Elswick Church

The Ten Commandments - Thomas Watson


If God spoke all the words of the moral law (the Ten Commandments), several duties are enjoined upon us.  If God spoke all these words then:

(1) We must HEAR all these words.

The words which God speaks are too precious to be lost.  As we would have God hear all our words when we pray, so we must hear all his words when he speaks.  We must not be as the deaf adder, which stops her ears.  He who stops his ears when God cries, shall cry himself and not be heard.

(2) We must attend to them with REVERENCE.

Every word of the moral law is an oracle from heaven.  God himself is the preacher, which calls for reverence.  If a judge gives a charge from the bench, all attend with reverence.  In the moral law God himself gives a charge, “God spoke all these words!”  With what veneration, therefore, should we attend!  Moses took off his shoes from his feet, in token of reverence, when God was about to speak to him (Exodus3.5-6).

(3) We must REMEMBER them.

Surely all which God speaks is worth remembering.  Those words are weighty, which concern salvation.  “It is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life” (Deuteronomy 32.47).  Our memory should be like the chest in the ark, where the law was kept.  God’s oracles are ornaments, and shall we forget them?  “Does a young woman forget her jewelry?  Does a bride hide her wedding dress?  No!  Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me” (Jeremiah 2.32).

(4) We must BELIEVE them.

See the name of God written upon every commandment.  The heathens, in order to gain credit to their laws, reported that they were inspired by the gods at Rome.  The moral law fetches its pedigree from heaven.  God spoke all these words.  Shall we not give credit to the God of heaven?  How would the angel confirm the women in the resurrection of Christ?  “Lo, I have told you” (Matthew 28.7).  I speak in the word of an angel.  Much more should the moral law be believed, when it comes to us in the Word of God.  “God spoke all these words.”  Unbelief enervates the virtue of God’s Word, and makes it prove abortive.  “The Word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith” (Hebrews 4.2).  Eve gave more credit to the devil when he spoke than she did to God!

(5) We must LOVE the commandments.

“Oh, how love I your law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119.97). “Consider how I love your precepts” (Psalm 119.159).  The moral law is the copy of God’s will, our spiritual directory; it shows us what sins to avoid, what duties to pursue.  The ten commandments are a chain of pearls to adorn us, they are our treasury to enrich us; they are more precious than lands of spices, or rocks of diamonds.  “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver” (Psalm 119.72).  The law of God has truth and goodness in it (Nehemiah 9.13).  Truth, for God spoke it; and goodness, for there is nothing the commandment enjoins but it is for our good.  O then, let this command our love.

(6) We must TEACH our children the law of God.

“These words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6.6-7).  He who is godly, is both a diamond and a loadstone: a diamond for the sparkling of his grace, and a loadstone for his attractive virtue in drawing others to the love of God’s precepts.  “A godly man benefits others more than himself.”  You who are parents, discharge your duty.  Though you cannot impart grace to your children, yet you may impart knowledge.  Let your children know the commandments of God.  “You shall teach them your children” (Deuteronomy 11.19).  You are careful to leave your children a portion: leave the oracles of heaven with them; instruct them in the law of God.  If God spoke all these words, you may well speak them over again to your children.

(7) The moral law must be OBEYED.

If a king speaks, his word commands allegiance; much more, when God speaks, must his words be obeyed.  Some will obey partially, obey some commandments, not others; like a plough, which, when it comes to a stiff piece of earth, makes a baulk.  But God, who spoke all the words of the moral law, will have all obeyed.  He will not dispense with the breach of one law.  Princes, indeed, for special reasons, sometimes dispense with penal statutes, and will not enforce the severity of the law; but God, who spoke all these words, binds men with a subpoena to yield obedience to every law.


The Ten Commandments, pages 14-15.

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