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godly Israelites had as well as the other, and which agrees to us New-Testament saints, Col. i. 13. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. ·
(2.) This deliverance is wrought for that end, and by that deliverance men are put in a capacity to serve the Lord, which otherwise they were not, Luke i. 74, 75. While they were in their hard bondage in Egypt, Pharaoh would not suffer them to go serve the Lord, but now they had nothing to hinder them from it. So when men are under the bondage of the covenant of works, they are with-held by the rigour thereof from serving the Lord in an acceptable manner; but when once they are delivered by Christ from that rigorous bondage, they are nade free men, and can serve the Lord in righteousness and holiness before him all the days of their life, having none to hinder them.
Fourthly, I shall conciude this subject with a few practical inferences.
Inf. 1. The ten commandments were not given to the Israelites as a covenant of works, but in the way of the covenant of gracs, and under that covert. Ye saw it was Jesus the Mediator that spoke these, Heb. xii. 24, 26.Amongst all the reasons there is not one of terror; but the sweet savour of gospel-grace *.
2. The true way to attain to the obedience of these commandments, is first to believe that God is our God in Christ, and then to set about the performance of them ; first to believe, then to do. The attempting it the contrary way, placing obedience first before faith, is entirely contrary to the Lord's method. Thus to believe, strengthens the soul for obedience. - 3. All true obedience to the ten commandments now must run in the channel of the covenant of grace, being di. rected to God as our God in that covenant, Deut. xxviii. 58. This is to fear that glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD. And so legal obedience is no obedience at all. This obedience is performed not for righteousness, but to testify our love to the Lord our Righteousness; not in our own strength, but in that of our Lord God and Redeemer; not to be accepted for its own worth, but for the sake of a Redeemer's merits; not out of fear of hell, or hope to purchase heaven, but out of love and gratitude to him who has
• See the Author's Notes on the Marrow of Modern Divinity Vol. II.
delivered us from hell, and purchased heaven and everlasting happiness for us.
4. All men are obliged to keep these commandments, for God is Lord of all : but the saints especially; for besides be ing their Lord, he is their God and Redeemer too. So far is the state of the saints from being a state of sinful liberty, that there are none so strongly bound to obedience as they, and that by the strongest of all bonds, those of love and gratitude, arising from the amazing and wonderful obedience and satisfaction which he has performed for them. So that the love of Christ will sweetly and powerfully constrain them to run the way of his commandments; for his commandments are not grievous, and in the keeping of them is a great reward. They will love him, because he has first loved them; and his love has flowed out to them in the crimson streams of their dear Redeemer's blood, by which their sins are expiated, and their guilt atoned. And those to whom much is forgiven, will certainly love much.
5. Holiness is the most reasonable course that men can take, and the breaking over the bonds of religion is breaking over the bonds of reason. God might have required of us obedience by his mere will, without giving any other reason; and in that case, men had been bound to give it at their peril. But how much sweeter is the command, and agreem able what he demands, when he enforces the requirement he makes by such engaging motives, as that he is the Lord, & being possessed of all possible perfection, of every glorious at: tribute and excellency, the author of all other beings, and all the amiable qualities and attracting excellencies of which they are possessed ; that he is our God, related to us by a covenant, which he hath made with his own Son as our Surety and Saviour, and which is brought near to us in the gospely that we may enter into the bond thereof, and the righteous: ness of which is brought near unto us, who are stout-heartea and far from righteousness, that we may accept thereof, and so be delivered from condemnation and wrath? How agreeable and ravishing is it to reflect, that he incites and prompts us to obedience, not by the authority of his absolute sovereignty over us, and undoubted propriety in us, but by the inviting and attracting consideration of the great deliverance he has wrought for us, of which the deliverance from the Egyptian bondage was a bright type! Can we reflect on the
great salvation wrought for us by Jesus Christ, by which we were saved from all the horrors of sin and hell, rescued from the power of Satan, and delivered from the present evil world, and the pollutions thereof; can we reflect on these great and glorious benefits, which afford astonishment to men and angels, and our hearts not glow with the warmest fire of love and gratitude to him who hath done such excellent things for us? Can we hesitate a moment to say, good is thy will, o God, just and holy are thy laws, and we will cheerfully obey what thou commandest us?
