SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT.
Q. Which is the tenth commandment ?
A. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods, etc.
Q. What things are forbidden by this commandment?
A. All unlawful desires, that tend to the prejudice of our neighbor's goods or substance.
Q. Were not these things forbidden by the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbids only outward actions against justice; the tenth forbids inward actions, on account of the Jews, who imagined such desires were not sinful. Some join these two last commandments into one, and divide the first into two; but that division is
contrary to St. Augustine's opinion, which is the more common, and generally received in the Church, and agrees with that division of the commandments which I have here set down.
Q. How do you prove covetous desires to be great sins ?
A. From the first epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, where he says, "They who would become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men to destruction and perdition." Chap. vi. ver. 9.
Q. In what manner do persons become guilty of this commandment?
A. In the same manner as they offend by carnal concupiscence, viz.: By taking a pleasure in thinking of, and inwardly consenting to unjust actions.
Q. Give in some particular instances of this kind ?
A. It is a sin to wish a scarcity of provisions, upon a view that a person may sell his goods dearer, or to hoard up corn to the prejudice of the poor. It is a sin to envy another for his riches, honors, preferments, praises, or any other external goods, or internal gifts of nature, or grace. In fine, it is a sin to desire what belongs to others, unless it be accompanied with lawful circumstances, etc.
Q. What are we commanded by this commandment ?
A. To entertain honest thoughts and desires, and be contented with our own estate and condition.
Q. Is it possible for us to keep all the ten commandments; for are there not some things in the second table of the law, which seem to be impossible ? See St. Luke i. 6. Matt. xix. 17. Matt. xi. 29, 30.
A. Yes, it is possible to keep them, and not only possible, but even necessary and easy, by the assistance of God's grace; for there is nothing commanded by them, but what the law of nature, and right reason dictates to us, and therefore ought to be observed and done, even if it were not commanded us; neither is there any thing commanded in the second table, but what every body expects and desires others should do to him; therefore we must do the same to others, according to that. u All things, whatsoever you will, that men do to you, do you also to them, for this is the law;"-Matt, vii. 12. Besides, it would be making God unjust, and a mere tyrant, to command impossibilities under pain of eternal damnation, (as we find in the Scriptures, he does the keeping of his commandments) if it was not in our power to keep them. See Exodus xx. 5. Deut. xxvii. 26. Matt. v. 19. Matt. xx. 17.
Q. Why then do so many Protestant writers, and even Luther himself, pretend and say, that it is impossible to keep all the commandments ?
A. Because they are not willing to oblige themselves to the observance of them, but had rather make God the author of sin, by commanding impossibilities (a most high blasphemy) and justify their own iniquities, by saying, they cannot help it, than humbly acknowledge and confess their sins, with purpose to amend by compliance with, and acceptance of the law of God.