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guments to induce us to obedience? Ans. Because he loves to work on man, as a rational creature, according to the principles of his nature. Hence he says, Hos. xi. 4. 'I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love ;' and because he delights in no obedience but what is unconstrained and cheerful. It is truly matter of wonder, that the infinitely glorious God should be at so great pains to incline man to pursue his own happiness.
Here I shall consider the several reasons of obedience mentioned in the text and doctrine, and then draw some inferences for application.
First, As to the first reason for obedience to these commandments, it is in these words, I am the Lord, or JEHOVAH; that is, an eternal, unchangeable one, having his being of himself, and from whom all being is derived; Exod. iii. 14. I AM THAT I AM. This is a very significant name, and denotes, (1.) The unity of the Godhead, that he is one true God, having no partner, equal, or rival. (2.) The reality and certainty of his being. Idols are nothing; all their die vinity is only in the fancies and opinions of men : but God is a real and true being. (3.) The necessity, eternity, and un changeableness of his being. All other things which have à being were once without being; they had no existence till he gave it them: and if he please, they shall be no more, but be reduced into their primitive nothing; and all their being was derived from, and wholly depends upon him. But he was from all eternity an independent and self-existent being. (4.) The constancy and perpetuity of his nature and will ; I am that I am ; i. e. I am the same that ever I was, and will be the same, without all mutability in my nature, will, and purposes. This name includes these four reasons for our obeying his commandments.
1. The infinite excellency and perfection of his nature, whereby he is the natural Lord of all his creatures, Jer. x. 7. He is infinitely above us, and so glorious in his supereminent perfections, that the view of them must natively cause us poor worms to fall down at his feet, and receive his commands; and makes our rebellions monstrous, more than if à glow-worm should contend with the sun in its meridian brightness.
2. He is Lord Creator to us, that gave us our being, and we are the workmanship of his hands, and are therefore to be at his disposal, as the pots are at that of the potter, Psal. C. 2, 3. Whatever we have, tongue, hands, soul, body, &c. all is from him; how can we then decline his government ? · 3. He is Lord Rector, supreme Governor and Lawgiver to us, whose will is our law, James iv. 12. • There is one Lawgiver.' This he is as Jehovah, the fountain of all being, which gives him an absolute and unlimited dominion over us. So that disobedience to his commands is the highest injustice we are capable of.
4. He is Lord Conservator of us, the Preserver of men, Rey. iv. 11. Every moment we have a continued creation from him, without which we could no more subsist than the beams of the sun without the sun itself, but would immediately dwindle into nothing. Being then thus upheld wholly in our being by him, should we not wholly be for him ?
Secondly, The second reason is from his covenant-relation to us, thy God, The word denotes a plurality; and so shews, that one God in three persons to be the true God, and that all the three are the covenanted God of his people, Isa. liv. 5. « Thy Makers is thine husband;' for the word is plural in the Hebrew. Here I shall shew, · 1. What this covenant is.
2. How this covenant bindeth to the obedience of the commandments.
1. What covenant is this? It is the covenant whereby he was Israel's God before the giving of the law on Sinai; for this plainly relates to a former relation betwixt them, by virtue of which they were brought out of Egypt. This was then no other but the covenant with Abraham and his seed, Gen. xvii. 7. and xv. 18. and by virtue of the covenant. promise to Abraham, it was, that they were delivered out of Egypt, Gen. xv. 13, 14. &c. That was not the covenant of works, for it is still opposed to the law, Rom. iv. therefore it is the covenant of grace.
Under this covenant with Abraham all Israel according to the flesh were in an external manner, whereby God had a more special right over them than the rest of the world; and so is it with all who are within the visible church at this day, But Israel according to the Spirit, the elect of God, and be. lievers, the spiritual seed of Abraham, were and are most properly under this covenant, and that in a saving manner. Rom. iv. 11, 12, 13. So that this reason is not general to all the world, but peculiar to the church.
2. I shall shew how this covenant bindeth to obedience to the commandments. Not as if obedience to the commands were conditions of that covenant; that is the nature of the covenant of works. For mark, God tells them he is their God before ever he proposes one commandment to them; and for God to be the God of a people in the sense of the promise made to Abraham, includes the assurance of their complete salvation, Mat. xxii. 32. But,
1. The consent to the covenant binds to the obedience of all the commands. The covenant is, I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people, Heb. viii. 10. So consenting that God shall be our God, we take on us the yoke of ali his commands, to be for him only, wholly, and for ever, 2 Cor. viii. 5. Isa. xliv. 5.
2. The honour of the covenant. Thereby sinners are ad. vanced into a near relation to God. They become his servants, whose honour it is to serve him; his friends, whose honour it is to advance his interest in the world; his spouse, whose honour it is to be for him, and obey him ; his mem. bers, whose honour it is to serye himself of them.
