Deuteronomy 5:10
but showing loving devotion to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
The DecalogueR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 5:1-21
Reminiscences of HorebJ. Orr Deuteronomy 5:1-33
The Divine Plan for the Conduct of Our Life on EarthD. Davies Deuteronomy 5:6-21
A Jealous GodJ. P. Newman, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
God is a SpiritJames Owen.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
Incitements to Keeping God's CommandsK. H. Caspari.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
Our Two-Fold HeritageA. H. Moncur Sime.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Idolatry of Civilised MenDean Church.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Law of HeredityG. S. Barrett, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Lord is a Jealous GodChristian ObserverDeuteronomy 5:8-10
The Second CommandmentDean Farrar.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Second CommandmentR. Wardlaw, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Second CommandmentG. Campbell Morgan.Deuteronomy 5:8-10
The Sins of the Fathers Visited on the ChildrenJohn Pelling, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:8-10


1. By Scripture instances (Joshua 7:24; 2 Samuel 12:14; 1 Kings 21:21, 29, etc.).

2. By observation and experience. The case of children suffering in mind, body, character, and fortune, as the result of the sins of parents, is one of the commonest and saddest things in life.

3. Science. The law of heredity. (For illustrations, see Rev. Joseph Cook's 'Lectures.')

4. Literature. Especially do the Greek tragedies give expression to, and strikingly work out, this thought.

II. A FACT MYSTERIOUS, YET TO BE VIEWED IN THE LIGHT OF VARIOUS RELIEVING CONSIDERATIONS. The difficulty is one of natural, quite as much as of revealed, religion. The following considerations relieve it only in part:

1. Every original disadvantage will be taken into account by the Searcher of hearts in estimating personal responsibility (Luke 13:48).

2. The final judgment on a man's character will turn, not on inherited tendencies, but on what he has made himself by his own moral determinations (Ezekiel 18.).

3. The less favorable conditions in which the sins of parents have placed the individual cannot turn to his ultimate disadvantage if he struggle well and persevere to the end (see 'Speaker's Commentary' on Exodus 20:5).

4. It is open to the evil-doer to cut off the entail of punishment by choosing for himself the way of righteousness (Ezekiel 18:15-18). God is reluctant to contemplate the heritage of evil descending further than the third or fourth generation, while thousands of generations are spoken of in connection with the blessing.

5. Experience of the effects of a parent's evil-doing is designed to act as a deterrent from like sins. The child is less likely to imitate the parents' vices, suffering these results, than if entirely exempt.

6. The Law is the consequence of a constitution of society originally intended for the conveyance, not of evils, but of blessings. This is a consideration of importance as throwing light on the equity, as well as on the goodness, of Divine providence. The design of the organic constitution of society is obviously to hand down to succeeding generations the moral gains of those which precede. It is sin which has wrought the mischief, reversing the operation of a constitution in itself beneficent, and making that which is good work death to so many.

Lesson - The tremendous responsibility of parents, and of all who have it in their power to influence the destinies of posterity. - J.O.

The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
God was ever wonderful in His works, and fearful in His judgments — but He was never so terrible in the execution of His will as now in the promulgation of it. Here was nothing but a display of grandeur in the eyes, in the ears of the Israelites, as if God meant to show them by this how dreadful He could be. In the destruction of the first world there were clouds — in the destruction of Sodom there was fire; but here were fires, smoke, clouds, thunder, earthquakes, and whatsoever might work more astonishment than was ever in any vengeance inflicted. And if the law, were thus given, how shall it be required? If such were the proclamation of God's statutes, what shall be His tribunal? The trumpet of an angel called to the one — the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God, shall summon us to the other. Of the one, Moses, who alone witnessed it, saith, "God came with the multitude of His saints"; in the other, thousand thousands shall minister unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand shall stand before Him. In the one, Mount Sinai only was in a flame, — all the world shall be so in the other. In the one there were thunders and fires; in the other, a fiery stream shall proceed from Him, whereby the elements shall melt with fervent heat — the heavens and earth shall be dissolved — they shall flee away, and have no place. God would have Israel see that they had not a Governor whose commands might be neglected or trifled with; and therefore, before He gives His people a law, He shows them that He can command heaven, earth, water, fire, air, by the mere signification of His will — thus teaching them that it was a fearful thing to displease such a Legislator, or violate such statutes — while they beheld the elements examples of that obedience, which man should always yield to his Maker. O royal law, and mighty Lawgiver! How could they think of having any other God, that had such evidence of the Divine power of the God of Israel? How could they think of making any resemblance of Him, whom they could not see, but whom they knew to be infinite? How could they dare to profane His name, who proclaimed Himself to them by the incommunicable name of Jehovah? How could they refuse to observe His sacred day, when they saw Him command those luminaries by which days and years are measured? How could they refuse to render honour and fear to those who derive their authority from God, when they saw Him able to assert His own and maintain that of His vicegerents upon earth? How could they think of killing, when they were so strongly affected with the fear of Him who thus manifested Himself able to save and to destroy? How could they think of the flames of impure desires, who beheld such fires of vengeance? How could they think of stealing from others, when they saw who was Lord of heaven and earth, from whom their neighbour derived all his possessions? How could they think of speaking falsely, when they heard the God of truth speak in so tremendous a voice? How could they think of coveting what was another's, when they saw how weak and uncertain a right they had to what was their own? Lord, to us was this moral law delivered, as well as to them. The letter and ceremonial is passed away; the spirit remains, and shall remain to the end of time. There had not been such state in Thy promulgation of it, if Thou hadst not intended it for eternity. How should we, who comply with human laws to avoid some trifling forfeiture, how should we fear Thee, O God, who art able to cast both soul and body into hell!

(Bp. Hall.)

Who are all of us here alive this day
I. THIS TEXT APPLIES TO MANY THIS DAY TO WHOM IT WAS NOT APPLICABLE LAST YEAR. Thousands have been born in the course of this year.

II. THE TEXT APPLIED TO MANY LAST YEAR TO WHOM IT IS NOT NOW APPLICABLE. They were then alive, but now they are inhabitants of the tomb, and their souls have entered the eternal state. Of these, many classes might be specified.

1. Some who were expecting it. Aged, infirm, afflicted, who were daily awaiting their dismissal.

2. Some who were reckoning on many years to come. Young, healthy, hearts full of life; but they perished as the flower. "Their sun went down while it was yet day."

3. Some, we fear, died unprepared. Aliens to God; strangers to repentance, faith, and holiness.

4. Many, we trust, died in the Lord. Race ended; warfare accomplished; crown received; forever with the Lord.


1. And it is wonderful that we are so. Amidst so many dangers, diseases, and death.

2. Is entirely owing to the goodness and patience of God.

3. We are alive under increasing responsibilities. Many blessings have been given to us this year, for all of which we must give an account: talents, time, opportunities, Sabbaths, sermons, etc.

4. Being alive should fill us with hearty gratitude to God. Our lips, hearts, and lives should show forth His praise.

5. As we are alive, let us now resolve to live more than ever to God, and for eternity.


(J. Burns, D. D.)

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