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As the next Preçept that follows, namely, the Fifth, is the only Commandmenr with a Promise ; and as moft Folks are desirous of a long Life, it is greatly to be wondered at, if natural Affection it. self were not sufficient to bind them, that this Confideration alone does not prevent so many from being guilty thereof; but, since wofol Experience daily Thews, it does not, les such Offenders know, they will find, in this little Treatise, that our heavenly Father watches, with a jealous Eye, over Offences against this Law ; and that, as, on one Hand, he lath promised long Life to the Observers of it, so, on the other Hand, it is tacitly to be understood, in the same Promise, that he who fails thereof, and neglects this Duty, shall be soon cut off; and, accordingly, it has frequently been remarked, as may be seen in this Treatise, that they, who have been notorious Of. fenders in this point, have come not only to un, timely, but generally also to Thameful Ends. : Of the Three next Commandments, namely, the Sixth, Seventh, and Eightb, as it is admitted on all Hands, that the Crimes therein prohibited, viz. Murther, Adultery, and Theft, are most heinous Sins, and that they daily cry to Heaven for Vengeance ; as, likewise, it cannot be denied, notwithstanding this is generally granted ; nay, notwithlanding the Law has made them all highly penal, that they reign greatly in this sinful Nation; it will surely be allowed, equally, thar too much cannot be said, to fhew the Enormity of them ; nor too many Argu. ments used, or Examples quoted, of judgments befalling the Offenders agains each, in order to deter others, from treading in the same wicked Steps. But this is not all, that will be done in this little T'reatise ; for many, who may look therein, and who never suspected themselves, to have been guilty of e:ther of these horrid Crimes, will find themselves condemn'd, equally, with the actual and open
Transgreflors; and equally liable to the divine Wrath, unless they prevent it, by a hearty and fin. cere Repentance.
But, notwithAtanding the acknowledg'd Enormity of the Vices forbidden by the three foregoing Commandments, which is greatly heightened, by their being the most detrimental to, and destructive of Society, we very much question, whether that which is prohibited, by the next Precept, namely, Lying, Bearing false Witness, and especially Perjury, which is an Offence equally against the Ninth and Third Commandments, and consequently a complicated Crime, is not rather more heinous, more destructive of Society, and has not cry'd more loudly to Heaven for Vengeance, especially of late Years, since the passing of the A& against Corruption, and the great Increase of the penal Laws. In this little Treatise, therefore, our Readers will find, the Enormity and Hatefulness, of that deteftable and abominable Sin, fully display'd, in it's proper Colours ; with the severe Judgments, which it hash pleased • Providence itself, to indict upon such odious Mis'creants, amply set forth, and properly remarked up
on; and this, in order to deter all, who are not quite · harden'd in Iniquity, from committing that hellil and execrable Vice. - Come we now to the last Commandment, which is rather a Summary, or Abridgment of all those of the Second Table, that is, all those relating to our Neighbour, than a single Precept: What we are to collect, in general, from thence, is, that we are thereby forbidden to do any Thing, which may be an Injury, or Detriment, to our Neighbour, that is, any Man living. For Inftarce, Were a Man ftrongly to covet his Neighbour's House, it might put him upon contriving fome Way, to get it from him; which, in any Cale, would be a great Injury, though he were but a yeariy Tenant ; and in some
Cases, it would be a downright Robbery, and Op. prefsion: Were he to covet his Wife, it might pot him upon endeavouring to debauch her, which would be Adultery ; and if he could not prevail that Way. it might even put him upon Murder ; and the same may be said, upon each of the other Articles : Under this Head, therefore, our Reader will find, a Sort of Recapitulation of what has been said before, in Relation to the Duties of the Second Table ; together with some Additions, to-such Points as had been touched too slightly; and a Supplement, to what had been either omitted, or forgotten.
Thus have we laid before our Readers, a short Sketch of what they are to expect in the Body of this Work ; from whence they may be able, in a good Measure, to judge of the whole ; as likewise of the great Usefulness ofthis Undertaking : To which, therefore, we shall only add, that it shall not be our Faule, if it is not as compleat, as the Size of the Book will admit; and that, we hope, they will give it a favourable Reception, till they meet with some: thing more perfect of the Kind, to supply it's Place.
CH A P:
Of the good and bad Consequences of the
Observance, or Non-observance of the
PA O HE extraordinary Pomp, and unpar.
rallel'd Majesty, with which the Pro. mulgation of the Ten Commandments, called otherwise, by some, the Moral Law, and the Decalogue, was attend
ed; and the inexpressible Dread, which it struck into the Hearts, of the whole People of Ifrael; the terrible Thunderings and Lightenings; the Mountain smoaking fearfully, as if all in Flames; and trembling excessively, as in an Earthquake ; with the Smoke ascending from it, as from a valt fiery Furnace; the exceeding loud Voice of the Trumpet, which undoubtedly had something in it inconceivably dreadful, and was indisputably the fame Trump of the Archangel, whose awful and piercing Sound, we are assured, shall one Day wake the Dead; the Atrict and express Charge, that Bounds should be set about the Mount, and that none of the People, nay, not even a Brute Beast, lould so much as touch the Border of it, on Pain of Death; though they had all been fanctified before, according to God's Direction, and by his immediate Command : All these Circumstances, we say, of uncommon Dignity and Terror, wherewith the Delivery of this
Law was usher'd in, and accompanied, together with that amazing Condescenfion, of our Great Greator, in writing it, with his own Finger, upon Two Tables of Stone, were certainly intended, by the infinite Wisdom of the Almighty, to imprint the greater Reverence for it, in their Hearts, and to ri, vet it the deeper, in their Memories.
• Nor were all these Precautions unnecessary, or merely for the Sake of Form, or the greater Pomp, as we find immediately afterwards ; no, that all. wise Being, who knew best, of what perverse Tem, pers, that stiff-necked Generation were compounded, thought all little enough, to keep them within the Limits of their Duty; and prevent their perishing, by their Proneness to Disobedience, and Rebellion. In effect, awful and terror-ftriking as they were, they were not all even sufficient, to restrain that headstrong Nation, from absolute Idolatry, for fo short a Space as full fix Weeks ; no, norwithstanding it appears, the Voice of the LORD was so dreadful, that they cry'd unto Mofes, « Speak thou with us, and we will "" hear, but let not GOD speak with us, left we dye. Nay, though we are expressly told, - The Sight of “ the Glory of the LORD was like devouring Fire, on " the Top of the Mount, in the Eyes of the Children of “ Israel." Notwithstanding all this, we say, yet no sooner were these Terrors removed from them, in some Measure, than they forgot them ; and, upon Mofes not coming to them within forty Days, their Patience being quite worn out, they cry out peevilhly to AARON, - Up, make us Gods, which shall “ go before us; for, as for this Moses, the Man that “ brought us up out of the Land of Egypt, we wot 66 not what is become of him."
And this their Murmuring was the more remarkable, and inexcusable, as it plainly appears, from the facred Story, that the Glory of the Lord, and