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however this system doth more directly and immediately oblige that people, all being formally, and in style of law, directed only to them, promulged in their ears, expressed in their language, inserted into the body of their laws, as
a principal member of them; it being also expressly callDeut. iv. ed a covenant with that people, (He declared unto you, 13. 8. 2. Exod." says the text, his covenant, which he commanded you to *xxiv.1,28. perform, even ten commandments,) and accordingly was
reposed in the ark, hence it seems named the ark of the covenant, the which, when all nations should be converted to God, and admitted into the Church, was, as the pro
phet Jeremiah foretold, to be utterly discarded and laid Jer. iii. 16, aside; (In those days, faith God in him, they shall say no
more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither Fall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither Jhall they vist it ; neither shall that be done any more.) Hence, although some passages herein, according to their primary, ftrict, and literal meaning, might never have been intended universally and perpetually to oblige;
Yet, notwithstanding these exceptions, if we consider,
1. The manner of its delivery; with what extraordinary solemnity it was proclaimed; how it was dietated immediately from God's own mouth; and written with his finger; or,
2. The matter of it, containing the prime dictates of natural reason, the chief rules of piety toward God, and
équity toward our neighbour; (whence those elogies Neh, ix. 13. conferred on it, in Nehemiah; Thou camest also down
upon mount Sinai-and gavest them right judgments, and
true laws, good statutes and commandments: and by St. Rom. vii. Paul; The law is holy; the commandment holy, just, and
good : for that commendation doth, I suppose, especially
respect this part of the Jewish law, out of which he Rom. vii. 7. takes his instance, Thou shalt not covel :) if we also con
3. The end and design of these precepts, which was to ground them in true notions of religion, and to dispose them to the practice of righteousness; to render them loyal and acceptable subjects to God; to promote God's
glory and their own good; which being expressed in Deut. 2. 19. general concerning their law, doth more especially agree to this system; being as the base and platform, the heart and quintessence of all their other laws; the which seem added as superstructures on it, or fences thereof.
4. If we also consider, that our Saviour did not derogate from this Law; but declared his intention only to expound it, or to ampliate and extend it; (they are the words of Tertullian and Irenæus ;) and how the Apostles do sometimes allege fome passages in it, as retaining some Rom. vii. 7.
Eph. vi. 2. authority and force to oblige.
5. Considering also, farther, that there is no commandment herein (howsoever according to its immediate and direct sense seeming peculiar to that people) which may not in a larger, or in a mysterious and spiritual meaning, which at least may not according to good analogy, or parity of reason, concern us; obliging us, if not by direct authority in punctual manner to the very fame thing, yet, as a signification of God's pleasure and approbation, to somewhat answerable and like thereto.
6. Lastly, If we consider that all, or the greatest part of, the main duties concerning us are either plainly expressed, or closely insinuated in them; or may at least be conveniently reduced to them; our Saviour himself having gone before, directing us in the matter and manner of doing it:
Considering, I say, these things, we have no small reason to yield great veneration to this ancient system of precepts; and to acknowledge the great use thereof in order to the guidance of our life and pra&ice: we accordingly Thall so descant thereon, as by considering the main drift, intrinsic reason, and spiritual intention of each particular, to reduce the chief precepts of Christian doctrine which oblige us thereto.
Premifing thus much, I address my discourse to the particulars; omitting all controverted niceties concerning the division thereof, and all circumftantial questions ; touching only such things as shall appear substantial and useful.
Heb. i. 1.
Bod (pake all these words, saying: THIS is a title, or superscription, like the Par de le Roi (by the King) at the head of a proclamation, declaring from whom, and in what manner, that which follows doth come; and therefore implying what it is, and how it should be received.
God (pake; It comes from God, as author; and that most immediately, as it were, from his own mouth; and hath consequently the nature and force of a law, obliging to highest regard and obedience; as that which proceedeth from the most sovereign, unquestionable, and uncontrollable authority; which is promulged in a way most evident and most direct : every fignification of God's purpose or pleasure is usually called God's word; for God, as the Apostle says, in divers kinds and manners did Speak unto the fathers; and to every fuch word our ear should be attentive, our heart should be fubmiffive, our hand should be obedient; but especially they should be so, when God himself immediately declares his mind and will; as he did notoriously in this case, by a great voice,
distinctly audible and intelligible, miraculously formed by Deut. v. 24. himself; Behold, say the people, the Lord our God hath
Thewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth: and if whatever is in God's name (by message of angels, by infpiration of men, or by any other ways) revealed, must be entertained with all submiss respect, what regard is due to that word, which God is pleased, not by his ministers and instruments, but himself in person, as it were, to pronounce !
