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3- -7, I appeared unto Abraham, Ifaac, &c. And I have also ef tablished my Covenant with them, to give them the Land of Canaan. I have also heard the Groaning of the Children of Ifrael,and I have remembered my Covenant,and will take you to me for a People, and I will be to you a God." Deut. vii. 8. Pfal. cv. 8, 9, 10, "He hath remembered his Covenant for ever, the Word which he commanded to a thousand Generations. Which Covenant he made with Abraham, and his Oath unto Ifaac: And confirmed the fame unto Jacob for a Law, and to Ifrael for an everlasting Covenant." Jer. xi. 5. Ezek. xvi. 8. xx. 5.
64. But what most of all deferves our Attention is this; that the Jewish Constitution was a Scheme for promoting Virtue, true Religion, or a good and pious Life. In all the forementioned Inftances they were very happy: But were they to reft in them? Because these Bleffings were the Gift of Love and Mercy, without Refpect to their Righteousnefs, or Obedience, was it therefore needlefs for them to be obedient? Or were they, purely on Account of Benefits already received, fecure of the Favour and Bleffing of God for ever? By no Means. And, that I may explain this important Point more clearly, I fhall diftinguish their Blethings into antecedent and confequent, and fhew, from the Scriptures, how both ftand in Relation to their Duty.
65. Antecedent Bleffings are all the Benefits hitherto mentioned, which were given by the mere Grace of God, antecedently to their Obe dience, and without Respect to it: But yet fo, that they were intended to be Motives to Obedience. Which Effect if they produced, then their Election, Redemption and Calling were confirmed; and they were entitled to all the Bleffings promised in the Covenant; which Bleffings I therefore call confequent, because they were given only in confequence of their Obedience. But, on the other Hand, if the Antecedent Bleffings did not produce Obedience to the Will of God; if his Chofen People, his Children did not obey his Voice, then they forfeited all their Privileges, all their Honours and Relations to God, all his Favours and Promises, and fell under the feverest Threatnings of his Wrath and Displeasure (*).
66. And that this was the very End and Design of the Dispensation of God's extraordinary Favours to the Jews; namely, to engage them to Duty and Obedience; or that it was a Scheme for promoting Virtue, is clear beyond all Difpute from every Part of the Old Testament. Note, I fhall make Ant. ftand for Antecedent Love, or Motives; Conf. for Confequent Love, or Reward; and Thr. for Threatning.
[Ant.] Gen. xvii. 1, "I am God All-fufficient, [Duty] Walk thou be fore me, and be thou perfect." Ver. 4-8, [Ant.] " I will be a God unto thee, and thy Seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and unto thy Seed-the Land-of Canaan,-and I will be their God." Ver. 9, [Duty]
(*) Thus Life itself may be distinguished into I. Antecedent; which God gives freely to all his Creatures, of his mere Good-will and Liberality, before they can have done any thing to deferve it. II. Confequent Life; which is the Continuance of Life in happy Circumftances, and has Relation to the good Conduct of a rational Creature. As he improves Life Antecedent, fo he fhall, through the Favour of God, enjoy Life Confequent.
Jewish Conftitution a Scheme for promoting Virtue.
Ca.tit "Thou fhalt keep my Covenant therefore, thou and thy Seed after thee." Gen. xxii. 16, 18, [Duty]-" Because thou haft done this Thing, and haft not withheld thy Son, thine only Son; because thou haft obeyed my Voice," Ver. 16, 17, [Conf.] "By myfelf have I fworn, faith the Lord, that in Blefling I will blefs thee, and in Multiplying, I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of Heaven; and thy Seed fhall poflefs the Gate of his Enemies, and in thy Seed fhall all the Nations of the Earth be bleffed."
