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covenant. And it is remarkable, how Infinite Wisdom out. wits the policy of hell, and turns the counsel thereof into foolish. nefs. Satan ruins man by tempting him to break the law, and so to affront God in his authority and sovereignty. Well, but God takes the very first commandment of that law. which Adam broke, and brings it in under a new covenant, the fum of which is this, I am the Lord thy God: and so makes that very law subfervient to man's recovery, and his greateft warrant to lay claim to JEHOVAH as his God. So that you see, this first commandment in this situation, connected with the preface, is just big and pregnant with amas zing grace and love. But this will yet further appear in the prosecution of this subject, which I shall attempt to speak to in the following order and method, through divine asliste ance.
1. To speak a little of this covenant-promise, I am the Lord thy God.
"II. To speak a little of the precept, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
III. To inquire a little into the connection betwixt these two.
IV. Apply the whole.
I. The firf thing is, to speak a little of this covenant-promise, I am the Lord thy God. And here I shall, 1. Offer a few general remarks concerning this fundamental promise or grant of the covenant. 2. Inquire a little more particularly into the import of it; or what that is which God promises when he says fo.
Firft, I would offer a few general remarks concerning, this great covenant grant and promise, I am the Lord thy God.
1. I remark, that this, as all the other promises, is in Chrift; my meaning is, that it goes upon a ransom found, and a satis. faction paid, unto justice by Christ our glorious Surety. Sirs, be aware of imagining, that an absolute God, or a God out of Christ, utters this promise: no, no ; an absolute God is a consuming fire unto guilty sinners, and he could never speak in such a dialect to any of the sinful rebellious race of Adam, in a consistency with the honour of his holiness, justice, and love. reignty, which were offended and affronted in the violation of his royal law. Unless the Son of God had promised, as our Surety, to pay the inhnite ransom that justice demanded, none of Adam's posterity had ever heard any thing but the terrible thunders of his wrath and justice puríuing them for fin. So
that this covenant grant or promise, as well as the other declarations of the grace and love of God in che word to perishing finners, must needs go upon the footing of the blood and satisfaction of Jesus: 2 Cor. v. 19.“ God was in Christ, recon. ciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespaffes unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconcilia. tion.” And therefore, Sirs, whenever you read or hear a word of grace from God, think upon Christ, in and through whom only God is a God of peace; and let your soul say, “O thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!”
2. It is more than probable, that it was God in the person of his eternal Son, that uttered all these words at mount Sinai; and this promise in particular, whereby the law was ushered in. Here was a parliament, or general assembly of angels, called at mount Sinai ; and Christ the great Angel of the co. venant was the president, or great Lord-speaker. This I ga. ther from Psal. Ixviii. ver. 17, and 10. compared. Ver. 17. it is said, “ The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place." Well, what Lord was it that was among them at Sinai ?" Even that same Lord,” ver. 18. “ who ascended up on high, and led captivity captive, and received gifts for men,” &c. See also to the same purpose, Acts vii. 37. 38. compared. Ver. 37. “ A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear." Christ is that great prophet. But then notice what follows, ver. 38. “ This is he that was in the church in the wilderness, with the angel which spake to him” (viz. unio Mofes and the children of Israel) “ in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers.” So that it was Christ the Son of God that spake all these words in mount Sinai, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me, &c. And by the way, this furnishes us with a notable confutation of the Arians, who deny Christ to be a supreme, selfexistent, and independent God. Who did ever doubt, that it was the supreme God, the self-existent God, that spake all these words, and delivered the law with such awful solemnity at mount Sinai ! Yet, from what I was saying, it appears, that it was none other than Christ the eternal Son. But inore of this in the application.
3. I remark, that this covenant grant and promise is the same upon the matter with the promite God had made unto Abraham several hundred of years before. Now, God's promise to Abraham was, “I will be thy God, and the God of thy feed." and here h: meets with his feed at sinai, and repeats what he
had said to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, faying, 7 am the Lord thy God'; i. e. I am the very fame promising God that spake unto Abraham, and what I faid unto him, I fay it over again unto you bris pofterity, and give the same ground for your faith that he had ; as I was his God, fo I am the Lord thy God. God does not come and go upon his promise, he is not gea and nay: he does not make a p.omise one day, and retract it another; no, it is always rea and amen. He does not speak of the promise made to Abraham as a thing out of date after so many years ; no, It is as fresh and green with me as the first day I made it, I am still the Lord thy God. The promise is renewed in their own persons immediately by God, and they have as good a foundation laid by this means, as ever Abraham had, who believed without staggering.
4. These words, I am the Lord thy God, contain the leading promise of the Covenant of grace ; and there is more in them thån heart can conceive, or tongue express ; for here is an infinite God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, making over him. felf in two or three words to man upon earth. O what can he give more than himself! and what will he not give when he gives himfelf! Rom. viii. 32. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not with him also freely give us all things ??”
