The Whole Duty of Man

by William Perkins

The whole Duty of Man, Containing a PRACTICAL TABLE of the TEN COMMANDMENTS: Wherein the Sins forbidden, and the Duties commanded, or implied are clearly discovered

I. The first Commandment.

THou shalt have no other Gods before me.

In which Commandment note these two Affirmatives.

  • 1. That we must acknowledge God.
  • 2. We must acknowledge no other God but him.

And the love required from this God is,

To hear his Word willingly, to speak and think of him frequent­ly, and to do his will chearfully, to yield up body and soul for his Cause, to de­light in his presence, and to bewail his absence, to love and hate what he doth, and to draw others to that love, to rest upon his revealed Counsels, and to call upon his name with affiance.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, to acknowledge none other than the true God, where note these things forbidden; Ignorance of this God and of his will; Atheism, denying God, or his Attributes, of Justice, Wisdom, Providence, Presence, &c. setting our hearts upon any other thing, distrust in God exprest by impatient suffering, despair of his truth, exprest by Creature-confidence, Riches, Pleasures, Physicians. Self-love hates God, declines his wayes, flies from him; the want of God's fear hardens the heart, is carnally secure, and will neither acknow­ledge God's Judgments, nor his own sin.

II. The Second Commandment.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any Graven Image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the Water un­der the Earth; Thou shalt not bow down thy self to them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thou­sands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to worship God in Spirit and Truth, wherein the ordinary means of God's Worship is commanded, as calling upon his Name, by humble Supplication, hearty Thanksgiving, by reading, hearing, talking and continual meditating on God's Word, use of the Sacraments, all this to be done holily, as God's Word commands.

The Negative Part of this Commandment, is, neither to worship any false Gods, nor the true God with false worship, and here is forbidden any Image, Similitude, Likeness, or Figure whatsoever; for all Idols are lies, and all the badges and monu­ments thereof, or to worship the beast and receive his mark; all hypocrisie is to be also avoided, to make a glorious shew of serving God, or to pry into others weak­ness and not mind our selves, or to be more zealous for Tradition than Truth.

III. The third Commandment.

Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.

The Affirmative Part of this Commandment, is, to be zealous of God's Glory above all things, to use God's Titles only in serious affairs with all reverence, to ce­lebrate God's praise which shines in his Creatures.

To confirm the Truth by an Oath, with the Invocation of God alone, as a wit­ness of Truth and revenger of a Lie.

The form of this Oath must be truly, justly, in Judgment, whether publick or private.

We are also commanded to sanctifie God's Creatures, as Meats, Drinks, Works, Callings, Marriage, &c. by the reverent use of his Holy Name, for a blessing on, or return of thanks for blessings received, the Creatures being sanctified by the Word and Prayer.

The Negative Part of this Commandment, is, Perjury, either lying unto God, or vocation of God's Name to confirm a lye, or to swear in common talk, or to swear [...] strange Gods, blasphemy of and against God, all cursing, all use of God's name [...]ly.

IV. The Fourth Commandment.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy; Six dayes shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: In it thou shalt not do any work, Thou nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, thy Man servant, nor thy Maid servant, nor thy Cattle, nor thy Stranger that is within thy Gates. For in six dayes the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallow­ed it.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to cease from sin, from the works of our ordinary callings, and also to perform those spiritual duties, which God requires: Where in Preparation to the Sanctification of this day, (as Christ and the practice of the old Law were wont) the Assemblies must be frequented, God's word and his creatures meditated; Works of charity, the needy relieved, the sick visited, the faln admonished, differences reconciled.

This blessed Rest-day is a Type of that inward rest from sin, and that blessed rest of the Saints eternally in Heaven.

The seventh day from the Creation is ceased, and the Lord's day Sabbath con­firm'd by his Resurrection, and the Apostolical practice. Things of present necessi­ty, as to preserve life, or goods, provision of meat or drink, watering cattle, cu­ring diseases, Voyages of Mariners, Shepherds tending flocks, or necessary em­ployment of Physick.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, not to pollute the Sabbath, by works of our ordinary calling, Fairs on this day, all manner of Husbandry, all scurrility of Jests, Sports, all manner of Prophaneness and Hypocrisie.

V. The Fifth Commandment.

Honour thy Father and thy Mother, that thy dayes may be long upon the Land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

The affirmative part of this Commandment, is, Reverence to the Aged, obedience to all the lawful commands of Parents, and relief of them in their need, and to o­bey and pray for Superiours, and all in Authority; Superiours must be Examples of blameless life, and rule in and for the Lord. Punishing great faults by correction, and light faults by rebuke.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, Contempt of Superiours, disobedi­ence to Parents, also Parents cruelty to their Children, either in correction, threat­ning or provoking; Servants are forbidden stubbornness, deceitfulness, running away, and we are not to offend our Equals either in word or deed.

