« PreviousContinue »
a God against us, but “ with us” or “upon our Gde :” Pfal. xlvi. “ The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge; therefore will not we be afraid, though the earth be removed," &c. '
2. Keep the promise made to the church in your view, in the niidst of the darkest dispensations ; and do not pore so much upon what is before you in the course of providence, as upon the promise; for no man can know God's love or hatred, by what is before him ; but the promise is the very picture and immediate product of his infinite mind. David, by poring upon the external conduct of providence, is almost carried down the stream, to Atheism and irreligion, Psal. Ixxiii. 13. till he went to the sanctuary, and consulted the oracles of the word.
3. Wait on the Lord, and do not make haste: “ for the Lord is a God of judgement; and blessed are all they that wait for him ; they shall not be ashamed.”
4. Lastly, Commit your way to the Lord; even when you walk in the midlt of darkness, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay yourselves upon your God; and so ye shall be kept in perfect peace, and integrity and uprightness ihall preserve you. Keep yourselves in the love and fear of God, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, when all the feeming crooks of his government hall be made even..
· A TREASURE OF GOSPEL-GRACE DIGGED OUT OR,
; or, ,, . THE SINNER'S CLAIM OF RIGHT CLEARED FROM GOD'S eno COVENANT WITH ISRAEL AT SINAI. , ;.
PREACHED ON A SACRAMENTAL OCCASION
AT KINGLASSIÉ. .me
Exod. xx. 2. 3.- I am the Lord thy God.-Thou shalt have no
Hi s other gods before me. i. ..
COLOMON says, “Where the word of a king is, there is w power ;" what power then must there be, where the word of God is, who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords ! Pray, Sirs, notice and consider what is said, ver. 1. “God spake all these words." This is enough to make heaven and earth to listen with the most profound Glence and adoration. If. i. 2.. “ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, ( earth, for the Lord hath spoken. The mighty God the Lord hath spoken." And when he speaks, he “ calls the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof” to listen, and therefore, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. God spake all these words.” This is like the founding of a trumpet before the king's pro. clamation. God spake all the words of this Bible in a mediate way, by the mouths of his holy prophets and apostles; but here God himself is the immediate speaker : surely it must be some matter of vast moment, and of the higheit importance, . when God himself is the preacher. Well, what are the words God spake in such an immediate manner; Answ. All these words from the ad verse of this chapter to the close of ver. 17. And, Sirs, I would have you to remember, that all these words are spoken as dire&tly to you, and to every soul hearing nie, as ever they were unto Israel; and you and I are to reckon ourfelves no less concerned now to hear and regard them, than if
we had been standing at the foot of Sinai among the children of Israel, when the heavenly trumpet founded, and the voice of God was uttered with such awful majefty as made Moses and all Israel fall a-quaking and trembling; for all these words are directed unto us, as much as they were unto them. And therefore do not Ihift them, as though they were spoken only to Israel, or as if they were spoken to others, and not to you. No, no, to thee, man, to thee, woman, God now speaks all these words in this Bible; and therefore hear and linen, with particular application of them to thy own soul, as if God were calling thee out of heaven, by name and firname. Two of these ten words I design to speak to, namely these, taken in their connection, I am the Lord thy God-Thou Malt have no other god's before me.
Where two things are confiderable. 1. A great and gracious promise, even the leading promise of the covenant, I am the Lord thy God. 2. A great and gracious law or commandment, founded upon the covenant promise and grant ; a law, the obligation whereof the very light of nature cannot snake off; Thou sbalt bave no other gods before me.