5. This promise is so framed by Infinite Wisdom, as to point to every individual person in the camp of lfrael. It is nor ye collectively, but thou in the singular, as if he fpake to every individual person in the camp, and every man was to look to it as pointing at him in particular; like a well drawn picture, it looked every man in the camp straight in the face. And not only did this promise point to every man and woman there present at mount Sinai, when the law was delivered, but it looked forward to all succeeding generations, and every man and woman that should fpring of them ; for this “ promise was to them, and to their feed.” So that no sooner did any of the posterity of Abraham come into the world, but God faid to him, as much as to the men that were at the foot of Sinai, I am the Lord thy God. And no sooner did one of the Gentile nations join himself to the commonwealth of Israel, but immediately he found the God of Israel saying to him, I am the Lord thy God: and in this respect, this promise was a door of faith opened unto the Gentiles, even before the coming of Christ. . And when Christ came in the flcth, and by his death and resurrection, and publication of the everlasting gospel unto the Gentile world, broke down the partition-wall betwixt them and the Jews, this promise, as well as the law subjoined thereunto, extended itself, not only to the Jews and their feed, but to the Gentiles, who were « afar off, and to as many as the Lord our God shall call” by the sound of the golpel-trumpet. So that now, under the New Testament, this promise becomes a ground of faith unto us, as well as unto them; and we have the same interest in it that they had. But, to clear this, I shall add,
6. A fixth remark, namely, that this promise may be con. fidered in a threefold fituation ; either as it is in the heart of God, or as it is in the word of God, or as in the hand of faith.
if, As it is in the heart of God, or in his counsel or decree. And when viewed in this situation, it is peculiar only to his chosen people, whom he has “loved with an everlasting love" before the foundations of the world. But as it is in God's heart, it is not an object of faith unto any of Adam's porterity ; no, not to the elect themselves, because they do not know that they are among the number of the elect till they be actually believers : no man can say, at the first instant, in a way of believing, The Lord is my God, upon the ground of electing love. So that the promise in this Gtuation, being all one with the decree, must be laid aside as an object of faith at the first instance. : 2dly, The promise may be viewed as Gituate in the word, as it is published and proclaimed to the visible church, " to whom belong the adoption, and the giving of the law, and the promises.” View it in this fituation, it is a ground of faith to every one that hears it. God said to every man in the camp of Israel, and he says to every man and woman in the vifible church, I am the Lord thy God, and Thou palt have no other gods before me. And the man or woman that does not know and acknowledge God as his God in Christ, upon the ground of the promise, considered in this situation, (in the word), as it is held forth in common to all as the object and ground of faith, at once rebels against the authority of God in the command, and gives the lie to his faithfulness engaged in the promise. And, therefore, “ Let us fear, left a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should come short of it; for unto us is this gospel preached, as well as unto them," Heb. iv. I. 2.
3dly, This promise is also to be considered as in the hand of faith, or as it is applied and poffeffed in a way of believing. And, in this fituation, it is only peculiar to a believer to have the Lord as his God; because it is only he that has a saving intereft; it is he only whose “ soul hath said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord,” upon a covenantground.
Secondly, I come to inquire, what may be the import of this promise, or of this covenant-grant, that is here laid as a foun. dation of faith unto Israel, and unto the church in all succeed. ing generations.
Before I go on, I would put you in mind of what I said already, viz. that this covenant-grant or promise goes upon the ground of a ranfom found, and satisfaction paid unto juftice; upon which account only God's anger is turned away, and he comforts us wich such declarations of his grace as this in my text, I am the Lord thy God. In which words, I conceive he promises these three or four things, not to multiply particulars.
1. The infinite God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, makes over himself by covenant as the soul's portion and inheritance for ever. And what a vast, large, and glorious inheritance is this! O Sirs, when God says, I am the Lord thy God, he says more than if he had said, Heaven is thine, earth is thine, the glories of both are thine! There is something in this promife, that “ eye hath not feen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive," &c. No wonder though David cried out upon the views of the Lord's being the portion of his cup, Pfal. xvi. 6. “ The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage.” O it is a surprising armsful the soul has, when' by faith it grasps an infinite God in this little word, I am the Lord thy God!
2. When he says, I am the Lord thy God, he in effect says, All that I have I make it over unto you. And O when he makes a grant of himself, what else will he with-hold! “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not with him also freely give us all things ?” Rom. viii. 32. Has he life? Yea, he is the fountain of life. Well, in this promise he gives life unto thee, “ Because I live, ye shall live also." Has he light in himself ? Yea, “God is light, and wich him is no darkness at all.” Well, “ he thall be thy everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” Has he love? Yea, “ God is love." Well, he who says he is thy God, “ will shed abroad his love upon thy heart by the Holy Ghost, and circumcise thy heart to love him." Has he honour ? Yea, “ his work is honourable and glorious." Well, thou shalt be preferred ; if thou take him as thy God, thou shalt have a " place among them that stand by" about his throne. Has he riches? Yea, “ honour and riches are with me.” Well,' “ he will fill all thy treasures" with gold better than the gold of Ophir. Has he “ rivers of pleasures, and fulness of joy in his presence, and at his right hand ?” Well, “ the times of refreshing shall come forth from his presence" into thy soul.