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two may be separated in our dealings with men that are our fuperiors; we may and mult refufe obedience to them in evil actions, while fubjection to them remains in other things. Thus the apoftles fhewed subjection to the Jewish rulers, while they refused to obey their unlawful commands, Acts iv. 8. 9. 19. God alone is Lord of the confcience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, when they in any refpect clash with his written word. To obey mens unlawful commands, is to fin against God. But in our relation to God, we owe him both fubjection and obedience in all things.

5. Let us remember then that we owe a duty to God, and that is, that we obey his will. Let us therefore lay out ourselves to do his will, and give that fincere, conftant, tender, ready, univerfal, and perfect obedience to him in all things, which he requires, looking for acceptance with God through the merits and mediation of Chrift; praying to him, that he may graciously forgive all our acts of difobedience, and cover our very imperfect and finful obedience with the perfect and complete obedience of his Son, who fulfilled all righteoufnefs in the room of his people.

6. Lastly, Let believers be excited to yield this obedience to the will of God, as they have the moft noble encouragement thereto, namely, That whatever God requires of them as an article of duty, there is a promile of ability and ftrength for the performance thereof contained in his word. Thus he fays, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. I will caufe you to walk in my ftatutes, and ye hall keep my judgements, and do them. The Lord puts no piece of fervice in the hands of his people, but he will afford them fufficient fupplies of grace for the doing thereof. Let them not then decline any duty he lays before them.

ROMANS ii, 14, 15,

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, thefe, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which fhew the work of the law written in their hearts, their confcience alfa bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accufing or elfe excufing one another.


HE apoftle here fhews three things. 1. That the Gentiles have not the law, that is, the law of Mofes, or written law. They want the fcriptures, 2. That yet they have a law within them, they are a law to themfelves; they have the natural law, which for fubftance is all one with the moral law. Only it is lefs clear and diftinct, and wants the perfection of the moral law written; feveral points thereof being, through the corruption of nature, obliterated in it. 3. How they have it. It is not of their own making, nor by tradition, but they have it by nature derived from Adam: The work of that law is written in their hearts; it is deeply intcribed there, and cannot be erased; it is fuch a work as tells them what is right and what wrong; fo their confciences by virtue thereof excufe their good actions, and accuse the evil,

Now, this natural law is nothing else but the rubbifh of the moral law left in the heart of corrupt man from whence we gather, that the moral law in its perfection was given to Adam in innocence, while we fee the remains of it yet with thofe of his polterity, who have not the advantage of the written law. The doctrine arifing from the words is,

DOCT. "The rule which God at firft revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law."


First, It is here fuppofed, that man always was and is under a law for being a rational creature, capable of obeying the will of God, and owing obedience to his Creator by virtue of his natural dependence upon

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him, he behoved to be under a law. The beafts are not capable of government by a law, because of the imperfection of their nature: fo thofe that will be lawlefs, feeing they cannot lift up themselves to the throne of God, who has no fuperior, they do in ef fect caft down themfelves to the condition of beafts, whofe appetite is all their rule. Indeed all the crea tures are fubjected to laws fuitable to their various natures. Every thing has a law imprinted upon its being. The inanimate creatures, fun, moon, and flars, are under the law of providence, and under a covenant of night and day. Hence it is faid, Pfal, cxlviii. 6. He hath established them for ever and ever, he hath made a decree which shall not pass. They have their courfes and appointed motions, and keep to the juft points of their compafs. Even the fea, which is one of the moft raging and tumultuous creatures, is fubjected to a law. God hedges it in as it were with a girdle of fand, faying to it, Hitherto halt thou come, but no further and here fhall thy proud waves be stayed, Job xxxviii. 11. But much more are rational creatures fubject to a law, feeing they are capable of elec tion and choice. Man especially, being a rational creature, is capable of and fitted for government by a law; and feeing he is an accountable creature to God, he must needs be under a law.

Queft. How could man be under a law, before the law was given by Mofes, for we are told, that the law was given by Mofes, but grace and truth came by Jefus Chrift, John i. 17.?

Anf. Before the law was given at Sinai, all the race of Adam had a law written in their hearts, even the light of reafon, and the dictates of natural confcience, which contained thofe moral principles concerning good and evil which have an effential equity in them, and the meafures of his duty to God, to himfelf, and to his fellow-creatures. This was published by the voice of reafon, and, as the apofile fays, Rom. vii. 12. was holy, juft, and good: Holy, as it enjoins things

holy, wherein there is a conformity to those attri butes and actions of God, which are the pattern of our imitation. Just; that is, exactly agreeable to the frame of man's faculties, and moft fuitable to his condition in the world.-Good; that is, beneficial to the observer of it; for in keeping of it there was great reward. And thus Adam in the ftate of innocence had the law of God written on his heart; and therefore it is faid, Gen. i. 27. that God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. This image confifted in the moral qualities and perfections of his foul. He was made after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. The Lord imparted to him a spatk of his own comelinefs, in order to communicate with himself in happinefs. This was an univerfal and entire rectitude in his faculties, difpofing them to their proper operations. But of this I fpoke largely, when difcourfing of the creation of man *,

Secondly, There are three forts of laws we find in the word.

1. The ceremonial law, which was given by Mofes. This bound only the Jews, and that to the coming of Chrift, by whom it was abrogated, being a fhadow of good things that were then to come: a hedge and partition-wall betwixt them and the Gentiles, which is now taken down,

2. The judicial law, which was the civil law of the Jews, given alto firft by Mofes, by which their civil concerns were to be regulated, in refpect of which the Jewish government was a Theocracy. What a happy people were they under fuch a government Yet does it not bind other nations further than it is of moral equity, being peculiarly adapted to the circumftances of that nation,

3. The moral law, which is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, binding all men to perfect obedience thereto in all the duties of holiness and righteoufnels. The ceremonial law was given to them as * See vol, i. F. 243. & feq.

a church in their particular circumftances; the judicial law as a ftate; but the moral law was given them in common with all mankind. But of thefe laws I fpoke more largely in a preceding difcourfe *.


Thirdly, This moral law is found, 1. In the hearts of all men, as to fome remains thereof, Rom. ii. 15. There are common notions thereof, fuch as, That there is a God, and that he is to be worshipped; that we fhould give every one his due, &c. Confcience has that law with it which accuses for the commiffion of great crimes, Rom, i. ult. This internal law pears from those laws which are common in all countries for the preferving of human focieties, the encouraging of virtue, and the difcouraging of vice. What ftandard elfe can they have for thefe laws but common reafon? The defign of them is to keep men within the bounds of goodnefs for mutual commerce. E very fon of Adam brings with him into the world a law in his nature; and when reafon clears up itself from the clouds of fenfe, he can make fome difference between good and evil. Every man finds a law within him that checks him if he offends it. None are without a legal indictment and a legal executioner within them. This law is found, 2, In the ten commandments fummarily. 3. In the whole Bible largely, This is that law which the carnal mind is enmity againft in the natural man, which is written over again in the heart in regeneration, Heb, viii. 10. and that was fulfilled by Chrift in the room of the elect.

Fourthly, As to the revelation thereof, we may confider three special feafons thereof.

1. It was revealed to Adam in innocency, and to all mankind in him. Not by an audible voice, but it was written in his heart; the knowledge of it was concreated with his pure nature; his understanding was a lamp of light, whereby he plainly faw his duty as it was revealed to him.

Note, (1.) That it is a part of the moral natural law, • See vol. i. p. 349· 359.

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