From The Christian’s Daily Walk. Headings are not the author’s.
The sum of the first commandment
The first commandment respects the loving, serving, and glorifying the only true God, as your God, Exod 20:1-3.
The positive side: What is required
Examining yourself by this (and so in the other commandments), think thus with yourself:
Do I know and acknowledge the only true God to be such an one as He has revealed Himself in his Word and works, namely:
- One only infinite, immaterial, immutable, incomprehensible spirit, and everlasting Lord God;
- having being and all-sufficiency in and from Himself;
- one who is absolutely full of all perfections, and incapable of the least defect;
- being wisdom, goodness, omnipotence, love, truth, mercy, justice, holiness, and whatsoever is originally and of itself excellent;
- the only Potentate, King of kings, Lord of lords – of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;
- the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, God blessed for ever? Amen.
Do I believe his Word, in all things related, commanded, promised, and threatened therein? and that his holy and wise Providence is in all things? [Do I] have Him and His Word in continual remembrance?
Do I esteem and exalt God in my heart above all, so that [my heart] humbly adores Him at the very mention and thought of Him, judging myself to be nothing in mine own eyes, yea, esteeming all creatures to be nothing in comparison of Him?
- Have I given religious worship to Him only? Have I believed in Him, and in Him only?
- Have I sworn by Him as there has been cause, and by Him alone?
- Have I prayed unto Him, and Him alone? And sought to obtain help of Him only by such means as He has appointed, giving the glory and thanks of my being and well-being, and of all other things which are good, unto Him?
Is my conscience so convinced of the truth and authority of God, that it holds itself absolutely bound to obey Him in all things, so that it does incite to that which is good, restrain from that which is evil, encourage me in well-doing, and check me when I do ill?
Is my will resolved upon absolute and unfeigned obedience to do whatsoever God commands, to forbear whatsoever he forbids, to subscribe to whatsoever He does, as well done; and have I borne patiently all that which either by Himself or by any of his creatures He has inflicted upon me?
Have mine affections been so for God, that I have loved Him with all my heart, loving nothing more than Him, nothing equal to Him?
- Do I hate every thing that is contrary to Him?
- Has my confidence been only in Him, and my expectation of good from Him?
- Have my desires been to Him, and from Him, longing above all things to have communion with Him?
- Has it been my greatest fear to offend Him, or to be separated from Him?
- Has it been my greatest grief and shame that I have sinned against Him?
- Have I rejoiced in God as my chief good?
- Has mine anger risen against whatsoever I see contrary to His glory?
- Have I been zealous for God? And have I made Him the utmost end of all my actions?
Has my whole outward man, as tongue, senses, and all other active powers of my body, been employed in the service of the true God, and yielded obedience to His will?
The negative side: What is forbidden
Or, contrariwise, am I not guilty of denying of God in word, in works, or at least in heart? questioning the truth of his being and of his Word, denying His providence, power, or some other of his divine attributes? Have I not been ignorant of God and of his will, and erroneous and misbelieving, if not heretical in my conceptions concerning God the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost?
Have I not been overly curious in prying into the nature and secret counsels of God, beyond the rule of the revealed will of God? Have I not put myself, or any other creature, in the place of God, through pride, preferring and resting upon my own way and will before God’s, or by making myself mine utmost end, professing God and His religion only to serve my own designs, or by seeking to the creature, (as to angel, saint, devil, or witch) instead of the Creator?
Have I not been forgetful of God, and of His will? Is not my conscience impure, blind, deluded, or seared; and my will perverse, obstinate, impatient, and murmuring against God, and full of dissimulation?
Have I not set my affections upon the world, rather than upon God, loving that which is evil, hating that which is good, yea, God Himself, if not directly, yet in His holiness, shining in His ordinances and in His children, or as He is a severe inflicter of punishment?
- [Have I not been] fearing man more than God, trusting in the creature, making something besides God my chief joy?
- Have I not presumed when I had cause to despair, and despaired after that I had cause to hope?
- Have I not tempted God many ways? And have I not in the matters of God been either cold, lukewarm, or blindly or presumptuously zealous?
Has there not been a proneness in my whole outward man, to rebel against God?