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the Cloud, remained all the while upon the Mount ; so that, unless they were either so wicked, to think the God of Mercy was a cruel Being, and had called Moses thither to destroy him; or so weak, to imagine he could not enable bim to live so long with out eating, and consequenıly, that he had died for Want of Food ; they must know, he was still wich their Great Creator, and therefore, of course, under his Almighty Protection.
This their unaccountable and abominable Rebel. lion, and Idolatry, cost the Lives of Three Thoufand of the lfraelites ; and well was it, that they escap'd fo, after having thus grievously provoked that good God, who had so lately and miraculously delivered them, with a high Hand, and out-stretch'd Arm, from the Tyranny of their Egyptian Task-Mafters. However, Mofes having stood in the Gap, and turned away the divine Anger, by his Prayers; his Zeal for God's Honour; and the Sacrifice of Three Thousand of his Brethren ; the Almighty, ever merciful and gracious, condescended again, to write the same Law, on Two other Tables of Stone; the Two first having been broken by Moses, though, otherwise, the meekeft Man on Earth, in his Indignation against the Ifraelites, for this their heinous, and inexcusable Offence. Thus much we thought pros per to premise, concerning the awful Solemnity, wherewith the first Publication, of this divine Law, was accompanied ; in order to remind such of our Readers, into whose Hands this may chance to fall, as, don't much trouble themselves with looking into that old fashioned Book, the Bible, of the Dignity of the Almighty Legislator, and the unreserved Obedience, they are bound to pay to it: Pass we now on to the Commandments themselves, as they follow, successively.
And here the first Thing to be remarked, is, the Preface with which it is introduced ; I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage. Upon which we shall only obserye, chat Great and Almighty as the God of Ifrael was, is, and ever fhau be, yet he vouchsafed to afsign five Reasons, why he expected, and required of them Obedience to those his Commands. Fiin, I am the Lord ; now the Word Lord always implies the having Dominion over his Vassals; but it is like. wise to be noted, he does not say thy but the Lord ; the Lord by way of Eminence : the only one, who has any real Right to that Title; as such, therefore, he had an undoubted Claim, not only to their Obedience, but that of the whole World.
However, as if not thinking this sufficient to sa. tisfy such a headtrong People, he adds thereto a jecont, the Lord thy God. Now, what is the Idea we affix to tbe Word God? Is it not, that it signifies a Being, every Way greatly superior to any Man whatever; and, consequently, intitled to a different and more exalted Kind of Homage, and a more unlimited Obedience? That this is ro, was allowed, even by the wifeft Heathens, though enlightened only by the Light of Nature ; accordingly, they rightly diftinguithed between the Obedience, due even to the greatest of their Princes, and that to be paid to thore, whom they worshipped mistakenly as Gods.
Of this the Philosopher, Culisthenes, gave a me. morable and noble Example, when required to worship the greareft Prince that ever was, namely, Alexander the Great: “ There is a wide Difference, " said that honest and wife Man, with a generous • Freedom which afte:wards coft him ki. Life, between " the Reverence to be paid the Gods, and that due “ to Men. The former requires Temples, Altars, « Prayers, and Sacrifices ; the latter is confined to
" Praises « Praises only, and awful Respect : We bow to the rs latter, and look upon it as glorious, to pay them & Submillion, Obedience in Things lawful, and or Fidelity ; bat we adore the former, appuine Fei stivals to their Honour, and fing Hymns and spi. 66 ritual Songs to their Glory. Alexander would be “ juftly offended, Mould we pay to another the 16 Homage due to him alone ; and ought we not to ti dread, the Indignation of the Gods as much, should os we beftow upon Mortals the Honours, to which 1. they only have a jaft Claim ?”
