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and Jacob, that He would give them. Moses, being aware that the Lord had determined to punish him for his own misconduct upon one particular occasion, by denying him the honour and delight of settling the people, whom he had led thus far, in the land of their inheritance by promise, called together the whole multitude, and calmly repeated to them the great and leading doctrines of their faith, and their duties both to God and man, according to all that the Lord had delivered to him in the law.
"These are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments," he says, "which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to
it may be well with thee,
possess it, that
and that thou
He then re
mayest increase mightily." peats to them that "first and great commandment," which many hundred years afterwards our Lord Jesus Christ quoted to the Jews as the great commandment of their law: Hear, O Israel; the
Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."*
Now, brethren, although this commandment was addressed in the first instance to Jews, yet the very fact that it is referred to expressly by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, is proof sufficient that it is equally binding upon Christians. God changeth not; our God is yet "one Lord." "We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity :" three persons, and one God. We may not set up any other god in our hearts: we may not worship any earthly object. We are not indeed in danger of falling down to stocks and stones, which was the idolatry to which the Jews were most tempted; but we are in danger, greatly in danger, of making a god of this world. Why is it, brethren, that we are so cold and dead in matters of religion? Why is it that men are afraid even to appear as religious as they are
* St. Mark xii. 29.
really otherwise inclined to be? It is because we are always too ready to worship this present world, and desire its good opinion; we pay that respect to, and entertain that fear for, the opinion of this world, which we ought to pay to Almighty God. The consequence is, that instead of "one lord," we have lords innumerable, for every passion and every vice is by turns lord over those who worship not God in sincerity and truth. The ques
tion for us to answer is not whether we pretend to believe in God, but whether He is our only Lord; whether we "love Him with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our might;" and whether we behave towards God as we would towards an earthly lord and master, whom we sincerely reverence; treasuring up his commandments in our hearts, that we may not neglect or transgress any of them wilfully; and not only so, but bringing up our children and our families to respect and look up to Him as their lawful Lord and Master also; and if any in our presence speak evil
Him, or cast reproach upon Him, defending his honour as if it were our own, and delighting to talk of his kind acts towards ourselves and others whenever an opportunity occurs. This sort of attachment to an earthly master was very common in the ancient times, of what is called the feudal system, in our own and in foreign countries, when the families living upon the estates of great and powerful nobles, receiving protection and support from him, regarded his honour and his interest as if it was their own. Even so it should be between Christians and their God. We are God's vassals: we are his servants—we are supported and protected by his hand-we too ought to show the same reverence and attachment and devotion to Him or rather, how much more ought we to love God than any earthly dependents love their earthly lord, when we consider both how immeasurably higher Almighty God is than any earthly prince, and how infinitely greater and more numerous are his benefits to us than any
earthly king can bestow upon his subjects with all his munificence?
It is to such a reverence and such an attachment to God that Moses exhorts the Jews in my text: "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."
We have in these words a direction as to the influence which the commands of God ought to have upon us,
I. As concerns our own souls. "These words shall be in thine heart."
II. As concerns our families. shalt teach them diligently unto thy children."
III. As concerns our daily conversation and habits of life. "Thou 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