The Character of the Decalogue
Exodus 20:1-2
And God spoke all these words, saying,…

I. THE DECALOGUE IS IN FORM PROHIBITIVE. A solemn witness to the Fall. A bell to awaken conscience.

II. Although the Decalogue is in form prohibitive, yet IN SPIRIT IT IS AFFIRMATIVE. A negative pole implies a positive. The Ten Words are divinely covenantal, rather than divinely statutory. Law is never as imperial as love.

III. The Ten Words or Commandments are in their character GERMINAL AND SUGGESTIVE, RATHER THAN UNFOLDED AND EXHAUSTIVE. They are the rudimental principles of morality, the germs of ethics, the seminary, or seedplot, of religion.

IV. But although the Ten Commandments are rudimental in their form, they are also ELEMENTAL IN THEIR MEANING, AND THEREFORE UNIVERSAL AND IMMORTAL IN THEIR APPLICATION. Just because they are germs, they are capable of all growth, or unfolding along the lines suggested in the embryo. In brief, the Ten Commandments are the axioms of morals, the summary of ethics, the itinerary of mankind, the framework of society, the vertebral column of humanity.

(G. D. Boardman.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And God spake all these words, saying,

WEB: God spoke all these words, saying,

Of the Commandments
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