The Commandments by George MacDonald


These are the holy ten commands
Which came to us from God’s own hands
By Moses, who thus did his will
On the top of Sinai’s hill.

I am the Lord thy God alone;
Of Gods besides thou shalt have none;
Thou shalt thyself trust all to me,
And love me right heartily.

Thou shalt not speak like idle word
The name of God who is thy Lord;
As right or good thou shalt not praise
Except what God does and says.

Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day,
That rest thou and thy household may;
From thine own work thou must keep free,
That God his work have in thee.

Honour thou shall and shalt obey
Thy father and thy mother alway;
To serve them ready be thy hand
That thou live long in the land.

In anger hot thou shalt not kill,
Nor hate, nor take revenge for ill;
Be patient and of gentle mood,
And ev’n to thy foe do good.

Thy marriage-bond thou shalt keep clean,
That to no other thy heart lean;
Thy life thou must keep pure and free,
Temperate, with fine chastity.

Money or goods steal not, nor yet
Traffic in others’ blood and sweat;
But open wide thy kindly hand
To the poor man in thy land.

Evil reports thou shalt not bear,
Nor ‘gainst thy neighbour falsely swear;
His innocence thou shalt defend,
And hide his shame from foe or friend.

Thy neighbour’s wife or house to win
Thou shalt not seek–or aught therein;
But wish all good to him may be,
As thy own heart doth to thee.

See also  To An Early Violet

To us come these commands, that so
Thou, son of man, thy sins mayst know,
And with this lesson thy heart fill,
That man must live for God’s will.

May Christ our Lord help us in this,
For he our mediator is;
Our own work is a hopeless thing,
Wrath alone all it can bring.


Oh man, wouldst thou live blissfully,
And dwell with God eternally,
Thou shalt observe the ten commands,
Written by God with his hands:

Thy God and Lord I am alway;
No other God shall make thee stray;
Thy heart must ever trust in me;
Mine own kingdom shalt thou be:

My name to honour thou shalt heed,
And call on me in time of need.
Thou shalt keep whole the sabbath day,
That so in thee I work may:

To thy father and mother thou
Shalt, next me, in obedience bow;
None kill, nor yield to anger wild;
And keep thy marriage undefiled:

From any one thou shalt not steal;
Falsely with others never deal;
Thy neighbour’s wife thou shalt not eye:
Let his be his welcomely!

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