Hopkins - HP BR75 .H65 1710

An Expojition upon the The Bible therefore is the Statute-Book of God's Kingdom, therein is comprifed the w~ole body of. the Heavenly Law; the perfed:Rules of an holy Life, J.nd the fure Prom1fes ofa glonous one. And the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, is a Summary or briefEpitome of thofe Laws, written by the immediate Finger ofGod, and contracted into fo fhort an Abridgement, not only t<? ~afeour Memories, but to gain 01fr Verfcration; for T~fentious Commihds arc beft lfefitting MajCfty-. And indeed, i( we confider th~ pauQity of the Exprenions, a:nd ·jet th5! copioufi1efs and variety_ of tlie Matter contamed in them, we muft.necdsacknowlcdgc not 6Q]y.,thcic Authority. to be Divine, but likcwifc the Skill and Art in reducing the whole Duty of Man to fo brief a Compendium. ExQd. 34 • The words are but few, called therefore the words of the Covenant, the Ten 28. \Vords; but the fenfe and matter contained in them, is vaft and infinite. The reit of the Scripture is but a Commentary upon them; either exhorting us to Obedience by Arguments, or alluring us to it by Promifes, or frighting us from tranfgreffing by Threatnings, or exciting us to the one, and relhaining us froni the Othe'r, by Examples recorded in the Hiftorical part of it. But before I come to fpeak of the Commandments themfelvcs, it will be neccffary to premife fomething concerning the Time, the Rcafon, and Manner of their Delivery: The Time (according to the beft Computation of Chronology) was about Two thoufand four hundred aqd fixty Years after the Creation of the World; Two hunEr. ,d. 20. dred and twenty Years after Jfrarl's defccnt into Egypt, and the third Month after l· their departure out of Egypt; before the Birth of Chrifi: almoft Fifteen hundred Years, and ttierefore ab,Ovc Three. thoufand before our pays. , · This was the firft time that God feleded to himlclf a National Church in the World; and therefore it feemed expedient to his Wifdom, to prcfctibcthem Laws and Rules how they ought to order both their Demeanour, and his Worlhip and Service. Before this the Law of Nature was the ftandingRul.c for Obedience; but becaufc it was blotted, and raz'd by the firft Tranfgrellion, it was fi1pplied in many particulars by Traditic_>ns delivered down from o~e ,to another: And thofe of the Patriarchs, who accord_ing to the Prefcripts of this Law, endeavoured to plcafe and fervc God, were accepted of him, and frequently obtained the Privilege of efpecia). Revelations, either by Dreams, or Vifions, or heavenly Voices, concerning thole things wherein they were more particularly to obey his Will. In thofc fidE A~es God made no diftintl:ion of People or Nations, but asitisfince the Wall ofPartinon is broken down, and the ;]ewif1' OEconomy abrogated by the Death of Chrifl:, fo was tBs 10 . it before, that in every NatiOn he that feared God, and wroughtRighteoufnefs, was 3-S· accepted of him. But the \Vorld totally degenerating ioto vile Superftitions and Idolatries, the J{nowlcdge and Fear' of the tnte God was fcarccly any where to be found, but only in the Family and Pofrerity of .Abraham; and even there too we have reafon to fufpeCt a great Decay and Corruption,efpecially in their long aboadamong d1e Idolatrous .n. . Egyptians; yea, the Scripture doth in feveral places expreOy c::hargerhem with it: and 16 J"" " 4 · in all probability they took the Pattern of their Golden Calf from the Egyptian Api.r, ~k. 2o. being Idolaters only in a younger Figure, and a leffer Volume. God therefore juftly 7, 8. rejeCl:s all the reft of the World; but being mindful of his Promife to their Father, and the Father of the Faithful, appropriates this People to himfclf as his peculiar Inheritance: And becaufe it was manifeft by experience, that neither the Law of Nature, nor Oral Tradition, handed down along from one Genera~ion to another,were pf fuffic:ient force to prcferve alive the Knowledge and V( orlhtp o~ the true God, but notwithftanding thefe, the whole Earth was bec_omewick~ and Idolatrous; that therefore this People whom God had now taken to himfelf, might have all poffible advantages to continue in his Fear and Service, and that they might not degenerate as the reft of the World had done, he himfelf proclaims unto them that Law by which he would Govern them, writes it upon Tables of Stone, commits them into the hands of Mofts, whom he h:td conftituted his Lieutenant; and commands them .to be laid up in the Ark as a perpetual Monument of his Authority, and their Duty. How wretchedly depraved are our Natures, when even that which is the very Light and Law of them is fo obliterated and defaced, that God would rather intruft its Prefervation to Stones, than us; and thought it more fectlre wh~n cngravenonfenfelefs T abies, than when written on our Hearts ! · · · · · ·. · The