Deuteronomy 6
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
All the machinery of law is abortive, unless obedience be the result. As a mother teaches her children, giving them "line upon line," frequent repetition and variation, so Moses patiently taught Israel. He was "faithful in all his house."

I. SEE THE INTERNAL EXCELLENCE OF GOD'S LAW. It has so many qualities of merit, that no one word in human language can express them all. They are "commandments," which word indicates the just authority from which they emanate. They are "statutes," implying their fixed and permanent character. They are "judgments," a description which denotes thoughtful deliberation, patient forethought, and sagacious decision. No greater benefactor can men have than a wise legislator. These Laws, if reverently observed, would have been "health to the marrow," and life to the nation.

II. THE DESIGN OF GOD'S COVENANT WAS HEARTY AND COMPLETE OBEDIENCE. It was unprofitable for God to command, or for Moses to teach, unless the people obeyed; just as it is futile for the husbandman to plough his land, pulverize the clods, sow the seed, water his crops, if no harvest ensue. The end which God had clearly in view - the only end worthy of him, was not Israel's possession of Canaan, nor prosperity there; the final end was obedience. The land was selected to be a theatre for practical righteousness. The land would be forfeited if righteous obedience did not abound. And obedience, to be acceptable, must be real. External conformity to law would not suffice. The whole soul must yield compliance. There must be harmony between man's will and God's. Obedience would foster reverence, and reverence would strengthen love. There is action and reaction amid the forces of the soul.

III. PIOUS OBEDIENCE IS ENTAILED. It is a moral inheritance passing from father to son. Formal and superficial obedience will not reproduce itself in others, will not bear seed of the true kind. But genuine, vital piety is contagious. If bad qualities are communicated, surely good qualities are also. Else truth would be feebler than error, virtue feebler than vice. Thorough, straightforward, transparent, cheerful piety is the greatest power in the world. For our children's sake, and for our children's children, let reverent obedience brighten and beautify our life!

IV. PIOUS OBEDIENCE PRODUCES PRESENT FRUITS. Its rewards are not wholly reserved for the future. On earth some advantages are reaped.

1. Length of days is a result. "Thy days may be prolonged." A green old age is a beautiful thing. "The wicked shall not live out half their days."

2. Numerous progeny is a result. "Ye may increase mightily." A growing population is universally regarded as a token of material prosperity. "They of the city shall flourish as grass of the earth." Success in all enterprise is announced as an effect. "It shall be well with thee."

3. Robust health, domestic comfort, national peace, prolific harvests, security, contentment, honor, - these are among the fruits to be anticipated. Obedience is an investment of moral capital, which brings largest and safest results. - D.

Moses here applies the Decalogue to their present circumstances. He wishes them to enter Canaan in an obedient spirit. He knows that the well-being of the commonwealth depends upon it. To assist them in the understanding of the Law, he sums it up in one all-embracing principle of love. God as the supreme object is to receive the homage of the entire nature of man.

I. MOSES INSISTS ON THE UNITY AND ABSOLUTE CHARACTER OF GOD. This would distinguish Israel from the polytheists around them. "Jehovah our Mighty One is one Jehovah" - the uncaused, self-existent One in his absolute unity and strength. All perfection is thus briefly attributed to him.

II. GOD CAN BE THE OBJECT OF LOVE. His unity is not an unsocial thing. Within his being there are social qualities demanding, and from all eternity receiving, satisfaction. Hence we believe in what Jon. Edwards called a "social Trinity." Our social nature is the reflection of God, since we were made in his image. His unity does not imply that in the by-past eternity, before anything was made, he was alone. It was the fellowship of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" - three Persons in the one Godhead. The Trinity makes God lovable, for it is the condition of the satisfaction from all eternity of his social qualities.

III. GOD DESERVES THE LOVE OF OUR WHOLE BEING. Heart, soul, and might are to be enlisted in this service. Our love to him should be intellectual and also emotional; it should be passionate and strong; an all-embracing energy of our nature. All our faculties are appealed to by the Divine nature.

