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incomprehensible greatness and ma- |dation to human infirmity, and that jesty, and essential felicity and glory there are no such passions in the in full perfection to the Lord our Divine nature. Now, if this merely God. were intended to direct our interBut in this respect their declara-pretation of them, and to remind us, tions do not so materially differ from that all that perturbation which the deductions of man's reason on anger and revenge excite in our this subject, or at least from what minds, and all those effects which it approves and allows; and it is flow from them, were to be exprincipally to be observed, that such cluded from our apprehensions of an infinite Agent can, with most the Deity, it would be very proper. perfect ease, superintend the affairs, But surely the only wise God knows whether vast or minute, of the uni- best how to speak of himself; and verse: whereas, some philosophers we may safely "speak according to have supposed that such an atten- his oracles." Abhorrence of evil, tion would be either a degradation and indignation against evil doers, or an incumbrance to him; thus vir- are not sinful passions, but requisite tually ascribing to him imperfection, to a holy character; and to execute and attempting to deprive him of vengeance on criminals is the indishis throne, as if he were not quali-pensable duty of a ruler. We prefied to fill it! But as infinite tend not to explain how these things power, knowledge, and greatness, subsist in, and are executed by the if they could subsist without infi- Divine mind; but we know who nite truth, justice, and goodness, hath said, "vengeance is mine, and would be terrible indeed beyond I will recompense;" and we hesiconception, yet not at all adorable tate not to repeat his words, withor amiable; so these natural per-out attempting to explain away fections do not so much constitute their awful import.

any part of the Divine character, as When we have added to this dedefine and describe Him to whom it lineation, the enlarged goodness belongs. Accordingly we continu- and liberality of the Lord, who deally read in the sacred Scriptures, lighteth in communicating being that Jehovah "is righteous in all and blessedness, and "openeth his his ways, and holy in all his works." hand to fill all things living with "He is (not only) a God of know- plenteousness;" we perceive a chaledge;" but "by him actions are racter completely amiable, adorable, weighed;"" a God of truth without and glorious, and peculiarly animatiniquity; just and right is he." ing to all obedient creatures; and "Shall not the Judge of all the must allow the reasonableness of earth do right?" "for he is of purer the command, “ thou shalt love the

eyes than to behold evil." So that Lord with all thy heart," &c. Yet he is declared to be both infinitely is it most tremendous to sinners, holy in his nature, and unalterably who must be discouraged, and verge righteous in his government of the to despair, in proportion as they beworld: for "God is jealous, and the come acquainted with it; except as Lord revengeth; the Lord reveng- they attend to the discovery of his eth and is furious; he will take plenteous, rich, and everlasting vengeance on his adversaries," &c. mercy. Mercy respects misery, (Nah. i. 2—6). We are indeed and transgression as the cause of told by speculating men, that such it; it pities and relieves misery, expressions are only an accommo- and pardons sin; and without this

attribute, even the providential do not still remain upon our hearts. goodness of God would tend to ag- This, however, seems to be the only gravate our guilt, and increase our way in which the Divine character condemnation. Mercy, therefore, could be displayed to us, in all its is in Scripture spoken of, as the pe- glory at least, all created underculiar glory of God, and the grand standing must for ever have proved subject of the believer's confidence, incapable of conceiving, in what joy, and grateful praise. Yet when way the largest exercise of pardon the Lord proclaims his name as and love to the vilest sinners could "merciful and gracious, slow to consist with, and illustrate the infianger, long-suffering, ready to for- nite justice and holiness of God, give," &c. he commonly gives some and establish his law in honour and intimation," that he will by no authority. Infinite wisdom alone means clear the guilty," or the im- could devise a plan adequate to penitent and unbelieving, (Exod. these purposes; it must spring from xxxiv. 6, 7; Nah. i. 2-7; Rom. iii. boundless love; and we may be sure, 19-31; 2 Pet. ii. 4-9): and all his that the plan revealed to us was declarations of compassion and love the most approved of all that were to sinners, connect with his holy possible, by infinite wisdom and abhorrence of, and righteous indig- love.

nation against their sins; and con- Every intimation, therefore, of a tain some intimations of that change, Messiah, a Mediator, a mercy-seat, which his grace effects in those a high priest, or an atoning sacriwho share his pardoning love. Yet fice, should lead our minds to the even this would be insufficient to great doctrine of redemption through render the exercise of mercy, (espe- Emmanuel's blood, as the central cially in that extent spoken of in point in which every part of the Scripture) consistent with the per-revelation God hath made of himfection of his holiness and justice: self to man must meet. But withfor should mercy be shown to such out farther anticipating this part of as merit vengeance (without any the subject, we may observe, that provision made on that behalf), jus- the Scriptures everywhere describe tice would appear imperfect, its our God as perfect in wisdom, holirights violated, and its glory eclips-ness, justice, truth, goodness, and ed; the law would be in a measure mercy in all its manifold exercises; degraded, and the Divine purity they represent these attributes as would not shine forth in its full the glory of his nature, and as consplendour. Some intimations, there-stituting him the proper object of fore, were given from the beginning, our supreme love, adoration, and that mercy would be exercised in service; as all harmonizing in his harmony with justice; and that Je-consummate character, and each of hovah would, through the promised them subserving the exercise and Seed, be "a just God and a Sa-glory of all the rest.

