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Chapter 24 - Of the Fifth Commandment

The Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins (1558-1602)

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Election is God’s decree “whereby on his own free will, he hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Reprobation is “that part of predestination, whereby God, according to the most free and just purpose of his will, hath determined to reject certain men unto eternal destruction, and misery, and that to the praise of his justice.”

Chapter 24 – Of the Fifth Commandment

Hitherto we have spoken of the commandments of the first Table: now followeth the second Table, which concerneth the love of our neighbor. Romans 13:9, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Our neighbor is everyone which is of our own flesh. Isaiah 58:7, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”

The manner of loving is so to love our neighbor as ourselves, to wit, truly and sincerely; when as contrarily, the true manner of loving God, is to love God without measure.

The second Table containeth six commandments: whereof the first, and in order of the Ten Commandments, the fifth concerns the preservation of the dignity and excellency of our neighbor.

The words are these:
Honor thy father and mother, that they may prolong thy days in the Land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

The Resolution
Honor. This word, by a figure, signifieth all that duty, whereby our neighbor’s dignity is preserved, but especially our Superiors. This dignity proceedeth of this, that every man beareth in his same part of the image of God. If we respect the outward order and decency, which is observed in the church and commonwealth. In the Magistrate there is a certain image of the power and glory of God. Daniel 2:37, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.” Hence it is, that Magistrates are called “gods” in Psalm 82:1. In an old man is the similitude of the eternity of God: in a father the likeness of his fatherhood. Mathew 23:9, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” In the man is the image if God’s providence and authority. 1 Corinthians 11:7, “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” Finally, in a learned man, is the likeness of the knowledge and wisdom of God. Now therefore that person, in whom even the least title of the image of God appeareth, is to be honored and reverenced.

Thy father. By figure we must here understand all those that are our superiors; as parents , and such like of our kindred or alliance which are to us in stead of parents: Magistrates, Ministers, our Elders, and those that do excel is in any gifts whatsoever. The kings of Gerar were called Abimelech, my father the king. Genesis 20:2, “And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.” 1 Corinthians 4:15, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” 2 Kings 5:13, “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” 2 Kings 2:12, “And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.”

And thy mother. This is added, lest we should despise our mothers, because of their infirmities, Proverbs 23:22, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” Here we put in mind to perform our honor to our stepmothers and fathers in law as if they were our proper and natural parents. Ruth 3:1 and 5, “Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee… And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.” Exodus 18:17, “And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.” Verse 19, “Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God.” Verse 24, “So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.” Micah 7:6, “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”
That they may prolong. Parents are said to prolong the loves of their children, because they are God’s instruments, whereby their children’s lives are prolonged: for oftentimes the name of the action is attributed to the instrument, where with the action is wrought, Luke 16:9, “And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

But the parents do prolong the lives of their children in commanding them to walk in the ways of the Lord, by exercising justice and judgment, Genesis 18:19. For being become godly, they have the promise both of this life, and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8.

Further, they effect the same thing by their prayers made in the behalf of their children. Hereby it plainly appeareth, that the use-all custom of children saluting their parents to ask them their blessings is no light or vain thing.

Moreover, these words, the reason to move is to the obedience of this commandment is drawn from the end, which reason is also a promise, yet a special promise, Ephesians 6:2, “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)” (I say, special) because the promise of the second commandment is general, and belongeth to all the rest of the commandments.

And God promiseth long life not absolutely, bit so far as it is a blessing. Ephesians 6:3. “That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” For we must think that long life is to always a blessing, but that sometimes it is better to die then to live, Isaiah 57:1, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”

But at any time the Lord giveth a short life to obedient children, he rewardeth them again with eternal life in heaven and so the promise faileth not, but changeth foe the better.

The affirmative part.
Preserve the dignity of thy neighbor.

Under this part is commanded:
First, reverence towards all our superiors: the actions whereof are; reverently to rise up before them when they pass by us. Leviticus 19:32, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” To meet them when they come towards us. Genesis 18:2, “And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.” 1 Kings 2:19, “Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.” To bow the knee. Mark 10:17, “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Genesis 18:2, “And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.” To stand by them when they sit down. Genesis 18:8, “And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” Exodus 18:13, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.” To give them the chief seat. 1 Kings 2:19, “and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.” Luke 14:7-9, “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.” Genesis 43:33, “And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.” To let our superiors speak before us. Job 32:6-7, 17, “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion…I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.” To keep silence in courts and judgment places until we be bidden to speak. Acts 24: 10, “Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself.” To give them such their right and just titles as declare our reverence when we speak unto them. 1 Peter 3:6, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” Mark 10:17, “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Verse 20, “And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” 1 Samuel 1:14-15, “And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” Secondly to those that are our superiors in authority; and first, obedience to their commandments. Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

We are to be admonished to be obedient because every higher power is the ordinance of God and the obedience we perform thereunto God accepteth it as though it were done to himself and to Christ, Romans 13:2, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Colossians 3:23-24, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” Obedience is to be performed to our superiors with diligence and faithfulness. Genesis 24:2, 20, 12, 33, 56, “And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh…And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham…And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels…And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on…And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.” Genesis 31:38-40, “This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.”

Furthermore, we must yield obedience to our superiors: yea, although they be cruel and wicked, but not in wickedness. 1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” Acts 4:19, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”

Subjection in suffering the punishments inflicted by our Superiors, Genesis 16:6, 9, “But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.”