1. Our understanding is enlisted by God as the Infinite Mind. All our intellectuality finds its counterpart and culmination in the infinite intellectual powers which God possesses and exercises. We rest upon his superior intellectual power.

2. Our affections are enlisted by God as the Fountain of affection. God is a Heart of unspeakable tenderness as well as a Mind of infinite grasp. And so he elicits the love of the heart as well as of the mind.

3. Our will is swayed into passionate devotion by God as the Infinite Will. If the spectacle of will in resistless benevolence commands the homage of our powers, then God entrances our whole will-power into passionate devotion.

4. Our strength is enlisted by God as the embodiment of vital energies and powers in their highest form. So that as a matter of fact, God fits into every fold of human nature and elicits its loving and adoring homage.

IV. LOVE MAKES LAWKEEPING DELIGHTFUL. The Law is not a pain to any who love the Lawgiver. Love is the essence of true loyalty. It makes service freedom. It is this which we must cultivate daily, and then life becomes delightful. - R.M.E.

I. CHILDREN WITH THEIR PARENTS ARE INCLUDED IN THE COVENANT. This has been a general principle in God's dealings with his servants. We have it affirmed, both in the covenant with Abraham (Genesis 17:7-15) and in the later covenant with Israel (Deuteronomy 29:10-12). It was signified in the rite of circumcision. The Israelitish child was regarded as within the covenant, a genuine member of the theocracy, till by a personal act of apostasy - if unfortunately it should be so - he severed himself from its blessings. Similar language is used of the children of Christian believers (Acts 2:39; 1 Corinthians 8:14). Received into the Church by baptism, they are recognized with their parents as interested in the promise; they are expected, on coming to years of discretion, freely to appropriate the obligations of the Christian life; and they are, in case of refusal, justly regarded as apostates from Christ.


1. Religious instruction (vers. 6, 7, 20; Exodus 13:8, 14, etc.). The children had not been personally at Horeb. They had not seen the mighty works of God in Egypt and the desert. It was the duty cf. parents to acquaint them with the history, and to instruct them in their duties.

2. Religious training, which is education in act, as instruction is education in word (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 21:18; Proverbs 29:15, etc.).

3. Religious example. The parent is to be one who loves the Lord for himself (ver. 5). The Word is to be in his own heart (ver. 6). Only thus will he teach with effect. All this has its counterpart in the duties of Christian parents (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Timothy 3:4; 2 Timothy 3:15, etc.).

III. THE STANDING OF CHILDREN IN THE COVENANT ENTAILS SERIOUS OBLIGATIONS ON THE CHILDREN. Where parental duties had been fulfilled, the Israelitish child was under the most sacred obligations to choose and adhere to the God of his fathers, and to serve him in the way prescribed. There was in this no interference with freedom, for when God proposes covenant relations to a human being, while it is his privilege, it can never be aught else than his duty to accept them. In the Christian Church, a like obligation rests on the children of believers. The baptized child is bound to serve God, and, if properly instructed (Matthew 28:19), it cannot evade the responsibilities thus laid upon it. Great is the guilt of a child brought up in a Christian home if wantonly it apostatizes. - J.O.

Attention is summoned for the reception of central truth, viz. the unity of the Godhead. At that period, this doctrine was in great peril. All the Orientals believed in "lords many and gods many." Science here confirms Scripture. The unity of design, running through all natural law and force, indicates clearly unity of the Creator. To know the true God is, for honest minds, to love him. But rebellion of heart has engendered repugnance towards God - dislike, hatred, enmity.


1. He is sole Monarch, incomparable and unapproachable. He dwells alone, higher than the highest creature. The disparity between him and an archangel is immeasurable,

2. He is absolutely perfect. Every attribute and quality that is essential to perfection is found in him. "He is light," having no dark shade anywhere.

3. He is the Source of life: Jehovah - the Living - the Life-giving. All we have, and are, and hope to be, is derived from him.

4. He has deigned to come into intimate relation with us. He has made a voluntary compact with us. He calls us his people. He allows us to call Lira our God. We have a proprietorship in him.

