Of the Commandments of God
Card. Bellarmine’s Short Catechism
Student: Let us now come to that which we must do to love God and our neighbor. Tell me the Ten Commandments.
I. First Commandment
I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have any other God before me.
II. Second Commandment
Thous shalt not take the name of God in vain.
III. Third Commandment
Remember that thou sanctify the feasts. [Keep holy the Sabbath].
IV. Fourth Commandment
Honor thy Father and Mother.
V. Fifth Commandment
Thou shalt not murder.
VI. Sixth Commandment
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VII. Seventh Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.
VIII. Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not bear false witness.
IX. Ninth Commandment
Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s wife.
X. Tenth Commandment
Thous shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
Student: Who has given these commandments?
Teacher: God Himself in the old law, and afterwards, Jesus Christ our Lord has confirmed them in the new law.
Student: What do these commandments contain in brief?
Teacher: All that we must do to love God and our neighbor. Because the first three commandments teach us how we ought to behave ourselves towards God, with heart, with mouth, and with works. The others teach us to do good to our neighbor, and not to hurt him in his person, in his honor, in his goods, neither in deeds, nor in words, nor in thought. And so the end of all the commandments is the commandment of charity, which commands us to love God above all things, and our neighbors as ourselves.
Student: Declare the first Commandment.
Teacher: In the beginning commandment, God admonishes us that he is our true and supreme Lord, and therefore we are obliged to obey Him with all diligence. Next, He commands us that we must not acknowledge any other as God, wherein the infidels do sin, who worship the creatures instead of the creator; and also witches and enchanters, who take the devil for their god.
Student: Declare the second.
Teacher: The Second commandment forbids blasphemies, which are most previous sins; false or not necessary oaths; breaking of vows; and all other dishonor that is done to God with words.
Student: Declare the third commandment.
Teacher: The third commandment commands the keeping of feasts [the Sabbath, or Sunday, is the principal weekly feast], which consists in abstaining from servile work, so to have time to occupy ourselves in considering the benefits of God, visiting the Churches, praying, reading spiritual books, hearing divine service and sermons, and doing other such like spiritual and holy works.
Student: Declare the fourth commandment.
Teacher: The fourth commandment ordains that we honor our father and mother, not only with reverend of words, of uncovering our head to them; but also with helping and favoring them in their necessities. And that which we say of father and mother, we ought also to observe towards our other neighbors, although there be not so great obligation as to father and mother, who have given us our being, and have brought us up with their great pain.
Student: Declare the fifth commandment.
Teacher: In the fifth, it is commanded that we kill nobody unjustly, nor do them other harm in their person: and I say unjustly, because Judges who condemn malefactors to death, and the ministries of justice, who put them to death, and also soldiers in just war, do not sin whilst they wound and kill.
Student: Declare the sixth.
Teacher: The sixth commands that we do not commit adultery, that is sin with the wife of other men; and it is also understood that we commit no fornication, nor any other carnal sin.
Student: Declare the seventh commandment.
Teacher: The seventh commands that no man take away the goods of others secretly, which is called theft, nor manifestly [openly], which is called robbery; nor commit any deceit in selling, buying, and like contracts; and finally do no harm to his neighbor in his goods.
Student: Declare the eighth commandment.
Teacher: In the eighth commandment is forbidden false witness, murmuring, detracting, flattering, lying, and all other hurt which is done to our neighbor with the tongue.
Student: Declare the two last commandments.
Teacher: God commands in the last two precepts that no one desire the wife or goods of others; because He that sees our hearts would have us holy and clean, not only outwardly, but also inwardly, so that we may be entirely and truly just.