And although the punishment should be unjust, yet must we suffer it until we can get some lawful remedy for the same. 1 Peter 2:19-20, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”

Thankfulness: 1) In our prayers, 1 Tim 2:1-2, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 2) In outward maintenance. 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” Genesis 45:9-11, “Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast.” 3) Towards those that excel us in gifts; our duty is to acknowledge the same gifts and speak of them to their praise. 2 Corinthians 8:22-23, “And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.” 4) Towards all our equals: to think reverently of them. Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Thirdly, towards those that excel us in gifts: our duty is to acknowledge the same gifts and speak of them to their praise. 2 Corinthians 8:22-23, “And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.”

Fourthly, toward all our equals: to think reverently of them. Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

In giving honor, to go one before another, and not in receiving it. Romans 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” To salute one another with holy signs. Whereby may appear the love which we have one to another in Christ. 1 Peter 5:14, “Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” Romans 16:16, “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” Exodus 18:7, “And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.” Ruth 2:4, “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”

Fifthly, the duties of all superiors towards their inferiors. 1) Saving their place and dignity to carry themselves as brethren. Deuteronomy 17:20, “That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” Job 31:13, “If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me.” 2 Kings 5:13-14, “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” 2) To shine before their inferiors by an example of a blameless life. Titus 2:2, “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” 1 Peter 5:3, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Philippians 4:9, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” 3) To shew forth gravity joined with dignity, by their countenance, gesture, deeds and words: for hereby they must grace the image of God which they bear before their inferiors, Titus 2:3-7. Job 29:8, “The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.”

Sixthly, towards the inferiors in obedience, that is, towards their subjects. 1) to rule them in the Lord, that they do not offend. 1 Peter 2:13-14, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” Deuteronomy 17:19, “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.” Colossians 4:1, “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” 2) To provide such things as shall be to the goo0d of their subjects, whether they belong to the body or to the soul. Romans 13:4, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Isaiah 49:23, “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” Psalm 132:1-5, “A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions: How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.” 3) To punish their faults, the lighter by rebuking the greater by correction, that is, by inflicting real or bodily punishment.

This is a holy manner of punishing the guilty whereunto is required: 1) After diligent and wise examination is had, to be assured of the crime committed. 2) To shew forth of God’s Word, the offence of the sin: that the conscience of the offender may be touched. 3) It is convenient to defer or omit the punishment, if thereby any hope of amendment may appear. Eccl. 7:23-24, “All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?” 1 Samuel 10:27, “But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” 4) To inflict deserved punishment, not in his own name, but in God’s name, adding the same holily and reverently. Joshua 7:19-20, 25, “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.” And lastly, when thou punisheth, aim at this one only thing, that the evil may be purged and amended, and that the offender by sorrowing for his sin, any unfeignedly repent for the same. Proverbs 20:30, “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.”

Seventhly, and lastly, there is a certain duty of a man to be performed towards himself, which is, that a man should preserve and maintain with modesty the dignity and worthiness, which is inherent in his own person, Philippians 4:8, “”

The negative part.
Diminish not the excellency, or dignity which is in the person of thy neighbor.

Hither are referred these sins:
First, against our Superiors: 1) Irreverent behavior and contempt of them. The sins hereof are; deriding our superiors. Genesis 9:22, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.” Proverbs 30:17, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Exodus 21:7, “And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.” 2) Disobedience, whereby wee condemn their just commandments, Romans 1:30, “Disobedience to parents.” 2 Timothy 3:2. The sins here are; to make contacts of marriage without the counsel and consent of the parents. Genesis 6:2, “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 28:8-9, “And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.” The cry of servants, Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Ephesians 6:6, “” Answering again when they are reprehended. Titus 2:6, “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.” Deceitfulness and wasting their Masters goods. Titus 2:10, “Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” To flee from the power of the superior. Genesis 16:6, “But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” To resist the lawful authority of their superiors. 1 Peter 2:20, “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” To obey them in things unlawful. Acts 4:19, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” To extol themselves above their betters: this is the sin of Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Lastly the freedom of the Papists, whereby they free children from the government of their parents: and subjects from the authority of their princes: so as they make it lawful for them to plot and procure their death. 1 Samuel 26:8-9, “Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’S anointed, and be guiltless?”

Ingratitude and want of a loving affection towards parents, Matthew 15:5-6, “But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” 1 Timothy 5:4.

Secondly, we offend against our equals in preferring ourselves before them, in talking or un sitting down, Matthew 20:20-21, 24, “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom… And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.”

Thirdly towards our inferiors. 1) Through negligence in governing them, and providing for their good estate. Haggai 1:4, “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?” Daniel 3:28, “Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” This condemneth those mothers which put forth their children to be nursed, having both sufficient strength, and store of milk themselves to nurse them. 1 Timothy 5:10, “Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.” 2) By too much gentleness and leniency in correcting them 1 Kings 1:5, “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.” 1 Samuel 2:22-25, “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.” 3) By overmuch cruelty and threatenings. Ephesians 6:4, 9, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord… And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

Fourthly, and lastly, a man offendeth against himself. When through his naughty behavior, he doth obscure and almost extinguish these gifts which God hath given him. Matthew 25:2, 26. Or contrarily, when he is proud and too wise it: his own conceit, Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Bible Verse:

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless,” (Gen. 17:1).

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