But sin taking occasion by the commandment
By "the commandment" is meant, either the whole moral law, or that particular commandment, "thou shalt not covet", ( Exodus 20:17 ) , which, the Jews say, comprehends all;
``God, (say they F6,) caused them (the Israelites) to hear the ten words, which he concluded with this word, "thou shalt not covet"; (wb Mywlt Mlwkv) , "for all of them depend on that": and to intimate, that whoever keeps this commandment, it is as if he kept the whole law, and whoever transgresses this, it is all one as if he transgressed the whole law;''and no doubt but it does refer to any unlawful thought of, desire after, and inclination to anything forbidden in the other commandments. By "sin" is meant, not the devil, as some of the ancients thought; but the vitiosity and corruption of nature, indwelling sin, the law in the members that took "occasion" by the law of God; so that the law at most could only be an occasion, not the cause of sin, and besides, this was an occasion not given by the law, but taken by sin; so that it was sin, and not the law, which
wrought in [him] all manner of concupiscence.
The law forbidding every unclean thought, and covetous desire of unlawful objects, sin took an occasion through these prohibitions to work in him, stir up and excite concupiscence, evil desire after all manner of things forbidden by the law; hence it is clear that not the law, but sin, is exceeding sinful:
for without the law sin was dead;
not that, before the law of Moses was given, sin lay dead and unexerted, for during that interval between Adam and Moses sin was, and lived and reigned, and death by it, as much as at any other time; but when the apostle was without the law, that is, without the knowledge of the spirituality of it, before it came with power and light into his heart and conscience, sin lay as though it was dead; it was so in his apprehension, he fancied himself free from it, and that he was perfectly righteous.