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who hath done fuch excellent things for us? Can we hesitate a moment to fay, Good is thy will, O God, juft and holy are thy laws, and we will chearfully obey what thou commandeft us?
Lastly, The more favours any have received from the Lord, the more they owe obedience to him. Repeated favours conferred are new calls to gratitude and chearful obedience to the will of God. Every mercy that we receive, every favour conferred upon us by God, is a frefh call to double our diligence, and to labour with our utmoft might, to do the will of our gracious Benefactor and Friend. And a continued neglect of the favours and benefits which the Lord beftows on men, will make their fins the greater, and their punishment the forer. O that we may lay these things to heart, and fear the glorious and fearful name of the Lord our God!
Of the firft Commandment.
EXODUS XX. 3.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
HE fcope of this command is, to direct us to the
fhall follow the method of the catechifm. That is, I will fhew,
I. What is required in the firft commandment.
III. The import of the words, before me.
I. I am to fhew what is required in the firft command.
The ground whereon this queftion is built, is, that every command hath an affirmative part and a negative. The negative is included in the affirmative, and the affirmative in the negative. As in this command,
the negative is expreffed, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Hence we infer the affirmative part, Thou fhalt have me for thy God. Now, the commandment being exceeding broad, many are the duties included in this, the chief whereof are contained in the anfwer.
"The first commandment requireth us to know "and acknowledge God to be the true God, and our "God; and to worship and glorify him according "ly." Here are the three chief duties of this command; 1. Knowing. 2. Acknowledging. 3. Worfhipping and glorifying. That thefe are required here, is evident: for it is impoffible that we can have God for our God, if we do not know him; and feeing the command requires the obedience of the whole man, it neceffarily binds us to acknowledge, worship, and glo. rify him accordingly.
FIRST, We must know God. Hence faid David, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. And thou, Solomon my fon, know thou the God of thy father. Knowledge is the foundation of all religion, for religion is a reafonable fervice. The mind of man fhould be clear and diftinct in the uptaking of divine things. So it was when God made it, fo it fhould be without darkness. This commandment requires us to know,
1. The existence of God; that he is, Heb. xi. 6.; not only that there is a God, but that the God of Ifrael is the true God.
2. The nature of God; what he is. To know God comprehenfively and adequately, is beyond the reach of the creature's capacity. Hence faid Zophar, one of Job's friends, Job xi. 7. Canft thou by fearching find out God? canft thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? and fuch a knowledge is not required. But a true knowledge of him we muft have. Hence Chrift faid, John xvii. 3. This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God; that is, to know him as he has revealed himfelf in his word and works. We must know him in the unity of his effence, Deut.
vi. 4. and Trinity of perfons, 1 John v. 7.; in his attributes held out to us in the word, as that he is infinite, eternal, unchangeable, &c.; in his works' of creation, providence, and redemption.
And forafmuch as where the end is required, the means alfo leading thereto are required, to the diligent ftudy and obfervation of the word and works of God, and all means leading thereto, are hereby required of us; fuch as praying, hearing fermons, ca. techiling, &c.
SECONDLY, We are required hereby to acknowledge him to be the only true God and our God; Deut. xxvi. 17. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God. This acknowledgement prefuppofeth,
First, A believing firmly and without the leaft hefitation, that God is, and what he is, as he has revealed himself in his word and works, Heb. xi. 6.; for that is the end of the knowledge of God, even a full perfuafion of what is given us to know concerning him. And what he reveals it is certainly our duty firin ly to believe; as that there is one God, this God a fpirit; and that there are three perfons in the Godhead, the fame in fubftance, equal in power and glory.
Secondly, A full and hearty chufing of this God for our God and portion, in opposition to all other perfons and things: Pfal. xvi. 2. O my foul, thou bast. faid unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord." Pfal. cxix. 57. Thou art my portion, O Lord. We are not at liberty to chufe our God or our portion, what we will give our hearts to, love moft, &c. God, as our great Lord and Mafter, has determined that for himself. And vengeance will purfue the neglect of it.
Thirdly, Hence, feeing there is no right chufing of God as our God but in his covenant, it is evident, that covenanting with God perfonally is a great and plain duty of this commandment, Pfal. xvi. 2. forecited. If xliv. 5. One fall fay, I am the Lord's ; — another hall fubfcribe with his hand unto the Lord. Į have before obferved, that thefe commands are pro 3 H
pofed under the covert of the covenant of grace, wherein God offers himself to all to whom the gospel comes to be their God in Chrift; and this command binds us to accept. And under this duty feveral things are required of us,
1. A ferious deliberation as to the matching of our fouls, Jofh. xxiv. 15. Chufe ye this day whom ye will ferve. Think with yourfelves, O finners young or old, who must have this heart of yours, Confider the match propofed to thee by God himself, think on the nature of the covenant, that thou mayft delibe rately confent to it, Luke xiv. 28,
2. A breaking off the covenant with our lufts and idols, Matth. v, 24. God fays, Thou fhalt have me for thy God; therefore thou must let thefe go their way. As one would rise up and fay to a woman giving herfelt in marriage to another, I have a prior right to thee, thou fhalt have no other husband but So that could the voice of this command be heard, it would be heard taying and crying out of injury done to thy God, whenfoever any thing lawful or unlawful gets away the heart inordinately.
3. Faith in Jefus Chrift, receiving him as he is of fered in the gofpel, and taking God for our God in him, even Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, which is the accepting of the covenant, Matth. xxii. 4. For tho' the law knows not Chrift, yet it obliges to believe whatever God fhall reveal, and do whatever he com mands. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jefus Chrift, 1 John iii. 23. So that the law confirms this great command in the gospel.
4. Faithfulness in the covenant, continuing with him and cleaving to him; for this is an everlasting command, a negative binding at all times. He mutt be our God without interruption, without intermiffion. We must say with the pfalmift, Whom have l in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I defire befides thee, Pfal. lxxiii. 25.
Now we must acknowledge God two ways; in our hearts, and in our words and actions.
1st, In our hearts, by entertaining a frame of fpirit on all occafions fuitable to what he has revealed of himself to us in his word and works, applying the fame to ourselves: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he fhall direct thy paths, Prov. iii. 6. Many that pretend to know God, acknowledge him no more than if they knew him not at all. Like the fervant who does as he pleases before his mafter, never acknowledging him to fuit himself to his will more than if he did not know he were his master.
We muft thus acknowledge him in all his perfections, carrying ourselves in a suitableness to them. I will inftance in a few.
(1.) We must acknowledge him as a fpirit, from that confideration ferving him in fpirit and in truth, John iv. 24. and doing all things with godly fimplicity, 1 Cor. i. 12.
(2.) His unchangeablenefs must be fo acknowledged, as to influence us to a firm trust in him, Pfal. lxxxix. 34. to conftancy and perfeverance in the way of God, and not to be given to change, Prov. xxiv. 21. Yet as God repents him of the evil of punishment that he has spoken, fo muft we of the evil of fin that we have done, Joel ii. 13.
(3.) His omniprefence muft influence us to carry as ever under the eye of God wherefoever we are, Jer. xxiii. 24. and fo we own him as witness to our moft fecret actions.
(4.) His omniscience muft influence us to all tendernefs, as believing that he fees our thoughts, Mark ix. 4. and every the moft fecret thing.
(5.) His omnipotence muft influence us to fear him, Job vi. 14. not to defpife his chaftening, nor to rife up against him, but to humble ourfelves under his hand, and truft him in the lowest condition. And fo of the reft of the perfections of God.