II. THIS GOD DESERVES THE CENTRAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS. Because of the moral beauty and essential goodness of our God, he is incomparably most worthy of human love. To give to any other a higher place in our affection than we give to God, would be an outrage against righteousness, fitness, and self-interest. For all these faculties and susceptibilities of the human heart have been fashioned by God himself, and have been fashioned for this very purpose, viz. that we should bestow our worthiest love on him. If this eternal design be frustrated, there is violence, disharmony, misery within. Such love is commanded. It is a duty as well as a privilege. Though we cannot instantly and summarily command our love, we can indirectly. We can fix our thought on the worthiest object of love. We can contemplate his charms. We can appreciate his goodness. We can assure ourselves of his love. It is to be an intelligent, reasonable, practical love.

III. THE LOVE OF THE LAWGIVER PRODUCES LOVE TO HIS LAW. Law is a projection of God's thought, a mirror of his mind, an overt act of love. The true child will highly esteem every known wish of its father. To have practical direction from an unseen father will be treasured as a choice token of that father's regard. If children, we shall hide every word of our father in our memory and in our love. Every wish of his heart will be a visible feature in our life. It may be painful to the flesh, but it will be pleasant to the soul. To the dutiful child, obedience is a luxury, a banquet of joy. "Oh! how I love thy Law!" exclaims the pious Psalmist. "Thy Law is within my heart." Thy Word is to me as honey, as the droppings of the honeycomb.

IV. LOVE IS THE MOTIVE-POWER OF SPEECH. The tongue is the servant of the heart. We speak freely and fluently of that which is dear to our hearts. The child will speak freely of its toys anti games, the farmer of his crops, the artist of his works. If men esteemed and valued God's Word, they would spontaneously converse of it, morning, noon, and night. It would be a painful restraint upon our desire if we withheld our speech. This precept of Moses need not be an external law imposed upon us from without; it may become the living law within, "the law of the Spirit of life."

V. LOVE CONSTRUCTS ITS WHOLE LIFE ON THE MODEL OF GOD'S LAW. The hand will become the instrument of righteousness. On it will be written God's Word, viz. industry, honesty, restraint, generous kindness, helpfulness. God's Word will be our ornament. Instead of gold and jewels upon the forehead, "our adornment will be" modesty, chastity, cheerfulness, moral beauty. God's Name will be indelibly inscribed upon our foreheads. Oar domestic affairs will be ordered by the Divine will. We shall write his Word on the posts of our houses. Every home in which love dwells will be a temple. Order, active piety, frugality, peace, mutual service, will be the principles conspicuous in godly homes. And our municipal and political life will be conducted on the same line of obedience. Legislation, justice, taxation, commerce, literature, art, will all be consecrated to God's glory. As the flowers of earth send their fragrance heavenward, so from every act of ours a fragrance of homage should ascend to God. - D.

I. THE GROUND OF IT. A just view of God. The view given in ver. 4 is as comprehensive as it is sublime. It embraces two parts mutually complementary.

1. God's absoluteness and unity - "Jehovah one."

2. God's personal relation to Israel - "Your God." The two are combined:

3. In the covenant name - "Jehovah." This, on the one hand, denotes God as the Eternal - the ever-living, the self-existent, and therefore self-consistent One. On the other, it gathers into its rich significance the love, and truth, and faithfulness of centuries of gracious revelation. It will not awaken love to God to think of him merely as absolute Deity. It is the discovery of what else is contained in the Divine essence; above all, the revelation of his love, grace, and covenant-keeping faithfulness, which attracts affection. While, without the revelation of God as one and absolute - exclusive, self-subsisting Deity - it would be impossible to raise the demand for love to the requisite moral height. In Jesus Christ the revelation of God reaches its highest point. Only the Son could reveal him in the fullness of his glory and love.

II. THE HEIGHT OF IT. It requires not merely that God should be loved, but loved with all the powers of our being, and with all the energy of these powers.

