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LADY OF THE MANOR,
Second Commandment.-Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven Image, nor the Likeness of any Thing that is in Heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or in the Water under the Earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the Sins of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate me, and shew Mercy unto Thousands in them that love me, and keep my Commandments.
THE lady of the manor opened the conversation this evening, by requesting one of the young people to repeat the second commandment, which was accordingly done.
"Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and visit the sins of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shew mercy unto thousands in them that love me, and keep my commandments."
When the young lady had finished the repetition of this commandment, some person in company asked the lady
JUN 7 '39 ALLEN
of the manor to have the kindness to explain to her the precise distinction between the duties enforced by the first and the second commandment; adding, that it appeared to her that every obligation enjoined by the first commandment, seemed to be equally inculcated by the second; and those of the second in like manner inculcated by the first. The young lady apologized for making this request, and at the same time expressed her assurance that the Almighty would not have given two commandments where one was sufficient, although she could not satisfactorily discern the difference between them.
The lady of the manor answered, that the commandments of God would always be found so to hang together, that each involved duties enforced by some or all of the others, insomuch that no one commandment could ever be singly and solely broken; and that hence might be found another solution besides that which is commonly received of the following expression-Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James ii. 10.)
"There is a perfection and agreement," continued she, "in the commandments, which will appear more and more in proportion as we consider their several partsa holy harmony which admits not of the slightest discord; from whence arises the absurdity of supposing that any thing like an imperfect obedience can be acceptable to God. However, to answer your question, my dear young friend, and to state my opinion to you on this subject as accurately as possible, I must inform you, that, with respect to the commandments in question, it appears to me that the second may be considered as the first commandment assuming a more express and palpable form. The first commandment has respect to the feelings of the heart and its affections, forbidding the undue estimation of any created object; whereas the second commandment especially refers to every external form of idolatrous worship. This latter commandment prohibits the worship which is offered to idols, or false gods, whether celestial or terrestial, whether in heaven above or in the earth beneath. It also forbids the making or forming of any images, or likenesses, of the true God. It likewise forbids the introduction of all human inventions into the worship of the true God, requiring that we should keep
ourselves free from all the contagious influences of heathen abominations, according to the solemn injunctions recorded in Deuteronomy xii. 30, 31, 32.-Take heed to thyself, that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Finally, it forbids our adoption of heathen manners and customs, by no means allowing us to make their mythological writings our guides, teaching them to our little ones, extolling their beauties, or holding them up as standards of morality to the admiration of our friends and associates.
"The Almighty," continued the lady, 66 represents himself in the second commandment, and in many other parts of Scripture, as a jealous God, as one who will have no rival in the affections of his people. He compares himself in other passages of the Word to a husband, while the Church is represented as his bride, as one purchased and washed with his blood. And under this tender appellation of a husband he condescends to solicit the affections of his people; as in Isaiah liv. 5, 6, where we find the following words-For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee
as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.”
The lady of the manor then proceeded to observe, that as she had already pointed out to her young people how the first commandment was frequently violated in Christian societies, she should now go on to notice the various modes in which the second commandment was broken in the present day by persons calling themselves Christians, and even by such as are accustomed to consider themselves as the most enlightened and best instructed of the age.
"Idolatry," continued she, "has been the grand engine