You must not steal. You must not lie or deceive one another.
|Discredit Gained by Falsehood||Leviticus 19:11|
|Prolific Lying||J. Trapp.||Leviticus 19:11|
|Stealing Discouraged||Dr. Richardson.||Leviticus 19:11|
|Truth a Handle to Lying||H. W. Beecher.||Leviticus 19:11|
|Truth-Telling||Mrs. Spurgeon.||Leviticus 19:11|
|Religion and Superstition||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 26-28, 30-32, 36, 37|
|Social Morality||R.M. Edgar ||Leviticus 19:1-37|
|Honour to Whom Honor||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:3, 32|
|The Holy Law in the Holy Life||R.A. Redford ||Leviticus 19:3-37|
|Kindliness||J.A. Macdonald ||Leviticus 19:9-14|
|Considerateness||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:9, 10, 13, 14, 33, 34|
|Integrity||W. Clarkson ||Leviticus 19:11, 13, 15, 16, 35, 36|
The Jews have always been considered a cunning and crafty race; they have been credited with a willingness to overreach in business dealings. Men would rather have transactions with others than with them, lest they should find themselves worsted in the bargain. This suspicion may be well founded; but if it be so, it ought to be remembered that it is the consequence of the long and cruel disadvantages under which they have suffered, and is not clue to anything in their own blood or to any defect in their venerable Law. From the beginning they have been as strictly charged to live honourable and upright lives before man as to engage regularly in the worship of God. They have been as much bound to integrity of conduct as to devoutness of spirit. In these few verses we find them called to -
I. INTEGRITY IN DAILY TRANSACTIONS - HONESTY. "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely" (verse 11). "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him" (verse 13; see verses 35, 36). Nothing could be more explicit than this, nothing more comprehensive in suggestion. No member of the Hebrew commonwealth could
(1) deliberately appropriate what he knew was not his own, or
(2) rob his neighbour in the act of trading, or
(3) deal falsely or unrighteously in any transaction or in any relation, without consciously breaking the Law and coming under the displeasure of Jehovah.
The words of the Law are clear and strong, going straight to the understanding and to the conscience. Every man amongst them must have known, as every one amongst us knows well, that dishonesty is sin in the sight of God.
II. INTEGRITY IN OFFICIAL DUTY - JUSTICE. (Verse 15.) It is a pitiful thought that, in every nation, justice has been open to corruption; that men placed in honourable posts in order to do justice between man and man have either sold it to the highest bidder or surrendered and betrayed it from craven fear. God's clear word condemns such rank injustice, and his high displeasure follows the perpetrator of it. He who undertakes to judge his fellows must do so in the fear of God, and if he swerves from his integrity in his public acts, he must lay his account with heaven if not with man.
III. INTEGRITY IN WORD - TRUTH. "Ye shall not lie one to another" (verse 11). This, too, is a universal sin. Some nations may be more prone to it than others, The weak and the oppressed are too ready to take refuge in it; it is the resort of the feeble and the fearful But it is also used with shameful freedom and shocking unconcern, as an instrument of gain and power. God has revealed his holy hatred of it. "Ye shall not lie." "Lying lips are abomination to the Lord;" "the Lord hateth a lying tongue" (Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 6:17). Under the gospel of Christ, we are earnestly warned against it (Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9). We are reminded that it is
(1) a wrong done to our fellow-men ("we are members," etc.), and
(2) closely associated with heather habits (the "old man," etc.); and we may remember that it is
(3) a habit most demoralizing to ourselves, as well as
(4) something which utterly separates us from our Lord, being so contrary to his Spirit and so grievous in his sight. - C.
— A lie always needs a truth for a handle to it, else the hand would cut itself which sought to drive it home upon another. The worst lies, therefore, are those whose blade is false, but whose handle is true.
Ye shall not steal.
The illustrious Joseph Priestley tells us in his Memoir that he was influenced in his very earliest life by an act of his mother, who died when he was seven years old. He had returned from visiting his cousins, and had brought home a pin. "Where did you get that pin from, Joseph?" said his mother. "I brought it from my cousins'." "Then," she said, "it is not yours — take it back"; and he was gently and lovingly, yet firmly, made to take it back. So great was the impression made on his mind that afterwards not the smallest detail of wrong could he ever think of without being influenced by the recollection of that simple admonition. Such is the influence upon the young life of all that it sees. It is the tabula rasa
on which you write your words and thoughts in the deeds that are yet to come.
Neither lie one to another.
When Aristotle was asked what a man could gain by telling a falsehood, he replied, "Never to be credited when he tells the truth."
I remember some years ago, when living in a country town in Kent, the superintendent of our Sunday School saying: "We are to have an address this afternoon. Mr. Waters has asked to say a few words to us." True to hit promise he soon came into the chapel, and all eyes were on him. "My dear teachers, you often think you labour in vain, but it is not so; I want to encourage you this afternoon. This last week I have met with two circumstances which have pleased me much. One day I was in my shop, when a stone came through the window. I went to the door; there were a good many boys in the road; I called out, 'Who broke my window?' No answer. I then asked several of them, but all said, 'No, not me.' Just then a little lad stepped up and said, 'I am very sorry, sir, but I did it.' 'But how is it, my lad, that you own to it? Come in and tell me.' 'Sir, I go to the Sunday School, and I can't tell a lie.' Well done, John Rolfe, I have come here this afternoon to give you a shilling — not for breaking my window, no, no, but for speaking the truth, and practising what you hear."
()One sin entertained fetcheth in another; a lie especially, which being a tinkerly, blushful sin, is either denied by the liar, who is ashamed to be taken with it, or else covered by another and another lie, as we see in Jacob, who, being once over shoes will be over boots too but he will persuade his father that he is his very son Esau.
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