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who had taken up arms against their Creator and Sovereign Lord. Men had by their fin involved themselves in utter ruin, and could not help themselves. In such deplorable circumstances did God fis his love on them, and send his Son to redeem them from the curse of the law, and from the wrath to come, by laying down his life for them. And shall not such a glorious and unspeakable instance of the love of the great God and his Son Jesus Christ to the ruined race of fallen man, excite and stir us up to love our neigh.
bour, and to do him all the service we can both as to , þis temporal and eternal interests ?
Lastly, How happy would the world be if men loved others as themselves ! Suppose ten men ; fo love would contract ten into one, and multiply one into ten. }low happy would each of these ten be, who would have ten hearts to care for him, twenty eyes to fee for him, twenty hands to work for him, and twenty feet to travel for him!
Let the Lord's people especially love one another. They are the sons of God, and the brethren of Chrilt. God loved them with an everlasting love, and with loving.kindness he drew them to himself. Christ se: deemed them at no less price than that of his most precious blood. The Holy Spirit is their Sanctifier and Comforter, and will abide with them for ever. They are members of one family, fellow-citizens, and of the household of faith. They are members of one body, of which Christ is the head. They have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one hope of their calling. They have all fled from one city, that of fin and destruction; and they are travelling unto one heavenly country. They are all clothed with one garment, the complete righteousness of their Surety and High Priest. They are all the spouse of Chrift, who is one. They are all brethren, children of the promise. Shall then such persons fall out by the way! Nay, lball they not dearly love one another? Be kinda ly affectioned one to another ; fays the apostle, with bike
boord, one they havend they
therly love, Rom. xii. 10. Let brotherly love continue, Heb, xiii. 1. Such love is a sure and infallible sign of your being the friends and followers of Christ. By ibis, says our Lord, Jall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Be at peace then among yourselves, and shew that ye are subjects of the Prince of peace, and heirs of the legacy of peace which he has left you.
SX&EXARX&CXX31X82X88X83X&®X®X® The Preface to the ten Coinmandments.
Exodus XX. 2. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of
the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. COME take these words (which are the first of that
speech spoken immediately by God himself) to be a part of the first commandment, shewing who is the true God, that is to be our God. Our catechism determines them to be a preface to all the commandments; and though they have a particular rela. tion to the first command, Thou shalt bare no other gods, before me, viz. the Lord thy God, who have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage ; yet seeing the first commandment has a common rela. tion to all of them, and is interwoven with all the rest, and the words natively enforce obedience to the whole, they are set here as a preface to all the commands, like a magnificent entry into a palace decorated with the arms of the owner, in the words consider,
1. The Speaker and Giver of these commandments. It is the Lord, particularly Jesus Christ, who gave this law in name of the Trinity. This is plain from the scripture, Acts vii. 38. Heb. xii. 24. 25. 26. It was he that brought the people out of Egypt, and that appeared in the bush that burnt with fire, and yet was not consumed, giving commission to Moses for their deliverance, Exod. iii. 2.-8.
2. The speech itself, wherein we have a description of the true God, bearing three reasons for the keep ing his commands. (1.) From his sovereignty; he is i he Lord. (2.) From his covenant-relation to his peo. ple, thy God. (3.) From the great benefit of redemp. tion and deliverance wrought for them.
Doct. “ The preface to the ten commandments « teacheth us, That because God is the Lord, and « our God and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to 66 keep all his comniandments.”
But it may be asked, Why does the Lord make use of arguments 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 cords of a man, with bands of love. And because he delights in no obedience but what is unconstrained and chearful. It is truly matter of wonder, that the infinitely-glorious God should be at so great pains to incline man to pur. sue his own happiness. · Here I shall consider the several reasons of obe. dience 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 fignificant name, and denotes, (1.) The u. nity of the Godhead, that he is one true God, haying no partner, equal, or rival. (2.) The reality and certainty of his being. Idols are nothing; all their divinity is only in the fancies and opinions of men : but God is a real and true being. (3.) The necessity, eternity, and unchangeableness of his being. All other tbings which have a 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 faine 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. 991. 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 fupereminent 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 a glowworm 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, foul, body, doc. all is from him ; how, can we then decline his government?
3. He is Lord Rector, fupreme Governor and Law"giver to us, whose will is our law, Jam. iv. 12.
There is one lawgiver. This he is as Jehovah, the foune tain of all being, which gives him an absolute and illi
mited 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, Rev. iv. 11. Every moment we have a continued creation from him, without which we could no more fubfift than the beams of the fun without the fun 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-se lation 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, Il. liv. 5. Thy makers is thine huhand; for the word is plural in the Hebrew. Here I shall thew,
1. What this covenant is.
2. How this covenant bindeth to the obedience of the commandinents.
1. What covenant is this? It is the covenant whereby he was lsrael's God before the giving of the law on Sinai ; for this plainly relates to a former rela: tion betwixt them, by virtue of which they were brought out of Egypt. This was then no other but the covenant with Abraham and his feed, Gen. xvii. 7. & xv. 18. and by virtue of the covenant-promile to Abraham it was, that they were delivered out of Egypt, Gen. XV. 13. 14. &c. That was not the co. venant 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 ac cording to the flesh were in an external manner, whereby God had a more special right over them than the rest of the world; and fo is it with all who are within the visible church at this day. But Israel according to the Spirit, the elect of God and believers, the spiritual seed of Abraham, were and are most properly under this covenant, and that in a faving man. ner, Rom. iv. 11. 12. 13. So that this reason is not general to all the world, but peculiar to the church.
2. I fhall Thew 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 cominandınent to them; and for God to be che God of a people in the sense of the promise made to Abraham, includes the assurance of their complete salvation, Matth. xxii. 32. But,