« PrécédentContinuer »
ham and of his seed, and he here reminded the Israelites of this promise.
And here I would remark that the title which God here gives himself, “ thy God,” teaches us that the moral law which follows, was given, not as a covenant of works, but as pertaining to the covenant of grace, or with reference to it. For, that the Lord was their God, which he could be to sinners only in the covenant of grace, was given as a reason, why they should keep the moral law. It was given to show the holiness of God, and the extent, evil, and desert of sin; to convince the sinner of his utter inability to save himself, to show him his need of a Saviour, and to be a schoolmaster to drive him to Christ; and at the same time to be to the true believer, really in the covenant of grace, a rule of duty according to which he should regulate his conduct.
The covenant of grace affords to all to whom it is revealed a strong reason to enforce their obedience to the holy law of God. In this covenant God has manifested his infinite condescension and love. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John iii. 16. The Son engaged to do the will of the Father. He became a surety for all who should believe in him before the days of his flesh; and it was in virtue of his suretiship, which could not fail, that God became the covenant God of the Old Testament saints, before atonement was actually made for sin. In the fulness of time, the Son of God assumed human nature, took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He bare the curse of the divine law due to sin, and thus satisfied divine justice, and procured reconciliation with God for all, who will believe in his name. In and through Christ, God offers himself to be the sinner's God, which includes every blessing of the covenant of grace-grace here and glory hereafter. Most assuredly this consideration, ought to be a powerful tive to lead us to obedience to the will of God.
We are under indispensable obligations to render obedience to the will of God from the consideration of his essential character. And his character as a covenant God, or a God in Christ reconciling sinners to himself, undoubtedly strengthens these obligations. And if the cover
of grace afforded such a strong argument, to enforce obedience to the laws of God upon the Israelites ; it undoubtedly affords a much stronger argument to enforce obedience upon us, who live under the new dispensation of this covenant. . For the nature of this covenant is now much more clearly revealed than it was formerly. The love of Christ, in his humiliation, obedience, sufferings, and death has been manifested to the world. And the grace of God and the blessings of the covenant of grace are now much more clearly made known than they were under the Old Testament dispensation. We therefore, who live under the light of the Gospel, are under increased obligations to render obedience to the law of God. And Christ, by his coming, instead of relaxing these obligations, as some pretend, has really increased them; And instead of having rendered sin á less evil, and less odious in the sight of God, and thus becoming the minister of sin, he has made it the more exceedingly sinful. And those who under gospel light, continue to live in sin or disobedience to God's law, will be punished more severely, than if they had perished without hearing of the covenant of grace, or if they had enjoyed a revelation of it in a more obscure degree. The
III. Reason mentioned in our text to enforce obedience to the moral law, is contained in these words, “ which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” This reason taken literally was applicable only to the Israelites but nevertheless it instructs us that all the blessings which God bestows upon us, bring us under obligations to render obedience to him. Surely therefore we, in this favoured land where we enjoy so many blessings are under peculiar obligations, to render obedience to the commandments of God; and must be peculiarly guilty, and deserving of punishment if we transgress.
But this argument, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," we have reason to believe was to be understood figuratively and spiritually as well as literally; and in this sense it applies to all who stand related to God in the covenant of grace.That dispensation, under which the Israelites were, abounded with types ; and almost all God's dealings towards them were intended to instruct them in spiritual things. The providential dispensation brought into view in this argument was evidently typical. The bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, aptly represented the sad state of man, while under the bondage of sin and Satan ; and the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage was · typical of a spiritual deliverance from the thraldom of sin by Jesus Christ. And to this typical or spiritual, as well as the literal meaning, we are to suppose the Lord had reference in this reason. This explanation is confirmed by the consideration that the moral law was intended to be binding in all ages of the church, and therefore this reason to enforce its observance, ought to be so explained as to be applicable to other nations besides the Jews. Considered in this light, we are urged to obedience to the divine law, because God is our Redeemer. · This reason lays under obligation to obedience to the divine law, all who hear of the way of deliverance from the bondage of sin, and to whom deliverance is offered. But especially does this argument apply to all the real people of God, who are actually delivered from the dominion of sin, and are brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Let all consider the desert of sin, and the dreadful punishment to which it exposes them. From this punishment God offers salvation. How good and gracious must God be, who is thus willing to save guilty sinners, and who thus offers them salvation! He therefore certainly deserves that his will should be obeyed by us. Let chris tians especially, reflect on the awful danger from which they have been actually delivered; the amazing price which was paid to open a way for their redemption; and the greatness of that salvation of which they are made heirs, and they must be convinced that their obligations to render obedience to the divine will are peculiarly great.
From this subject we infer that we are under as great, and greater obligations now, to render obedience to the moral law than the Israelites were of old. Let us therefore feelour obligations, study to know and understand the law of God, and carefully endeavour in sincerity of heart to be obedient ; let us mourn and repent when we come short or transgress; and let a sense of our failings and transgressions teach us the necessity of relying on grace for
salvation, endear Christ to us, and lead us continually to put our trust for pardon and acceptance in his righteous
We inferagain from our subject that obedience to God's commands is our reasonable service. If God be what he is, the self-existent, and supreme first cause of all things, an all-wise, infinitely good and just, omnipresent, omniscient, all-sufficient, and almighty being, he must unquestionably have an absolute right to reign, and his laws must all be just and good; and obedience to his will must be our reasonable service. And if he has so loved our world as to give his Son to suffer and die to open a way of salvation for our wretched race ; if he has been so infinitely merciful as in and through him to make a covenant of grace, in which he offers to become our God, and to deliver us from the punishment and the bondage of sin, and to make us heirs of a glorious, blessed, and eternal inheritance ; and doth actually thus deliver and make heirs many of our race,-he certainly must be worthy our obedience. All that he has spoken to us, we ought to do. And sin which is a transgression of the law must be an exceedingly great evil ; and the sinner must justly deserve God's wrath and curse. Let us all be impressed with a sense of the reasonableness of obedience to the commandments of God, and the unreasonableness of sin ; let sinners out of Christ, realize their guilt and danger; and flee without delay, to him for safety ; and let all who name the name of Christ be careful to depart from all iniquity, and to keep the commandments of God. AMEN.
DUTIES REQUIRED IN THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
EXODUS xx. 3.
* Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
The moral law, summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, is unchangeable and perpetually binding. It is therefore binding on us.
Ånd although we cannot now obtain life by the law; still we are under obligations to render obedience to it. And every christian, while he builds his hope on the Lord Jesus Christ and trusts entirely to his merits for pardon and acceptance with God, will at the same time love, and endeavour to keep the commandments of God, and will grieve and repent when he comes short or transgresses. This is essential to the character of the true christian.It is therefore highly important that we understand God's law. Our text is the first of the ten commandments. This commandment, though expressed in a few words, is exceeding broad; and taken in its utmost import, embraces the whole sum of religion. It is expressed negatively“ Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
This not only forbids the sin which is expressly mentioned; but it implies the contrary duty. And this is a rule which applies to all the commandments; where a sin is forbidden the contrary duty is commanded, and where a duty is commanded the contrary sin is forbidden.
The duties required in this commandment are stated in our Catechism in the answer to the 46th question.
“What is required in the first commandment.
The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly."
The object of the ensuing discourse is to illustrate the