67. [Here let it be noted; that the fame Bleffings may be both Confequent and Antecedent with Regard to different Perfons. With Regard to Abraham the Bleflings promifed in this Place (Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 18.) are Confequent, as they were the Reward of his Obedience. "Because thou haft obeyed my Voice." But with Regard to his Pofterity thefe fame Bleffings were of the Antecedent Kind; because, though they had Refpect to Abraham's Obedience, yet, with Regard to the Jews, they were given freely, or antecedently to any Obedience they had performed. So the Bleffings of Redemption, with Regard to our Lord's Obedience, are Confequent; but with Regard to us, they are of free Grace, and Antecedent; not owing to any Obedience of ours, though granted in Confequence of Chrift's Obedience. Phil. ii. 8, 9, &c. Eph. i. 7. Heb. v. 8, 9. Nor doth the Donation of Bleflings upon many, in Confequence of the Obedience of one, at all diminish the Grace, but very much recommends the Wifdom, that bestows them.
68. Ifai. xliii. 7, 21, [Ant.] "This People have I made  for my felf, [Duty] they fhall fhew forth my Praise." Jer. xiii. 11. Lev. xx. 7, 8, [Ant.] "I am the Lord your God. I am the Lord which fanctify  you. [Duty] Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye Holy. And ye fhall keep my Statutes and do them." Deut. iv. 7, 8, [Ant.] "What Nation is there fo great, who hath God fo nigh them, as the Lord our God is? And what Nation is there fo great, that hath Statutes and Judgments fo righteous," &c. Ver. 9, [Duty] "Only take heed to thyfelf, and keep thy Soul diligently, left thou forget the Things which thine Eyes have feen." Ver. 20, [Ant.] "The Lord hath taken you forth out of the Iron Furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a People of Inheritance,  as ye are at this Day." Ver. 23, [Duty] "Take heed unto yourselves, left ye forget the Covenant of the Lord your God."-Ver. 24, [Thr.] " For the Lord thy God is a confuming fire." Ver. 25, "When ye fhall corrupt yourfelves,-and fhall do Evil in the Sight of the Lord thy God."-Ver. 26. "I call Heaven and Earth to witnefs, that ye fhall foon utterly perish from off the Land."-Ver. 34, [Ant.] "Hath God effayed to go, and take him a Nation from the Midit of another Nation, by Signs and Wonders," &c. &c. Ver. 39, [Duty] "Know therefore this Day, and confider it in thy Heart, that the Lord he is God in Heaven above, &c. Thou shalt keep therefore his Satutes, and his Commandments,-[Conf.]-that it may go well with thee, and with thy Children after thee," &c. Deut. v. 6, [Ant.] "I am the Lord thy God,  which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, from the Houfe of Bondage." Ver. 7, [Duty] "Thou fhalt have no other Gods before me," &c. Ver. 29, "O that there were fuch an Heart in them, that they would fear me and keep all my Commandments, always-Conf]—that it might be well with them and with their Children for ever." Ver. 33
[Duty]" You fhall walk in all the Ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you,-[Conf.]-that ye may live, and that it may be well with you," &c. Chap. vi. 21, [Ant." We were Pharaoh's Bondmen, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt," &c. Ver. 24, [Duty]" And the Lord commanded us to do all these Statutes, to fear the Lord our God,[Conf. for our Good always, that he might preferve us alive," &c. Chap. vii, 6, 7, 8, [Ant.] "Thou art a Holy  People unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chofen thee to be a fpecial People  unto himself, the Lord loved you,—and redeemed you out of the House of Bondmen." Ver. 9, [Duty]" Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God," &c. Ver. 11, "Thou shalt therefore keep the Commandments, and the Statutes, and the Judgments, which I command thee this Day, to do them." Ver. 12, 13, &c. [Conf.] "Wherefore it shall come to pafs, if ye hearken to these Judgments, and keep, and do them; that the Lord thy God fhall keep unto thee the Covenant and the Mercy which he swore unto thy Fathers. