“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17

Readings

Jeremiah 31:27-40 · Matthew 5:13-26 · Psalm 33:1-11

Sermon

The “Law” is summed up in the Commandments, which were given from Sinai and were called the “covenant” with the children of Israel.

In Leviticus we read: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them… I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”

There are passages in both the Old and New Testaments which have been interpreted to imply that the commandments will sometime be suspended or outgrown and other laws will take their place. Those who take this view call attention to the fact that Jeremiah tells of a time when the Lord will make a new covenant with His people: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord,” and that the Lord says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time… But I say unto you…”

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“Take heed, and beware of covetousness,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” – Luke 12:15

Readings

Micah 2 · Luke 12:1-21 · Psalm 103:1-18

Sermon

The commandments are a summary of the Divine laws for angels and for men. They were given by the voice of the Lord from Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai rises abruptly from a large plain about twelve miles long, large enough for the encampment of all the children of Israel, so they could both see and hear.

The commandments were written on two tables of stone, the first table defining our relation to God and the second our relation to each other. The first table teaches us the necessity of worshiping the true God, and Him alone. We are not to set up false gods of our own imagining. The second table gives the laws necessary to any secure social or civic life, which flow from those on the first table. All of the commandments are necessary to the acquiring and perfecting of a Christian character. For this two things are necessary: a clear and distinct knowledge of what is right, and a conscientious practice of this knowledge. We can have knowledge without practice, and the world is full of examples of this, but we cannot have practice without knowledge.

The command to avoid covetousness is the last of the commandments. To covet means to have an inordinate desire. It does not mean a proper desire for the things we need and do not have, or those things which we do not have which would enable us to perform greater service to others.

If we do not keep this last commandment, we will not keep any of the others. For the only way to keep men from committing sin is to keep them from desiring it in their hearts. We recall that one of Swedenborg’s rules of life was “To be always resigned and content under the dispensation of the Divine Providence.” Man is in very truth judged from his deeds, but no further than insofar and in such a manner as his deeds have proceeded from his will.

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