1. With clear intelligence - "mind" (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33).

2. With undivided affection ? "heart."

3. With entire self-surrender - "soul."

4. With strenuous energy - "might."

The right view of God is obviously presupposed in the command to love him. The command would be unmeaning as addressed to a polytheist, a pantheist, an agnostic, or even to a deist disbelieving in revelation. But this view of God being given, the demand, as obviously, could not be placed lower. God as Creator and Savior cannot accept a place in our affections lower than the supreme one. He will have this or none. It is due to our morally perverted state that this demand should ever be felt by us to be unreasonable. Pure beings would not feel it to be so. They would delight in the exercise of love to God, and find it natural and easy. The angels, Christ, the just made perfect, love the Father thus. Nor ought the height of this demand unduly to discourage us. Love to God is truly begotten, though not yet perfected, in every heart which has made choice of God as its supreme Portion, and cleaves to him with constancy. God has the ruling place in such a heart, and it needs but growth to raise our love to its required purity and vigor. What is left unattained on earth will be attained in heaven. - J.O.

A matter much insisted on in these addresses (cf. Deuteronomy 11:18-22). We learn -

I. THAT THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IS GOD'S WAY OF PERPETUATING VITAL RELIGION. Without this, religion would soon die out; with it, a holy seed will be kept up in times of greatest declension.

II. THAT THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN DEVOLVES PRIMARILY ON THE PARENT. The Church, Sunday schools, etc., may assist, but nothing can relieve the parent from this duty, or compensate for his neglect of it (Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:5).


1. Very diligently (ver. 7). It is to be gone about most painstakingly and systematically. "In thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." There is need for specific teaching at regular times, but the text indicates a broader view of this part of parental duty. An element pervading the whole life, blending with all occupation, insinuating its pleasant influence in all our intercourse with our children.

2. Very particularly (vers. 21-25). A specimen is given of the careful instruction parents are to study to impart.

3. Taking advantage of a child's natural curiosity (ver. 21). The principle of curiosity is strong in children. It early manifests itself in reference to religion. The Bible, with its delightful variety of story, parable, proverb, etc., is peculiarly adapted for the instruction of the young. - J.O.

The Law has as its essence love. In the family, love's home and circle, this Law is to be propagated. And here we are to notice -

I. PARENTS ARE TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES WITH GOD'S CAUSE. The Jews were directed to wear portions of the Law upon their persons. This is the sign of identification with it in a rude age. The idea is parental profession, a glad identification of themselves with the Lord's cause.

II. THE HOME IS ALSO TO BE CONSECRATED AS A GODLY HOME. God's Law was to be written on the posts of the house and on their gates. This, like the last, meant the identification of the house with God's cause. Now, there is as much difference between an ungodly home and a godly one as between an unconverted person and a converted one (cf. Pressense's 'La Famille Chrenenne,' a most admirable course of sermons).

III. THE CHILDREN ARE MANIFESTLY MEANT TO BE THE COMPANIONS OF THE PARENTS. The little ones are to have their parents' society at home and abroad, at morning and night (ver. 7). The mistake made by many parents is not making themselves sufficiently companionable. It is companionship that after all determines the bent of children.

IV. THE HOME TRAINING IS TO BE RELIGIOUS. God's Law is to be brought, in, morning, noon, and night, as the great interest. Of course, if parents are to do this as God intends, his Law must be a great personal interest to themselves. They must delight in it and love it, and make it a matter of study continually.

V. AMID THE SECULARITIES OF EDUCATION THE HOME MUST BE THE MAINSTAY OF RELIGION. With the parent the responsibility of training and interesting the children in religion eventually rests. To the well-ordering of Christian homes, Church and State must alike look as the last refuge. The adjustment of rival interests in education is well-nigh impossible, and so it becomes all the more needful that the home should be made to supply the religious element, whatever course educational arrangements and legislation may take.