viour;" yet, under the old dispen- II. In more exactly investigating sation, his servants seem rather to the Scriptures, we find these attrihave believed that it would be so, butes exemplified in the works and than to have had clear perceptions dispensations recorded of our God. of the mysterious way in which it The display of his omnipotence, and would be effected; but the New Tes-other natural perfections, in the tament hath removed the veil from works of creation; or the miracles the subject itself, provided the veil he wrought in delivering his ser

vants, or punishing his enemies, is mercy was upon those that feared too obvious, to need a particular him from generation to generation :" discussion in this place: nor is it his dealings with Israel as a nation, requisite to enlarge on his provi- and with individuals, proved this: dential goodness. But that com- nor did any sinner ever humbly bination of justice, holiness, truth, seek his face in vain. The faithand mercy, which hath been stated fulness of God is so illustrated in as comprising the character of God, accomplishing his promise concernis manifested in his dealings with ing the seed of the woman, &c. four his rational creatures. Infinite in thousand years after it was given, holiness and justice, "he spared not that other instances need not be the angels that sinned, but cast them adduced: his judgments coincided down to hell." He denounced on with his threatenings, except as fallen Adam and his race, the awful repentance intervened; and a resentence, "dust thou art, and to serve of mercy was in that case dust thou shalt return;" and un-implied in them all. The manifold numbered millions have been swept wisdom of God is also most coninto the grave, by most dire and tor-spicuous in arranging these displays turing diseases. The destruction of of justice and mercy, so as to secure the old world by the deluge; that of the glory of all his attributes, and Sodom, &c. by fire; the plagues of to leave no man any ground to preEgypt; the vengeance executed on sume, or to despair. And the whole the Canaanites; and all the judg- of the discoveries given us of the ments inflicted on the rebellious Is- future judgment, and the eternal raelites in the wilderness, in the state of happiness or misery, most promised land, and through every perfectly coincides with the declaage, are such exhibitions of these rations relative to his harmonious awful attributes, that our minds na- perfections. But of this, and returally turn from the narrative with demption by the incarnation of aversion; nor can any man fully un-Emmanuel, and his atoning blood, derstand them, till he hath acquired we must forbear to speak further in a deep sense of the evil of sin, and this place. We may, however, obthe justice of God. Nay, the cor- serve, concerning this last (which rections inflicted on Lot, David, and is doubtless the greatest of all the other offending believers, whose sins discoveries that God hath given of were eventually pardoned, display himself), that it leads us to contemthe same attributes, and authorize plate those mysteries of the Deity, the same conclusions; so that the which are so peculiar to revelation, Psalmist might well say, "My flesh that they who "lean to their own trembleth for fear because of thee, understandings" would represent and I am afraid of thy judgments." them as contradictory and imposOn the other hand, his patience, sible. Yet it will be shown, that compassion, mercy, and grace, are they are certainly revealed in Scripexhibited in all his dealings with ture; and thence it will follow, that fallen man: "he endured with they are appropriated to the true much long-suffering even the vessels Object of all adoration, and distinof wrath :" he ever appeared ready guish him from every idol: so that to forgive the penitent, to pity the they cannot be said to worship the wretched, to relieve the distressed, God of the Bible, who reject the to lift up the self-abased, and com- peculiar mysteries which it reveals, fort the broken-hearted. "His and adore not the One Name of

