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Master. Why is this abridgment of the faith termed with the name of a symbol?
Scholar. A symbol is as much as to say, as a sign, mark, privy token, or watchword, whereby the soldiers of one camp are known from their enemies. For this reason the abridgment of the faith, whereby the Christians are known from them that be no Christians, is rightly named a symbol.
Master. First, tell me somewhat what thou thinkest of the Law, and then afterward of the Creed, or symbol.
Scholar. I shall do, good Master, with a good will, as you command me. The Lord God hath charged us by Moses, that we have none other God at all but him; that is to say, that we take him alone for our one only God, our Maker and Saviour. That we reverence not, nor worship any portraiture, or any image whatsoever, whether it be painted, carved, graven, or by any mean fashioned, howsoever it be. That we take not the name of our Lord God in vain that is, either in a matter of no weight, or of no truth. Last of all, this ought we to hold stedfastly and with devout conscience;-that we keep holily and religiously the Sabbath day; which was appointed out from the other for rest and service of God.
Master. Very well. Now hast thou rehearsed unto me the laws of the first table; wherein is, in a sum, contained the knowledge and true service of God. Go forward, and tell me which be the duties of charity, and our love toward men.
Scholar. Do you ask me, Master, what I think of the other part of the law, which is commonly called the second table?
Master. Thou sayest true, my son; that is it indeed that I would fain hear of.
Scholar. I will in few words dispatch it, as my simple wit will serve me. Moses hath knit it up in a short sum: that is, that with all loving affection we honour and reverence our father and mother. That we kill no man. That we commit no adultery. That we steal nothing. That we bear false witness against none. Last of all, that we covet nothing that is our neighbour's.
Master. How is that commandment of the honouring father and mother to be understood?
Scholar. Honour of father and mother containeth love, fear, and reverence; yea, and it further standeth in obeying, succouring, defending, and nourishing them if need require. It bindeth us also most humbly, and with most natural affection, to obey the magistrates, to reverence the ministers of the Church, our schoolmasters, with all our elders and betters.
Master. What is contained in that commandment, Do not kill?
Scholar. That we hate, wrong, or revile no man. Moreover, it commandeth us that we love even our foes; do good to them that hate us; and that we pray for all prosperity and good hap to our very mortal enemies.
Master. The commandment of not committing adultery, what thinkest thou it containeth?
Scholar. Forsooth, this commandment containeth many things: for it forbiddeth not only to talk with another man's wife, or any other woman unchastely; but also to touch her, yea, or to cast an eye at her wantonly; or with lustful look to behold her; or by
any unhonest mean to woo her, either ourselves, or by any other in our behalf; finally, herein is debarred all kind of filthy and straying lust.
Master. What thinkest thou of the commandment, not to steal?
Scholar. I shall shew you as briefly as I have done the rest if it please you to hear me. It commandeth us to beguile no man; to occupy no unlawful wares ; to envy no man his wealth; and to think nothing profitable that either is not just, or differeth from right and honesty; briefly, rather willingly lose that is thine own, than thou wrongfully take that is another's, and turn it to thine own commodity.
Master. How may that commandment be kept of bearing no false witness?
Scholar. If we neither ourselves speak any false er vain lie, nor allow it in other, either by speech or silence, or by our present company. But we ought always to maintain truth, as place and time serveth.
Master. Now remaineth the last commandment, of not coveting any thing that is our neighbour's, what meaneth that?
Scholar. This law doth generally forbid all sorts of evil lusts; and commandeth us to bridle and restrain all greedy unsatiable desires of our will, which holdeth not itself within the bounds of right and reason: and it willeth that each man be content with his estate. But whosoever coveteth more than right, with the loss of his neighbour, and wrong to another, he breaketh and bitterly looseth the bond of charity and fellowship among men. Yea, and upon him (unless he amend) the Lord God, the most stern
revenger of the breaking his law, shall execute most grievous punishment. On the other side, he that liveth according to the rule of these laws, shall find both praise and bliss, and God also his merciful and bountiful good Lord.
THE doom of the worshippers of idols is thus declared on the highest authority, "They shall be ashamed and also confounded all of them; they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols." Various are the idols which the sons and daughters of men set up in their hearts, and thus rob the One true God of the honour due unto his name. The crime of idolatry, whatever form it may assume, is marked by a malignity peculiarly its own; it was ever that crime which provoked in an especial manner the displeasure of that august Being who has emphatically declared, "My glory will I not give unto another." It is indeed true that in this favoured land of Gospel light and knowledge, we are not so degraded as to bow down to images of wood and stone: blessed be God the dark clouds of heathen superstition have rolled over our native isle, and are passed away: "Our light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us ;" but still are we guiltless of the sin of idolatry? is there no, form of idolatry to utter the voice of condemnation against us do we set such an overwhelming value on our spiritual privileges that all other things are but as
dust in the balance? idols which engage our affections, there is the idol of Pleasure; there is the idol of Wealth; there is the idol of Interest; and there is the idol of Ambition. To some, perhaps to all of these, the natural man yields the homage of obedience. But the moment is fast approaching when pleasure shall lose its fascination and its charm; there is a day too wherein " riches shall not profit,” and it is the day of wrath: the voice of ambition also shall be without its thrilling power when the earth shall be burnt up amidst the last fires of dissolving nature. The doom of all idolatry is irrevocably fixed: those who serve the creature more than the Creator shall be brought to a fearful account: idolatry under any and every form is an abomination to the Lord. High and low, rich and poor, fall into the sin of idolatry; but unless they repent, unless they renounce the idols of vanity they have chosen, that awfully impressive passage of Scripture shall be realized in their experience, "They shall be ashamed and also confounded all of them, they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols." CHARLES.
Amidst the vast variety of
THE influence of true religion is universally felt; its hallowing power is shed over the entire man. Not one, but all the faculties of the soul are penetrated by and moulded into the the spirit of Gospel loveliness and beauty. The understanding is enlightened to understand and appreciate the truths of God; the