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But to the Christian, the Day of Judgment may be a reflection of rapturous triumph. For eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath laid up for them that love him. No matter what a Christian endures in this intermediate life; whether pain, or poverty, or bereavements; that Day will annihilate all, and recompense both the waiting, and the suffering. Christian! let your heart leap in anticipation of that Day; when you shall have trodden through the Wilderness of this world, and crossed over the Jordan of Death, and landed on that peaceful shore, and met your Lord in the air; where guardian Angels shall conduct you to happiness, beyond your wages, beyond your thoughts, above your understandings, and above the highest heavens; to a participation of the joys of God, and the inheritance of Christ; when all your sorrows shall be turned into delights, your persecutions into a crown, the cross into a throne, poverty into riches; losses, and affronts, and inconveniences, and death, into sceptres, and hymns, and halleluiahs.'

THE DECALOGUE.

SERMON LIV.

Matth. xix, 17.

.-IP THOU WILT ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP

THE COMMANDMENTS.

This was the reply of Jesus Christ to the amiable young Jewish Ruler; importing that, if a person shall obey the Commandments, in spirit and in truth; if he shall prove this obedience, by not loving the world, more than he loves God ; he shall enter into eternal happiness.

Although the Ten Commandments were primarily addressed to the Jews, and therefore the reason alleged in the fourth, and the promise annexed to the fifth ; yet, as the Jews were then the only church of God, the commands had equal regard to each succeeding Household of Faith. There is a difference between instituted appointments, and moral precepts; the latter being of immutable, and eternal validity. Some traces of the Moral Law are discoverable by our natural reason, and the whole accords with it. It has its basis in the nature of God, and of man; in the relations which men bear to him, and to each other; and in the duties which result from them ; therefore, it is universally obligatory. The motives of our obedience may differ from those of the Jews, yet the matter of the injunction is the same. Think not, says Christ, that I am come to destroy the Law, that is, the Moral Law; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say

till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the

unto you,

least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do, and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Do we then make void the Law through Faith? asks St Paul. God forbid! he replies; yea, we establish the Law. The Moral Law was commented upon, and explained upon unalterable principles by our Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount. İf, at first view, the Decalogue appear an imperfect system, not exhibiting each feature, but only the broad outlines of morals; enjoining the great duties merely, and prohibiting those glaring vices, which most pollute the heart, and injure the peace of society; yet, by an enlarged exposition, it may comprehend, not only all the duties of Moral Religion, but also most of the precepts, and the graces of Evangelical Righteousness ; because we cannot love God, without loving every display made of his Mediatorial Providence. Thus is the Law, that came by Moses, hinged together with the Grace and Truth, that came by Jesus Christ.

The Ten Commandments are divided into two parts, from being originally written by the finger of God on Two Tables of Stone. The four first, or first table, direct more particularly our duty to God; the six last, or second table, our duty to man, and to ourselves; although, accurately speaking, all duties are equally owed to God. The Commandments have their place according to the dignity of the duties commanded; that is, those which regard God, have the pre-eminence of those, which relate to man; being disposed according to the heinousness of the sins forbidden. They comprehend the three different degrees of sinning, in deed, in word, and in desires. They are addressed in the singular number, because every person is individually concerned. Each prohibition implies a positive duty. Where a duty is enjoined, there the contrary practice is forbidden ; and where any vice is forbidden, there the contrary virtue is commanded; so also are all the helps, means and instruments ; the causes, occasions and invitations; that lead to or from any virtue or vice, commanded or forbidden. VOL. II.

22

It is now proposed, briefly to explain, and apply each separate command in the Decalogue, in their natural order.

It en

I. Worship God. This command is in form of a prohibition, yet requires something positive. 1. joins upon us that we should not acknowledge more than one God; and, 2. That we should worship the true God only. It is placed foremost in the decalogue, for our obedience in all things depends upon it. A violation of this law is high treason against the Majesty of Heaven.

Now, though you have not atheistically denied the Being of a God, or wickedly renounced him by apostacy; yet have you not loved, desired, and delighted in other things more than in God? or, have you not feared man, and dreaded the displeasure of the world, more than God? or, have you not trusted in men, and relied upon the world, more than upon God? Have you not despaired of God's mercy! or, by presuming too much upon it, encouraged yourself in sin? Have you not been unthankful for mercies received; or, have you not ascribed the glory and honour of what you now enjoy, to yourself, more than to God ?? If so, you have broken this commandment.

II. SHun Idols. The second command bears a near relation to the first; the former forbids polytheism, the latter idolatry; both of which applied to the ancient heathen, rather than to Christians. This states the manner, as the first did the object, of religious worship; and consists of two parts, a precept, and its sanction. The precept is in negative terms, but includes also a positive duty. The sanction is of two sorts; 1. by way of commination; 2. by way of encouragement. This command forbids all low apprehensions of God, and enjoins a worship and service suited to his perfections, and honourable to his

name.

Now 'though you have not worshipped God by images, yet have you not entertained gross and false conceptions of him? or, have you not wilfully omitted coming to church, or to public lectures, when you had no just occa

sion to hinder you? or, have you not rudely, or irreverently, or wantonly behaved yourself during the time of divine service? or, have you not wilfully refused to come to the Lord's Supper, when you have been called to it? or, have you not rashly and unadvisedly received the sacraments without a preparation? or, have you not broken any vows, and resolutions, which you then made ?' If so, have you kept this commandment?

III. Be not PROFANE. Here we have again, 1. a negative precept, which includes a positive duty; 2. a threatening added to enforce it. This command enjoins reverence to God's name, and forbids all rash and unlawful vows, and hypocrisy ; and all witnessing God in common conversation; but the capital transgression of it is perjury, whereby an appeal is made to the all-searching God for the truth of what is asserted. Yet legal oaths are not forbidden, being sanctioned by Scripture, by divine examples, and by reason.

A civil oath is to be held in respect, as a service to society, and also a great restraint in private life.

If now you have not openly blasphemed the name of God, yet have you not lightly, or irreverently spoken of him? or, have you never profanely jested upon, or abused his holy places or persons, or any thing else dedicated to his service? or, have you never taken God's name in vain, by common swearing and cursing? or, if

you

have not taken false and unlawful oaths, have you not broken your own vows and promises, especially your baptismal?' If any of us have done thus, have we not violated this commandment?

IV. KEEP THE SABBATH. This command contains, 1. a precept; and, 2. a reason enforcing it. This is the only one, in which we are bidden to remember our duty; it being a positive precept, and not imprinted, as the others, by nature upon the heart. The Sabbath was changed by the Apostles from the seventh, to the first day of the week, in honour of our Saviour's resurrection from the sepulchre. A Sabbath is the best means of preserve ing a sense of God, and religion, in the minds of men, It

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