the Father, the Son, and the Holy fadduced as a divinely inspired com-
Ghost, into which Christians are ment, yet the decalogue may pro-
baptized. And as all the Divine perly be taken for our text, in ex-
perfections are only seen in perfect amining the demands of the moral
harmony "in the face of Jesus law. It is evident, that there is a
Christ;" so they "whose eyes are distinction between moral precepts
blinded, that they should not see and positive institutions. Some things
the light of his glory," (2 Cor. iv. are in themselves so indifferent,
3-6), certainly worship the in- that the same authority which com-
vention of their own minds, and not manded might have forbidden them;
the God who hath revealed himself as the use of bread and wine in one
to man, in the person of Jesus ordinance, and that of water in an-
Christ. Indeed this is manifest other: but it is absurd to suppose,
from the imperfection of the object that God could have required his
of their worship, whom they ima- creatures to despise him, or to hate
gine so clement, that he cannot hate one another; or have forbidden
and punish sin as it deserves; by them to speak truth and to do jus-
the blasphemies which they often tice.
utter against God's justice and ho-
Some traces of the moral law are
liness, and the judgments which he discoverable by our natural reason,
hath executed and threatened. Let and the whole accords to it; it has
us then regard this as a matter of its foundation in the nature of God
the greatest possible importance, and man, in the relations men bear
and seek the knowledge of God to him and to each other, and in
from his word, and the teaching of the obligations that result from
his Spirit, as the fundamental con- them: so that it is immutable in
cern in all our religious inquiries, its nature, and demands obedience
that so we may be engaged, above from all mankind, as far as they
all things, to fear, love, confide in, have an opportunity of becoming
worship, and serve him; and to acquainted with it. Different cir-
seek all our happiness in enjoying cumstances may indeed occasion a
his favour, and glorifying his name. coincident variation; as the en-
trance of sin hath rendered patience
and forgiveness of injuries exer-
cises of our love to God and our
A brief Exposition of the Ten Com-neighbours; but though these will
mandments, as comprising the Sub-Cease in heaven, yet the grand prin-
ciples whence they are deduced will
stance of the moral Law.
continue the same to eternity.
FROM the Scripture character of The law is also spiritual; it takes
God, we proceed to the considera- cognizance of our inmost and most
tion of his moral government, as secret thoughts, desires, purposes,
made known to us by revelation; and dispositions, and demands the
and a clear knowledge of his holy exact regulation of the judgment,
law is peculiarly requisite in forming will, and affections. Love is its
our judgment on this subject. This principal requisition, without which
was delivered to Israel by Jehovah the best external obedience is con-
himself, from Mount Sinai, with demned as hypocrisy. This is pe-
most tremendous displays of his culiar to the law of God, who alone
majesty, power, and justice; and can search the heart; but, in com-
though other Scriptures must be mon with other laws, it requires




entire, uninterrupted, and perpetual and live," and "cursed be every obedience, for no law can tolerate transgressor."

the transgression of itself. From Thus the law was given to Israel, the entrance to the close of life, the not only to show them their real Lord enjoins upon us exact con- condition, according to the covenant formity to every precept; every of works, but also with reference to omission or commission, excess, de- their national covenant, and as the fect, or deviation from this perfect rule of duty to redeemed sinners; rule is sin, and every sin deserves and therefore mercy is mentioned wrath, and needs forgiveness, (Rom. in the second commandment; not, iii. 19-23). indeed, as communicated by the As the ten commandments are law, but as shown by the Lord to divinely commented upon in all the his obedient people. The remainder preceptive parts of Scripture, so the of this Essay will consist of a comsubstance of them is summed up in pendious exposition of the ten comthe two great commands of "loving mandments, as introductory to a God with all our hearts," and of further consideration of the Divine loving our neighbours as our-government.

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selves:" and we are authorized, by The great Lawgiver prefaced his our Lord's example, to interpret injunctions, by proclaiming his esevery one of them in the strictest, sential glory and immutable excelmost spiritual, and most extensive lency, "I am Jehovah." Being the sense of which it is capable. In-source of existence, and consequentdeed, repentance, faith in Christ, ly of all power, wisdom, justice, and all other evangelical graces and truth, and goodness, he is the duties, are exercises of supreme standard of excellence and beauty, love to God, and required of a sin- from whom all created amiableness ner, as placed under a dispensation is an emanation, of whose glory it of mercy, though originally the law is a feeble reflection. To him alone had nothing to do with redemption, the throne belongs; he only is quabut lay at the foundation of another lified to be the universal lawgiver covenant. We may, therefore, drop and judge; and he has the sole and the controversy concerning the rule unalienable title to that love and of duty, whether it be the ten com-service which his law demands. mandments, or the whole word of To this he added, "thy God," to God; for the one, properly under-express Israel's relation and obligastood, will be found as "broad" tions to him. We all are his raas the other, seeing we cannot love tional creatures, and every benefit God with all our hearts, unless we he bestows binds us more forcibly love every discovery he is pleased to love and obedience. We, like to make of his glory, believe every Israel, are his professed worshiptestimony, and embrace every pro- pers; and if we be what we profess, mise which he gives, and seek his He is our portion and everlasting favour in the use of all the means felicity; and this still enhances our he is pleased to appoint. Yet this obligations to devote ourselves to relates only to the law, as the rule his service. The redemption of of duty, and as given in subserviency Israel from the house of bondage to the gospel; for originally it con- was typical of our redemption by tains nothing about mercy, repent-Jesus Christ from sin and misery: ance, or acceptance of imperfect and though all are bound to obey abedience; but only says, "do this the law of God, yet none render

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