53. VI. THE DECALOGUE TEACHES WHAT EVILS ARE SINS
What nation throughout the whole world does not know that it is evil to steal, to commit adultery, to commit murder, and to bear false witness? If nations did not know this, and by laws did not prevent these evils from being committed, they would cease to exist, for a society, state or kingdom without these laws would perish. No one can suppose that the Israelitish nation was, beyond all others, so stupid as not to know that these were evils. One may wonder then that these laws, universally known throughout the world, should have been promulgated in so miraculous a manner from Mount Sinai by Jehovah Himself. But note: the reason why they were so miraculously promulgated was that men might know that these laws were not only civil and moral but also spiritual laws; and that to act contrary to them was not only to do evil against one's fellow citizen and the state, but also to sin against God. Therefore these laws, by their promulgation from Mount Sinai by Jehovah, became also laws of religion. For it is evident that whatever Jehovah God commands, He commands as a principle of religion; and that it ought to be done for His sake, and for man's sake that he may be saved.