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is done, beauty will arise out of it, as out of the chaos arose a beautiful world.
4. In his administration he hath long fetches, which we are not able to discover, or see to the end of at first instance; it is only some links, and not the full chain of providence, that lies open to us.
God must have his own time to finish his work.
5. His administrations many times take very surprising turns; as when Israel was brought to the borders of Canaan; and they expecting immediately to enter upon the possession of the promised land, and yet are sent back to measure the hills of the wilderness for the space of forty years. When the designs of his administration seem to be brought to the birth, some new occurrence may cast up, which to our view seems to render all abortive.
6. Those acts of his government, which seem to us to por. tend utter ruin to the church and his kingdom in the world, are found to be the very means for their deliverance and outgate. No step of providence so much hastened Joseph's preferment, as that of his being cast into prison, and laid under fetters of iron. Israel's strait at the Red sea was the time of the Lord's appearing for their delivery, and the ruin of Pharaoh and his host.
Secondly, I conclude with a few advices to the subjects of Zion, especially in this “day of trouble, and treading
1. Keep the eyes of faith fixed on him who holds the helm; and believe, with an assured faith, that “ the Lord doth reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations." He that reigns is “ Immanuel, God with us;" not a God against us, but “ with us,” or “ upon our side:" Psal. xlvi.
The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge ; therefore will not we be afraid, though the earth be removed,” &c.
2. Keep the promise made to the church in your view, in the midst of the darkest dispensations; and do not pore so much upon what is before you in the course of providence, as upon the promise; for no man can know God's love or hatred, by what is before him; but the promise is the very picture and immediate product of his infinite mind. Asaph, by poring upon the external conduct of providence, is almost carried down the stream, to Atheism and irreligion, (Psal. Ixxiii. 13,) till he went to the sanctuary, and consulted the oracles of the word.
3. Wait on the Lord, and do not make haste: “ for the Lord is a God of judgment; and blessed are all they that wait for him; they shall not be ashamed."
4. Lastly, Commit your way to the Lord; even when you walk in the midst of darkness, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay yourselves upon your God; and so ye shall be kept in perfect peace, and integrity and uprightness shall
preserve you. “Keep yourselves in the love and fear of God, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” when all the seeming crooks of his government shall be made even.
A TREASURE OF GOSPEL-GRACE DIGGED OUT OF MOUNT SINAI;
THE SINNER'S CLAIM OF RIGHT CLEARED FROM GOD's COVENANT
WITH ISRAEL AT SINAI.*
I am the Lord thy God. --Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exod. xx. 2, 3.
“Where the word of a king is, there is power;" what power then must there be, where the word of God is, who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords ! Pray, sirs, notice and consider what is said, ver. 1: “God spake all these words.” This is enough to make heaven and earth to listen with the most profound silence and adoration. Is. i. 2: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, for the Lord hath spoken. The mighty God the Lord hath spoken.” And when he speaks, he “calls the earth from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof” to listen, and therefore, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. God spake all these words.” This is like the sounding of a trumpet before the king's proclamation. God spake all the words of this Bible in a mediate way, by the mouths of his holy prophets and apostles: but here God himself is the immediate speaker: surely it must be some matter of vast moment, and of the highest importance, when God himself is the preacher. Well, what are the words God spake in such an immediate manner; Answ. All these words from the ad verse of this chapter
* Preached at the dispensation of the Lord's Supper, at Kinglassio.
to the close of ver. 17. And, sirs, I would have you to remember, that all these words are spoken as directly to you, and to every soul hearing me, as ever they were to Israel; and you
and I are to reckon ourselves no less concerned now to hear and regard them, than if we had been standing at the foot of Sinai among the children of Israel, when the heavenly trumpet sounded, and the voice of God was uttered with such awful majesty as made Moses and all Israel fall to quaking and trembling; for all these words are directed to us, as much as they were to them. And therefore do not shift them, as though they were spoken only to Israel, or as if they were spoken to others and not to you. No, no; to thee, man, to thee, woman, God now speaks all these words in this Bible; and therefore hear and listen, with particular application of them to thy own soul, as if God were calling thee out of heaven, by name and surname.