Lastly, The more favours any have received from the Lord, the more they owe obedience to him. Repeated favours conferred, are new calls to gratitude and cheerful obedience to the will of God. Every mercy that we receive, every favour conferred upon uş by God, is a fresh call to double our diligence, and to labour with our utmost might, to do the will of our gracious Benefactor and Friend. And à continued neglect of the favours and benefits which the Lord bestows on men, will make their sins the greater, and their punishment the sorer. O! that we may lay these things to heart, and fear the glorious and fearful name of the Lord our God!
Lord.). The more fa what thou common are thy laws, saying
OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
Exod. xx. 3.-Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
THE scope of this command is, to direct us to the right
object of worship. In speaking to it, I shall follow the method of the Catechism, That is, I will shew,
I. What is required in the first commandment,
I. I am to shew, what is required in the first commandment.
The ground whereon this question is built, is, that every command hath an affirmative part and a negative. The negative is included in the affirmative, and the affirmative in
the negative. As in this command, the negative is expressed, Thou shult have no other gods before me; hence we infer the affirmative part, Thou shalt have me for thy God. Now, the commandment being exceeding broad, many are the duties included in this, the chief whereof are contained in the answer. “The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.'
Here are the three chief duties of this command. 1. Knowing. 2. Acknowledging. 3, Worshipping and glorifying. That these are required here, is evident: for it is impossible that we can have God for our God, if we do not know him; and seeing the command requires the obedience of the whole man, it necessarily binds us to acknowledge, worship, and glorify him accordingly.
FIRST, We must know God. Hence said David, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. “And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father.' Knowledge is the foundation of all religion, for religion is a reasonable service. The mind of man should be clear and distinct in the uptaking of divine things. , So it was when God made it, so it should be with. out darkness. This commandment requires us to know,
1. The existence of God, that he is,' Heb. xi. 6. not only that there is a God, but that the God of Israel is the true God.
2. The nature of God, what he is. To know God comprehensively and adequately, is beyond the reach of the creature's capacity. Hence said Zophar, one of Job's friends, Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ?' and such a knowledge is not required. But a true knowledge of him we must have. Hence Christ said, John xvii. 3. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God;' that is, to know him as he has revealed himself in his word and works. We must know him in the Unity of his essence, Deut. vi. 4; and Trinity of persons, 1 John v. 7; in his attributes held out to us in the word, as that he is infinite, eter, nal, unchangeable, &c. in his works of creation, providence, and redemption. '
And forasmuch as where the end is required, the means also leading thereto are required, so the diligent study and observation of the word and works of God, and all means
leading thereto, are hereby required of us; such as praying, hearing sermons, catechising, &c.
SECONDLY, we are required hereby to acknowledge him to be the only true God, and our God; Deut. xxvi. 17.
Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God,' This acknowledgement presupposeth.
First, A believing firmly, and without the least hesitation, that God is, and what he is, as he has revealed himself in his word and works, Heb. xi. 6; for that is the end of the knowledge of God, even a full persuasion of what is given us to know concerning him. And what he reveals, it is certainly our duty firmly to believe; as that there is one God, this God a spirit; and that there are three persons in the Godhead, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
Secondly, A full and hearty chusing of this God for our God and portion, in opposition to all other persons and things: Psalm xvi. 2. Q my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord.' Psal. cxix. 57. : • Thou art my portion, O Lord.' We are not at liberty to chuse our God or our portion, what we will give our hearts to, love most, &c. God, as our great Lord and Master, has determined that for himself. And law-vengeance will pursue the neglect of it.
Thirdly, Hence, seeing there is no right chusing of God as our God but in his covenant, it is evident, that covenanting with God personally is a great and plain duty of this commandment, Psal. xvi. 2, forecited. Is. xliv. 5. • One shall say, I am the Lord's ;-another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord.' I have before observed, that these commands are proposed under the covert of the covenant of grace, wherein God offers himself to all to whom the gospel comes to be their God in Christ; and this command binds us to accept. And under this duty several things are required of us.
1. A serious deliberation as to the matching of our souls, Josh. xxiv. 15. • Chuse ye this day whom ye will serve.' Think with yourselves, O sinners, young or old, who must have this heart of yours. Consider the match proposed to thee by God himself; think on the nature of the covenant, that thou mayest deliberately consent to it, Luke xiv. 28.
2. A breaking off the covenant with our lusts and idols, Matth, v. 24. God says, thou shalt have me for thy God;