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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 Whs a cruel Being, and had called Meses thither to destroy him; or so iveai, to imagine he could not enable him to live so long without eating, and consequently, that he had died for Want of hood ; they must knew, he was still with their Great Creator, and theresore, of Course, under his Almighty Protection.
This their unaccountable and abominable Rebellion, and Idolatry, cost the Lives of Three Thoufand of iht Israelites ; and well was it.that they escap'd so, aster having thus grievously provoked that good Gon, who had so lately and miraculously delivered them, with a high Hand, and out-stretch'd Arm, from the Tyranny of their Egyptian Task-Mailers. However, Mo/es having stood in the Gap, and turned away the divine Anger, by his Prayers; his Zeal for God's Honour; and the Sacrisice of ThreeThoufand of his Brethren; the Almighty, ever mercisul and gracious, condescended again, to write the fame Law, on Two other Tables of Stone; the Two sirst having been broken by Moses, though, otherwise, the meekest Man on Earth, in his Indignation against the Israelite!, for this their heinous, and inexcufable Ofsence. Thus much we thought proper to premise, coneirning the awsul Solemnity, wherewith the sirst Publication, of this divine Law, was accompanied ; in order to remind such of our Readers, into whofe 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 Legiflator, and the unreserved Obedience, they are bound to pay to it: Pass we now on to the Commandments themselves, as they follow, succefsively.
And here the sirst Thing to be remarked, i«, the Presace with which it is introduced ; / am the Lord thy God, tuho brought thee out of the Land ^'Egypr, out of the Hwfe of Bondage. Upon which we shall only observe, that Great and Almighty as the God of Israel was, is, and ever fliall be, yet he vouchfased to assign sive Reasons, why he expected,and required of them Obedience to those his Commands. Fi'st, I am the Lord ; now the Word Lord always implies the having Dominion over his Vassals; but it is likewise to be noted, he does not fay thy but the Lord; the Lord by way of Eminence 1 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 sussicient to sstisfy such a headstrong People, he adds (hereto a second, the Lord thy God. Now, what is the Idea we assix to the Word God? Is it not, that it signisies a Being, every Way greatly superior to any Man whatever; and, consequently, intitled to a different and more exalted Kind of Homage, anJ a more unlimited Obedience? That this is so, was allowed, even by the wisest Heathens, though enlighiened only by the Light of Nature; accordingly, they rightly distinguished between the Obedience, due even to the greatest of their Princes, and that to be paid to those, whom they worshipped mistakenly as Gods.
Of this the Philosopher, Culistbtnes, gave a memorable and noble Example, when required to worship the greatest Prince that ever was, namely, Alexander the. Great: "There is s. wide DiHercnce, «• said that honest and 'wise RJant ivith a genet out "Freedom ivhichaste.'wardt cost him huLise, between "the Reverence to be paid the Gods, and that due "to Men The former requires Temples, Altars, "Prayers, and Sacrisices; the latter is consinid t0 C «« Praises «« Praises only, and awsul Respect: We bow to the "latter, and look upon it as glorious, to pay them «« Submission, Obedience in Things lawsul, and «' Fidelity; bat we adore the former, appoint Fe"stivals to their Honour, and sing Hymns and spi«' ritual Songs to their Gory. Alexander would be '« justly offended, should we pay to another the «' Homage due to him alone; and ought we net to «. dread, the Indignation oftheGodsas much,should *' we bestow upon Mortals the Honours, to which «' they only have a just Claim?"
This being the Idea which has in all Ages been affixed to the Word Gon, this second Claim to their Obediente was yet stronger than the sirst, as it waa to be unlimited: But still, our All wise Creator, as foreknowing even this Plea would be too weak with such a stiff-necked and rebellious Generation, subjoins a third, Thy God; That is, not 9-strange God, but thy own peculiar Deity; hardly known to any but thee, O Israel! Not a God thou never heardest of besore, but the God of thy Foresathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; nay, the God of Power, as I have shewn, by the Plagues miraculously sent upon Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, thy Persecutors. Miracles! not only surpassing the Art of Man, but even the Force of Nature! Vet again he graciously adds a fourth Consideration; as if he had faid, What, is not all this enough to move thee, neither is my Power sussicient to awe thee? Well ! then let my Goodness melt thee! Accordingly he subjoins, ivha brought thee out of the Land c/"Egypt ; that is, out of a Country where thou wast a Stranger, and Sojourner, where thou wast only upon Sufferance, and hadst not any Thing thou couldest call thine own; and that to bring thee into a Land flowing with Milk and Honey. Yet once more, as knowing all this would be too little, and as if he had faid, if Goodness and Promises won't do, let Gratitude move
thy hard Heart, he adds, as a siisth, and most powersul Motive with any generous Mind, Out of the House of Bondage: That is, who have been thy Deliverer, and have brought thee by open Force, out of a Place, where thou wast treated with the utmost Cruehy and Barbarity; where Lise itself was a Burthen, because of the Inhumanity of thy Oppressors; where thou wast obliged to become the Murtherer of thine own Spn; where thou wait 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, the Work tf thy Hands, in order to prepare them to receive thy Law! Alas! well might the Royal Pfalœill scy, *« What is Man that thou art mindful of him, or the - Son of Man that thou yisitejl him?" Well! the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Easth, and all Things therein, having thus prepared the Way for the Reception of his Law, proceeds to declare his sirst Commandment, Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods But Mi.
We have already observed, that the Service due unto God, is the moft exalted, to which wecugiit to have added, and the most submissive kind of Homage, that can possibly be paid; the most exalted, as it is an Honour and a Privilege for us to bs allow*d to pay it; and the n-.ofl fubmtsjive, as it extends to Adoration, and the dedicating .ill the Faculties of our Body and Soul, together with a!! we possess, nay, even Lise itself, if needful, to his Use. We have likewise observed, that we are wp;iy him the mott unlimited Obedience; which implies two Things; sirst, that ,we are never to stand disputing his Will, as soon as we know it is so, however grievous it may be to Flesh and Blood; and/f'WJj, that we are not to run counter ro what we are C 2 assured
assured is so, upon any Account whatever; no, not at the Desire of the dearest Friend; not at the Command of the most absolute Tyrant ; not to fave one's Estate; nor even one's Lise, if at Stake, with thofe cf our whole Family.
This being premised, it is very evident it is such an Obedience as could not be exacted from u?, by the greatest Prince that ever lived; since Princes are only to expect Obedience to such Commancs „ as are lawsul in the Sight of Heaven. It is likewise equally evident, that as fir as we fall short of this unlimited Obedience, so far we fall short of our DJty to God ; and it also follows from hence, that if this Failure arises from our Regard, either to our own Passions, or to any created Being, we thereby, as much as in us lies, dethrone God, and substitute another Deity in his Place, at least for that Tims.
For Instancp, when a Man through Lust, Avarice, Ambition, Revenge, or any other Ptssion, is induced to act, in direct Contradiction to, and open Desiance of the Divine Law, in order to gratify that Darling Sin, is it not evident, that by obeying the Dictates of his Passion, rather than the CommanJs of Gon, he thereby substitutes that Passion in God's Place; for, what fays the Scripture f His Servants yi are to iuhom ye obey, Rom. vi. 16. And our blessed Siviour himself fays, Ye cannot serve God *nd Mammon.
The Reason is plain; because their Service is incompatible, their Commands being directly contrary to each other; if, theresore, we serve Mammon, we thereby mike him our Deity, and are guilty cf the Breach of the First Commandment: By this unerring and infallible Rule, theresore, we may judge whether we have, or have not, violated this