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God, in dependence upon the grace that is in Jefus Chrift. The law is a lamp to their feet, and a light to their path; and the more they study it in its fpirituality and extent, the more vigoroufly will they prefs after conformity to it.
4. Let us remember we are under a law in whatever cafe we be. And therefore our actions are a feed that will have a proportionable harveft. And there will be a day of judgement, wherein every man's works and actions fhall be narrowly examined. Let us therefore ftudy to conform ourfelves to the holy law of God, being holy as God is holy, and exercifing ourselves to keep confciences void of offence both towards God and towards man.
The moral Law fummarily comprehended in the ten Commandments.
MATTHEW xix. 17.
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, HIS is Chrift's anfwer to a felf-jufticiary, who expected life by the works of the law, Chrift, to convince him of his folly, fends him to the law, faying, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the command
There are only two things which I take notice of here for our purpose. 1. That by the commandments are understood the ten commandments, ver. 18. where feveral of them are specified. 2. That under thefe commandments he comprehends the whole moral law; for this refolution of the young man's queftion is founded on that, Gal. iii. 12. The man that doth them fhall live in them; compared with ver. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curfe. The man had deceived himself in taking the commandments only according to the letter, and therefore
thought he had kept them; but Chrift finds him out new work in these commandments which he had not thought of.
The doctrine I observe from the text, is,
DocT," The moral law is fummarily comprehended in the ten commandments."
In difcourfing from this fubject I fhall fhew,
II. Why the law was thus given and renewed. III. How the moral law is fummarily comprehended in the ten commandments.
IV. Lastly, Apply.
I. I fhall fhew how the moral law, or ten commandments were given. There are ten commandments, not more nor fewer, as appears from Deut. x. 4. where they are exprefsly called ten. And therefore the Papifts who in fome fort leave out the fecond, fplit the tenth into two, to make up the number. They were given to the Ifraelites after they came out of their Egyptian bondage; for they that caft off Satan's yoke, muft take on the Lord's. They were given two ways,
1. By an audible voice from the Lord on mount Sinai, accompanied with great terror. Never was law given in fuch a folemn manner, with fuch dread and awful majefty, Exod. xix. Deut. iv. 5. Heb. xii. 18. The people were commanded to wash their cloaths before the law was delivered to them. By this, as in a type, the Lord required the fanctifying of their ears and hearts to receive it. There were bounds and limits fet to the mount, that it might breed in the people dread and reverence to the law, and to God the holy and righteous Lawgiver, There were great thunderings and lightnings. The artillery of heaven was' fhot off at that folemnity, and there, fore it is called a fiery law. The angels attended at the delivery of this law. The heavenly militia, to fpeak fo, were all mustered out on this important occa
fion. In a word, the law was promulgated with the marks of fupreme majefty; God by all this fhewing how vain a thing it is for finners to expect life by the works of the law; and thereby alfo fhewing the neceffity of a mediator.
2. The ten commandments were written on two tables of ftone, and that by the finger of God himself. This writing them on ftone might hold out the perpetuity of that law, and withal the hardness of mens hearts. There were two tables that were given to Mofes, writ ten immediately by God himfelf, Exod. xxxi. ult. Thofe Mofes brake, chap. xxxii. 16. 19. plainly holding out the entertainment they would get amongst men. Then other two tables were hewn by Mofes, yet written by the finger of God, chap. xxxiv. 1.; for by the law is the finner hewed, but by the Spirit of gofpel-grace is the law written on the heart. Thefe two tables were afterwards laid up in the ark of the covenant, in order to be fulfilled by Chrift, who is the end of the law for righteoufnefs to every one that believeth. This writing of the law upon tables of stone, is jufly fuppofed to have been the firft writing in the world; and therefore this noble and useful invention was of divine origin, and the foundation of all Mofes's after writings, which have been fo ufeful to the church in all ages,
II. I fhall fhew why the law was thus given and
1. For the confirmation of the natural law. For though there was no need of fuch a confirmation of the law while man ftood, yet fuch was the darkness of the mind, the rebellion of the will, and diforder of the affections and other faculties, that there remained only fome relics of it, which that they might not allo be loft, the ten commandments were given,
2. That the fame might be corrected in those things wherein it was corrupted by the fall, or defective, And indeed there was great need of it in this refpect.
For the law of nature in man's corrupt ftate is very defective. For,
1. It cannot carry a man to the firft caufe of all his mifery, even Adam's first fin, and discover the evils of luft and concupifcence that lurk in his heart. Mere natural light can never teach a man to feel the weight and curfe of a fin committed fome thousands of years before he was born, or to mourn for that filthinefs which he contracted in his conception, and for thofe fproutings of fin in his nature. The apostle tells us, that this cannot be learned without the law, Rom. vii. 7. I had not known fin but by the law: for I bad not known luft, except the law had faid, Thou shalt
(2.) The law of nature is defective, because natural judgement is thoroughly distorted and infatuated, so that it is ready to reckon evil good, and good evil, light darkness, and darkness light. Nature is ready to dictate unto men, that they are rich and increafed with goods, and ftand in need of nothing; while in the mean time they are wretched, and miferable, and peor, and blind, and naked.
(3.) It was defective, because it doth not drive men out of themselves for a remedy. The fublimeft philosophy that ever was did never teach a man to deny himfelf, but always taught him to build up his houte with the old ruins, and to fetch ftores and materials out of the wonted quarry. Sháme, humiliation, and confufion of face, felf-abhorrence, condemning of ourfelves, and flying to the righteoufnefs of another, are virtues known only in the book of God, and which the learned philofophers would have efteemed both irrational and pufillanimous things.
(4.) It was defective, becaufe nature in particular men never knew nor had experience of a better ftate, and therefore muft needs be ignorant of that full image of God in which it was created. As a man born and brought up in a dungeon is unable to conceive the ftate of a palace; or as the child of a noble
man ftolen away, and brought up by fome lewd beg gar, cannot conceive or fufpect the honours of his blood; fo corrupted nature is utterly unable, that has been born in a womb of ignorance, bred in a hell of uncleanness, and enthralled from the beginning to the prince of darkness, to conceive, or convince a man of, that most holy and pure condition in which he was created.
3. To fupply what was wanting in it, being obliterated by fin. In the ages before Mofes, the Lord's extraordinary appearances and revelations were more frequent, and the lives of men were much longer, than they were afterwards. In Mofes's time they were reduced to seventy or little more. Thefe aged patriarchs tranfmitted the knowledge of the law and mens duty to their defcendents; and by this means it was handed down from father to fon; but by degrees mens lives were fhortened, and following generations were involved in ignorance of God and his law. Therefore to fupply this defect, and to prevent the knowledge of it utterly perifhing, was the law pro mulgated at Sinai.
4. To evince and convince of the neceffity of a Mediator, the people that faw not this defect. When the law was thus given anew, and men faw their ut ter incapacity to fulfil it, by giving that due obedience it required, they would come, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to fee the neceflity of a Mediator for fatisfying the law, both as to its command and penalty.
III. I fhall fhew how the law is fummarily comprehended in the ten commandments. To be fummarily comprehended in a thing, is to be fummed up in it, to be abridged and compendized as it were. The commandment is exceeding broad, and runs through the whole Bible; but we have a fummary or fhort view of it in the ten commands given by the Lord on mount Sinai. The ten commandments are