This being the Idea which has in all Ages been allixed to the Word God, this second Claim to their Obedience was yet stronger than the first, as it was to be unlimited: Bur ftill, our All-wise Creator, as foreknowing even this Plea would be too weak with such a ftiff-necked and rebellious Generation, subo joins a ;hird, The God; That is, not a frange God, but thy own peculiar Deity ; hardly known to any but chee, O Israel! Not a God thou never heardelt of before, but the God of thy Forefachers, Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob; nay, the God of Power, as I have thewn, by the Plagués miraculously sent upon Pha. raoh, and the Egyptians, thy Persecutors. Miracles ! not only surpassing the Art of Man, but even the Force of Nature ! Yet again he graciously adds a fourth Confideration; as if he had said, What, is not all this enough to move thee, neither is my Power sufficient to awe thee? Well! then let my Goodneis melt thee! Accordingly he subjoins, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt ; that is, our of a Country where thou wait a Stranger, and Sojourner, where thou was only upon Sufferance, and hadit not any Thing thou couldest call thine own; and that to bring thee into a Land flowing with Milk and Honey. Yet once inore, as knowing all this would be too little, and as if he had said, if Goodness and Promises won't do, let Gratitude move
thy hard Heart, he adds, as a fifth, and most powerfui Mocive wich any generous Mind, Out of tbe House of Bondage : That is, who have been thy Deliverer, and have brought thee by open Force, out of a Place, where thou wait treated with the use most Cruelly and Barbarity; where Life itself was a Burthen, because of the Inhumanity of thy Oppressors; where thou wast obliged to become the Murtherer of thine own Son; where thou waft even compelled to make Brick, without being supplied with the necessary Materials.
Good and Gracious God! wast thou obliged thus to argue with Worms of the Earth, che Work of thy Hands, in order to prepare them to receive thy Law! Alas! well might the Royal Psalmiit say, « What is Mon that thou art mindful of him, or the « Son of Man that thou visitest bim " Well! the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, and all Things therein, having thus prepared the Way for the Reception of his Law, proceeds to declare his first Commandment, THOU EN ALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BUT ME.
We have already observed, that the Service due unto God, is the most exalted, to which we ought to have added, and the most submillive kind of Homage, that can poflibly be paid ; the most exalted, as it is an Honour and a Privilege for us to be allow'd to pay it; and the n:of submisive, as it extends to Adoration, and the dedicating all the Faculties of our Body and Soul, together with a!). se possess, nay, even Life itself,' if needful, to lis Ule. We have likewise observed, that we are coʻpay hini the most unlimited Obedience; which implies two Things; first, that we are never to stand dispuring his Will, as soon as we know it is so, however grievous it may be to Flesh and Blood; and secondly, that we are not to run counter to what we are
aftured is Yo, upon any Account whatever ; no, not at the Desire of the dearest Friend ; not at the Command of the most absolute Tyrant ; not to save one's Ella:e; nor even one's Life, if at. Stake, with those of our whole Family.
This being premised, it is very evident it is such an Obedience as could not be exacted from us, by the greatest Prince that ever lived ; fince Princes are only to expect Obedience to such Commands as are lauful in the Sight of Heaven. It is likewise equally evident, that as far as we fall Short of this unlimited Obedience, so far we fall short of our Duty to God; and it also follows from hence, that if this Failure arises from our Regard, either 10 our own Paffions, or to any created Being, we thereby, as much as in us lies, dethrone God, and fubstitute anosher Deisy in his Place, at least for that Time.
For Instance, when a Man through Luft, Avarice, Ambition, Revenge, or any other passion, is induced to a&t, in direct Contradi&tion to, and open Defiance of the Divine Law, in order to gratify chat Darling Sin, is it not evident, that by obeying the Dictates of his Paffion, rather than the Comman's of
God, he thereby substitutes that Passion in God's · Place; fur, what says the Scripture? His Servants 1 ye are to whom ye obey, Rom. vi. 16. And our
hiefred Saviour himself says, Ye cannot serve God and MAMMON.
The Reason is plain; because their Service is incompatible, their Commands being direct!y contrary ro each oiher; if, therefore, we serve Mammon, we thereby make him our Deity, and are guilty of the Breach of the First Commandment: By this unerring and infallible Rule, therefore, we may judge whether we have, or have not, violated this