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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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The name given to the Ten Commandments and derived from the Greek word, dekalogos, meaning the Ten Words or discourses. They are divided into two tables; the first four commandments set forth our duty towards God, and the last six our duty towards man. The reading of the Ten Commandments in the Communion Office is peculiar to our Liturgy and were added in the year 1552, together with the response after each commandment, "Lord, have mercy upon us and incline our hearts to keep this law." While the commandments were originally introduced to our Liturgy as a warning and safeguard against the lawlessness of extreme Puritans, they are, nevertheless, helpful to all as a preparation for the right reception of the Holy Communion; leading the congregation to an examination of their "lives and conversation by the rule of God's commandments." The translation of the Decalogue used in the Communion Office is not that of the present Authorized version, but that of the "Great Bible" of 1539-40, which was retained because the people had grown familiar with it. To the Commandments is added our Lord's Summary of the Law, which may be read at the discretion of the Minister.

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Decalogue'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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