Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?

A.
For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed:

1. That the law is perfect, and bindeth everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin.[422]

2. That it is spiritual, and so reacheth the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures.[423]
3. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments.[424]

4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden;[425] and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded:[426] so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included;[427] and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.[428]

5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done;[429] what he commands, is always our duty;[430] and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times.[431]

6. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto.[432]

7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places to endeavour that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.[433]

8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them;[434] and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.[435]

[422] Psalm 19:7. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
James 2:10. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Matthew 5:21-22. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

[423] Romans 7:14. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Deuteronomy 6:5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matthew 22:37-39. 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37-39, 43-44. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.... Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.... Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne.... But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.... Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

[424] Colossians 3:5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Amos 8:5. Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
Proverbs 1:19. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

[425] Isaiah 58:13. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.

Deuteronomy 6:13. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Matthew 4:9-10. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Matthew 15:4-6. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

[426] Matthew 5:21-25. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Ephesians 4:28. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

[427] Exodus 20:12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Proverbs 30:17. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

[428] Jeremiah 18:7-8. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Exodus 20:7. 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.

Psalm 15:1, 4-5. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?... In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Psalm 24:4-5. He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

[429] Job 13:7-8. Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him? Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?

Romans 3:8. And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Job 36:21. Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

Hebrews 11:25. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

[430] Deuteronomy 4:8-9. And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons.

[431] Matthew 12:7. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

[432] Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.... Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 15:4-6. For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Hebrews 10:24-25. And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

1 Thessalonians 5:22. Abstain from all appearance of evil. Jude 23. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Galatians 5:26. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Colossians 3:21. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

[433] Exodus 20:10. 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.

Leviticus 19:17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

Genesis 18:19. For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Joshua 14:15. And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

[434] 2 Corinthians 1:24. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

[435] 1 Timothy 5:22. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

Ephesians 5:11. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.