These words: that is, these speeches or sentences; (for so a word in Scripture style fignifieth ;) or these things and matters; (for the Hebrew word debarim, as the
Greek phuata, fignifieth both words and things :) they are Exod. feveral times in the Pentateuch called the ten words, or
28. ten things; whence the system of them is named the DeDeut. iv. 13. I. 3. calogue.
All these words : all, without distinction or exception, Jam. ii, 10, did proceed from the same authority, and in the same More
"Matt. v. 19, manner; and all therefore do require the like regard and observance to be yielded to them.
I am the Lord; or, I am Jehovah, thy God, which
brought thee out of the land of Egypt :
THESE words are by some taken for a precept, enjoining the acknowledgment and acceptance of God, answerable to what is here implied; and consequently all the positive duties of religion, deducible hence : but we see the style is declarative and assertive, not dire&tly imperative; and so it may pass rather as a preface, farther enforcing obligation to obedience; wherein are expressed or intimated the chief reasons upon which it is grounded; every word containing in it somewhat of remarkable emphasis.
I am Jehovah ; or that very same God, who under this appellation discovered myself to thy forefathers; who enacted a special covenant with them; who received homage, worship, and engagements to service from them; who promised especial protection and favour to them and to their feed; that Jehovah, who indeed am, what this name importeth, the only true and real God; eternal, independent, and indefectible in essence; true and infallible in word; constant and immutable in purpose; firm and faithful in performance of whatever I promise or threaten: that same Jehovah I am: to whose words therefore, upon all accounts of reason, of duty, of interest, thou particularly dost owe most submissive attention and obedience.
Thy God : that supereminent Being and Power, to whom thou peculiarly doft owe worship and honour, love and affection, duty and service: who although he be indeed the Lord of all the world, yet beareth a special relation unto thee; as having chosen and avouched thee to be Deut. vii. 6. a Special people to himself, above all the people that are xiv. 2:
xxvi. 18. upon the face of the earth ; having promised thee to make Deut. xxvi. thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, 19. and in name, and in honour ; and having by many signal
demonstrations of favour and mercy confirmed to thee the
performance of his covenant and promise; thou also reciDeut. xxvi. procally having avowed me to be thy God, to walk in my
ways, to keep my statutes, my commandments, my judgments, and to hearken to my voice.
unho brought thee our of the Land of Egppt; out of
the House of Bondage:
THIS is a particular and most remarkable instance, by which it appeareth what God it is that doth thus impose law upon them, and how they are obliged to entertain it : that God it is, who in pursuance of his fingular favour toward thee, and of his covenant made with thee, hath particularly obliged thee by so eminent a benefit, in a manner so full of wonder in itself, so full of grace toward thee, delivering thee from saddest oppression and flavery, bringing thee into a desirable state of present liberty, and of sure tendency (not otherwise than by thy fault to be frustrated) toward enjoyment of rest, of plenty, of all joy and comfort in the promised land; declaring hereby, as his glorious and divine perfections of wisdom and power, so his exceeding goodness toward thee, his faithful care over thee, his readiness and sufficiency, in all thy needs and exigencies, to protect, preserve, and deliver thee:
I then being such, Jehovah, the only true God; thy God, by particular engagement and endearment; thy gracious and bountiful benefactor, not in will only, but in deed, do thus propound my will unto thee; and upon all accounts of general and special duty, of reason, of justice, of gratitude, require thy regard and observance of what follows.
Now what God in a direct and literal sense thus speaketh to the Jewish people, may, according to likeness of cafe and parity of reason, (especially in a mystical and
spiritual way,) upon more confiderable and effectual acHeb. xiii.a. counts, be applied unto us : the Lord Jehovah is fuch no
less to us than to them; he is the same yesterday, to day,