1. We have a great promise or new covenant-grant; I am the Lord thy God. The greatest word ever God spake fince the fall of Adam ! for here he not only speaks forth his own glory and transcendant being, but he speaks over himself unto us as our God. Here is a promise, yea, something more than a promise. A promise is commonly expressed with respect to the time to come, concerning something God hath a mind to do hereafter ; but here God speaks in the present time, I am the Lord thy God; i. e. Now while I am speaking, from this moment I become your God; and from this time forward you may claim me as such, and told me to it, by this my grant that I make of myself unto you. God's covenant of promise is not a thing pait, or 2 thing to come only; but a thing present, I am the Lord tks God. Fai:h never wants a foundation; no, it is always invariably ihe same: and if our faith did bear a juit proportion unto the ground of faith in the covenant, we would not be up and down in our beijering, Do, we would be always believing, and that wi:h the fulleit z arance of faith. There is a twofold title by which God describes himself here in this covenant-grant; the one is eilential and the o:her relative. (1. The esential titie is JEHOVAH ; the force of which is opened, Rev. i. 4. “ He that is, that was, and is to come." And it implies bis felf-existence, tha: be bath his being ci titiielf, independent of ali obei teings; 2od that he giveih being to all other brings whatcrer, ia beaven aboré, or in the earth beneain. The Jews think this name so incred, that they judge
it unlawful to pronounce it. It is a name common to eack person of the glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are one God. Christ is called JEHOVAH frequently in the scripture, as well as the Father, Jer. xxii. 6. " This is his name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH, our righteous. nefs.” And we have very good ground to think that it was JEHOVAH, in the person of the eternal Son, that (pake all these words from the top of Sinai, unto Israel, as we may have occasion to clear more fully afterwards. (2.) Another title whereby he here describes himself is relative; thy God. This is it that sweetens the name of JEHOVAH unto us; he is JEHOVAH our God. The terror of his amazing and infinite greatness were enough to affright and astonish all mankind; but when he says, I am thy God, even thy own God; not an avenging God, to execute the penalty of the broken law upon thee, but a “ God with thee, a God on thy side," to pity, pardon, and defend thee, a “God gracious and merciful, a. bundant in goodness and in truth ;” this, O this ! renders his name JEHOVAH amiable and desirable.
2. In the words we have a law or commandment, suited unto, and founded upon, this covenant grant; Thou malt have ne other gods before me. This, as many of the rest of the commandments are, is delivered in negative terms, prohibiting and forbidding, “ the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying
the true God, as God and our God; and the giving of that 6 worship and glory to any other which is due to him alone." And this law, or commandment, as the generality of the other commandments, is delivered in negative terms, because of the perpetual propensity of our natures, since the fall to depart from the living God through an evil heart of unbelief. But although the command be delivered in negative terms, yet the contrary positive duty is manifeftly included in it, or under it; namely, “ to know and acknowledge God to be the only “ true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him “ accordingly;" as is well expreffed in our Catechism. As for these words, Before me, or before my face, as it may be read: this expression plainly teaches us, that an omniscient and all-seeing God, before whom all things are open and naked, and who “ fets our most secret fins in the light of his countenance,” taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the fin of having any other. God ; and confequently is well pleased with the finner who knows and acknowledges him as the only true God, and his own God, according to the gift of the covenant, which is the foundation of our claim to him. From which words,
OBSERVE, “That as God is the Lord and our God by his own
free gift in a covenant of grace, so it is his royal will and pleasure, intimated to us in the first commandment of his law, that we should know and acknowledge him to be our own God, upon the ground of that covenant grant.”
I have framed the doctrine almost in the words of our Lefler Catechism, opening up the import of this promise and precept. And () that I could make all this company, and the whole world of mankind, if I had access, to understand what a glorious and rich treasure they have among their hands when they hear these words repeated, or repeat them themfelves, I am the Lord thy God. . Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Alas! there are many have these words by rote, who never consider what is in them : just like a company of people travelling the highway where an immense treafure lies under their feet; they pass and repaís it, but miss the treasure, because they never dig into the field ; so people read and repeat these words, and lose God and eternal life, that lie hid in them, because they do not advert to what they are saying or reading.
But, O Sirs, let me beseech and intreat you, for your souls fake, to pause a little, and consider what is in these words, I am the Lord thy God. Thou phalt have no other gods before me. You and I, by the breach and violation of the first covenant, in our father Adam, loft our God; and ever since, every man and woman is “ without God in the world;" and being without God, we are without hope, without help, without grace, light, life, ftrength, or any thing that is good. When we loft our God, we lost all, and lost it to all intents and purposes. Well, but, Sirs, I tell you glad tidings of the greatest joy that ever mankind heard since the fall of Adam, here you have your God, whom you lost by the first covenant, coming back again to you in a new covenant, a covenant of grace, and saying to every one of you, I am the Lord thy God : he becomes our God, not upon the footing of works, but of free grace. And because the finner, through a sense of guilt and wrath, might be ready to scare and say, o I cannot think that God is speaking to me, when he says, I am the Lord thy God! I doubt, may the finner say, if I be warranted to claim him as my God, who have forfeited all claim and title to him. In answer unto this, consider, that aroyal law is issuedout, yea, the very law of nature, written at first upon Adam's heart, is repeated and adapted unto the dispensation of the covenant of grace, binding and obliging every one, to whom these presents are intimated, to take him as their God in Christ, upon the footing of this new