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this persuasive plea, how sweet do the commandments of the Lord appear ! They are thus laid by the Gospel on the basis of love ; and hard is the heart that is not sensible of the difference between this tender injunction, and that which was accompanied with such terrors on Mount Sinai, placing them as the condition of life :“ Do this and live : but whoso breaketh the least of these commandments shall surely die." In the Gospel, which is the manifestation of free grace and peace, there is no condition attached to the commandments ; but obedience to them is named as the proof of love to Jesus. Now, my dear Maria, does not this accord with your motto, “ All for love ?”
She smiled and said, Yes.
And though you thought that "honor thy father and mother” sounded so cold, you see it is a commandment to be kept for love.
She smiled again.
We may now turn to the twenty-first verse, and we shall see a further explanation, which is to put our love to the proof. We cannot keep any thing, you know, which we do not possess ; we must first have it ; and we cannot attempt to keep a command of which we know nothing, we must first know it. So we read, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” When we love the Lord, we shall enquire after his will ;—what he would have us to do. We shall receive our instruction, and we shall endeavor to keep it. It is a proof
of the Lord's grace to us when He gives us His commands, and acquaints us with his will; and it is a proof of our love to Him, when we receive and keep His gifts. You wear in your bosom, Maria, a token of your own and your father's mutual love. I dare say you asked for it; he gave it, and you keep it : but if, like Anna, we receive a gift, and lose it, it is not like true disinterested love. The commandments of God are a kind of picture of our God ; He is holy, just, and good, and they are holy, just, and good; and when we lose them, and would substitute any other thing in their place, we are at once proved to be without love; for it is written in the twenty-fourth verse,
“ He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings.”
Now, there is another thing in love,-it cannot be satisfied without a return; therefore, it is promised to them that love the Lord, in the twenty-first verse, “ He that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him.” Here is a rich promise, repeated in the twenty-third
“If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him." But I will ask Louisa a question ;-
Is this love to God natural to us ?
No, uncle, for St. John says, “ Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us. We love Him because He first loved us." True, the source of love is God.
“ God is love ;' and whosoever He loveth, He causeth to
return His love. And it is written in the second chapter of 1st John, “Whoso keepeth His word, in him, verily, is the love of God perfected. Hereby know we that we are in him." What I desire, my dear young friends, to convey to you in this view, is, that we have the blessed privilege of being under the law to Christ, (1 Cor. ix. 21,) whom to serve is perfect freedom ;-all whose commands are in love; and who giveth the principle of love as the spring of the obedience of faith.
Tell me now, dear Mary, what is the fifth commandment ?
Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Where was it given ? At Mount Sinai, in the wilderness. To whom was it given ? To all the children of Israel. And at what time ?
Mary hesitated, not being ready with a reply; and Charles modestly said, -Just after they had been delivered from Egypt.
Do you remember what the land of Egypt was called by the Lord ? Do you mean, uncle, at the time He
the ten commandments ?
Yes ; by which I mean to show, that when the ten commandments were given, the Israelites
were in a state of redemption, and that the law was given to them as to a people freed from the bondage of Egypt :-the ten commandments being prefaced by this declaration; "I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." And they were no sooner put under the law than they had, besides, the types of the Gospel in Jesus, through the blood of the slain lamb. So the terrors of the strictness of the law were softened by the provision of the typical sacrifice without spot or blemish, offered as an atonement; so that even then, they who had faith might be said to be under the law to Christ, which it is said, (Gal. iii. 19,) was ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator.
If the law was given to the children of Israel, why do we, as Gentiles, take it to ourselves ?
Because, Charles answered, we are children of Abraham by faith ; we are grafted into the olive-tree of the Jews, and partake of the fatness of the olive.
It is so ; and, moreover, when we believe, we are redeemed from out of the wicked world, out of the house of bondage ;--for Egypt, wbich was a literal place of bondage to the Jews, is a typical representation of the world, which is our place of bondage ; Satan being the prince of this world, and he that puts hard yokes on the necks of those who dwell in it.
Do you remember how the children of Israel were delivered ?
George said, with a high hand, and a stretchedout arm, and with great power.
Yes, George; and, moreover, with blood. The Lord redeemed them, saving them from the destroying angel. They were ordered to slay the Lamb for the sacrifice of the passover,-to sprinkle the blood on their houses, which was the token of the salvation by which they were sanctified to the Lord, and separated from the Egyptians. They were to eat of the Lamb with their loins girt and their staff in their hand, ready to set out on their pilgrimage. They were then brought out, led through the Red Sea, and were in a state of peculiar and distinguishing privileges, by the blood of the covenant, when the commandments were given to them. They were under the promise which was given to Abraham, and under the same covenant; but the law was added,- do you know why?
Yes, uncle ; it was added because of transgressions. (Gal. iii. 19.)
What is the use of the law ?
By the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom. iii. 20.)
Has the law any other office ?
Yes; as a schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ. (Gal. iii. 24.)
True ; when the Lord saith by the law, this and live,'' we find out the sin which prevents our doing it, and hinders our living by it; then we are led to lament our sin, and say, “O wretched man that I am !” Feeling that there is an