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee," &c. Chap. viii. 2, [Ant.] "Fhou shalt remember all the Way which the Lord thy God led thee," &c. Ver. 5, "Thou fhalt alfo confider in thy Heart, that as a Man chafteneth his Son, so the Lord thy God chafteneth thee." Ver. 6, [Duty] "Therefore thou fhalt keep the Commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his Ways, and to fear him." Ver. 11, "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God," &c. Ver. 19, [Thr.] " And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other Gods,-I teftify against you this Day, that ye fhall furely perish." Chap. x. 15, [Ant.]"The Lord hath a Delight in thy Fathers to love them,  and he chofe  their Seed after them, even you above all People." Ver. 12, 16, [Duty]“ Circumcife therefore the Foreskin of your Heart," &c. Ver. 22, [Ant.] "Thy Fathers went down into Egypt, with threefcore and ten Perfons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the Stars of Heaven for Multitude." Chap. xi. 1, [Duty] "Therefore shalt thou love the Lord thy God, and keep his Charge," &c. Ver. 13, "And it fhall come to país, if ye fhall hearken diligently unto my Commandments," &c. Ver. 14, [Conf.] "That I will give you the Rain of your Land," &c. Ver. 26. "Behold, I fet before you this Day a Bleffing and a Curfe. A Bleffing if you obey the Commandments of the Lord, and a Curfe if ye will not obey," &c. Chap. xii. 28, [D.ty] "Obferve and hear all these Words which I command thee,-Conf.]-that it may go well with thee and thy Children after thee for ever, when thou haft done that which is Good and Right in the Sight of the Lord thy God." Chap. xiii. 17, 18. XV. 4, 5. xxvii. 9, [Ant.Take heed, and hearken, O Ifrael, this Day thou art become the People  of the Lord thy God." Ver. 10, [Duty] "Thou fhalt therefore obey the Voice of the Lord thy God, and do his Commandments," &c. Chap. xxviii. I, "And it fhall come to pafs, if thou hearken diligently unto the Voice of the Lord thy God, to obferve and to do his Commandments,-[Conf.]-that the Lord will fet thee on High above all Nations of the Earth. And all these Bleffings fhall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou fhalt hearken unto the Voice of the Lord thy God. Bleffed fhalt thou be in the city," &c. Ver. 15, [Thr.] "But it fhall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the Voice of the Lord thy God, to obferve and to do all his Commandments, and his
Statutes, that all these Curfes fhall come upon thee and overtake thee," &c. Ver. 45, "Moreover, all these Curfes fhall come upon thee,-till thou be deftroyed; because thou hearkenest not unto the Voice of the Lord thy God." Chap. xxix. 2. to 10. xxx. 15—18, [Duty] “See I have fet before you this Day Life and Good, and Death and Evil: In that I command thee this Day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his Ways, and to keep his Commandments and his Statutes, and his Judgments, [Conf.] that thou mayeft live and multiply: And the Lord thy God fhall bless thee in the Land whither thou goeft to poffefs it. [Thr.] But if thine Heart turn away, fo that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other Gods, and ferve them; I denounce unto you this Day, that ye fhall furely perish."
69. Whoever peruses the first fixteen, and the 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, and 32d Chapters of Deuteronomy will moft clearly fee, that all the Privileges, Honours, Inftructions, Protections, &c. which were given them as a felect Body of Men, were intended as Motives to Obedience; which, if thus wifely improved, would bring upon them still further Bleffings. Thus God drew them to Duty and Virtue by his Lovingkindnefs, Jer. xxxi. 3. He "drew them with Cords of a Man,” such Confiderations as are apt to influence the rational Nature, "and with the Bands of Love," Hof. xi. 4. But if they were disobedient, and did not make a right Ufe of God's Benefits and Favours, then they were fubjected to a Curfe, and fhould perifh. And this is fo evident, from this fingle Book, that I fhall not need to heap together the numerous Quotations, which might be collected from other Parts of Scripture, particularly the Prophetic Writings. Only I may further eftablish this Point by obferving; that, in Fact, though all the Ifraelites in the Wilderness were the People, Children, and the Chofen of God; all intitled to the Divine Bleffing, and Partakers of the several Inftances of his Goodness; yet, notwithstanding all their Advantages and Honours, when they were dif obedient to his Will, distrustful of his Power and Providence, or revolted to the Worship of Idol-Gods, great Numbers of them fell under the Divine Vengeance, Exod. xxxii. 8, 27, 28. Num. xi. 4, 5, 6, 33. xvi. 2, 3, 32, 35, 41, 49. xxi. 5, 6. And, though they had all a Promife of entering into the Land of Canaan, yet the then Generation, from twenty Years old and upwards, for their Unbelief, were, by the righteous Judg ment of God, excluded from the Renefit of that Promife; they forfeited their Inheritance, and died in the Wilderness, Num. xiv. 28–36. Heb. iii. 7, &c.