3. The privileges of the covenant, Luke i. 74, 75. Such are regeneration, whereby a new nature is given, to be a principle of new life, 2 Cor. v. 17. Justification, whereby the curse is taken off the tree, that it may be no more bar. ren. Sanctification, whereby they die unto sin, and live unto righteousness; even as the curing of the lame and pal: sied man obliges him to bestir himself.
4. The great end of the covenant, which is no other but to restore fallen man to his primitive integrity, and to bring him to a state of perfect assimilation to God, Cant. iii. 9, 10. The holiness required in the ten commandments is the king; dom and the throne, from which the devil had expelled and pulled man down. This covenant is entered into for the restoring him again to that kingdom, and so binds to endea, vours that way.
Thirdly, The last reason is drawn from the redemption and deliverances wrought for his people. The history is well known, and some of the leading circumstances of it will be mentioned anon. Here I will shew,
pulled man downe, from which the handments is the king.
1. Why this deliverance is commemorated here.
1. I shall shew why this deliverance is commemorated here. . (1.) To shew the faithfulness of God to his promise and covenant with Abraham, Gen. xv. 13–16. And so he shews himself to be Jehovah by ocular demonstration, Exod. vi. 3.
(2.) The strangeness of that deliverance. When the Israelites were groaning under their taskmasters in Egypt, and had no prospect of relief, the Lord raises up Moses to be a deliverer unto them. He sent him in before Pharaoh to work wonders in his sight. The Lord delivered his people with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. He sent plague after plague upon Pharaoh, till he sent Israel away, blasting the fruits of the earth, killing the beasts of the field, the fishes in the rivers, and all the first-born in the land of Egypt; and when Israel went out of Egypt, God made the waters of the sea to part, and become a wall unto them; they marched on dry ground in the midst of the sea; it was a safe passage to the Israelites, but a grave to the Egyptians, Pharaoh and his host being overthrown in the midst of the sea. Now, this was a strange and miraculous deliverance, a mercy never to be forgotten ; and therefore it is commemo. rated here, to bind them to obedience.
(3.) Because it was a most great and memorable benefit. They were delivered from cruel tyranny. They were slaves to the Egyptians, who made them to serve with rigour. They had cruel taskmasters set over them, who put them to hard labour. All their male children were appointed to be killed, or drowned in the river Nile, their affliction and bon. dage was so great that they were made to sigh and groan, and their cry went up to heaven. Hence Egypt is called
the iron furnace,' Deut, iv. 20; and here it is called the house of bondage. Again, they were delivered from Egypt, a place overwhelmed with pollutions and abominations. The Egyptians were gross idolaters, having changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, Rom. i. 23. They worshipped birds, and beasts, and creeping things; as the hawk, the ox, the crocodile; yea, they worshipped onions and garlic. Now considering
how prone the Jews were to idolatry, it was a great mercy to be delivered from an idolatrous land. This was a signal and memorable favour. Joshua reckons it among the chief and most memorable mercies of God to Abraham, that he brought him out of Ur of the Chaldees, where his ancestors served strange Gods. And may not this deliverance from Egypt be justly reckoned among the choice mercies of God to Abraham's posterity.
(4.) It was a late and fresh instance of God's kindness to them. Which leaves an imputation of forgetfulness of old mercies on man's nature for which God stirs them up, by the newest and latest, to obedience, .
(5.) Because it was a type of the spiritual deliverance by Jesus Christ from sin, satan, and hell. [1.] It was typical of the deliverance from the bondage of sin. Now, of all ser. vitudes sin is the worst; for it enslaves the soul. Before conversion, says Augustine, I was heist, not with an iron chain, but with the obstinacy of my own wili. In this slavery the soul is distorted and drawn asunder as it were by the power, ful cravings of contrary lusts and passions. [2.] Of their deliverance from Satan. Thus all men by nature are in the house of bondage. They are enslaved to the devil, who is called the god of this world and is said to rule in the children of disobedience. Sinners are under his command, and in? exerciseth an absolute jurisdiction over them. He blinds their minds with ignorance and error; rules in their memories, making them to remember that which is evil, and forget that which is good ; in their wills, drawing them to the love and practice of sin, &c. [3.] Of their deliverance from hell. All men by nature are children of wrath, and liable to con. demnation in hell for ever. Now the Lord Jesus, by price and power, delivers his elect from the state of bondage to sin and Satan, Heb. ii. 15; and from the wrath that is to come, i Thess. i. 10. And this is done, not for all men, but only for the spiritual Israel of God, who were typified by the Israelites.
2. I shall shew what reason for obedience there is in this deliverance here commemorated. There is great reason.
(1.) Benefits received are most powerful engagements to duty, Rom. ii. 4. and the greatest benefits are the strongest engagements. And no greater benefit are men capable of than that deliverance from the spiritual bondage which the