VI. PROSPERITY MUST NOT ENGENDER ATHEISM. This is the warning here given to Israel. God might be forgotten amid the success and prosperity of Canaan. For it is prosperity, not adversity, which as a rule engenders atheism. The prosperity of the prodigal led him away to the far-off land of forgetfulness of God, while his adversity brought him back (Luke 15:11-32). - R.M.E.

The usages to which allusion is made suggest -

I. THE DUTY OF A HIGH VALUATION OF GOD'S COMMANDS. Only precepts highly valued would be treated as described.


1. By frequent reading of Scripture (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:11-16).

2. By frequent converse with others (Malachi 3:16).

3. By frequent recalling of God's words to our thoughts (Hebrews 2:3).

4. By the use of such expedients as experience suggests - a privately, marked Bible, etc.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF CARRYING GOD'S COMMANDMENTS INTO EVERY DETAIL OF LIFE. Hands, eyes, doorposts, etc.-our working, seeing, home occupations, etc. - J.O.

Secular prosperity is hazardous. Unless the ship have ample ballast in the hold, a strong gale, however favorable, will be likely to capsize the ship and bury her in the caverns of the sea. The greater our earthly abundance, the greater our need of religious principle.

I. WISE MEN INHERIT THE FRUIT OF OTHERS' LABORS. Under the leadership of God, the Hebrews inherited cities which the Canaanites had built, and vineyards which the Amorites had planted. If we knew all the facts of the case, we should admire this as an act of righteous wisdom. We do know that the iniquity of the Amorites was a cup full to the brim. The Hebrews, with all their faults, were a superior race. Similar displacements have gone on in all the lands of the world. It is an instance of the "survival of the fittest." Redeemed men are destined to be the lords of the earth. The Church shall possess and rule the world. "All things are ours." This inheritance of Canaan, with its cities and cattle and wealth, ought to have produced a deep sense of gratitude. All the Hebrews enjoyed they owed to the bountiful hand of God.

II. SUDDEN PROSPERITY IS A SEVERE STRAIN ON PIETY. The sense of daily and hourly dependence upon God for material food is an advantage; it is a constant incentive to gratitude and faith. Poor human nature cannot bear much indulgence. Poverty is more conducive to piety than wealth has ever been. Hence our Lord chose a state of poverty as most suited to his mission. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven!" So long as men continue in the flesh, they prefer a visible God to an invisible. So they say to gold, "Thou art my god." To be singular in religious belief and practice is always an arduous effort. The example of others has always been a sore temptation. Unless we can persuade them by the three of our superior faith, they are sure to bias us injuriously. Our safety lies in a stalwart and fearless piety.

III. TO FALL FROM THE FAVOR TO THE FROWN OF GOD IS IMMEASURABLE AND COMPLETE. It would have been better for their peace and their reputation not to have inherited the land, than to be ejected from it again. It is a tremendous calamity, having been lifted high, to be thrown down. The effect of disloyalty among the Hebrews would not simply be a replacement in their former state; it would be destruction from the face of the earth. In the realm of morals, we cannot descend to a station we had occupied aforetime. If there is declension, retrogression, fall, it must be to a lower level than float we formerly held. The penalties imposed by righteousness are complete and remediless. We may well "stand in awe and sin not." It is perilous in the extreme to "try" God's patience - to make experiments on the long-suffering of God. Suddenly, he "whets his glittering sword, and his hand takes hold on judgment."

IV. HOPE IS AN INSPIRATION OF STRENGTH. Although Moses has addressed to them these cautions, and pointed out these perils, he will not think so meanly of them as to forecast their fall. He will cherish in his own breast the bright hope of their loyalty. He will call into exercise their own best principles and aspirations. He confidently predicts their wise and upward course, and sketches before their eyes their future greatness and security. Herein is wise generalship. If hope kindles her lamp in the human breast, all is not lost. This is Heaven's cordial for a fainting soul. - D.

