صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

will surely have mercy on him." Will he not, like the father of the prodigal son, when his son repented, Luke xv. 17-24 “run to meet you, fall on your neck, kiss you, clothe you with the best robe," and feast you with the choicest dainties? According to his promises, Hosea xiv. 4. " he will heal your backslidings, he will love you freely; for his anger is turned away from you." The Lord promiseth, Isa. xxxv. 10, (It is partly fulfilled, but it will be perfectly fulfilled after this life) "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall fice away." Amen,






Exod. xx. 1, 2, 3. And God spake all these words saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods be fore me.

Q. 92. What is the law of God?

A. "God spake all these words,” Exod. xx. Deut. v. "saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

The first Commandment,

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
The second Commandment.

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," &c.

Q. 93. How are these commandments divided?

A. Into two tables, the first of which teaches us how we must be

have toward God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbour.

Q. 94. What doth God enjoin in the first command?

A. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, invocation of saints, or any other creatures, and learn rightly to know the only true God; trust in him alone, with humility and patience submit to him, expect all good things from him only; love, fear, and glorify him with my whole heart; so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit the least thing contrary to his will.

Q. 95. What is idolatry?

A. Idolatry is instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive or have any other object in which men place their trust.

NOTHING is more generally known in the world, than that

there is a Supreme Being, and that he ought to be worshipped. It is indeed innate in man. Paul teacheth us this, when he saith, Rom. i. 19, 20, "That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." Yea, all nations, even the most illiterate declare it by their religious worship. But what, and who that Supreme Being is, and how he ought to be worshipped, is not so well known to all; for many have worshipped an unknown God, with the Athenians, Acts xvii. 23. He had indeed not revealed to them either himself or his will, according to which he must be worshipped: "In times past he suffered all the Gentiles to walk in their own ways," Acts xiv. 16. It is true, "the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law; and these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves, inasmuch as they show the work of the law written in their hearts," according to Rom. ii. 14, 15. But who knows not that this light is in them like darkness itself? it is indeed exceedingly beclouded and obscured by their natural depravity; and by indulging their lusts their foolish hearts have become "still more darkened," as Paul speaks, Rom. i. 21. Have not all the heathen nations manifested this in those practices, by which they served their gods? have not all their religious ceremonies been mere follies? Therefore the Lord God not having created all the children of men in vain, but willing that some of them should, as his peculiar people, know and serve him aright, it behooved him to re

veal himself and his will to them. The foreign nations, who were transplanted into the possession of the Israelites, knew how necessary this was; for when "they were plagued with lions, because they feared not the God of the land, they desired to have one of the Israelitish priests, in order that he might teach them the manner of the God of the land," 2 Kings xvii. 25-27. As the Lord also hath not left himself without a witness in this respect: he did not indeed show all nations this favour, but only that people whom he had separated for himself: "He showed his word unto Jacob; his statutes and his judgments unto Israel: he dealt not so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they knew them not," Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20.

For this purpose he conducted Israel from among the nations into the wilderness, that he might, when they were separated from all other families, speak comfortably to them, and declare that he was their covenant God, and teach them how they ought to conduct as his people; for, as the text saith, "God spake all these words," &c.

The instructor having taught in the foregoing question, that good works must be done according to the law of God, explains now, and in the sequel of the catechism, what law God hath given to his pecple, whom he hath delivered, (1) In general, Q. 92, 93. (2) With respect to each commandment in particular, Q. 94—113, and (3) how even those who are converted are not able to keep this law perfectly.

We must attend at present,

I. To the giving of the law, Q. 92.

II. The division of it. Q. 93. and

III. The sense of the first commandment, Q. 94, 95.

I. I will not attempt to explain the reason why the law is called by the Hebrews, thorah, an instruction, direction; by the Greeks, nomos, from nemein, to give each one his due; by the Latins, lez, from legere, to read, and by us, wet, from weeten, to know. Neither will we inquire how many different titles are given to this law in the word of God, as testimonies, judgments, commandments, &c. nor why the word law sometimes denotes the whole doctrine of salvation, Psalmi. 2. and particularly the gospel of fulfilment, Isaiah ii. 3. at other times all the books of the old testament, John xii. 34. as the books of Moses, John viii. 5. the Psalms, John x. 34. compare with Psalm Ixxxii. 6. and John xv. 25. with Psalm xxx. 19. Ixix. 4, the prophets, 1 Cor. xvi. 21, with Isaiah xxviii. 11. The word law denotes also the covenant of works, Rom. iii. 27. But it will suffice to say, that we speak here of the law, as the rule of our conduct. We have shewn on the second Lord's day, that

there was an ecclesiastical law, or a law of ceremonies, a civil law, and a moral law. We speak here, as all know, of the moral law, the everlasting rule of all our actions.

In order to understand the nature of this law, we must consider the preface, the contents, and the scope of it. Moses, the leader of Israel, describing the giving of the law, saith, "God spake all these words." The words that God spake, are emphatically called, "the ten words."* Deut. iv. 13, which are certainly the ten commandments, although proposed for the most part in a paraphrastic manher, and not so much the promises and threatenings, with which the ten commandments are enforced, and which God spake, as pertaining to the commandments. This law was not pronounced before the whole world, but only from mount Sinai or Horeb, in the wil derness of Arabia, before all Israel, in the presence, and by the ministry of many thousands of angels," Deut. xxxiii. 2, on the fif tieth day after the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, "four hundred and thirty years" after the promise to Abraham, Gal. iii. 17. It was nevertheless not Moses, who pronounced it, although he also may be called the law-giver, since the law was delivered by his ministry to Israel, Numb. xxi. 18. Deut. xxxiv. 21. He doth not however assume this high authority to himself, but it was God who pronounced the law; the burning, smoking and quaking mountain, the dreadful thunderings, the gleaming flashes of lightning, and other fearful tokens manifested that God was come down, and that he himself spoke after his manner with power, that he might convince the people of his high sovereignty, might cause them to quake at his presence, and fear to transgress his law; as the people also, terrified by those appearances, were persuaded that God spake, and obligated themselves to obey hem, Exod. xix. 1619, xx. 18, 19, 20. It was nevertheless not to destroy Israel, for it was the second Person, the Son of God, who spoke to them, as the Mediator of the covenant, who had the law within his heart, that he might satisfy the vindictive justice of God, according to the law, for the true Israel. The Father was, according to the distribution of the gifts and graces among the divine Persons, indeed the lawgiver; nevertheless the Son spake in his name, the angel of God's presence; who led the Israelites out of Egypt to the land of Canaan, "He whose voice they were obliged to obey, Exod. xxix. 20-23. was the angel who spake in the church in the wilderness with Mo

• In the original, and in the Dutch translation. From this expression of the ten words, the ten commandments are often called the decalogue.

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »