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Polygamy and divorce, though less insisted on by Rationalist critics, in reality constitute a more serious difficulty against the holiness of the Mosaic Law than any of those which have just been mentioned.The difficulty is one which has engaged the attention of the Fathers and theologians of the Church from the beginning.This is not the same as to say that the whole of the Old Law was revealed to Moses.There is abundant evidence in Scripture itself that many portions of the Mosaic legislation existed and were put in practice long before the time of Moses. The religious observance of the seventh day is another, and this indeed, seems to be implied in the very form in which the Third Commandment is worded: " Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day." If we except the merely positive determinations of time and manner in which religious worship was to be paid to God according to this commandment, and the prohibition of making images to represent God contained in the first commandment, all the precepts of the Decalogue are also precepts of the natural law, which can be gathered by reason from nature herself, and in fact they were known long before Moses wrote them down at the express command of God. Paul — "For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law ; these having not the law [of Moses ], are a law to themselves: who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them" ( Romans , 15 ).To meet this adverse criticism it will be sufficient to indicate a few general principles that should not be lost sight of, and then to treat a few points in greater detail.
It did not aim merely at regulating the external acts of the people of God, it curbed also licentious thoughts and covetouss desires.In this article we shall confine our attention exclusively to the moral precepts of the Divine Law.