1883 Ecclesial Guide

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The Commandments of Christ

When we believe the truth, we must next obey the commandments. If we fail to do this, the truth is not only no advantage to us, but will be to our condemnation. A community in which the commandments of Christ are not obeyed is not the house of Christ, but the synagogue of Satan, however correctly the truth may be discerned as a theory.

It cannot be too prominently held in the foreground that Christ has said, "YE ARE MY FRIENDS IF YE DO WHATSOEVER I COMMAND YOU," and "Not every man that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father." "Many will say unto me in that day, Lord have we not preached in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works. Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity."

Now the commandments of Christ may be divided into two classes, one of which, perhaps, calls for more attention than the other, on account of the greater difficulty the natural mind experiences in the obedience of them. There are those that commend themselves to all men as beautiful and excellent, and which are more or less easy to conform to. And there are those that go so directly against the grain of human nature, that the obedience of them is each time an act of self-crucifixion.

These latter are the most likely to be slipped over. We, therefore, place them first. Their observance is in every way most important. They effectually chasten the natural man and bring us into submission to the will of God; and they do this because they are contrary to natural impulse. But, because they are contrary to the natural man, they are liable to be overlooked or explained away, and consequently, to be disobeyed. All our other compliances are, in this case, rendered of none effect. To keep the commandments that are easy and agreeable, while habitually violating those that are otherwise, will not take us out of the list of transgressors. Abraham's general righteousness of character would have been of no advantage to him had he failed in the test commandment concerning Isaac.

Class I. -- Commandments Difficult to Obey.

1. Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.

2. Resist not evil; if a man smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also.

3. Avenge not yourselves: rather give place unto wrath: and suffer yourselves to be defrauded.

4. If a man take away thy goods, ask them not again.

5. Agree with your adversary quickly, submitting even to wrong for the sake of peace.

6. Labor not to be rich: be ready to every good work, give to those who ask: relieve the afflicted.

7. Do not your alms before men: let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

8. Recompense to no man evil for evil: overcome evil with good.

9. Bless them that curse you; let no cursing come out of your mouth.

10. Render not evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing.

11. Pray for them that despitefully use you and afflict you.

12. Grudge not; judge not; complain not; condemn not.

13. Put away anger, wrath, bitterness, and all evil speaking.

14. Confess your faults one to another.

15. Be not conformed to this world: love not the world.

16. Deny any ungodliness and worldly lusts. If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off.

17. Servants, be faithful, even to bad masters.

18. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.

19. Owe no man anything.

20. In case of sin (known or heard of), speak not of it to others, but tell the offending brother of the matter between thee and him alone, with a view to recovery.

Class II. -- Not easy, but less difficult.

21. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.

22. Pray always; pray with brevity and simplicity; pray secretly.

23. In everything give thanks to God and recognize Him in all your ways.

24. As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also so to them.

25. Take Christ for an example and follow in his steps.

26. Let Christ dwell in your heart by faith.

27. Esteem Christ more highly than all earthly things: yea, than your own life.

28. Confess Christ freely before men.

29. Beware lest the cares of life or the allurements of pleasure weaken his hold on your heart.

30. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

31. Exercise lordship over no one.

32. Seek not your own welfare only, nor bear your own burdens merely, but have regard to those of others.

33. Let your light shine before men: hold forth the word of life. Do good to all men as ye have opportunity.

34. Be blameless and harmless, as the sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

35. Be gentle, meek, kind-hearted, compassionate, merciful, forgiving.

36. Be sober, grave, sincere, temperate.

37. Speak the truth every man with his neighbor: put away all lying.

38. Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men.

39. Be watchful, vigilant, brave, joyful, courteous and manly.

40. Be clothed with humility: be patient toward all.

41. Follow peace with all men.

42. Sympathize in the joys and sorrows of others.

43. Follow after whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseful.

44. Refrain utterly from adultery, fornication, uncleanness, drunkenness, covetousness, wrath, strife, sedition, hatred, emulation, boasting, vain-glory, envy, jesting and foolish talking.

45. Whatever you do, consider the effect of your action on the honor of God's Name among men. Do all to the glory of God.

46. Reckon yourselves dead to all manner of sin. Henceforth live not to yourselves, but to him who died for you, and rose again.

47. Be zealous of good works, always abounding in the work of the Lord, wearying not in well doing.

48. Speak evil of no man.

49. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

50. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.

51. Obey rulers; submit to every ordinance of men for the Lord's sake.

52. Be holy in all manner of conversation.

53. Give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.