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streams of their dear Redeemer's blood, by which their fins 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 cafe men had been bound to give it at their péril. But how much-fweeter is the command, and agreeable what he demands, when he enforces the requirement he makes by such engaging motives, as that he is the Lord, a being poffefied of all possible perfection, of every glorious attribute and excellency, the author of all other beings, and all the amiable qualities and attracting excellencies of which they are pofseffed ; 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 go. spel, that we may enter into the bond thereof, and the righteousness of which is brought near unto us, who are ftout-hearted and far from righteousness, that we may accept thereof, and fo be delivered from condemnation and wrath? How agreeable and ra. vishing 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 conlideration 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 falvation wrought for us by Jesus Christ, by which we were saved from all the horrors of fin 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 afto. nishment to men and angels, and our hearts not glow with the waļmest fire of love and gratitude to him
commanders, and we
the aflly, The
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 chearfully 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 chearful obedience to the will of God. Every mercy that we receive, every favour conferred upon us 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 a continued neglect of the favours and benefits which the Lord bestows on men, will make their fins the greater, and their punishment the forer. O that we may lay these things to heart, and fear the glorious and fearful name of the Lord our God!
Of the firft Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. THE scope of this command is, to direct us to the
right object of worthip. In speaking to it, I shall follow the method of the catechism. That is, I will shew,
1. What is required in the first commandment.
II. What is forbidden in it.. . - III. The import of the words, before me.
I. I am to shew what is required in the first com: mand.
The ground whereon this question is built, is, that every command hath an affirmative part and a nega. tive. The negative is included in the affirmative, and the affirmative in the negative. As in this command, the negative is expressed, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Hence we infer the affirmative part, Thou malt 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 an. swer.
• The first commandment requireth us to know 6 and acknowledge God to be the true God, and our “ God; and to worship and glorify him according“ ly.” 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 impoflible 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 glo. rify him accordingly..
FIRST, We must know God. Hence said David, i 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 fervice. 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 without 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 Ifrael is the true God.' i
2. The nature of God; what he is. To know God cornprehensively and adequately, is beyond che reach of the creature's capacity. Hence said Zophar, one of Job's friends, Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out Gol? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfeétion? and such a knowledge is not required. But a true knowledge of him we inust have. Hence Christ said, John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, that they might know ibee 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 effenice, 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 in: finite, eternal, unchangeable, doc.; in his works of creation, providence, and redemption. " ,
And forasmuch as where the end is required, the means also leading thereto are required, to the dili
gent study and observation of the word and works of 1 God, and all means leading thereto, are hereby re
quired of us; such as praying, hearing sermons, 22• techiling, doc.
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 hefitation, that God is, and what he is, as he has reveal. ed 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 firin.
ly to believe; as that there is one God, this God a 1 fpirit; and that there are three persons in the Godhead, t the same in substance, equal in power and glory.
Secondly, A full and hearty chuling of this God for our God and portion, in opposition to all other perfons and things: Psal. xvi. 2. O my foul, thou hast. suid unto the Lord, 'Thou art ing Lord. Pfal. cxix. 57.
Thou art my portion, O Lord. We are not at liberty to 1 chuse our God or our portion, what we will give ou: i hearts to, love moft, Esti God, as our great Lord
and Master, has determined that for himlelf. And law vengeance will pursue the neglect of it.
Thirdly, Hence, feeing 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, Pfal. xvi. 2. forecited. If. xliv. 5. One hall say, I am the Lord's; another hall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord.[ have before observed, that these commands are pre..
posed under the covert of the covenant of grace, wherein God offers himself to all to whom the gospel comes to be their God in Chrift; 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 fouls, Josh. xxiv. 15. Chuse ye this day whom ye will ferve. Think with yourselves, O finners 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 mayst deliberately consent to it, Luke xiv, 28,
2. A breaking off the covenant with our lufts and idols, Matiti. v, 24; God says, Thou shalt have inę for thy God; therefore thou must let these go their way. As one would rise up and say to a woman giving herselt in marriage to another, I have a prior right to thee, thou shalt have no other husband but me. So that could the voice of this command be heard, it would be licard taying and crying out of injury done to thy God, whensoever any thing lawful or unlawlul geis a way the heart inordinately,
3. Faith in Jesus Christ, receiving him as he is of. fered in the gospel, and taking God for our God in bim, even Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which is the accepting of the covenant, Matth. xxii. 4. For tho? the law knows not Christ, yet it obliges to believe whatever God shall reveal, and do whatever he com: mands. And this is his commandment, That we jhould believe on the name of his Son Jesus Chrift, i John ii. 23. Şo that the law confirms this great command in the gospel.
4. Faithfulness in the covenant, continuing with him and cleaving to him ; for this is an everlasting command, a negative binding at all times. He muit be our God without interruption, without intermilfion. We must say with the pfalmift, Whom have I in heaven but theç? and there is none upon earth that I defire besides thee, Pfal. lxxiii. 25,