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Mistress, or the Wife of his Bosom; one wha hasa.. watchtol-Eye over it, and will not overlook: any. Affront offered thereto ; a Particular we ought ever to recain in our Remembrance : To which, left this should not be enough to keep us on our Guard, he immediately subjoins, And visit the Sins of the.. Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate me: As if he had said, it no Regard for yourfelves will deter you from Dil. obedience to this Command, yet let your Love for your innocent Pofterity (who will otherwile be Sufferers thereby for several Generacions) disswade you from it.
We ought likewise to remember whose Children they are, upon whom God will visit or punish the Sins of their Parents, and there are specified by the Expression of them that hate me ; now who they are that may properly be said to hate God, may be plainly known by what our Saviour says, John xiv. 15, If ye love me keep my Commandments. And again, by what the beloved Apoftle says, r' John ii. 3, 4. And hereby we know that we love him, if we keep his Commandments. And again, ver. 3. For this is theo Love of God, that we keep his Commandments. Now, if only they who keep his Commandments can be said to love him, it follows of course, that only they who “ keep not his Commandments can be properly said to ! hate him. : So thar it is not the Man who falls acci-:' dentally into a Sin through Surprize, or the Infire mity of Human Nature, for which he after ivards.. heartily repents, whose Children will be thus visited, but the gross, habitual, and impenitenc Sin.. ners. se
- And this appears yet more evidently by the sea cond Motive urged by the Almighty, to ftir us up to: Obedience to this Law, which is, And Mew Mercy unto Thousands of them that love me and keep my.Coma: miandments. Now, as it is well known, that all Men
are Sinners, and as we are assured by the Pfalmift, xiv. 3, There is none that doeth Good, no not one ; it necessarily follows, thar chese People, unto Thousands of whom God will shew Mercy, must be Sinhers likewise, though not hardened impenitent Sinners : Besides, thar the very Expression of sewing Mercy, implies Guilt, since no Man can be said to have received Mercy, who has never offended.
Having thus explained the whole Scope and Extent of this Commandment, to the best of our Power, we shall next proceed, as we proposed at the Beginning, to give fome Examples of the good and bad Effects of the Observance or Non-Observance --> thereof. And here we need not be long at a Loss where to begin, since it is very certain the Chil: dren of Israel claim the Pre-eminence on all Accounts; for, as never were Nation fo highly favoured of God as the Jews, being his chosen and peculiar People, so undoubtedly never did Nation fo ungratefully reward their divine Benefactor and Protector ; never did Nation so balely, frequently, and cauflessly revolt; nor never were Nation more heavily, por more signally punished:
In effea, if we read their History attentively, as it is contained in the Holy Scriptures, we shall almost always find their Sin and their Punishment kept an equal Pace together. No sooner had they" revolted from the Living God, and fallen into Ido.. lacry, to which they were always very prone, but the Judgments of Heaven immediately overcook ; them, and they were punished according to their Deserts : No sooner hardly did they repent, and return to their merciful Father and Benefactor, than he had Pirg on his runaway Children, and i raised them up a Deliverer. ; Poin: s'; ' ;ng.
In short, fo transcendently gloriou's does the di- i vine Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, Majesty, and Power, :
thine forth in Scripture, in his Dealings with, and Difpenfations to that untoward Nation; ro noble and elevated is the Subject; with such Dignity and Sublimity of Stile is it treated; with such Váriery of Events is it embellished ; so amazing and aftonishing are the Occurrences therein contained ; that on this Account alone, could it not challenge it on any other, is highly deserves the Preference of all Histories ever yet written, did we only consider it as more entertaining, improving, and instructive. Insomuch that any Man, who after a serious Perusal thereof, could throw it aside, to take up any. other, must have a very infipid Tate, as well as a depraved Judgment, and it is to be feared a very . corrupt Mind. iji
Thus much we thought proper to say on this Occasion, to vindicate the Holy Scriptures from that Contempt, into which, sorry are we to speak it, they are so undeservedly fallen, through the enormous Wickedness of the present Age, that a modern fine Gentleman would be more ashamed of being caught by his Companions reading in the Bible, than he would with Rochester's Poems, the deteftable Play of Sodom, or even with a common Whore. But leaving such poor Wretches to chat Remorse which will surely one Day find them, though perhaps ic may prove too late, we thall now returi from whence we digressed, namely, to the infinite Wisdom, Justice, and Mercy of, the Divine Majesty, as displayed in his astonishing Dispensations towards the idolatrous Jers, and as contained in facred.. Writ.
