Lesson 363: I O U

The ten commandments, then, were first given by God to the Jews. Read what Moses, their great leader, told them to do with them (Deuteronomy 6, 7). Our Lord said that they are God’s orders for Christians too (St. Matthew 22, 34 to 39). We too are to keep them, because we believe in God; this, as I have told you, is the reason why, in The Prayer-Book Catechism, they come immediately after the Creed.

The first four tell us our Duty to God, what we owe him, the debt that you and I must pay. Four quarters make a whole. If you draw the quarters on this week’s blackboard exactly equal, put them the right way up and in the right order, you will find that you have a circle (the figure of perfection) which says, “My duty to God. I owe him my love, worship, reverence, time.” By keeping these four commandments you live towards God [like my chrysanthemums] as he has made you to live; also, though this is not the first reason for keeping them, you will - perhaps unconsciously - bring others to him. And “Save thou a soul, and it shall save thine own.”

When The Manchester Ship Canal was made (between 1887 and 1894), the engineer in charge of the Latchford section was a young unmarried man from the south of England who lived alone in lodgings in Warrington. His work-hours during the week were long. He was a Christian. Every Sunday, his only day’s rest, he went to Mass. Years after the canal was finished, when he was doing other engineering work in London, a man went into his office and said, “Do you remember me, Maurice? I used to live on the floor below you in that house in Warrington; was in charge of the next section to yours on the Ship Canal. Every Sunday morning I used to hear you get up, go downstairs out to church. I knew you were just as tired and hard-working as I; but I thought that, if you could do this on our only day of rest, there must be something in Christianity. So I want you to know that I have lately been confirmed, and am a communicant.”