord's sake.


Neither is it sufficient though a man abstain from killing, yea, and from striking, if

it be for fear of the law, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though

he bridle his anger, and abstain from expressing any wrath, if it be because he

would be counted a patient man, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it

sufficient though a man visit the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or in

never so many ways seek to preserve the life of his neighbour, if it be for the

praise of men, and not for the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though a man

abstain from committing adultery, if it be for fear of the shame or punishment that

will follow, and not for the Lord's sake. Nor though we also abstain from

idleness, gluttony, and drunkenness, if it be for our own gain's sake, and not for

the Lord's sake. Neither is it sufficient though we abstain from stealing, and

labour diligently in our callings, if it be for the fear of shame or punishment, or for

the praise of men. Neither is it sufficient though we have abstained from false

witness-bearing, and have spoken the truth, if it have been for fear of shame, or

merely to do our neighbour a courtesy, and not because the Lord requires it.


Thus might I have instanced in divers other particulars, wherein, though we have

done that which is required, and avoided that which is forbidden, yet if it have

been for our own ends, in any of the particulars before mentioned; yea, or if it

have been merely or chiefly to escape hell and to obtain heaven, and not for the

love we bear to God, and for the desire we have to please him, we have therein

transgressed the Lord's commandments. And now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray

you consider, whether you have gone near to the keeping of all the

commandments perfectly or no.


Nom. But, sir, are you sure that the Lord requires that every man should keep all

the ten commandments according as you have now expounded them?



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