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shut, are opened, as they shall be hereafter, to see what their deeds have merited; "every mouth "shall be stopped," and "all flesh be silent be"fore the Lord."6 For, every circumstance, that can either aggravate or excuse, will be impartially weighed; and some be accordingly "beaten with 66 many stripes, and some with few."7 But what the lowest degree of the Almighty's final vengeance may amount to, God forbid we should, any of us, try; for whoever sins purposely, or carelessly, in hopes of a small punishment, will, for that very reason, deserve a heavier one.
Let us all, therefore, make the use that we ought, both of the terrors and the mercies of the Lord; awing ourselves by the former, from trangressing our duty, and encouraging ourselves by the latter to the utmost diligence in performing it; that so we may pass through life with comfort, meet death with cheerfulness, and, having faithfully served God in this world, be eternally and abundantly rewarded by him in the next.
THE whole duty of man consists in three points; renouncing what God hath forbidden us, believing what he hath taught us, and doing what he hath required of us; which, accordingly, are the things promised in our name at our baptism. The two former I have already explained to you. And, therefore, I proceed at present to the third.
Now the things, which God requires to be done, are of two sorts; either such as have been always
(5) Rom. iii. 19.
(6) Zech. ii. 13. (7) Luke xii. 47.
the duty of all men; or such as are peculiarly the duty of Christians. And our Catechism very properly treats of the former sort first, comprehending them under those Ten Commandments, which were delivered by the Creator of the world, on Mount Sinai, in a most awful manner, as you may read in the 19th and 20th chapters of Exodus. For though, indeed, they were then given to the Jews particularly, yet the things contained in them are such, as all mankind from the beginning were bound to observe. And, therefore, even under the Mosaic dispensation, they, and the tables on which they were engraven, and the Ark in which they were put, were distinguished from the rest of God's ordinances by a peculiar regard, as containing the covenant of the Lord. And though the Mosaic dispensation be now at an end, yet, concerning these moral precepts of it, our Saviour declares, that one jot, or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from "the law, till all be fulfilled." Accordingly, we find both him and his Apostles, quoting these Ten Commandments, as matter of perpetual obligation to Christians, who are now, as the Jews were formerly, "the Israel of God."
Indeed, the whole New Testament, and especially the sermon of our blessed Lord on the Mount, instructs us to carry their obligation farther, that is, to more points, than either the Jews, a people of gross understanding, and carnal dispositions, commonly took into consideration; or their Prophets were commissioned distinctly to represent to them; the wisdom of God foreseeing that it would only increase their guilt; and further, indeed, than the words of the Commandments, if taken strictly,
(1) Decem sermones illi in tabulis nihil novum docent, sed quod obliteratum suerat admonent. Novation, de lib. Judaieis, c. 3. (2) Exod. xxxiv. 28,. Deut. iv. 13. ix. 9, 11, 15. Josh. iii. 11. 1 Kings viii. 2. 21. 2 Chr. v. 10. vi. 11.
(3) Matt. v. 18.
(4) Gal. vi. 16.
express. But the reason is, that being visibly intended for a summary of human duty, they both may, and must, be understood by those who are capable of penetrating into the depth of their meaning, to imply more than they express. And, therefore, to comprehend their full extent, it will be requisite to observe the following rules: Where any sin is forbidden in them, the opposite duty is implicitly enjoined; and where any duty is enjoined, the opposite sin is implicitly forbidden. Where the highest degree of any thing evil is prohibited; whatever is faulty in the same kind, though in a lower degree, is, by consequence, prohibited. And where one instance of virtuous be haviour is commanded, every other that hath the same nature, and same reason for it, is understood to be commanded too. What we are expected to abstain from, we are expected to avoid, as far as we can, all temptations to it, and occasions of it; and what we are expected to practice, we are expected to use all fit means, that may better enable us to practice it. All that we are bound to do ourselves, we are bound, on fitting occasions, to exhort and assist others to do, when it belongs to them; and all that we are bound not to do, we are to tempt nobody else to do, but keep them back from it, as much as we have opportunity. The Ten Commandments, excepting two that required enlargement, are delivered in few words; which brief manner of speaking hath great majesty in it. But explaining them according to these rules, which are natural and rational in themselves, favoured by ancient Jewish writers,3 au
(3) Χρη δε μηδ' εκείνο αγνοειν, ότι οι ί λόγοι κεφαλαια νομων εισι, των εν είδει παρ όλην την νομοθεσιαν εν ταις ίεραῖς Bichois avayegaçertwr. Philo de Decal. The Ten Com See Cozri, p.
אמות חתזה שרשיה mandments are
44. See also there
thorized by our blessed Saviour, and certainly designed by the maker of the Catechism to be used in expounding it, we shall find, that there is no part of the moral law, but may be fitly ranked under them; as will appear by what shall be said, in speaking separately on each Commandment.
Before them all is placed a general Preface: expressing, first, the authority of him who gave them: "I am the Lord thy God:" secondly, his goodness to those whom he enjoined to observe them: "who brought thee out of the land of "Egypt-out of the house of bondage." Now, the authority of God over us Christians, is as great as it could be over the Jews. And his goodness is much greater, in freeing us from the bondage of sin, and opening to us the heavenly land of promise, than it was in leading them from Egyptian slavery, to the earthly Canaan; though, indeed, this deliverance having made so fresh and so strong an impression on them, was the fittest to be mentioned at that time.
The Ten Commandments being originally written, by the finger of God himself, on two tables of stone, and consisting of two parts, our duty to our Maker, and to our fellow-creatures; which we can never perform as we ought, if we neglect that we to owe ourselves; the four first are usually called duties of the first table; the six last of the second. And our Saviour, in effect, divides them accordingly, when he reduces them to these :
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself."5
The first Commandment is, "Thou shalt have "none other gods but me."
The same reasons which prove that God is, prove that there is but one God. The imagination of two or more beings, each perfect, and each in
(5) Matt. xxii. 37, 39.
finite, is, at the first sight, groundless. For one such being is sufficient to produce and govern every being else: and, therefore, more than one can never be proved by reason: and yet, if there were more, all men would surely have had some way of knowing it: and till we have, we are not to believe it. Indeed, we have strong reasons to believe the contrary. For if there is no difference between these several supposed beings, they are but one and the same. And if there is any difference, one must be less perfect than the other, and, therefore, imperfect-and, therefore, not God. Besides, as the whole course of nature appears to proceed uniformly under one direction; there is, without question, only one director; not several, thwarting each other.
And what reason teaches in this matter, Scripture every where confirms; forbidding us to worship, or to believe in, any other deity, than the one maker and ruler of heaven and earth; who hath manifested himself to all men, by the works of his hands; to the Patriarchs and Jews, by the revelations recorded in Moses and the Prophets; and finally to Christians, by his Son our Lord: who, in a way and manner to us inconceivable, is one with the Father; and the Holy Spirit with both as I have already shown you, in discoursing on the Creed.
There being, then, this one only God; the Commandment before us enjoins,
I. That we have him for our God.
II. That we have no other.
I. That we have him: that is, think so of him, and behave so to him, as his infinite perfection, and our absolute dependence an him, require : which general duty towards God, our Catechism very justly branches out into the following particulars.
First, That we "believe in him." "For he that