Two of these ten words I design to speak to, namely these, taken in their connexion, I am the Lord thy God- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Where two things are considerable. 1. A great and gracious promise, even the leading promise of the covenant, I am the Lord thy God. 2. A great and gracious law or commandment, founded upon the covenant promise and grant; a law, the obligation of which the very light of nature cannot shake off; Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
1. We have a great promise or new covenant-grant; I am the Lord thy God. The greatest word ever God spake since the fall of Adam! for here he not only speaks forth his own glory and transcendent being, but he speaks over himself unto us as our God. Here is a promise, yea, something more than a promise. A promise is commonly expressed with respect to the time to come, concerning something God has a mind to do hereafter ; but here God speaks in the present time, I am the Lord thy God; that is, Now, while I am speaking, from this moment I become your God; and from this time forward you may claim me as such, and hold me to it, by this my grant that I make of inyself to you. God's covenant of promise is not a thing past, or a thing to come only;
a but a thing present; I am the Lord thy God. Faith never wants a foundation; no, it is always invariably the same: and if our faith did bear a just proportion to the ground of faith in the covenant, we would not be up and down in our believing; no, we would be always believing, and that with the fullest assurance of faith. There is a twofold title by which God describes himself here in this covenant grant; the one is essential, and the other relative. (1.) The essential ti. tle is Jehovah; the force of which is opened, Rev. i. 4: "He
that is, that was, and is to come.” And it implies his self-existence, that he has his being of himself, independent of all other beings; and that he gives being to all other beings whatever, in heaven above, or in the earth beneath. The Jews think this name so sacred, that they judge it unlawful to pronounce it. It is a name common to each person of the glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are one God. Christ is called JEHOVAH, frequently in scripture, as well as Father, Jer. xxiii. 6: “This is his name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH, our righteousness." And we have very good ground to think that it was JEHOVAH, in the person of the eternal Son, who “spake all these” words from the top of Sinai, to Israel, as we may have occasion to clear more fully afterwards. (2.) Another title by which he here
. describes himself is relative; thy God. This is it that sweetens the name of Jehovah unto us; he is JEHOVAH our God. The terror of his amazing and infinite greatness were enough to affright and astonish all mankind; but when he says, I am thy God, even thy own God; not an avenging God, to execute the penalty of the broken law upon thee, but a “God with thee, a God on thy side,” to pity, pardon, and defend thee, a а “God gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and in truth ;" this, O this ! renders his name Jehovah amiable and desirable.
2. In the words we have a law or commandment, suited to, and founded upon, this covenant grant; Thou shalt have no other gods before me. This, as many of the rest of the commandments are, is delivered in negative terms, prohibiting and forbidding, “the denying, or not worshipping and glorifying the true God, as God and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other which is due to him alone.” And this law, or commandment, as the generality of the other commandments, is delivered in negative terms, because of the perpetual propensity of our natures, since the fall to de. part from the living God through an evil heart of unbelief. But although the commandment be delivered in negative terms, yet the contrary positive duty is manifestly included in it, or under it; namely, “ to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God; and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly,” as is well expressed in our Catechism. As for these words, Before me, or before my face, as it may be read; the expression plainly teaches us, that an omniscient and all-seeing God, before whom all things are open and naked, and who “sets our most secret sins in the light of his countenance,” “ taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God;" and, consequently is well pleased with the sinner who knows and ac
knowledges him as the only true God, and his own God, according to the gift of the covenant, which is the foundation of our claim to him. From which words,
OBSERVE, “ That as God is the Lord and our God by his own free gift in a covenant of grace, so it is his royal will and pleasure, intimated to us in the first commandment of his law, that we should know and acknowledge him to be our own God, upon the ground of that covenant
I have framed the doctrine almost in the words of our Lesser Catechism, opening up the import of this promise and precept. And Othat I could make all this company, and the whole world of mankind, if I had access to them, to understand what a glorious and rich treasure they have among their hands when they hear these words repeated, or repeat them themselves, I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt huve no other gods before me. Alas! there are many have these words by rote, who never consider what is in them: just like a company of people travelling the highway where an immense treasure lies under their feet; they pass and repass it, but miss the treasure, because they never dig into the field; so people read and repeat these words, and lose God and eternal life, that lie hid in them, because they do not advert to what they are saying or reading. But, O sirs, let me beseech and entreat
souls' sake, to pause a little, and consider what is in these words; I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. You and I, by the breach and violation of the first covenant, in our father Adam, lost our God; and ever since, every man and woman is “ without God in the world;" and being without God, we are “ without hope," without help, without grace, light, life, strength, or any thing that is good. When we lost our God, we lost all, and lost it to all intents and purposes. Well, but, sirs, I tell you glad tidings of the greatest joy that ever mankind heard since the fall of Adam; here you have your God, whom you lost by the first covenant, coming back again to you in a new covenant, a covenant of grace, and saying to every one of you, I am the Lord thy God: he becomes our God, not upon the footing of works, but of free grace. And because the sinner, through a sense of guilt and wrath, might be ready to scare and say, O, I cannot think that God is speaking to me, when he says, I am the Lord thy God! I doubt, may the sinner say, if I be warranted to claim him as my God, who have forfeited all claim and title to him. In answer to this, consider, that a royal law is issued out, yea, the very law of nature, written at first upon Adam's heart, is repeated and adapted to the dispensation of the covenant of