70. From all this it appears; that all the High Privileges of the Jews, before-mentioned, and all the fingular Relations, in which they stood to God, as they were faved, bought, redeemed by him; as they were his called and elect; as they were his Children, whom he begot, created, made, and formed, his Sons and Daughters born to him; his Heritage, Church, House, and Kingdom; his Saints, whom he fanctified; his Vine or Vineyard, which he planted; his Sheep and Flock : I fay, these, and fuch like Honours, Advantages and Relations, as they are affigned to the whole Body do not import an abfolute final State of Happiness and Favour of any Kind; but are to be confidered as Difplays, Inftances and Defcriptions of God's Love and Goodness to them, which were to operate as a Mean, a moral Mean, upon their Hearts. They were in Truth Motives to oblige
and excite to Obedience; and only, when fo improved, became final and permanent Bleffings: but neglected, or mifimproved they were enjoyed in vain, they vanifhed and came to nothing; and wicked Ifraelites were no more the Objects of God's Favour, than wicked Heathens. Amos ix. 7, fpeaking of corrupt Jews, " Are ye not as Children of the Ethiopians unto me, O Children of Ifrael? faith the Lord."
71. And, upon the whole, we may from the clearest Evidence con clude; that the felecting the Jewish Nation from the rest of the World, and taking them into a peculiar Relation to God, was a Scheme for promoting true Religion and Virtue in all its Principles and Branches, upon Motives adapted to rational Nature: Which Principles and Branches of true Religion are particularly specified in their Law. And to this End, no doubt, every Part of their Conftitution, even the Ceremonial, was wifely adapted, confidering their Circumstances, and the then State of the World.
72. And obferve; the Motives did not run thus; ye are still in Egypt, ftill in Bondage and Slavery, ftill in a wretched, miferable Condition, under the Wrath and Difpleasure of God; therefore believe, and reform, and love God, that ye may be redeemed and faved; that the Lord may become your God and Father, and that you may be of the Number of his Children, his Elect, and taken into his Covenant. But plainly thus; you are actually delivered, faved, redeemed; God is already your Father, who has elected, begotten and created you; who has loved you, established his Covenant with you, and has given you Promifes of further and continued Happinefs; therefore be induced by his Goodness to love and obey him. The Love of God, as it was the Foundation and Original of this Scheme, fo it was the prime Motive in it. God begun the Work of Salvation among them, antecedently to any thing which they might do, on their Part, to engage his Goodness. They did not first love God; but God first loved them: Their Obedience did not firft advance towards God; but his Mercy first advanced towards them, and faved, bought, redeemed them, took them for his People, and gave them a Part in the Bleflings of his Covenant. And as for his Difpleasure, they were under that, only confequentially; or after they had neglected his Goodness, and abused the Mercy and Means, the Privileges and Honours which they enjoyed. This, I think, muft appear very evident to any one, who clofely and maturely deliberates upon the true State of the Jewish Church.
Thus, and for thofe Ends, not excluding others before or afterwards mentioned, the Jewish Conftitution was erected.