The firft Instance we fhall mention thereof, as indeed it is one of the moft amazing, whether we ; consider the Audaciousness, Infoience, and unparalleled Ingratitude of the rebellious yeu's, or ihe infinite Mercy of a long-suffering, though A'migh: ty God, is what we have already taken lome Norice
of in our Introduction, and therefore shall only run over again cursorily, as it is the first Example recorded in Scripture, of their Pronenels to Idola. try, and also as it was scarce above three Months after their signal Deliverance from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and at a Juncture when they might be laid to be under the immediate Inspection of the Divine Majesty, and were even Eye-witnesses of his Glory, which abode opon Mount Sinai.
One would think. a People fo gloriously and surprizingly rescued from the most cruel Slavery and inevitable Deltruction, and under the contional and miraculous Guidance and Protection of Heaven, in a Pillar of a Cloud and of Fire, and at a Time when they were almost Eye-witnesles of the Divine Presence, would hardly have wanted any other Gods to go before them. Yer, to our Amazement, we find so it was : For Moses staying in the Mount somewhat longer than they expected, they immediately grow out of Patience, flock abouc Aaron, and cry, Up, make us Gods to go before us; for as for this Moses, the Man that brought us up out of the Land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him : And, what is equally astonishing, Aaron readily complied with their impious Request, and makes them a moleen Calf, which they wowhip, ascribing 10 that the Honour of bringing them out of Egypt.
This was such an impious and audacious Affront and Insule offered to the Divine Majesty, in giving his Glory to a lifeless Image, che Work of a Man's Hand, and that contrary to the Testimony of their own Consciences, that it is a most amazing Instance of his Mercy and Forbearance chac he did not im. mediately destroy them all ; and indeed he had done so, but chat he was increared by Mosis for them, and spared them ; yet riot so far, but that all the Levites were ordered to arm then selves, and hay every Man his Brother, and every Mun his
Companion, Companion, and every Man bis Neighbour, infomuch that about Three Thousand fell by the Sword thar Day. A just, but very mild Punishment for. their abominable Sin!
One would imagine, having thus narrowly escaped the Vengeance of char God, of whose formidable Power they had seen such a dreadful Instance in the Destruction of all the Egyptians, that they Mould have taken Warning thereby, how they fell again into the same Transgression, left they should fuffer worse for it. And yet it was not long before this incorrigible People, forgetful of all the Good. ness of their Divine Benefactor and Protector, who had just before delivered Arad the Canaanite, Sihon King of the Amorites, and Og King of Bashan, of the Race of the Giants, into their Honds, revolted a second Time against him, committed Whoredom with the Daughters of Moab, eating of the Sacrifices they had offered to their falfe Gods, and bowi g down upto then. But neither was it long before they felt the hopeful Effects of this their Folly and Wickedness; for he immediately sent the Plague amongst them, so that no less chan Twentytour Thousand of them died thereof.
Neither had they come off so easily, had it not been for Phinehas, the Son of Eleazar the High Priest, who seeing Zimri, one of the Princes of the Tribe of Simeon, bring Cosbi che Daughter of Zur; one, of the Princes of Midian inco che Camp, and lead her into his T'ent, in the Face of Moses, and of all the Ifraelites, who were weeping before the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, for their Folly and Wickedness, was jo highly incensed thereat, that he followed the bold Offender into his Tent, and transfixed them both with his Javelin, whilft in the very Commission of their Sin. This great Zeal of Phinebas for the Honour of his God, proved falutary to the Children of Ifrael, for