I. THE PRONENESS OF THE HEART TO ADMIT THE WORLD INTO GOD'S PLACE. (Ver. 12.) The tendency is universal. A result of the Fall, in subverting the original constitution of man's nature. That result twofold:

1. In giving to the worldly and sensuous principles in the soul an undue predominance; while:

2. Destroying that love of God, and sense of dependence on him, which would counteract their operation. There may be no "going after other gods" in the sense of ver. 14, yet the first commandment may be broken by making the world itself our god - giving it the place of the true God in our affections. The principle of worldliness usually operates secretly. The heart is "secretly enticed," does not perceive the progress of its declensions (Hosea 7:9), fights against the admission of it (Revelation 3:17).

II. THE PECULIAR CONNECTION OF THIS TEMPTATION WITH PROSPERITY, (Vers. 10, 11.) Not, indeed, so peculiarly connected with it, but that the poor man may fall into the same snare. But riches unquestionably constitute a temptation which few succeed in resisting (cf. Deuteronomy 8:11-19; Proverbs 30:8, 9; Matthew 19:22-27; 1 Timothy 6:9, 10, 17, etc.). The temptation is the greater:

1. If worldly possessions are very abundant (ver. 11).

2. If the prosperity, is sudden (vers. 10, 11).

3. If it is freely enjoyed (ver. 11) - "hast eaten, and art full" (Deuteronomy 8:10).

III. THE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST THIS TEMPTATION. There are safeguards. Bible examples show that riches may be used with glory to God, happiness to self, and good to mankind (Abraham, Joseph, Job, Daniel, etc.). Among the foremost we would place the cultivation of a thankful spirit (cf. Deuteronomy 8:10) - the remembrance of God as the Giver of what we have; also the remembrance of God's past mercies to us (vers. 12, 13). Other safeguards are:

1. Serving God with our possessions (ver. 13). The serving will include serving with our wealth, using what he has given for his glory, as good stewards, and not luxuriously and wastefully spending all on self (Luke 12:15-21).

2. Making public acknowledgment of God (ver. 13). The spirit of this command is kept by being willing, on all proper occasions, boldly and without shame to avow God to be our God. The man of wealth who will do this is carried at one stroke above half the dangers of his position.

3. Non-conformity to the world's ways (ver. 14). It is not easy to avoid being led away by fashion, love of appearance, social custom, etc. The good man will beware of the snare, and keep aloof (Romans 12:2).

IV. THE PENALTY OF YIELDING TO THE TEMPTATION. (Ver. 15.) God's wrath is kindled and destroys the transgressor.

1. He is destroyed spiritually.

"2. He may be temporally (Psalm 37:35; Psalm 73:18, 19).

"3. He will be eternally. - J. O.

- Wealth has its temptations; so has poverty. It incites to unbelieving murmurs, and to a spirit called here "tempting the Lord."

I. THE NATURE OF THIS SIN. The peculiarity of it deserves to be carefully studied. It

In the Mosaic economy, the parental office is made prominent, and parental influence is pressed into service. All God's arrangements for training mankind dovetail into one another.

I. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROVOKE RELIGIOUS INQUIRY. No greater folly can be perpetrated than the attempt to repress inquiry. Inquiry is the king's highway to wisdom, and who dare block it up? God loves to hear honest inquiry. To afford instruction is the delight of the Divine Spirit, but what instruction will be valued if no spirit of inquiry is awake? Some questions which we ask can never be solved; they are beyond the range of the human mind. Some questions God will not answer, because they are vain and useless. But honest questions, with a view to practical obedience, God delights to hear. You can do the young no better service than encourage their minds to inquire after religious facts. "What mean these things?"

II. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO ANSWER FULLY CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS. It is childish folly to attempt to conceal our lowly origin. There is no real disgrace in an obscure parentage. To have been formerly enslaved, or imprisoned, or oppressed, through man's injustice, is an honor, not a stigma of reproach. There is no real shame, except such as proceeds from wrong-doing. It will do us good, it will do our children good, to see the "rock whence we were hewn, the hole of the pit from which we were digged." It will foster humility, gratitude, contentment, trust. It will lead us afresh to adore the Divine goodness, and to count ourselves and our children the servants of this mighty God. Never let true Israelites forget that all they have they owe to God! Unto this state of happy privilege a Divine hand has brought us.

III. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO OPEN UP GOD'S BENEFICENT INTENTION. If any man is too indolent to investigate truth for his own sake, he may be provoked to do it for his children's sake. We should have such a firm conviction that every arrangement and command of God was "for our good always," that we can demonstrate it to our children. Our knowledge of God and of his practical dealings should be so broad and clear that we might see and feel that his care for our good was paramount. This is the first and loftiest end he seeks - not our enjoyment, but our good. Not to demonstrate his power, or his consistency, or his determination to conquer, - these are not his foremost aims, but "our good always." His costliest deed of condescension was the yielding of his Son to death. And where shall we seek the moving principle? In his own future glory merely? No! In his love for the world! Yet his glory, and man's real good, are but the separate threads that make one cord.

IV. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROMOTE HIS CHILDREN'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. "It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments." No more conclusive argument can parents use; no loftier end can they contemplate. To become righteous - this is to be the lofty ideal we set before our children. But commensurate with the grand acquisition must be the care that we promote it by proper and practicable methods. It is impossible for guilty men to regain righteousness by their own efforts or merits. But real righteousness is provided for us by the bounty of God, and is offered to us in Christ as a free gift. "He hath brought in everlasting righteousness, which is for all and upon all that believe." Our ambition for our children must be the highest - not that they be richly dowered, or learned, or placed in earthly rank, but that they may be internally and thoroughly righteous. - D.

As contrasted with Pauline sayings, the text is an illustration of the maxim, "On the outside of things look for differences, on the inside for likenesses" (Hare). The form is that of the Law, the spirit is that of Christ, whose gospel is the key to the Law's utterances.

I. A REQUIREMENT WHICH ONE ONLY, VIZ. CHRIST, HAS PERFECTLY FULFILLED. "This is the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6). He "is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4). How? In the strictly legal, as in the strict ideal sense, righteousness requires an absolutely perfect fulfillment of every one of God's commandments. The Jewish covenant required no less. The Jews were to live in their righteousness, i.e. in perfect keeping of the whole Law. But in point of fact, no Jew ever rendered perfect obedience. In many things, like others, he offended, and the covenant footing was only maintained through daily pardon of daily offences. Christ is our Redeemer from the curse thus entailed by transgression (Galatians 3:13). As the Lord's righteous Servant, and Fulfiller of the Law, he has implemented the condition of acceptance in such a way that his obedience carries with it results to others as well as to himself (Romans 5:17-21). In him the believer is justified. He claims him as the Lord his Righteousness. Christ has for him at once fulfilled the Law's precept, and abolished its penalty. Sinful in himself, in Christ his sins are covered, and justification is obtained (Romans 3:22-27; Romans 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

II. A REQUIREMENT WHICH BELIEVERS IS CHRIST ARE ENABLED TO FULFILL, THOUGH IMPERFECTLY, YET ACCEPTABLY. The utmost that the Jew could render was that imperfect but sincere obedience which is still the mark of the true believer. The believer's duty is to render a perfect obedience; his privilege is that, falling short of this, his sincere though faulty obedience will be graciously accepted for the sake of Christ. In harmony with his calling, it was to be the Jew's aim to realize the righteousness which the Law set before him. But in his inability to do this the weakness of the Law revealed itself, and in contrast with this weakness (Romans 8:3) is the power of the gospel, enabling the believer to triumph, and to bring forth fruit unto holiness, the end of which is everlasting life (Romans 6:22). This also is a "righteousness of faith," as springing from faith, and rendered possible through it. It is his righteousness, yet in a deeper sense not his, but Christ's, for it is the work of Christ living in him (Galatians 2:20). It is not the ground of acceptance, but a result of it; not a title to heaven, but meetness for it. It is itself a gift of grace, part of Christ's salvation (Matthew 5:6; Ephesians 5:9, 10; Philippians 2:12, 13; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:7-10; with Romans 6., 7., 8.). - J.O.

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