With Every Good Intention
S. M. Hutchens on the Ninth Commandment
If the commandments are approached with the intention to follow them, they lead us into terminal stages of hypocrisy or despair, or to faith. It becomes clear soon enough that no one can follow them perfectly; there are always breaches, and our conscience convicts us of them. Hypocrisy is the result when we pretend to carry out the commandments while doing what we know deep within us is wrong.
Despair is what happens to those who cannot or will not pretend they are obeying the commandments but see no hope for themselves before a righteous God. There are many who appear as unbelievers who really believe in God but are in despair. Thoreau’s “quiet desperation” is often that of the lapsed Puritan—the man with high standards who has enough respect for God to know his own standards aren’t high enough. He is, to my mind, more noble (though not less wrong) than the man who defines sin down so he can enjoy Christian Perfection.
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
more on the ten commandments from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives