The Ten Commandments

THE Mosaic law ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me'' 1 and the other nine Commandments are often under fire today as out of date and irrelevant. But they point at basic errors and constitute the moral code that still underlies much of our civil law. These errors include polytheism, idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery. God revealed this law to Moses; and Moses gave it to an unruly crowd in the wilderness. The history of the Old Testament shows that when the people obeyed the First Commandment they prospered. When they disobeyed it they had all sorts of trials, culminating in exile and captivity. So it was one thing for Moses to present the Commandments but quite another for the people to obey them consistently. And it still is. Nevertheless this is the only way to bring order and harmony into human experience. God is the only genuine source of harmony, the very Principle of our well-being, and so obedience to His law is essential to experiencing that well-being. The law of God has to be observed before we can enjoy its protective nature. Improvidence, selfishness, dishonesty, greed, ambition, and sensuality still try to erode the moral law even as in Moses' time, but we can always count on divine support to strengthen us in our efforts to obey that law. This obedience is made more practical when we remember that, as the Bible teaches, we are all the offspring of God. Our true selfhood is the very outcome of God, obedient to and inseparable from His government. So it's natural for us to think and speak and behave in harmony with divine l aw. Moses certainly saw the protective nature of divine law when the Red Sea parted, enabling the children of Israel to escape the pursuing Egyptians, and when manna was provided in the wilderness and water came from a rock. When a lawyer asked Christ Jesus, ``Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'' Jesus asked him what the law meant to him. The lawyer replied: ``Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.'' 2 So he summarized the Commandments in the simple but comprehensive admonition ``Thou shalt love.'' It isn't enough, then, to obey the commandments meticulously, although this is indispensable. We have to recognize God as Love and love Him with all our heart and soul and mind. This isn't a question of just being dutiful. It involves reflecting the love of God toward all mankind and letting divine Love govern our feeling and thinking and motivation. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Dost thou `love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind'? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship. This is the El Dorado of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, and recognizes only the divine control of Spirit, in which Soul is our master, and material sense and human will have no place.'' 3 A formidable demand? Yes, but one within our grasp when we identify ourselves more closely as the likeness of God, willingly obedient to Him, and act accordingly. This is the recipe the Bible gives for harmony in human affairs, and there's nothing old-fashioned or irrelevant about it. 1 Exodus 20:3. 2 Luke 10:25, 27. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 9.

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