VI. The sixth Commandment.

Thou shalt not Kill.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to preserve our Neighbours well­fare, both in Body and in Soul, to help him in his streights; to our utmost, speedily, and to share with him in his adversity; to abstain from Anger, and refrain from wrath; to forgive injuries, and rather to suffer than do wrong, and to overcome evil with good, by love to cover a multitude of evil.

To preserve the life of our Neighbour, and to win his soul to the faith, we must ive like Lights to direct and admonish offenders.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, Hatred of our Neighbour, unadvi­sed Anger, want of compassion, frowardness, desire of Revenge, bitterness in speak­ing, r [...]proach and Railing, contentions, brawlings, exclaiming, complaints, malici­ous persecution by derision.

To wound our Neighbour, or procure his death, to be cruel in punishing, to in­jure inpotent poor strangers, widows, to stop the labourers hire, not to restore the poors pledge.

He [...]e self-murther, hurting or endangering our selves is also forbidden.

VII. The seventh Commandment.

Thou shalt not Commit Adultery.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, chastity in body and mind, free from fleshly concupiscence, and chaste from putting lust in execution, preserving chasti [...]y with modesty and sobriety, which appears in the countenance and eyes; Modety also is seen in words, when talk is holy, decent and comely; An Adulte­ress is loud tongued; Modesty is also seen in apparel, holy comliness expresseth to the eye the sincerity of the heart.

Sobriety is a vertue consisting in the holy use of food; Take these Rules to ob­serve in the use of diet, Consecrating the creatures to God by craving a blessing upon them, furnish your Table with necessaries at due times and seasonable hours, eat and drink moderately, to strengthen the body, for to refresh the Soul to perform Holy Actions.

Table-talk must edifie, not corrupt.

The Negative part of the Commandment, is, the lust of the Heart, all lascivious pleasure, Sodom's sin, all fornication, all adultery, unchaste thoughts, effeminate wantonness; Occasions of lust, as lascivious apparel is the note of idleness, such can take no pains; also forbids immoderate fulness of diet, or drink, corrupt, dishonest and unseemly Talk, and vain lascivious Discourse or Songs, unseemly Pictures.

VIII. The Eighth Commandment.

Thou shalt not Steal.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to imploy God's blessings to his Glory, for a man's own good, and to the good of his Neighbour; The virtues of contentation and thriftiness, chearfully and without prodigallity, inable a man to employ temporal and worldly blessings for his own and others good, and to deal justly in buying, selling or letting, squaring their dealings according to the Law of Nature, in sale substantial goods, just weights, and just measures; pay the hireling, restore the pledge or pawn according to the parties necessity, yet avoid being sure­ty, perform just promises though to loss, lend freely, restore carefully.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, Steal not, live neither inordinatly nor idly, deal not unjustly, in word or deed.

Covetousness is Idolatry, the root of all evil; unjust dealing is forbid in bargain, to sell that which is not saleable, or false weights or measures, or counterfeit for good, or to conceal the fault of a commodity, or to blindfold the truth with false­hood or to oppress in buying and selling, as by raising a commodity, or by sale up­on a set day to take advantage, or by engrossing, or by breaking to deceive.

IX. The ninth Commandment.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy Neighbour.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to rejoyce at the welfare of our Neighbour, and to acknowledge any goodness in him, to conceal and keep secret his imperfections, but not conceal his sin for him to continue in that course.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, not to envy, disdain, or desire ano­ther man's Glory, also evil suspicions, hard censures; not to judge others, unless by the word when we see the sin; friendly to judge and admonish, not to lie, or ac­cuse another wrongfully, or to raise hurtful tales, or spread flying ones, or to believe all reports, or accuse out of malice.

X. The tenth Commandment.

Thou shalt not covet thy Neighbours House; Thou shalt not covet thy Neigh­bour's Wife, nor his Man servant, nor his Maid-servant, nor his Ox, nor his Ass, nor any thing that is thy Neighbours.

The Affirmative part of this Commandment, is, to keep our hearts pure towards our Neighbour, both in thought and motion, and to fight against all evil affections, by glancing or suddain thoughts; and by withstanding more abiding thoughts that do as it were tickle the mind with some inward joy.

Beware of those thoughts or motions which draw from the will and affections a full assent to sin.

To covet, is inwardly to think and to desire any thing, whereby our Neighbour may be hindred.

The Negative part of this Commandment, is, Concupiscence, that is, original cor­ruption, it being hurtful to our Neighbour; and all those suddain cogitations which spring out of that root, and all Sathan's suggestions, and all unchaste dreams.

The use of the Law to the unregenerate laies sin open, and encreases it, de­nouncing to them eternal damnation.

The use of the Law to the Regenerate is to guide them to new obedience in the whole course of their lives. And this new obedience is acceptable to God through Christ.

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