« ForrigeFortsæt »
readiness and sufficiency, in all thy needs and exigencies, to protect, preserve, and deliver thee:
I then being such, Jehovah, the only true God; thy God, by particular engagement and endearment; thy gracious and bountiful benefactor, not in will only, but in deed, do thus propound my will unto thee; and upon all accounts of general and special duty, of reason, of justice, of gratitude, require thy regard and observance of what follows.
Now what God in a direct and literal sense thus speaketh to the Jewish people, may, according to likeness of case and parity of reason, (especially in a mystical and spiritual way,) upon more considerable and effectual accounts, be applied unto us: the Lord Jehovah is such no less to us than to them; he is Heb. xiii. 8. the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; to him, as to the only true, eternal, and Almighty God, the essential Author, Lord, and Governor of all things, our highest respect and observance are due; he also, in a stricter relation, founded on higher grounds, is our God, having chosen us, and consecrated us more especially to himself; having received us into a closer confederacy, (a new and better covenant, as the apostle calls it, established upon better promises;) having obliged us by granting nobler privileges, and dispensing more excellent benefits to us : who likewise hath brought us up out of a spiritual Egypt, and state of infinitely more wretched bondage; hath rescued us from the tyrannical dominion of Satan, (a far more intolerably cruel and hard master than any Pharaoh ;) hath freed us from serving sin in our souls and bodies, a far harder service than making bricks, or any bodily toil can be; who
Heb. viii. 6. vii. 22.
hath conducted us in the way, and conferred on us an assured hope, (if we be not wanting to ourselves and our duty,) of entering into the heavenly Canaan, a place of perfect rest and unconceivable bliss; who, as St. Paul expresseth it, hath delivered us Col. i. 13. from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his most beloved Son: who therefore here, according to spiritual intent, may be understood to speak in a higher strain to us; justly exacting a more punctual and accurate obedience to his commandments. But so much for that part which seems introductory.
Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
IT is in the Hebrew, There shall be to thee no Matt. iv. other Gods (or no strange Gods; for alii some render it, some alieni,) ♫ ↳y (al pani) to my face, or at my face; that is, in comparison, or competition with me; so as to be confronted to me; or together and in consort with me: I am he, saith God other-Deut. where, and there is no God y (immadhi) with me, or beside me; λ uc, the LXX. render it; and so the phrase commonly importeth; as in that saying of the Scribe, answering to this; There is Mark xii. one God, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἄλλος πλὴν αὐτοῦ, and there is no other God beside him: but we need not criticise on the words, the sense being plain; as containing a prohibition of assuming any other into partnership with the one true God; acknowledging, in mind or in outward expression, any other for God. The precept, as most of the rest, is in form negative and prohibitive, but supposeth and implieth somewhat affirmative and positive; as the rest also may be conceived to do; it implies this affirmative precept,
Thou shalt have me for thy God. Now to have for our God, signifies, as to internal disposition of mind, a most high esteem, honour, dread, and love of that Being, as endued with attributes and perfections superlatively excellent; the admiring all his works, approving all his actions, acquiescing in all his proceedings and dealings with us; the reposing our hope and trust in him, as most able and willing to help us, and do us good: in outward expression, to acknowledge, praise, and bless him as such; to yield all fitting demonstrations of respect to his name, and to whatever is specially related to him; patiently to submit to his will, and readily to obey his commandments: these principally and the like acts of internal devotion and external piety are comprised in the words, having him for our God, and we are to understand them here enjoined to us; the same which Matt. xxii. is in scripture called the fearing, the serving, the Luke x. 27, worshipping, the loving God with all our heart, Deut. vi. 5. and all our soul, and all our mind, and all our might.
This is implied: and it is expressly prohibited us to yield to any other beside him the like esteem, acknowledgment, or service. That there is in truth but one such being, to whom eminently those acts are due, nature, ancient tradition, general consent, and especially divine revelation, do assure us; whereupon is consequent, that yielding them (yielding, I say, those opinions, estimations, and affections of our mind, or those acknowledgments and expressions in word, or those performances in deed or work, which we before specified) to any other being whatever, whether really existent in the world, or merely formed by our imagination, is highly un
reasonable, unbeseeming us, and unjust toward him.
1. It is highly unreasonable, as false and groundless in itself, as vain and unprofitable to us, as productive of many bad effects. It is from error in a matter of the highest nature and mainest consequence; and so beyond any other mistake hurtful to us, as reasonable and intelligent creatures; the Rom. i. 25. μετάλλαξις τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει the transmuting the truth of God into a lie, St. Paul calls it; reckoning it for a grievous folly and crime. It is a vanity of all most lamentable; a pursuance of sha-Jer. ii. 13. dows, an embracing of clouds; a building in air, or mere vacuity; a leaning upon that which hath no substance, or no strength to support us; a dreaming and doting upon mere nothing; whence those false deities well in scripture are termed μávala, va- Jer. viii. nities; for that, as they have no truth, or substance, Acts xiv. or efficacy considerable in them, so all our thoughts, 15, &c. affections, expectations, and labours are idly misemployed, and unprofitably mispent upon them.
2. It is also a thing most unbeseeming us men, (whom God hath placed in so high a rank of worth and dignity among his creatures; who are in our original so near of kin, so like in nature, so dear in relation and regard unto God himself,) to admire and worship, to place our choice affections upon, to afford lowly submissions unto, to rest our hope and confidence in, any other but him, who alone truly so far excels us, and can worthily challenge such respects from us all flattery is base and unworthy; but this of all is the worst and most unbecoming.
3. To do so, is also most unjust and injurious to God; to whom, as to the Author of our being, and
ται πρὸς τῷ
of all our good received since, we do owe all that our mind can yield of reverence, all that our heart can hold of affection, all that our tongue can utter of praise, all that our utmost might can perform of Où gra- service: and since the exhibiting to any other thing - part of these must needs not only by that communiocation debase and derogate from their worth, but auro, also withdraw them in great measure from him, so diminishing and embezzling his due, (for we cannot, as our Saviour teacheth us, together adhere unto, or serve, divers masters;) therefore having any other God, but the true one, is a high indignity and a heinous injury to him.
πρὸς τὸ δυσὶ
xveios de λεύειν. Orig. 1. viii. p. 382.
νων, ὁ τῆς
This command therefore is most reasonable upon many accounts; which as it hath been in grossest manner violated by those who have not acknowledged or worshipped any God at all, and by those who have acknowledged and adored many gods, (by Alyu - all Atheists and Polytheists;) from which transgressions thereof we Christians may seem totally exLempt, who in formal profession and practice have but one God, (the Maker and Lord of all things, infinitely perfect and glorious;) yet there are many subtle, and, perchance, no less mischievous transx.gressions thereof, of which even we may be very Clem.Alex. guilty, and to which we are very obnoxious. If we do not with all our hearts reverence and love the ma. p. 223. most wise and powerful, the most just and holy, the Vid. Aug. most good and gracious God; if we do not trust and de C. D. 4. hope in him, as the fountain of all our good; if we
Id. de Nu
do not diligently worship and praise him; if we do not humbly submit to his will and obey his laws, we break the positive intent of this law, not having him for our God; being indeed like those of whom St.